The city center of Dar es Salaam shows much urban planning on the part of the Germans who were in control of this small port during the late 1800s, with all the streets laid out along a grid system. The downtown area has a very hectic, business-oriented feeling to it, as this is also where most of the office buildings in Tanzania are found. There are many street vendors and small restaurants here.

Daily life in the harbor, which is one of the main ports on the Indian Ocean, is just as busy, but here, you will find sidewalk cafes where people congregated during the afternoons to relax and watch the ships sailing in and out of Dar es Salaam.

The outskirts of town are generally inhabited by Africans, unlike the urban center where there are large minorities of Indian, Arabic, German and British residents. The notable exception is Oyster Bay, where many Europeans reside. These areas are generally less well planned and exhibit typical urban sprawl that creates problems for the city’s strained transportation system. The suburban populations tend to be quite homogeneous and keep to themselves, with little interaction between different races or neighborhoods. Even newspapers and entertainment venues tend to be highly localized.