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Dar es salaam airport Guide

The Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam is the largest airport in Tanzania and is located southwest of the city. Trips to and from the Airport can be unpredictable due to weather, road conditions and traffic. Therefore, plan conservatively and ask locals about the conditions on the day.

The airport is the busiest hub in the region and offers daily flights to other Tanzanian cities including Dodoma the capital, Mwanza, Arusha, and Zanzibar. Smaller flights are also available to connect the national parks and game reserves including Serengeti, Ruaha, and Selous.

Dar es Salaam Airport (Code: DAR) has 3 terminals: Terminal 1 (primarily charter and private flights), Terminal 2 (domestic flights) and a recently completed Terminal 3 (international flights).

ATMs / Cash Machines – Need cash? 2 ATMs can be found Landside. Fees may apply, so be sure to check your bank’s fee schedule and your daily withdrawal limit if you are travelling internationally. You may also want to notify your bank of your travel plans.

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International Arrivals:

Immigration and Visa Process

If arriving at Dar es Salaam airport from abroad you will need to go through customs and immigration.  Upon landing, you will take the escalator down into the arrivals hall.

You will see a sign overhead for the Visa Desk, located to your right.  Do not expect an orderly line.  There is not much order at all here.  The hall is not very large and quickly becomes packed with confused travelers, leading to some chaos.  Again, keep in mind, this is Africa.

The plus side when we were there was that airport staff were handing out bottles of water.  There was no AC on, or at least it did not seem to be working very well, so this was definitely appreciated.

Get in the “line”, which is more like a mob of people, anxious to get their visa after a long flight.   Once you reach the sole visa desk, show the officer your immigration card which you should have already filled out on the plane.  You will then have your fingers scanned.

Tanzania Visa Fee

Next, you are sent over to another line up where you will pay your visa fee.  Americans pay $100 USD and all other countries pay $50 USD.  They accept payment in US cash (make sure bills are issued in 2006 or later and are in good condition) or by credit card.  The sign says they prefer Mastercard but they also accept Visa, which was what we used.

After paying the visa fee, they will hand your passport and receipt to the officers behind the desk to process.  You will be directed to join the crowd of travelers standing around waiting for their visas to your left.  Listen carefully for your name to be called as it can be quite noisy and they don’t use a microphone.  There doesn’t seem to be much order to how they process the visas. 

Transportation from Dar es Salaam Airport

When you exit the baggage area you will find yourself in the outdoor arrivals area.  If you have booked a shuttle, this is where all the drivers stand around holding up their signs.

As you walk out you are sure to be greeted by many taxi drivers offering to take you into town.  They don’t use meters so you need to agree on a price before getting in.  The price should be around $20-$25 USD.


Waiting Area

You will only be able to enter the airside departures area 3 hours before your flight.  Until then, you will have to hang around in the outdoor landside area of the Dar es Salaam Airport terminal.  It is covered so don’t worry about sitting in the hot sun or rain.

Landside waiting area at DAR airport

The landside area is not very large and not all that entertaining.  There are some small souvenir shops, a pharmacy, three currency exchange desks, cell phone stores, toilets, and very limited food options.  There is a small seating area consisting of metal chairs facing the departures and arrivals board.  The nice thing is there is decent free wi-fi to help you pass the time!


DAR Terminal Landside Departures and Arrivals Board


You only have 2 options for food: Tasty Life and Flamingo Restaurant.

Tasty Life is located right by the parking lot in its own stand alone building.  It is like a local version of KFC.  We decided to have dinner there.  It was clean and nicely air conditioned.

Chicken at Tasty Life at DAR Airport

Food is decently priced.  The chicken was good, but not outstanding.  They also serve decent coffee.  At least it is a comfortable place to pass the time rather than sitting in the metal chairs outside.

Tasty Life Receipt

Relaxing at Tasty Life at DAR Airport

The second option for food, Flamingo Restaurant, is hidden up on the second level of the terminal.  We would never have seen it if it were not for a Maasai approaching us to invite us to go check it out.  Unfortunately we had already eaten.

