The Haven of Peace
Although no longer the capital city of Tanzania—that distinction now belongs to the more centrally-located town of Dodoma—Dar es Salaam remains the country’s commercial nexus and primary transportation hub. For that reason, it is a natural first destination for tourists en route to Serengeti National Park, or to the historic charm and pristine shores of Zanzibar Island. The streets of Dar es Salaam can be crowded, hot and dusty, but those who brave the hazy commotion will be rewarded with a wide array of cultural, natural and gastronomical delights. Many of the city’s major attractions can be found along the waterfront, in Kivukoni District: the National Museum on Shaaban Robert street houses rock painting replicas, as well as the cast of a 3.5 million year-old hominid footprint from Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge. It sits within easy walking distance of the Botanical Gardens, Makumbusho Village Museum and the beautifully constructed Karimjee Hall. The nearby fish market is another popular destination for visitors, both because of its no-holds-barred trading atmosphere and its status as the primary departure point for day trips to the beaches of neighboring Kigamboni. Once the sun goes down, head into the old city to sample some of Dar es Salaam’s diverse culinary offerings, whose Indian, Chinese and Arabian influences offer a flavorful respite to the relatively bland East African staples of rice, vegetables and porridge.