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TANZANIA ZANZIBAR & MOZAMBIQUE -
DAR ES SALAAM

Denton-Miller Natal South Coast Estates A little over three hours flying time from Johannesburg will transport you into a refreshingly different world. Tanzania, almost four times the size of the UK, has a fascinating history, legendary game parks, world class scuba diving and almost 1500 kilometres of the world’s finest white-sand and blue-water beaches. And if you are fortunate, you may still find an unspoilt stretch of beach, complete with coconut palms and a baobab or two, for a price somewhat less than the cost of a two bedroom flat on the Natal South Coast!

Independent since1961, Tanzanians have largely been left alone to make their own way in the world and as a result, are wonderfully free from colonial prejudice and apartheid style hang-ups. They’re extremely nice people. It’s refreshing to find that security is not generally a topic of dinner table conversation and that visitors will encounter only friendliness and courtesy at every turn. A handshake and a heartfelt “jambo, karibu sana!” (“Hi! you’re very welcome!”) is the standard greeting. While Swahili is the most commonly used language, getting around is no problem since English is widely spoken. South Africans, in particular, will immediately feel at home with Shoprite, Nando’s, Spur, Debonairs, SAB and many other SA brands being much in evidence!

Early experiments with socialism and collectivism having failed, the country has adopted a policy of privatisation, a programme which has recently been strongly endorsed by President Kikweti. As a result, the economy is beginning to pick up, international aid agencies are assisting in formulating development plans and foreign investment is warmly welcomed and favourably treated. In recent years much of this investment, particularly for tourism, has come from Europe and from Italy in particular. Considerable investment has been channelled into tourism on Zanzibar as well as the areas around Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and the northern game viewing circuit. On Zanzibar particularly, where the historic Arab “Stone Town” has been declared a World Heritage Site and is being restored to its former glory, tourism is booming. There are no foreign exchange restrictions and entry into the country is simple. A tourist visa may be purchased on arrival for US$50.

Since this article is intended as a brief overview of the property sector let’s take a look at what’s available. Dar plays host to a multitude of Foreign Embassies and High Commissions as well as dozens of international aid agencies and non-governmental organisations. As a result the rental market is extremely buoyant. Although the centre of town is now a traffic planner’s nightmare, the recent building boom has moved the focus of residential property northwards. The more affluent suburbs now have a more than adequate supply of extremely elegant villas, refurbished mansions, town houses and comfortable flats for rent, many with sea views and swimming pools. Rentals, in the more popular areas, quoted in US$, range from about $1,500 p.m. to as high as $8,000 p.m. Many of the more expensive properties are, of course, located close desirable amenities such as the recently completed up-market shopping centres and restaurants and are extremely well furnished. Renting is a relatively simple affair.

Buying a property is somewhat more complicated. Virtually all property is owned by the state and is available for sale only on leasehold terms for periods of up to 99 years. Foreigners cannot own property outright and the most favoured method of purchase is to set up a company with a reliable nominee Tanzanian director. In practice this seems to work well. Mortgages are not readily available and bank loans not always easy to negotiate. In some cases ownership appears somewhat woolly and it is essential to establish beyond doubt who the real owner of the property actually is, whether the land has been properly surveyed and whether it has been, or is capable of being, registered into the name of the purchaser. This is not always an easy task since professional estate agents are few. On the other hand the Property Registry, originally established along UK lines, appears to work efficiently and owners hold property under a formal “Certificate of Occupancy” issued under Section 9 of the Land Ordinance by Land Ordinance Services.

After considerable research we have identified a professional firm of Estate Agents, Valuers and Real Estate Investment Analysts with whom we have entered into a co-operation agreement. We are confident that this firm is competent to advise foreign buyers on the intricacies of purchase and to guide them through the official registration process. Please note however that anyone intending to invest in Tanzania is now required to make a minimum investment of US$300,000.

