Dar-Es-Salaam Travel Essentials


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Ideal duration: 1 - 3 days

Best Time: June - October Read More

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"The House of Peace"

Dar-Es-Salaam Tourism

Dar es Salaam is Tanzania's largest city, located on the east coast of Africa. As a major commercial and financial hub, it is known for its bustling atmosphere, diverse culture, and vibrant markets. Originally a fishing village in the mid-19th century, it has transformed into a popular tourist destination, boasting significant ports and trading centres. The city offers a range of attractions, from its stunning beaches along the Indian Ocean to its historical landmarks and museums and acts as a gateway to Tanzania's famous national parks.

Visitors can immerse themselves in Tanzania's cultural heritage at places like the National Museum and Village Museum. For a taste of authentic local life, the bustling Kariakoo Market provides a colourful and lively experience. Whether it's strolling along the waterfront, exploring the city centre, or venturing into its vibrant neighbourhoods, Dar es Salaam offers a captivating and rewarding destination for those seeking an authentic Tanzanian experience.

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Things to do in Dar-Es-Salaam

1. National Museum and House of Culture

The National Museum and House of Culture are located in the city centre of Dar es Salaam. Visitors can easily reach this attraction by taking a taxi, bajaj, or private vehicle. The museum offers exhib (Read More)itions on Tanzanian history, art, and culture, and also features botanical gardens and the historic Askari Monument. It is recommended to allocate about 2-3 hours to explore the museum and its surroundings. The best time to visit is either in the morning or late afternoon to avoid crowds and the heat. It is open from 09:30 AM to 06:00 PM and charges 6500 TZS for adults and 2600 TZS for kids.

2. Kariakoo Market

Kariakoo Market, the largest market in Dar es Salaam, is situated in the Kariakoo neighbourhood, northwest of the city centre. Travellers can reach the market by taking dala-dalas, taxis, or even by w (Read More)alking from nearby areas. The market offers a vibrant atmosphere where visitors can shop for local goods, fresh produce, and spices. It is recommended to spend about 1-2 hours exploring the market. For the freshest produce, early morning is the best time to visit, while late afternoon provides a bustling experience.

3. Coco Beach

Coco Beach is located along the coastline, about 7 kilometres from the city centre. Travellers can easily access the beach by taking taxis or bajaj. At Coco Beach, visitors can relax on the sandy shor (Read More)es, swim in the Indian Ocean, and enjoy beachside restaurants and bars. It's a perfect spot to unwind and spend a half day or more, depending on personal preferences. Late afternoon is the ideal time to visit for pleasant weather and beautiful sunset views.

4. Village Museum

The Village Museum is situated on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam and can be accessed by taking taxis or joining guided tours. The museum offers an immersive experience of traditional Tanzanian village (Read More) life through exhibits and demonstrations. It is recommended to allocate about 2-3 hours to explore the museum fully. The best time to visit is in the morning to avoid the heat and enjoy interactive displays.

5. Bongoyo Island

Bongoyo Island is located off the coast of Dar es Salaam and can be reached by boat from Msasani Bay. Travellers can book boat trips from the mainland or join organized tours. The island offers opport (Read More)unities for snorkelling, swimming, and hiking on its nature trails. Visitors can spend half a day or a full day on the island, depending on the chosen activities. Morning or early afternoon is the best time to visit for calm waters and better visibility.

6. Askari Monument and Azania Front Lutheran Church

The Askari Monument is a historical landmark, while the Azania Front Lutheran Church is an impressive architectural gem. They are situated in the city centre of Dar es Salaam and can be easily accesse (Read More)d by taking taxis, bajaj, or walking. Visitors can spend about 1-2 hours exploring these sites. The best time to visit is either in the morning or late afternoon for sightseeing and photography.

7. Slipway Arts and Crafts Market

The Slipway Arts and Crafts Market is located at the Slipway Shopping Complex, north of the city centre. Travellers can reach the market by taking taxis or bajaj. The market offers a variety of tradit (Read More)ional crafts, souvenirs, and artworks from local artisans. It is recommended to spend about 1-2 hours at the market. Late morning or early afternoon is the best time for a relaxed shopping experience.

8. Makumbusho Village Museum

Makumbusho Village Museum offers a unique cultural experience, showcasing traditional dwellings and artefacts from different Tanzanian tribes. It is located on the outskirts of the city and can be rea (Read More)ched by taxi or guided tour. Visitors can spend about 2-3 hours exploring the museum and learning about Tanzania's diverse cultural heritage. The best time to visit is in the morning when it's less crowded and cooler.

