Tanzania Travel Guide to Dar Es Salaam

Dar Es Salaam aerial view.
The largest city in Tanzania, and the economic capital of the country, Dar es Salaam is experiencing a growing reputation among business people and African safari travellers alike. Lying on a natural harbour on the Indian Ocean 'Dar' has become the cultural mecca of Tanzania and with development have come many influences from around the world - to be seen in aspects such as cuisine where anything from local fare to Chinese and Thai restaurants can be found.

Unofficial Capital

Once the capital of Tanzania Dar es Salaam still holds much of the bureaucratic power - Dodoma was gazetted as the capital in the 1970's due to its more central location - and most government officials live in the city, making the long commute between the two places.

Dar Es Salaam is for all intents and purposes the capital of Tanzania with many officials pushing to have it officially re-established as such.

Dar es Salaam - A brief history

Dar Es Salaam rose from the site of a small fishing village, Mzizima, when the sultan of Zanzibar decided to build his summer palace in the area. The site was chosen for its location, with a natural harbour to take advantage of the ivory and slave trade between the east coast and the Great Lakes region. Traders and merchants moved in and the settlement began to develop.

With the sultans death in 1870 the new sultan had no interest in the area and the traders began to move back to Bagamoyo and with the end of the slave trade the settlement lost its main ideal and the town began to die.

In 1887 the German East Africa Company set up a presence in the area and four years later the German colonial authorities moved the capital of proclaimed German East Africa from Bagamoyo to present-day Dar Es Salaam.

After the First World War the new colonial masters, the British, kept Dar as the capital and the settlement began to develop along racially segregated lines with Indians, Africans and Europeans been kept apart.

Dar history - post independence

Dar Es Salaam was retained as the capital city at independence of Tanganyika in 1961 and remained the capital of the United Republic of Tanzania [including Zanzibar] in 1964. With the moving of the capital of Tanzania to Dodoma in 1974, coupled with the failure of the government's economic policies, Dar once again began to deteriorate quickly.

In 1985 a new reformist government was in place and the economy of Tanzania began to grow quickly - with Dar at the epicentre of this growth. Today Dar is a far cry from the dark days of disrepair, with the potential to become the economic powerhouse of East Africa.

Dar for business travellers

Dar es Salaam is becoming a haven for business people searching for opportunities to expand their enterprises or start up new ventures. With a positively developing economy in Tanzania, dependable communications infrastructure and the largest harbour on the East African coast Dar Es Salaam is well set to become an economic powerhouse on the continent.

Accommodation for business travellers ranges from top of the range luxury hotels to intimate boutique establishments, providing ideal overnight facilities for any business need. Beach resorts in the Dar region provide for a combination of business and holiday travel allowing business travellers to travel with their partners.

Safari Dar

Arusha may be the recognised safari capital of Tanzania through its access to the legendary northern safari circuit but in recent years Dar Es Salaam has developed a reputation of its own through the previously unknown southern safari circuit. Long in the shadows of the iconic Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater the reserves of southern Tanzania such as Selous and Ruaha are quickly becoming Africa's 'go-to' wilderness areas.

Thought by many to be Africa's greatest wildlife sanctuary the Selous Game Reserve is only a 45 minute flight from Dar Es Salaam and the equally impressive Ruaha National Park can be added as part of one of the most dramatic wildlife experiences available in Africa. It is only a matter of time before the southern safari circuit of Tanzania is as well known as the northern circuit and Dar Es Salaam is entrenched as a safari capital.

Dar Es Salaam - the future of Africa

Exotic, modern, vibrant and a true African city, Dar Es Salaam is fast becoming a go-to destination on the African map. With great business opportunities, some of the most dramatic wilderness areas in Africa within easy access and beaches that are written in legend coupled with historical sites that trace the modern history of man Dar Es Salaam is certain to become a travel destination to rival the iconic destinations of the northern reaches of Tanzania.

Ask your Siyabona Africa Consultant to recommend the very best Dar Es Salaam hotels for your Tanzania vacation.

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