Dar es Salaam (Haven of Peace in Arabic) was founded in 1862 by Sultan Seyyid Majid of Zanzibar on the site of the village of Mzizima. Mzizima's history dates back to when the Barawa people started to settle and cultivate the area around Mbwa Maji, Magogoni, Mjimwema, Gezaulole, and Kibonde Maji Mbagara.
Dar es Salaam's origins have been influenced by a myriad of Sultans, the Germans, and the British. The city started as a fishing village in the mid-19th century, is now Tanzania's largest city, and has become one of East Africa’s most important ports and trading centres.
With its great atmosphere, mix of African, Muslim, and South Asian influences, picturesque harbour, beaches, chaotic markets, and historical buildings, it is well worth extending your stay beyond the time between flights.
Dar es Salaam is certainly not at the top of the list of places to see for most visitors to Tanzania. It's often a necessary stop on their way to Zanzibar, the northern safari circuit or home, but Dar has its charm. Walks around the city centre are a great way to get a feel for the culture and Kariakoo market can be an interesting place for the more adventurous. It can also be a good base for visiting some of the nearby sites such as Bagamoyo, Bongoyo and Mbudja Islands, as well as learn to scuba dive or go deep sea fishing. For those looking for something more humanitarian, most international organizations are based in Dar and may be a good starting point if you wish to volunteer.
Most visitors to Dar arrive via Julius K. Nyerere International Airport, about 10 km west of the city centre. Dar is flat and is bordered on the east by the Indian Ocean.
Dar es Salaam has a very humid climate and relatively stable temperatures, both in terms of night-to-day, and summer-to-winter. The driest and coolest season is June through early October. Short rains occur November through February (especially December), and long rains occur March through May, with monsoon season peaking in April. Temperatures are high November through May, highest in January.
|Dar es Salaam|
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Between December and February, in the dry season, temperatures can rise to the mid-30s (°C); due to the high humidity, discomfort can be very high. You should seek shelter from the sun during the midday heat and use copious amounts of sunblock.
Best times to visit are: June-Sept, after the rainy season, with milder temperatures and lower relative humidity.
Citizens of Commonwealth countries, unless they are citizens of United Kingdom, Canada, Nigeria, Australia, Pakistan, or India, do not need a visa for entry into Tanzania. Travellers from the countries listed here must obtain a visa before arriving in Tanzania. However, travellers from most countries, including United Kingdom, Canada, Nigeria, or India, can obtain a visa on arrival for a fee of US$50 (US$100 for citizens of the United States). The fee must be paid in cash and in US dollars.
Other requirements may exist for business or other types of visas. Check with the nearest Tanzanian consular section.
- 1 Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR IATA Formerly known as Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere International Airport and Dar es Salaam International Airport) (10 km from the city center and 20 km from the Msasani Peninsula). Tanzania's main airport
Most large hotels offer a pick-up and drop-off service upon request. A taxi from the airport to the city centre will cost you from TSh 30,000 with higher prices at night. Bajaji vehicles charge about half the price of a normal cab. Walking out of the airport to the main road there’s a daladala stop, which can get you to town cheaply (<TSh 1000). Buses are easy to find and have their destination signposted, however some may take significant detours before arriving at their destination. Look for those marked POSTA, which is the main Post Office in the city centre next to the ferry terminal. There are also buses heading to Mwenge or Ubungo terminals if you plan to go somewhere else by bus directly. Hitchhiking is uncommon, dangerous, and most drivers will expect some form of payment from foreigners.
Warning: Getting to/from the airport often entails a traffic nightmare, particularly around evening rush hour (which can last beyond 8PM). There is one particular intersection between downtown and the airport that is impossible to avoid and is often backed up for over an hour. Leave yourself a lot more time than you think reasonable for the trip; if you arrive too early for your flight's check-in, there is a pleasant restaurant above the terminal that has okay food and good beer.
Dar es Salaam is served internationally from:
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam), +255 22 213 9790, daily flights with a stop in Kilimanjaro.
- Swiss International Airlines (Zürich), +255 22 211 8870, 5 flights a week (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) with a stopover in Nairobi, Kenya.
- Turkish Airlines (Istanbul IST), +90 212 444 0 849, daily flights.
- Emirates (Dubai), +255 22 211 6100, Daily flights.
- Oman Air (Muscat), direct flights 3 times a week (Friday, Sunday and Wednesday)and 4 times week via Zanzibar (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday)
- Qatar Airways (Doha), +255 22 284 2675, 1019, Julius Nyerere International Airport, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Daily flights.
- Egypt Air (Cairo), +255 22 2136665, 4 flights a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday). Offers lowest fares out of Europe, Americas & Asia to Dar es Salaam via Cairo. A Star Alliance Member.
- South African Airways (Johannesburg), +255 22 211 7044, Twice daily flights.
- Ethiopian Airlines (Addis Ababa), +255 22 211 7063, Daily flights (except on Monday) with a stop in Kilimanjaro.
- Kenya Airways (Nairobi), +255 22 211 9376 (Dar) & +255 24 223 8355 (Zanzibar), 3 daily flights with some stopping in Kilimanjaro.
- Air Malawi (Blantyre & Lilongwe), +255 22 212 7746 / 2043, 3 flights a week (Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday)
- Mozambique Airlines – Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique (Maputo), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 3 flights a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday)
- Zambezi Airlines - Zambia, (Lusaka), +255 22 2137422, 3 flights a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) between Lusaka-Zambia and Dar es Salaam.
- Comores Aviation, 3 flights a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday)
- Air Malawi (Blantyre)
And domestically by:
- Air Tanzania, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Also flies internationally to Johannesburg daily.
- Auric Air, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Flies to many places in Tanzania, including the major places Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Mwanza, Pemba and Zanzibar.
- Fast Jet, Samora tower opp NCH Samora Avenue, ☏ . 8:30AM-4:30PM. the 1st low cost airline in Tanzania. Mwanza. Mbeya. Arusha. From US$50.
- Precision Air, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. to Nairobi, Comoros, Johannesburg and Entebbe
- Coastal Aviation, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- ZanAir, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- air viva, ✉ email@example.com. Flights to Arusha, Zanzibar, Kilimanjaro.
Warning: Domestic flights are often late but generally reliable.
Buying tickets: You can buy flight tickets from travel agents, or from airline offices. When purchasing tickets for domestic flights with a credit card, travel agents will add-on a fee ranging anywhere from 3-6% of the ticket price. To avoid the fee, pay for your tickets in cash. There are no additional fees when purchasing tickets for international destinations.
Dar es Salaam is the hub for all rail travel in Tanzania. In principle, there are two lines running into Dar. Tanzania Railways Corporation has services from Kigoma, Mpanda and Mwanza in the west, via the center of Tanzania, including the capital Dodoma. However, there have been safety issues on these trains. Tourists should try to travel in groups, and/or buy out a first class cabin. It is recommnded to keep doors and windows locked, especially when sleeping. It is possible to buy fresh fruit, eggs, and other items out of the windows all along the way.
The second line is Tazara, between Dar and Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia, about three hours north of the capital Lusaka. The trains are much nicer, although not much more on-time. On its way the train goes through part of the Selous Game Reserve and through Mbeya. Visas for Zambia are available on the train. This is a nice but slow way to travel, with the full length of the journey taking two days.
Those looking for a more grandiose way of arriving in Dar es Salaam, Rovos Rail offers a train journey from Cape Town at least 2-3 times a year. The two-week journey represents the height of luxury travel and includes stops at game reserves and golfing. Prices are as expected astronomical, starting at US$12,000.
All trains along the Tazara line runs from the 2 Tazara railway station, at the western edge of city along Julius K. Nyerere Rd. Trains run by Tanzania Railway leave from 3 Central railway station in downtown.
Bus travel is generally reliable if you pick the right company. It can be somewhat scary as Tanzanians seem to value arriving quickly more than arriving safely ('Mungu akipenda, tutafika' – If God wants it, we shall arrive).
- 1 Ubungo Terminal (just west of the city). Dar es Salaam's central bus station. Most buses leave from here. A taxi ride from/to the city center will set you back about TSh 20,000, but it's often possible to take a daladala from/to Posta for TSh 400 per person or use rapid transit from "Posta" to "Ubungo Terminal" for Tsh 650 per person. The stand is just outside the bus stop on Morogoro Road and people are typically happy to point them out to you if you ask. Although there are many touts outside of Ubungo's ticket area, they are mostly harmless. If you are put off by them, ask the taxi to take you inside the station for a small extra fee. The ticket offices are just outside the station, though you can buy the tickets from the bus if you have entered already. This might be a better idea regardless, as you cannot tell the state of the bus from outside, nor how full the bus is (buses will only leave when completely full).
- Moshi or Arusha (from 8/11hr, TSh 30,000). Take one of the better bus companies (e.g. Modern Coast express, Dar Express or Kilimanjaro Express). Another company Royal Coach is perhaps an even better option. The buses are very nice, have A/C (when working), a bathroom, and travel at 80 km/h for safety. The Royal Coach ticket office is downtown near the Econolodge: buses leave from here early in the morning as well, although they then wait at the main bus stand for at least an hour.
