Why Dar-es-Salaam should be on your travel list?
February 27, 2019
by Pal Brahmbhatt
Do you like traveling to places with immense culture and unique lifestyle? To places which offer beautiful beaches and a great nightlife? If yes, Dar-es-Salaam is the right fit for you. Being the heart of Tanzania, this east African city is one of the most bustling cities of the continent. In a world that is always running, you can find stillness here; Haraka haraka haina Baraka (Haste makes waste). People often miss out on this place in order to go for a safari and climb Kilimanjaro.
Much true to its name, Dar-es-Salaam truly is Abode of peace. With warm people, extremely beautiful beaches and an array of sightseeing places, the coastal city offers its viewers with one of a kind of an experience. One can never go short of activities to do or places to see when visiting the city. Take it from a person who was brought up in this city, Dar-es-Salaam is best lived when lived as a local. Thus, in this article, I will share some of the best places to visit once you are here, safety and transportation availability and the trick to live like a local and enrich your experience tenfold.
Dar es Salaam is the economic capital of the country and has a vibrant culture. There are a large number of Indian origins and foreigners living in the city and running business here. When you visit the city, you will see a great example of different ethnic and culture group living together and racial violation rarely being of an issue here. Religious tolerance is extremely high amongst its people too. Even though the nation has a fairly high amount of poverty rate, the people of Dar es Salaam are ever smiling and living their lives fully. You will be in awe of the toto (Child) who greets you on the street and of the people who are extremely warm and polite in their behavior.
Maasai traditional dance performance
Best places to visit
1) Oyster Bay
- Oyster Bay located on the Msasani Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places to see. The beach gives a fabulous view of Indian Ocean along with some extremely delicious street food (Cassava and barbecue). Weekends are especially more lively with locals and tourists both making the most of their time at the beach. A lot of people choose this as a picnic spot too.
- This is one of the most visited places by tourists and locals of the city. Located next to the ocean, the place offers a wide variety of food and shops. From bookshops to traditional shops selling local artworks, it’s a great place to get familiarized with African artwork. Having a playground for kids to having small boutiques and café for the grown-ups, slipway guarantees you a splendid evening by the waterfront.
3) Kariakoo market
- Put your bargaining skills to use once you enter this local market. It’s an extremely busy market with shops and vendors selling everything you could ever think of ( household items, food and clothes). You will find extremely friendly locals but remember to bargain for anything you put your hands on. It will help you a lot if you know a little Kiswahili but even if you are a newbie, you will do fine. Just wander around the market and you are surely going to have a great experience seeing people live with a huge smile on their faces.
- Tip: Do not carry any valuables with you.
4)Kivukoni fish market
- If you enjoy sea food, especially fish, this is a must see place when in the city. This place is exactly how it should be, crowded with people, strong smell of the marine food and an amazing view of the boats coming in on the harbor. The variety of fish which you get to see can drive you crazy and it is totally worth all the hassle.
- Tip: Do not carry any valuables with you.
5) Makumbusho village museum
- This is an extremely interesting place to see various types of huts which are home to different ethnic groups. The huts are dark and depict reality of many rural areas of the city. Carry a torch or mobile phone to see the huts from the inside. The dance performance done by the extremely energetic dancers and musicians is a treat to eyes.
Dar es Salaam rapid transit has become the new favorite of the locals here after the commonly used dalla-dallas (City buses). Walking is quite common in the city to get around and is highly preferred when you are planning to visit an extremely busy market or crowded street. Apart from that, taxi and Uber are quite popular too for reaching anywhere in the city. Keep in mind that the taxi does not have meters and thus, if you think the fare is high, you can bargain with the driver before taking the ride. Bodaboda (bike rides) and Bajaji (rickshaw) can be used too to get around the city.
Unlike the assumptions and myths surrounding the continent, Dar es Salaam is a safe city for traveling. It is even recommended for solo travelers. Though like any other city of the world, few places are to be avoided after evening and it is highly advisable to not move around alone at night. Apart from taking the basic safety measures, the city is actually a bustling one. With lots of people in town and the markets, you will not feel unsafe here. Like we say, Hakuna Matata! (No trouble!).
If the beaches and nightclubs are not enough already, you will surely have an extremely positive outlook on life.
You will meet many who have really less in life but you will see how happy they are.
Dar es Salaam is the land of smiles and laughter enclosed in its busy streets and serene beaches; waiting for you to make your way through it.
Karibu Sana! (Welcome!)