The Best of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania City Facts, Map, Area ++

Discover Dar es Salaam Tanzania attractions, things to do, location and ports in this guide to this largest city in Tanzania.

Dar es Salaam is rested along a natural harbor on the Indian Ocean, entirely surrounded by the Pwani Districts which are Bagamoyo district to the north, Kibaha Urban district to the west, Kisarawe district to the south west and Mkuranga district to the south of the region.  

Dar es Salaam city is a multicultural and home to African diversity with Tanzanian and South Asian ethnicities, the city boasts in international cuisines, trades diversity with enormous various communities’ and cultures that yield plentiful results for the country.

Dar es Salaam

Like any other known city, Dar es Salaam is an established and fortitude fort with big historic tales.

Dar es Salaam Location:

It is located at 6°48’ S, 39°17’ E (−6.8000, 39.2833), It borders the Indian Ocean to the east, and the Coast (Pwani) region on the other sides. It stretches about 100km between the Mpiji River to the north and beyond the Mzinga 2 River in the south, comprising a total land area of 1,630.7 km (about 0.2% of the entire Tanzania mainland’s area) (ILRI, 2007).

Administratively, the city is divided into three major districts namely Ilala, Kinondoni, and Temeke – Coastal shrubs, Miomno woodland, coastal swamps and mangrove trees represent the main natural vegetation cover in the city.

Plateau area which comprises of the hilly areas to the west and north, and on average 100-200m above sea level, characterised by steep weathered slopes and well drained of gravely clay bound soils, inland alluvial plains surrounded by rivers originating from Pugu hills to the east.

The city of Dar-es- Salaam is one of the fastest growing cities in East Africa with an ever growing population.

People of Dar-Es-Salaam:

Majority of Tanzanians are the Sukuma who live in the north of the country, south of Lake Victoria, Others like the Nyamwezi dwell mainly in the west-central region.

Then Chaga who inhabited the Kilimanjaro mountain slopes in the Southern parts and Nilotic people like the Masai, Arusha, Baraguyu and Arusha all live in the north central part of the Tanzania. Among many other Bantu and Asian tribes that live in Tanzania.

Christianity and Islam are both well-represented in Dar-es-salaam together. Throughout the years all holidays and cultures of the religions are celebrated countrywide even by the government, However, the Islamic traditions are more pronounced in neighboring Zanzibar than in Dar-es-Salaam.

If you tour the city, you will find that there are both impoverished and prestigious areas of the city Dar es Salaam with beautifully tended gardens, and the impoverished, struggling neighborhoods with tiny vegetable lands, within the same day. Both of these make up Dar es Salaam City.

People of Dar-Es- Salaam

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History of Dar es Salaam City:

It was founded in 1862 by Sultan Seyyid Majid of Zanzibar, a small village that was called Mzizima that later became known for plantation growing like cassava, maize and millet and grew into a market-trade stead for people.

Then in the 1870s the city was made subject to German East Africa Company that grew the city into an administrative and commercial city, it was later turned into the eastern terminal for the Central Railway Line that ran through German East Africa.

In 1961 the country gained its independence from the British and German colonial powers and Dar es salaam was named the country’s capital even after it was joined to zanzibar, to this day, Dar-es- salaam continues to hold its position as the capital of Tanzania.

History of the City

Top Tourism Attractions in Dar es Salaam:

Some of the most fascinating attractions hail from East Africa and while we emphasized the sights of the indian ocean and beaches, Dar es salaam is also crowned with a beautiful scenery natural, architectural artifact that has rendered the city a loved tourist destination.

Thanks to the mix of cultures and races like Indian, Arabic and African, the city has a very exquisite sights append for its visitors.

In our list we brief high light and talk about some of the attractions in Dar es salaam- Tanzania.

