Dar-es-Salam – Tanzania’s Haven of Peace
A major city in Tanzania, Dar es Salam was earlier known as Mzizima and is currently the largest and richest city in Tanzania and East Africa. Serving as the capital of Dar es Salaam Region administrative province, it is also the major financial and cultural center of Tanzania. The city is not very popular in itself as a tourist hub but serves as an entry port for those planning a trip to national parks for safaris in Tanzania and the islands of Zanzibar. The city is currently is home to more than 4,364,541 residents which make it the largest city in eastern Africa by population and most populous Swahili speaking city in the world. Though the city is not serving as the capital since 1974 but it continues to be the permanent center for the central government and bureaucracy. The history of the city dates back to the 19th century, when it was used as coastal fishing village. Swahili is the official language of the people, which English is also spoken.
At present, most of the flights scheduled for Tanzania land at the Julius Nyerere International Airport which is the major international airport located in Dar es Salam. It is the principle airport serving Tanzania and is at a distance of about 10 km west of the city center. Owing to its proximity to the equator and Indian Ocean, the city falls in the category of tropical climatic conditions and enjoys a tropical wet and dry climate, featuring hot and dry climate for most part of the year. The city experiences 2 rainy season – long rainy season in April and May and short rainy season in November and December. The months from June till September are the best months for tourism as during these months the weather is milder and comparatively cooler. During the dry season from December to February, the mercury rises and hot weather coupled with humidity makes it very uncomfortable. Kizimkazi Curltural Music Festival indecember, New Year, Bagamoyo Arts Festival in September, Timamu African Film Festival in September and The Kilimanjaro Marathon are the major cultural events and festivals held in Dar es Salam
When in Dar es Salam, there is a lot that tourists can see and do. Start your Dar es Salam tours from National Museum & House of Culture which a historical museum is displaying important fossils and numerous things that represents the colorful past of the country. Village Museum is a unique attraction in the city famed for its traditional dwellings that replicates Tanzania's 120 ethnic groups. Askari Monument, representing a uniformed soldier World War I is a major statue located in the center of the city.
Old Boma (oldest building in Dar es Salam), St. Joseph's Cathedral (a beautiful Roman Catholic church displaying many of the original German inscriptions and artwork), Botanical Gardens (the only few places in the world to see coco-de-mer palm tree), Azania Front Lutheran Church (an iconic landmark in the city), State House, Mbudya Island (a great place for water sports and food), Bongoyo Island (snorkeling and coral reef), Kunduchi Wet 'N' Wild Water Park (largest water park in East and Central Africa) and Coco Beach ( a popular weeded spot) are among the major tourist places one should not miss in Dar es Salam.
Eating and Shopping
A potpourri of culture, the food options in the city is as vivid as the population that resides here. From local dishes to wide array of international cuisine and specialty food from the South Asian population that lives here, everything is available. Dar es Salam is also very popular for its street food which can be found at most parts of the city. While the traditional Tanzanian meal can be found almost everywhere, the city is also famous for serving yummy Indian, Chinese, and Japanese and South East Asian delicacies. Retreat Restaurant, Aroma Coffee House, Hong Kong Tai Yong Sun Restaurant, Osaka, Thai Restaurant, L'oliveto, Addis in Dar, Nargila, Green Masai Restaurant & Cafe and Akemi Restaurant (only rotating restaurant in Tanzania) are the best places to enjoy a meal in Dar es Salam.
Some of the traditional things indigenous to the country which you should not miss shopping for are kangas, crafts, Tinga-Tinga Paintings, cheap and imported fancy goods, electronic appliances, books, soft stone products, clothes, shoes and gemstones. Ilala Market is the place for buying second hand stuff. Kariakoo is the cheapest market in Tanzania is the best place to buy souvenirs along with many other items. Mlimani City shopping complex, Mwenge Carvers' Market, Afro Fashion, The Tanzanite Dream and Lothys at the Kilimanjaro Hotel Kempinski are some of the popular places to enjoy shopping in Dar es Salam. There are numerous high end stores as well as luxury boutiques along with glamorous shopping malls for the exquisite shoppers.
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