Dar es Salaam – Just Go With The Flow

Dar es Salaam.. Population.. ?? Unknown… Well, we are not sure. If you google it, the first answer will be 1.36 million, but that is from a census conducted by the UN in 1988.  More recent studies estimate our city has about 4.5 million residents. That seems more logical.. But its gotta be a little higher than that. Now if you ask around – everyone will say “What is the population of Dar es Salaam ? The population is many! And more are coming each day”

I’ve lived in Dar es Salaam for about two months now. And I have learned to love the city – its ups and its downs. I’ve met university students from Europe and North America whose research is so far off from their thesis that its literally laughable. But that is the beauty of Dar es Salaam. You could prepare yourself with all the resources possible – news articles, statistics and reports but it would really be of no use. You can’t learn Dar es Salaam on the internet! You have to come here and see it for yourself – stay in the city for over two weeks and you’ll see what I mean!

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Coco Beach – On Sundays everyone heads to the beach for sun, sand, surf and fun!

Dar es Salaam is the definition of a big beautiful urban mess.  It is a city of beaches, high rises, low rises and slums. Traffic begins to pour onto the main arteries of the city before 9 am and is non stop until well after 6pm. It is not uncommon to be stuck in traffic for over two hours when attempting to travel 5-10 km’s.. Fortunately, there are Bajajis’!

Drivers of 3 wheeled covered 200cc motor vehicles. These guys are everywhere and will drive anywhere.. Over the few sidewalks the city has to offer, opposite to traffic, through back alleys or off road entirely. Just one thing – make sure  you negotiate the fare before you start the ride or your in for a surprise.

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Bajajis on Kimweri Avenue in Namanga, Dar es Salaam

 

The city has many distinct neighborhoods.  The Peninsula – home to wealthy business people and western expats. Rent and property prices in this area rival those of Toronto and Vancouver. Upanga – Majority owned by the National Housing Corporation – a division of the Tanzanian government.

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            The view from the back window of my apartment in Upanga

Downtown – Seen Below. The many new high-rises compliment the older derelict buildings that give the city its charm. Kariakoo- the city’s largest and most intense market place – a must see but can be very intense, best to go with a seasoned friend the first few times.

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Libya Street – Dar es Salaam City Centre

The rules and laws change all the time. Smoking in public is now illegal – Are you sure ? everyone is still smoking. Homosexuality and any supporting acts are strictly illegal and will be punishable to fullest extent of the law..  Ok – Got it… And as a result all lubricants used for sexual pleasure are contraband – Sorry KY, this market is not for you. All purchases require TRA receipt and if the buyer cannot present it to the police the are subject to a fine of 250 USD. And the list go’s on and on.

Its really important to just go with the flow here. Slow down. Relax and immerse yourself and you’ll have no trouble at all.

Karibu Sana Dar es Salaam

 

 

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