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10 things to do near Dar es salaam airport

Embark on a captivating journey through Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city, as we guide you through an array of enriching experiences. When planning your Tanzania tours, one destination that should undoubtedly be on your list is Dar es Salaam. 

This vibrant city beckons with a myriad of things to do, enticing attractions, and the allure of the Indian Ocean.

From exploring iconic landmarks like the Askari Monument and Lutheran Church to indulging in the vibrant street food scene at Kariakoo Market, our comprehensive guide ensures you make the most of your visit. Join us as we delve into the heart of Dar es Salaam, revealing the top tourist attractions, fun activities, and the cultural tapestry that defines this Tanzanian gem.

Dar es salaam:

Dar es Salaam’s emergence as Tanzania’s largest city is rooted in its historical development and strategic significance. Here’s an overview of its history:

  1. Early Settlements: The area around Dar es Salaam has been inhabited for centuries. Originally, it was home to fishing communities and small coastal settlements. The name “Dar es Salaam” is Arabic and means “House of Peace.”

  2. German Colonial Period (Late 19th Century): In the late 19th century, Dar es Salaam became a focal point for German East Africa (Tanganyika) during the period of German colonial rule. The Germans established Dar es Salaam as the administrative and commercial center of their East African territory. The city grew as a port and trading hub.

  3. British Rule (Post World War I): After World War I, the League of Nations granted Britain a mandate to administer Tanganyika. Dar es Salaam continued to serve as the capital, maintaining its importance as an administrative and economic center.

  4. Role in Independence Movement: Dar es Salaam played a crucial role in Tanzania’s struggle for independence. The city hosted the first national political party, the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), founded by Julius Nyerere. TANU’s headquarters were in Dar es Salaam, and the city became a center for anti-colonial activism.

  5. Post-Independence Growth: After gaining independence in 1961, Dar es Salaam remained the capital of Tanzania. The government invested in the city’s infrastructure, contributing to its growth. The construction of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway (TAZARA) further increased the city’s importance as a transportation hub.

  6. Economic Center: Dar es Salaam has developed into Tanzania’s economic and financial hub. Its port is one of the largest in East Africa, facilitating trade and commerce. The city’s diverse economy includes manufacturing, finance, trade, and services.

  7. Population Growth: The city’s population has surged over the years due to rural-to-urban migration and natural population growth. This influx has contributed to its status as the largest city in Tanzania.

  8. Administrative Changes: While Dar es Salaam served as the capital until 1974 when Dodoma was designated as the new capital, it remains a key economic and cultural center.

Dar es Salaam’s growth and prominence are intertwined with its historical role as a colonial administrative center, a focal point for the independence movement, and its continued importance in trade, commerce, and administration in the post-independence era.

Dar es Salaam is located on the eastern coast of Tanzania, along the shores of the Indian Ocean. Specifically, it is situated on the eastern edge of the country, near the border with the Indian Ocean. 

The city serves as Tanzania’s principal port and is a major economic and cultural center in the region. While Dodoma is the designated capital of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam remains the largest city and an essential hub for trade, commerce, and administration.

Getting to Dar es Salaam for a memorable visit involves planning your travel and considering various transportation options. Here are the key steps to ensure a memorable trip:

  1. Flights:

    • International Flights: If you’re traveling from another country, the Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam is the main international gateway. Look for flights to DAR from major international airports.
    • Domestic Flights: If you are already in Tanzania, you might consider domestic flights from other cities to Dar es Salaam.
  2. Visa and Entry Requirements:

    • Check the visa requirements for Tanzania. Ensure you have the necessary travel documents, including a valid passport and any required visas.
  3. Accommodation:

    • Research and book accommodation in advance. Dar es Salaam offers a range of options, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly guesthouses.
  4. Transportation within Dar es Salaam:

    • Arrange for transportation from the airport to your accommodation. Many hotels provide airport transfer services.
    • Consider using taxis, ride-sharing services, or public transportation to move around the city.
  5. Attractions and Activities:

