Kivukoni Fish Market in Dar Es Salaam

It might not be a tourist attraction, but as many of them, it is the most interesting when visited at the crack of dawn. Located on Ocean Road, it is easy to find in the morning – just go where the crowds are.

I have a weakness for fish markets (or for markets in general, to tell you the truth). One of the very few places where crowds don’t scare me off, but instead I feel drawn by bustling atmosphere and loud shouting of sellers. I could linger at such places for ages just observing. Normally, it’s best to wander around in circles noticing new things every time you come to the place you’ve been to before. It’s also true about Kivukoni Fish Market, but first I’d recommend finding a good vantage point that’ll let you comprehend what’s going on around you (In this case it’s the main market building – go up the stairs to enjoy the view of auctions below).

Organized chaos – that’s what I’d call it. Frenzied and disordered to a first-time visitor, it makes more sense when you look longer and closer. There is a part for fish auctions which seemed like a madhouse to me when I got mixed in the crowd and I prefered observing it from above where nobody pushed me and no slimy fish would touch my skin unexpectedly. There is also a part for cleaning, cooking and re-selling fish – just as fascinating as the first one, but people here are not so fond of cameras.

I went there alone. We had walked past the market the day before and the smell was so strong that my travel companions refused to accompany me the following day. If you’re not easily discouraged by the smell, I do recommend visiting the market – for a tourist searching for new experiences it might be one of the most fascinating activities in Dar Es Salaam.

Enjoy the photos!

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  • The photos are incredible – I have been to markets where the stock is sometimes live/barely dead (usually in Asia) and I’m always fascinated – in a morbid kind of way – about the happenings there! Great pics – they really tell a story!

  • Mags

    Great photos! I went to a similar fish market in Zanzibar and it was amazing, we got some really great prawns too!

  • Amazing photos. I visited a fish market in Hawaii a few years ago. Really an amazing experience!