A sleepy town by daylight, at night time Dar es Salaam will soon surpass Nairobi. It has casinos, many discotheques, pubs, bars and gambling dens. Something can be found for all pockets it is said. Most expensive are the discos of international class such as the ‘California Dreamer,’ ‘Club Billicanas’ and ‘Casanova’. In the middle group lie, for example, ‘Mambo Club’ and ‘New Silent Club’ (see below). At ‘Slipway’ in Msasani you can also take your children. On Friday evenings it is transformed into an open-air disco.
The ‘Las Vegas’ casino is said to be the most commonly visited but there is now also a casino at the New Africa Hotel. ‘Club Billicanas’ was also planning to provide gaming facilities. Silently but surely and most agreeably, it is said is the emergence of the ‘Oasis Casino’ in Upanga West.
Certain places of entertainment are said to be influenced in a decidedly western way; others are more genuinely ‘African’. Particularly strongly marked is the western atmosphere in the bar at the Sheraton Hotel, also the ‘Euro Pub’ and the ‘Slipway’. For those preferring to be local, a visit to bars like the ‘Highway’ in Magomeni, the Jolly Bar in Kinondoni or the ‘Bahama Mama’ on on the Morogoro road, after the university, are recommended. Lf you are ‘middle of the road’ you can enjoy music at the ‘Sone Afrique’ and ‘Empire’ restaurants which have live performances and serve good Indian food.
For the owner of ‘California Dreamer’ in Upanga, Mr Chandrakant Patel, ‘sparkling clean toilets’ are said to be the top priority. It has a fantastic electronic sound system, wonderful acoustics and air conditioning and DJ’s of the top class.
Mr Zonte wa Zonte is the boss of the ‘FM Club’. Situated in the Lang’ata social hall on the Kinondoni Road, it has a productive rivalry with ‘New Silent Inn’. Both claim to have the best facilities and the best in-house bands in the city playing Zairean Soukouss, popularly known as ‘Ndombola’. ‘Diamond Sound’ at ‘Silent Inn’ is certainly well renowned but the heavyweight lead dancer at FM Club, Miss Eva(ander) Hollyfield pulls a lot of crowds. Both offer cheap tickets and transportation for students..
Discerning Dar es Salaam residents still tell you that ‘Clouds Disco’ is the one to beat. On Sundays ‘Clouds’ arranges a disco poolside at the Kilimanjaro Hotel. On every other night of the week they play at the ‘Tazara Club’ in Kinondoni. Famous for the most up to the minute Congolese tunes, the competition that exists between the DJ’s ensures a first class night out. ‘Cloud Entertainment Ltd’ also organises beauty contests, fashion shows, concerts etc. Some other noted and distinctly African nightspots include ‘Imasco’ in Temeke, and the weekly concerts at the Lion Hotel in Sinza (Remmy Ongala’s local haunt).
The Dar es Salaam ‘Express’ has also revealed the negative side of the expanding life of pleasure in Dar es Salaam. Prostitution is widespread – it costs Shs 5,000 to Shs 60,000. This, in combination with hgh unemployment and a liberalised economy, has resulted in a high crime rate, stealing and robbery. Prostitution, which has increased markedly, is today quite open. Reports differ on the new market for prostitution. Foreigners are said to prefer a local girl – a Tanzanian, but one with the advantage of experience in neighbouring countries. It is said that many prostitutes have as their goal the saving of sufficient funds to start their own businesses. Especially at risk are lone mothers who have difficulty in providing for their own support.
Anita Stomberg and Ben Rawlence.
(Based originally on the Dar es Salaam Express’s Pleasure Supplement of June 5-11, part of this article appeared first in the Sweden-Tanzania Friendship Association’s journal ‘Habari’. Thank you Roger Carter for the translation. There is now another new casino, the Monte Carlo, located at the ‘Skyway’ nightspot – it has cost Shs 42 million, is a Tanzania -Malaysian enterprise, has seven different games and can accommodate 1,000 gamblers. A new tourist attraction – the first star gazing station in Tanzania to have telescopes and special binoculars – is being established with help from Italy at the Rufiji River Camp about 100 miles from Dar es Salaam.