Kondoa Travel Guide

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Haubi badlands, Kondoa

Haubi badlands, Kondoa

Ingvar

Kondoa (or Kondoa-Irangi) is a small town along the old caravan route from the Indian Ocean to Lake Tanganyika. A still existing artesic water source here provided the caravans with good and plenty of water. Today the main communication route is north-south, from Arusha to Dodoma, a road that looks impressive on the map, being a section of the old Cape-Cairo highway. In reality the road is in poor condition and difficult during rains. It is supposed to become asphalted but progress is slow. 

A 3 km long road from the main road leads westwards into town crossing the Kondoa River on a narrow bridge. (Don’t take photographs of the bridge, as you are likely to be seen from the police station close by.) The town consists of dusty streets and low buildings, only few being two-storeyed. Polite children will greet the European visitor “Good morning, teacher!” any time of the day. There is nothing special to see, but the friendly tranquility that the visitor is met with among its predominantly Moslem inhabitants makes it worth while to stay there a day or two.

The spiced coffee served in a kiosk at the bus stand can be recommended. Times are changing, however. Today there is usually water in the taps and electricity in the cables. There is even an automatic telephone exchange, and there are now several bars and simple restaurants, some of them quite nice.

Remnant buildings from the German time can be seen east of the bridge, now used by the district administration. The post office, the most impressive building in town, is in the same area. A bank office can also be found there, but its ATM takes only Tanzaninan cards.

The town is the economic centre in the Irangi Hills, which has a blend of several ethnic groups. The dominant group today is the Irangi agriculturalists. Of particular interest is the Sandawe, a remnant of the ancient San (bushman) peoples that are today mainly found in the Kalahari. Sandawe artists have produced many rock paintings, the oldest believed to be 20-30 000 years old. Some of these are shown to visitors. To see them one has first to travel northwards about 30 km (i.e. 40-60 minutes, depending on weather) along the main road to the village of Kolo. There the representative of the Department of Antiquities has to be approached to get a permit and a guide, both of which are compulsory.

The Irangi Hills are also infamous for their severe soil erosion. Some badlands can be seen from the main road. An area with gullies huge enough to be considered a tourist attraction can be seen at the village Haubi. To reach there, turn east at the village Gubali onto a road only negotiable with a Landrover or similar. If you get stuck, ask for help from the fathers at the Haubi catholic mission.

Moslem visitors will feel at home in Kondoa town. A big new mosque was erected some years ago. Christian congregations mainly consist of immigrants and government officials. At Haubi there is an impressive Catholic establishment.

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April 13, 2010 change by ingvar

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