Beautiful, but ugly. Clean, yet dirty. Safe, and dangerous. Rich, yet extremely poor. Dar Es Salaam is all of these and much more. Some of it’s idyllic white sandy beaches can be stunning, while others can be covered in rubbish. Mbalamwezi beach, a 2km stretch of land, even has sewage pouring out directly on the sand, canalling into the Indian ocean!
Yet, right next to Mbalamwezi, there’s Coco beach, a gorgeous place naturally decorated with palm trees, white sands, and rocky corals. Dar Es Salaam’s relentless heat makes places like these a very welcome sight, and one we’ll visit more often.
Unfortunately, the most obvious contrast is the disparity between the rich and the poor. Some areas would not look out of place in Vienna or Paris (!), yet, venture into the side streets, and there’s where you’ll find the other side of the coin. People living on the streets, living off little make-shift food stands selling whatever their meagre crop provides – some sell peanuts, some sell sugar canes, others specialise in mango or bananas. Rubbish is everywhere since Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania’s capital city, does not have a city wide, rubbish collection system. Children and animals alike sleep, play and eat on this waste, and no one bats an eyelid. The poor are resigned to their fate while the rich are adamantly looking over such a damning statistic.
Regardless, the people are a happy bunch. Last week, we made friends with a man called Juma Inne, who happens to be a Bajaj driver. These little contraptions are three wheeled, covered motorbikes with a three seater at the back. Needless to say, we have been using it since to go wherever we want for a very reasonable price. So, enjoy the video we put together of one of our rides in the Bajaj:
With all its faults, Dar Es Salaam is a beautiful and unique city. It has some obviously glaring issues to tackle but it is charming nonetheless. We’ve been here for a little over two weeks and it seems to be developing into a completely different adventure from the one we had in Kenya!
Androo & Alan