Welcome To Dar es Salaam Tanzania

One of East Africa’s busiest ports, Dar es Salaam is Tanzania‘s largest city and commercial center. “Dar” is loved among travelers for its seaside setting, surprisingly laid-back vibe, and eclectic influences, thanks to its mix of African, Arabic, and Indian cultures

Dar es Salaam combines the clamor of Tanzania’s largest city with an agreeably relaxed pace of life. Unlike other cities in East Africa, this is not the sort of city where you see lots of other travelers. This makes it a wonderful opportunity to glimpse urban African life as locals live it. Immerse yourself in its markets and street-food scenes, explore its museums, and enjoy its outdoor attractions.

History of Dar es Salaam Tanzania

The city began to emerge in the middle of the 19th century when sultan Majid bin Said of Zanzibar decided to build a new city close to Mzizima, a fishing village, and give it the name of Dar es Salaam. After the sultan’s death, the new Dar es Salaam began to decline. Still, the city restored its former splendor thanks to the arrival of the German East Africa Company, which was engaged in the construction of the Central Railway Line.

The British occupied this territory during  WWI and the country was then named Tanganyika, before attaining its independence in 1961 and, together with Zanzibar, merged to form Tanzania; with Dar es Salaam as its capital.

Dar es Salaam Tanzania has recently experienced a construction boom, especially with the erection of the Twin Towers – the tallest building in the country.

The climate is wet and dry tropical, with an average temperature of 28°C throughout the year. Within an average year, there is a season of long rains and a season of short rains

Tips for travelers

Less than a three-hour drive from Dar es Salaam is the Mikumi National Park. Lions prowl this grassy kingdom for zebra, wildebeest, impala, and buffalo, while giraffes and elephants forage among the acacia. Safaris and guided walks are available for those who like to wander from the beaten path

The name means “haven of peace” in Arabic and was more fitting of Dar’s former status as a sleepy fishing village than this now booming metropolis. Straddling some of the most important sea routes in the world, Dar es Salaam harbor is Tanzania’s main port. On the northern section of the harbor is Kivukoni Front, with a bustling fish market where dhows sail in every morning at dawn to offload the night’s catch.

German colonists organized Dar by arranging a grid pattern of streets fanning out around the port. The Lutheran Church and St. Joseph Cathedral are notable structures on the waterfront, and the city has a worthwhile museum. The city’s architecture is a mix of Swahili, German, Asian, and British influences.


The city has become a popular tourist destination with its beautiful harbor, stunning beaches, and thriving nightlife. The city has one of the largest markets in East Africa, modern shopping malls, and delicious local restaurants. In addition, it also offers the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches found on the quiet coastline to the north and south of the city. Here you can enjoy a refreshing drink and the azure blue ocean. There is something for everyone!

Dar es Salaam International Airport serves both domestic and international flights. This makes the city the leading arrival and departure point for most tourists who visit Tanzania, including the national parks for safaris and the islands.

Activities and Best Things to Do in Dar es Salaam

Shop the Markets

To experience the sights and smells of an authentically Tanzanian market, it just has to be Kariakoo Market. Spread across several busy city blocks, it’s filled with everything from household goods to clothing and food. More touristy but with more crafts, Mwenge Carvers’ Market has an excellent blend of pieces made for tourists alongside genuine traditional items.

Tour the City Center

There’s no better way to get to know Dar than on one of the tours offered by Afri Roots. The tours, mostly conducted by bicycle, are a good mix of getting to know the city’s major historical landmarks and encounters with the locals. There’s even a tour dedicated to nightlife. It’s a terrific way to access Dar’s lively after-dark scene.

Get Out on the Water

The Indian Ocean off Dar is an underrated destination for diving, snorkeling, and just escaping the city to sail around beautiful local islands such as Bongoyo, Pangavini, and Mbudya. The Dar es Salaam Yacht Club runs sailing and fishing excursions, and, once back on shore, if you can take out a temporary membership you can use the club’s facilities, which include a swimming pool and a children’s playground.

National Museum of Dar Es Salaam

If you want to learn more about the history and culture of Tanzania or see some of the fossils that have been uncovered in the country, you’ll be interested in visiting the National Museum.

The museum is not set up most entertainingly, but if you are willing to read, you’ll learn quite a bit.

One of my favorite exhibits at the National Museum of Dar Es Salaam was a functional bicycle made entirely out of wood – everything from the frame to the wheels was all wooden – amazing

Tanzania’s capital in all but name, the city has some excellent museums, and they’re among the best things to do in Dar es Salaam. The biggest and best is the National Museum, which takes you on an intriguing journey through Tanzanian history. It begins with world-famous archaeological finds from Olduvai Gorge, then travels down through the slave trade and colonial era, and even houses former president Julius Nyerere’s Rolls-Royce. The Village Museum has reconstructed village scenes from all corners of the country, with live cultural performances and craftspeople at work to bring it all alive

Find the Best Street Food

You’ll eat well in Dar es Salaam, and what locals crave more than anything is a street barbecue. Every evening queues form at aromatic Barbecue House, close to Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road. Here locals order chicken, beef, or fish, served with naan bread and a choice of chilies, coconut chutney, or tamarind sauce. It’s a similar deal at Mamboz Corner, where Morogoro Road meets Libya Street, with Zanzibari marinades a highlight. Four times a year, the Nyama Choma Festival (Swahili for grilled meats) takes over Tunisia Road with barbecue cook-offs and live entertainment.