  1. The Village Museum; North of the city center, the Village Museum has preserved the traditional tale and dwellings from some of Tanzania’s 120 ethnic groups. As you walk through about 15acres of this land you see replicas of tribal homesteads and learn about traditional customs and craft of the Tanzanian people. To have a more insightful experience at the museum it is recommended to have a tour guide to help explain more of the traditions.
  2. National Museum and House of Culture: Originally opened in 1940 in memory of King George V, the museum displays important fossils of some of the country’s colorful and ancestral heritage. In this place you are sure to learn about Tanzania under slave trade and its impacts, ethnographic displays on traditional crafts, customs, and cultural musical instruments.
  3. Kivukoni Fish Market: This harbor Is one of the most popular and busiest places in Dar-es-Salaam. It is your go to place if you and afew friends are looking for seafood. It is well known in Dar-es-Salaam for having varieties of sea food and being the anchor supply of fish to all restaurants and general public. To have the perfect experience of the market, one should visit in the morning hours as fishmongers and boats arrive early morning to sell off their sea catch.
  4. Askari Monument: A soldier in a World War I uniform, with a rifle pointing towards the nearby harbor Is the what stands before you as you stroll in downtown dar es salaam. This statue is a commemoration of the brave soldiers who fought off the carrier corps in world War 1.
  5. Bongoyo Island: Popular for its various marine species like sea urchins,star fish and clownfish, the island is a 30 minutes away from the city and dwellers always visit to relax, enjoy open nature’s strolls and winds of the lone beach. Snorkeling is quite popular and the clear waters are a relief
  6. Mbudya Island: This island is one of the most popular getaway for both dwellers and visitors. The island is a motorboat ride away from the city, white sand beaches and sunbathing are a sport on the island, locals sell cold drinks and seafood for travelers and those who visit. It is a beautiful place.
  7. Kariakoo Market: Unlike the famous fish market,Some of the most popular purchases from this market include fabrics, baskets, spices, produce, handicraft items, jewelry, and so on. It will take you 2 to 3 hours to explore this market, while in the market make time to see and learn Tanzania crafts and handicrafts.
  8. Pugu Hills Nature Reserve: The nature reserve is popular for its outdoor activities like sun gazing, hiking trails and sand beaches. It is also great for bird watching and bat colonies. This reserve is quite a quiet experience that you will enjoy for sights and meditation.

Kivukoni Fish Market

Geography and Transportation;

It’s the largest of cities among the East African countries, an industrial centre, and trade port of Tanzania, Dar-es-salaam has a hot and humid climate, with rainfall of 1,100 mm.

With historic buildings in the city that bear with them the colonial past, along with them are the gigantic structures that exhibit that economic activities of the city.

Visiting the country, you will most likely take a flight into the capital of Tanzania via Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam for those from far away lands, outside the airport are available taxi services from the airport to the city centre will cost you from TSh 30,000

Citizens of Commonwealth countries like Canada, Nigeria, Australia, Pakistan, or India, do not need a visa for entry into Tanzania. travellers from the countries listed here must obtain a visa before arriving in Tanzania.

However, Travelers are also required to present a valid vaccination certificate with QR code for verification upon arrival from most countries, including United Kingdom, Canada, Nigeria, or India. These same states can obtain a visa on arrival for a fee of US$50 (US$100 for citizens of the United States).

If you travel by land, it is most probable that you will take the bus along the Magufuli Bus Terminal. This bus terminal connects the entire Dar es Salaam with almost all parts of Tanzania and even with neighboring countries.

With several hundreds of bus companies operating through the terminal: you can reach Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Malawi and other neighboring countries, as well as other local destinations, and by Water, you can arrive into Tanzania via the Ferry from Zanzibar.

But for those who seek a far more in tuned experience, and have plenty of time and are seeking a different perspective of travel, the Tanzanian railway has recently been renovated and serves all parts of the country, there are two lines running into Dar es Salaam including Western Tanzania.

While the train is a slower form of travel, you might enjoy the budget-friendly price of the overnight train from Arusha to Dar-es-salaam.

Best Time to Visit Dar es Salaam:

The best time to visit the capital of Tanzania is from the start of July-October to the end of year because this period of time is cool with dry winds around the beaches and hiking venues are at this period of time.

Then all through November to January, the city is saturated with rains, here you can always watch the beautiful vastness of the Indian Ocean and dewy-sunrise.

So if you are planning to Visit Dar-es-salaam, mark your calendar dates, prepare your list of activities around these months.

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The city of 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.

Dar is always warm (measuring from 23.3 to 28 °C, i.e., 73.94 to 82 °F for most of the year), so it’s a good idea to head to the beach to enjoy the sun and sands of beach.

Things to Do in Dar es Salaam;

Activities and Experiences

Dar es Salaam is where you can experience the fusion of the Swahili and modern life. It is home to fun beaches, ancient ruins, historical museums and is located near impressive conservation areas and Now that you have an idea of what the city looks and feels for those touring plans.

Let’s talk about the activities to be a part of and experiences everyone should enjoy while in the city.

