Tanzania is one of the most popular of the East African countries for visitors. Tanzania is attractive because of its wonderful national parks which are home to the biggest animal mass migrations in the world; Mount Kilimanjaro Africa’s highest mountain, the island of Zanzibar, and because of its lush coastline which contains some great beaches.
Dar es Salaam is Tanzania’s largest city, and former capital. Referred to by locals simply as `Dar’, it is located on the Indian Ocean and has a large natural harbour so has become an important trading port. There are three distinct regions within the city. One of these is called Ilala and it is the administrative hub where most of the government offices and the transport hubs are situated. One of the suburbs in Ilala, Kariakoo, contains the city’s main shopping district which boasts a great multitude of shops and bazaars and a large market area which caters mainly for locals so carried domestic goods rather than souvenirs.
Kinondoni is largely residential and contains the bulk of the city’s population including some of the best suburbs being Masaki and Oysterbay, which has an area called Coco Beach where many luxury apartments line the beach. Mbezi Beach is another area that is popular and quite upmarket because of its beach, here you will also find some good tourist hotels.
The most industrial region of the city is called Temeke, which covers the port and surrounding areas. The popular South Beach attracts many people, but as access is by ferry it doesn’t get as crowded as some of the city’s other beaches.
Whilst there are good beaches in Dar, plus a number of nearby islands that are reasonably easy to reach, one of the main attractions for those looking for a good aquatic day out is the Kunduchi Wet ‘n Wild Water Park, which is one of the largest in Africa. This Waterpark has about 30 waterslides, some of which are quite spectacular, and also has fast food outlets, children’s playground, and a Go Kart track.
For those seeking a bit more culture there is a Village Museum in Kijitonyama which celebrates traditional Tanzanian life. It is an outdoor museum in which there are 22 different types of housing on display which represent the various styles of tribal housing and visitors are entertained by regular energetic cultural shows and displays.
Although most people who visit Tanzania just use Dar as an entry or exit point, it is worth staying for a few days to learn about modern cosmopolitan Africa before heading out to mix with the great migrating herds.