Dar es Salaam Travel Guide
If you’re visiting Dar es Salaam for the first time, you might get tempted to dismiss it as a disorganized and chaotic place where loud traders shout themselves hoarse as they compete for space with local taxis that are driven at breakneck speeds. But give the city some time, and you’re likely to fall in love with it because this is a lively waterfront city that blends Arab, African and Indian influences that create a distinct urban culture. Spread haphazardly in all directions, the city of Dar es Salaam still retains abundant charm.
From the broad streets and avenues in the city centre that are lined with a mixture of both colonial and modern skyscrapers, well-tended gardens with bougainvillea flower beds and a plethora of pristine coastal beaches, the city has a laid-back feel that makes it hard to believe that it is host to more than four million inhabitants. Apart from checking out the modernized harbour, the fish markets, street vendors, and discovering excellent street food as well as fine dining, there is a lot more to explore in Dar es Salaam. Here is a short Dar es Salaam travel guide:
1. Visit the National Museum of Tanzania
Situated at the heart of the city, the National Museum of Tanzania is a famous landmark for many visitors. Established in 1934 by the former Governor of Tanganyika, Harold MacMichael, it comprises of five other units: Dar es Salaam National Museum, Natural History Museum, Village Museum, Arusha Declaration Museum and the Nyerere Museum. They combine to exhibit and preserve the gems of the nation’s natural environment and its rich history.
2. Botanical gardens
The Dar es Salaam botanical gardens take care of several species of trees including palms, jacaranda, and cycads. Started in 1893, the gardens were first used to test cash crops. Visitors can also view the country’s most exotic plants that include the scarlet flame trees.
3. Visit Uluguru mountains
The Uluguru mountains, located in Morogoro, 90 km from Dar es Salaam are spectacular and well-forested landmarks that soar above the surrounding farmlands. What they lack in hotel hospitality, they compensate with clear and stunning camping grounds. You can take a stroll to the villages of Bunduki and Tegetero and watch the locals in their daily chores. This is a perfect 2-day hideaway from the bustle and hustle of the city.
4.Where to sleep
When it comes to comfort and style, Dar es Salaam hotels can compete pretty well with the best in the world. The city’s accommodations are well equipped with modern facilities such as satellite TV, air-conditioning, excellent restaurants and swimming pools. Many of the city’s hotels are also located in proximity to some cool attractions and places of interest such as museums, beaches, and the airport. Here are some high-end hotels:
- Hong Kong Hotel
- QBar Guest House
- Hotel Slipway
- Ledger Plaza Bahari Beach
- Namax Royal Hotel
- Mayfair Hotel
If you’re traveling on a budget, Dar es Salaam will not lock you out. There are full budget hotels that offer excellent amenities and facilities. Check out for random discounts and hotel deals in the travel brochures or visit their websites.
5. Where to eat
For fine dining, visit the:
- Akemo – For European and international cuisine
- Oriental Restaurant – For Chinese and Japanese food
- Flame Tree Lounge – Asian
- The Palm Brasserie – African food
- Addis in Dar – Ethiopian and African
- Karafuu – Seafood, and African
- Mamboz – Chinese and African
- Karambezi Cafe – Mediterranean
For local cuisine, visit the:
- Waterfront suns – for seafood
- The Beach Club – African and Asian
- Terrace Restaurant – European
- Cape Town Fish Market – Pizza, Seafood
- Epi D’Or – Lebanese
Cheap, but excellent, eateries include:
- Burgher53, For Hamburgers and Fries, Fast food.
- Chapan Bhog – Indian. Asian
- Rissa Barbeque – Barbeque
- Chef’s Pride – African. Indian
6. Visit Bongoyo island
Bongoyo is an uninhabited island about 3 km from Dar es Salaam to the north. It is a popular destination for both locals and tourists. It is home to Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve. Be careful as you navigate the island as it has only two rocky shores and two beaches. Visitors land on the north western tip of the island where the boat moors. Here they can find food and drinks.
Do have a look at: Budget Travel to Dar es Salaam