Tanzania is mainly known among travellers as a popular safari destination, but the country also has cities that are worth visiting. This article describes some of the highlights in the former capital of the country: Dar es Salaam.
Former capital of Tanzania
The current capital of Tanzania is Dodoma, but until 1973 Dar es Salaam was the capital. Today it is still the country's largest city and, due to its favourable location along the Indian Ocean, is also Tanzania's most important port. The name of the city in Arabic means something akin to "house of peace". The nearest airport is Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA), one of the airports where you are allowed to arrive in the country with the easy-to-apply for online Tanzania visa.
Because the city is situated on the Indian Ocean, it has several beautiful beaches. Coco Beach, for example, one of the most popular beaches in the city. This beach is popular with tourists and locals alike. Relax on the beach or enjoy a delicious meal in one of the many restaurants located here. From the nearby shopping centre, The Slipway, you can take an excursion to Bongoyo Island, an uninhabited island with beautiful beaches and clear waters. The island belongs to the Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve System. You can reach Bongoyo from the mainland in around 30 minutes. The uninhabited island of Mbudya is also about 20 minutes from the mainland and, like Bongoyo, belongs to the Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve System. Both uninhabited islands are blessed with lovely white beaches and clear blue waters, making them perfect places to relax and do some snorkelling.
Museums and other highlights
Dar es Salaam also has plenty to offer those who wish to delve a little deeper into the culture and history of Tanzania. For example, the city houses the National Museum of Tanzania. In addition, the Village Museum is located some 10 kilometres from the city, where you can admire traditional huts of various Tanzanian ethnic groups. Those who wish to escape the hustle and bustle of Dar es Salaam can take refuge in the city's botanical garden, located a stone's throw from the aforementioned national museum. Other highlights of the city include the Azania Front Lutheran Church and Saint Joseph's Metropolitan Cathedral.
Those who would like to immerse themselves in the local culture and get a feel for everyday life in the city should consider visiting Dar es Salaam's largest and busiest market: Kariakoo Market. If you want to visit this chaotic, colourful and fascinating market, keep a close eye on your belongings. Another famous market is the Kivukoni Fish Market: this is one of the best places for those who want to experience authentic Dar es Salaam culture.
From Dar es Salaam, it is also possible to visit various national parks, including Saadani National Park. This park can be reached by car from Dar es Salaam in around 4 hours. The park is particularly special because of its location on the coast. It is home to, among others, four of the Big Five beasts. Despite the fact that it is more difficult to spot wildlife in this national park than in the most popular national parks in the country, it is definitely worth a visit
Tanzania visa application
All European travellers going to Tanzania on holiday need a visa. The Tanzania visa can easily be applied for online. The visa application must be made before departure. With the e-visa Tanzania, you can arrive at any of the country's three most popular airports, including Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) near Dar es Salaam. Since the visa is valid for a maximum stay of 30 days, you have enough time to visit other Tanzanian cities besides Dar es Salaam, go on safari in one of the many national parks, climb the impressive Kilimanjaro or enjoy a beach holiday in Zanzibar.