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Dar es Salaam is the largest city in East Africa, it is the commercial and industrial zone for Tanzania and has an extremely busy trade port. Many visitors to Tanzania arrive and depart via Dar es Salaam airport and quickly move off to start their safari. However, Dar es Salaam is an interesting city and there are ample attractions to keep you amused if you decide you would like to spend a couple of days either at the start or end of your trip.
Kariakoo market has been cited for many years as a ‘must see’ in Dar es Salaam with the variety of goods on offer and it's size making it a feast for the eyes! Whilst a visit is still recommended, it has changed somewhat in recent years as the traditional African traders are increasingly being joined by Chinese sellers, who offer cheap imported goods. The market is vast and sells everything from fruit and vegetables, meat and coffee, through to handicrafts, textiles, electrical goods, and sunglasses and everything in between.
The city has a number of cultural attractions on offer including museums and botanic gardens. There are also a vast number of souvenir shops and shopping centres where it is possible to pick up a kanga or a tingatinga painting to remind of your time in Tanzania.
A short journey out of town takes you to the Pugu Forest, a relatively small remaining scrap of coastal forest. Whilst the size of the forest and it’s resources have been depleted by human encroachment, it’s still possible to see around 100 different tree species. Over a hundred different bird species are said to inhabit the area along with monkeys, bush pigs, mongooses and other small mammals. Hiking in the peace and seclusion of the forest feels a completely different world to the hustle and bustle of nearby Dar es Salaam.
Located to the south of Dar es Salaam is Gezaulole, a community based cultural tourism project. You can visit Gezaulole as a day visitor or stay overnight. There are regular tours which provide visitors with an insight into the workings of the project and show how the community are able to live sustainably. You can also take a trip on a local dhow or spend some time relaxing and enjoying the beach.
© ecoTravel Africa 2011