Tourist’s guide to Dar es Salaam – is it worth visiting in Tanzania?

Most likely, inexperienced tourists will dissuade you from a trip to Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and will strongly recommend going straight to Zanzibar. Do not succumb to persuasion and go to the city of Peace. Tanzania is a country with a rich and complex past, as well as an unusual salad of various nationalities and faiths. Take a look at the statistics to see if everything is unusual in this country. In the country, 35% of Christians, 40% of Muslims and 25% of representatives of African religions. And the whole world knows the most odious African leader, Julius Nyerere. So the journey to Tanzania begins.

Dar es Salaam (Tanzania)

Photo: Dar es Salaam.

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City of Peace

Dar es Salaam Airport

Dar es Salaam Airport welcomes guests with hustle, high humidity and air temperature +40. Tourists have the right to relax in Tanzania on one of three visas:

  • transit – $ 30;
  • regular tourist – $ 50;
  • multivisa – $ 100.

Note! It may be difficult to obtain a transit visa – the border guard will definitely require a ticket for the next flight. If there is no such ticket, you will have to issue a regular visa.

After the tourists paste visas into the passports, it takes about 20-30 minutes, and the border guard issues a document with the wishes of a pleasant trip.

general information
Dar es Salaam - a city quite young

Dar es Salaam is a fairly young city (founded in 1866), but has already managed to visit the status of the capital of Tanzania. It is believed that tourists have nothing to do here, but we will try to refute this statement. The metropolis can rightfully be called a city of contrasts – modern high-rises with poor slums peacefully coexist here. The population is very friendly – everyone says jumbo, which means “hello,” and the caribou – “welcome.” The colonial past did not disappear without a trace – in memory of it there were buildings of different peoples of the world and representatives of different religions. To feel the atmosphere of the city, visit Buddhist pagodas, Chinatowns, stroll among English houses, do not disregard Islamic mosques, Buddhist pagodas and Catholic cathedrals. On the streets there were guns installed here since the time of Portuguese rule.

Interesting fact! Despite the fact that the name translates to the city of Peace, there was no genuine peace here. Fortunately, today we are not talking about violence, but such a possibility always exists. The roots of the conflict lie in the colonial past of Tanzania, as well as in the unremitting enmity of African Christians and Muslims.

Dar es Salaam multinational metropolis

There are many tragic, cruel pages in the history of Dar es Salaam. Muslims were the most brutal. In the middle of the 20th century, Europeans left the metropolis and since that time, Muslims staged mass terror – the number of those killed reached several tens of thousands of civilians. They managed to escape only those who left housing by sea and moved to the mainland. Today Dar es Salaam is a multinational and multi-ethnic metropolis with more than five million inhabitants. Cultural life is in full swing here around the clock.

Interesting fact! Women of Tanzania are some of the most attractive on the African continent. And also Dar es Salaam is a city of kind smiles and sincere interest in guests.

Exhibits at the National Museum
National Museum

It is better to go around the central part on foot, visiting the National Museum, where treasures from the Ngorongoro Crater are presented, art galleries where you can buy colorful paintings by local artists, national clothes and jewelry. Be vigilant – there are many scammers who offer various services at inflated prices. Most of them are in the port area – here tourists are offered tickets to Zanzibar at three or even four times higher prices at the box office. As night falls, life blooms with new colors – the doors of nightclubs, casinos and discos open.

Good to know! Dar es Salaam has the highest concentration of entertainment venues in all of Tanzania.

And some more useful recommendations for tourists:

  1. what you can do in Dar es Salaam – relax on a picturesque promenade among coconut trees to the sound of the Indian Ocean, catch and eat fresh oysters, play golf, tell God the most secret in the Protestant temple;
  2. visit the ocean safari.

On a note! There are many office buildings in the center, so it’s relatively safe to relax here. Motorcyclists ride around town grabbing bags and mobile phones – use caution.


Of course, Dar es Salaam is not so full of remarkable places as the major European resorts and capitals, but there is also something to see here. The sights of Dar es Salaam are saturated with the atmosphere of Africa and the traditional colors of this continent.