Warning: Some of the cheaper lines run buses which are remarkably dilapidated, uncomfortable, will take a very long time to fill up, and will likely have to stop more often on the way, assuming they make it at all. Bus travel by night is not allowed, so most buses except for those to nearby cities will leave early in the morning.
Warning: Keep valuables and bags containing valuables with you at all times during bus travel. It is not uncommon for bags placed on an over-head shelf to be stolen from the bus during a stop, especially if the passenger has stepped off of the bus.
Sometimes the touts for the shadier bus companies claim to be working for or selling tickets for the more reputable bus companies. It is best to find the ticket office of a reputable bus company in the line of offices just outside of the bus stand. It is not necessary to book a ticket in advance, but it is a good idea to do so during high travel times (Easter, Christmas). Also make sure the correct date is written on the ticket.
Taxi prices from Ubungo are highest inside the stand, where there is a fairly strong cartel (similar to the airport). However there are always taxis outside the stand as well, with whom better prices can be negotiated. If you make a deal with a tout, and not directly with the driver (sitting in the car) the price will include a commission for the tout. Your negotiating position will be affected by things like the weather, time of day, traffic, how many other taxis there are, whether you can bargain in Kiswahili, whether you have lots of bags, etc. Starting to walk to the daladala stand can show you're serious about negotiating – actually going there and taking a dala will really save you money.
- 2 Mwenge Bus station. Here you can find buses/daladalas heading along the coastroad towards Bagamoyo (1½-2hr, TSh 2,200). Taxi fares to the city center are essentially the same as for Ubungo. A taxi to Ubungo costs TSh 10,000, to the airport TSh 30,000, but there’s also frequent daladalas. The route to the airport will likely take you across both the Ubungo and the Buguruni crossing, both of which are notorious traffic jam areas and will delay your trip.
- 3 Zanzibar ferry. Here the ferries to and from Zanzibar leave and arrive. Beware of scams when buying ferry tickets. See Zanzibar: Get in by boat for details. US$35.
Walking around central Dar is a nice way to see the city and probably the best way to get around. In general people will leave you alone except for the occasional greeting. There aren't many sidewalks in Dar so exercise caution when walking along busy roads.
Cycling around Dar is possible but can be difficult and scary. You should be comfortable with cycling in high-congestion areas where a cyclist is often low in the food chain. Tanzanians have little patience when driving and in their mind any vehicle smaller than theirs is responsible for getting out of the way. Cycling on the Msasani Peninsula is less bad than in more urban areas. Wear a helmet and hone your defensive cycling skills.
UWABA, the Dar cyclists' association, is uniting cyclists to lobby for better (or any) bike lanes, traffic safety, and to improve the image of cycling. Cycling is associated with poor people who can't afford motorised transport and middle-class Tanzanians complain that their reputation will suffer if they are seen on a bike.
Some local tour groups offer guide bicycling tours around the city. This is a good way to get further afield and interact with the locals. One company that offers bike tours in Dar is Afriroots – they have 'Dar Reality Tours' and Sunday tours that include a delicious lunch. Sign up for the Sunday tours on the previous Thursday. Their email is firstname.lastname@example.org
For a countryside cycle trip, the Pugu Hills Nature Centre, 12 km from the international airport (0754 565 498), is a good opportunity, but you need to come with your own bike and make a booking if you plan to visit the place.
Car hires can be organized through most hotels. Tanzanians drive on the left. Like many developing countries, driving in Dar can be stressful, difficult and dangerous. In addition to potholes, drivers must contend with aggressive taxis and dalla-dallas (see below), poor driving skills by western standards, large potholes, uncovered manholes, few if any street lights at night, and thieves who remove any exterior part of your vehicle while you’re stopped at traffic lights. During the rainy season you must also navigate through water covered roads that may hide deep potholes and around Tanzanians who dart out into traffic in an effort to get out of the rain, often with little children in tow. In conclusion, driving in Dar should be left to those with driving experience in developing countries.
Choice of vehicle
- If you're only driving in Dar, you can opt for a sedan which will be cheaper on gas and easier to park. You'll still have to go slowly when you're taking secondary roads, many of which aren't sealed.
Driving in the city
- Dar's city centre is extremely congested from 9AM-6PM from Monday to Friday. There are few traffic lights and the streets are very narrow. It's dog-eat-dog, so offensive driving skills are a must as no one will let you pass if you just sit and wait at stops signs. Streets are crowded with parked and moving cars, SUVs, lorries, scooters, and very muscular men pulling insanely overload carts. People can spend hours stuck in traffic jams, especially around Kariakoo Market.
- There are a few roundabouts in the downtown, which the locals call "keeplefties" because they thought that the sign advising drivers to "Keep Left" when entering the roundabouts was the name of this fascinating Mzungu invention. Mzungu is the Swahili word for "white" foreigners. It is not derogatory; more along the lines of calling a white person "a Caucasian".
- When parking on the street in Dar, find a spot to park, then lock your doors and leave. When you return, a parking attendant wearing a yellow fluorescent vest will approach you for payment. The fee is Tsh 300 for one hour. The attendant should either hand you a ticket or it will already be on your windscreen. Do not leave without paying if there is a ticket on your windscreen, because the attendant will be forced to make up for the missing money, and probably only earns Tsh 3000 a day at best.
Carjackings are uncommon but opening doors or jumping through open windows to steal valuables is not. Keep your windows closed and doors locked. Reports have arisen of thieves aiming for golden and silver earrings at traffic lights, simply ripping them out. When stopped at traffic lights or parked in unattended locations, thieves have been known to steal mirrors, panelling, spare tyres and anything that is not either engraved with the license plate number of bolted to the vehicle's body. Choose your parking spots carefully and don't leave valuables in plain sight. You can either offer the parking attendant a small tip to watch your vehicle, TSh 500-1000, or find a secured parking lot, especially if your leaving the vehicle overnight. Hotels often provide such parking areas.
Dangers and annoyances
- Tanzanians drive very fast and won't hesitate to overtake in a blind curve or even when there are oncoming vehicles. Always be vigilant.
- The number of drunk drivers involved in serious vehicular accidents has dramatically increased. Although there are laws against driving under the influence, like many other laws they are poorly enforced, especially at night. Exercise caution when driving at night and around popular nightspots.
- Anytime a dignitary or senior government official is travelling in Dar, police will stop traffic in all directions to ensure the path from their departure point to destination is clear. This can result in extremely long waits and serious traffic congestion that can take hours to clear. Whether you are driving or taking a taxi, ensure that you have factored in these frequent road blocks which could easily add one hour to your travel time to the airport.
- If you are involved in an accident with a pedestrian, drive to the nearest police station and advise them. Do not exit your vehicle and attempt to resolve the situation even if you are sure it was not your fault. Tanzanians are some of the nicest people you will meet in Africa, but they have been known to take matters, like most Africans, into their own hands. This is largely due to their mistrust of the police and the belief that anyone with money, e.g. rich foreigners, can buy their way out of a problem.
There are no formal taxi companies in Dar es Salaam nor are there any contact centres reachable the 24 hours of the day (or at any time). Taxi drivers are not associated to any public transport company (they run their own business) but they are regulated by the government. Look for white license plates and a taxi number painted on the side. Taxis also have official receipts. The cars have a recognizable paint job and always stay parked at specific points across the city (in great numbers), some few of them even during the night, but can only be reached via personal mobile phones. Taxi fares are not fixed.
During the night, taxis are still available, but they remain at their usual corners around the city but can only be reached via their personal mobile phones. Since most streets outside the city centre (and even within) lack totally of any type of light source it is totally recommended against to walk to those corners where the taxis stay during the night, then it implies an unreliable service as only if the taxi driver that is usually contacted by the tourist is around can he get a service during the night, therefore risking getting stuck at either, the rented apartment or even worse at any other location around the city (specially if it's not a popular night destination).
A price must be negotiated before your begin travelling, or the price will be considerably higher once you reach your destination. It is not customary to tip your driver. While there are many friendly and honest drivers, some will try their luck and quote an outrageous price to anyone who looks wealthy. Even if you can't see another taxi around, don't agree to it. Another taxi is sure to be just around the corner. It is quite practical to begin walking in the direction you want to go. You'll either find one on the side of the road or one will drive past. Cars owned by drivers are often maintained at a high level; taking a smooth air-conditioned trip around Dar is entirely possible if you know the right driver!
If you plan on hiring a taxi for a long journey, inspect the quality of the tires, which are often extremely worn.
Don't hesitate to tell the driver to slow down. "Pole Pole" in Swahili.
To/from the airport to/from the city centre – the price is around TSh 30,000. This can sometimes be negotiated down, especially if you pay in US dollars.
To/from city centre to/from Msasani Peninsula – should run about TSh 7,000, more commonly TSh 10,000.
For a small premium, you can reserve a taxi for the whole day. This can convenient if your visiting a number of places and doing some shopping. You should be able to get it for TSh 60,000.
By autorickshaw (Bajaj)
Small, three-wheeled Indian vehicles, these are popular as they cost approximately half the equivalent taxi fare and are able to travel alongside the roads when blocked by the inevitable traffic jams. They have a reputation for being rather dangerous, and some drivers appear to be too young for a driving license. Up to three people can fit in the seat behind the driver.
