Book Flights to Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam – Tanzania

Dar es Salaam, a big city bursting with people, sounds, and activity is a vibrant port city on the east coast of Tanzania, often shortened to just ‘Dar’. It is the former capital of Tanzania and means ‘abode of peace’. Dar es Salaam has an eclectic mix of colonial buildings dwarfed by modern high-rise structures and is the economic hub of Tanzania.

For most visitors it is a quick stop, often only at the airport, on their way to their safari destination or the relaxing beach holiday at the start or end of their trip in East Africa. But don’t try to avoid this big city as it has much to offer.

Investigate the real Swahili culture, explore charming museums, check out the mix of architecture, barter for bargains in markets, pick up the best souvenirs of Tanzania, check out the vibrant local music scene, join passionate fans at sports events, feel the vibe or simply relax on one of the islands or Indian Ocean beaches for a day. Dar’s beaches and its own close in islands are some of the finest in East Africa.

Book your cheap flights to Dar es Salaam with Tripindigo today and start exploring this amazing city!

Why visit Dar es Salaam?

  • Go on a day trip to Mbudya Island or Bongoyo Island for some beach time, snorkelling and eating fresh seafood for lunch
  • Visit the famous spice island Zanzibar on a day trip or spend a night (or more)
  • Explore the city on foot or take a tour by bicycle, don’t forget to drop in at the National Museum
  • Purchase some of the best and probably cheapest souvenirs in the country
  • Cool off in the water park, a fun playground for kids of all ages
  • At night the city comes alive, feel the beat and join the locals for a dance or have a relaxed drink at one of the quieter bars
  • Admire the little baby turtles as they race to the safety of the ocean from their nests on the beaches
  • Time zone: UTC / GMT +3
  • Currency: Tanzanian Shilling (TSh, often written as =/)
  • Driving: left-hand side of the road
  • Power Outlets: 220V-240V 50Hz. Plug types are ‘Type D & G (British)’
  • Closest airports: Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR). This airport has 2 terminals and a taxi ride is required to go from one to the other. Terminal 1 is the domestic terminal and terminal 2 is the international terminal although some domestic flights (from the bigger airlines) also fly from here.
Best time to visit

The cool, dry months of spring from June to October and the hot and dry summer months of December to February are the best times to visit.

Sights and sounds

There’s plenty to keep you occupied in Dar es Salaam for a summarised version have a look at Top 7 Spots You Just Cannot Miss Out in Dar es Salaam.

It is the best place to pick up a great souvenir, for example, a Tinga Tinga painting. A painting style which originated here when a man called Edward Saidi Tingatinga moved from a small village called Ngapa in the south of Tanzania to Dar es Salaam and started painting. Two great spots to look for paintings are the Tinga Tinga Alley and at the markets next to Slipway.

Cultural & Historical Activities

There are also plenty of ethical workshops where the disadvantaged are given a chance to learn a skill or can get a job. Buying from these small places means you make a real difference in their lives. Shop at, for example, Made By Africraft (recycled materials), Wonder Workshop (metal, wood, and paper made by disabled craftsmen and women) and the Mabinti Centre (stencilled fabric made by women recovering from a fistula operation).

In town you can visit the National Museum or go shopping for fabrics and score a real bargain for a kanga, kitenge or kikoy. Some of these colourful fabrics are made locally in Tanzania. You can also opt for a guided tour of the city by bike and learn about the history and the people from your experienced host.

Relax & Unwind

If you want to relax after all that shopping, you can visit one of the islands, most are only a short boat ride away. Check out Mbudya Island or Bongoyo Island, both with white sands and turquoise waters. Go snorkelling, chill on the beach and have a super fresh, barbecued seafood lunch. It is even possible to camp overnight on Mbudya Island and feel like a real Robinson Crusoe.

Entaintanment for the whole family

If you don’t want a boat ride, you can find excellent beaches to chill south of Dar es Salaam and if you are lucky you may witness the hatching of a nest of baby turtles. Check with Sea Sense if a nest is about to hatch.

If you need to entertain kids there is no better spot than the waterpark at a hotel north of Dar es Salaam. Slide away and make a splash in this fun playground for kids of all ages.

Just along the waterfront close to the ferry terminal to Kigamboni is the Kivukoni fish market. Watch as the fishermen unload the catch of the day and haggle in a rowdy auction for a bargain, fish does not come any fresher than this!


Dar es Salaam is teeming with options for when the sun goes down. Pubs usually serve good barbecue food, beer, and locally produced spirits. Over the past couple of years, wine bars and more classy establishments have sprung up, mainly in the expat areas. The local clubs are loud, sweaty and dark, true diamonds in the rough that offer an unforgettable experience. The city centre and peninsula areas have more upmarket options. Whatever you choose, you are sure to be welcomed and make new friends over a drink or two.

Dining and Dietary Considerations

As can be expected in a big city like Dar es Salaam, there are lots of restaurants serving everything from local Swahili dishes to Mexican, Chinese, Iranian, Ethiopian, Indian, European, Italian, fine dining and of course the best and freshest seafood you have ever tasted. Cafes offer great breakfasts and lunches and often have free wifi.

The streets are lined with vendors selling tasty fried snacks and sweet treats

Service is often slow, dishes on the menu are sometimes not possible and confusion can create an unusual bill. If somebody provides a good service, leave them a decent tip.

Religious and Cultural considerations

Accurate figures on religion in Tanzania are not available, but it is estimated that around 30-40% of the population are Christian, and another 30-40% are Muslim. The remainder follow other faiths, including traditional beliefs, or have no religion.

As the coast of East Africa in general has more Muslims than inland, it is expected that the percentage of Muslims in Dar es Salaam is higher.

With a predominantly Muslim population in Dar es Salaam, even though not extreme, it is important to be aware of some cultural rules, for example:

  • Shoes should always be removed when entering a home and place of worship
  • Dress modestly in public.
  • Topless sunbathing and homosexuality is illegal.

In some public places, the consumption of alcohol is not allowed.

When photographing people, always ask permission first and agree on payment if required. As a general rule, ask.

Cost of Living

Dar es Salaam is a large city with accommodation, transport, food and excursions for all budgets. As Tanzania’s main economic hub, the city has good quality hotels and conference centres. Hotels also cater for many tourists and range from high-end lodges to basic backpacking hostels.

This is what you can expect to pay in Dar es Salaam for:

  • Domestic beer (0.5-litre bottle) in a supermarket – 2,595TSh
  • Imported beer in a supermarket (0.33-litre bottle) – 3,750TSh
  • Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) – 3,250Tsh
  • A bottle of coca cola / pepsi (0.33-litre bottle) – 1815TSh
  • A small bottle of water (0.33-litre bottle) – 1157TSh


  • Children’s novelist Roald Dahl lived in Dar es Salaam during the 1930’s
  • Following his failed revolutionary attempt in the Congo, Che Guevara stayed in Dar es Salaam in the mid-1960’s
  • The incredibly popular music genre ‘bongo flava’ (nickname for Tanzanian hip hop) originated in Dar es Salaam and earned the city its affectionate nickname ‘bongo’

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