I had days ahead of me to explore Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar and I wasn’t in the mood to haggle with taxis. I arranged for an airport pick up, and Emmanuel, the manager of the hotel I was going to stay at, came to get me.
On our way to the hotel, I was surprised to see hawkers selling all kinds of food; the most popular being friend cassava.
I was told it was quite common to eat them raw too. Cassava has many uses in Ghana and eating it raw wasn’t one of our favourites.
I stayed at Zak Inn, a really affordable, comfortable, clean, safe hotel with solid wifi,
great breakfast and very friendly and attentive staff. The hotel is right at the centre of town, close to the market and a walking distance to take the ferry to Zanzibar.
The atmosphere in Dar and my hotel was relaxing, yet exhilarating.
I could look out of my hotel room window and watch aspects of Dar life go by.
From fruit sellers displaying colourful and juicy varieties of mangos, watermelons, bananas, litchi and pineapples day and night to wedding processions in the street at night.
There was an energy about Dar es Salam that reminded me of Dakar, Senegal. Like Dakar, I could feel the Islamic influences and traditions. There were no beggars or sellers knocking on your restaurant window as I experienced in Dakar in 2011. Like Dakar, all religions seem to blend in seamlessly in Dar es Salaam. I love it.
In Dar, I saw many people of Indian heritage and a few Masai men at different times getting on with life and not interested in displaying for the regular tourists. It was a delight to see. A far cry from what some travel brochures depict.
On my second evening, Emmanuel was kind to show me Coco beach, a nice happening, yet relaxed spot in the city. There is a Coco beach in Ghana too, but with views from the Atlantic Ocean. This one gave me the opportunity to finally come face to face with the Indian Ocean for the first time.
It finally sank in; I was on a mission to explore and share my skills. I used the opportunity to film a quick YouTube video for my channel.
At Coco beach, some sellers come to meet you at your car with their menus and coconut. Nothing threatening, just a smart move.
Who can resist a coconut by the beach? There is nothing cliché about it at all, coconuts are nutritious and you know that already, but I had to find out if it tasted different from any other coconut from any other country I have visited or even the ones I have back home. They tasted great!
The sellers are fast and proactive. I like the idea that they give you bits of their food to sample before you buy and of course, they give you a place to sit whilst you wait for your food. In my case fried Cassava, some vegetables, sauce and coconut. It was delicious. Thanks, Emmanuel.
Next thing I know, we are sampling hot peanuts and buying it too.
After about an hour, it was time to explore other parts of Dar including the fancy parts.
I went to Slipway with Emmanuel after Coco beach. This place reminded me of Dubai.
It was nice to have a glimpse of their arts and craft centre, stroll around to see the malls and the number of fancy hotels and restaurants lined by the beach.
Dar is beautiful.
I love it more at night.
Emmanuel introduced me to some of his friends/family. It was great to connect. My interaction with them was quite memorable from the questions they asked to the stories they shared.
Tanzania and Dar have a piece of me. I will go back and I will recommend it to anyone travelling to East Africa, just like I did for my cousin who also stayed at Zak Inn. (I have not received a cent to talk about Zak Inn; I share good news where I see it.)
Tanzania is a huge country that shares borders with 8 other African countries! Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique! There is room to explore more of it and I can only imagine how diverse it will be.
Have you been to Tanzania? Where did you go? Or are you planning to go there? Which part?
I will tell you about my visit to the beautiful Island of Zanzibar in my next post.