In the pre-dawn light, the sea shimmers divinely. Young men, rubbing sleep from their eyes, push out their small wooden dhows – sailing vessels – setting off to fish. By the time the sun has arisen, the whole dockside is buzzing with people: customers haggling over octopus and barracuda, and fishermen digging into a well-earned meal. Meanwhile the high-rises of the vast city in the background reflect the tropical sun.
Dar Es Salaam translates as ‘Place of Peace’. Until the 19th century, it was a small fishing village called Mzizima; by 2020, it is expected to have 5 million residents.
Listen to young rappers trying out beats against a cacophony of horns and rattling exhausts. Then join dreadlocked foreigners in restaurants, eyes twinkling as they tell tales of Mount Kilimanjaro over plates of ugali, the local cornmeal dish. When you tire of the city, escape to Bongoyo Island, where you can snorkel in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and relax on beaches of the purest white sand.