By minibus (daladala)
The most common form of public transportation in Dar are minibuses called "daladalas". These minibuses follow specific routes with the start and ending point clearly marked on the front of the vehicle. At the main stations (Ubungo, Posta, Mwenge) daladalas from each route do stop to collect passengers at the same stop at the station. It's fine to ask someone were to find the daladala you're looking for, the newspaper and phonecard sellers are often quite helpful.
Outside of Dar, and on routes going from the city to smaller places outside of it, daladalas are often old, crowded minivans.
Although nowadays most major streets have designated bus stops, you can often jump on and off anywhere along the route by simply yelling “out”: “Shusha!” (pronounced SHOO-sha).
Their popularity is due to their ready availability and low cost, (around TSh 400 per ride. This varies by route, longer rides such as Posta to Mombasa are TSh 600. The fare is indicated on the outside of the daladala, normally painted onto the door). However, drivers will pile in as many people as possible, there is no air-conditioning, some drive like maniacs, and the overall condition of the vehicles is poor, with many frequently breaking down along the way. But travellers should not hesitate to use them for getting around. Watch out for pickpockets as you get into and leave crowded vehicles. Except for early in the day, Daladalas often have change (more than most restaurants/dukas (stores)), so its actually often pretty good place to split a TSh 10,000 banknote.
It helps if you know a little Kiswahili and are at least a little familiar with the city when using daladalas. If you’re trying to get to the city centre, hop onto any daladala marked Posta. They all go to the central post office on Maktaba/Azikiwe St. Since they tend to be very crowded, you should guard your belongings. This is especially true when you are at large bus stations such as Mwenge.
Boarding daladalas in city centre stations (Posta, Kariakoo) is a competitive undertaking during the evening rush. People will climb the bus windows to get in earlier and get a seat. It's wise to avoid leaving the city centre during the peak of the rush hour, 4:30PM to 6:30PM entirely.
Often, if there are many people waiting for a certain daladala (like the popular Ubungo to Posta route) and there is a scramble to get on, if you just wait for the next one you'll have no problem getting on, and might even get a seat! The same thing will happen on your destination (Ubungo, Posta, Mwenge, ...) and sometimes people will start entering the bus already a couple of stops ahead of your destination to get a seat for the trip back. If you notice so, get off and walk the rest to avoid not being able to get off the bus.
Pickpockets are at work at outlying daladala terminals after the sun sets. Have awareness of your pockets, especially when boarding a bus. Turn that awareness meter up if you are boarding from Mwenge or Ubungo.
The best part of using the daladala system is that locals will often strike up friendly conversations and are always willing to help you with your Kiswahili. Travel by daladala can be quite enjoyable so long as you are on the correct route.
By motorcycle taxi (bodaboda)
Though not as common as Bajajs, there are many motorcycle taxis, called "bodaboda" ("pikipiki" can also be heard, this just means motorcycle). They are even cheaper than Bajajs, and because of their size they can get you to your destination much quicker during rush hour (which is pretty much all day long in Dar) by zigzagging between cars. You sit behind the driver; it is however not common to hold your hands around the driver, instead you hold on to the luggage rack behind you.
Even though the bodabodas are cheap and efficient, they are also very dangerous. Due to their small size other drivers seldom pay much heed to them, and their habit of zigzagging between vehicles can lead to dangerous situations. Also, though they usually have helmets for themselves, it is very rare for bodabodas to keep spare helmets for the passengers. If you request it they may give you their own helmet, but will never offer to do so voluntarily.
By commuter rail
Two commuter rail lines run through the city. One line runs 25 km between the Mwakanga and Tazara railway stations. The second runs 20 km between Ubungo-Maziwa and City railway stations. Both lines operate between 5AM-11AM and 3PM-8PM, with no service during the middle of the day.
Tickets are not sold on the train, but can easily be purchased at the station or through 2000 ticket vending machines city-wide. Ticket prices (Nov 2012) are TSh 400 for adults and TSh 100 for adults, valid for any single trip (regardless of distance) but no transfers.
- 1 National Museum, 5 Shaaban Robert St, ☏ . 09:30-18:00 daily. The national museum mainly shows photos and exhibitions on the development of human nature. A must go to see the skull of the Nutcracker Man (1.75 million years old) and the cast of the even older (3.6 million years) laetoli footprints. Also find a botanical garden on the other side of Samora Ave.
- 2 Makumbusho Village Museum, ☏ . 09:00-18:00 daily. All of the houses within the village were constructed in accordance with the types of houses built by various ethnic groups throughout Tanzania. Ngoma dance shows are held from 2-6PM on certain days.
- 3 Askari Monument. A monument dedicated to the Askari soldiers who fought in World War I.
- 4 Zoological Gardens. US$20.
- 5 Karimjee Hall. Former parliamentary building. Still in use for seminars.
- 6 Azania Front Lutheran Church. In the center of the city and built by German missionaries is a well known landmark.
- Ocean Road Public Park just east of the National Museum and House of Culture is not too enthralling with the way the main sewer line for the city empties into the ocean right there with the smells to go with it.
- Bahari Beach hotel, is about 20 km to the north of Dar es Salaam along New Bagamoyo Road. The hotel charges a small fee for non-guests.
For a great day trip, head out to Bongoyo Island. Bongoyo is a small, uninhabited island just off the coast. The boat to Bongoyo leaves from Mashua Waterfront Bar & Grill at Slipway, the upscale set of shops and markets on the Msasani Peninsula, just north of Dar es Salaam. A taxi from the city center should run you TSh 8,000. The first boat leaves at 9:30AM, with others at 11:30AM, 1:30PM and 3:30PM, with a minimum of four people. The ferry cost Tsh 25,000 which includes a round trip plus the US$10 for the marine park fee. The return ferries are at 10:30AM, 12:30PM, 2:30PM and the last one leaves around 4:30PM. There is a small restaurant on the island which serves a variety of foods and drinks (grilled prawns, fish and chips, egg and chips, beer etc.). Another option is to buy food at the Shrijee's supermarket at Slipway. You can relax without having to worry about anyone stealing your things on Bongoyo. Take a hike around the island, snorkel in the clear waters to the southwest of the island (snorkeling gear may be rented on the island for TSh 6,000 per set per day) or just relax under a banda on the beach. Bandas are TSh 5,000 and a chair costs TSh 1,500 for the day. On the weekend, be sure to get on the first ferry if you want a banda, it gets very busy on Saturday and Sunday. When you come back, you can get ice cream or a meal at several of the Slipway restaurants and watch the sun set. You can also check out the Tinga Tinga paintings and other crafts at the market. Walk to the south (toward the Doubletree Hotel) from the main part of Slipways, past the boatyard, to find many cheaper market stalls.
Mbudya Island is a smaller island just north of Bongoyo. To visit, take a taxi or bajaji to the White Sands Hotel, near Kunduchi. Two-way tickets can be purchased for TSh 10,000 per person, with a minimum of 4 people per boat, and there is an additional TSh 10,000 park fee when you get to the island. The popular side of the island has beaches, bandas, a small bar, and a food pavilion (though the menu is very limited). Beers go for about TSh 3,000. There is also a somewhat nicer, though more expensive, bar on the northern end of the beach. The rest of the island is mostly rough cliff face, which can make for some interesting hiking, though this is not advised if you don't have good shoes and dependable balance (the rocks are very sharp and scrambling is sometimes required). The last boats back to White Sands leave between 4:30 and 5PM, though you can stay a bit longer if you are willing to take a smaller, overcrowded boat back to the Sea Breeze hotel, which is south of White Sands.
For a great excursion in the city to see the "real Dar," you should do an "Investour." Investours runs microfinance poverty tours, and you get to meet and talk to local entrepreneurs, see the Mwenge woodcarvers market in a behind-the-scenes experience, and even have a local Tanzanian lunch with some of the craftsmen. Your fee is then used as an interest-free microfinance loan given to the entrepreneur of your choice—out of the ones you met during the day. Most people come to Dar without experiencing the true aspects of the city: abject poverty and the desire of most individuals from all over Tanzania to strike it big here. It is an important cultural part of Dar es Salaam, and an Investour should definitely be something you consider to do.
At Slipways, the Waterfront Bar and Grill is decent and is open long hours, but the best dining experience is on The Terrace, which generally opens around 7PM on weeknights and 6PM on weekends. The coffee shop next to The Terrace served pretty good food (and excellent coffee) as well.
There are quite a number of night clubs in Dar es Salaam. Probably the most popular in City Centre is Bilicanas, which is lively and sometimes not quite as full of prostitutes as the other clubs. It is popular with locals and ex-pats alike. Music is varied, depending on the night, from local to Congolese to dance to hip-hop. (The place goes nuts when they play the cheesy songs.) California Dreamers is another nearby club, but it is too full of prostitutes to recommend. There are numerous other smaller clubs that can be fun, but harder to get to. On the Peninsula, Sweeteazy has great live bands, sometimes with their own dancers every Thursday (and Saturday?) evenings. There is always a mixed Tanzanian/expat crowd dancing. Cover charge is TSh 10,000 but if you have supper there it's free!
