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TANZANIA Dar es Salaam
Things are great in Tanzania! My host family is welcoming and accommodating, and the same goes for the KEI Director). I am having a lot of fun and meeting great friends. Thank you very much for all your help and patience in making all this happen. I really appreciate everything KEI has done for me. Coming here is nothing short of a dream I had for years.

Read more reviews... James Townsend
Salisbury University

Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam is the economic, cultural and educational center of Tanzania. The city is an eclectic mix of Swahili, German, Asian and British architecture, reflecting its colonial past and more recent history.

Dar es Salaam was founded in 1866 by the Sultan Majid bin Said of Zanzibar, who named it "Haven of Peace." The City became an important deepwater port and commercial center due to its strategic location at the center of the East African coast. For the next 100 years, until its independence, Dar was controlled by Germany and Britain.

Life in Dar es Salaam revolves around the huge harbor, with the business district fanning out from the port. You can still see dhows, traditional boats, slipping under the bows of huge cruise liners and cargo ships. On the northern arm of the harbor is Kivukoni Front, with its bustling fish market, where every morning at dawn the dhows sail in to offload the night's catch and yelling fishwives compete with each other for the best of the catch.


Modern-day Tanzania is composed of the mainland area of Tanganyika and the coastal islands of Zanzibar. But humans have been living in the area for millions of years. The Olduvai Gorge archaeological site in northern Tanzania is often referred to as the "Cradle of Mankind," and quite a few prehistoric humanoid fossils and fossilized prints have been found there.

Throughout the first and second millennia AD, Bantu-speaking peoples mixed with Cushitic and Nilotic speakers, effectively creating the Swahili language and culture. European explorers began arriving in the 15th century, and the mainland area of Tanganyika became a German colony. After WWI, some of which was fought in German East Africa, the area was handed to the British to protect and administer. British Zanzibar united with Tanganyika in 1964 to form modern-day Tanzania.

South of Kenya, Tanzania occupies the stretch of land between the Congo and the Indian Ocean. The tallest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro, is on the north-eastern border. In addition, Africa's largest and deepest lakes are found in Tanzania, Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika, respectively. The islands of Zanzibar lie just off the coast, 15-30 miles from the shore.

Tanzania's president and National Assembly members are elected concurrently by direct popular vote for 5-year terms. The president appoints a prime minister who serves as the government's leader in the National Assembly.

The economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, which accounts for half of GDP, provides 85% of exports, and employs 90% of the work force. Although the country has vast amount of natural resources like gold deposits and beautiful national parks, they are underdeveloped and generate little revenue. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and bilateral donors have provided funds to rehabilitate Tanzania's deteriorated economic infrastructure.

East Africa

Eastern Africa most usually refers to the countries of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Somalia, although it can extend to include the lower Nile Valley and the islands of the Indian Ocean. The two tallest peaks in Africa, Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro, are in the region, as well as farmlands, valleys and freshwater lakes.

The Rift Valley, spanning Kenya and Tanzania, has been the most fruitful place on earth for research on early hominids. Hunter-gatherer tribes gave way to agrarian and herding societies, leaving traces of their civilization along the way.

Beginning in the late 15th century, various European countries attempted to exploit the natural resources in this fertile area. Portuguese, German, Italian, French and British explorers staked claims to large swaths of land. Colonies were managed and mismanaged for several hundred years, until the increasing marginalization of African natives set off a wave of independence.

Now, most of the countries in the area belong to the East African Community, an agreement which will promote trade and circulation of people within the East African area. Plans for a common currency, common market, and political union are under discussion.

Quick facts
  • Population of Tanzania: 40 million
  • Population of Dar: 2.5 million
  • Official Language: KiSwahili
  • Currency: Tanzanian Shilling (Tzs)
  • Local time in Dar: GMT+3
  • High temp in Dar: July: 88°F
  • High temp in Dar: January: 94°F