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A port city heavily reliant on the fishing industry during the mid-19th century, Dar es Salaam is now Tanzania’s main commercial centre. Such economic transformation has also helped it earn its place in East Africa’s list of fastest growing cities. Book a flight to Dar es Salaam with Qatar Airways and lose yourself on a stroll down its white beaches or visits to its many cultural attractions.
Steeped in culture and history, this former German and British outpost, has consistently appeared on the radar screen of international travellers. Aside from its picturesque harbour, Dar es Salaam (Arabic for “a place of peace”) is known for its vibrant live-music scene and spice-laden cuisine.
To discover Tanzania’s traditional way of life qhwn you travel to Dar es Salaam, the city’s Village Museum, which features replicas of tribal homes. On some afternoons, you can also watch tribal dance performances and other cultural demonstrations, including weaving, painting and wood carving.
The National Museum can provide a wealth of information about significant fossils discovered on Tanzanian shores. It also has an extensive exhibition on Tanzania’s progress after gaining independence from Britain. As a young sovereign state, the country was initially known as Tanganyika, with Dar es Salaam as its capital, before becoming the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. It adopted its current name in 1964.
Other popular attractions within the city include the Askari Monument and the Zoological Gardens. Safari day trips to Mikumi National Park provide a chance to see Tanzania’s wildlife up close, while some local charitable organisations can arrange tours to visit some of the entrepreneurs contributing to Dar es Salaam’s economic growth
A trip to Dar Es Salaam offers plenty of activities for beach lovers, particularly around Kigamboni. If you’d like to try your hand at snorkelling or just go for a swim, visit Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve. This protected marine park provides a picturesque location for underwater exploration. Hiking trips can be taken in the nearby Pugu Hills, with knowledgeable locals acting as guides.
Back in the city centre there are numerous options for entertainment that cater for a range of tastes, from Tanzanian beats to international dance and pop.
You can enjoy a wide range of culinary options to suit all budgets in Dar es Salaam. There are plenty of Tanzanian eateries offering kebabs (grilled meats), chapattis and stews, as well as high-end restaurants serving Asian and Mediterranean cuisine.
The City Centre area has plenty to offer in terms of restaurants, and you’ll certainly have no trouble finding Tanzanian street food anywhere in the district. Hotel restaurants are also worth investigating, but are usually at the upper end of most budgets.
If you’re looking for some traditional East African fashion and crafts as keepsakes from your visit to Dar es Salaam, head to Mwenge art district. The textile markets in Mnazi Mmoja offer a pleasant shopping experience and a chance to practice your haggling skills. It’s best to visit the area during the week, as it tends to get crowded on weekends.
Shopping in any of these colourful, bustling markets can be a memorable adventure in itself, making anything you buy there even more worthwhile. Many visitors travelling to Dar es Salaam take home jewellery made of Tanzanite – a blue gemstone that is only mined in Tanzania. Make sure that what you get is the genuine article, by buying from reputable sellers.
Essential facts about Dar es Salaam
Enjoy a hassle-free journey with all the information you need to know before your trip