DAR ES SALAAM
Dar es Salaam is a bustling city home to over 4 million people. Outside of spending time in traffic, you can actually find a great sense of community with lots to keep you busy. I was impressed by the number of unique events they have going on each week, as well as the number of expats who have settled down here. Dar is a great place to spend a few days before heading on a safari or to relax on the beaches of Zanzibar.
CURRENCY: Tanzanian Shilling
CLIMATE: Tropical (warm & humid), Dry season: June – October
DRESS CODE: Casual
GETTING AROUND: Uber, Local taxis, Boda-bodas (moto taxis)
TIPPING: Tipping is not mandatory but appreciated. For safaris, a tip of $10-$15 per day for the driver is satisfactory.
SAFETY: Generally safe but known for theft, Motorbikes are known to grab purses/phones while driving by, be sure to keep these hidden.
FROM THE AIRPORT
The Julius Nyerere International Airport is only about 13 km from the city center, but can take hours to reach since traffic in Dar can be horrendous. Your best bet is to take an Uber from the airport as taxi prices are unregulated and can cost you more than $25 to the city center.
Buses run from Moshi to Dar es Salaam multiple times per day. The trip takes around 10 hours and buses can be caught from Moshi bus station or stopped along the road.
You can take a ferry to Dar from Stone Town. The trip takes around 2.5 hours and costs around $35 USD. There are multiple ferries per day and they do sell out so it is best to buy tickets in advance if possible. You can also take a flight for around the same price which takes you on a very, very small plane for about 15 minutes of total airtime.
WHERE TO STAY
Located in the suburb of Masaki, this hostel is just minutes away from shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars. They have a great outdoor area with a bar, tvs, plenty of seating, and great food. I highly recommend staying here or even just coming here to hang out when you are in Dar es Salaam.
WHAT TO EAT
WHERE TO EAT
A delicious Thai restaurant located on the waterfront in the Slipway. I was very impressed with their special spicy sauce that packs heat, but also flavor! Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of it. Great place for a date or a family dinner.
A delicious bakery, restaurant, and hidden gem.
One of the only Mexican restaurants I could find in the area to get my burrito fix. Good prices and pretty good food.
WHAT TO DO
GO ISLAND HOPPING
Definitely the coolest place I went while in Tanzania. Nakupenda Beach is a small sand bank about 30 minutes away from Dar es Salaam and literally translates to “I love you” Beach. The sand bank is a small strip of sand with nothing else on it where you are completely surrounded by the crystal clear blue water of the Indian Ocean. And the exciting part is, as the tide comes in during the day, the sand bank gets smaller and smaller until it is completely covered by the ocean. Therefore, it is best to go early in order to have some time to hang out before it disappears! The best way to get there is to meet someone who has a boat or take a day trip with one of the many companies offering it from Stone Town in Zanzibar.
Bongoyo is a deserted island that is part of the Dar es Salaam marine conservation area. There is not much to do on the island, except for relax! There is one restaurant on the island and once you arrive, someone will come around and ask for your lunch order. To get there, take a boat from The Slipway for about $20 USD (round trip). Boats leave several times throughout the day.
Every Friday night, the Upanga Club hosts “Indian” bingo where you can order excellent Indian food and play Bingo for cash prizes! A unique and fun way to start your evening! Starts around 8:00pm. Entrance charge is around 2,000 TsH and includes an initial bingo card.
GET INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY
The Rotary Club of Dar es Salaam Oyster Bay hosts yearly goat races around the month of June. These furry racers bring together crowds of locals and tourists alike while helping to raise money for Tanzanians in need.
GO TO THE WATERFRONT
The Slipway is located along the Msasani Peninsula, on the waterfront of the Indian Ocean. Here you will find beautiful shops, restaurants, bars, a playground, a hotel, and much more! A great place to come stroll during the day or early evening for the sunset and enjoy a nice dinner on an outdoor patio while breathing in the fresh salty air.
GO ON A SAFARI
Dar es Salaam is a great starting point for many safaris in Mikumi National Park. Most safari tour operators will pick you up from your accommodation in Dar and then take you on the roughly 10 hour drive to the park. This park is home to 4 of the big 5 animals and an amazingly beautiful spot to remind you what is really important in life. Safari packages start around $400 for a 3D2N package. Compare safari packages and rates here.