Dar es Salaam
The name Dar es Salaam is derived from the Arabic language and means "place of peace". Dar es Salaam is the largest city in and former capital of Tanzania. It is the largest city in East Africa and the seventh-largest in Africa, with a population of 4,364,541. Located in a quiet bay off the Indian Ocean coast, the city has developed in economic importance to become a prosperous centre of the entire East African region. Its bustling harbour is the main port in Tanzania.
Dar es Salaam 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 organizations in the country all have a presence in this bustling urban city.
For most tourists visiting Tanzania, including the national parks for safaris and the islands of Unguja and Pemba, Dar es Salaam is the leading arrival and departure point.
Restaurants, shops, office buildings, and government buildings are all common features of Tanzania’s 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 historical landmarks, including St. Joseph’s Cathedral, the White Father’s Mission House, the Botanical Gardens, and the old State House make for an interesting walking tour around the waterfront and city centre.
There are beaches on the Msasani peninsula north of Dar es Salaam and in Kigamboni to the South. Trips to the nearby islands of the Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve are a popular day-trip from the city and a spot for snorkeling, swimming and sunbathing. Bongoyo Island can be reached by boat from the Msasani Slipway (7 kms north of the city). Although the variety and population of coral and fish species are not as numerous as at other sites on Zanzibar, Pemba, and Mafia Island, the Bongoyo Island Marine Reserve is well worth a visit and is a great way to spend a day out and see the coast.