Dar Es Salaam
Meaning "Home of Peace" in Arabic, Dar Es Salaam is the largest city and the political and economic capital of Tanzania. The Sultan of Zanzibar set up a trading centre at a fishing village situated on a creek in 1862.
- Size & Location: 165km² On the east coast of Zanzibar northeast, 40km off the coast
- When to visit the city: Anytime throughout the year (rainy season March - June)
- Climate: Hot and humid (100% relative humidity). Daily temperature is about 26°C
- Rainfall: 1100 mm per year with considerable variation
- Altitude: 55m above sea level
The Sultan of Zanzibar set up a trading centre at a fishing village situated on a creek in 1862. From these humble beginnings, Dar Es Salaam is now the liveliest and busiest port in East Africa. Restaurants, shops, office buildings and government buildings are all common features of Dar Es Salaam. During the German occupation in the early 20th century, it was the centre of colonial administration and the main contact point between the agricultural mainland and the world of trade and commerce in the Indian Ocean and the Swahili Coast.
Large ocean liners tower above the Arab dhows in the harbour in this vibrant city where the hustle and bustle continue despite the warm and humid climatic conditions. The Tazara rail line from Zambia brings valuable exports to the port - a transit port for the Congo River - and all Tanzania's rail lines converge here. Offering a delightful mix of eastern and western cultures, Dar Es Salaam is still attracting foreign investment and thus continuing to expand.
The National Museum, the very colourful Kariakoo Market and clock tower are well worth a visit. Numerous s historical landmarks, including St. Joseph's Cathedral, the White Father's Mission House, the Botanical Gardens, and the old State House make for an interesting walking tour around the waterfront and city centre. About 10 km from the city centre along the road to Bagamoyo, you find the the Village Museum, which is also worth a visit. The best beach close to the capital is Oyster Bay. Other beaches, with better security, our found further north along the coast. Unfortunately, security has deteriorated and it is no longer safe to walk in town after sunset.
The Pugu Forest Reserve, situated a few kilometres from the city, is home to a wide variety of birdlife. Fox bats and forested birds, Barred Owlet, Bohm's Spinetail, Thick-billed Cuckoo, speckle-throated Woodpecker, lesser Seedcracker, green Tinker bird and more.
Seven kilometres north of the city, to Bongoyo Island Marine Reserve offers good snorkelling and diving sites for those who want to explore the water. The reserve boasts beautiful beaches, secluded islands, and many varieties of marine species. Although the variety and population of coral and fish species are not as numerous as other sites on Zanzibar, Pemba, and Mafia Island, the Bongoyo Island Marine Reserve is well worth a visit and is a great way to spend a day out and see the coast. Feel like taking a trip to the lovely Island of Zanzibar? Why not? The ferry picks you up at the Harbor and drops you off in Zanzibar.
- Colourful Markets and historical sites
- Pristine white beaches offer many water sports and activities
- On the coast, take a ferry to Zanzibar, Pemba or Mafia Island