Hiking is possible in the Pugu Hills, some 12 km west of the airport. Villagers can assist as guide for a hike around the Pugu Hills or to the major cattle market of Dar es Salaam. Arrangements are through the Pugu Hills Nature Centre. For directions to Pugu Hills see web site.
If you like to have a chillout evening, the Mediterraneo Lounge has a large collection of chill-out music. At the Mediterraneo Hotel & Restaurant Lounge you can enjoy the fantastic view of the Indian Ocean while sipping your favourite drink, and listening to the best lounge & chill-out music in Dar es Salaam. More in town and therefore somewhat less romantic but still beautiful, on the Peninsula, check out very attractive but expensive Coral Beach restaurant, right on the ocean, from where you can watch the sun set.
Massage Try High Care Massage at the Slipway for a very professionally organized place. There are signs for lots of other massage and spa centres around town. Two places favoured by ladies in landcruisers are Lemon on Haile Selassie Road (next to George & Dragon pub) or the Spot on Chole Road (opposite the taxi stand).
Movies There are modern cinema halls like New World Cinema on Bagomoyo Rd. which hosts the annual European and Asian film festivals (☏) and others listed below. You can buy DVDs on every corner but beware, many are defective Chinese counterfeits, poorly produced, and/or lack English translation.
- 1 Century Cinemax, Sam Nujoma Rd (inside Mlimani City Shopping Mall), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-F 12PM-9PM, Sa-Su 10AM-9PM.
- 2 Suncrest Cineplex, Julius K. Nyerere Rd. (inside Quality Centre Mall), ☏ . Daily 11:15AM-11:15PM. The largest cinema in Dar es Salaam, featuring full backrest reclining seating with footrests and snap-on trays for armrests
Sports The Yacht Club on the Peninsula is a gorgeous place but requires membership fees. You can enter as someone's guest and swim (in safety) or boat. It, and other places around town, offer scuba-diving lessons. Gymkhana, on Gymkhana Road in town, has tennis courts and a nice golf course. Coco Beach is a public beach on the Peninsula which is very busy on weekends. Go any afternoon to see people relaxing, and eat local food. But don't walk on beach as muggings are too frequent. A few people surf here when waves swell a bit around the full moon. You can sometimes surf or kite surf at the beaches south of Dar, e.g. at Kasa Beach Hideaway (fantastic wide beach and surf-able waves in June). There's yoga three times a week (Mondays Golden Tulip Hotel, Thursday and Saturday at Dar Fitness Centre) and capoeira at 6PM at the Little Theatre (beginners on Mondays, intermediate Wednesdays), and tae kwon do also at the Little Theatre, Wednesdays at 6PM. Kickboxing is also available.
Culture Read weekly 'What's Happening in Dar' and 'Advertising Dar' to get all the news of what's going on, including weekend get-away specials. There are always events like dance and music performances, artist openings at painting and photography galleries, movie festivals etc. Alliance Francaise,Goethe Institute, Iranian and Russian cultural centres offer special events along with some occasionally sponsored by embassies.
- Graham, London. Mikadi Beach Lodge is 1 km from the Kigamboni Ferry and an excellent place to stay or enjoy the beach. Entrance is TSh 3000 but an overnight is recommended
Banks & ATMs
All Stanbic Bank, FNB Bank, and Standard Charter Bank offer Mastercard/Visa ATM service. In addition, the Tanzanian banks CRDB and NBC Bank offer Visa service with their ATMs. These banks also offer Mastercard/Visa ATMs:
- I&M Bank Mosque Street
- EcoBank Sokoine Drive
- Equity Bank Ohio Street
- KCB Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road
Malls & supermarkets
- Mlimani City Shopping mall. The largest shopping mall in Dar es Salaam.
- Game Hypermarket, Plot 2 SamNujoma Road Ubongo, ☏ . 10AM-7PM. Game is owned by Wal-mart USA.
- City Mall, corner of Bibi Titi & Morgoro roads, ☏ . 9AM-11PM. Has a large supermarket and a bank and lots of shops not far from downtown.
- Aura Mall, Morogoro Road, ☏ . 7AM-11PM. Has a Choppies of Botswana hypermarket.
- Choppies Supermarket and Hypermarkets, Makumbusho bus terminal and Auru Mall. 8AM-10PM.
For kangas (or khangas), colourful, sarong-like pieces of cloth with Swahili sayings along the bottom, try Kariakoo market or the cloth market on the streets around it. Check around south end of Jamhuri St., where there are many textile shops. Here you can also buy kitenge, twice the length of kangas and usually cut in half to form a complete outfit, for around TSh 4000 each. Try asking in here if you want something like a dress made to measure. Kariakoo is also a good place for fresh food. Watch out for pickpockets.
The wholesale textile markets are on Uhuru St. in the Mnazi Mmoja district near Kariakoo, although the number of people and the attention can be overwhelming for some visitors. It helps to speak Swahili, and if you can, go during the week rather than on Saturdays. It's a much more enjoyable experience on a weekday, since there are fewer people around you can chat with the sellers and there is less high-pressure haggling. The Uhuru Street sellers are wholesalers, so unless you feel you're being quoted a very inflated price, it is difficult to bargain.
- Afro Fashion, Samora Avenue, Opposite Extelecom Building (Celtel Point) (Samora Avenue), ☏ , . 9AM-5PM. T-shirts, batiks, khanga, Masai material, kikoy, tye & dye clothings, arts & crafts, Masai beads, and other popular souvenirs.
Carvings and crafts
Carvings and other touristy souvenirs can be found all over Dar. Remember that haggling is expected.
There is a fantastic craft market in Mwenge, the Mwenge Carvers' Market. Here you can watch many of the artists make the crafts that are sold throughout the country (although some crafts sold in Tanzania are imported from Kenya). Prices range from expensive to extremely cheap. There are many stalls selling similar things, and if you are savvy, you might be able to pit the vendors against each other. The perk of the Mwenge market is the sheer volume of crafts to choose from. If you like the style of something at a specific store (they tend to carry items made by one or two artists), and you have some time, you can meet the artist and have them custom make something for you. The market closes at dusk. Shopping around this time gets you the best deals.
There is a smaller market at Slipway, which is a good place to get Tinga Tinga paintings and large batiks as well.
Local paintings are often executed in a style unique to Tanzania, "tinga-tinga", named after the artist who founded the style, Edward Said Tinga Tinga. Some good places to find them are at the Slipway market, and in the alley off of Haile Selassie Road on the Peninsula. The alley is to the left of Shrijee's Supermarket – look for the art sellers on Haile Selassie Road, and the alley is on the opposite side of the road. There are also tailors, sandal-makers, and charity/craft/wholefood shops on this alley (not to mention the booze shop). The Tinga Tinga artists' collective itself is at the end of the alley, through a doorway, so don't get too distracted by the smaller art shops outside.
Fancy and imported goods
The Mlimani City shopping complex has Shoprite supermarket and a Game department store, both South African chains, open for business seven days a week. Although it is a fair distance from the city centre, it can be reached by taking a Dalla Dalla or taxi to the Mwenge bus terminal, and walking approximately 19 minutes further past the craft market (see below).
If you run out of things to read, there are some surprisingly well-stocked branches of the English language bookshop called A Novel Idea. See the Books section a little further down for a list of stores.
Electronics and appliances
There is a good selection of electronics and appliance vendors on Samora Avenue.
There are a number of book stores near the Askari monument at Samora Ave & the Posta Road, selling mostly academic texts and school books.
- A Novel Idea, Slipway, Oysterbay Shopping Centre, Shoppers Plaza, Steers fast food complex on Ohio Road, ☏ . A local chain that sells a wide selection of imported English language books: novels, childrens' books, reference, non-fiction. A pleasant place to spend a few hours.
- Mlimani City has a bookstore as well.
If you're looking for an authentic shopping experience, a visit to Kariakoo market, especially on Saturday morning, could be just the thing. Kariakoo is the cheapest market in Tanzania. If you want to buy cheap souvenirs, this is the place for you. If you're a Muzungu (i.e. white person) shop owners will try to charge you much more that is worth. But that will be cheaper than what you get in the city or everywhere else in Tanzania. General rules: African necklaces should not be bought for more than TSh 2000 (the correct price is TSh 1000 but you won't get that price easily), small drums should be bought for as much as TSh 4-5000 and soft stone products (hearts, plates, small animals, jewelry boxes, etc.) should not be purchased for more than TSh 10,000. In Kariakoo you can also find cool yet useful presents, like kerosene lamps or pans (as in pan and brush) made from used metal – look for ones with commercial logos printed all over - or a funnel made from a hair spray container. There are also nice baskets, stools, bowls etc. Warning: This is not for everyone. The market is very crowded and for some the smells and noises can be overwhelming. If you're keen but hesitating, it might be best to find a Tanzanian friend or person familiar with the market to help you navigate around. Do not bring any valuables and only bring a small amount of money that you wish to spend, as pickpockets work the area and in the commotion your watch, cell phone, MP3 player, sunglasses and wallet can be expertly removed, or your nice leather handbag slashed with a razor. Even seasoned Kariakoo shoppers occasionally fall prey to these sophisticated teams of thieves.
