Dar es Salaam is a patchwork of past and contemporary cultures with Eastern, German and British influence – Eastern in the shops and Bazaars of India street, German in the almost Bavarian Railway station and the post telegraph offices, British in the legacy of flowers and gardens. It is fundamentally, however, a Swahili city. The first quality of the city that the visitor notices is the extreme friendliness of the people – beaming smiles enthusiastic conversation at the drop of a hat.
The word Dar es Salaam is Kiswahili for ‘Haven of Peace’ whose most attractive feature is its habour. The crescent bay is fringed with palm trees and gorgeously wrought sailing craft often waft into port. The city’s natural harbour and its central location on the coast made it a natural choice for a trading centre. Sultan Majid bin Said of Zanzibar had planned to develop the harbour in 1866. German colonists revived the Sultan’s plan in 1887.
Dar es Salaam is the largest city and the political and economic capital of Tanzania. Located in a quiet bay off the Indian Ocean coast, the city has grown in economic importance to become a prosperous centre of the entire East African region.
The city displays the many influences of its history. Its mixture of Arabic, Asian and European history gives a special atmosphere to surroundings, streets and life. A tour though the city to experience the true warmth and hospitality of the people of Dar es Salaam is a must!
St. Joseph’s Cathedral
St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Cathedral was started by missionaries in 1897 and t k 5 years to finish. The Gothic style church dominates the harbor with a shingled spire, a vaulted interior and a carved relief above the main altar. The interior of St Joseph’s features artwork and original German inscriptions. St Alban’s Church is Anglican and was modeled after an Anglican church located in Zanzibar.
National Museum of Arts (Nyumba ya Sanaa)
In the heart of Dar es Salaam there is a unique centre for creating and selling Tanzanian arts and crafts. Many of the artists working here have developed their talents through training which enable them to transform traditional materials, designs and motifs into contemporary forms.
At ‘Nyumba ya Sanaa’, one finds many exciting creative activities to become absorbed in like painting, drawing, figurative wax batik and etching. Carvings of ebony are made as well as jewellery, ceramics and ‘tie-and-dye’ dresses for men, women and children.
Karibu Arts Gallery
Karibu Arts Gallery, located along Bagamoyo Road is a company dedicated to providing African artists with a base from which to display and sell their unique works. It is a job-creation project which buys arts at retail prices from the sellers on the streets of Africa, and makes their products available to a worldwide client-base.
The gallery offers a wide range of beautifully designed utensils, baskets, pottery, chairs, jewellery and carvings.
The Village Museum is 12 km north of the centre of Dar es Salaam. It is an open-air site which has a collection of authentically constructed traditional houses of various Tanzanian tribes. It displays several distinct architectural styles with building materials ranging from sand, grass and poles to mud and rock. Villagers demonstrate their ancient skills of carving and weaving and offer their products for sale.
Here, you can also enjoy traditional dance performances (ngoma) during the weekends.
This beautiful main market has an interesting local colour and a diversity of peoples as well as exotic fruits, fresh fish, food products, handicrafts, local textile material and many other locally made products. The market’s colour, charm and character make it a must for every visitor.
Kivukoni Fish Market
Life in Dar es Salaam revolves around the huge harbour, with the business district fanning out from here in a series of fascinating side and main streets. There is something irresistible about whiling away a few hours sitting at the water’s edge, watching dhows, as traditionally rigged as they have been for centuries, slipping under the bows of huge cruise liners and cargo ships as they skillfully navigate the waters of the port. On the northern arm of the harbour is Kivukoni Front, with its bustling fish market, where every morning at dawn the dhows sail in to offload the night’s catch and yelling vendors sell an assortment of seafood from giant crabs, lobster and red snapper, to more unusual items such as bluefish and sea urchins.
University of Dar es Salaam
The University of Dar es Salaam was born out of a decision taken on March 25th, 1970, by the East African Authority, to split the then University of East Africa into three independent universities for Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
The University is situated on the west side of the city of Dar es Salaam, occupying 1,625 acres on Observation Hill, 13kms from the centre of the city of Dar es Salaam.
Mwenge Craft Market
Mwenge Village is the site of a score or more stalls selling carvings, jewelry, exotic cloth and trinkets of all kinds at bargain prices.
Makonde carving is probably the best known art work produced in East and Central Africa. This art is produced by the Makonde people, a Bantu speaking community who live in both north-eastern Mozambique and south-eastern Tanzania. Their material of choice is African Blackwood, or locally known as the ‘mpingo’. Their work is both traditional and contemporary, reflecting a tribal past as well as modern response to urban life. They utilize their tribal myths and stories as inspiration for the masterful work.
The outstanding attraction is the Hall of Man where Dr. Leakey’s finds from Olduvai Gorge including the skull of Nutcrackerman (Zinjanthropus bosei) and other human fossils are displayed. The Museum offers an outstanding ethnographic collection of tribal ornaments, head-dresses, witch-craft paraphernalia and traditional musical instruments collected from various regions in Tanzania.
Also, the history of the East African Coast is well portrayed with Chinese porcelain glazed pottery, trade wide beads from India and a series of copper coins from the Sultan of Kilwa.
Morogoro Stores, Oysterbay
Morogoro Stores located in Oysterbay area is the place where you will find many Tinga Tinga artists who make and sell Tinga Tinga paintings.
Tinga Tinga is one of the many forms of impressionism the beautiful and mysterious continent of Africa has given birth to.
Artists have the freedom to use their brushes to express their thoughts in bright, eye-catching colours. A striking feature in most of these paintings is the way the artists capture the animals of the Eastern coast of Africa, in what appears to the a distorted yet a very interesting image of the original creature!
Tinga Tinga Art was pioneered by a farm boy named Edward Said Tinga Tinga……and that’s how this interesting art got its name!
Cancer Research Hospital
On 1 October 1997 Ocean Road Hospital in Dar es Salaam commemorated one hundred years of its existence. As early as 1888 a provisional hospital had been set up in Zanzibar by the German Lutheran Church to serve the needs of the Germans living and working on the East African coast. But when the British established their protectorate over Zanzibar in 1890, the hospital was moved to Dar es Salaam. As cooperation between Mission hospital and Government authorities proved difficult, the German colonial administration was determined to build a hospital of its own. The hospital was inaugurated in October 1897, and people were impressed both by its functional usefulness and aesthetic attraction. The history of the German Government Hospital reflects the political context of the time as well as the progress of medicine in combating endemic diseases. During the First World War Ocean Road Hospital, as it was called from now on, was taken over by the British. Since independence, the Tanzanians are in charge. It is presently the only tumor hospital of the country, closely cooperating with the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg.