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Purchasing land in Tanzania

Yadkinville, North...
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Purchasing land in Tanzania

I am an American and planning to spend most of 2015 in Tanzania. How difficult would it be for me to purchase some land in Tanzania? I don't know what the process would be and if it would be better to go through a local Tanzanian.

Arusha, Tanzania
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1. Re: Purchasing land in Tanzania

Good luck! We should get together offline to discuss this, as I'm thinking of doing the same. I think it's hard for foreigners. If I do it, my company will likely be the purchaser of record.

I can tell you that it is very critical to make certain you have a clear title deed on the property, and to take no ones verbal word that it exists. I know a Realtor in Arusha. You'd want a good lawyer!

I'll be interested to see what those on the forum with more experience than I have in TZ have to say. I am not even sure IF foreigners can buy land there. Also, I've been told the government really owns all the land, and even when you "buy" land, you really only lease it from the government. Will be interested to learn if what I've heard is true.

Isle of Man, United...
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2. Re: Purchasing land in Tanzania

That last part is quite true. Tanzanian Government owns all land like any socialist country. they lease you some bits and can just as easily cancel that lease on a whim. Be very careful. No doubt KG will have a tale to tell here about his experiences. NoExpert too.

Yadkinville, North...
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3. Re: Purchasing land in Tanzania

Yes, I've been told the same thing...that the government owns all land and people lease it (buyer doesn't truly own the land). I've also been told by an American friend in Tanzania that duplicate title deeds abound; foreign ownership is regulated, and it's even risky to use a legal firm, may lose money to them. It will be interesting to hear what Karl and others say. Thank you for your replies. I'm just wondering how feasible this may be at some time in the future.

Arusha, Tanzania
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4. Re: Purchasing land in Tanzania

This is real difficult, all the land owned by the state, no ownership allow ether citizen or non-citizen. But the govt can grants rights of occupancy of land and derivative rights that valid for 99years. For Muzungu can only occupy land for investment purposes.

Findlay, Ohio
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for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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5. Re: Purchasing land in Tanzania

I have "owned" land there, I had about 2,000 acres and it was all tillable once cleared. I had a tad over 300 acres cleared. Actually no one, except the President, owns land there, what you get is a lease and there will be a lease payment to the government every year. If you get up into the Arusha or Moshi area most all this land is already leased out and there is very little to get from the government, mine was in Central Tanzania. When there is no government land to be gotten (there is National land and there is Village land, which is typically much easier to get as all you need to do is to convince the village people that this will be a benefit to them, and of course spend a little money on them). For national land you will probably need to know someone to do this (and I don't mean a real estate agency), I mean a high government person; at least a Regional Commissioner. Making these contacts will take you a long time to do (probably took me about 4 years). Unless you are planning on being there full time all the time for several years, rethink all of this.

Now for the downside. 1) Expect to spend a lot of money on what you might consider nothing. And there will always be more money to be spent. Things don't work as they do in New Jersey, North Carolina, or anywhere else in the US. You have no power in any of this. 2) There is no one you can trust, even if you think they are a good friend, trust them with everything except you wallet. If you don't think that is the case, or if you think not with my friend; I will show you current at this time documents from a lady who I am trying to assist right now who trusted a person there and had an intimate relationship with him, and in the end although she thought she had made many precautions and safeguards against something happening, she got took for more money than you will probably put into the land. Trust them with an evening's dinner, but do not ever trust them with anything business-wise unless you have intimate personal knowledge of them for the past 10 years at least. And if you are to trust someone (foolishly) at some point ask yourself if you are supplying them with money, and just stop the flow of money and see what happens, refuse to give them any more money and see what happens. (they will most probably quite coming around, seeing you, or communicating with you; until you give them more money.) And as a test of this, ask yourself, would I agree to fund a business with someone in a new city here, whom I have never seen before but only have met him in some bar and talked with them and before 3 or 6 months ago I didn't know this person.

3) Don't trust the lawyers either, for as far as you know they may be in cahoots with the person you are dealing with.

4) Don't do it, unless you have an excess of money to get rid of and don't care. If you are doing this so that you can have a new experience in Africa, definitely don't do it. And if you do, then after a couple of months ask yourself if you are the only way this is keeping its head above water, and if it is, shut off the money for a while and find out what happens. It may be very telling.

Seriously think about what you are doing, and especially who you are doing this with. Do you really know them or do you just think you know them. Also, think about your own experiences, if you are buying land are you a farmer and do you know how to bring in a crop and harvest it (it's not like here by a long shot).

Bottom line, chalk this up to a bad nightmare, go there and enjoy a safari or do some volunteer work; but unless you are well equipped to carry this all through by yourself, don't do it.

Yadkinville, North...
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6. Re: Purchasing land in Tanzania

Thank you Karl for all that information. WOW!! As much as I love the Tanzanian people, now I feel like I can trust no one. Because Tz is such a poor country, I guess many try to "take" people and get money from good hearted foreigners.

Stanley, Falkland...
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7. Re: Purchasing land in Tanzania

I'm curious. Why would you want to own land in Tanzania, Debcat?

I can understand Karl and his farming business ventures, but you don't say what you want land for, Debcat?

Findlay, Ohio
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for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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8. Re: Purchasing land in Tanzania

Trust everyone, but when it comes to money, trust no one there. I can tell you for a fact that I have accused (with proof) Bishops in the church of stealing money. And his response was, Americans are like an elephant, if you take a small bite out of them they won't notice it. I have seen "good" people who here we would hardly ever question, yet they stole money; at least what we would call stealing.

Severe poverty causes people to bend their ethics and morality. I have always turned this around, and blamed myself for the temptation.

Why not keep your lovely thoughts about them intact, and they will be intact until you insert money into the relationship; and the way you do that is to never trust them with money, it becomes too big a temptation.

Arusha, Tanzania
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9. Re: Purchasing land in Tanzania

I can't answer for debcat, but for me it's about the amount of time I spend in Tanzania now. With half a year living in Arusha (typically every three months I go back and forth), I despise having to find a new rental each trip, or paying rent on a place I don't live in 6 months of the year. Not sure what debcat's situation is, but she said she was going to be in TZ most of 2015.

Arusha, Tanzania
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10. Re: Purchasing land in Tanzania

Wise words from Karl; thank you for sharing.