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Travel to Dar Es Salaam


Dar Es Salaam

1 November 2014

Enjoy our guide to Tanzania's largest city

Dar es Salaam is one of East Africa’s largest and fastest growing cities. Often overlooked by travellers who are keen to tackle Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam is worthy of far more attention. The region’s history has led to numerous cultural influences including German, British and Indian, and the result is a diverse city. Dar es Salaam offers both a vibrant culture and atounding natural beauty, with the hustle and bustle of the city a short journey from beautiful beaches. It’s little wonder the Sultan of Zanzibar chose the location as his summer residence in the 1860s.

Kivukoni Fish Market
Well worth an early start in the morning, a visit to Kivukoni Fish Market is a chance to purchase some incredible produce, but also an event in itself. As the fishermen return, locals flood into the market at sunrise to begin bidding on the catch. If the action of the early auctions is too chaotic, there is still the option to purchase seafood throughout the day. The vendors will happily prepare anything that is bought, ready to be taken home. Auctions begin around 7am. 

Not a place, but rather a painting style born in Dar es Salaam in the late 1960s. The style is exemplified by the work of Edward Said Tingatinga, whose work became popular with the expatriate community due to the bright, bold colours, often created using bicycle paint. The style is considered naïve but full of humour, and another feature is the number of dots used, often to depict guinea fowl and leopards. Its popularity has seen it spread throughout the region and into Kenya. Not hard to find, the paintings make wonderful souvenirs. 

Kariakoo Market
Built in 1923 by the Germans, Kariakoo is full of the chaos and fun you would expect from a frenetic market. This is the place to come and experience shopping, but you will have to barter to secure the best deals on everything from food and drink to local goods and items such as kangas (colourful wraps). Only take what you intend to spend as thieves do operate in the area. It can also be an overwhelming experience due to the number of people, so be prepared for a busy environment. Saturday morning is a good time to visit. 

The Beaches
Heading north of the city you have the beaches of the Msasani Peninsula, the city’s wealthiest region, which has plenty of restaurants and hotels to choose from. Alternatively, heading south, you can visit Kigamboni. The further from the city you travel the less crowded and cleaner the beaches become, and many resemble the archetypal tropical beach. There are also the islands of the Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve, which are perfect for lazing on the beach, scuba diving or snorkelling. Bongoyo Island, which boasts two stunning beaches, is the most popular of the four. 

POPULATION: 4,364,541 (as of 2012)
LANGUAGE: Swahili and English
CURRENCY: Tanzanian Shilling
CLIMATE: Expect hot and humid tropical conditions with rainy seasons from April to May and October to November.
HISTORICAL FACT: During the First World War the British army captured German East Africa and renamed it Tanganyika. Dar es Salaam became the centre for commerce and administration for the newly named region.
FAMOUS RESIDENT: Popular author Roald Dahl lived in the city between 1934 and 1939.
WHAT IS DAR ES SALAAM FAMOUS FOR? Its beautiful sandy beaches on the Indian Ocean.
DID YOU KNOW? The name Dar es Salaam is Arabic for 'harbour of peace'.



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