Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, is not a city in which most American travelers will wish to linger. Although not actively dangerous like Nairobi, it’s a sprawling, ramshackle mess, often with diabolical traffic. Twenty years ago, the harbor could be quite picturesque, thanks to the sailing dhows that used to trade up the east coast of Africa to places as far afield as Bahrain and Dubai. But nowadays marine transport is chiefly provided by huge Chinese container ships.
However, an overnight stay can be a necessity for travelers en route from the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba to Tanzania’s wildlife areas, especially the more remote ones such as Ruaha National Park and the Selous Game Reserve — as it was for me on my recent trip. Oyster Bay is the city’s embassy and upscale residential district, an expectedly calm and well-groomed enclave that extends along the shoreline of the Indian Ocean.