Learning about properties for sale and Making arrangements to view them is not the easiest exercise unless the prospective buyer has time to spare. The market is small and there are no dedicated property publications or property sections in the daily newspapers. Smaller agencies are difficult to find and often have part time staff and no transport. Even the larger firms who may have a list of apparently available properties often appear unwilling to take clients out on viewing tours. The most sensible course is to hire a reliable taxi driver on a daily basis, pick through the classified sections of newspapers and general advertising publications, get good written directions and if you are using an agent, take a representative of the agency along to cope with the language. In the northern suburbs many streets are un-named, un-surfaced, grazed by cattle and full of potholes large enough to swallow a mini! Inspecting properties is therefore not a task for the faint hearted. .

That having been said, the better quality properties are generally situated on large plots of ground, (anything up to an acre or more), and are fully walled and secured. Houses tend to be large and intended to cope with the needs of extended families so construction is often of two or more storeys, usually with separate staff accommodation. The quality of most new homes is excellent, extensive use being made of imported ceramics, hardwood joinery, air conditioning and aluminium windows with fitted fly screens. A stand-by generator and large capacity water storage tanks are definite plus points.


There are numerous imposing but unfinished, mansions in the better suburbs. These apparently belong to former “wa-Benzi” who have lost senior jobs or influence under the current president and whose income from graft has therefore been severely curtailed! Several of these, at prices from about $150,000, seemed to offer good value for any buyer willing to complete the finishing work. Owner supervised building costs appear to be very reasonable.

Because the housing market is not formalised prices for most properties are extremely flexible with owners and their agents belonging to the “think of a number and double it” school. Local agents or middlemen will try to establish what a foreign buyer might be prepared to pay before quoting a much higher price and expecting to haggle. It appears, however, that because of recent over-building many property owners are becoming increasingly anxious to sell and that with perseverance bargains are there to be had.

Buying vacant land cheaply from a Tanzanian farmer or fisherman may sound attractive but can be even more frustrating since all such sales have to be approved firstly by a full family council and secondly by a village council comprising the whole village population. A procedure which offers ample opportunity for petty jealousies to creep in and for the price to be pushed up at every stage! However, for those with ample time to spare, patience may very well be rewarded.

A visit to booming Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania, although occasionally frustrating, will always be enjoyable. The people are so nice! Should the visitor have time to spend in exploring the countryside he will gain a fascinating insight into the everyday life of the Swahili people and learn that for them the welcoming phrase “Jambo, karibu sana” is a philosophy of life.

TANZANIA -
ZANZIBAR

To hear someone merely whisper the word “Zanzibar” conjures up impossibly romantic images combining the magical adventures of Sinbad the Sailor and the erotic tales of Scheherazade’s Thousand and One Nights. Not so far off the truth - Zanzibar has a very special kind of magic! 

It has a fascinating and often bloody history, an enchanting Arab casbah, impossibly white beaches, turquoise seas, rustling palm trees, friendly people and the scent of coffee and spices on the balmy evening breeze! However, since this is not a travel documentary but a property website, let’s stick to a few very basic facts to help put the Island into context. Those in search of more comprehensive information should read the Rough Guide to Tanzania or Lonely Planet’s Tanzania – they’re well researched and full of really useful and up-to-date  information!

Geography:   The major islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, with a combined area of around 2, 500 km² and some of the world’s finest beaches, are situated some 12º south of the Equator and are, at the nearest point, a mere 35 km off the African coast. That’s very close - the town of Zanzibar can be reached by air in 20 minutes or by fast ferry from Dar Es Salaam in about two hours.

Climate:  The climate is tropical but tempered by cooling breezes from the Indian Ocean. Traditionally there are two rainy seasons each year, the Masika, or long rains, lasting more or less from March to May and the Mvuli, or short rains, lasting from October to early December. However, even during the rains the sun still shines on most days and in the intervening seasons the weather is generally hot and dry. 