Shopping center Slipway
Paintings at Slipway Shopping Center

Here, travelers are offered a wide selection of diverse folk art goods and services. They buy the best authentic African souvenirs for every taste at fairly reasonable prices. The assortment includes paintings, textiles, tea, coffee, books, jewelry and clothes. After visiting the shops you need to relax, visit the beauty salon, and you can eat in the restaurant. Families with children are advised to visit the ice cream parlor and a shop with a huge selection of sweets.

Interesting fact! A nice bonus is a picturesque view of the Msasani Bay.

The shopping complex was built near the Stapel Beach, people come here to enjoy the picturesque sunsets over the Indian Ocean and just relax. Nearby is the yacht club.

Sunset over the indian ocean

Photo: The former capital of Tanzania – Dar es Salaam.

Macumbusho Village Museum
Macumbusho Village Museum

The open-air ethnographic museum is located approximately 10 km from the former capital. The village is a thematic part of the National Museum of the country. It is best to study in detail the life and culture of African residents.

The buildings typical for the country are installed directly in the open air; guests can go into each house and see household items. Not far from the huts, pens for livestock and livestock were equipped, household facilities – sheds, stoves were built.

Village, local holidays are especially attractive for tourists. For a very nominal fee, you can take part in celebrations. In the village they sell national clothes, jewelry, souvenirs.

Good to know! Local holidays are held on Thursdays and Sundays from 16-00 to 20-00.

Practical information:

  • To receive the program of celebrations, send a request to the email address:;
  • The best way to get to the village is by shuttle bus labeled For Makumbusho on the New Bagamoyo Road.
St. Joseph’s Cathedral

This religious attraction is one of the best decorations of Dar es Salaam in Zanzibar. The Cathedral is an amazing place where there is a feeling of calm and tranquility. It is best to combine architecture and prayer in the temple.

In St. Joseph's Cathedral

Interesting fact! The cathedral is always cool, so you can go here to hide from the midday heat.

The building is decorated in a colonial style.

The temple was built in the center, near the ferry. The building is decorated in a colonial style – this is one of the first cathedrals. Today, the colonial-style building has been completed – a grotto has appeared in it, where you can retire for personal prayers.

Practical information:

  • services are held every Sunday in the cathedral;
  • entrance to the temple is free;
  • the cathedral is one of the best places for photographs; wonderful shots can be caught in the morning.
Kivukoni Fish Market

This is a special place in Dar es Salaam, where there is a lot of fresh fish, a special African flavor reigns. The nuances to which attention should be paid are hygiene and a specific smell. It is better to go to the market early in the morning – you can choose fresh, better seafood, and there are not so many people. Here you can find almost the entire animal kingdom of the ocean. For one dollar, a purchase will be prepared, but given that hygiene rules are not followed, it is better to cook your own food. The market prices are among the best in Dar es Salaam and the freshest seafood taste.

Kivukoni Fish Market

For local residents, the fish market is a way of life. Twice a day an auction is held here – fish are laid out on a large table and buyers begin to bargain for it. The one who offers the highest price wins. Local housewives, resellers and restaurant representatives buy goods at the market.

Dar es Salaam Zanzibar Ferry

The ferry crossing is very popular, it is the best transport for local residents to get to the capital of the country and back. Tourists use the ferry to go on a safari or visit the island of Tanzania.

Dar es Salaam Zanzibar Ferry

Every day, four ferries depart to the side of Zanzibar, they move quickly enough.

If you like comfort and speed, choose a plane.

Practical recommendations:

Ferry ride Dar es Salaam - Zanzibar
  • To travel by ferry you must have a passport with you;
  • ferry schedule: 7-00, 09-30, 12-30 and 16-00 – the time is relevant for the departure of transport in both directions;
  • travel time is approximately two hours;
  • ticket price: a trip in the VIP zone – $ 50, a trip in an economy class will cost $ 35;
  • the number of tickets in economy class is unlimited, so be prepared for the fact that you will have to go while standing;
  • it is better to book tickets and seats in advance on the Azam website, in no case do not buy tickets on the street;
  • VIP passengers can visit the bar;
  • maximum luggage weight – 25 kg.

