Dar es Salaam is number one largest city and former capital as well as the most populous city in Tanzania and a regionally important economic centre in the country. Its name has been derived from the Arabic language which implies “The House of Peace”. The city has one of the best deep natural harbours in the world.
It also since then primarily serves as a convenient connection for travel to the islands of Mafia, Zanzibar and Pemba both by sea and air. A city tour of Dar es Salaam will take you to the National Museum, Nyerere Cultural Centre, the Village Museum, Mwenge Wood Carvings Market, and the Magogoni Fish Market, among other interesting spots.
Due to close proximity to the equator and the warm Indian Ocean, the city experiences tropical climatic conditions, typified by hot and humid weather throughout much of the year. It has a tropical wet and dry climate (Kopper: Aw). Annual rainfall is approximately 1,100 mm (43 in), and in a normal year there are two rainy seasons: “the long rains” in April and May and “the short rains” in November and December.
From a small Swahili town in the middle of the 19th century, Dar es Salaam has grown into a large metropolitan center with a population of over 3,500,000 dwellers. The city population represents the over 120 tribes of Tanzania with their different cultural backgrounds coming together, alongside the oriental civilizations from the far and middle east, and the Europeans including early Portuguese visitors in the 16th Century, the Germans and later the British.
All cultures at one time or another passed through Dar es Salaam. It is necessary to visit Dar es Salaam to understand the secret of letting different cultures live together in absolute harmony. Being the commercial capital of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam is also the main gateway to the nature reserves of southern Tanzania, which include the Selous Game Reserve and the National Parks of Mikumi, Ruaha and Udzungwa Mountains, Saadani and Kitulo.