Dar es Salaam

Travel Guide Africa Tanzania Dar es Salaam

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Introduction

Azania Front Lutheran Church

Azania Front Lutheran Church

© rd wrld1yr

Dar es Salaam is located along the Indian Ocean coastline of Tanzania and is the largest city in the country with around 2.5 million inhabitants. It is a major port city and is the economical and financial heart of the country. 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 Tanzania's financial and political hub despite having lost its status as the capital to Dodoma in 1973.

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.

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Sights and Activities

National Museum - 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.
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 2:00-6:00pm on certain days.
Askari Monument - A monument dedicated to the Askari soldiers who fought in World War I.
Zoological Gardens
Karimjee Hall - Former parliamentary building. Still in use for seminars.
Azania Front Lutheran Church - This well-known landmark in the centre of the city was built by German missionaries.
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.
Kigamboni also known as "South Beach", is across the channel from the Zanzibar ferry. You can get to the other side by ferry, not the same as for Zanzibar. Avoid taking pictures on the ferry or at the terminals, even of the skyline. The ferry is on a strict "no photo" rule, and passengers, even tourists have been forced by security forces to delete completey innocent panorama pictures. The ferry station is north of the Zanzibar ferry past the Kilimanjaro Kempinski Hotel near the main fish market. You walk onto the ferry which costs TSh 100. The crossing takes about 5 minutes. Once across, you can hire a taxi to take you to the beaches, most of which are accessed through the various hotels along the coast. Public beaches have all been sold to developers. Hotels, such as the Sunrise, will charge a TSh 5,000 entry fee. TSh 3,000 of which is returned to you in the form of food vouchers. Most hotels are about 5 km from the ferry and you should be able to get there for TSh 10,000-15,000 depending on your negotiating skills. There are also daladalas which ply the road to the beaches.
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 09:30, with others at 11:30, 13:30 and 15:30, 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 10:30, 12:30, 14:30 and the last one leaves around 16:30. 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). 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 16:30 and 17:00, 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.

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Events and Festivals

  • Charity Goat Races - Every September, thousands of people attend the charity Goat Races at The Green in Dar es Salaam. The goats race around a specially designed track, and the races raise around 50 million shillings a year for local schools and charities.
  • Mzalendo Halisi Music Festival - More than 100 traditional Tanzanian music and dance performers participate in this event that takes place at the Posta Grounds in Kijitonyama, Dar es Salaam. During the day, visitors can shop at a culturally-inspired market and view art exhibitions.
  • Fashion Week - Every November, top regional designers come together at Dar Es Salaam's National Museum for Swahili Fashion Week. The event showcases local talent, colorful African styling, and it offers networking opportunities for the East African fashion industry.
  • Contemporary Dance Festival - Choreographers from Tanzania and beyond gather for week-long showcase of contemporary dance sponsored by Visa 2 Dance Company. Audiences can see performances by both established and emerging performing artists. This event facilitates an important forum where international choreographers can showcase their work to a new audience. Event takes place every October.
  • Diwali - Diwali, a Hindu holiday, is celebrated around the world during the months of October or November. Dar es Salaam has a large Indian population, and as a result, Diwali is an important celebration in this city. During the festival, lamps are symbolically lit, and firework demonstrations ignite the sky to symbolize the triumph of good over evil. Downtown Dar becomes consumed by the Diwali festival, with the city center becoming a constant party zone.

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Weather

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. 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.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max31.8 °C32.4 °C32.1 °C30.7 °C29.8 °C29.3 °C28.9 °C29.4 °C30.3 °C30.9 °C31.4 °C31.6 °C
Avg Min23.5 °C23.3 °C22.8 °C22.4 °C21.3 °C19.2 °C18.2 °C18.1 °C18.4 °C19.7 °C21.3 °C22.8 °C
Rainfall76.3 mm54.9 mm138.1 mm254.2 mm197.8 mm42.9 mm25.6 mm24.1 mm22.8 mm69.3 mm125.9 mm117.8 mm
Rain Days741118135443589

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Getting There

By Plane

Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) is the largest airport in the country and located just outside Dar es Salaam. It offers flights to/from Blantyre, Lilongwe, Arusha, Kigoma, Moroni, Mwanza, Tabora, Zanzibar, Entebbe, Juba, Nairobi, Harare, London, Johannesburg, Kilimanjaro International Airport, Addis Ababa, Anjouan, Cairo, Lusaka, Dubai, Amsterdam, Maputo, Pemba, Muscat, Musoma, Shinyanga, Doha, Kigali, Zürich and Istanbul.

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.

Getting to/from the airport often entails a traffic nightmare, particularly around evening rush hour (which can last beyond 20:00). 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.

By Train

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 Tazara railway station, at the western edge of city along Julius K. Nyerere Rd. Trains run by Tanzania Railway leave from Central railway station in downtown.

By Bus

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).

Although there are many touts outside of Ubungo's (central bus station) 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 located 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).

Ubungo Terminal is just west of the city and 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).
For Moshi or Arusha (8-11 hr, 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.

By Boat

Ferries travel to and from Zanzibar. Beware of scams when buying ferry tickets.

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Getting Around

By Car

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.

By Taxi

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.

By Public Transport

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 licence. 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, 16:30 to 18:30 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 05:00-11:00 and 15:00-18:00, 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.

By Foot

Walking around central Dar es Salaam 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 es Salaam so exercise caution when walking along busy roads.

By Bike

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. At the moment 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 both 'Dar reality Tours' and Sunday tours that include a delicious lunch. Sign up for the Sunday tours on the previous Thursday. Their email is adventure@afriroots.co.tz

For a countryside cycle trip, the Pugu Hills Nature Centre, 12 kilometres 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.

