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The Coast

Dar es Salaam

The major port of Dar es Salaam is the natural starting point for trips in Tanzania. It is near the island of Zanzibar. Parts of Dar es Salaam have a tranquil air that belies industrial and commercial growth. Further attractions include the National Museum, housing the skull of Nutcracker Man; Observation Hill, which contains the campus and facilities of the University of Dar es Salaam; and the Village Museum, with exhibits of traditional housing and crafts.

The fishing village of Msasani, 8 km (5 miles) from Dar es Salaam, contains tombs dating back to the 17th century. Further south, at Kilwa Klsiwani, there are ruins of Portuguese and Arab architecture. Many beautiful beaches are within easy reach of Dar es Salaam, such as those at Kunduchi, Mbwa Maji and Mjimwena. Kunduchi, 24 km (15 miles) north of the city, is a fishing village with nearby ruins of Persian tombs and mosques. Mbudya Island is an uninhabited island forming part of a protective coral reef which is a good place for diving, snorkeling and fishing. Sinda Island, some 14 km (9 miles) off Dar es Salaam, also offers facilities for snorkeling and shell fishing.

A 72 km (45 mile) drive north of Dar es Salaam is Bagamoyo, a one-time slave port and terminus for the caravans. This tiny township is the nearest mainland point to Zanzibar and possesses sandy beaches set in a beautiful bay. Livingstone's body rested in the tiny chapel of the convent here on its way back to London. The town mosque and Arab tombs date from the 18th and 19th centuries. Some 5 km (3 miles) to the south is the village of Kaole, near which are the ruins of a mosque and pillars believed to be 800 years old. To the north of Bagamoyo, near the Kenyan border, is the country's second port, Tanga. From here, the visitor can drive to the beautiful Usambara Mountains and Moshi on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Zanzibar & Mafia Island

Zanzibar

The island of Zanzibar, once the metropolis of East Africa, variously ruled by Shirazi Persians, the Portuguese, the Omani Arabs and British colonials, is only 20 minutes' flight from Dar es Salaam (ferries are also available). Otherwise known as the 'Spice Island', Zanzibar's golden age was under the Omani Arabs in the early 19th century. By the middle of the century, it had become the world's largest producer of cloves and the largest slave-trading post on the African eastern coast. Zanzibar's old Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a labyrinth of narrow, winding streets lined with exotic shops, bazaars, colonial mansions, mosques and squares. The visitor can still see the house where Dr Livingstone lived, as well as that used by Burton and Speke. The Anglican Cathedral Church of Christ stands on the site of the Old Slave Market, off Creek Road, while on the seafront are the palace of the former sultan and the towering Beit-el-Ajaib (The House of Wonders). Zanzibar is a fascinating place with palaces, forts, stone aqueducts and baths; its history as a cosmopolitan centre of trade gives it a unique atmosphere. The guided Spice Tours are recommended. Within the vicinity lie many offshore islands ringed with coral reefs, the most famous and most visited being Changuu Island (also known as 'Prison Island'). There are also many superb beaches, particularly on the east coast, although there are now several package hotels there.

Note: Visitors to Zanzibar should observe Muslim conventions regarding dress when away from the beach.

Mafia Island

Some 40 minutes' flight south of Dar es Salaam, the island of Mafia is renowned for big-game fish as well as being a unique marine park. Power boats and tackle are available for hire.

National Parks

Tanzania's national parks extend over some 33,660 sq km (13,000 sq miles). In addition, there is the unique Ngorongoro Conservation Area, in which wildlife is protected and where the Masai tribespeople also live and herd their cattle. There are also some 10 game reserves where government-approved hunting safaris operate under license and about 40 controlled areas where the hunting of game is controlled by a quota system. Further information can be obtained from Tanzania National Parks, PO Box 3134, Arusha, Tanzania (tel: (27) 250-3471; website: www.tanzaniaparks.com).


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