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What is Dar es Salaam? An Ultimate Travel Guide to Tanzania’s Biggest City

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What is Dar es Salaam? An Ultimate Travel Guide to Tanzania’s Biggest City

Dar es Salaam is Tanzania’s biggest city and the cultural and economic capital of the nation. Every year, millions of people visit Dar es Salaam, drawn to its bustling markets, unique cuisine and beautiful architecture. Whether you’re planning a vacation or business trip to Dar es Salaam, here’s everything you need to know about the city.

Where is Dar es Salaam?

Dar es Salaam is located in the east of Tanzania, on the eastern shore of the Indian Ocean. Its location along with tropical climate makes it an ideal port city for international shipping services and it boasts the busiest harbor in East Africa. It’s situated between Kilwa Masoko in the south and Bagamoyo in the north and is 60 km from both, whilst Tabora lies 375 km to the west and Mwanza lies 420 km to the northwest.

History of Dar es Salaam

The roots of Dar es Salaam stretch back to 1865, when Sultan Majid bin Said established a fishing village on the site. The city has a rich multicultural history, thanks to its location and importance of trading. Over the years, Dar es Salaam has incorporated influences from African, Arab and South Asian cultures, making it a truly unique destination. In 1888, German East Africa was established. Under colonial rule, Dar es Salaam flourished – with a population of 40,000 in 1911 – and many of its most famous landmarks were built, including St Joseph’s Cathedral. After World War I, Britain took over until independence in 1961. In 1964, President Julius Nyerere declared Dar es Salaam the capital city of Tanzania.

Things to See and Do in Dar es Salaam

Despite its fast-paced development, Dar es Salaam remains a great place for travelers to explore African culture. Whether you’re looking for great shopping alongside locals or wanting to find beautiful restaurants near the harbor, there’ so much to do in Dar es Salaam.

Explore Mwenge Wood Carvers’ Village

Tabata Mwenge is an open-air market full of colorful stalls and curious locals. Just outside of Dar es Salaam, it’s a great opportunity to explore traditional African arts and crafts. Here, you can buy objects carved from wood and unique jewelry handmade by local craftsmen. If you’re lucky enough, you may even be able to observe the talented carvers at work as they bring their stunning creations to life.

Visit National Museum & House of Culture

In the heart of downtown Dar es Salaam sits the awe-inspiring National Museum & House of Culture. Housed inside a historic red-brick building, its collection consists of both Tanzanian and international finds. Marvel at photographs of life in pre-colonial Tanzania and admire sculptures from around the world. The museum also holds lots of interesting cultural artefacts from Tanzania’s many ethnic groups.

Stroll Around Oyster Bay

Oyster Bay is one of the wealthiest suburbs in Dar es Salaam, famed for its colonial-style mansions and upmarket restaurants. Here, you can walk along wide boulevards and admire the architecture reminiscent of a more glamorous era. There are also some top-notch beach clubs here – such as Slip Away Beach Club – for an afternoon chilling with friends or going for an afternoon swim in the azure waters nearby.

Eat Delightful Tanzanian Dishes

No stay in Dar es Salaam would be complete without trying some delicious Tanzanian cuisine. Head to one of the city’s many night markets or street vendors to enjoy some local dishes such as ugali – a maize porridge-like dish – or sambusa – deep-fried pastries with spicy fillings. Alternatively, you can savor great seafood delicacies at seafood restaurants on the harbor.

Getting Around Dar es Salaam

Getting around Dar es Salaam used to be difficult, particularly due to its limited public transport network. Recently though, Grab Taxis – similar to Uber – have made investments in the city, making it much easier to travel between different points in Dar es Salaam. The city also has hydrofoils and ferries linking it with other points in East Africa, including Zanzibar.

When to Visit Dar es Salaam

When visiting Dar es Salaam, you should bear in mind that it has two official seasons: The dry season (June to October) and wet season (November to May). The dry season is generally hotter and more ideal for sightseeing; however rain and bad weather does not come often during this time. On the other hand, during the wet season temperatures are cooler and milder – making it perfect for beach holidays with rainy days mixed in with sunny ones.

Why Visit Dar es Salaam?

Dar es Salaam is the perfect place for travelers looking for a melting pot of cultures. Here you can get a unique blend of African, Arab and South Asian flavors that make up a truly special atmosphere unlike any other city on Earth. With its enigmatic streets, bustling markets and stunning waterfront landscapes, there’s no better time than now to visit Tanzania’s amazing capital city –Dar es Salaam! For more travel tips on this wonderful city check out African Adventures Advice.

sergey pesterev i P1lmY e1w unsplash scaled

What is Dar es Salaam? An Ultimate Travel Guide to Tanzania’s Biggest City

Experience Adventure Like Never Before: Book Your Tour Today!