Dar Es Salaam
Dar es Salaam is a hustling, bustling seaport on the coast of Tanzania accessing one of the most important sea routes on earth. To most travellers though, the city is just a convenient port of call on the way to the more exotic Zanzibar, Pemba or Mafia islands, Tanzania's national parks, or as a business destination. Meaning 'Haven of Peace' in Arabic, Dar es Salaam began as a small fishing village and has become a melting pot of cultures, encompassing African, Arabic and Indian flavours. But this city is anything but peaceful. A bustling metropolis of east Africa and largest city of the exotic land of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam is a major port, which straddles some of the world's most important sea routes. The president and the cabinet ministers spend most of there time there and you also find there the head offices of various governmental organizations, parastatals etc. The city was founded in the 19-th century by the Sultan of Zanzibar who needed a port on the mainland.
This is a great pity, because "Dar", as it is lovingly called by aficionados of the city, is a fascinating rabbit warren of a tropical port, often surprising the wanderer with scenes of breathtaking beauty - and there is something irresistible about whiling away a few hours sitting at the water's edge, watching dhows slipping skilfully under the bows of huge cruise liners and cargo ships. Head to the National Museum or the Botanical Gardens, while the colourful and vibrant Kariakoo Market and clock tower is also very popular with tourists and holidaymakers. Those in search of sandy beaches to sun worship will do well to head to Oyster Bay, just outside of Dar es Salaam, while on the south coast are picturesque beaches that will enchant and captivate.
Restaurants, shops, office buildings, and government buildings are all a common features of Tanzaniaís urban centre. During German occupation in the early 20th century, Dar es Salaam was the centre of colonial administration and the main contact point between the agricultural mainland and the world of trade and commerce in the Indian Ocean and the Swahili Coast. Remnants of colonial presence, both German and British, can still be seen in the landmarks and architecture around the city. The National Museum, the Village Museum, and many colourful markets are well worth a visit. Numerous s historical landmarks, including St. Josephís Cathedral, the White Fatherís Mission House, the Botanical Gardens, and the old State House make for an interesting walking tour around the waterfront and city centre.
Dar es Salaam is Tanzania's most important city for both business and government. The city contains unusually high concentrations of trade and other services and manufacturing compared to other parts of Tanzania, which has about 80 percent of its population in rural areas. 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. Itís bustling harbour is the main port in Tanzania. Itís industrial area produces products for export and use throughout the country. Government offices all have their main base in Dar es Salaam, and diplomatic missions and non-governmental organisations in the country all have a presence in the bustling urban city.
Dar es Salaam is situated on the equator and therefore experiences a tropical climate with hot humid weather from December through March, the hottest month being January when visitors should arm themselves with sunblock. Dry and cool temperatures prevail from June to September and the city experiences its highest rainfall between April and May. The best time to visit Dar es Salaam is from June to September, when the temperatures are milder and the humidity is low.
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