    • Plan your itinerary based on your interests. Dar es Salaam has various attractions, including cultural sites, beaches, markets, and historical landmarks.
    • Popular places to visit include the National Museum, Village Museum, Kariakoo Market, and the beaches like Coco Beach.
  6. Local Cuisine:

    • Explore the local cuisine. Dar es Salaam offers a variety of traditional Tanzanian dishes, as well as international dining options.
  7. Cultural Etiquette:

    • Familiarize yourself with local customs and cultural norms to ensure a respectful and enjoyable visit.
  8. Health and Safety:

    • Check if any vaccinations are required for your trip and take necessary health precautions.
    • Be aware of safety guidelines and follow local advice to ensure a safe visit.
  9. Currency and Finances:

    • Familiarize yourself with the local currency (Tanzanian Shilling) and have some local cash on hand.
    • Inform your bank about your travel dates to avoid any issues with using your credit/debit cards.
  10. Language:

    • Learn a few basic Swahili phrases. While English is widely spoken, locals appreciate visitors making an effort to use the local language.

Remember to check travel advisories, weather conditions, and any other relevant information before your trip. Planning ahead will contribute to a more memorable and enjoyable visit to Dar es Salaam.

The best time to plan a visit to Dar es Salaam depends on your preferences and the type of experience you’re seeking. Generally, Dar es Salaam has a tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. Here are the main considerations for choosing the best time to visit:

  1. Dry Season (June to October):

    • This period is considered the best time to visit Dar es Salaam. The weather is dry and cooler during these months.
    • The temperatures are comfortable, and there is less rainfall, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities, sightseeing, and beach visits.
    • Wildlife enthusiasts may also find this time favorable for safari trips to nearby national parks.
  2. Short Dry Season (January to February):

    • There is a short dry season in January and February, making it another good time to visit. The weather is warm, and rainfall is relatively low.
    • This period is popular for beach vacations and water activities.
  3. Wet Season (November to December and March to May):

    • The wet season brings higher temperatures and more rainfall. March to May is the long rainy season, while November to December experiences shorter rains.
    • While the wet season may not be the optimal time for beach activities, it can be a good time for birdwatching, as nature is lush and green.
    • It’s worth noting that heavy rainfall can sometimes lead to flooding and travel disruptions.
  4. Festivals and Events:

    • Consider local festivals and events when planning your visit. Dar es Salaam hosts various cultural events and celebrations throughout the year.
  5. Crowds and Prices:

    • The dry season tends to be the peak tourist season, leading to higher prices for accommodations and more crowds at popular attractions. If you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons.

In summary, the best time to visit Dar es Salaam for a well-rounded experience is during the dry season, from June to October, when the weather is pleasant and conducive to various activities. However, if you are specifically interested in beach activities, the short dry season in January and February is also a good option. Be sure to check specific weather forecasts and travel advisories closer to your planned visit.

Dar es Salaam offers a diverse range of attractions and experiences, making it suitable for various types of travelers. Here are some groups of people who might find Dar es Salaam an appealing destination:

  1. Culture Enthusiasts:

    • Visitors interested in Tanzanian history and culture can explore museums such as the National Museum and the Village Museum. These institutions showcase the rich cultural heritage of the region.
  2. Beach Lovers:

    • Dar es Salaam has picturesque beaches, including Coco Beach and Oyster Bay. Travelers seeking a relaxing beach getaway with opportunities for water activities will find the city appealing.
  3. Business Travelers:

    • As the economic hub of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam attracts business travelers. The city offers modern amenities, conference facilities, and a bustling business district.
  4. History Buffs:

    • History enthusiasts can explore the historical sites and landmarks in Dar es Salaam, such as the Askari Monument and the Old Boma (former German colonial administration building).
  5. Nature and Wildlife Enthusiasts:

    • While Dar es Salaam itself may not be a primary destination for wildlife, it serves as a gateway to various national parks and reserves. Travelers interested in safaris and wildlife adventures can use Dar es Salaam as a starting point for exploring Tanzania’s natural beauty.
  6. Food and Culinary Aficionados:

