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Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's Capital City

Dar es Salaam, facts and infomation

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Dar es Salaam is Tanzania's capital city 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. Get your facts and information about Dar es Salaam below the image.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's Capital city

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's Capital city

Tanzania Tourism Board
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's Top Attractions
The easiest way to see Dar es Salaam's attractions is by taxi, unless you've been in the country a while and know how to figure out the mini-bus taxi system which is cheaper. There aren't a lot of major attractions, but if you've been on the road for a while, Dar offers the chance to get some good food, stock up on supplies and swim in a nice hotel pool. Take a walk in the older parts of town to check out the German and British colonial buildings. Shopping for cloth and t-shirts is fun in the Asian district northwest of the main drag Samora Avenue. Arts and craft shops are plentiful too, check out Nyumba ya sanaa (the Mwalimu Nyerere Cultural Center). For some original Tingatinga paintings, head to the Tingatinga Center on Haile Selassie Road. The Mwenge Carver's Market is great if you like wood carvings.

  • The National Museum - From fossils to cars, this museum has a little bit of everything that touches upon Tanzania's history. Some of the early hominid findings courtesy of the Leakeys are on display here (some from the Olduvai site in Northern Tanzania). There are also cultural displays from the various tribes that make up modern Tanzania.

  • Kariakoo market - Lively central market that takes up several city blocks, with people selling everything from vegetables to school bags.

  • Fish Market - Guaranteed to be a lively morning when you head to the fish market and watch the daily catch come in.

If you'd like to escape town and snorkel in the Ocean, check out Bongoyo Island, part of a marine reserve. You can catch a boat out to the island (30 minutes) from the Mashua Waterfront Bar & Grill at Slipway, north of the city center in the Msasani Peninsula. It's wonderful for snorkeling and chilling on the beach.

Where To Stay in Dar es Salaam
There are plenty of hotels in the city center to choose from. If you'd prefer to be out of the urban hubbub, check out the luxurious Ras Kutani just south of the city on the coast, or the Amani Beach Hotel. Just north of the city, have a peek at The Retreat, a very nice boutique hotel on the beach.

Budget/Mid-range hotel options include: Jambo Inn Hotel, Palm Beach Hotel, Mediterraneo Hotel, Swiss Garden Hotel, and Hotel Slipway.

High-end hotels include: Dar es Salaam Serena Hotel, The Kilimanjaro, Hotel Sea Cliff and Oyster Bay (north of city)

Where to Eat and Drink in Dar es Salaam
Travelers and expatriates favorite pub is either O' Willie's or the Slipway pub. The best rooftop bar is the "Level 8" on the roof of the Kilimanjaro Kempinski Hotel. You can get all kinds of cuisines in Dar es Salaam, good Ethiopian at Addis in Dar and upscale Indian food at Nawabi Khana (but there's lots of good Indian food to get in the Asian neighborhood for cheaper). Japanese/Thai food is excellent at the Oriental.

Traditional dances are held at the Mwalimu Julius K Nyerere Cultural Center every weekend. For more on what's happening in Dar check out Dar 411.

Getting to Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam's Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) lies 10 km out of town. Daily flights come in from Europe on KLM, BA and Swissair. Middle East options include Emirates and Qatar. Regional airlines that fly in daily include Kenya Airways, Ethiopian, EgyptAir, and South African Airways. Domestic flights are well served by Precision Air.

If you are traveling by bus, Scandinavian Express has daily service to Nairobi (Kenya), Kampala (Uganda) and Arusha (northern Tanzania). The main express bus terminal is on Msimbazi Road, on the corner of Nyerere Road, in central Dar es Salaam.

Ferries to and from Zanzibar: There are several daily high-speed ferries from the port in Dar es Salaam to Stonetown on Zanzibar. The trip takes about an hour and a half and tickets can be bought on the spot from the ticket office (or touts) for US Dollars. You need your passport as authorities will ask to check it.

There is a very limited train service out of Dar es Salaam, but fun if you can get on it and have the time! Tazara trains run between Dar es Salaam and Mbeya (handy to get to the border of Malawi and Zambia). The Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC) runs the other railway line and you can travel from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma and Mwanza; and also along the Kaliua-Mpanda and Manyoni-Singida Branch Lines. See Seat 61's passenger-train schedules to find out when the trains run.

More Tanzania travel tips ...

Sources and More about Dar es Salaam
Lonely Planet Guide to Tanzania
Dar 411 Wikitravel - Dar es Salaam
Tripadvisor, Dar es Salaam
Tanzania Travel Guide
Tanzania's Top Attractions
Africa's Capital Cities

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