History:   What makes Zanzibar both fascinating and different from other Indian Ocean islands is its rich history. First mentioned by Greek explorers around the first century AD the Islands had already been colonized by Bantu-speaking peoples from the mainland. Zanzibar was also regularly visited by Arab and Asian traders and Shirazi merchants who were becoming predominant by the 8th century.

From the 8th century onwards larger and more permanent settlements were established leading up to the island’s most glorious period which lasted from the 15th to 18th centuries when Persian and Omani influences dominated the Island’s culture and economy.

The power and influence of Zanzibar during that period was built on the enormous wealth generated by a thriving trade in gold, ivory, spices and slaves. Wealth pouring out of what Europe saw as the “Dark Continent” promoted the rapid growth of Arab civilization on the Island, particularly the characteristic architecture, social customs and the growing popularity of Islam.  

The Portuguese were the first European power to obtain a brief foothold in the early 16th century but were quickly ousted by the local Omanis. They were followed in turn by British merchants who, instead of having conquest in mind, used the Island merely as a congenial staging post on the route to India.

By 1840 the Island’s economy had become sufficiently important for the Sultan of Oman to relocate his court from Muscat to Zanzibar which now became the hub of the flourishing Omani trading empire. By 1862 Zanzibar felt strong enough to declare itself independent of Oman. In 1890, after a somewhat stormy political relationship, Zanzibar was persuaded to accept British protection.

During the preceding centuries adventurous Arab merchants had opened up trading routes across Africa as far as the Congo Basin, the Maghreb and the West Coast in their quest for ivory and slaves. European colonial expansion into the Caribbean and the Americas during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, which resulted in the development of tropical agriculture, gave huge impetus to the already well established demand for slaves who were seen as essential for the development of the newly established plantations. Although this trade was hugely profitable, anti-slavery sentiment was hardening. By the mid 19th century, particularly in Britain, enlightened political attitudes, liberalism and Christian missionary activity would finally bring to an end the appalling Atlantic slave trade.   

Europe’s competitive colonial expansionism and the growing interest in African exploration now made Zanzibar the most favoured base for African travellers.It was essential to secure the Sultan’s blessing and assistance in order to penetrate into the interior with any degree of safety. The roll call of famous visitors during the mid 19th century makes for interesting reading. Even so, Zanzibar’s golden age was already drawing to a close and with growing international pressure the notorious and hugely profitable Zanzibar slave market, (although not slavery), was officially closed down in 1876.

New Beginnings:    After the Second World War Zanzibar was formally declared a British Protectorate in 1946. In December 1963 the Island gained independence in the form of internal self-government and in January 1964 the last Sultan was overthrown in a bloody left-wing coup. Finally, in April 1964 the Island joined with Tanganyika to form the socialist inspired United Republic of Tanzania.

Stone Town:   If it’s happening – it’s happening in Stone Town!   All the best beaches may well be located on the East Coast but history ensures that Stone Town, (now a United Nations World Heritage site), remains the historic, cultural, social and religious centre of the Island.   Local attitudes to foreigners are  relaxed and friendly and all nationalities and religions mingle amicably. In spite of the archipelago’s closeness to the African mainland one should never forget that Zanzibar, with its long Arab history, is predominantly a Muslim society. Good manners and a little restraint will therefore be appreciated, particularly during Ramadhan.

As in many other parts of the world tourism has transformed the Island. Miraculously, modern sewerage has been installed in the narrow alleys of the old town and many of the splendid old merchant houses have  been converted into atmospheric luxury hotels.   New international restaurants, craft shops and even a few  bars exist to cater for all tastes. Tourism unfortunately means crowds and the narrow streets and twisting alleys are thronged with visitors of all nationalities. It is advisable to keep alert in order to avoid being bowled over by an ever growing number of cars, motor scooters and bicycles. Progress, it seems, comes at a price.  

