Picture this … you’re new in town and you don’t know anyone. What would you do or where would you visit and explore?
That was how I felt when I first visited Dar es Salaam and since then, I have visited twice and spent most of my time exploring the city.
Whether you spend your time exploring beautiful attractions, going on tours or dining in restaurants, it’s always a delightful experience for me. Vacations in Dar offer wonderful shopping experiences; vibrant entertainment scene and delicious culinary options. All will leave you entertained till you decide to leave. Even if you’re a local and your free time is precious, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the worthwhile experiences the city offers.
Make the Most out of your Time
With so many things to see and do in this city, it can be hard to even sketch out a schedule that will suit your needs. Are you a history lover or maybe you want to go on a culinary tour? You can only make most of your vacation when you know where to go in Dar. This is very important. Every attraction or activity represents something new and interesting about the Tanzanian culture, entertainment, art, and cuisine.
You need an epic collection of amazing things you can’t miss around the city, or maybe not – but just in case you do. Here are some amazing things and places you shouldn’t miss out while in Dar es Salaam.
Top 7 Attractions in Dar es Salaam
1. Azam Marine and Coastal Fast Ferries
I know you just got to town, but taking a ferry boat ride from the mainland to the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba is an amazing way to begin your holiday. It’s one of the best ways to get to Zanzibar Island from Dar es Salaam. It also gives you the wonderful opportunity to see the coastal side of the city beyond the usual tourist overview.
I love to recommend the Kilimanjaro IV ferry, but you should make sure that You don't get overcharged when it comes to seat availability. You may purchase a Royale ticket and then find yourself on a VIP seat. Although this doesn’t happen all the time, it’s always advisable to ask about the seat availability before purchasing your ticket. If you easily become seasick, you need to be careful and be precautious because the sea can be rough at times due to high waves. There would be no refund for an unused ticket if you missed the scheduled time.
At the end of the day, the coastal fast ferry ride is not an experience you should miss while in Dar es Salaam.
2.Take a Peek into the Village Museum
This interesting open-air museum offers visitors the opportunity to experience the cultural and traditional life in Tanzania. You’ll be fascinated with the local culture while exploring the different houses available in the Tanzanian region. The villagers demonstrate their traditional skills such as carving, pottery, and weaving. The highlight of my visit to this museum was the traditional tribal dance performance. It was exciting and it's really worth checking out.
3. Coco Beach
Even though this is a public beach located in the Oysterbay area, it’s definitely worth a visit. You can spend your weekend here and relax by the sea shore. The beach can be crowded and dirty sometimes, and you should avoid visiting at night. Don’t leave your things unattended to here especially if you’re visiting alone. You can take a walk along the cliffs to Golden Tulip from the Sea Cliff – this is an off-the-beaten path with very few people. There are several cafes and restaurants at the beach where you can sample the local cuisine while enjoying the sea views. You can also shop for beautiful souvenirs around.
4. Slipway Shopping Center
Sometimes, I’m not sure if I should count a shopping center as an attraction but they are always my favourite destination for shopping and exploring. I love taking a casual stroll around the mall, going from one store to another just to see what they are offering. After exploring for a while, I always find myself chilling a restaurant with an ice-cold drink and maybe a delicious lunch. What I love about Slipway shopping center is the dining, shopping and of course, the captivating sunset view over the Indian Ocean.
5. Nyama Choma
East Africa is synonymous to Nyama Choma, a delicious barbecued meat, often goat meat and I’m a big fan. I have learnt to replace the laid-back restaurant trips and fancy cocktail bars with local restaurants. Well, sometimes, but who wouldn’t? After you have tasted Nyama Choma, you will understand the difference between a great dining experience and a good food. Whenever I visit Tanzania or Kenya, I always make sure I find my way to the best Nyama Choma restaurant in town for a taste. If you’re new in Dar, just find your way to either Mamboz Corner BBQ or Kwa Mfojo Nyama Choma. You don’t want to miss this culinary experience!
6. Indulge in water activities at Bongoyo Island
No visit to Dar is complete without a journey to Bongoyo Island. It’s a short easy 30 minutes trip from Dar and the quickest way to get there is to take a ferry at the Slipway. Take a day trip there and indulge in some water activities such as snorkelling. You can also dine at the shack on the beach; they serve fresh grilled fish and chips.
7. High Spirit Lounge Bar
If you’re a spirited person, you’ll not leave Dar without experiencing its pulsating nightlife. There are several bars and clubs, where you can drink and dance the night away in Dar. As soon as the sun goes down, the streets turn into a bubbly center of nightlife. If you’re not really into a wild night just like me, you can just visit the High Spirit Lounge Bar and marvel at the 360-degree city views and sea views at the rooftop while you sip your favourite cocktail. But if you’re the type that loves to take the center stage on the dance floor with the disco lights shining on you, you should visit the High Spirit Club instead.
If you have any suggestions to add to this list, pop us a line on social (links can be found below) your suggestions will really make this post more valuable!