Last year I spent three months volunteering in Dar Es Salaam. Being the avid researcher that I am, I scoured the internet for things to do there on my days off. Well, the internet fell short and I couldn’t find much so I’ve decided to compile this list for anyone that is going to Dar Es Salaam and is looking for some things to do there. Here are 15 things to do, in no particular order.
Note: I’m not including addresses as addresses don’t really exist in Dar, and I found that even when I knew the address bajaji drivers didn’t so they weren’t very helpful!
1.Azura Beach Club
Dar Es Salaam doesn’t have spectacularly good beaches, so it’s all about the beach clubs. Azura Beach club was nice because it had a pool.
2. Mbalamwezi Beach
Mbalamwezi was our local beach, and we spent a lot of time here. It was free to get in on a weekday and the prices for food and drink weren’t too bad.
3. Bongoyo Island
A must-see! This place is an absolute paradise. Bongoyo is an uninhabited island that can be reached by a short boat journey from the Slipway. This is easily one of the best things I did.
4. Village Museum
An open-air museum that features constructions of traditional Tanzanian houses. At certain times of the day there are also traditional dances.
5. Wonder Workshop
Disabled artists create jewellery, sculptures and other crafts using recycled materials.
6. Tinga Tinga Art Space
A place to see local artists at work and buy some of their paintings (for a much more reasonable price than in markets).
7. Bahari Beach Club
Another beach club. It was very busy and there were a lot of children there. But there was a massive pool and a nice enough beach, which actually got pretty wavy which was fun!
I don’t know if I would really recommend Bagamoyo or not. We wanted to go to the ruins there but they wanted to charge us crazy prices, so we didn’t end up going in. We did go to a crocodile farm; it was cool to see crocodiles but I’m not really sure why they were there or how well they were treated.
9. Blue Pearl Hotel Rooftop Pool
Just a great place to have a swim and sunbathe with views of the city.
This is an upmarket area with shops and a fancy hotel and is also where you catch the boat to go to Bongoyo. It is expensive and kind of westernised but it’s beautiful and a nice break from the hustle and bustle from the urban areas on Dar. There’s also a brilliant arts and crafts market located just near it. And a special mention to the nearby Taste of Mexico for saving us when we needed some non-Tanzanian food!
11. Kariakoo Market
Kariakoo is the biggest market in Dar Es Salaam and certainly the busiest I went to. It caters to locals rather than tourists, which makes it a great place to get ketenge.
Get some tailoring done whilst in Tanzania! It is mega cheap to buy fabric and it can be made into whatever you want. It doesn’t always come out exactly how you envisioned (my friend’s mama made the lengths of my skirts a lot longer than I wanted!) but is great fun nonetheless.
12. Mwenge Woodcarvers Market
This place was around the corner from my house and was one of the best places to buy souvenirs and presents.
13. Food Lovers Market
Basically a beautiful supermarket that made you feel like you were in LA. It had really nice western food for when we needed a change.
14. Nafasi Art Space
It was never really open when we went but thought it was worth a mention as it did have some really cool installations and looks like it would be great when it’s up and running.
15. National Museum of Tanzania
When I went there was a really interesting photo exhibit on albinism in Tanzania. Apart from that it has the usual national museum kind of stuff.
Admittedly, Dar es Salaam is still not my favourite place and I was expecting more from a big city. I guess most people use it as a transfer point between other places like Zanzibar or for safaris. However, it’s definitely worth catching some of the things on this list if you’re there.
Have you ever been to Dar Es Salaam? What did you think? What would you recommend to do there?