Top 5 Must Do's in Dar es salaam

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This travel writer has frequented Dar es Salaam three times in six months, and finds no shortage of activities in this vibrant coastal Tanzanian city. A quieter and less touristy alternative to nearby Zanzibar, this multicultural fishing town, influenced by African, Arab and European tastes, has numerous local and worldly activities, shops, markets and restaurants for the high-spirited traveler.  

World 66’s Top 5 Must Dos:

1. Tanzania Natural Museum & Village Museum

Located in the former King George V Memorial Museum building, the Tanzania National Museum is most well known for its famous History Gallery, which dates back to the 9th century, and the Ethnography Hall, which features a variety of hunting relics. Travelers will love wandering through the dark paneled rooms, exploring rare archaeological finds, including a three million year-old hominid footprint.

2. South Beach

Just a hop away from Dar es Salaam, South Beach, overlooking the expansive Indian Ocean, is calmer than the jam-packed beaches of Zanzibar. Come here if you want to avoid the crowds and surfers! This beach features a huge swimming pool and heated Jacuzzi for the enjoyment of the entire family. Take part in South Beach’s numerous activities, including windsurfing, swimming, beach volleyball, strolling along the dunes or having a drink at the many beachside cafes. 

3 & 4. Shop at the Asian District & Mwenge Markets

Wander the Asian district of Dar es Salaam, stretching from Indria Street to Jamhuri Street, and check out the local craft markets, spice and fruit stands, art galleries, traditional tourists shops (that take credit cards), small hole-in-the-wall snack places and gelato ice-cream stands. You can easily spend an hour wandering the Asian district, but if you get tired of this, check out the local fish markets, north of the harbor at Kivukoni Front. Here you can purchase the local catch of the day to cook outside your hotel (just ask for a barbeque) and eat on the beach. The kids will love eating outside!

Finally, don’t miss the Mwenge Craft Market, located next to the Asian District. Mwenge, a huge hit with tourists, means “ebony carvings”, and here you can purchase animal statues, wooden earrings and necklaces, paperweights and masks. All are made out of ebony, but some pieces, such as the masks, are brightly painted to represent the different tribal colors.

5. The House of Art

An up-and-coming eclectic art gallery, Dar es Salaam’s House of Art was opened in 1972 by an American nun. Featuring the work of local, non-profit artists, you can purchase bowls, paintings, baskets and jewelry at a decent price. Tinga Tinga paintings, a style of local art that depicts scenes of African animals and lifestyle, can also be purchased here. All funds go to the artists. After browsing the gallery, stop by the cafeteria for a cup of locally-grown Tanzanian coffee.

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November 15, 2009 new by kiwagner

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