Haggling: Haggling is expected when purchasing almost anything in Dar. Although it is true that most merchants quote much higher prices to tourists than locals, sometimes three times the price, negotiations should still be undertaken with respect and good humour. Don't expect to pay the same as a local and don't be insulted when you aren't. The reality is that you probably have more money in your pocket than many Tanzanians see in a year. This also applies to backpackers. Remember the extra dollar or two you paid for that carving will most likely be used to buy food for the family. None of these merchants are rich. If you think it's too expensive leave and look elsewhere, but don’t call them thieves.
Mitumba is the Swahili word for second-hand stuff, the hand-me-downs of the developed world, and Ilala Market has some of the best and cheapest mitumba you can find in Tanzania. Sweaters, jeans, shoes, bags, etc. With an extra emphasis on that etc. Also you can find handcrafted jewelry (bracelets, anklets, earrings, and such) at good prices, making it a good place to buy simple gifts en masse. There's plenty of street food. Its stalls and kiosks are in tight, narrow quarters and it feels a bit claustrophobic, so it's not ideal for all travelers.
When it comes to expensive souvenirs, Tanzania has cornered the market with a gemstone that can only be found (mined) in Tanzania, hence the name Tanzanite. Shops selling this exquisite blue stone are found in all major cities and towns, especially those popular with tourists like Zanzibar, Arusha and Dar. Your biggest problem will be knowing that what you're getting is the real thing and worth the money you're shelling out for it.
The rule of thumb is the darker the gem the more expensive it is. Light colored Tanzanite is genuine just not as sought after as the darker stones. But like all things there is much more to a stone's value than just its colour so do your homework if you plan on spending a lot on one of them.
Grading is on an alphabetical scale with AAA being the best and B being the lightest and cheapest. Expect to pay as much as US$450 per carat for AAA. If, like most visitors, you're new to this gem, buying from a reputable shop, such as Lothys at the Kilimanjaro Hotel Kempinski or Tanzanite Dream might be more expensive but you're assured of what you're getting. Nonetheless, there are several other good shops around Dar where you can get nice pieces or simply buy the gems and have them set back home. Like all things, negotiating is key.
Some reputable shops to buy best Tanzanite are Gem Point, Royal Jewellers, Queens Jewellers at Indiragandhi street, in the center of town.
If you are a serious Tanzanite buyer looking for quality and selection then you should definitely check out the Tanzanite Dream just outside the city centre on the Mataka road behind the fire station.
Due in part to the growth of the expatriate community and the increasing importance of tourism, the number of international restaurants has risen very rapidly. The city now offers a rich and internationalized diversity of cuisine, ranging from traditional Tanzanian Barbecue style options such as Nyama Choma (Roasted meat – served with rice or ugali) and Mishkaki (Shish kebab – usually barbecued and served with salt, hot peppers, chapati, fries, and rice on the side), and the long-established traditional Indian and Zanzibari cuisine, to options from all corners of the globe including Chinese, Thai, Turkish, Italian, and Japanese food. Restaurants like City Garden, Addis in Dar, and Best Bite are only a few of the most popular restaurants in Dar es Salaam. Even fast food restaurants like Steers and Subway now have prominent places in the restaurant sector of Dar es Salaam. People who prefer neither fast food or traditional restaurants buy their food from street vendors, who usually sell good food for very affordable prices. Samosas are common street food items within the city. Primary and secondary school students are usually more likely to buy food from street vendors than other age demographics.
- $ = Cheap (TSh 1,000–5,000 for a meal for one)
- $$ = Average (TSh 5,000–10,000)
- $$$ = Moderate (TSh 10,000–20,000)
- $$$$ = Expensive (TSh 20,000+)
Traditional Tanzanian food can be had on almost any street. From grilled meats (mishikaki) to BBQ corn on the cob, and chips and eggs (chips mayai). If you're looking for something a little more sanitary, there are a number of small hotels and restaurants that serve a buffet style meal at lunch time which offers a variety of Tanzanian stews, deep fried fish and chicken, and vegetables. Some good choices:
- Sammy'S Good Food, at Quality Center Mall, Pugu Road 1st Floor., ☏ . Serves Indian food, Chinese, pizzas, burgers and a lot more. So eat, relax and have fun on the way to airport.
- Summy's (aka "Street Chicken"), Jamhuri Street NE of Morogoro Road.. Grilled marinated chicken, mishkaki, Indian food. ($).
- City Garden, on Garden Avenue, SE side, between Ohio Street and Pemba Road.. Fine outdoor ambiance, extensive menu, affordable prices, fast service, free bread, real butter, coconut sauces, death by chocolate. ($$).
- New Africa Hotel, on the corner of Sokoine Drive and Maktaba/Azikiwe Street..
- Chef's Pride, Chagga St.. A very popular local eatery with Tanzanian food, plus pizza and Indian. ($$).
- Royal Chef, on Lumumba Street at Morogoro Road.. Run by the same people as Chef's Pride but with a Zanzibar ambiance. ($$).
- Durban Hotel. Two streets past Royal Chef on the right. Excellent selection of Tanzanian, Chinese, and Indian dishes at reasonable prices. Excellent fish fresh daily. At night, however, single men may expect to be approached by prostitutes. ($).
- Local "hotelis" or restaurants can be found on just about every major street. Most serve ugali, rice or chapati with beans, meat or fish stews, and mishitaki (grilled kebabs).
For something even more upscale, try the Sunday brunch at the Kilimanjaro Hotel. The restaurant on the ground floor offers a wide variety of Western dishes but also includes several local favourites taken up a notch. It's not cheap, about TSh 30,000 per person, but if you're interested in trying Tanzanian cuisine without risking gastrointestinal complications, it's your best bet. The buffet contains all you can eat smoked salmon of the highest quality, among other delicacies.
- Bimbis @ The Badminton Institute (Maratha Club) ($) multi-cuisine budget restaurant, near Elia complex, Zanaki Street, Kisutu, The restaurant is in central Dar, most nights it's busy with both ex-pats and Indians.
- Retreat Restaurant ($) at the Pramukh Swami Street (Kisutu) near the Hindu temples, it serves only vegetarian dishes.
- Upanga Club ($) on Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road near Alliance Française (Upanga), is similar in style and cuisine to the Badminton Institute, and you also have to pay TSh 1,000 entrance as a non-member.
- A Tea Shop ($) just off of Libya Street, has great kebabs other Indian snacks. Plus delicious chai. K Tea Shop is also good.
- Alcove on Samora avenue is the place for you if you like Indian and Chinese food and especially if you're vegetarian.
- Red Onion ($$) across Maktaba Street from the YMCA, in the Haidery Plaza building. Has a wide selection of Indian dishes and a nice rooftop dining area. Very cold beers.
- Jambo inn Hotel on Libya street serving Indian, Chinese, English, BBQ, exotic seafood and fast food. A choice of 220 dishes in non-vegetarian and vegetarian and fresh juices available.
Peninsula and around
- Aroma Coffee House on Chole Road first right after passing the double tree road on your left. Bagels available daily!
- Anghiti ($$$) (near the US Embassy) on New Bagamoyo road just after the Kawawa intersection is excellent.
- Copper Chimney, New Bagamoyo Rd, ☏ . Also very good.
- Istana, Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road, ☏ , . Malaysian and pan-Asian, serves an excellent buffet; cuisines change per day of the week. Often booked by wedding parties, especially on weekends.
- Khana Khazana, New Bagamoyo Rd, ☏ . Offers excellent choice of Indian food.
Chinese, Japanese & Southeast Asian
- Hong Kong Tai Yong Sun Restaurant, ☏ . Serves delicious and authentic Cantonese Chinese dishes. Experts of fresh seafood dishes in town, nice comfortable settings with fast and friendly service.
- The New Africa Hotel has a popular Thai restaurant on the roof. Some nights it serves all-you-can-eat buffet.
- Oriental ($$$$) at The Kilimanjaro Hotel serves a variety of Japanese, Thai, Mongolian and Malaysian dishes. Still a good restaurant in town.
- Osaka ($$$$) off of Toure, serves Korean and Japanese, including very good sushi, look for the sign on the left when heading towards Sea Cliff.
- Goong ($$$) serves authentic Korean food. On the first dirt road on the left going in to Slipway.
- Azuma ($$$) at the Slipway. Sushi.
- SweetEazy ($$$) at the Oyster Bay Complex on Toure Drive. Roof top as well as inside dining area. Live music some nights. Good bar.
- Garden ($$$) on Haile Selassie, on way to Seacliff past the new large Shoppers grocery store. Large, outdoors, shaded with good menu and music and dancing Friday and Saturday
- Thai Restaurant ($$$) on Chole Road. Large, outdoors, shaded with extensive menu. There is also a new Thai restaurant on Kaunda Drive just off of Bagomoyo Road. All dishes TSh 6,000.
- Oliveto ($$$$) at the Movenpick serves upscale Italian food with a bit of a twist.
Peninsula and surrounding
- Saverio's ($$) has Italian-style pizza, pasta dishes and good calamari and gamberi (calamari and shrimps) fried dish.
- Mediterraneo Hotel & Restaurant ($$$) You can find here a wide choice of Italian/Mediterranean dishes, homemade pasta and delicious seafood dishes, plus a view of the Indian Ocean. Around 30' by car from Dar es Salaam.