    • Food lovers can indulge in Tanzanian cuisine, which is a fusion of African, Arab, and Indian influences. Local markets, street food stalls, and restaurants offer a variety of flavors.
  7. Art and Music Aficionados:

    • Dar es Salaam has a vibrant arts and music scene. Travelers interested in experiencing local music, dance, and visual arts can explore cultural events and venues.
  8. Backpackers and Budget Travelers:

    • Dar es Salaam caters to a range of budgets, making it suitable for backpackers and budget-conscious travelers. Affordable accommodation options and local transportation make it accessible for those on a tight budget.
  9. Volunteers and Humanitarian Workers:

    • Given its status as a major city and economic center, Dar es Salaam often attracts volunteers and humanitarian workers contributing to various development projects in the region.
  10. Families:

    • Families can enjoy the family-friendly atmosphere of Dar es Salaam, with its beaches, cultural attractions, and opportunities for educational experiences.

Ultimately, Dar es Salaam’s versatility makes it a destination that can cater to a wide range of interests and preferences, from those seeking cultural immersion to those desiring a beach retreat or business-related travel.

The cost of a visit to Dar es Salaam can vary widely based on factors such as travel preferences, accommodation choices, dining habits, transportation, experiences in Dar es Salaam, and activities planned. Here are some general considerations to give you an idea of potential expenses:

  1. Accommodation:

    • Accommodation costs can range from budget options to luxury hotels. On average, budget and mid-range hotels might cost anywhere from $30 to $100 per night, while high-end hotels can exceed $150 per night.
  2. Transportation:

    • International flights to Dar es Salaam will depend on your departure location and the time of booking. Domestic flights within Tanzania may be required for certain itineraries, and their prices vary. Local transportation within Dar es Salaam, such as taxis or ride-sharing services, can add to your expenses.
  3. Meals:

    • Dining costs will depend on your choices, from street food and local markets to upscale restaurants. On average, a meal at a mid-range restaurant might cost around $10 to $30 per person. Street food and local eateries can offer more budget-friendly options.
  4. Activities and Attractions:

    • Entrance fees to museums, cultural sites, and attractions vary. Consider budgeting for activities such as safaris, boat trips, or guided tours if you plan to explore beyond the city.
  5. Shopping and Souvenirs:

    • Budget for shopping and souvenirs if you plan to explore local markets. Prices will depend on what you purchase, and bargaining is common in many markets.
  6. Visa Fees and Travel Insurance:

    • Check visa requirements and associated fees for entry into Tanzania. Additionally, consider purchasing travel insurance for your trip.
  7. Miscellaneous Expenses:

    • Factor in additional expenses for unforeseen circumstances, tips, and miscellaneous costs.

It’s important to note that these are general estimates, and actual costs can vary based on individual preferences and travel styles. Additionally, currency exchange rates can impact expenses for international travelers.

Before your trip, research specific costs based on your planned activities, check for travel deals, and consider seasonal variations in prices. Creating 

Dar es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania, offers a mix of cultural, historical, and recreational attractions. Here are some of the best things to do in Dar es Salaam:

