A Different Side of Africa

A short respite from the pedals in an Africa that is vastly different than the one to which we’ve become accustomed over the past few months…

The TAZARA train lurched into the station well after dark. We said some goodbyes to fellow passengers, fended off taxi touts, gathered our bikes from the luggage cart, attached our bags and rode off, headlamps glaring in to the busy streets of Dar Es Salaam.

A new city always looks menacing at night. I try and convince myself to ignore first impressions when they are deformed by shadows, discolored by streetlights and tainted by shadowy figures illuminated by the glow of signs. Walking the city the next morning we stumble upon a few similarities to the remote Africa we had spent the last couple of months exploring. Individuals hawking bunches of bananas on the streets. Colorfully dressed women effortlessly balancing massive loads on their heads as they glide in and out of the crowded streets. Other than that, this was indeed a different world.

Dar Es Salaam is a massive seaside city that churns with people from all over East Africa, those displaced by a bad year of sun singed crops, tribesmen who have fled their war torn homeland, and others following a dream of earning more than their typical dollar a day wage. There is also a large population of native Tanzanians whose ancestors originated in Middle Eastern nations and brought religion and culture that permeated the coastal region. Its people are both extravagantly wealthy and extremely poor; Muslim, Hindu and Christian; pure and corrupt. For a couple of days we were enchanted by the rushed pace and crowded chaotic dance that ebbs and breathes on the streets, but soon we were ready to escape to the green and sandy paradise of Zanzibar.

Here are a few photos from Dar and Zanzibar that needed a place to live.

Fish market - Dar Es Salaam
Looks like nirvana to me. If only I could carry jugs of habanero sauce on my bike.
Fish market - Dar Es Salaam
We sat and ate several dollars worth of roasted octopus dipped in a habanero sauce at the Dar fish market.
Fish market - Dar Es Salaam
A puffer fish shell.
Fish market - Dar Es Salaam

An auction of meager piles of fish is at the heart of the market. Sometimes rowdy and active, the auctions go on all day.
Fish market - Dar Es Salaam
It saddened me to see a spotted eagle ray on the chopping block.
Fish market - Dar Es Salaam
Piles of everything imaginable in all corners of the market.
Fish market - Dar Es Salaam
Fish market - Dar Es Salaam Fish market - Dar Es Salaam
The practice of definning sharks can be found in all corners of the world.
Zanzibar ferry
A people mashup on the Zanzibar ferry.
Zanzibar - clear water
The stunning east coast of Zanzibar at low tide.
Zanzibar brittle stars
Brittle stars can be found everywhere.
Zanzibar - clear water
Zanzibar worms
A gentleman harvesting worms from the sand at low tide, for fishing bait.
Zanzibar - portrait

A young lad show me his odd bone artifact.
Zanzibar beach
Low tide revealing the underside of the continental coral island.
Zanzibar - portrait
A young boy with his toy (a strand of cassette tape).
Zanzibar boat Zanzibar seaweed farm
A seaweed farm shows itself at low tide…
Zanzibar seaweed farm

… and its farmer.
Zanzibar lizard Zanzibar - portrait
Women are often difficult to photograph, but girls sometimes don’t mind having their portrait made.
Zanzibar boat Zanzibar - portrait
A young Muslim girl.
Zanzibar boat
A fisherman heading out when the tide is coming in.
Zanzibar crab
A boy showing me his white crab.
Zanzibar portrait
These two ladies, although reluctant, gave in for a portrait.
Zanzibar portrait

A young lady leaving her house.
Zanzibar portrait
Both the Tanzanian Shilling and the US dollar are traded in Zanzibar.
Zanzibar stone town

A boy pauses in a doorway in Stone Town.
Zanzibar stone town

The old city was once a slave trade hub on the spice route.
Zanzibar stone town
Zanzibar stone town



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