Dar es Salaam’s Colourful Markets

Even though Dar es Salaam would never make our bucket list, a stop there on the way to the Ngorongoro Crater gave us an insight into Tanzania’s largest city.

Dar es Salaam is mainly a business and and government centre with manufacturing also playing an important part in the economy. The markets is for me, the heart and soul of a city so this is what we wanted to see.

Fishing has always been important to the people of Dar. The city was originally a fishing village so the Kivukoni fish markets was the first stop.

Kivukoni Fishing Market in Dar es Salaam


Unlike any other I had seen, the markets are a large conglomeration of tables that the fish had been strewn upon. Similar types of fish were on one table, different sized fish on another. Some were being auctioned, others sold. In another building, fish that had been bought were being cleaned and cooked.


Kivukoni Fishing Market in Dar es Salaam


Kivukoni Fishing Market in Dar es Salaam

On the beach, fisherman relaxed amongst their boats, their hard work over.

Kivukoni Fishing Market in Dar es Salaam

Later in the day, we were given a quick tour of the old part of the city, and stopped at the Kariakoo Market, the local produce market.

Kariakoo Market, Dar es Salaam

We wandered through the streets where everything from fruit and vegetables to sacks of rice and grains were being sold. Stalls selling home wares were popular as were the clothing stalls. There was even a place selling old jeans!

Kariakoo Market, Dar es Salaam


Kariakoo Market, Dar es Salaam


Kariakoo Market, Dar es Salaam


Kariakoo Market, Dar es Salaam


A quick visit but never the less it gave us an insight into another world….probably one I won’t be returning too in a hurry unless I’m off  on safari in Tanzania again!



Do you enjoy visiting markets….wherever you are?




This post is part of Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Don’t forget to pop over and see the other contributions.





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49 Responses to Dar es Salaam’s Colourful Markets

  1. Leigh November 1, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    I thought I was in Kampala. Uganda when I looked at those photos. Very reminiscent of that place. I have been to Dar – but I was alone with a wad of cash (another story) and my bike on my way to hook up with other members of the Tour d’Afrique in southern Tanzania. And that story deserves a blog post one of these days.

    • [email protected] November 1, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

      It sounds like a great story Leigh – I’d love to hear it! I suppose it’s not surprising that the markets are similar to others on the continent. Fascinating wherever you are!

  2. Linda November 1, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    Good morning!

    Wow – doesn’t the food look good? I’m impressed. Markets aren’t usually on my hit list when travelling, but maybe I should review my policy, looking at these pics.

    But I do go to the Christmas markets around Europe, especially when in Austria. The colours and atmosphere are magical – though I suspect the Gluhwein helps…..

    Kind regards,

    • [email protected] November 1, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

      Hi Linda. Where ever I am I always head to the markets. I’d love to go to the Xmas markets one day..a real Xmas atmosphere unlike our hot summer Xmas here! You should write about them on your blog…it’s something completely different for us!

      • Linda November 2, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

        Hello, Jenny.

        Funny you should mention that – I’m in the process of pulling together short pieces from writers around the world under the heading ‘Santa – with or without snow’. Some contributors don’t celebrate Christmas, but have similar festivities around that time. The pieces are being shared around and credited appropriately

        Is there somewhere on your site that you’ve already done such a piece – I wouldn’t ‘pinch it’, but would adapt with credit to you. Unless of course you fancy doing a short piece yourself….

        Kind regards,

        • Linda November 2, 2012 at 9:18 pm #

          Oh, just thought – if anyone else wants to chip, they are more than welcome 🙂

        • [email protected] November 4, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

          I mentioned how we celebrated Xmas in the southern hemisphere last year but literally it was only a sentence. Have a look in the archives in the side bar for the ‘Merry Xmas’ post in December. I’m travelling next week and am flat out so unfortunately, I won’t be able to write a piece specifically for it but thanks for the offer.

  3. Jackie Smith November 1, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    We adore markets and seek them out where ever we are. In fact, i was going to do a market post this week, we must have been on the same wave length. Your photos gave a real ‘taste of travel’ this week. . .I could almost smell the fish tables. Nice post!