We were told there was a buffet, coffee, free wi-fi and air conditioning.


Once it is time for you to check in for your flight, you line up and show your ticket to the guard.  Then you put all your things through a scanner and enter the check in area.  Despite this being the main airport in the country, the check in area is very basic.  There are no electronic weigh scales or luggage belts – just old school weigh scales.  After checking in your luggage you can head airside.


As a smaller airport, Dar Es Salaam Airport does not have a huge variety of amenities. In fact, the majority of African airports are relatively sparse in this regard.

For this reason, if you’re expecting a long wait at the airport, it pays to bring along your own drinks and snacks. What few shops are in the terminal are not open outside of normal business hours, which can be a problem if you’ve got a night layover.

That’s not to say the airport is without amenities. There are some food and drink options within the departures terminal, as well as the obligatory Duty Free stores.

Currency exchange is available, but it’s important to note that there are no ATMs once you clear security. If you’re going to need money, take it out on the land side of the airport.

The airport is heavily air-conditioned, so it might be worthwhile bringing a coat.

Dar es Salaam Airport is located 12km outside of Dar Es Salaam proper.

While there is rarely a shortage of taxis eager to take you into the city, it’s generally safer to have us arrange something for you. Taxis from the airport run in the range of $25 to $40 USD one way.

Traffic jams are a big problem in Dar Es Salaam so, if you’re planning on heading into (or out of) the city, be sure to budget extra time in the morning and in the afternoon.

Unless you have a special interest in exploring Tanzania’s largest city, it’s often easier to simply arrange a connecting flight to either Arusha or Kilimanjaro Airport.

A number of airlines provide cheap domestic flights, including Precision and FastJet. Alternatively, ask your Shadows of Africa tour agent to arrange a flight for you.

Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) is situated 50km/31mi east of Arusha, the gateway of Tanzania’s popular Northern safari circuit. The drive from the airport to Arusha takes about 1½ hours*.

Tanzania’s main airport is Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR), located 13km/8mi southwest of Dar es Salaam. This is the entry point for visitors to the southern parks.

From Arusha or Dar es Salaam, you can fly or drive between reserves. Some domestic flights out of Arusha will leave from Kilimanjaro International Airport, while others leave from the much smaller Arusha Airport (ARK) located 8km/5mi west of town. However you choose to travel, in most cases, your local tour operator will pick you up from the airport and arrange all further transportation as part of your safari package.

Getting a visa on arrival at Dar Es Salaam Airport couldn’t be easier. As the country’s #1 airport, Dar is well set up to process visas on arrival.

Despite this, it can take quite a bit of time on busier days, so budget up to two hours for immigration in case anything goes wrong.

Some airlines will hand out the arrival form on board, but more often than not, you’ll have to start filling out your paperwork at immigration. It’s definitely handy to have your own pen in this case, as the airport will not always have them available.

When it comes time to pay for your visa, be sure to have the exact amount in USD. It is especially important to bear in mind that Tanzania does not accept US currency printed before 2006 due to a past counterfeiting problem.

We heard there were public buses (known as dala dalas) but they don’t go right up to the terminal.  You have to catch them from the road so you will have to walk a bit.  If you have luggage then this isn’t really an option for you.  The daladalas can get pretty packed so you wouldn’t want to bring on more than a backpack.

Dar es salaam JNIA airport assistance Services

Find a Taxi

Browse our list of trusted local taxis firms around Dar es salaam  City Airport.

Rent a Car

Visit Dar es salaam  City Airport’s Car Hire Centre for all your rental Vehicles .

Find a Hotel

Get a good nights sleep the night before you fly in a local hotel. We have list of Best Screened Hotels near the airport

Dar es salaam Tours

With great posibility of tours around, you will be able to see as much of the area as you can, with very little stress!


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