Tanzania is a country of incredible natural beauty, from the snow-capped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro to the lush African savannahs. But for those who venture beyond the country’s stunning scenery, there’s an equally impressive experience to be had in its largest city, Dar es Salaam.
Welcome to Dar Es Salaam, the vibrant, historic city lies on the east coast of Africa and is the commercial, financial and cultural hub of the country. With a population of over 5 million people, Dar Es Salaam is a melting pot of cultures, religions, and languages.
With its tropical climate, Dar Es Salaam is also a great place to visit if you are looking for some relaxation. Spend your days lounging on the beach or exploring the stunning natural surroundings.
From the vibrant street markets to the lively nightlife, there is something for everyone in this great city, so come and explore the best things to do in Dar Es Salaam!
Top Things to do in Dar Es Salaam
Enjoy the Beaches
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation, or a more active one, Dar Es Salaam has a wide range of beaches to choose from. From the popular Coco Beach to the quieter Mbudya Island, there’s something for everyone. Don’t forget to check out the nearby Zanzibar Island for some more beach fun.
Kariakoo Market is a bustling and vibrant market located in the heart of the city. It’s one of the city’s best-known attractions, drawing in locals and tourists alike. With its vibrant colors, delicious smells, and wide variety of goods, it’s easy to see why.
The market has been around for more than a century and is the perfect place to find just about anything you need. Whether you’re looking for clothing, food, souvenirs, or even traditional Tanzanian crafts, you’ll find it all here.
The market is divided into different sections, each one specializing in its own specialty items. For example, the clothing section offers a wide range of traditional and contemporary garments, while the food section is packed with fresh produce, spices, and traditional Tanzanian delicacies.
Take a Ferry to Zanzibar
Dar es Salaam serves as a gateway to the picturesque island of Zanzibar, just a short boat ride away. You can spend a day or spend the night in this paradise and uncover its pristine beaches, its time-honored Stone Town, and its unique culture.
The Dar Es Salaam Fish Market also serves as a great place to meet the locals and learn about their culture and customs. Many of the vendors in the market have been selling their wares for generations, and they are always happy to share their knowledge and stories.
The Askari Monument is a beautiful and inspiring structure in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It was built to commemorate the Askari warriors who bravely fought against the German colonial forces during the East African Campaign of World War I. The monument is located in the grounds of the State House in Dar es Salaam, and it stands as a reminder of the courage and determination of the Askari warriors.
The monument itself is a white marble structure, and it stands at a height of 12 metres. It is topped with a bronze figure of an Askari soldier, and it is surrounded by a field of 12 white marble pillars. The pillars are arranged in a circle and each one is adorned with a bronze plaque bearing the name of one of the Askari warriors.
Go on a Safari
Dar es Salaam is the perfect place to start a wildlife safari experience. Visitors can go to the nearby Selous Game Reserve or Mikumi National Park to observe the majestic wildlife of Tanzania, such as elephants, lions, and zebras in their natural habitat.
Azania Lutheran Church
The Azania Lutheran Church in Tanzania is a place of unique beauty and history. The church was built in the late 19th century by German missionaries and is one of the oldest surviving churches in Tanzania. This amazing church is an architectural marvel and is full of fascinating artifacts, making it a must-visit destination for any traveler.
National Museum of Tanzania
One of the top attractions in Dar Es Salaam is the National Museum of Tanzania. The museum houses exhibits on the country’s natural history, cultural heritage, and archaeological finds, including the famous fossil of a 1.8-million-year-old human skull. The museum also features a botanical garden, a library, and a gift shop.
If you’re looking for a cultural experience in Dar Es Salaam, make sure to check out Temple Road. This street is home to a variety of religious temples and mosques, and it’s a great place to explore the city’s diverse religious heritage.
Explore the Mbudya Island Marine Reserve
Check out the nearby Mbudya Island Marine Reserve to learn more about its rich and diverse marine life.
Mbudya Island is a popular spot for those wanting to take a dip or have a picnic, located just off the coast of Dar es Salaam. Its clear waters and vibrant coral reefs make it an ideal spot for snorkeling and swimming.
Pugu Hills Nature Reserve
If you’re looking for a unique experience of Tanzania’s natural beauty, look no further than the Pugu Hills Nature Reserve. Located just 25 kilometers from the bustling city center of Dar Es Salaam, Pugu Hills offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The reserve is full of lush greenery and picturesque views, and is a great place to take a hike through the trails. If you’re an avid bird watcher, you’ll be delighted to find a variety of endemic species here, including the purple-breasted sunbird and the endemic Hadada ibis.
Enjoy the Local Cuisine
Exploring the different dishes is one of the best things to do in Dar Es Salaam, and the city’s food scene is a mix of African, Indian, and Arab influences. Sample some of the local cuisine including traditional dishes such as Nyama Choma (grilled meat), Pilau (rice served with curries or stews), and Ugali (maize porridge).
Learn About Slave History at the Slave Museum
At the Slave Museum, visitors can explore the history of slavery and its far-reaching effects. The museum offers insight into the lives of those who were enslaved, the systems of oppression that were put in place, and the emancipation efforts that eventually led to freedom. It is a powerful and educational experience for visitors, as it provides a unique glimpse into a dark chapter of our past.
Situated in the Stone Town district, the museum features exhibits and artifacts that depict the slave trade and its repercussions on the nation’s heritage and culture. The museum offers a poignant insight into the grim history of the country’s involvement in the slave trade.
The Kigamboni Bridge
The Kigamboni Bridge, also known as the Nyerere Bridge, provides a unique connection between Dar es Salaam and the Kigamboni district. Spanning the Kurasini Creek, the cable-stayed bridge offers breathtaking views of the city skyline and the Indian Ocean. Those looking for a special experience can take a drive or walk across the bridge.
Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, a foodie, or a culture enthusiast, there are many things to do in Dar es Salaam, for all types of travellers. With its warm climate, friendly locals, and endless activities, it’s no wonder why it’s become one of East Africa’s most popular travel destinations. So pack your bags and head to Dar es Salaam for an unforgettable adventure
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