Budget Travel Guide – Dar es Salaam

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Settled near the center of Tanzania’s coast is Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city. Not only is this tourist hotspot known for its unique blend of cultures but also for its magnificent beaches and scuba diving opportunities. 

If you’re on a budget, don’t worry because we’ve got you covered with this Budget Travel Guide designed specifically for Dar es Salaam!

Best Time to Go

December and January would make for a lovely holiday in Dar es Salaam, but the prices go a bit too high due to the rush of tourists. March to May, on the other hand, mark the low season. During this time, the prices go down by quite a bit. Some lodges by the coast might be closed, but other than that, the lower number of tourists and cheaper price make this time of year a great choice.

Dar es Salaam City

Dar es Salaam City, Image Source: ProudtTanzaniaSafaris.Com

How to Get There

There are many ways to reach Dar es Salaam. You can reach Dar es Salaam via a train or a bus! However, both of these can get very crowded, so make sure you’re up for it and you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Another option would be to drive, but road travel is very risky, especially at night or in the wet seasons as the tracks become dark and slippery.


Buses are, once again, very cheap but crowded and almost always full, so tuk-tuks are a much better alternative for short and cheaper than taxis for which the fares are decided beforehand depending on destination with no meter. Driving yourself around is always an option, but the unfamiliar roads would be unwise to go alone, and hiring a driver would cost even more than the already pricey car rent.

Bus Rapid Transit Tanzania

Bus Rapid Transit Tanzania, Image Source: GoExplorer.Org

Where to Stay

The accommodations and hotels around the center of the city are arranged to form a nice transport link, so Dar is a great place to go when traveling on a budget. City Center is the most historical part of the city, with Mikocheni nearby. It’s filled with mid-priced bars and restaurants.

Dar es Salaam Beach

Dar es Salaam Beach, Image Source: AbercrombieKent.Co.Uk

What to See

Askari Monument

Built to honor the East African soldiers who died fighting in the First World War, this monument stands tall in the corner of Samora Avenue. It’s truly a sight to behold, with English and Swahili inscriptions.

Askari Monument

Askari Monument, Image Source: NakakaRonald.Wordpress.Com

Nyumba Ya Sanna (Nyerere Cultural Center)

Many artists come and show their beautiful crafts at this center, and sell it for a reasonable price. You could even try making something yourself! Best of all, there is no entrance or admission fee.

Botanical Gardens

Made originally by Germans but now smaller and free to visit is this vibrant garden. It is small enough to feel like your own colourful little corner in the grey world.

Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens, Image Source: AfricanTourer.Com

Where to Eat

The cuisine in Dar es Salaam is unsurprisingly good, seeing as it is a major spice producer. Reflecting on its history and present mix of cultures, its cuisine, too, is a burst of Arabian, Indian and African tastes.

Some moderately priced places are the Indian-based Nwabi Khana, Italian Miditerraneo and Épi d'or with its Lebanese cuisine.

Other cheaper places that have great hidden tastes are Summy’s Grill (a fiery mix of Tanzanian and Indian cuisine), Chapon Bhog (Indian vegetarian cuisine) and the Ethiopian Addis in Dar.

Mediterranean Hotel and Restaurant

Mediterranean Hotel and Restaurant, Image Source: MediterraneoTanzania.Com


  • Dar es Salaam is a big city, so make sure to extract your money from one of the ATMs here before leaving and continuing on your journey.
  • Avoid walking alone at night. Street crime is not unheard of in these parts so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • If you are using US bills, make sure they are not damaged and do not date to before 2006 otherwise merchants might not accept them.

So, what are you waiting for? Head over to Dar and explore the city on a budget!
Don’t forget to check out these Relaxing Retreats in Kenya while you’re in East Africa.

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