The economic center, largest city, and former capital of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam is rich in culture, heritage, history, and sightseeing. It is a starting point for many visitors making their way to other large attractions in Tanzania, such as the coastal islands or inland safaris, but there is also a lot to see and do in this town. Dar es Salaam is a tropical port city that lies along some of the most important and oldest sea routes in history, and its long status as a major East African economic center has given rise to an interesting and distinctive culture.
1. Coastal Cruises: This is a great way to see the East African coast while sailing around the Indian Ocean. Choose a boat that will stop off on an island for a picnic of authentic local foods before heading back to port. This is an especially romantic excursion if you’re traveling with someone special.
2. Dar Es Salaam Fish Market: At this bustling market, fisherman bring in their daily catches while their housewives fry up the freshest fish straight from the ocean. The best time to go is early in the morning.
3. Mandazi Road: This road is lined on both sides with bars and cafes and is a great place to mix and mingle with the locals. The Msasani-Ubungo bus passes about every 15 minutes but you might also consider taking a taxi there as well.
4. National Museum and House of Culture: Exhibits at these two sites include the Hall of Man, which traces the human history from evolution to present day, the History Gallery, which focuses on the history of Tanzanians from early society to present day, and the Ethnography Gallery, which allows us to see the rich cultural heritage of the people of Tanzania through the use of ornaments, traditional healings, musical instruments, and much more.
5. Beaches: This area of the Indian Ocean is known for its picture-perfect tropical coastline. Dar es Salaam boasts long sandy white beaches and the water is usually warm. If you are a beach person, don’t pass this paradise by!
We recommend visiting Tanzania between January and March. Tanzania has two rainy seasons: from mid-March to the end of May, the masika rains begin after dark and last well into the next afternoon. The second season is known as the vuli season; it occurs intermittently throughout November and parts of December and January. During the vuli season, showers arrive in the morning and are sometimes interrupted with clear weather.
Visas: It is possible to obtain a visa upon arriving in Tanzania, but we highly recommend that you arrange that before you travel. Tourist visas are issued as single- or multiple-entry permits and cost about $100.
It is highly recommended that visitors get cholera and malaria vaccinations before their trip. If you are traveling to Tanzania from a surrounding country, it may be necessary to certify that you have been vaccinated against yellow fever as well.
Transportation: Most travelers will fly into Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, or Zanzibar. The national airline is ATC (Air Tanzania Corporation). ATC and Precision Air are the main providers of domestic flights and link most of the major towns in the country.
Taxis are the most common way that tourists use to get around the city. Taxis are inexpensive in general, but negotiate a set price first. The main bus terminal is called Ubungo Dar Es Salaam and is located in the western part of the Kinondoni district. Most buses will not leave until they are completely loaded to capacity, so don’t be surprised if you have to wait a while until one does.
There are two major rail lines in Tanzania: the TRC and the TAZARA. The TRC (Tanzania Railway Corporation) operates from Dar es Salaam to Tabora and branches off to either Kigoma or Mwanza. It also operates from Ruvu, branches to either Tanga or Moshi, and connects to the Kenyan railway system. The TAZARA (Tanzania–Zambia Railway Authority) connects Dar es Salaam with Zambia.
The U.S. Department of State’s consular website has a great deal of information about safety and security in Tanzania. It can’t be repeated often enough: be sensible when you travel. Be alert and aware of your surroundings. Tanzania (especially Zanzibar) has a sizable Muslim population. We encourage travelers to respect local customs and fashion and to dress modestly.
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has created a security ratings system called the Ibrahim Index, wherein scores are based on each country’s quality of government. Before traveling to Tanzania or anywhere on the continent, check the index and do your research.
1. Don’t exchange money with locals. They may offer you a lower rate, but if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Your safest best is to exchange your money at the airport, a money bank or your hotel.
2. The local language is Swahili but since there are a lot of European travelers who come for vacation here, English is prevalent.
3. The two main religions in the city are Christianity and Islam, though there are quite a few people practicing Hinduism
4. Tap water in Dar es Salaam is not safe to drink. Only drink from bottled water if you cannot boil it and be mindful of ice cubes.