Book recommendations: Tanzania

There’s a significant chance I’ll soon be going to Dar es Salaam for a few months to work on (probably) a land rights project. Aside from having spent a few days in Dar and a week in Tanzania, I know very little about the country apart from the basics. What books should I be reading (nonfiction and fiction)?

Living in Dar recommendations are also welcome!

6 thoughts on “Book recommendations: Tanzania

  1. Ranil Dissanayake

    November 23, 2009 at 12:14pm

    why is this marked worst practices?! The best history is the one by John Illiffe. Off the top of my head it’s A History of Modern Tanganyika. scratch that, google reminds me it’s A Modern History of Tanganyika. Fiction, I’ve not come across a huge amount of great stuff to be honest.

    I really like Dar. I’ll send you an e-mail with a bunch of recommendations soon, and can put you in touch with a few people living there.

  2. Matt

    November 23, 2009 at 1:59pm

    oops re: the tag, fixed now

  3. Judith Fernandes

    November 24, 2009 at 7:51am

    Hi there, I am Tanzanian and have lived in Dar for most my life except for some 8 years I spent in the US. I have come across a couple of books but none has intrigued me more than ‘The Zanzibar Chest’. It’s not about TZ, in fact I think there is no mention of Tanzania but it is about one journalist’s experience in Somalia, Rwanda, Congo, Uganda, Kenya – countries surrounding TZ in the 90’s. In the author’s own words, it is “an epic narrative charting the fates of men and women who interfered with, embraced and were ultimately transformed by (20th) century Africa”. This book gives insight to some recent events and happenings right here in TZ.
    As far as life in Dar is concerned it is better described in person. Each person with their own unique experiences (not always positive) but with one common thread – there is something magical about Dar that keeps you coming back for more. I work for a US-based non-profit called Industrial Revelation (IR) right in city center. Our motto is fighting malnutrition and we are doing just that in East africa by setting-up a factory in Dar to produce enough Plumpy’nut (R) to treat 100,000 severly malnourished children within the East African region. Pls check out our website and do contact me when you are in Dar –

    By the way, you did not mention which country you are coming from?

  4. Richard Collin

    November 24, 2009 at 6:48pm

    I am a little short on fiction about Tanzania, but a great read about the place during World War One is “The Ice Cream War’ by William Boyd.

  5. tim

    December 13, 2009 at 3:48am

    Cannot recommend much in the way of fiction or non-fiction. The Zanzibar Chest was an entertaining story, if nothing more.

    A few recommendations for food and social life in Dar:

    There is a great BBQ place just off the road between center city/maktaba library and the peninsula. I believe it is the second road on the left. If you can somehow find the place after such poor direction, you will certainly be rewarded for your efforts.

    Dar Alive in Mikocheni, next door to the Cine Club, is a neat place to spend a Saturday night. It sits right on the beach, and it has a giant chandelier made of Kili water bottles.

    Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention Addis in Dar. Great Ethiopian food and a nice atmosphere. I did get food poisoning from there once, though…

    Enjoy! I’m envious.


  6. Biche

    December 21, 2009 at 3:15pm

    I am a Tanzanian currently living in Dar es Salaam. I wholeheartedly recommend The Rough Guide to Tanzania. That’s helped me live and travel all over this country. I hope that helps.

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