Dar es salaam

Dar es Salaam, formerly Mzizima, is Tanzania’s largest and richest city, a regionally important economic centre. Dar es Salaam (House 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 the time when the Barawa people started to settle and cultivate the area around Mbwa Maji, Magogoni, Mjimwema, Gezaulole and Kibonde Maji Mbagara.

Destination Tips

Dar es Salaam offers a multitude of historical and cultural attractions for holidaymakers and other travelers to enjoy while visiting Dar es Salaam. The city is divided into 3 major districts; northern Kinondoni, central Ilala, and southern Temeke. With its great atmosphere, mix of African, Muslim, and South Asian influences, picturesque harbour, beaches, chaotic markets, and historic buildings, it is well worth extending your stay in Dar es salaam.

Climate

Because Dar-es-salaam (Dar es salaam) is close to the equator and the warm Indian Ocean, the city experiences generally tropical climatic conditions, typified by hot and humid weather throughout much of the year. The driest and coolest season is June through early October, and this is the time recommended to visit since the city has milder temperatures and lower relative humidity in those months.

Transportation

The Julius Nyerere International Airport is the principal airport serving the country. Tanzania Railways operates the Central Line from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma. The TAZARA Railway connects Dar es Salaam to Zambia.

Most intracity transport is by the dala dala (minibus) or Dar es Salaam commuter rail. Dala dala minibuses are involved in many road accidents, accounting for a large percentage of the 4000+ yearly road deaths. Dala dalas are cheap and often overcrowded. They are operated by a driver and a conductor: the conductor collects the fare and signals the driver to leave. They tend to be overcrowded, with passengers sometimes hanging outside the door.

When planning to leave Dar es salaam  please take a note following important warning; it can be a nightmare to go back to the airport due to traffic 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.

Driving around the city is not recommended for foreigners, but if you have driven in India you should have no problems in Dar es salaam. Dar’s city center 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.

Accomodation

If you are under a diminutive budget, don’t despair because there are affordable hotels in Dar es Salaam that have fantastic room rates deals. But on the other side, if you have the money to spend there are a lot of luxurious hotels been described as escape avenues, relaxation apartments, homes away from home, rejuvenating accommodations, luxury holidays etc. Once you lay your eyes on one of the Dar es Salaam hotels, you will know why.

Food

The number of international restaurants has risen very rapidly over recent years. 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 includingChinese, Thai, Turkish, Italian, and Japanese food. People who prefer neither fast food nor traditional restaurants buy their food from street vendors, who usually sell food at low prices. Samosas are common street food items within the city

