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City Guide : Dar Es Salaam
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.
Tourist AttractionsThe first thought following a walk in downtown Dar es Salaam, is that its busy scene originated from a settlement that used to be a small village. After the declaration of independence, an unplanned growth and development started. The founding of the city took place purely as a result of the need for a port.
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.You can purchase the entertaining and quite colorful Tingatinga paintings that thorougly reflect the Tanzanian culture and life, here. Although mostly Tanzanian shilling is used for trade, use of the American dolar is also common.
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. The university of the city is situated on the hills toward the northwest region. The region called “mlimani”, which used to be thought of as far, is now regarded as within the city. 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,
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.
Although transportation by taxi is a bit expensive, it must be pointed out that there are plenty of places to see within walking distance. There are sayings in Swahili which are easy to learn and will come in handy in daily life. Browsing around having learned these will be more convenient in many ways. Mosquito repellent will be very useful as well. You are not likely to need warm clothing.
The city has a hot and humid climate. The month of August, when the temperature rarely decreases below 20 C, constitutes the coolest time of the year. Significantly high temperatures dominate between October and February. Even in rainy days, you can see a sunny blue sky in the afternoon.
Culture & EntertainmentAfrica 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. You can spend a whole day here, as the Botanical Gardens are close by.
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.
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. The “Art in Tanzania” exhibit, which will be open until December, provides an opportunity to discover African art.
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.
Food & DrinkYou can try Indian and Ethiopian dishes in Anghiti and Addis respectively. While the Ethiopian cuisine serves meat and vegetables together, Indian cuisine is richer in vegetarian options. You can find high class restaurants in Msasani Peninsula, while the only place that serves Croatian dishes in Africa can be found in the Namanga region. Kivukoni Fish Market, built by the Japanese, is the place to go for seafood.
Places located all the way on Independence and Samora streets are good for fast-food. You can try “mandazi” –Tanzanian donut-, and “chipsi mayai”-an omelet with chips.
African Potpourri: Dar Es Salaam
Dar Es Salaam, Gate of Tranquility… Once a small fishing village but Tanzania’s biggest city today, Dar Es Salaam more than deserves its name. Surrounded by Africa on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other, you can be left wondering whether to go to Zanzibar or the Serengeti.
As your plane descends to land in the morning light, a magnificent landscape of small peninsulas and dazzling white sands greets you from the air.
Go to the top of one of the skyscrapers before strolling around the city and you will hear it whispering to you, inviting you to explore its beauty. In the gift shops, dozens of colorful seashells - no two alike with their amazing shapes - will appear to you as one of the ocean’s most wondrous gifts to man. And when the traffic congestion that reigns supreme in the city morphs into splendid placidity on the ocean shore, you will feel it is a boon specially for you.
MORNING IN THE FISH MARKET
In this country, where the sun rises at six in the morning and sets at six in the evening, greeting the day at the seashore with people singing songs to the rising sun is a feeling like nothing else. The fish market, a hive of activity in the early morning hours when the people living on the tiny islands in the ocean bring their catch to the city, is one of Dar Es Salaam’s must-sees. Hundreds of people attend the fish auctions held several times a day at this market where tons of fish are received daily. What’s more, you need not remain a mere spectator because you can sample the tasty frutti di mare at kitchens set up right next to the market. Lobsters by the kilo, myriad varieties of octopus, and giant prawns weighing up to half a kilo can turn a whirl around Dar Es Salaam into a veritable feast for seafood lovers. And as the day advances and the amount of fish arriving from the villages thins out, watching dozens of people bargain good-naturedly for the two kilos of fish that are left is a rare treat.
Another must-see sight in Dar Es Salaam is the museum of natural history, which is chock full of artifacts showing how important a place Africa occupies in the history of mankind. The most interesting among them is a human footprint said to be approximately three and a half million years old. The museum offers eminently satisfying visuals for those who would like to understand more about how Tanzania developed and the periods through which it passed.
Those interested in savoring not only history but the last drops of summer should definitely give Dar Es Salaam’s beaches a try. Another alternative is a trip to the many islands large and small that lie off the coast. Devoid of all settlement, Bogoya Island, in particular, is an excellent choice. You can bask on the beach during the daytime and take a pleasant stroll at sunset.
Dar Es Salaam is Tanzania’s gateway to other exotic beauty as well. Serengeti National Park, for example, where wildlife continues to thrive, albeit under protection, and the Ngorongoro protected area, which is on Unesco’s World Heritage list. Joining tours to these areas will give you a glimpse, up-close if brief, at how wildlife lives. Another possibility is to visit Kilimanjaro, in whose shadow Hemingway found peace. Although its fabled snowcap has begun to melt of late, this enigmatic mountain still has the power to impress.