    • [email protected] November 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

      Snap!I’ll look forward to your market post…from Italy I hope! The markets here were so different to those in Italy and France but just as fascinating. Loved your ‘taste of travel’ comment!!

  4. Sarah November 1, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    Super shots. Have read about Dar el Salam over on sipsandspoonfuls.com too. Really interested in a look. Especially if it involves a side trip to Zanzibar!

    • [email protected] November 1, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

      Thanks Sarah. I’ll be off to Zanzibar next time too…it sounds fabulous. I’ll check out sipsandspoonfuls!

  5. jan November 1, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    Markets really show the character of a town. They show affluence or poverty and what is available to eat. How huge are the cabbages and carrots in the first produce market photo. I think you could feed a family for a week on that cabbage! I don’t think I would be in a rush to buy the fish though.

    • [email protected] November 1, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

      I love markets too Jan. They certainly give an insight into a town. We went to the hotel’s sushi restaurant the night after being at the fish market and I was a bit worried too but it was some of the best sushi I have ever had!

  6. Debra Kolkka November 1, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    We just skidded through Dar es Salaam on our way to Zanzibar. It looked very chaotic. The market looks fabulous….I always look for markets…..Bologna and Florence being 2 of my favourites.

    • [email protected] November 1, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

      Skidding through sounds as though you had the right idea!. Next time I’ll head to Zanzibar too. The markets were fun but so different to those in Italy!

  7. Mary @ The World Is A Book November 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

    What a great insight to a market in this part of the world. We love visiting markets and your photos are lovely. I can almost smell the fish too. Love all the fruit and vegetable colors.

    • [email protected] November 1, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

      Thanks Mary. The fish markets was so different to any markets I had been to! Fruit and vegetable markets are always fun wherever you are!

  8. Muza-chan November 1, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    I love markets too…

    • [email protected] November 1, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

      Aren’t they fabulous. I’d love to go to the fish market in Japan. Have you been?

  9. Karen (Back Road Journal) November 1, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    Wherever I visit, the markets are one of the first things I want to see. Thank you for sharing a part of the world I haven’t been to.

    • [email protected] November 2, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

      Markets tell you a lot about a town don’t they Karen. Dar es Salaam is not a town you need to visit but if you have to stop there as we did, there are stil some sights to see.

  10. InsideJourneys November 2, 2012 at 12:20 am #

    Love visiting markets and usually do on my trips.
    We’re planning on Tanzania and the Ngorongoro Crater is on my list so I had to to read your post. I’m excited all over again about going.

    • [email protected] November 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

      Tanzania is a fabulous! We had to have an over night stop in Dar because of flights but I wouldn’t go there otherwise. Zanzibar is a better option if you need a stop. Tanzania is certainly a country to get excited over!

  11. Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista November 2, 2012 at 1:03 am #

    I’m another one that loves local markets! Everything is so fresh and beautiful.

    • [email protected] November 2, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

      Great…another market lover! These markets were so different to anything we had seen so it was great to be able to visit them.

  12. Sophie November 2, 2012 at 3:25 am #

    Markets are such fun and interesting places to roam about in – and to shamelessly watch people and listen to the bartering. African markets seem to be especially colourful, literally and figuratively. This one in Dar looks lively.

    • [email protected] November 2, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

      So true Sophie. The fish market was fascinating. I wasn’t sure I wanted to eat any fish from there but the sashimi we had for dinner that night at the hotel was one of the best I have ever had!

  13. Francesca Muir November 2, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    Hi Jenny – I am thrilled to have found you – thanks to the lovely Lisa at Renovating Italy. My grandparents lived many years in Dar and my mother was brought up there – my Grandfather worked for the Governor for about 20 years back in the 30s and 40s. Amazing blog – I am so looking forward to trawling back though your archives.

    • [email protected] November 2, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

      How amazing that your grandparents and mother lived in Dar. It would have been a fascinating life working for the Governor. Does your mother remember much about life there.Do you have any photos from those days….they would be great for your lovely blog! Thank you for stopping by and commenting Francesca. I hope you enjoy the archives!

