Hanging in Dar (es Salaam) – 2 of 2

In part one of this two part series, I introduced you to three things I will never forget about Dar es Salaam.

I have always been a very curious child who is always searching and asking questions. That is why visiting and touring Africa is of definite interest to me. The dream is to visit all African states before I leave earth. This is a dream I intend on trying to achieve.

On that note, here are more things I will never forget about my trip to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

(4) Public transport

They have such a beautiful public transport system. We hardly had any trouble getting around. The city of Dar es Salaam is well named everywhere; you won’t get too frustrated if you get lost. We used the maxi taxi from the airport, tuk tuks to get around, the ferry to cross over from Kingamboni to the central business district, and a boat to get to an island. They also have mini buses. Most of these modes of public transport were so affordable; they were so so cheap.

The affordable public transport really assisted a lot with our stay in Dar es Salaam.

(5) Islands

Everyone wants to go to Zanzibar when in Dar es Salaam. So, we also asked about it.  I was not keen on Zanzibar for financial and commonplace reasons. I am not a fan of places that everyone knows and visits. Our enquiries had us board a boat to a small island called Bongoyo, it was a 30-minute ride. I will never in my entire life be able to articulate the beauty of this island to anyone. It has no human population, is green forest and has a beach that comes in at night and opens up during the day. The government has built one restaurant and some coverings for all who visit.

We were on this beautiful piece of island from 10am to 5pm; it is by far one of the most stunning experiences of my life.

(6) Language

Everyone speaks Swahili. By everyone, I mean everyone, foreigners who live there too.  All races. But of course, there are other languages we did not come in contact with, languages not recorded in books. The schools teach Swahili first language and French second.  English is a thing they hear about. You can imagine the amount of hand gestures we had to make everywhere for communication purposes – in English! To me, Swahili is literally all of South Africa’s languages in one.

The day we left, I could understand most of what I read on boards and heard from our taxi driver.  It was beautiful.

(7) Dar es Salaam is definitely still developing

And that is the beauty.  It reminds me of watching the changes in South Africa when I was young. The transition from wells to taps, bad roads to tarred ones. While in Dar es Salaam, we were staying in a lodge located in a village, slam dunk with the villagers. We had light and taps in that building, and people were getting water from wells around us. The contrast is mind boggling but beautiful.

You get the feeling of wanting to hold on to the old but the new also makes life a bit easier. I am sure the day I return to Dar everything will be different.

 (8) The beach

In Dar es Salaam, the beaches are not just warm; they are geyser warm water in a bath! Just beautiful. I made it into the water at Coco Beach.  I stayed in there for hours just having too much fun. The water is warmer than the water in the KwaZulu Natal beaches in South Africa.

It was a dream I had for what felt like forever, wondering what those clear blue waters feel like. The water was amazing, too amazing!

The last point I want to make is that I made a friend in Dar es Salaam.  A friend I believe will be around forever. This is such a testament of Africans. Our neighbours are our friends; we help them and love them. This friend has already visited us in South Africa, and we plan to go see her and her family again one day.




Hanging in Dar (es Salaam) – 1 of 2

This year, I made it to Dar es Salaam (Tanzania). I say I made it because it had been a 2-year dream to go there. Looking at the African map and pictures of Dar es Salaam, I wondered what being there would feel like. Mostly, I wondered about the food, the people, the weather and the fabrics.

In February when I finally put my feet on Dar es Salaam soil, the heat beat me. It literally beat me! That is when I remembered that everything comes in high doses in Africa. Actually, after 2 years’ worth of research about the place and asking people in and around Dar, I should have expected the heat. Plus, February is the height of summer in southern Africa!

We spent 4 nights and 5 days in Dar, being proper tourists to the T. Here is a list of things I will never forget about Dar es Salaam, Tanzania:

(1) It was HOTTTT!

I fell in love with the heat. Mainly because it is coastal heat, which is moist. I was sweating every day and came back home darker. The heat was the most beautiful thing for me because I grew up in the sun so it was nothing new. The people there don’t even feel the sun at all, they go through the day effortlessly. This heat awards the land with such beauty. It was green and beautiful everywhere, like Bushbuckridge in South Africa, where I come from.

My soul just ate all the heat and its effects up.

(2) The food was beautiful

The food in Dar es Salaam is very similar to what we eat in South Africa, just different terms and ways of cooking. The one thing I noticed is that their food is cleaner, what I would call organic. They cook ‘nyama choma’ with salt only, no spices. Most of the spice dishes they have are Indian-influenced dishes: curries etc. I was having the time of my life finding all the food I know and recognised. My stomach thanked me for the adventure.

My favourite meal is what they call chapati and maharagi.

This is what we call roti and sugar beans. Sugar beans are magical for me; I grew up eating them. Then they have the chicken and chips set-ups on every corner similar to shisa nyama on every corner in all of South Africa. We stayed away from these because well, I mean we have so many of these outlets back home.

We opted for the ‘hard body’ chicken boiled with vegetables and plantain (yes banana). This meal was also similar to what we eat here except for the boiled banana.

Alcohol in Dar es Salaam

As for alcohol, they have a lot of options for men. This must be tied to some or other belief about women drinking less – the lies. The amount of local beer was overwhelming; they also had South African beers and other imports. There were only one or two options of beer for women and I did not prefer any of the options available. Other alcoholic beverages like vodka and whisky were expensive but we still bought a bottle of Johnny Walker Black or as we call it back home Johnny ‘motsamai’ Black.

I eventually discovered a gin called ‘Konyagi’, and my holiday was complete.

(3) There was an aura of peace

One of the hardest things about being in South Africa is the safety issue. I spent the first two days worrying about my surroundings and how safe it was. On day 3, I started calming down. We started using public transport a lot more and walking a lot more. On all our walks, no one tried to stop us, and we were saying ‘Jambo’ so many times.   People kept saying ‘karibu’ back; I think I will name someone Karibu one day.  People were so helpful; we walked at night in town, on the beach and everywhere else.  Instances of violence and anger were very limited, unless they were hidden from us.  By the last day, we were walking around as if we owned the place, and my anxiety was very low.

Soldiers at the beach

The only thing that seemed to disturb the peace was the fact that the military is always looking at you. They were a like a replace for the police. Any kind of crime is handled by the military, and that is scary. We don’t have this kind of connection to our soldiers in South Africa.

This meant that there were rules we all had to be aware of and adhere to; the soldiers don’t joke!

Read the second part of this two-part series to find out about the rest of my experience in Dar es Salaam.