Dar El Salam is one of the largest and most interesting cities in Eastern Africa. Although the capital and the seat of the government were transferred to Dodoma in 1973, Dar El Salam remained as the commercial, economical, and in many cases the political heart of Tanzania. Being established in the 19th century by the Sultan of Zanzibar and then occupied by the Germans for a very long time, Dar El Salam has a mixture of architecture and interesting sites that one can never find anywhere else in the world.
Today we will view some of the historical buildings, beaches, and islands located inside and around Dar El Salam that can be included in some custom tours to Tanzania.
The Forodhani Hotel Training Institute Building
Located near the Kilimanjaro Hotel, now renovated to become the Kilimanjaro Kempinski Hotel, the old Forodhani Hotel Training Institute Building is one of the remarkable structures in Dar El Salam.
The building now hosts the appeals court. In the past, this was the club of Dar El Salam in particular during the British colonization of Tanzania when famous figures like Evelyn Waugh would stop for to relax with a drink in the club.
The Azania Front Lutheran Church
A huge striking structure and a fine looking red roof with a rather gothic interior, this is actually one of the major landmarks of Dar El Salam. The bell tower of the church is remarkable and it offers marvelous scenes of the city.
The Azania Front Lutheran Church was originally built at the end of the 20th century by German missionaries and the church is actually operating until today. Many history fans who travel to Tanzania would like to view the Christian monuments of the country. Many Christians who live in Dar El Salam still visits the Azania Front Lutheran Church until today for prayer and choir rehearsals that sometimes are heard from the street.
The Cathedral of Saint Joseph
Near the Azania Front Lutheran Church, the Cathedral of Saint Joseph, another interesting landmark of Dar El Salam, is located. This Cathedral is still working until today. Every Sunday, many services are presented to the visitors of the Cathedral including some travelers spending their tours in Tanzania.
The Cathedral of Saint Joseph was built in the same period as The Azania Front Lutheran Church and by the same German Christian missionaries. The most remarkable feature of the Cathedral of Saint Joseph is the wonderful colored windows that are positioned behind the altar. The Cathedral stain attains many of its original German made inscriptions and paintings including the one located above the main entrance of the structure.
Just near the Cathedral of Saint Joseph, one of the most ancient buildings of Dar El Salam is located. The White Fathersí Mission House is said that it used to host the women of Sultan Majed. There is also the Old Boma which dates back to the reign of Sultan Majed as well and now it hosts many governmental offices. The City Hall, located opposite to the Old Boma, was originally built by the Germans in the same period as the cathedral and the church.
The Pugu Hills
This set of mountains that begins about 15 kilometers to the South East of Dar El Salam contains some small forests that offers the guests who spend their holidays in Tanzania with a chance to relax away from the busy center of the city. Although the Pugu Hills are located relatively close the city of Dar El Salam, this area is not urbanized at all and it hosts many primitive communities that retains most of the traditions and customs. The area of the Pugu Hills has some historical significance as well because of the many Christian mission stations that were established in the area.
Moreover, the Secondary School of Pugu was where the famous political activist, Julius Nyerere once taught many subjects before he fully became a politician.
The Pugu Hills area would be a marvelous place for biking and then camping in the mountains. Many tourists spend their vacations in Tanzania for the beauty of its nature. It is also a fascinating destination for any travelers who are interested in local environment and communities. Scientific walks can be organized for interested guests to view the reason and rate of the disappearance of the forests in the Pugu Hills.
The Offshore Islands near Dar El Salam
There are a number of uninhabited islands near Dar El Salam. These islands include Bongoyo, Mbudya, Pangavini, and Fungu Yasini. The most visited islands are those of Bongoyo and Mbudya and they are the only ones that include some touristic services and facilities. This includes some nice sandy beaches, great snorkeling chances, and a lot of services that are rare to find in the other two islands.
Although a large number of locals and travelers who spend their tours in Tanzania, the long beaches, especially those of Mbudya will always have plenty of space for chilling out and relaxing. These islands are the home of many coconuts and a number of dolphins that can be viewed near the beach every now and then. Many travel packages to Tanzania may include a visit to some of the finest beaches.
The Island of Bongoyo
Bongoyo is located 7 kilometers to the north of the center of Dar El Salam is the most famous and popular among all the off shore islands located near Dar El Salam. The beaches of Bongoyo are usually quite and relaxing, except in the weekends that can be relatively crowded. These beaches offer marvelous chances of swimming, snorkeling, and walking.
There is a ferry that takes passengers from Dar El Salam to the Island of Bongoyo every day. Group tours to Tanzania which include a visit to Dar El Salam would surely give sometime for the guests to explore the islands.
The Mbudya Island
This attractive island that is located to the north of the Island of Bongoyo and hosts many amazing beaches, especially these located in the Western edge of the island. The best thing to eat in the Mbudya is the famous English meal of fish and chips. Many tours to Tanzania and Dar El Salam can be organized to include a day or a half day visit of this island. The island is best reached from the northern shores of Dar El Salam that have become a popular destination for travelers who spend their tours in Tanzania.
The Northern Beaches of Dar El Salam
Some of the popular weekend resorts are located to the North of Dar El Salam. Although these beaches lack the marvelous tropical atmosphere of the island of Zanzibar, these beaches and resorts would be a nice chance to relax. There are also several swimming pools and two water amusement parks. Therefore, it would be nice for families with children who spend their vacations in Tanzania to spend some time here.
A good advantage of these resorts is that they are located near Dar El Salam and they make a marvelous relaxing one day trips. The Southern section of this resorts and beaches to the nothrth of Tanzania has many stone jetties and offer many facilities that are not found in many of the other northern beaches.