When it comes to sports in Tanzania, soccer is one of the most widely played. In Dar es Salaam city, two major soccer clubs dominate the scene, Yanga or Young African Sports Club and Simba Sports Club. These two clubs contribute most players who form the national team. And despite the little success that the team has achieved in international outings, football remains the most popular sport in Dar es Salaam.
In Dar es Salaam, basketball is also played but mainly in the schools and military barracks. One of the greatest Tanzanian contributions to the NBA is Hasheem Thabeet who plays for the Oklahoma Thunder.
Before moving to Dar es Salaam, cricket was first played in Zanzibar by the British Navy as a form of recreation for the crew and offices. Cricket moved to Dar es Salaam in 1919 when the British took over the League of Nations, modern-day United Nations. The large Indian population in Dar es Salaam passionately embraced the game and it saw significant development and growth. The highlights of the cricket game in Dar es Salaam are the matches between the Tanzania cricket team and teams from Kenya and Uganda.
At the height of its success, the Tanzania Cricket Association became an affiliate member of the ICC, and this opened up new opportunities for young Tanzanian players who went on to acquire much-needed skills and experience as a result of exposure to the international cricket playing field. But as many businesses were rationalized in the early seventies, much of the British and Indian cricket-playing population left Tanzania and cricket standards started to decline.
One of the leading sporting facilities in Dar es Salaam is the Gymkhana Sports Club. This is a multi-faceted facility which gives visiting players and fans a haven of peace and tranquillity amidst the bustle and hustle of the chaotic city. The blue mass of water from the Indian Ocean which can be seen at a distance adds to its allure. Among the sports played here:
The club has an 18-hole expansive green with events lined up this year to kick start the tournament events that form the Chairman’s Trophy.
Gymkhanas Tennis courts comprise 14 hard courts and form the biggest tennis arena in East Africa. It is ideal for hosting significant international events, and plans are underway to extend all the courts to international standards.
Plans are underway to establish a Sports Academy at the Gymkhana Sports Club to honour a 100 years of sporting activities at the club
The city boasts several active and competitive swimming pools which also offer training for swimmers and professionals alike. They also accommodate members and other regular swimmers. Many facilities are easily accessible in the city and comprise clean swimming pools and changing rooms. The surroundings provide high levels of privacy in a quiet and relaxed atmosphere.
Equipment needed for swimming lessons such as diving sticks, rings, pull buoys etc are provided for at no extra cost. Experienced and qualified instructors conduct all swimming lessons.
Kayaking is a relatively new but growing sport that is currently run by volunteers who meet weekly to discuss and plan anything relevant to the competition.
Attending their meetings and getting to know other members is an excellent way to share new ideas, meet newbie paddlers and integrate into the rowing community.
Once you get into the group, you generally belong to one of two groups of members: The Leisure paddler and the Sporting paddler. They try to cater for both kayaking groups in activities that run throughout the year and are an excellent way to develop your paddling skills.
Given the fact that the city is on the Indian Ocean, and is located close to the equator, the conditions for keel boat sailing are often ideal. The Dar es Salaam yacht club is in the generally tranquil Msasani Bay. Conditions can often lead to excellent, fast sailing, posing a challenge for skippers and crew alike.
Across the harbour from the city lies Kigamboni, Kibada and Kipepeo Beach. Here sailing in the traditional dhow is popular, off to beautiful and uninhabited islands where one can snorkel and swim.
Do remember to read the article Discovering Dar es Salaam