Fun Places And Things To Do in Dar Es Salaam

  • National Museum – If you want to learn more about the history and culture of Tanzania or see some of the fossils that have been uncovered in the country, you’ll be interested in visiting the National MuseumThe museum is not setup in the most entertaining way, but if you are willing to read, you’ll learn quite a bit.
  • Makumbusho Village Museum. 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 2-6 PM on certain days.
  • Beaches – Mbezi beach, msasani beach, kigamboni and many more since the city is along the Indian Ocean. There are lots of great hotels along the shoreline.
  • Kariakoo market – This is one of the busiest and most thrilling markets in Dar Es Salaam is the local and is the place to go if you are hunting for the best bargains in town or wish to see the authentic side of local style Tanzanian shopping. Make sure you haggle to get the best deals. Be cautious with your money and possessions as Kariakoo is a bustling crowded place.
  • Dar es salaam fish market – People gather from around the city to purchase the fresh catch of the day. Climb the flight of stairs leading towards to the official offices for a lovely bird’s eye view of the fish market.
  • Karimjee Hall. Former parliamentary building. Still in use for seminars.
  • Azania Front Lutheran Church – Originally built by German missionaries in Tanzania, the Azania Lutheran Church is an iconic structure located at Dar Es Salaam’s harbor front. From the cathedral you’ll have easy access to other tourist attractions around town.
  • Askari Monument – One of the most well known historical statues of significance in Dar Es Salaam is Askari Monument. Depicting a soldier with his bayonet pointing to the harbor, the monument is a reminder of the soldiers that fought as the Carrier Corps in World War I. The cast bronze Askari Monument is supposedly located in the precise center of Dar, in the middle of the roundabout that bisects Samora Avenue with Maktaba Street.
  • Temple Road – If you are walking around downtown Dar Es Salaam, take a stroll down Temple Road where you’ll find a selection of religious temples. There’s not much else to do, but you can visit a few of the temples and have a look around.
  • Pugu Hills Nature Reserve – Pugu Hills is a designated nature reserve located around 25 kilometers from the center of Dar Es Salaam. Along with an opportunity to hike the trails, you can also choose to bird watch or visit the cave which is famous for its colony of bats.
  • Coco Beach On Weekends – Coco Beach, also known as Oyster Bay, is a stretch of beach located on the Msasani Peninsula of Dar Es Salaam. If you are looking for fun things to do in Dar Es Salaam, head over to Coco Beach on the weekend when it’s packed full of local Tanzanians and Asians. There are plenty of street food snacks and sometimes live music. The open area is also a place where frequent concerts and parties take place. Swimming is not really recommended at Coco Beach, though some choose to wade in the water.
  • Bagamoyo Town – Similar to Mombasa or Lamu, Bagamoyo town located north of Dar Es Salaam, is an ancient East African trade port. The town has been influenced by Arabs and Indians to create a uniquely Swahili culture. On a day trip to Bagamoyo, you can visit ancient ruins, old churches and mosques and tour one of Tanzania’s only college of arts known as Chuo Cha Sanaa. If you don’t have your own transportation, you can get to Bagamoyo by local bus or by taking a day tour.
  • Bongoyo Island – One of the most entertaining things to do in Dar Es Salaam is swim in the beautiful warm tropical Indian Ocean – but not right in Dar itself – there are a few locations that aren’t far that are much better (and cleaner). Bongoyo Island is a small island off the coast of Dar that makes a fantastic day trip of lazying on the beach, snorkeling and dining on fresh fried fish and chips. Since becoming a marine reserve a few years ago, fees have severely increased, but it’s still worth it. Get to the island by taking a boat from The Slipway shopping center.
  • North Beach (Jangwani and Mbuja Island) – North of Dar Es Salaam there are a few lovely beaches and islands to enjoy as well. From White Sands hotel in Jangwani, you can take a boat to Mbuja Island, a great place to unwind and eat freshly caught Indian Ocean seafood.
  • South Beach (Kigamboni) – Seclusion, peace and quietness is how I would describe the South Beach area of Dar Es Salaam. There are a number of hotels that you can visit, or you can rent your own personal banda thatch covered hut for the day. The lanky palm trees rustling in the breeze and the rythmic wash of waves makes spending a day at South Beach one of the most relaxing things to do in Dar Es Salaam. Get there by personal vehicle or by local dala dala minivan. You’ll need to cross to the Kigamboni side of Dar by taking the ferry across the port – the ferry ride alone is an awesome Dar experience!
  • Village Museum – More of a hands on than the National Museum, the Village Museum offers a chance to observe a number of typical style Tanzanian traditional huts and learn more about the tribes of the country. Dance and drum performances are held in the evenings on weekends.
  • Mwenge Carver’s Village – Located on the outskirts of town, Mwenge Carvers’ Village is a great attraction in Dar Es Salaam if you are in the market for Tanzanian souvenirs. Though there is a lot of the same same type of things, if you take the time to browse around you’ll come away with some unique and quality Tanzanian handicrafts.
  • Tinga Tinga Art Center – Tanzanian’s have long been famous around Africa for their artwork (even on the streets of Dar). The modern movement of Tingatinga painting is one my my favorite styles of Tanzanian art. An artistic movement that began with Edward Said Tingatinga, the style is characterized by extemely bright oil colors and cartoon imaginative figures. The Tingatinga center is a rainbow of color and artistic inspiration. You can browse around and buy anything you see!
  • Khanga Shopping (Uhuru St) – A popular thing to buy in Dar Es Salaam are the colorful pieces of wrap around cloth known as kangas. These brightly dyed rectangles of fabric are available in infinite colors, with infinite patterns and often include a message written in Kiswahili. Head over to Uhuru Street in downtown Dar Es Salaam for a huge distribution selection of kangas.
  • Nyama Choma – Just like in neighboring Kenya, nyama choma (roasted meat – often goat) is wildly popular – and incredibly delicious. Go to a local restaurant, order your choice of meat and wait for it to slowly roast. In Tanzania, nyama choma is served with a few chillies and sometimes a tomato and red onion garnish. Many Tanzanians choose to wash down their nyama choma with a few beers.
  • Mishkaki – Mishkaki is the Tanzanian version of meat on a stick – street style shish kebabs! Marinated in a few spices, cooked on a bed of hot coals, and served with hot chili and lime juice, mishkaki is a wonderful treat.
  • Tanzanian Beverages – Everywhere you travel you’ll encounter a new and unique set of local beverages. When you are in Tanzania you may want to sample the selection of locally brewed beer, have a few cups of Dar street coffee and especially guzzle a pungent Stoney Tangawizi. After spending a few days in Dar Es Salaam you may want to visit the famous island of Zanzibar for a relaxing holiday.
  • Tanzanian Street Food – Whether it’s roasted maize or mama cooked Tanzanian chapatis, you won’t want to miss a few meals and snacks of Tanzanian street food when you visit Dar Es Salaam! 

There are a lot  more to see and do in Dar es salaam. Fly today to Dar es salaam, lots of airlines to operate flights from around the world; Turkish Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Swiss International Airlines, Emirates, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Egypt Air, South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways and a lot more!

Browse our City Info category for more cities worldwide that may be of interest to your vacation preferences!