"My first taste of Africa" Top 5 Page for this destination Dar es Salaam by Bwana_Brown

Dar es Salaam Travel Guide: 159 reviews and 353 photos

My two visits to beautiful Dar es Salaam took place almost 35 years ago and, ever since, the city has held a special place in my heart because it was the first time I had set foot on the African continent. Dar more than met my expectations, with its quaint and historic character and 'small city' appearance nestled among palm trees beside the Indian Ocean! I'm glad of that first impression in August, 1972 because I had volunteed to work for 2-years in Africa after graduating from university, and I was on my way to Luanshya, Zambia to take up my assigned posting. My second experience with Dar es Salaam came just over a year later, October-November 1973 when I decided to do some solo exploring by way of a major hitch-hiking/bus trip from Zambia through Tanzania to Kenya and back. This page details my experiences on those long-ago trips.

I'm glad I visited Dar when I did - I see that the latest statistics from Wikipedia put its population at about 2,500,000 versus the roughly 400,000 when I made my trips, no wonder it seemed like a small city then! Dar es Salaam was known as Mzizima ('healthy town' in the local language) in 1859 when the first European, Mr. Albert Roscher from Germany appeared on the scene in what was then German East Africa. The present name, which means 'Abode of Peace' in Arabic, became official only a few years later in 1866 when the powerful Sultan of Zanzibar decided it was more appropriate. Dar es Salaam has always been the most important city in Tanzania, but it lost its official status of the capital of the country shortly after I visited, when that title was bestowed on the city of Dodoma located on the inland plateau area. However, I'm happy to see that this is still a destination in Africa that continues to attract many tourists as they sample this friendly part of the continent.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Still my favourite 'African'-flavoured city
  • Cons:Not many when I was there, can't say now!
  • In a nutshell:To me, it was the quintessential African city experience
  • Last visit to Dar es Salaam: Nov 1973
  • Intro Updated Mar 26, 2007
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Reviews (9)

Comments (24)

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Dec 19, 2009 at 5:03 PM

    You've been to some fabulous places. Thanks for sharing them with us! Lovely page!

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    Mar 7, 2009 at 1:23 AM

    Glenn- what a wonderful adventure that was for you!A memory to treasure. Interesting for me to find out where Frangipani originated from! They also grow everywhere in India- a long way from Mexico.Thanks for sharing

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Jan 28, 2008 at 5:13 AM

    I've found it fascinating to read your memories of your time here. What evocative writing! It's so evident what a great impression it made on you, both at the time and in your subsequent travels.

  • jadedmuse's Profile Photo
    Oct 1, 2007 at 7:58 PM

    Great tips written as only one who lived there and experienced the wonder of it first hand, can do. What nostalgia.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Aug 18, 2007 at 1:58 PM

    Interesting accounts of your experiences on those long-ago trips. I can almost smell the Frangipani blossoms!

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Jun 20, 2007 at 5:38 AM

    Like your perspective as you look back on your trip and contrast Dar to where you are from. What an adventure it must have been. Nice page, Glenn!

  • Luchonda's Profile Photo
    May 17, 2007 at 10:01 AM

    Nice lodging tips - greetz from Belgium

  • May 15, 2007 at 5:00 AM

    Finally I learned more on how it all began... An amazing adventure that surely benefited the continent! must've been fantastic to have such a big network of friends in the region. btw, how did Mbeya look like in 1970's?

  • goingsolo's Profile Photo
    May 3, 2007 at 4:39 PM

    Very interesting tour, especially from such an off the beaten path perspective. Africa has always intrigued me.

  • SWFC_Fan's Profile Photo
    Apr 15, 2007 at 12:44 PM

    That was a great read, Glenn! I'll hopefully get to see more of Africa in the coming years and Dar es Salaam sounds like the ideal starting point. The bath-warm waters of the Indian Ocean are certainly a big attraction!


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