Although Dodoma is the official capital of Tanzania, the lively Indian Ocean port city of Dar es Salaam is in many ways the country's de facto capital. This intoxicating place is something of a ‘marmite' city - you either love it or you hate it. Many visitors decide to pass straight through in favour of the game parks inland or the spice island of Zanzibar, which lies across the Zanzibar Channel from Dar es Salaam. However, those who do stop for a few days are often surprised by how much they enjoy the experience.
True, there are few obvious tourist attractions, but for some this is precisely its appeal. Dar, as it's often called, is very much a living city, akin to Nairobi in Kenya, full of the bustle of commerce and the energy of three million people. Taxi buses called dala-dalas toot their horns to attract customers, the smell of freshly-cooked samosas drifts from roadside stalls and colourful tinga tinga paintings - with their magical depictions of African wildlife and people - provide added vibrancy to Dar's markets.