things to do in dar es salaam

Located along the coast of the Indian Ocean. Dar es Salaam is the largest city in Tanzania and home to a wide range of people and cultures. Known for its beaches, islands, seafood, and music, the city is brimming with a variety of activities for every type of tourist. Here are a few of the best things to do in Dar es Salaam Tanzania.

Mbudya Island

Among the Fun things to do in Dar es salaam For those looking to escape the bustling city for a day. Mbudya Island is the perfect place to go for a relaxing respite of beautiful beaches, clear waters, and amazing seafood. You can take a short boat ride here from many points along Dar es Salaam’s harbor. Ask a local boatman or arrange a fare near the White Sands Hotel, the Slipway, or Kunduchi. Snorkeling and cabanas are available at a price or you can bring your own supplies for a day of rest and relaxation.

Askari Monument

Unveiled in 1927 as one of three statues displayed throughout former British Africa, this cast-bronze statue depicts an askari (soldier) in WWI uniform, his bayonet pointing towards the harbor. The statue serves as a reminder to honor those who fought in the British Carrier Corps. You’ll find this figure at the center of the roundabout between Samora Avenue and Maktaba Street, allegedly marking the exact center of downtown Dar.

Try out Continental and local cuisines

As a city of diverse cultures, there are countless restaurants offering both local and international cuisines to residents of the city. Nyama Choma (roasted goat’s meat) and Mishkaki (skewered or grilled meat) are very popular with the locals. Mishkaki is very tasty, especially when ordered with chips, tomatoes, or chili sauce. Where can you find the best local and international dishes?

Grace Shop specializes in local dishes like mchicha and ugali while Mamboz Corner BBQ is known for the best-grilled chicken (African style). The best Swahili dishes are made at Chef’s Pride. You can also order masala chips, chapatti, roasted/fried chicken, mishkaki, and nyama choma. Other restaurants specializing in local food include Barbecue House, Gembros Eatery, and Ali’s.

There are also Chinese, Italian, French, and Indian restaurants in different parts of the city. Addis in Dar is thought to serve the best Ethiopian dishes. If you are wondering where to get the best Indian food, then you should go to the Upanga area (center of the city). You will find several Indian restaurants including Bawarchi, Chapan Bhog, Delhi Dar Bar, and Patel Grounds.

If you want to mingle with the ex-pat community in Tanzania, then you should visit Zuane Trattoria (Pizzas) or the bakery Epi d’Or. If you want an even more classy place to eat out, you can go to Serena Hotel and check out their popular buffets. Street food is also very popular among the ordinary peasant and the working class. The food sold on the streets are chapattis, roasted maize, roasted chicken, groundnuts, and snacks. Street food is usually sold in busy sections of the city.

Mwenge Woodcarvers Market

A great place to buy souvenirs, the Mwenge Woodcarvers Market features dozens of open-air stalls selling a variety of products. However, it is best known for its sculptures and wood carvings. Be sure to take a look around before purchasing so you know your options, and don’t be afraid to bargain.

Kivukoni Fish Market

This is the place where fresh fish from the ocean is bought. It is located in a suburb known as Kivukoni. The best time to go is early in the morning (7:00 am) when the fishermen have just returned from a night of fishing to auction their catches. It is also the time when you will get the freshest fish and catch most of the action as fishermen bargain with retailers and consumers.

The main species are squid, snappers, and crabs. One of the great things about going to this fish market is the impressive collection of fish species from the Indian ocean. For a bird eyes view of the market, one needs to climb one of the flight stairs leading to the offices in the market. If you cannot take home fish for one reason or another. Moreover, you can make an order and have it fried for you from one of the restaurants.

National Museum and House of Culture

A great place to visit to learn more about Tanzanian culture. The National Museum and House of Culture hosts a range of pieces, from fossils and bones to carvings and statues. It also has a collection on the history of the slave trade and colonialism, as well as a number of cars that belonged to the country’s first president. It’s a good way to spend a couple of hours for those looking for an educational experience. Read more About Tanzania Tribes

Village Museum

Established in 1996, this museum showcases over a dozen different types of traditional Tanzanian huts. The museum is interactive because you can enter and explore the huts. There are also dance and music performances available for an extra price. Located about six miles north of the city center, it’s a good place to go to learn more about rural Tanzania’s customs and traditions.

Tinga Tinga Arts Co-operative Society

Picking up artistic work is also among the fun things to do in Dar es Salaam Tanzania. From the outside, the Tinga Tinga Arts Co-operative Society doesn’t look like anything impressive but don’t let the facade fool you. Inside, you’ll find a host of local artisans offering artwork based on the popular TingaTinga art movement. It’s a great place to pick up a unique souvenir and support the local economy and artistic community before heading home.

Support the Hawksbill turtle breeding program

Hawksbill turtles are critically endangered but the good news is that there are several organizations helping protect and save the remaining individuals Sea Sense is one such organization. They have taken the lead in organizing expeditions to protect the reptiles right from the breeding ground. They ensure that the turtle eggs hatch successfully and that most of the young find their way back into the ocean. Tourists are led by a Guide to the hatching ground in Masaki after some time on a boat. Most of the proceeds go into the Hawksbill conservation program.

St. Joseph Cathedral

This striking cathedral was also built by German catholic missionaries between 1897 and 1902. It’s also a prominent building within the harbor and acts as the main cathedral for the archdiocese of Dar es Salaam. The Cathedral is built with some interesting architectural works including a shingled spire, stained-glass windows, and a vaulted interior. Most inscriptions and artworks are in German including the structure above the altar.

Pugu Hills Nature Reserve

This reserve is located outside the city about 25 kilometers from the city center. The reserve has remarkable biodiversity and is an excellent place for cave exploration, nature walks, birding and relaxation away from the city chaos. It receives many visitors during the weekends.  If you want a more private tour, then you should go during the weekdays.

Attend the city’s Festivals and shows

Like the largest cities, Dar es Salaam hosts several cultural and religious shows that are held during certain days/months of the year. The Charity Goat Race is organized every September on specially built tracks to raise money for local charities and schools. Expect to find many tourists showing up to witness the race.  The Mzalendo Halisi Music Festival is all about music and culture. The festival brings together over 100 traditional artists at Posta Grounds.

If you are interested in fashion, then don’t miss the fashion week in November. The Swahili fashion week attracts regional designers to the National Museum to show the latest designs. Fashion week offers good networking opportunities if you are a designer or looking for a career in fashion. Last but not least is the Diwali Hindu festival. This festival is organized throughout the world to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. Residents of Dar es Salaam join the large Hindu community to party and commemorate the event.

Explore the Botanical Gardens

The Botanical gardens are home to the Dar es Salaam Horticultural Society. One of the fun Things to do in Dar es Salaam. Established in 1893 by the first Director of Agriculture. The gardens were used as a plot for carrying out experiments on new species of trees/crops. Nature lovers now go to the place for its serenity but also to discover rare plants like blue jacaranda, purple bougainvillea, red hibiscus, and scarlet flame trees. The overall size of the gardens has shrunk due to encroachments. It is still the only other place where one can see the rare coco-de-mer palm tree apart from the Seychelles islands.

Tour the City Center

Dar es Salaam City

Touring the City is among the Fun things to do in Dar es Salaam Tanzania. The tours are mostly conducted by bicycle. They are a good mix of getting to know the city’s major historical landmarks and encounters with the locals. There’s even a tour dedicated to nightlife. It’s a terrific way to access Dar’s lively after-dark scene. Read more on the Interesting Facts About Tanzania

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