An Unexpected Start to 2020

Riding a Chinese Roller Coaster In Tanzania

Monday, December 30, 2019

It was a hot and humid morning in Zanzibar, Tanzania. This was our first day here, and we had already been vacationing as a family in other parts of the country for the holidays. We were on our way to tour a spice farm, riding on a dala-dala, when I saw some rides and what appeared to be a wild mouse coaster! In the past I have looked for roller coasters in Tanzania, but I do not recall finding anything on RCDB. I had no idea this place existed, and because of the coaster’s location I had to ride it. The problem is, I had to wait until the park opened up again on Friday.


Friday, January 3, 2020

Tickets and Pricing

Fast forward a few days- It was one of our last nights of the trip. After a 10 minute ride in a taxi, we arrived at Kariakoo amusement park. The area surrounding the park was just as busy and chaotic as the night markets downtown. The entrance was rather bland and old, and only one ticket booth was open. Buying the tickets did not take long at all, and they ended up being the cheapest entrance tickets of any park I have been to, at around $5 per person! We later learned that we had to buy additional tickets for the rides. I thought this was strange, as pretty much every other park that charges for the rides is free of admission. However, tickets for rides were also insanely cheap at around $2 per ride!


Rides
The Spinning Coaster manufactured by Golden Horse

The first ride I headed to was of course the roller coaster. I found it on RCDB prior to visiting this park and it turns out it was manufactured by Golden Horse. Being that it was created by a very controversial Chinese company, I was expecting a really janky ride, but I was pleasantly surprised. Some sections were actually quite forceful and fun, and it was not very rough at all. The only thing that was bad on this coaster, however, were the breaks. Oof! Let me just tell you, those breaks hurt. Other than that I thought the ride was fun. It didn’t feel anything like other wild mouse style rides that I have done, despite the fact that Golden Horse copied Maurer’s spinning coaster trains.

The next ride I did was this very weird drop tower. It was one of those that has seats on the edges, and it keeps going up and down. This one was not very tall and it was a bit slow, but it was still fun enough to do it again. Next to this ride there are some random playgrounds and kids rides, as well as a very interesting scenic powered ride. In between the two laps on the drop tower, we met some of the locals, who were very kind and whom we shared many things in common with. We then rode the spinning coaster twice more and ended up this short visit with the swing ride, which was a bit disappointing. Most of the rides here are for the young ones, some of them I imagine don’t ride as cool as they look.


Operations

The operations at this park are very weird. Because everybody buys tickets to ride the rides, the operators wait for the ride vehicles to fill up before sending them off. This is a very inconvenient system and it makes dispatch times extremely inconsistent. There were some rides that practically nobody went on, so it took up to 15 minutes to start them! At the same time, the more popular rides took only a minute to dispatch. It all depends on how many people are riding and paying for these rides, but if many people come the employees can dispatch ride vehicles very quickly.


Cleanliness and Amenities

Since this park is very small, there was only one pair of bathrooms. They were not the cleanest but not bad either. The grounds of the park were very dirty and smelled quite unpleasant in some areas. There was way too much random empty space throughout the park, which I thought was very strange. I may have seen some food stands in the very back of the park, but they did not look very sanitary. Food was not an issue as you only need about an hour or less to visit this park.


Conclusions

Kariakoo is a very weird amusement park, as you would expect in a foreign country. It is not the cleanest park, but it is very cheap. There are not really any rides that enthusiasts can enjoy other than the spinning coaster, so unless you have little kids you only need about an hour here. With the quirky things in mind, I still enjoyed this park more than I thought I would. From this park I earned 25 credit points- not bad for the first week of a new year!

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