  14. Italian Notes November 2, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    I’ve never been to Tanzania so I’ve been studying these photos quite hard to see what vegetables they’re offering. Such a lot of yams, okra and bananas. Beautiful.

    • [email protected] November 2, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

      It is quite fascinating to see what produce they have and how different it is to other markets around the world. There were also a lot of peppers, potatoes, onions and masses of melons. There was not the same amount of banter between the vendors and the people as there is in Europe.

  15. Michele @ Malaysian Meanders November 2, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    The raw fish just laying out in the open remonds me of the wet markets here in Malaysia. It took a while (and other friends buying it without getting sick) before I could gather the nerve to buy fish this way. It’s just so much cheaper and fresher than the frozen stuff at the “fancy” grocery stores. I am surprised by how familiar all that produce is. I guess I was expecting more exotic fruits & veggies in Dar.

  16. Turkey's For Life November 3, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    Well you probably know we love a good market and we get really excited if we stumble across one whenever we go anywhere new. 🙂 Even if Dar es Salaam wouldn’t make your bucket list, that market is such a bonus to catch if you’re passing through. Great photos.

  17. inka November 4, 2012 at 9:00 am #

    Lively, lively, although I’d be a tad concerned about the hygiene. With regard to the fish that is. Fruit would be ok.

    • [email protected] November 4, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

      I was worried about the hygiene too Inka. We went to the hotel’s sashimi bar that night for dinner and I even asked the Chef about it. The sashimi was the best I have ever had!!Thanks for your visit.

  18. Red Nomad OZ November 5, 2012 at 10:14 am #

    In my opinion, markets are the REAL measure of a place, and a more accurate way to be in touch with how the locals really live than any travel guide or even information prepared for tourists. There’s usually a surprise factor too – so did you buy any jeans??!!

    • [email protected] November 6, 2012 at 10:18 am #

      No surprises here Red and definitely no jeans!!I love markets for your reasons too. For me thy are the quintessential guide to a town and you can often pick up so many hints from locals.

  19. Carla @ Coolmons Blog November 6, 2012 at 4:44 am #

    Nice photos and article; the market images reminds me of the markets in the Philippines.

    • [email protected] November 6, 2012 at 10:53 am #

      Hi Carla and thank you for visiting. I haven’t been to the Philippines but I think that markets all round the world have a lot of similarities.

  20. jade November 6, 2012 at 5:15 am #

    Love the colors you captured here. I’ve just started visiting markets in other countries. I don’t know why it didn’t appeal to me or think of it in earlier travels, but I really enjoy visiting them now.

    • [email protected] November 6, 2012 at 10:55 am #

      Thanks Jade. Markets are usually my first stop whenever I visit a town. You’ll find that very soon you’ll become addicted to searching them out.

  21. Krista November 6, 2012 at 8:54 am #

    I love that you took the opportunity to explore even if this wasn’t your intended destination. 🙂 The photos of this market are wonderful – I’d happily wander there just like you did. 🙂

    • [email protected] November 6, 2012 at 10:57 am #

      Thanks Krista. The fish market was so different to anything I had seen so I’m glad we went there.

  22. Johanna @ The Zigazag Mag November 7, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    Markets are a wonderful way of getting to understand local culture. The fish market looks amazing and I bet the smell was quite overpowering in the heat. I’ve been to Tanzania in my youth, but would love to do more travelling there. Loved your pics of the fish by the way 🙂

    • [email protected] November 8, 2012 at 9:47 am #

      Thanks Jo. As you know, I love markets. The smell was something else and I vowed I wouldn’t eat fish in Dar but guess what…sashimi for dinner and it was fabulous!

  23. nomadic translator November 8, 2012 at 2:54 am #

    those markets remind me so much of the fishmarket I visited in Essaouira, Morocco. You just brought me great memories of my time there. The city that SHOULD be on your travel bucket list, though 😉

    – Maria Alexandra

    • [email protected] November 8, 2012 at 9:49 am #

      I loved the Essaouira market too Maria. We had a fabulous lunch there…fresh barbecued fish can’t be beaten!

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