Dar es Salaam is a city I’ve lived in most of my life. And as some do when they’ve been somewhere too long, I used to often dream of the day I would happily leave and possibly never come back. It only took me going to boarding school (a brilliant experience) in a different town, to teach me that there is nothing like the place you call your home, no matter how much you may enjoy being away from it too. It was this first experience as well as the rest that followed (moving to Canada, and even my current musings of moving out of Dar once again) that continue to reframe and remind my heart’s commitment to the space that has sourced much of my joy and sunshine. Without fail, whenever I look at a map, my eye finds Tanzania and searches for Dar es Salaam before taking in everything else. It’s kind of like when you inspect a photo of yourself in a group…first, how do I look?
Here are three of my favourite places to go in my city of Dar es Salaam
This is Dar es Salaam’s very own version of Ibiza. And yes, that statement is definitely a reach, but I hope it’s not lost on readers that I mean it’s a place to go for a roaring good time by the sea. An island only a twenty-minute boat ride from Dar’s mainland, this is a place that I love to visit with friends on any given day…preferably not on a Sunday because that’s the most common time of the week for people to visit. There’s plenty of space to accommodate large numbers of people, but there’s something satisfying about having the island and its waters more so to myself.
Mbudya is a Marine Park that boasts incredible clear blue water, fresh seafood lunches, and the recent option of being able to enjoy some fresh coconut. As someone who loves and lives for the ocean, the chance to swim in the clean blue water is a welcome retreat. Mbudya’s isolation from the business of the city makes a day there feel like a mini holiday, where my company and I get to enjoy space together, play our music, break bread, and usually consume plenty of wine.
Chake Chake Road
This is probably a stranger option to call one of my favorite places in the city, but I can’t shake how much I value a stroll along this strip of tarmac. It is found in a residential area in the peninsula of Dar es Salaam city, and by the time evening hits, you are bound to find several runners and walkers making their way along the street. The sunset hours are most serene, as the heat isn’t as harsh, and the sky-to-trees-to-flowers-to-birds-chirping, ratio, makes for a relaxing evening setting. If I happen to be partaking in an evening jog, the vision of it all offers a relaxing backdrop to the chaos in my mind that naturally ensues when I’ve been jogging longer than a minute. This combination makes for an oddly satisfying experience, and has thus imprinted feelings of tranquility and determination whenever I think of this place. You know Beyoncé’s Ivy Park? The place she goes to in her head? This is low key my version…with heavy emphasis on ‘low key’. Yes, this is another reach.
I could never complete this list without including a place to eat; food is a joy of mine and that of so many others in this world. Though, sometimes it’s not enough just to have good food. What I considered for this section of favorite places was a location that represents a particular ambience and comfort. A place, for me, that makes me feel at home. Jackie’s Bar, is a place that has been around for many years, and my introduction to this venue happened when I was much younger coming here with my family, who are actually friends with the bar’s namesake and owner. Because of this family affiliation, the home-feeling is practically instilled in me. Perhaps how the home-feeling is brought to the hearts and tongues of others is through the delicious, local Tanzanian cuisine that Jackie’s offers, and the casual outdoor bar setting. Please, don’t bother coming here for burgers or waffles. That nonsense is not for this hallowed dusty ground! My number one meal recommendation is my personal favorite, ‘supu ya ulimi’, which translates to ‘(cow) tongue soup’. It’s a dish I crave too often…especially on those rough weekend mornings, if you know what I mean. Shoutouts to @friendswithnobenz (a shameless plug), as Jackie’s is our declared headquarters for laughter, healing, and brainstorming. This is one of my many homes away from home, at home.
Catch up on our “Three of my favourite places” series here.