Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Once a sleepy fishing village, Tanzania's Dar es Salaam is now home to the largest urban population in East Africa. Amid high rises, bustling markets, and palm-fringed beaches, an eclectic cultural mix thrives here: Swahilis, Arabs, South Asians, and Germans, from its colonial past. But the main attractions for tourists coming through here — the game parks — are well beyond the Dar es Salaam city limits.
What We Love
Beaches: Even amid the urban bustle, sandy beaches and a marine reserve for snorkeling and diving can be found nearby, including one in the tony Oyster Bay neighborhood, where the leading citizens and expat movers and shakers reside.
The Village Museum: A collection of authentic dwellings from 16 different ethnic groups preserves the traditional cultures of Tanzania. There are also tribal music and dance performances and a handicrafts shop.
Best Known For
National History Museum: One of five museums that comprises the National Museum of Tanzania, this one chronicles the history of human evolution with artifacts from Louis and Mary Leakey’s excavations at the Olduvai Gorge.
Kariakoo Market: This expansive market sells wooden craft, “kangas” (colorful sarong-like garments), and the country’s most valuable gem: blue Tanzanite. Bargain hard here.
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Who It's Best For
Culture Aficionados and Aquatic Sports Lovers: World travelers will enjoy delving into the diverse and exotic Tanzanian culture Those who like water activities can flock to the tropical seaside locales.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Pickpockets Are a Major Problem: Especially in congested areas where tourists congregate, keep your valuables in a safe, sealed location — not in your backpack.
Theodore W. Scull is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has written several books on crossings.