Dar es Salaam, Tanzania is known for its airport. Many foreign travelers come to Dar es Salaam only to connect to their next flight, usually to a national park for a safari or to Zanzibar.
But during my months of volunteering in Dar es Salaam, I found that the city of 4.5 million people has a lot to offer itself.
One of the more popular places for tourists to shop is Mwenge Craft Market. It is a little courtyard area surrounded by stalls of people selling artwork. Watch people carve wood on the outside of the courtyard. The market is famous for woodcarvings and ebony. However, beware of shoe polish cans that the sellers use to color other wood to make it look like ebony.
Woodcarver at Mwenge
A place the locals go to shop is Karume clothes market. However, beware that these clothes are not perfect. I bought a pair of Adidas pants. One of the pockets was sewn in backwards.
Kariakoo market, in the Kariakoo district, also sells household items, food, and kanga cloths. However, Kariakoo is much bigger in area. I suggest going to Kariakoo market just to see the sheer number of people and stalls.
Beware for pickpockets. I was told not to bring any valuables to Kariakoo market.
National Museum and House of Culture has some interesting artwork and artifacts. It is definitely worth the visit.
The British built Karimjee Hall in 1916. It is where President Julius Nyerere was sworn-in as the first president of independent Tanganyika. Not worth the visit.
The Germans built St. Joseph’s Cathedral from 1897-1902. It is worth the trip to see the building. It is interesting to see and think about the significances of German architecture in Tanzania, as they were the colonial power in the region.
St. Joseph’s Cathedral