Bagamoyo Town

Similar to Mombasa or Lamu, Bagamoyo town located north of Dar Es Salaam, is an ancient East African trade port. The town has been influenced by Arabs and Indians to create a unique Swahili culture.

On a day trip to Bagamoyo, you can visit ancient ruins, old churches, and mosques and tour one of Tanzania’s only colleges of arts known as Chuo Cha Sanaa

 Shop For Souvenirs 

You can buy souvenirs at Kariakoo but you can also head to Slipway on the peninsula. It’s an open-air market where you can find gifts for family and friends. You can’t go home empty-handed!

As you can see, Dar es Salaam is worth considering when you visit Tanzania. Before heading to Zanzibar or Arusha, carve out some time in your schedule to explore one of Tanzania’s biggest and most populated cities


Azania Lutheran Church

Originally built by German missionaries in Tanzania, the Azania Lutheran Church is an iconic structure located on Dar Es Salaam’s harbor front. From the cathedral, you’ll have easy access to other tourist attractions around town.

When you enter the church, someone will probably approach you and start to guide you around, even without your asking. If you’re alright with this, just let me show you around, and at the end, they might ask for a donation to the church.

You can go up to the top of the Azania Lutheran Church, and see the bell tower.


Bongoyo Island

One of the most entertaining things to do in Dar Es Salaam is swim in the beautiful warm tropical Indian Ocean – but not right in Dar itself – there are a few locations that aren’t far that are much better (and cleaner).

Bongoyo Island is a small island off the coast of Dar that makes a fantastic day trip of lazying on the beach, snorkeling, and dining on fresh fried fish and chips.

Since becoming a marine reserve a few years ago, fees have severely increased, but it’s still worth it. Get to the island by taking a boat from The Slipway shopping center.


Tingatinga Art Center

Tanzanians have long been famous around Africa for their artwork (even on the streets of Dar). The modern movement of Tingatinga painting is one my my favorite styles of Tanzanian art.

An artistic movement that began with Edward Said Tingatinga, the style is characterized by extremely bright oil colors and cartoon imaginative figures.

The Tingatinga Center is a rainbow of color and artistic inspiration. You can browse around and buy anything you see

Admire the Art

Nafasi Art Space ranks among East Africa’s best galleries for contemporary art. You’ll see artists at work here in the studios that are hewn from a former industrial warehouse. There are exhibitions, workshops, and live performances most evenings.

 Askari Monument

One of the most well-known historical statues of significance in Dar Es Salaam is the Askari Monument. Depicting a soldier with his bayonet pointing to the harbor, the monument is a reminder of the soldiers who fought in the Carrier Corps in World War I.

The cast bronze Askari Monument is supposedly located in the precise center of Dar, in the middle of the roundabout that bisects Samora Avenue with Maktaba Street.

South Beach – Kigamboni

Seclusion, peace, and quietness are how I would describe the South Beach area of Dar Es Salaam. There are several hotels that you can visit, or you can rent your banda thatch-covered hut for the day.

The lanky palm trees rustling in the breeze and the rhythmic wash of waves make spending a day at South Beach one of the most relaxing things to do in Dar Es Salaam.

Get there by personal vehicle or by local Dala Dala minivan. You’ll need to cross to the Kigamboni side of Dar by taking the ferry across the port – the ferry ride alone is an awesome Dar experience

Nyama Choma

Just like in neighboring Kenya, nyama Choma (roasted meat – often goat) is wildly popular – and incredibly delicious. Go to a local restaurant, order your choice of meat, and wait for it to slowly roast.

In Tanzania, nyama choma is served with a few chilies and sometimes a tomato and red onion garnish. Many Tanzanians choose to wash down their nyama choma with a few beers.

Dar es Salaam Botanical Gardens: Gardens with a Purpose

Established in 1893, the Dar es Salaam Botanical Gardens were initially used as a cash crop testing ground by the first agriculture director, Professor Stahlman. Today, they harbor the Horticultural Society, which takes care of several species of jacaranda, cycads, and palm. It also tends to some of the country’s most exotic plants, including the scarlet flame trees. Tour through the shady gardens that provide the dusty, hot city with a cool oasis suitable for plant life survival.

Dar es Salaam Botanical Gardens: Gardens with a Purpose

Established in 1893, the Dar es Salaam Botanical Gardens were initially used as a cash crop testing ground by the first agriculture director, Professor Stahlman. Today, they harbor the Horticultural Society, which takes care of several species of jacaranda, cycads, and palm. It also tends to some of the country’s most exotic plants, including the scarlet flame trees. Tour through the shady gardens that provide the dusty, hot city with a cool oasis suitable for plant life survival.

How to Get to Dar Es Salaam


The Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR), Tanzania’s main airport, is located about 6 miles west of the city. A taxi ride to the city should cost about Tsh15,000.


There are two train options through Dar es Salaam, including Tanzania Railways Limited, with connections to Dodoma and more. TAZARA Railway runs a scenic route through the Selous Game Reserve and onto Zambia.


Highways connect Dar es Salaam to most major centers in the region and nationally, including the A-7 to Morogoro. The Tanzam Highway runs from Zambia to Dar Es Salaam Tanzania along the Cairo-Cape Town Highway.


Kilimanjaro Express and Dar Express are two of the largest bus companies with service to Dar es Salaam, offering connections to Arusha and beyond.

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