A PASSAGE TO ZANZIBAR
It’s time now to move on from Dar Es Salaam to another beauty spot, Zanzibar. The pleasure begins with the boat ride to this exotic island. During the crossing, which takes two hours, tiny sailboats unique to the country will glide past you in a mystical procession. When you reach the island you will be struck by the all-pervasive calm which is the exact antithesis of Dar Es Salaam’s chaotic bustle. The mysterious image of the house where the electricity brought to the island by the British was first used is a sight to behold. Immediately next to this strange looking house, the castle built to fend off Portuguese attacks and the cannon balls on the square in front of it throw light on Zanzibar’s history.
The food court set up in a square near the ferry landing is popular with tourists seeking the pleasures of the palate on Zanzibar nights. You can sample here the cooked versions of literally hundreds of varieties of seafood. A stroll through the streets around this tiny square, which is rather quiet even by day, will take you to the sophisticated products of wood carving unique to this island, the doors and window frames of whose houses are densely covered in patterns and decorations. Meanwhile a smaller island only 20 minutes by boat from the Zanzibar capital will greet you with hundred-year-old turtles and peacocks by the dozens. Noteworthy here are the reed houses built on rocks shaped by the waves that pound this island, which takes its name from the turtles that live on it.
Zanzibar is also known as the ‘spice island’ for its hundreds of acres of spice gardens. As you wander through them, you can observe in their natural state all the dozens of spices you’ve seen on herbalists’ shelves all your life in either dried or ground form: Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, turmeric, cocoa, coffee, vanilla. During this tour, which will frequently leave you awestruck, you learn that what we call menthol is obtained from the capillary roots of a tree and that lemon-scented cologne is actually made of the juice squeezed from an herb. The island of Zanzibar is a thin strip of land extending along a north-south axis. As you go towards the south of the island, you may encounter monkeys in the forests that line the main highway, or stroll on the narrow paths that crisscross these still virgin tracts.
Well worth seeing, the rare forests that cover this part of the island are nourished solely by the ocean waters, which rise and fall with the tides. You can also observe dolphins in their natural habitat by taking a boat from one of the villages on the south of the island. If it’s peace of mind you seek, far from the madding crowd, you should see the endless white sugar sands on the north of the island and the palm trees waving at the waves. But the ocean’s greatest gift to the islanders are the giant waves that break some 400-500 meters off shore. The strong tides in this region make it possible to walk all the way out to the ocean reefs. Even when the waters are high, the crash of the waves comes from meters away, and the seaweed and sea urchins left behind in the little pools that form when the tide recedes behind the reefs are an important source of nutrition for the islanders.
A WALK ON THE BEACH
Romping over ocean sands like as fine as, white table salt, little black children will surround you and call out, “Mzungu Mzungu!” (their word for the white man), engraving themselves in your memory forever. So, if you want to do yourself a big favor, pack your bag and head for the island. Rise with the sun and take a long walk on the white sand beach. Gaze on a distant scene of fishing boats quietly setting out to sea and the unmatched beauty of palm trees waving at the ocean across the sands. Sip the milk of coconuts, nourished by the ocean’s salty waters and picked by children who sing as they shimmy up the tree trunks.
If you want to experience Africa’s peace and chaos and its unparalleled beauty, Dar Es Salaam is your gateway. And it’s open wide…
HOW TO GET THERE
Turkish Airlines has scheduled flights from Istanbul to Dar Es Salaam and back three days a week. Departure times from Istanbul are at 12:30 a.m. and returns at 7:45 p.m. for the flights, which are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
WHERE TO STAY
Although there are accommodation alternatives in Tanzania’s historic city of Dar Es Salaam, the island of Zanzibar is the place of choice for lodging. Famous for its touristic richness, the island also boasts five-star hotels.
WHAT TO EAT
You can find a variety of exotic fruits like you’ve never seen in your life in Tanzania, which is rich in tropical species. The area is also extremely rich in fish and giant prawns.
Ticket Sales Offices : Dar Es Salaam
|THY Sales Office (GSA)|
|Address||Maktaba Square Business park 4th floor, azikiwe street.|
|Phone||00255 (22) 2116681/82/83/84|
Monday to Friday: 08:30 to 17:00 - Saturday: 08:30-13:00
Dar Es Salaam : Airport Information
Dar Es Salaam Airport
Address : Julius Nyerere International Airport PO Box 18032, Dar es Salaam Tanzania, United Republic of Tanzania Phone : +255 22 2844212
Dar Es Salaam : Airport Map Information
Dar Es Salaam Info
- Fri 35°C
- Sat 35°C
- Sun 35°C
|Monetary Unit||:||Tanzanian shilling|
|Phone Code||:||Tanzania:255 - Dar es Salaam:22|