  • Day Trip: Explore the outskirts of Dar es Salaam for a day of nature, culture, and relaxation.
  • Beach: Enjoy the sun-kissed shores and vibrant beach culture of Oyster Bay, Kunduchi, and Kigamboni.
  • Safari: Use Dar es Salaam as a gateway to exceptional safari experiences, including Mikumi National Park.
  • National Museum: Delve into Tanzania’s rich history and cultural heritage at Shaaban Robert Street’s National Museum.
  • Fish Market: Immerse yourself in the lively scene at Kivukoni Fish Market for fresh catches and local culinary culture.
  • Oyster Bay: Discover the upscale and serene neighborhood of Oyster Bay, blending residential charm and waterfront elegance.
  • Kivukoni Fish Market: Dive into the bustling world of fresh catches and vibrant commerce along the waterfront.
  • Village Museum: Step back in time at Kijitonyama’s open-air museum, showcasing traditional dwellings and artifacts.
  • Bongoyo Island: Escape to the pristine paradise of Bongoyo Island for white sandy beaches and vibrant marine life.
  • Kunduchi: Unwind at Kunduchi, a coastal area offering a perfect blend of leisure and adventure.
  • Mbudya: Experience the untouched beauty of Mbudya, a tranquil island getaway.
  • Seafood Dining Experience: Indulge in a culinary journey at local seafood establishments, savoring a variety of fresh catches.
  • Indian Ocean Exploration: Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Indian Ocean with snorkeling, boat trips, and beachcombing.
  • Water Park Adventure: Experience thrill and excitement at Kunduchi Water Park, featuring water slides, pools, and family-friendly attractions.
  • House of Culture: Explore the House of Culture in Kivukoni, showcasing Tanzanian art, history, and cultural exhibitions.
  • Azania Front Lutheran Church: Visit this iconic church in Stone Town, known for its Gothic architecture and historical significance.
  • Visiting the City: Wander through the vibrant streets, markets, and landmarks of Dar es Salaam to immerse yourself in local culture.

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The cost of a visit to Dar es Salaam can vary widely based on factors such as travel preferences, accommodation choices, dining habits, transportation, experiences in Dar es Salaam, and activities planned.

10 things to do near Dar es salaam airport

Escape the hustle of the city with a day trip exploring the outskirts of Dar es Salaam.

  • Description: Immerse yourself in the rich landscapes and cultural gems surrounding the city.
  • Location: Various options available, including nearby islands like Bongoyo and Mbudya.
  • Best Time to Visit: Ideal year-round, but check weather conditions for an optimal experience.
  • Why You Should Visit: Experience a blend of nature, culture, and relaxation in a single day.
  • Opening Hours: Dependent on specific locations chosen for the day trip.
  • Cost: Varies based on the chosen destination and activities.

Dar es Salaam boasts pristine beaches along its Indian Ocean coastline.

  • Description: Enjoy sun-kissed shores, turquoise waters, and a vibrant beach culture.
  • Location: Oyster Bay, Kunduchi, and Kigamboni are popular beach areas.
  • Best Time to Visit: Year-round, with slightly busier seasons during the dry months.
  • Why You Should Visit: Relax, indulge in water sports, and savor stunning coastal views.
  • Opening Hours: Open access, but specific beachfront establishments may have set hours.
  • Cost: Generally free, but some private beach clubs may charge entry fees.

Dar es Salaam serves as a gateway to exceptional safari experiences in Tanzania.

  • Description: Venture into nearby national parks for an unforgettable wildlife encounter.
  • Location: Accessible safari destinations include Mikumi National Park.
  • Best Time to Visit: Dry season (June to October) for optimal wildlife viewing.
  • Why You Should Visit: Witness the incredible biodiversity of East Africa’s savannahs.
  • Opening Hours: Safari parks typically have daytime and sometimes evening game drives.
  • Cost: Safari costs vary based on the chosen package and duration.

Delve into Tanzania’s rich history and cultural heritage at the National Museum.

  • Description: Exhibits showcase archaeological findings, ethnographic displays, and art collections.
  • Location: Shaaban Robert Street, Dar es Salaam.
  • Best Time to Visit: Weekdays are less crowded; mornings offer a quieter experience.
  • Why You Should Visit: Gain insights into Tanzania’s diverse cultures and historical evolution.
  • Opening Hours: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM (Monday to Sunday).
  • Cost: Admission fees apply, with discounts for students and children.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant local scene at Dar es Salaam’s bustling Fish Market.

  • Description: A sensory delight of fresh catches, lively atmosphere, and local culinary culture.
  • Location: Kivukoni Fish Market, Dar es Salaam.
  • Best Time to Visit: Early mornings for the lively fish auctions and the freshest seafood.
  • Why You Should Visit: Experience the heart of Dar es Salaam’s fishing industry and enjoy local delicacies.
  • Opening Hours: Open from the early morning until the afternoon.
  • Cost: Free to explore, but costs for purchasing seafood.

