Dar es Salaam; a Festival of Senses
Nestled along the shores of the Indian Ocean, Dar’s eclectic lifestyle mirrors in the blue waters of the Indian Ocean just like it did when was first discovered by Sultan Bin Said of Zanzibar. With a harbor and port as part of the main features, Dar es Salaam has successfully retained the capital’s functions in-spite of the government’s effort to relocate main roles to the inland and centrally located Dodoma. The sights and sounds around the port city tell a tale of resilience and triumph, while the refreshing smells of cloves burning across the oceans and the Islanders going through their day create fond impressions on visitors.
Dar es Salaam is an Arabic word which loosely translates to ‘safe port’. The city’s dwellers have however christened it Bongo Swahili translation for brains. This is said to point out the fact that you need brains to get through the streets of Dar. So much for a safe haven? Altogether, this East African city lives to the expectations of both her tourists and explorers: clean beaches and marine exploration, exciting nightlife, history and culture, warm and hospitable, and diverse culinary for the foodie. Here are three top-three Dar experiences to include in your itinerary any time you visit the port city.
Kunduchi Bay for Kite Surfing
The surfing wave is catching up on Africa, with such destinations as Mozambique, Morocco and the larger part of South African coast gaining reputation as globally sort after surf destinations. Although the East African Coast waves and winds are not as popular, certain locations such as Kunduchi Bay in Tanzania have waves and breaks ideal for both beginners as well as seasoned surfers and water sports enthusiasts. The bay, located north of Dar es Salaam is popular for the Kite Surfing School under the same name where trainees are assisted through baby steps before they can step on the surf board on their own. In between the breaks, spare some minutes to visit the nearby Zanzibar Butterfly Center for a tour of the netted enclosure.Kunduchi Kite School
The Spice Island –Pemba
More of an educational and exploration tour, than an entertaining discovery, a trip to the distillery in Pemba gives one an insight into the production of essential oils. The island in Zanzibar Archipelago was until in the 1970’s world’s leading clove producer. With more and more farmers embracing the more profitable coconut farming, clove production has been dwindling through the years with some raising concerns that soon Pemba as a Clove-producing stronghold maybe history. Nevertheless, a tour of the distillery will provide great opportunities for learning as well as purchase of factory-fresh oils.Nutmeg on Spice Tour cortesy of Barking Zebra Tours
Zanzibar Full-moon Parties
Among the several parties and yearlong festivals on the pristine beaches of Zanzibar is the Full moon party which happensevery month. This culture, originated from Finland where friends would gather in the forest to enjoy the magic of full moon in untainted settings before steadily catching up with the rest of the world. The biggest party has for the past years held at Kendwa Rocks Hotel every Saturday immediately before or after the yellow moon’s shadows are spotted dancing in the ocean. You can easily get the dates from the hotel’s website or any other related search. However, you need to secure accommodation early enough for this monthly festivity, you can find a variety of hotels here: Zanzibar HotelsKendwa Rocks-Full-Moon Party
Most of the best restaurants are located in Dar es Salaam as well as Stone Town, Zanzibar’s main city. The town’s well positioned bars are ideal for social catch up and nightlife. Try the food vendors for exotic Swahili treats such as biryani (curry rice), samosa (stuffed triangular thin layers of cooked dough), Mandazi and Zanzibari pizza.
Although this idyllic beach town is not very popular for leisure shopping, tourists find treasures in souvenir shopping especially in African oriented pieces. With a curio shop as well as stocks of kikoy and bead work. The Eco Echo shop in Stone town is one of the several places you can shop for souvenirs and memorabilia.
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Tanzanians use the Swahili time system which is quite interesting. The first hour just after sunrise literally reads 1 o’clock in the morning this, to the rest of the world is 7:00 am. Similarly, the first hour after sunset is 1 o’clock in the night, which everyone else refers to as 7:00 pm.
Safety: Like any other city in the world, strangers attract attention. Be cautious of nightly walks and affluent display of expensive jewelry. If out at night, use official taxis to and from hotel.
Money: Tanzanian Shilling, All International Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard) are accepted in the ATM.
Exchange Rate: http://www.xe.com/currency/tzs-tanzanian-shilling
Country Code: +255
Main Airport: Julius Nyerere International Airport – Dar es Salaam
Visa Requirement: http://tanzaniaembassy-us.org/?page_id=76
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