Dar es Salaam is one of the first places to see sunlight in continental Africa. Via the Indian Ocean, it embodies a unique exotic texture from South Asia. Although it is mostly known as a “desirable” port to stop by on the way to Zanzibar or Kilimanjaro for a couple of days, Dar es Salaam deserves much more attention for places to see in the area.

    Dar es Salaam is one of the first places to see sunlight in continental Africa. Via the Indian Ocean, it embodies a unique exotic texture from South Asia. Although it is mostly known as a “desirable” port to stop by on the way to Zanzibar or Kilimanjaro for a couple of days, Dar es Salaam deserves much more attention for places to see in the area. Zanzibar Islands of Tanzania, also located very close to the city, used to be the origin point for maritime commerce between Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, and India for centuries. Rulers of the Arabian Peninsula left their countries to become the sultans of Zanzibar. The city, the most populated city of Tanzania at the moment, is home to over two million people with Muslim, Christian, Arabic, African, Indian, and Asian heritage. Goats, chicken, dusty safari jeeps, dressed up white-collar workers, street merchants in local clothing, and perfect beaches close by where the sweet wind blows incessantly, bringing the sounds of seagulls with it... Although, even just imagining all that together may create chaos in one’s mind, this image must be included within the unique combination of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam is a city, the population of half of which is Muslim. While, the Arabic name for the city means “Haven of Peace”, that contradicts with the crowded and lively scene of the city today. Although, it lost the political title of capital city to Dodoma in 1973, even the members of the cabinet spend most of their time in Dar es Salaam. Also, the administrative headquarters of numerous public agencies are located in the city.

    The airport is 10 km from the city center and 20 km from the Msasani Peninsula. Most large hotels offer a pick-up and drop-off service upon request. Airport taxis are available for hire to any destination in the city. Travellers are advised to negotiate a price before setting off. City buses are easily accessed from airport, with stops located 500m from the terminal. Services run 24 hours a day. For short journeys within Dar es Salaam, there is a choice between 30-seater ‘Coaster' buses or dalla-dallas, which are smaller minibuses. Dalla-dallas are cheap but can be unsafe, as drivers race each other to pick-up points to collect new passengers. Walking around central Dar is a nice way to see the city and probably the best way to get around.

    There are a range of hotels in Dar es Salaam with the most luxurious retreats dotted along the Msasani Peninsula. Some of the upscale hotels are: Hyatt Regency Dar es Salaam, The Oyster Bay Hotel, Dar es Salaam Serena Hotel, Southern Sun Dar es Salaam, Ledger Plaza Bahari Beach Hotel, Sea Cliff Hotel, Protea Hotel Oyster Bay Dar Es Salaam. If you are looking for a medium priced hotel you can check out Tiffany Diamond Hotel & Spa, Colosseum Hotel, Tanzanite Executive Suites, New Africa Hotel, Blue Pearl Hotel and Holiday Inn Dar Es Salaam City Centre. If you prefer low priced accommodation you can stay at Safari Inn, Sleep Inn Hotel, Triniti Guest House, Hotel Slipway, Alexander's Hotel or Mikadi Beach Lodge.

    Kariakoo Bazaar and the clock tower are distinctive and colorful enough to be noticed at first glance. The National Museum and Botanical Garden complete the view of downtown. This is a good place to begin your visit, as you do not have to travel far from downtown to see these colors. Mwenge Crafts Market is a place to acquire local works. Africa is one of the places where life originated from. National Museum documents that with the fossiles it displays. Small artifacts surviving from the time the city had a socialist government, statuettes, and other interesting objects are for you to see here. Structures dating from the era of colonization are concentrated around the Kivukoni Region and Sokoine Road. One of the places to see, Azania Lutheran Church, is located here. This construction of this church, the most magnificent structure of the era of German colonization, was completed in 1898. Upanga is an interesting region to see the Indian influence. In addition to mosques and temples, there are cafes and stores for shopping in this area. The ruins of Kundichi dating back to the 18th century, are for you to see here. If you can afford to travel a little farther, Village Museum is a must see located approximately 10 km away from downtown on Bagamoyo road. The entire cultural history of the people of Tanzania can be gathered from the items on display here. Sukoma Museum is another address that will provide you access to the interesting world of local tribes. This museum is dedicated to the tribe by the same name.

    The Kariakoo Bazaar is arguably the real heart of Dar es Salaam. A sprawling collection of stalls and shops west of the city centre, it sells everything from fruit and spices to widescreen televisions. You might also try visiting the Kivukoni Fish Market, located on the quayside in central Dar. If you want to see crafts actually being made, ebony carvers still chisel in person at the Mwenge Craft Market, opposite the Village Museum on the Bagamoyo Road. Mlimani Shopping Centre is Tanzania’s largest shopping centre and is located in northwest Dar es Salaam. It mainly contains outlets for South African brands. The local artists' cooperative Nyumba ya Sanaa (Nyerere Cultural Centre) on Ohio Street sells good-quality textiles and regional crafts. Vibrantly colourful Tingatinga paintings can be bought from the Tingatinga Centre on Haile Selassie Road.

    While the closest beach is Oyster Bay, the others stretch especially over the northern region. The southern beaches are still in a state of development. Zanzibar, Bongoyo, and Mbuja are only a boat ride away. It takes approximately two hours to reach Zanzibar Islands by the sea. It is not a boring boat-ride as the voyage is accompanied by a spectacular view, Local hip-hop music by the name “bongo flava” has a place of its own in world music. During your travels, you can listen to live performances of this music in places like Bilicanas, Bar One, or Gymkhana Club. “Goat Races”, organized in the month of May, may be quite surprising to you. You will see just how fast a goat can run in these events, the proceeds of which are used to charitable causes. If you are traveling to Dar es Salaam in June, you must stop by the hand crafts fair called Tanz Hands. In October, European Film Festival takes place. In addition to New Year’s and religious holidays, January 12th is celebrated as “Revolution Day”. Farmer’s Day, Workers’ Day (Nyere Day), and Independence Day are celebrated as public holidays on August 8th, May 1st, and December 9th respectively.




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