I’ve spent a week working in Dar es Salaam, beautifully translated from Arabic as “Abode of Peace”. With an estimated population of over six million people, Dar is the financial hub of Tanzania. Nestled along a natural and quiet harbour on the Indian Ocean, Dar is a multicultural city – home to African Tanzanians, Arabic and South Asian communities, several expatriates, as well as Catholics, Lutherans and Muslims, among others. This diversity is reflected in its culture, food and music, and even buildings which display a remarkable mix of architectural styles, influenced by Swahili, British, German, and Asian traditions. I’ve been to Dar a few times before but never as a runner. So, I was excited to rediscover the city from a runner’s perspective.
On previous visits we had stayed downtown or in Oyster Bay but this time the workshop we were running was held further out at the luxurious White Sands Resort.
On the one hand, this was ideal as it meant we were away from the hustle and bustle of city life, but on the other hand, this hustle is what I love about city running! When I asked whether it was safe to run on the streets, many said it was okay but probably better if I had a partner. This left me torn as I desperately wanted to run outside but also didn’t want to go against local advice which is something I always recommend. Erring on the side of caution, I chose to run on the paved path lining the pristine White Sands Beach. The path was about 600 metres one-way, so I ran up and down for a total of 5km each run, taking in the spectacular view and ocean air.
For each run, I set off before 6am, just as the sun was rising, and before it got too hot and humid, giving me ample time for a shower and breakfast, before work.
It was still a lot more humid than I’m used to, but I found it less humid than running in Ghana. Yes, it was less adventurous, but I’m not complaining…
On my first full day in Dar (Monday), I discovered there was a trail race close to Dar, to be held in the Pande Game Reserve on Saturday. I immediately contacted Jazzy who I once featured on my “We Run the World” blog series. Jazzy was incredibly generous and helpful – she registered and paid for my race entry as I couldn’t use the local payment system and volunteered to collect my race bib for me. She also connected me with a taxi driver Brian who gave me a great transport deal – he would pick me up before the race, drive the hour or so to the venue, wait for me to finish the 10km trail run, and then drive me back to the hotel. With all this organised, I was so excited for the race. But on Thursday, the race was postponed. I was gutted, but at the same time I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude for both Jazzy and Brian (both of whom I’ve never met) who went above and beyond, to help me with all the logistics.
I didn’t let this get me down for long – ever the Queen of Plan B, I spent the evening searching for a hiking adventure and eventually found a great tour company, Safari 56, owned and run by Yonafika Akida who agreed to take me for a hike in Pugu Forest Nature Reserve on Saturday! It was an AMAZING experience, and I cannot wait to share this adventure with you…
I hope you enjoyed running with me on White Sands Beach in Dar es Salaam! What do you enjoy about running near the ocean? Are you from Tanzania or have you visited this beautiful country?