| Markets | Kariakoo

You only have to read the various tourist review sites out there to get a gist of how evocative Dar es Salaam's Kariakoo Market can be. 

Kariakoo intimidates some, scares, repulses, bewilders, confuses and overwhelms others. But, it is a real living working market. A place that has all of life and its complex wonders within it. Many markets across the world begin like this. Eventually they catch the attention and welcome in hoards of tourists.  Kariakoo has not gone down this path yet. It is an honest local market that shows aspects of life in Dar es Salaam laid bare within it.

Aside from being a sprawling market (it is hard to figure out where it starts or ends), there is far more to Kariakoo that meets the eye. The word "Kariakoo" comes from the mispronunciation of Carrier Corps which is how the structure at the heart of the market started life back when the British took Dar es Salaam in 1916. In 1972 the looming Brutalist structure we see today was built by the Germans to replace the colonial market. 
Going even further back into history, the area once housed a large village frequently raided by Arab slavers. 

Today it is an important part of life in Dar es Salaam spanning several city blocks and open from dawn till dusk providing vital supplies to locals.

Advice for visitors:
Leave your expensive cameras and watches behind.
Be careful and respectful when taking photos.
Wear closed shoes and watch where you step.
Smile, be kind and friendly.

More info | Architectural Notes on Kariakoo 


  1. What a fascinating place! I admit that when I'm travelling, markets both fascinate and repel me no matter where they are or what I see; I think it's the crowds that turn me off, even though I know there are fascinating things to see inside. Even in Paris, I never last long at the market.

  2. There is a lot to see, I love everything all surrounding and overwhelming. Very interesting place :)) xx

  3. Ah that's an interesting building! I can see how markets like this could be intimidating to some people, but I guess you'd get a sense of how the locals shop.

  4. You really do get a sense of life here. How people do business, what they buy, how they eat, how they talk - it's all here.

  5. This looks like a very interesting place. I'm going to look into Kariakoo more tonight.

  6. I'm with Cee markets overwhelm me a little but then I love seeing market photos from others - I especially love the shot of the buckets and electronics :)

  7. To be honest, I have never heard of Dar Es Salaam before. I love that you share such amazing places as it is, local flavors and all. I learn something new with each new post, which is why I love your blog! x

  8. Boombox sales still going strong too! The building is so interesting, looks like the inside of a caven, kind of eerie.

    Buckets & Spades

  9. i think it's fascinating how some words for things come to be. and i love your tips and advice when visiting places that may not be familiar to some. xx

  10. It is a cavernous structure indeed. I recently found out that the funnel like extending down from the ceiling act as funnels to channel rain water into underground storage systems. Interesting no?


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