- Zuane ($$$) Italian. Nice atmosphere, indoor (a/c) and outdoor(covered porch) seating in converted house with large garden. Good for family dinners or big groups. Excellent red snapper filet!
Zuane, actually, is the best Italian restaurant in Dar es Salaam. They serve pizzas as good as you can have in Italy, thanks to Cristian's (the Chef) ability, wood oven, choice of first quality food, and last, but not least, the best fresh mozzarella in Dar made in Tanzania! Pasta, meat dishes, and cakes are also delicious.
- Addis in Dar, Ursino Street, in the Regency Estates neighborhood, ☏ , . A superb little-known and out of the way restaurant is. This Ethiopian restaurant offers excellent food costing about Tsh 13,000 per dish. They serve chicken, beef, lamb and vegetarian dishes (mostly stews, but some come without sauce) on a bed of injera, a moist and springy Ethiopian flatbread. The decor is fantastic and the atmosphere is excellent as well, with a rooftop dining area. Try the Ethiopian honey wine before your meal and the beautifully-presented coffee after. Often fills up so book ahead particularly if you are in a group. ($$$).
- Rehovot Ethiopian Restaurant, Ali Bin Said, a side road off of Bagomoyo Road (Very close to Twiga Pub. You can see the sign for it on Bagomoyo Road, between Namanga/Kimweri and Haile Selassie), ☏ , . This is a new restaurant. Owned by an Ethiopia/Tanzanian couple. Really good food and simple but pleasant Ethiopian decor, in a kind of garden yard. We finished up with real Ethiopian spiced tea. They also sell Ethiopian clothes and played fantastic Ethiopian music on a good sound system. Teruwork used to cook at Addis in Dar. ($$).
- Al-Basha. The best middle-eastern food in Dar. They have two locations. City center on the corner of Morogoro and India Street and at the Mayfair Plaza in Mikocheni near the US Embassy. ($$).
- Nargila (difficult to reach by taxi), ☏ . Don't go for dinner – go for appetizers (hummus is great), the extensive drinks menu, hookahs and the belly dancer. Oysterbay, near the Ugandan High Commission (you must tell taxi this or he will never find it). Owned by an Israeli woman, apparently the place to go for all the Jewish holidays. ($$).
Café and bistros
SeaCliff Village and Slipway (peninsula), and Harbor View Suites Mall have multiple fast-food type restaurants in one place, and shopping. Limited menus of pizza, burgers, Indian, sandwiches, ice cream, etc.
For upscale meals, visit the Dar es Salaam Serena (formerly Mövenpick, and the Royal Palm Hotel), the Holiday Inn, Kilimanjaro Hyatt Regency Hotel in the city center.
All of these hotels offer excellent fixed-price breakfast buffets, which often include sparkling wine, and can be a good value if you are hungry or want to escape for a while.
- Zens Bar & Restaurant, ☏ . open every day from 6:30AM to 11PM in Mikocheni “B” at Exclusive Resort Opposite St. Laureate Int. School, Kwa Warioba, Msikiti street.
- Spurs SeaCliff Village. ($$$) Good burgers, steaks, Mexican food, salad bar (nothing particularly amazing, but quite possibly the only salad bar in Dar), milk shakes, ice cream desserts. Lots of wealthier families bring their (often noisy) children here, as there is a play area.
- Karembezi Cafe SeaCliff Village. ($$$) Good salads and soups as well as steaks, excellent fish platter which is for two people but can be shared by 3 if ordering other stuff as well. You have the Indian Ocean views and it can be very pleasant and sometimes windy. Service is good but can be slow over the weekend.
- The Blues Bar & Restaurant (Along Sam Nujoma Road at Mawasiliano Towers, Ground Floor), ☏ , . International cuisine and variety of cocktails $$$.
- Chef's Pride near the budget hotels in the Indian quarter. It caters mostly to tourists, but is very reasonably priced and has a good local menu.
- Milap is a vegetarian Indian Restaurant with very cheap prices.
- Subway near the YWCA is air-conditioned, and a nice treat if you're hankering for some food of a western nature. Try the BMT.
- YWCA near the Cathedral, has a delicious and cheap canteen where you can order a traditional Tanzanian meal for under TSh 2,000.
- YMCA the other side of the cathedral from the YWCA. Along the same lines as the YWCA but has a wider range, it does food in the evenings (the YWCA does not), and it serves alcohol in a pleasant garden (it's the only budget place in the city centre that does).
- Steers Complex
But the best place to eat, both in terms of price and atmosphere, is on the street. Places to try include the corner of Morogoro road and Jamhuri street, or the large open space in front of the Dar Express bus company ticket office. Chipsi mayai (chips in an omelet) should be TSh 1000-1200.
Some great places to eat fresh, inexpensive, tasty local food outdoors, but under shade, where you will be served from vats are:
- Chinese Restaurant on the corner of Samora and Mirambo (it also serves more expensive Chinese food in the basement)
- Holiday Out on Garden, just past the Southern Sun hotel which used to be called the Holiday Inn. There are three separate places serving food here.
- Steers Out on Samora, just east of Steers.
All serve vegetarian (beans, rice, cooked bananas, greens, other) for around TSh 2000 or with meat (beef, chicken, lamb, fish) around Tsh 4000. The clientele is mainly young Tanzanians with office jobs, many of whom speak English. All three of these restaurants are a few minutes walk from Mirambo where there are many Embassies.
You should only drink bottled water. A 1.5 litre bottle will cost you TSh 1,000 in a store or on the street, depending on the brand (and TSh 2000 or more at restaurants), but you can also drink tap water if you've purified it with iodine tablets or boiled it (at least 3–5 minutes at a rolling boil). "Seepage" from the sewer pipes into the water pipes is quite common.
Kilimanjaro, Serengeti, and Safari (the latter being a stronger beer, 5.5% alcohol) are local beers and popular with Tanzanians and foreigners. These are typically TSh 2300-3000 apiece for 500ml bottles in local spots, but can cost TSh 4000 or more at some bars and restaurants.
Imported beer available in Dar include Tusker, Ndovu, Stella Artois, Castle Lager, and Heineken. The African imports (Tusker, Ndovu) are not that much more expensive than local beers, but the European beers can be three to four times the price of domestics.
Konyagi is a vile-tasting, but popular, local gin, and its variant Konyagi Ice is comparable to hard lemonade and other sweet drinks.
Krest, bottled locally by Coca Cola, offer Club Soda, Tonic Water and Bitter Lemon drinks. Stoney Tangawizi (ginger ale but stronger in taste) is one of the more popular soda drinks. Sodas come in glass bottles and you'll usually be asked to return the bottle or pay extra to take it, but they don't usually like that.
All of the large hotels have full bars with air conditioning. Many offer 2-for-1 happy hour specials in the late afternoon/early evening.
- Florida Inn near the UN building by the ferry port, offers South African Castle (which Tanzanians insist on pronouncing "Kestel", which you will have to emulate, as they won't understand "Castle") on tap. Nice air conditioning, and a pool table and satellite TV upstairs.
- New Protein Bar, down the street from Chef's Pride. Good food and cheap. Sidewalk seating. The only bar in the Indian section of Dar near the budget hotels. Beware of strangers who may approach you and strike up a conversation, eventually leading to an invitation to go to another venue. There have been incidents of tourists being drugged and robbed under this modus operandi.
Peninsula & around
- Zens Bar & Restaurant Zens Bar has a wide selection of drinks in a tranquil atmosphere. Find us in Mikocheni “B”at Exclusive Resort Opposite St. Laureate Int. School, Kwa Warioba, Msikiti street. +255 2202780440 ext.126
- Q Bar, ☏ , . Haille Selassie Road, Oysterbay area. A large bar and restaurant which can get crowded and noisy when major football games are shown on giant screens or on Friday night when there is live music. Daily drink specials. Notorious as a prostitute hangout in the evenings. Large crowd of locals and foreigners (usually men).
The cost of accommodation can vary from TSh 10,000 a night for very basic rooms to hundreds of dollars for the Holiday Inn Hotel. The YWCA and the YMCA are the main place to stay and meet fellow backpackers. they fills up quickly.
- 1 Econo Lodge, Libya Street, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Close to the Safari Inn, has very simple but clean single rooms with private bathroom for TSh 20,000 per night.
- 2 Holiday Hotel, Jamhuri Street. An old colonial-era building that has been managed by the same Indian family for three generations. Lot of character but a bit run down and the mattresses are sweaty. Singles with shared bath for around TSh 15,000, en suite doubles for TSh 25,000..
- 3 Tamarine Guest House, Sofia Kawawa Street, ☏ . Often fully booked. single from TSh 10,000, double from TSh 15,000.
- 4 Safari Inn, ☏ . Around Libya Street, has singles with private bathroom from TSh 20,000 per night with simple breakfast. The hotel has an Internet café, and there are restaurants nearby.
- 5 YMCA, Kivukoni, ☏ . Single and double simple rooms. Rooms are cheaper if you are a resident of Tanzania, with a passport stamp to prove it. TSh 20,000-25,000.
- 6 YWCA, Maktaba St., ☏ . Simple and clean hostel style hotel that is in a very noisy neighbourhood. YWCA offers single rooms with fans and shared bathrooms. All bookings get free breakfast, but the it's not that tasty! A good place for backpackers to stay in the city center. TSh 20,000.
