Over the last century, Dar es Salaam has grown from a sleepy Zaramo fishing village into a thriving tropical metropolis of over four million people. Straddling some of the most important sea routes in the world, it is East Africa’s second-busiest port and Tanzania’s commercial hub. Despite this, and its notorious traffic jams, the city has managed to maintain a low-key, down-to-earth feel.
Rimming the central area is Kivukoni Front, with a bustling fish market where dhows dock at dawn to offload the night's catch. Excellent craft markets and restaurants abound, and nearby sandy beaches and islands beckon.
Dar es Salaam’s architecture is a mixture of African, Arab, Indian and German, although much of this is now dwarfed by towering high-rises. Many travellers bypass ‘Dar’ completely; those that linger will encounter the city’s eclectic cultural mix and languid vibe.