Dar es Salaam
For a fascinating contrast to life in the bush, Dar es Salaam offers an engaging insight into African city life. Bursting with vibrant colours, bustling streets and welcoming locals, this buzzing city is Tanzania’s social and commercial hub, along with being the country’s main port. With wonderful crafts, a lively fish market and interesting architecture, Dar is a great place to explore.
While most travellers fly in and out of ‘Dar,’ as it’s known locally, to connect to safari or beach holidays, time spent in this animated city often exceeds expectations. For although the more centrally located Dodoma might be Tanzania’s official capital city, we think Dar is the country’s spiritual heartland, offering the visitor a captivating peek into modern African life.
The city is a classically chaotic African melting pot of small traders and large-scale industry. The old town is set around a busy port which is a great place to spend some time. We suggest arriving around 7am to witness the dhows unload the night’s catch and the daily fish market spring into life. Watch as these traditional sailing vessels slip seamlessly between the huge cargo ships, before exploring the excellent craft markets. Try the coconut-crusted fish and spicy barbecued meat, washed down with cane juice and coffee, then meander through the jungle of African, Arabian, Indian and German architecture.
Traditionally, Dar has catered primarily for business travellers, but as tourist numbers have increased, so have the number of good standard leisure-focused hotels in and around the city. This is great news for those choosing to spend more than one night in Dar to experience the vibe of this compelling and exciting city.