- 7 CEFA Hostel, in Mikocheni B, on Old Bagamoyo Road. If you don't want to spend too much and get a clean room together with a good service, this hostel could serve you well. This hostel offers accommodation, including breakfast. The hostel is run by CEFA, an Italian NGO that helps finance its rural development projects in the inner part of the country with the proceeds. Very kind staff, Wi-Fi connection available free for guests, a wonderful terrace with view on the sea and the possibility to eat excellent Italian food for less than Tsh 9300. The place usually packs up quite quickly so it's better to book with some advance. Tsh 58125.
- Passionist Fathers House, ✉ email@example.com. In Mikocheni B near the CEFA hostel, [+255 22] 27 80 144, TSh 35,000 for a single, TSh 50,000 for a double inclusive breakfast. Rooms have mosquito nets, showers, air conditioning, wireless internet connection and very friendly staff. They also have a safe car park. Mikocheni B is to the north of Dar es Salaam.
- Q-Bar and Guest House, ☏ , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Haille Selassie Road, Oysterbay area. A little further out of town in the Oysterbay area. Q Bar and Guest House has very clean rooms starting at US$15, for a backpacker room. Downstairs a large bar and restaurant which can get crowded and noisy when major football games are shown on giant screens or on Friday night when there is live music.
- Transit Motel Ukonga, ☏ . Close to the Dar Es Salaam International Airport. Handy for guests with early departure flights. Small but clean houses with private showers, split ACs in each room. Rate from US$30 per room per night, B&B.
- Transit Motel Airport, ☏ . Also close to the Dar Es Salaam International Airport. Handy for guests with early departure flights. Clean houses with private showers, split ACs in each room. Rate from US$30 per room per night, B&B.
- New Topland Hotel, Morogoro Road Magomeni Mapipa Konondoni Dar. Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. Double room with own bathroom. From TSh 30,000.
- Moshi Hotel, Morogoro Road Manzese bridge Kinondoni Dar. Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. Room with own bathroom. From TSh 35,000.
- Fairasa Inn, Muheza Street Kariakoo Dar. Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. Double room with own bathroom. From TSh 20,000.
- Nicos Lodge, Njilima Road Morogoro Road Ubungo Dar. Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. Double room with bathroom. From TSh 24,000.
There are plenty of expensive hotels in and around Dar but here are some modern hotels which are reasonably priced:
- City Centre
- 8 Peacock Hotel, Bibi Titi Mohammed St, ☏ . An air conditioned hotel with a small reception but some luxurious rooms. Overlooking Mnazi Mmoja Park. The hotel has a restaurant/bar with along with swimming pool, gym, and wireless internet access. Tsh 132525.
- Next door to the Peacock is the Starlight Hotel, which isn't luxurious but very secure.
- Bellrose Hotel, Kaluta St Bridge Street (just off Samora Avenue and near the Zanzibar ferry station), ☏ . Multi-story hotel with a restaurant downtown.
- Rainbow Hotel On Morogoro Road just down the street from Bellrose Hotel. but a little cheaper and less upscale. Clean rooms. Rooms from Tsh 104625; high floor doubles (from Tsh 151125) have excellent harbor views. Second floor restaurant has good Indian meals. Roof deck with panoramic city views. Free Wi-Fi. Very friendly staff.
- 9 Harbour View Suites, Samora Ave (close to J.M. Mall), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Harbour View Suites on Samora Avenue occupies the top floors of a modern office building. Rooms are large and very comfortable and have a fully fitted kitchen. Excellent breakfast for Tsh 17438. On the ground floor a well stocked supermarket, an Italian pizza and coffee house for take-outs and a subway sandwich shop. Internet access in all rooms and in the business centre. It has a fitness center, and a fine dining restaurant with a bar that is the only jazz club in the city. Tsh 204600.
- 10 Swiss Garden Hotel, Hanna Nassif, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Small hotel in quiet neighborhood. Rooms are very clean, and have air conditioning, free internet, mosquito screens, safes, and refrigerators. Children cost an additional Tsh 34875. US$95-155.
- Msasani Peninsula (and beyond)
- 11 Seashells Millennium Hotel, Millennium Towers, Bagamoyo Road (next to Makumbusho Village Museum), ☏ . (formerly Millennium Towers Hotel) 4-star hotel with a/c, breakfast, and internet access. Although this beautiful hotel has a swimming pool, a number of bars and restaurants, a small shopping mall right next door, and a cinema within walking distance, be warned that there is nothing else worth seeing or doing within 5 km, and traffic can get so bad at certain times of the day that going anywhere, especially by dalla dalla, requires Herculean patience, copious amounts of water, and a copy of War and Peace, which should be just about right for the ride to and from the hotel. Tsh 127875.
- Mediterraneo Hotel & Restaurant, is in Kawe about 15 km north of the city centre, overlooking the Indian Ocean. Rooms have: air conditions,television, safe locker in the room. The swimming pool is 10 m. from the beach, and there is a free Internet Point at the reception, and wireless access around the bar & the lounge area.
- 12 Slipway, ☏ . On the peninsula. Rooms for US$90. In a small complex of shops and restaurants. Tsh 218550.
- Pugu Hills Forest Reserve (12 km from Dar es Salaam airport), ☏ . A 6-hectare Nature Centre. There is a pool and hiking opportunities. The Centre also has a 1 km nature trail on the premises. For overnight stay there are 4 lovely elevated bandas in the forested area which cost US$80-100 including breakfast for 2 persons. Camping with your own tent is possible for US$10 per person.
- 13 South Beach Resort, ☏ . The South Beach Resort is situated in Kigamboni along the South Coast of Dar es Salaam, 8 km from the East Ferry Terminal. Amenities include a/c, a private balcony overlooking the Indian Ocean (every room), satellite tv, and in-room safes. Also swimming pool, 22 seater jacuzzi, pool tables, sheesha, sports and beach bars. Weekends offer great music and great atmosphere. Water Sports such as jet skiing and beach sports such as volleyball are also available. SBR also offers camping facilities and cabanas. Tsh 102300.
- Triniti, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A few minutes from downtown, you feel a total different vibe, mostly because of their magnificent garden. Next to the Uganda Embassy. They have 12 rooms which vary from Tsh 75,000 (single), TSh 90,000 (double) or TSh 105,000 (en suite). All rooms include A/C, large and comfy bed, mosquito net, fridge, TV, free internet Wi-Fi all around the site and renovated bathrooms.
Dar also has its fair share of hotels which cater largely to foreigners traveling here for work. The rates for these hotels are typically near (or start slightly above) the maximum per diem accommodation rates for NGOs such as the United Nations or USAID. As with most things in Tanzania, there is often room for negotiation.
- 14 Hyatt Regency Dar es Salaam, The Kilimanjaro, 24,Kivukoni Rd, ☏ . On the harbour, in city centre, this luxury hotel offers rooms for USD$225 and up. Great breakfast buffet, and a world class spa with Thai masseuses. TSh 369,675.
- 15 Southern Sun, Garden Ave, ☏ . Part of the Tsogo Sun hotel chain. Botanical gardens on site. En suite rooms that are large and have mini-bars, safes, coffee makers, and free wifi. There are also two restaurants onsite. A bit far from city centre but still fine to walk during the day. avg US$180 (TSh 418,500).
- 16 Serena Hotel, Ohio Road (at the edge of city centre, across from Barclays Bank), ☏ . Has hosted visiting African dignitaries (e.g. Robert Mugabe). Used to billet KLM and British Airways flight crews. Now said to have been reopened after having been shut down by the Government for tax evasion. TSh 406,875.
- 17 Johari Rotana Tower, Sokoine Drive, ☏ . Dar Es Salaam's brand new hotel tower (as of 2019), across from the Zanzibar ferry and the Pspf Twin Towers downtown. Rooftop pool, haute-cuisine experience, and sleek glass exterior. This one is all about class.
- 18 Holiday Inn Dar Es Salaam, Azikiwe St, ☏ . Compared to some of the other hotels in this category this is fairly economical at only about TSh144,150 (2020). Nice looking tower and downtown location. 144150.
- Sea Cliff Hotel. Includes a beautiful pool and gym with sea view. It also includes an outpost of the excellent Alcove restaurant, serving food similar to the one downtown. Has a lovely bar with a fairy-tale view of the Indian Ocean.
- [dead link] Alexander's hotel.
- Golden Tulip. Along Toure Drive on the way to Sea Cliff. Nice pool-side bistro. Was used by KLM to billet flight crews until one time they got sick and cost the airline a fortune in rescheduling costs.
If you're wanting to escape the city, there are a few upscale hotels just outside of Dar. Just off the road to Bagamoyo, New Bagamoyo road, about a 45-minute drive from the city center, without traffic of course, there is the White Sands Hotel. Some people may like this option as there are several scuba diving schools situated in and around the hotel.
There are also some good hotels on the South Coast via the Kigamboni ferry. The beaches here are better than north of the city and have long expanses of white sand next to turquoise waters.