9. Mwenge Woodcarvers Market

The Mwenge Woodcarvers Market is a treasure trove of intricately crafted wood carvings, sculptures, and souvenirs. It is situated in the Mwenge area, easily accessible by taxis or public transportatio (Read More)n. Visitors can spend 1-2 hours browsing and purchasing unique wooden artworks directly from the local artisans.

10. Dar es Salaam Zoo and Botanical Gardens

The Dar es Salaam Zoo and Botanical Gardens are located near the city centre and offer a chance to see a variety of animals and plants. Visitors can explore the zoo and enjoy a leisurely walk through (Read More)the beautiful botanical gardens. It's a family-friendly attraction and a great place to spend a few hours outdoors. The best time to visit is in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat and crowds.

11. Pugu Hills Nature Reserve

Located near Dar es Salaam, Pugu Hills Nature Reserve offers a tranquil natural retreat, perfect for nature walks and wildlife spotting. Travellers can reach the reserve by taxi or join organized tour (Read More)s, and it is best enjoyed in the early morning or late afternoon for pleasant weather and better wildlife sightings.

12. North Beach - Jangwani and Mbuja Island

North Beach, encompassing Jangwani and Mbuja Island, boasts pristine sandy beaches and turquoise waters. Visitors can indulge in a variety of water sports and activities, such as swimming, sunbathing, (Read More) and beach volleyball. Jangwani Beach is easily accessible by taxi or public transportation, while Mbuja Island requires a boat ride from the mainland.

13. South Beach - Kigamboni

South Beach, located in the Kigamboni area of Dar es Salaam, is a popular coastal destination offering beautiful beaches and opportunities for beachside relaxation. Visitors can enjoy beach activities (Read More) and beachfront bars, and savour delicious fresh seafood. The beach is easily accessible by taxi, ferry, or the Kigamboni Bridge.

14. Kunduchi Wet 'N' Wild Water Park

Located on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, Kunduchi Wet 'N' Wild is a popular water park offering thrilling water slides, swimming pools, and fun water activities for all ages. It's a perfect destinat (Read More)ion for a day of family-friendly fun and can be reached by taxis or organized tours.

15. Bagamoyo Town

Bagamoyo is a historic coastal town about an hour's drive from Dar es Salaam. It holds significant historical importance as a former slave trade port and has well-preserved colonial architecture. Visi (Read More)tors can explore historical sites, and art galleries, and enjoy the coastal charm of this picturesque town.

16. Dar es Salaam Yacht Club

Located near the Slipway area, the Dar es Salaam Yacht Club offers sailing and yachting experiences on the Indian Ocean. Travellers can enjoy sailing lessons, rent boats, or simply relax by the waterf (Read More)ront and watch the yachts sail by.

17. Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society

Tingatinga is a unique and vibrant style of African art originating from Tanzania. Visitors can visit the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society in Dar es Salaam to see and purchase colourful Tingatinga (Read More)paintings directly from local artists

18. Dar es Salaam Fish Market

The Dar es Salaam Fish Market is a bustling and vibrant place where local fishermen bring in their daily catch to sell. It's an excellent spot to experience the lively atmosphere and witness the fish (Read More)trade in action. The market is located near the city centre and can be reached by taxi or walking. The best time to visit is early in the morning when the market is most active.