Top 7 Best Activities to Do in Dar es Salaam;

  1. Street food tours; You should try the fusion of Swahili and Tanzanian culture in food. It’s highly recommended.
  2. Beaches; The city is surrounded by shores and sands and you can’t afford to miss the experience of playing by the ocean and coast. Beaches like Coco Beach are highly recommended.
  3. Visit City museums.
  4. Visit the most exquisite gallery (Nafasi Art Space)
  5. Cruises and Boat tours for as low as $8.172
  6. Workshops and classes $80 only.
  7. Sports and hiking in the Pugu Hills.

City museums

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Best Hotels in Dar es Salaam – Accommodations;

Away from the beautiful beaches, shores and amusement parks in Dar-es-salaam. The city also has quite a scenery of beautiful, luxurious and budget friendly hotels for all travelers.

There are classified suits to cater and satisfy the different preferences. Some hotels in Dar es Salaam offer you great views of the Indian Ocean, a very important aspect for travelers and tourists.

While accommodation is a delightful experience in Dar-es-salaam, it is important that the services and service quality might differ from one facility to another  

If you are looking for a homely accommodation experience you might have to a consider an accommodation slip way around the city with an ocean view

Top 10 Best Hotels in Dar es Salaam;

  1. CBD hotel
  2. Johari Rotana
  3. Hyatt Regency
  4. Coral beach Hotel
  5. Four points by Sheraton
  6. Mediterraneo hotel
  7. Sea cliff hotel
  8. Giraffe Beach Hotel
  9. Ramada resort
  10. Protea Hotel

Best Hotels in Dares Salaam

Dar es Salaam Safety and Travel Tips;

While Dar es salaam is a population of welcoming and kind people, we can’t rule a few facts about safety while on trips, walks or any activities in the city. Reports are still received at the High Commission about theft, bag snatching, assaults and a lot more.

  • Do not carry large amounts of cash or other valuables with you on walks. Leave your passport in the hotel safe and carry a photocopy for ID at all times.
  • Always be vigilant about your residential property, ensure it is secure and lock all doors and windows, especially at night.
  • Do not accept lifts from strangers or individuals offering to procure a licensed taxi on your behalf. Do not use unlicensed taxis.
  • If you’re travelling by car, always wear a seatbelt. If you have concerns about the roadworthiness or safety of any car, then you should not travel in it.
  • Consider using reputable taxis as an alternative. There are no roadside rescue or breakdown services
  • Avoid driving out of major towns and cities at night.
  • Keep doors locked, windows up and valuables out of sight, as vehicles are sometimes targeted by street thieves.
  • Those planning to travel to neighboring countries or across the region, make sure you check our travel advice for each country you intend to visit.
  • Information about travel in our remote areas can be patchy. Invest in an up-to-date travel guide and only use reliable tour companies.

In conclusion therefore, Dar es Salaam is highly a secure and proven tourist site. From a small fishing village to a robust industrious town and area, it’s only fit that everyone experiences the story of the City, Dar es Salaam.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Do I need a passport and visa to travel to Tanzania?

Yes, a visa is required when travelling to Tanzania from the United States and Canada. It is very important that one carries these documents along as they always expected on arrival airports. It is also important that they are valid for 90 days. Your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the date you plan to leave Tanzania.

  1. How much money should I move with to Tanzania?

The Official currency in Tanzania is the Tanzanian shilling, it is used every where in the country therefore it is important that one moves with the Tanzanian shilling currency, however if one us unable to, Mastercards and Visa cards plus ATMs are available everywhere in Tanzania for easy access to personal funds.

  1. Is the Climate in Dar es salaam good?

Yes, the Tanzanian climate is good. There are two seasons in Tanzania, the dry season that starts from June to November and the wet season that runs on from December to May.

  1. Which language is frequently used in Dar es salaam?

Swahili is the official language of Tanzania, and English. These two languages are widely spoken across the city and country at large.

  1. What are the must go places in Dar es salaam?

Dar es salaam is a beautiful city and there are so many beautiful places and sights to enjoy but these are our recommended sights

  • Bongoyo Island
  • Coco Beach
  • The state House
  • The Askari Monument
  • Kivukoni Fish market
  • Nafasi Art Space
  • Pugu Hills reserve
  1. What is the Time in Dar es salaam?

Tanzania doesn’t have a winter and summer months and It is three hours ahead on the Greenwich mean time(GMT).

  1. Do I need any vaccinations before or during my visit to Dar es Salaam?

For all entries into the country, a yellow fever vaccination card is mandatory for everyone. There are few other diseases that are common like malaria, therefore one needs to protect themselves with ointments or sleeping under mosquito nets during their stay.