Buying Property in Zanzibar

Property Law in Zanzibar differs from that applying on the mainland. Subsequent to the elections of December 2005 more stringent regulations are being applied.   Foreigners may no longer purchase beach front land in their own right and leases are difficult to secure and often for very limited periods of time. Investments of all types must now be channeled through the Zanzibar Investment Promotion Authority who, should the project be approved, will arrange for any subsequent property purchase through the Department of Lands and Survey. ZIPA has established various categories and degrees of investment which may be approved and have set the minimum investment in the service sector at US$150, 000 rising to US$4 million in the hospitality industry. Many categories are reserved for native Zanzibaris.

Intending purchasers may still buy through the medium of a Zanzibari citizen or Zanzibari owned company with a letter of undertaking arranged through an attorney. Buying a property privately in Zanzibar through a local middleman may sound easy but in practice can be fraught with difficulty. In some cases a property or business may be purchased but the granting of a lease or certificate of occupancy for the land on which it stands is not always guaranteed.   Purchases which do not follow the approved government procedure will not be recognized, however well attested.

Mozambique

Denton-Miller Natal South Coast Estates Unlike, say, Kenya, Mozambique is still a relatively unknown quantity for potential purchasers of holiday, resort or residential property. The long-running and extremely destructive civil war between FRELIMO and RENAMO which ended in 1992 destroyed much of the remaining colonial infrastructure and laid waste the economy. However, the countryís abandonment of Marxism in 1989 and the acceptance of a new more liberal constitution in 1990 paved the way for a period of greater social and economic stability. Mozambique has made rapid progress since the UN-negotiated cessation of the civil war in 1992 and more particularly since Armando Emilio Guebeza assumed the presidency in December 2004. A period of sound economic and fiscal management has encouraged the growth of foreign investment and although coming off a low base the country now boasts an extremely encouraging growth rate of 7.5% in GDP. The government is placing particular emphasis on the development of small, high quality, foreign owned tourism projects designed to introduce significant amounts of foreign exchange.

Mozambique is a large, and in African terms, relatively under-populated, country roughly twice the size of California. The country is bounded to the North by Tanzania, to the North West by Zambia, to the West by Zimbabwe and to the South and South West by South Africa and Swaziland. Itís not surprising therefore that the population of 21 million is divided between widely different tribal groups of whom the Makhuwa, Tsonga, Lomwe and Sena are the most numerous. It follows that wide range of tribal languages are in daily use but the official language and lingua franca is Portuguese. English is becoming increasingly popular as a medium of business.

The climate is generally tropical along the coast and in the low-lying interior but sub-tropical in the uplands of the North West. The land area is some 800, 000 sq km with a coastline on the Indian Ocean of almost 2, 500 km, the majority of which remains undeveloped. The majority of the population is rural, scratching a living from subsistence agriculture. Much of the coast is protected by coral reef and lined with palm fringed white sand beaches. Diving in the clear waters on the coral reef is relatively unexploited and therefore of an unbelievably high standard. The potential for tourism development is self-evident.

Excellent up-to-date, in-depth, and practical information on Mozambique can be obtained by consulting guides published electronically by www.lonelyplanet.com and www.roughguides.com and the fact sheet from the US Central Intelligence Agency at www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/mz.html

As in many other African states all land is vested in the state which has laid down guidelines for licensing and land use. In brief, the only title recognised is one of usufruct for an agreed term of years and all transfers are subject to state authorisation. The purchase of freehold beach land for private use is therefore not possible.

The process of obtaining a usufruct, (or lease), is both complicated and time consuming and will certainly occupy more time and energy than the average holiday maker has at his disposal. Professional services are at best rudimentary. Finding a way through the red tape can take years! For this reason we suggest that the most effective, and certainly the least troublesome, approach for someone wishing to acquire property in Mozambique is to buy into one of the already established foreign owned and managed complexes which offer future financial return with the minimum of hassle and the maximum of security.

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Denton-Miller Natal Country Estates
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Denton-Miller Natal Country Estates
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