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Eat

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 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 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 located 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.

There is an excellent Chinese, Tai Huo San Zhuang, on Jamhuri St between Morogoro Road and Zanaki Street in the Muslim enclave. It attracts plenty of Chinese customers, which is always a good sign from the point of view of authenticity. It's one of the few places in the area to serve beer. Note that the aircon is cold so take a jumper.

Jambo Inn, on Libya Street in the Muslim enclave, has a good selection of vegetarian dishes. It's extremely popular with foreign backpackers.

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.
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.

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Drink

You should only drink bottled water. A 1.5 litre bottle will cost you 1,000 shillings in a store or on the street, depending on the brand (and 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 2,300-3,000 shillings apiece for 500ml bottles in local spots, but can cost 4,000 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.

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Sleep

The cost of accommodation can vary from 10000 Tzs 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.

Econo Lodge, Libya Street, ☏ +255 22-211 6948, ✉ econolodge@raha.com. Close to the Safari Inn, has very simple but clean single rooms with private bathroom for TSh 20,000 per night.
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.
Tamarine Guest House, Sofia Kawawa Street, ☏ +255222120233. Often fully booked. single from TSh 10,000, double from TSh 15,000.
Safari Inn, ☏ +255 22-2138101. 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.
YMCA, Kivukoni, ☏ +255 22-213 5457. 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.
YWCA, Maktaba St., ☏ +255 713-622797. 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.
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, ✉ ajnguma@yahoo.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.
Q-Bar and Guest House, ☏ +255 22 211 2667, +255 754 282 474, ✉ qbar@hotmail.com. 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, ☏ +255 22 2843300. 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, ☏ +255 22 2842177. 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.
Peacock Hotel, Bibi Titi Mohammed St, ☏ +255 222114071. 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.
Bellrose Hotel, Kaluta St Bridge Street (just off Samora Avenue and near the Zanzibar ferry station), ☏ +255 752491554. 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.
Harbour View Suites, Samora Ave (close to J.M. Mall), ☏ +255 222124040, ✉ reservations@harbourview-suites.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.
Swiss Garden Hotel, Hanna Nassif, ☏ +255 22 215 32 19, fax: +255 22 215 32 19, ✉ info@swissgardenhotel.net. 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.
Seashells Millennium Hotel, Millennium Towers, Bagamoyo Road (next to Makumbusho Village Museum), ☏ +255 22 277 3400. (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.
Slipway, ☏ +255 22 260 0893. 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), ☏ +255 754 565 498. 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.
South Beach Resort, ☏ +255 22 282 0666. 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, ☏ +255 755963686, ✉ booking@triniti.co.tz. A few minutes from downtown, you feel a total different vibe, mostly because of their magnificent garden. Next to the Ugandan 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.
Hyatt Regency Dar es Salaam, The Kilimanjaro, 24,Kivukoni Rd, ☏ +255 764 701 234. On the harbour, in city centre, this luxury hotel offers rooms for US$225 and up. Great breakfast buffet, and a world class spa with Thai masseuses. TSh 369,675.
Southern Sun, Garden Ave, ☏ +255 22 213 7575. 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).
Serena Hotel, Ohio Road (at the edge of city centre, across from Barclays Bank), ☏ +255 22 211 2416. Has hosted visiting African dignitaries (e.g. Robert Mugabe). Used to billet KLM and British Airways flight crews. TSh 406,875.
Johari Rotana Tower, Sokoine Drive, ☏ +255 659070800. 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.
Holiday Inn Dar Es Salaam, Azikiwe St, ☏ +255 222139250. 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.
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.
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.
Jangwani Sea Breeze Resort, ☏ +255 2647215, ✉ gmjangwani@eclipsehotelsafrica.com. Eclipse Group of Hotels.
Amani Beach Hotel, ☏ +255 82 41 00 33, +255 786 77 55 66, ✉ reservations@amanibeach.com. 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.
Ras Kutani, ☏ +255 22 2128485, +255 22 2134802, ✉ reservations@selous.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.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Safety

See also Travel Safety

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 neighbourhoods) 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).

Avoid:

Walking on the beach (like Coco 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 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). 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.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Major tourist areas and cities have internet cafes and many hotels offer (free) wifi nowadays. Connections can be slower at more remote places.
Also safari oriented places offer some sort of internet connections as well, by computers or wifi.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The International Dialling Code for Tanzania is +255, followed by area codes (e.g. (0)22 for Dar es Salaam, or (0)27 for Arusha). Calling from Tanzania, you dial 00 plus the relevant country code (44 for the UK, 1 for the USA).

There are four cell providers in Tanzania: Zain (the major one), Zantel, Vodacom and Tigo, who all offer roaming facilities. Connections are good in Tanzania, even in places such as Tarangire, Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, and some parts of the Serengeti (the western and northern region of the Serengeti not). You can buy the prepaid cards in amounts ranging from $5 to $50. You can even buy a cell phone while in Tanzania. The price for a simple cell phone ranges between $55 and $80.

Avoid roaming charges with you home cellphone and turn it off. Instead, use a local SIM card or just wifi.

Post

Tanzania Posts Corporation is the national postal services of Tanzania. There are post officies in most major cities and towns throughout the country, which are generally open Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm and Saturday from 9:00am to noon. Services are generally quite reliable though not very fast. Prices for international airmal services start at around 500-600 TSHS to other countries in East Africa and 700-900 TSHS to Europe and North America for postcards and letters up to 20 grams. Small packages start at around 2,000-3,000 TSHS, but it's generally better to do business with international parcel services like TNT, UPS, DHL or FedEx.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: -6.822921
  • Longitude: 39.269661

Accommodation in Dar es Salaam

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