Tanzania Largest City, About Dar es Salaam Tourism and Travel

(Tanzania, TZ, East Africa)

Scenic cityscape photo of Dar es SalaamStrictly speaking, Dar es Salaam - or 'Dar' as it's known locally - is no longer the official capital of Tanzania.

Since the early 1970s, that title has fallen to Dodoma, the current home of Tanzania's legislature. However, the busy coastal city of Dar es Salaam is still widely regarded by most as the business and political capital of the country. It is certainly the largest and richest city in Tanzania.

Image of contrasting architecture in Dar es Salaam

Tourism and General Information

In the middle of the 19th century, Dar es Salaam was known as Mzizima and was nothing more than a fishing village on the coast. Then, in the 1860s, Sultan Sayyid Majid set work to turn the sleepy village into a major port. Renaming it Dar es Salaam, the sultan's good work continued until his death in 1870, after which the city fell into decline.

The city's fortunes were finally revived in the 1880s, thanks to the efforts of missionaries and then the German colonial authorities that were stationed here. In 1916, Dar es Salaam came under indirect British rule and in 1920 was declared a Township. Today, Dar es Salaam retains its status as Tanzania's principal city.

Dar es Salaam waterfront viewDar es Salaam is now home to over three million people, including those from over 100 different Tanzanian tribes, and is continuing to grow at an astonishing rate. Historically, the city was built around its harbour which overlooks the Eastern Indian Ocean. For that reason, most attractions tend to be centred on the waterfront area, including some beautiful beaches.

The main street of commercial Dar es Salaam is the Samoa Machel Avenue. In more recent years, the city has expanded northwards, with the most northerly point of the city now being the Msasani Peninsula.

The Botanical Gardens are a good place to start your tour of the city. Other historical landmarks include St. Joseph's Cathedral, the Old State House, the National Museum and House of Culture and the White Father's Mission House. Visitors who tire of the city centre can head north to sample the delights of Dar es Salaam's beaches.