Dar Es Salaam
Dar es Salaam was Tanzania's capital city. It is the commercial capital and the largest city in the country. Located in southern Tanzania on coast of the Indian Ocean, Dar is a bustling, chaotic place, filled with life and color.
Dar es Salaam is primarily a port city in southern Tanzania, located on a huge natural harbor. "Dar es Salaam" means "haven of peace", but you'll find with almost 3 million people calling the city home, it's not exactly tranquil. Dar es Salaam it is the economic heart of the country, the high rise business district buzzes with activity throughout the day. The government was officially moved to Dodoma in the center of Tanzania in the 1970's, but Dar es Salaam is the true capital and the central government by and large still operates from here.
Visitors to Dar es Salaam are usually en route to Tanzania's fantastic southern national parks including the Selous and Ruaha, or catching a ferry to the exotic Zanzibar archipelago. The best time to visit Dar es Salaam is during the dry season from June - October, otherwise temperatures can get very hot and humid (but you can always dip in the Ocean).
Dar es Salaam remains Tanzania's social and commercial heart, as the country's largest city and main port. Most travelers fly into and out of 'Dar', as it's always called. We'll often be able to arrange for you to connect straight through to your safari or beach lodge, but occasionally an overnight stop here is needed. Then visitors are often surprised how much they enjoy the place.
History of Dar es Salaam
In the 19th century, Mzizima (Swahili for "healthy town") was a coastal fishing village on the periphery of Indian Ocean trade routes. In 1865 or 1866, Sultan Majid bin Said of Zanzibar began building a new city very close to Mzizima and named it Dar es Salaam. The name is commonly translated as "abode/home of peace", based on the Arabic dar ("house"), and the Arabic es salaam ("of peace").
Dar es Salaam fell into decline after Majid's death in 1870, but was revived in 1887 when the German East Africa Company established a station there. The town's growth was facilitated by its role as the administrative and commercial centre of German East Africa and industrial expansion resulting from the construction of the Central Railway Line in the early 1900s.
German East Africa was captured by the British during World War I and became Tanganyika with Dar es Salaam remaining the administrative and commercial centre. Under British indirect rule, separate European (e.g., Oyster Bay) and African (e.g., Kariakoo and Ilala) areas developed at a distance from the city centre. The city's population also included a large number of workers from British India, many of whom came to take advantage of the trade and commercial opportunities presented to them. After World War II, Dar es Salaam experienced a period of rapid growth.
Political developments, including the formation and growth of the Tanganyika African National Union, led to Tanganyika attaining independence from colonial rule in December 1961. Dar es Salaam continued to serve as its capital, even when in 1964 Tanganyika and People's Republic of Zanzibar merged to form Tanzania. In 1973, however, provisions were made to relocate the capital to Dodoma, a more centrally located city in the interior. The relocation process has not yet been completed, and Dar es Salaam remains Tanzania's primary city.
In 1967, the Tanzanian government declared the Ujamaa policy, which set Tanzania into a socialist path. The move slowed down the potential growth of the city as the government encouraged people not to move in cities but stay in Ujamaa socialist villages. However, by the 1980s the Ujamaa policy proved to be a failure in combating increasing poverty and hunger that Tanzania faced, and delayed the development that it needed. This led to the 1980s liberalization policy that virtually ended socialism and its proponents within Tanzania's government.
Until the late 1990s, Dar es-Salaam was not put into the same category as Africa's leading cities like Nairobi, Johannesburg, Lagos, or Addis Ababa. The 2000s became the turning point when the city experienced one of Africa's fastest urbanization rates. Businesses were opened and prospered, growth expanded in the construction sector with new multi-story buildings, bridges and roads, Tanzanian banks headquartered in the city began to be run with better regulation, the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange expanded and the Dar es Salaam harbour continued to be the most important in Tanzania. The port is prominent for entrepot trade with landlocked countries like eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, and Zambia. The CBD skyline hosts tall buildings, among them the 35-floor PSPF Tower, finished in 2015, and the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) Tower, currently under construction.
Where is Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam is a city found in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It is located -6.82 latitude and 39.27 longitude and it is situated at elevation 24 meters above sea level. Dar es Salaam, is located on a natural harbour on the Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Africa. It is about 45 km (28 mi) south of the island of Zanzibar. The city is the main port of entry to Tanzania and the transportation hub of the country.
Dar es Salaam has a population of 2,698,652 making it the biggest city in Dar es Salaam. It operates on the BEAT time zone.
Things to Do in Dar es Salaam
Tanzania's main port is found at Dar es Salaam harbor straddling some of the most important sea routes in the world. On the northern section of the harbor is Kivukoni Front, with a bustling fish market, where dhows sail in every morning at dawn to offload the night's catch. The city's architecture is a mix of Swahili, German, Asian, and British influences.