Must Know Before You Travel to Dar-Es-Salaam

  • Airport Taxis: To get better prices, avoid paying in USD and opt for Tanzanian Shillings. It will then cost around 30,000TSH.
  • Commuting within the City: Travellers can use dala-dalas for short distances, Bajaj for quick rides, taxis for comfort, and buses for specific routes.
  • Bongomaya Island Boat: Roundtrip costs $20 per person (minimum of 4 people required) for this boat ride to Bongomaya Island.
  • Foreign Currency Exchange: Carry a hard currency that can be exchanged at the airport Bureau de Change, if necessary, but note that it is not available 24 hours.
  • ATM at the Airport: There are a few ATMs at the airport where you can withdraw local currency.
  • Leaving for the Airport: Factor in heavy traffic, especially during evening rush hour (extends to 08:00 PM), and leave plenty of time for the trip back to the airport.
  • Bus Travel Safety: Keep valuables and bags containing valuables with you during bus travel, as thefts can occur, especially if the passenger steps off the bus.
  • Train Travel: If travelling to and from Dar es Salaam by train, tourists are advised to consider travelling in groups or opt for full occupancy of a first-class cabin for a safer travel experience.
  • City Center Congestion: Dar's city centre is highly congested from 9 AM to 6 PM on weekdays, particularly around Kariakoo Market, where streets are narrow and traffic lights are scarce.
  • Parking Fee: When parking on the street, lock your doors and leave. A parking attendant may approach you for a 300 Tzs fee (per hour) with a ticket on your windshield; pay before leaving.
  • Vehicle Safety: Carjackings are uncommon, but keep windows closed and doors locked to prevent theft of valuables. Choose parking spots carefully and consider secured parking lots for overnight stays.
  • Events and Magazines: Stay informed about events through magazines like 'What's Happening in Dar,' 'Advertising Dar,' and 'Tanzania in Your Pocket,' which feature dance and music performances, art openings, movie festivals, and more.
  • Drinking Water: Drink only bottled water, costing around 1,000 shillings for a 1.5-litre bottle, depending on the brand.
  • Safety at Night: Walking alone at night outside exclusive areas is not advisable for foreigners unfamiliar with the city.

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History of Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania, has a rich history that dates back to the 19th century. Originally, it was a small fishing village inhabited by the Zaramo people.

In the mid-19th century, the Sultan of Zanzibar established a trading post in the area, and in 1866, the town of Dar es Salaam ("Haven of Peace" in Arabic) was officially founded. During the German colonial period, from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, Dar es Salaam became the capital of German East Africa and experienced significant development.

After World War I, the British took control, and Dar es Salaam became the administrative centre of Tanganyika under British rule. Following Tanzania's independence in 1961, the city became the capital of the newly formed nation. Throughout its history, Dar es Salaam has served as a major port and commercial hub, playing a vital role in trade and commerce in East Africa. Today, it continues to be a dynamic and bustling city, reflecting its diverse cultural heritage and economic significance.

Nightlife in Dar es Salaam

The nightlife in Dar es Salaam is a lively and diverse scene, offering a mix of modern entertainment and cultural experiences. In the evenings, locals and visitors alike head to popular spots like Masaki and Oyster Bay, where a variety of bars, lounges, and nightclubs come alive.
  • The biggest party night happens monthly at Mediterraneo Hotel and Restaurant, attracting a lively crowd of around 500-600 people for an all-night festival of drinking, dancing, and fun.
  • Runway Lounge at Shopper's Plaza is another hot spot to enjoy drinks, lounge, and dance alongside a flamboyant crowd.
  • Sweet Eazy, a vibey restaurant and bar located in a small shopping complex behind The Oyster Bay Hotel, features live music on Saturday nights, providing a cheesy but enjoyable atmosphere.
  • Q Bar, located off Haile Selassie Road, draws a diverse crowd and offers live music, pool tables, and a lively ambience.
  • For a more nostalgic experience, O'Willies Irish Pub on the Water's Edge hosts live music on weekends and is perfect for a great night of drinking.
  • To start the evening early, Level 8 at Kempinski Hotel, down by the waterfront, is an excellent choice.
  • For a more relaxed setting, Coco Beach is the go-to spot, with its beachside bars and restaurants offering enchanting views of the Indian Ocean and mouthwatering seafood dishes.

Shopping in Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam offers a vibrant shopping scene with various unique opportunities to explore. Here are some of the best places to shop:
  • Kariakoo Market: Considered the largest market in Dar es Salaam, Kariakoo Market is a bustling hub for fresh produce, spices, and vibrant fabrics, providing an authentic and lively market experience.
  • Uhuru Street (Downtown Dar es Salaam): Known for its huge distribution selection of kangas, a traditional and colourful cloth widely worn and cherished in Tanzanian culture, making it an ideal spot to find authentic Tanzanian textiles.
  • Mwenge Woodcarvers Market: A must-visit for intricately crafted woodcarvings and other artisanal products, showcasing the talent and creativity of Tanzanian artisans.
  • Slipway Arts and Crafts Market: Located at the Slipway Shopping Complex, this market offers an abundance of beautifully crafted artworks, making it an excellent destination for art enthusiasts and those looking for unique pieces.
  • Slipway Sunday Market: Held at the Slipway Shopping Complex every Sunday, this vibrant market offers a wide variety of stalls selling local crafts, artworks, clothing, and more, making it a great place to shop for souvenirs and support local artisans.
  • North Beach (Jangwani Area): Ideal for beachside shopping, visitors can find beachwear, beach accessories, and locally made crafts, adding to the beach getaway experience.
  • Mlimani City Shopping Mall: A modern shopping destination with a wide array of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options for a contemporary shopping experience.
Visitors can engage in bargaining for better deals at local markets. It is recommended to carry small denominations of Tanzanian shillings for smoother transactions. Shopping in the city offers a chance to support local artisans and take home souvenirs reflecting Tanzania's rich cultural heritage. The diverse markets allow exploration of the country's artistic and cultural diversity, creating a memorable experience.

