Dar es Salaam offers attractive colonial architecture, labyrinthine streets, reasonable restaurants and lively markets. The ubiquitous music of the city, a sort of guitar and brass-driven dance form, permeates everything and encapsulates the laid-back attitude of the Tanzanian capital.
Dar es Salaam (meaning ‘haven of peace') is a city which blends African, Arabic and Asian influences. Within the city itself, Arabic and Indian districts thrive and Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus tolerantly coexist. Despite being a large commercial metropolis, Dar still has the air of a much smaller coastal town. A rectilinear grid of streets spread inland from the waterfront, where traditional dhows (long, flat sailboats) and modern hydrofoils compete for space.
While Dar es Salaam is the gateway to Mount Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti or Zanzibar, there are appealing destinations closer to the city. Try the readily accessible beaches to the north and south of Dar es Salaam, climb into the tropical forest around Pugu Hills or make the short hop to one of the outlying islands.