Dive into the bustling world of fresh catches and vibrant commerce at Kivukoni Fish Market.

  • Description: A dynamic market showcasing the daily rhythm of Dar es Salaam’s seafood trade.
  • Location: Along the waterfront in central Dar es Salaam.
  • Best Time to Visit: Early morning for the lively auctions and the freshest seafood selection.
  • Why You Should Visit: Immerse yourself in the local culture, witness trading practices, and savor fresh seafood.
  • Opening Hours: Typically from the early morning until the afternoon.
  • Cost: No entrance fee, costs for purchasing seafood.

Escape to the pristine paradise of Bongoyo Island, a tropical retreat near Dar es Salaam.

  • Description: White sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant marine life await.
  • Location: Off the coast of Dar es Salaam, accessible by boat.
  • Best Time to Visit: Dry season for ideal snorkeling conditions (June to October).
  • Why You Should Visit: Experience a day of relaxation, snorkeling, and beachcombing in a tranquil setting.
  • Opening Hours: Ferries operate during the day; specific hours depend on the service.
  • Cost: Boat transport fees apply, and there may be a nominal entrance fee.

Experience the untouched beauty of Mbudya, a tranquil island getaway from Dar es Salaam.

  • Description: Pristine beaches, clear waters, and a serene environment for relaxation.
  • Location: Off the coast of Dar es Salaam, accessible by boat.
  • Best Time to Visit: Dry season for calm seas and optimal beach conditions.
  • Why You Should Visit: Escape the urban bustle and enjoy the unspoiled natural beauty of the island.
  • Opening Hours: Daylight hours for boat transport; specific activities may have different schedules.
  • Cost: Boat transport fees and potential entrance fees apply.
  • Description: Indulge in a culinary journey at local seafood establishments, offering a variety of fresh catches.
  • Location: Throughout Dar es Salaam, with notable spots near Kivukoni Fish Market.
  • Best Time to Visit: Evenings for a lively atmosphere and freshly prepared seafood.
  • Why You Should Visit: Experience the rich flavors of Tanzanian seafood, a culinary delight for seafood enthusiasts.
  • Opening Hours: Varies by restaurant; typically open for lunch and dinner.
  • Cost: Prices vary depending on the chosen seafood dishes and restaurant.
  • Description: Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Indian Ocean with activities like snorkeling, boat trips, and beachcombing.
  • Location: Accessible from various beaches in Dar es Salaam, including Kunduchi and Kigamboni.
  • Best Time to Visit: Dry season (June to October) for calm seas and optimal water visibility.
  • Why You Should Visit: Discover vibrant marine life, pristine beaches, and engage in water-based activities.
  • Opening Hours: Nature-dependent; beach activities operate during daylight hours.
  • Cost: Boat trips and equipment rentals may incur additional charges.
  • Description: Experience thrill and excitement at Kunduchi Water Park, offering water slides, pools, and family-friendly attractions.
  • Location: Kunduchi, north of Dar es Salaam.
  • Best Time to Visit: Sunny days for optimal enjoyment of water-based activities.
  • Why You Should Visit: Ideal for families and thrill-seekers, providing a fun-filled day by the sea.
  • Opening Hours: Varies by park; typically open during the day and evening on weekends.
  • Cost: Admission fees apply, and additional charges may apply for specific attractions.
  • Description: Wander through the vibrant streets, markets, and landmarks of Dar es Salaam.
  • Location: Throughout the city, including areas like Kariakoo Market and Askari Monument.
  • Best Time to Visit: Daytime for market exploration, and evenings for a lively atmosphere.
  • Why You Should Visit: Immerse yourself in the local culture, traditions, and the dynamic energy of the city.
  • Opening Hours: Varied, depending on specific locations and activities.
  • Cost: Free to explore, costs may apply to specific attractions and activities.

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