- 19 Amani Beach Hotel, ☏ , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Around 30 km from Dar es Salaam and between a mid price and a splurge and prices start from US$167 per bungalow which sleeps two adults and includes breakfast. There are only 10 beach bungalows so it feels quite exclusive and private and each bungalow overlooks the ocean with a big terrace and hammock. Two extra beds can be put in the bungalow for a small additional fee. Lots of facilities are available on site like a tennis court, petanque, swimming pool and nature walks but you'll need to book horse riding, massages and village walks with a bit of notice. The best thing about Amani Beach Hotel is the environment – beautiful tropical gardens with monkeys running around, fish eagles soaring overhead and there is even turtle hatching on the beach in season.
- 20 Ras Kutani, ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. This is part of the Selous Safari Company and is more of a safari lodge on the beach than a hotel. It is within easy reach of Dar es Salaam next to Amani Beach with a private landing strip. It has 9 en suite cottages and some bigger suites on the hill all made with traditional materials. It is a very peaceful and totally relaxing place with an almost deserted long sandy beach in front.
Tanzania is one of the least policed countries in the world. Rapes and murders often go unreported and little data exist to suggest how common these crimes are. Domestic violence and sexual harassment, which often go well beyond verbal cat-calling, are extremely common. Foreign female students have documented multiple accounts of sexual assault and/or rape. These cases often go unreported/under-reported by universities with study abroad programs in Tanzania, and of course by the Tanzanian authorities themselves. Walking alone at night outside the most exclusive areas (think Oyster Bay, the Slipway, Sea Cliff, etc.) is extremely inadvisable for foreigners. Slipway Road has been the site of muggings in late 2015. Men stand a high chance of being mugged, and women of being mugged and/or sexually assaulted. Dar is often very poorly lit. The city experiences a great many power outages. This makes lone women particularly vulnerable.
Most travellers who are in Dar on a short stay will, fortunately, not face these challenges. Similarly, most expatriates who live in Dar are sequestered well enough (with cars, security guards, in upscale neighborhoods, etc.) not to have to worry about this sort of thing.
By far the most common crimes, and the biggest risk for most travelers, will be muggings and petty thefts. Muggings occur very frequently, including sometimes on the street in broad daylight. Sometimes, but not always, the victim gets roughed up. Foreign students at the University of Dar es Salaam have been mugged at machete point. Never carry your wallet anywhere easily accessible (a back pocket, an outside flap of a backpack or purse, etc.)
- walking on the beach (like Cocoa Beach) while carrying valuables, as many of these places are invisible from the road. Dar can be a friendly place, and you can certainly have a comfortable time there, but avoid carrying valuables as you may be unlucky. You can walk in the city in the evening but as it gets darker and you see fewer people on the street, exercise real caution. It might be better to take a taxi. If you are noticeably foreign, remember that many people will assume you are rich carrying large amounts of cash, and an easy target.
- Parking on dark sectors in the beach (coco beach) as thieves and junkies crouch in the dark waiting for the unaware foreigner to park, turn-off the engine and leave the car (to have a nice view of the Dar night from the beach) only to come in groups of 4-5 to steal as much as they can (in the case of a male foreigner). In the case of a female foreigner this is an absolute "not to do".
- Parking in a place without a guard runs you the serious risk of having lights or other car parts extracted. It is not uncommon for people to try to steal things through open windows, while you are waiting for lights to change, or to open unlocked doors and either get in or swipe something! Some people have had passersby attempt to snatch purses off their laps while they've been sitting in the back of a taxi at an intersection.
There is a major police station at Salendar Bridge on Ocean Road and other police posts in various other places. If you don't follow the driving rules (or sometimes even if you do) you will spend time and money, either discussing with them their price or more formally in the police station. Police here ask for lifts regularly to get places but you are not obliged to take them if you feel uncomfortable. There is a great deal of corruption in Tanzania. Skin colour, bribes, and connections to known elites in town still, unfortunately, hold a lot of sway.
Visitors have reported been pick-pocketed in crowds at the Posta daladala stand. If you're walking past this it's best to cross the road to avoid the crowd. If you're getting a daladala be aware of your possessions, be particularly aware of people stopping suddenly in front of you – this is sometimes done to block you in while someone behind you goes through your bags. Other well known pickpocket sites are the ferry to Kigamboni (not the Zanzibar ferry), the Mnazi Mmoja dala stand, the trinket stalls on Samora Av and Kariakoo market. There's no reason to avoid these area, just be aware of your possessions when you are there, particularly bags. Using razor blades to cut into bags to remove items is quite common – and really annoying.
If you are robbed, you have a few options. None of them are good. You can yell, "mwizi!" This means 'thief' in Swahili. If you do this in a crowded place, you will very likely incite a mob to form. The mob might corner the thief and detain him until the police arrive. They might also beat up the thief very badly, possibly to the point of death. Theft carries huge risks in a culture where people possess very few material goods. The social punishments for stealing can be brutal beatings or, in some cases, death. Weigh the worth of your US$40 cell phone or purse against the potential results of fomenting a stir. If you are in a crowded place (like the downtown Posta daladala stand, for example), you will, at the very least, create a gigantic scene, probably cause someone to be beaten, and have to spend a day dealing with the Dar es Salaam police department in sweltering, inefficient conditions. Much more practical just to exercise extreme care with how you carry your belongings, and to avoid carrying valuables (i.e. anything you can't afford to lose) altogether.
Be careful when taking taxis at night, particularly if you are alone, where possible use a driver you know or ask someone to call a taxi for you. If staying in Dar for an extended period of time, try to get the phone numbers of the first fair, seemingly trustworthy cabbies you encounter. Keep using them. If you are living in Dar without a car, this will greatly increase your safety. Taking buses at night and walking in poorly lit areas alone or in small groups (particularly of women, noticeable foreigners, or other people who might look like 'easy targets') is a great way to increase the risk of something bad happening (mugging, rape, etc.) Split taxis when possible. Some travelers have narrowly escaped potentially violent muggings and/or rape and others were not so fortunate.
Generally speaking, the more you stand out, the higher your risk factor will be. It is possible to have a wonderful time in Dar, if you make yourself aware of these risks and adapt accordingly. Guide books neglect a great deal of information when it comes to Tanzania.
Embassies and High Commissions
- Canada, 38 Mirambo St at Garden Ave, ☏ . Fridays closed at noon.
- Egypt, 24 Garden Avenue, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 09:00-15:00.
- Finland, Mirambo St at Garden Ave, ☏ . M-F 08:00-12:00.
- France, Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road, ☏ .
- Germany, Umoja House, Garden Ave / Mirambo St, ☏ , (emergencies ).
- Greece, P.O. Box 766, ☏ , fax: .
- India, 82, Kinondoni Rd, Kinondoni, ☏ , fax: .
- Italy, Ali Hassan Mwinyi Rd, Upanga East, ☏ .
- [dead link] Norway, ☏ , .
- [dead link] Pakistan, Plot No. 338, H.No.MKC/1259, Maziede, Garden A venue, Milkcheni-B, P.O Box No. 61336, ☏ .
- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Umoja House, Garden Avenue, ☏ , .
- United States of America, 686 Old Bagamoyo Rd, ☏ , fax: .
There are quite a number of Internet cafes in Dar in different places, But this particular one is the most popular especially for visitors CybeBase Internet Cafe' on Shekilango Road in Sinza +255 787-000157 or +255 719-924389, email@example.com
However, all cell phone companies offer at least 3G internet service, which is quickly making internet cafes go the way of typewriters and carbon paper.
BBC World Service broadcasts in Swahili and English on 103.3MHz.
- Zanzibar: There is a ferry to Zanzibar which leaves five times a day (07:00, 09:30, 12:30, 15:30, 16:00; check for updates). The price is US$35 for non-residents and the ferry takes about 2 hours. Arrive earlier at the terminal for security checks and buy your ticket in advance esp. when travelling around weekends or holidays. Although it is improving, watch out for touts, scams, and pick-pockets in this area. For buying a ticket, you’ll need your passport. Buy your tickets only from the ticket window of the ferry operator you’ll be using, otherwise you’ll pay a commission.
- Watch out for the ferry scam: There may be a very well developed scam going on at the ferry dock. The taxi drivers seem to be in on the scam and will purposely take you to the wrong booth where a crew of friendly liars will help with your bag and assure you that you are at the right place. They charge US$35 but the ferry is a very slow boat that takes goods and vehicles as well as people and takes over 7 hours to arrive!
- A nice daladala day trip is from town to Bagamoyo, about a 90-minute trek north of the city. It's easiest to catch the yellow-striped bus from Mwenge (see #By_bus. From the stand in Bagamoyo you can take a bajaji (think 3-wheeled golf cart) to historical sites including 13th century ruins, a 19th-century German garrison, and a very colorful seafood market on the beach. Getting back to Dar es Salaam, you'll be pushing your luck if you delay much past 17:00.
- Morogoro: About three hours from Dar es Salaam, one can visit the NGO APOPO in Morogoro (on the way to Mikumi National Parc). This organization started in 1998 to train giant rats to help remove land mines in Mozambique and has started investigating the potential use of this low-cost "technology" for the detection of TB pathogens.
- Mafia Island: About 30-minute flight from Dar es Salaam domestic airport, Mafia Islands host antiquities dating back to the 11th century its reefs, andande known for excellent diving and snorkelling.