German colonists organized Dar by arranging a grid pattern of streets fanning out around the port. The Lutheran Church and St. Joseph Cathedral are notable structures on the waterfront, and the city has a worthwhile museum. If you're a beach lover, you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city on day trips to beautiful Mbudya or Bongoyo Island. Other things to do in Tanzania when on holiday in Dar es Salaam include:
National Museum & House of Culture
Originally opened in 1940 as a memorial to King George V, the National Museum & House of Culture takes you on a journey through Tanzania's colorful past. The museum displays important fossils of some of the earliest human ancestors unearthed during the Leakey digs at Olduvai Gorge. You can also learn about Tanzania's tribal heritage and the impact of the slave trade and colonial periods. Other highlights of the museum include ethnographic displays on traditional crafts, customs, ornaments, and musical instruments, as well as a small collection of vintage cars, including the Rolls Royce used by former president, Julius Nyerere.
About 10 kilometers north of the city center, the Village Museum showcases traditional dwellings from some of Tanzania's 120 ethnic groups. You can wander through replicas of tribal homesteads scattered across 15 acres and learn about traditional customs and crafts. The museum also hosts Ngoma, tribal dances, and other cultural activities. Children, in particular, love exploring the different huts and traditional artifacts.
St. Joseph Cathedral
Built by German missionaries from 1897 through 1902, this Gothic-style Roman Catholic church dominates the harbor front and is the seat of the Dar es Salaam archdiocese. Its most striking features include a shingled spire, vaulted interior, and stained-glass windows. The cathedral contains many of the original German inscriptions and artwork, including a carved relief above the main altar. To really soak up the atmosphere here, attend a packed Sunday morning service, when the church reverberates with the soulful strains of the local choir.
Azania Front Lutheran Church
German missionaries built Azania Front Lutheran Church in 1898. The red-tile belfry rises above the surrounding rooftops, and the whitewashed building is still an iconic landmark in Dar es Salaam. Tiled canopies over the windows provide shade, and the gardens are a welcome retreat for weary tourists. At one time, Azania was the center of the original 19th-century German mission; it is now the cathedral for the diocese.
Built in the late 1890s, the State House was the original residence of the German Governor. In 1922, the British rebuilt the State House, adding scalloped upper-storey arches and a crenellated parapet, after they nearly destroyed the building during World War I. The State House is now the home of the current president. Although it is closed to the public, the building is an eye-catching landmark along the harbor front.
Cast in bronze, the Askari Monument depicts an Askari (soldier) in a World War I uniform, the bayonet of his rifle pointing towards the nearby harbor. The monument commemorates the African troops who fought as the Carrier Corps in World War I. Look for the inscription in English and Swahili written by Rudyard Kipling, the famous British writer and poet.
A 15-minute motorboat ride from the mainland, beautiful Mbudya Island, in the Dar es Salaam Marine reserve, seems a world away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Dar es Salaam. Sun seekers come here to bask on the island's white-sand beaches, snorkel, and swim in the turquoise waters. Bandas (thatched huts) are available for rent on the beach, and locals sell fresh barbecued seafood and cold drinks. This is one of the most popular day trips from the city.
Bongoyo Island, a much-loved island getaway, lies off the Msasani Peninsula, about four miles north of the city. On the northwest tip of the island, you can relax under the shade of thatched umbrellas on the white-sand beach or cool off in the clear waters. Angelfish, starfish, clownfish, and sea urchins, are just some of the marine species you might spot among the coral. Behind the beach, nature trails wind between baobab trees to the island's opposite shore. The open-air snack bar serves cold drinks and fresh barbecued seafood.
Kunduchi Wet 'N' Wild Water Park
Next to Kunduchi Beach Hotel and Resort, about 19 kilometers from the center of town, this is the largest water park in East and Central Africa. Popular with families, the park is a colorful mix of pools, playgrounds, fast-food restaurants, and more than 29 water slides of varying heights, catering to both adults and young children. The park is also home to Tanzania's only Go Kart track.
Kivukoni Fish Market
Visiting the busy Kivukoni Fish Market on the harbor front is one of the most popular things to do if you want to soak up a slice of daily Dar es Salaam life. Fishing boats arrive early in the morning to offload their catch, where it is auctioned to local restaurants and the public. Bargain hard if you're in the market for some fish. Crabs, snapper, and squid are among the many species on display, and you can also enjoy a seafood meal while you're here. Try to arrive early in the morning to see the markets at the height of their action.
Home to the Dar es Salaam Horticultural Society, the Botanical Gardens were established in 1893 by Professor Stuhlmann, the first Director of Agriculture. They were used as a trial plot for testing different types of plantation crops and tree species. Today, you can admire an enchanting mix of indigenous and exotic plants including purple bougainvillea, blue jacaranda, scarlet flame trees, and red hibiscus. Though the gardens are only a fraction of their former size, they are one of the few places in the world to see the beautiful coco-de-mer palm tree outside its native Seychelles.
|Languages spoken||English, Kiswahili|
|Currency used||Tanzania Shillings (TSh)|
|Area (km2)||1,590 km²|