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How to Reach Dar-Es-Salaam

How to Reach Overview

Dar es Salaam is easily reachable by multiple modes of transport. Being a major city in Tanzania, it also acts as a gateway to many destinations within the county. 

Dar es Salaam is well-connected through various modes of transportation. The city's main airport, Julius Nyerere International Airport, serves as a major gateway, located approximately 12 kilometres (about 7.5 miles) southwest of the city centre, catering to both domestic and international flights. For travellers looking to access the city by road, it is possible to self-drive as well as hire a taxi to reach the city from neighbouring cities and countries. The Ubungo station acts as a central hub for buses travelling to different cities and towns within Tanzania. Long-distance buses offer routes to destinations such as Arusha, Mwanza, and Dodoma, as well as neighbouring countries like Kenya and Zambia. While the city has a limited rail network, train services connect it to some nearby towns and cities, providing an alternative transportation option for certain travellers.

How to reach Dar-Es-Salaam by flight

Dar es Salaam is served by Julius Nyerere International Airport, which is the main airport in Tanzania. It connects the city to various domestic and international destinations. The airport is located approximately 12 kilometres (about 7.5 miles) southwest of the city centre.

Travellers can take a taxi or book a pre-arranged airport transfer to reach the city, and the journey takes around 20 to 30 minutes, depending on traffic. Hotels offer pick-up and drop-off services, or you can use minibuses, ride-hailing apps, or taxis for transportation.

Taxis at the airport charge fixed rates of $30 to the city centre for non-residents. For more affordable options, travellers can walk to the main road and flag a taxi or use ride-hailing apps for a cost of 10,000TSH to 20,000TSH. Minibuses (Daladalas) are available from the opposite side of the road for a cheaper fare, typically 500TSh to the Ubongo bus terminal and 700TSh to the city centre.

You can book international flights on Skyscanner and domestic flights within Tanzania on platforms like Air Tanzania, Coastal Aviation, and Auric Air.

How to reach Dar-Es-Salaam by road

Dar es Salaam is well-connected by roads to various cities and towns in Tanzania and neighbouring countries. For example, you can travel from Arusha to Dar es Salaam by road, covering a distance of approximately 540 kilometres (about 335 miles). The journey takes around 8 to 10 hours, depending on road conditions and stops along the way.

How to reach Dar-Es-Salaam by train

Tanzania has a limited rail network, and Dar es Salaam is connected to some nearby towns and cities by train. For example, you can travel from Dodoma to Dar es Salaam by train, covering a distance of approximately 450 kilometres (about 280 miles). The journey takes around 8 to 10 hours, and there are different classes of train services available to choose from.

You can check all train schedules and book to and from Dar es Salam on Tanzania Railways Corporation.

How to reach Dar-Es-Salaam by bus

Reaching Dar es Salaam by bus is a convenient and popular option for both domestic and international travellers. The Ubungo station is a major hub for buses to various cities. Long-distance buses connect the city to various cities and towns within Tanzania, such as Arusha, Mwanza, and Dodoma, with journey durations ranging from several hours to overnight travel. Additionally, neighbouring countries also have bus services connecting to Dar es Salaam, making it accessible from destinations like Nairobi, Kenya, and Lusaka, Zambia. However, it is recommended to book reputed bus companies.

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FAQs on Dar-Es-Salaam

What is the best time to visit Dar es salaam?

The best time to visit Dar-Es-Salaam is during the months from late June to October, post the rainy spell that leaves most of Tanzania warm, dry and sunny.
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What are the places near Dar es salaam?

The top places near to Dar es salaam are London which is 7488 km from Dar es salaam, Dubai which is located 3960 km from Dar es salaam, Amsterdam which is located 7338 km from Dar es salaam, New york city which is located 12452 km from Dar es salaam, Bali which is located 8355 km from Dar es salaam

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