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The Top Five Things to Do in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

  • Africa.com
  • 19 March 2012

This article was published by our friends at Africa.com, who have agreed to its republication here. View the original article on Africa.com.

The economic centre, largest city and former capital of Tanzania, Dar Es Salaam, is rich in culture, heritage, history and sightseeing. It is a starting point for many visitors making their way to other large attractions in Tanzania, such as the coastal islands or inland safaris, but there is also a lot to see and do in this town. Dar Es Salaam is a tropical port city that lies along some of the most important and oldest sea routes in history, and its long status as a major East African economic centre has given rise to an interesting and distinctive culture.

Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

The port city of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, sits alongside the Indian Ocean. Photo courtesy of Flickr/Ali Damji

Here Are the Top 5 Activities in Dar Es Salaam:

1. Coastal Cruises: This is a great way to see the East African coast while sailing on the Indian Ocean. Choose a boat that will stop at an island for a picnic of authentic local foods before heading back to port. This is an especially romantic excursion if you’re traveling with someone special.

2. Dar Es Salaam Fish Market: At this bustling market, fisherman bring in their daily catches while their housewives fry up the freshest fish straight from the ocean. The best time to go is early in the morning.

3. Mandazi Road: This road is lined on both sides with bars and cafes and is a great place to mix and mingle with the locals. The Msasani-Ubungo bus passes about every 15 minutes but you might also consider taking a taxi.

Sailing trips are a popular from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

Sailing trips are a popular excursion from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. Photo courtesy of Flickr/Paul Shaffner

4. The National Museum and House of Culture: Exhibits at these two sites include the Hall of Man, which traces human history from evolution to the present day; the History Gallery, which focuses on the history of Tanzanians from early society to present day; and the Ethnography Gallery, which allows us to see the rich cultural heritage of the people of Tanzania through the use of ornaments, traditional healings, musical instruments and much more.

5. Beaches: This area of the Indian Ocean is known for its picture-perfect tropical coastline. Dar Es Salaam boasts long sandy white beaches and the water is usually warm. If you are a beach person, don’t pass this paradise by!

The beaches of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

The picturesque coastline of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, boasts beautiful tropical beaches. Photo courtesy of Flickr/Irene2005

When to Go

We recommend visiting Tanzania between January and March. Tanzania has two rainy seasons: from mid-March to the end of May, the masika rains begin after dark and last well into the next afternoon. The second season is known as the vuli season; it occurs intermittently throughout November and parts of December and January. During the vuli season, showers arrive in the morning and are sometimes interrupted with clear weather.

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Africa, beaches, cities, Eastern Africa, fine arts, food & drink, local knowledge, markets, museums, Tanzania,

One Response to “The Top Five Things to Do in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania”

  1. Ruth says:

    Great post–thanks for sharing such great travel activities! A friend of mine just studied abroad in Tanzania and cannot say enough about how fantastic his trip was. You mention a fish market as a great place to visit–is it near an open air market with other products, or is it just for fish?

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