Beaches of Dar es Salaam

This city in Tanzania is located near the equator, it is not surprising that many are interested in the beaches of Dar es Salaam and the opportunity to relax by the sea.

Good to know! There are beaches in the city, but guests are not recommended to relax and swim here – the water is too dirty, the coast is not too comfortable.

Private beach at Jangwani Sea Breeze Resort
Jangwani sea breeze resort

The best resorts are located north of the city where hotels with their own beach are built. To take advantage of all the amenities on the beach, just buy a drink or some kind of dish.

Moudia Island

Ferries depart from the White Sands Hotel to the island. You can also get there by boat, following the mall. To relax on the beach, it is better to set aside all day, try fresh seafood, caught before the eyes of vacationers from the Indian Ocean.

Moudia Island

The island is surrounded by a marine reserve, so you need to come here with a mask. Trees grow on the shore, baobabs are found, but there are no palm trees. The seabed and shore are covered with sand and stones.

Interesting fact! There are no hotels on the shore, but for a fee you can spend the night in a tent.

Bongoyo Island

This is a desert island, covered with a huge amount of vegetation, white sand, and colorful fish swim in the water. Bongoyo is part of the Marine Reserve. People come here to breathe fresh air, relax and feel absolute peace, run after the lizards and, of course, swim in a mask or go down to the bottom with scuba gear.

Bongoyo Island

The best stretch of beach is in the northwest of Bongoyo, there are huts, you can buy food, soft drinks. There is no developed infrastructure in the opposite part of the island, but the sandy strip of the beach is longer and there are practically no people.

You can buy food in the huts on the island.

Good to know! It is not advisable to walk around the island on your own – it is likely to meet snakes.

Food and accommodation

Dinner at Cape Town Fish Market Restaurant
Cape town fish market

The restaurants and cafes of Dar es Salaam pay special attention to fish and seafood dishes. Geographical location allows full use of the benefits of the ocean. There are also theme establishments that serve Japanese and Thai dishes.

The average bill in an inexpensive cafe will cost from $ 2 to $ 6. Lunch at a restaurant for two costs from $ 20 to $ 35. The average fast food bill costs about $ 6 per person.

There are enough hotels and hotels here, guests will be able to choose a room for themselves, based on the budget and the length of stay in the city. Here are some suggestions:

  • if you want to relax after a busy safari, it is better to choose Dar Es Salaam hotels in the south;
  • If you want to feel the atmosphere of the city, opt for the best hotels in the central part.
Room at Sleep Inn Hotel - Kariakoo in Kariakoo
Sleep Inn Hotel – Kariakoo

These hotels near the Kariakoo district, located in the city center. If your goal is to relax with absolute comfort, pay attention to the Msasani Peninsula.

The minimum cost of living in a three-star hotel is $ 18; a room in a two-star hotel costs from $ 35 per day.

Prices on the page are for September 2018.

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Traveling around the city is best in a taxi.

Traveling around the city is best in a taxi. There is also a line of high-speed buses with a length of 21 kilometers, the number of stops is 29. Transport runs from 5-00 to 23-00 (the name “high-speed” is very arbitrary – buses travel at a speed of only 23 km / h). Each bus has a basket for tickets. There is a train station in the city where trains leave for Lake Victoria and Zambia. There is practically no chance to ride a free train – there are so many passengers that often locals get into the car through the window.

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Weather and climatic conditions

Weather in Dar Es Salaam

Dar es Salaam is located in the subequatorial zone, which is noteworthy – there are two dry and two wet seasons. In general, the weather is hot and humid throughout the year. Given that the city is coastal, the humidity here is an order of magnitude higher than in other continental regions of the country.

The coldest months are summer. From June to August, the air temperature drops to +19 degrees, and the night – to +14 degrees. The rest of the year, the average daily temperature is +29 degrees.

Precipitation is quite rare here.

Precipitation here is quite rare, unlike other regions in Tanzania. The rainiest month is April, and the driest months are from the beginning of summer until mid-autumn.

How to get to Dar es Salaam? The best way is air travel with a change in Germany or Italy. The city has an international airport, from where you can go to other points in the country. Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) is also connected by sea with other countries in Africa.

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