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What is Dar es Salaam Like? A Comprehensive Guide

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What is Dar es Salaam Like? A Comprehensive Guide

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, is one of Africa’s most vibrant and growing cities. It is a coastal city, located on the Tanzanian mainland, and its name means “Haven of Peace’ in Arabic. It is one of the most populous cities in East Africa and it seen as an important commercial and business hub for Tanzania. Being Tanzania’s largest city by population, Dar es Salaam has been growing as a destination for tourists to explore the country’s culture and wildlife. There is much to see, both within the city limits and outside of them. While Dar es Salaam is no longer the capital of the country – that title having been given to Dodoma in the 1970’s – it remains an important economic and cultural center of Tanzania.


Dar es Salaam’s history dates back to the late 19th century, when a Sultan named Majid bin Said declared it the capital of Zanzibar in 1861. However, the city received its current name in 1866, when it was renamed Dar es Salaam by Sayyid Majid after visiting the Cathedral of Peace, located in Italy. The city remained an important trade center for Africa, and a gateway for exports from throughout East Africa. In 1895, control of Tanzania was taken over by the British, who established a small British garrison there. In 1961, Tanganyika declared its independence from British rule, and Dar es Salaam became the capital of the new nation. The city would remain the nation’s capital until being replaced by Dodoma in the 1970’s.

Geography and Climate

The city is located on a stretch of flat land along the Bay of Bengal. It faces several islands, which includes the island of Zanzibar. The average elevation of Dar es Salaam is 12ft above sea level. To the south and east are mangrove forests, while the north and west are lined by hills. Dar es Salaam has a tropical wet and dry climate, with rainy seasons from March to May and from October to December. The city experiences a dry season from June to August and relatively dry temperatures throughout the month. December and January are considered to be the warmest months.


Dar es Salaam is an important financial Center in East Africa, with numerous banks, insurance companies, trading hubs and service providers that help keep the economy afloat. It is home to the largest port in East Africa, Port of Dar es Salaam, as well as several cargo-handling companies that provide shipping services to many parts of the world. The city is also home to several foreign embassies, multinational companies and many large retail businesses. The economy of Dar es Salaam is largely dependent on trade, tourism and services industries such as construction, telecommunications and finance. The service industry continues to grow rapidly, occupying nearly 75% of the workforce in Dar es Salaam as of 2021. The city also boasts a significant manufacturing industry, with major automobile manufacturers such as Toyota and Volkswagen having plants in the city.


Dar es Salaam is one of the most visited destinations in East Africa and caters to people looking for adventure or leisure travel. The city has numerous attractions for visitors to enjoy including National Museums such as Dar es Salaam National Museum and Village Museum, which showcase traditional Tanzanian culture from different regions in the country. The city also has several beaches along its coastline, such as Coco Beach which has become a popular destination for tourists. There are also numerous restaurants which serve traditional Tanzanian cuisine that foodies will enjoy. If you’re looking for entertainment in Dar es Salaam, you’re sure to find something to keep you busy – whether you’re looking for outdoor activities such as kite surfing or sailing, or indoo activities like visiting galleries and movie theaters.

Getting Around Dar Es Salaam

Getting around Dar es Salaam can be an adventure in itself. The most common way to get around is by foot as most of the streets within the city center are lined with shops and local businesses. Tourists should take extra safety precautions when walking around especially at night. If you want to explore Dar es Salaam outside of the downtown area, you can use DALACO buses or taxi services to get around. For tourists there are also guided tours available that will take you around some of the city’s must-see attractions as well as take you out to nearby destinations away from city life.


While generally safe, Dar es Salaam can be a dangerous place for tourists if they don’t take care when travelling around or staying in the city. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and take extra safety precautions such as carrying a copy of your passport with you at all times or leaving valuables at your accommodation instead of carrying them around town with you. It is also wise to avoid travelling on foot at night or venturing into suspicious areas which may put you at risk of being robbed or attacked. Only use duly registered taxi companies or DALACO buses which can be easily identified by their logo painted on their exteriors for your convenience. Overall, if you plan your trip properly and use common sense when travelling aroundDar es Salaam you should have no problems making the most out of your time in Tanzania’s coastal city!

What is Dar es Salaam Like? A Comprehensive Guide

Dar es Salaam is the largest city in Tanzania and is considered as the economic hub of the country. It has an estimated population of over 6 million people and many tourists come here to experience various aspects of Tanzania’s culture. In this comprehensive guide, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about what Dar es Salaam is like.

What is the weather like in Dar es Salaam?

Dar es Salaam’s climate is hot and humid, with temperatures averaging between 25°C and 32°C throughout the year. The city has two rainy seasons; the long rainy season lasts from March to May and the short rainy season lasts from October to December. During these periods, it is common to experience heavy downpours, so visitors are advised to pack appropriate clothing.

What is transportation like in Dar es Salaam?

Dar es Salaam has two types of transportation – public transportation and private transportation. Public transportation is mainly comprised of buses and dala dalas (mini-buses). Private transportation is available in the form of taxis and car rentals. One of the most convenient ways to get around the city is by using taxis, which are relatively inexpensive.

What are the most popular tourist attractions in Dar es Salaam?

Dar es Salaam has a wide range of tourist attractions including beaches, museums, and cultural centers. Some of the most popular tourist attractions in the city include the National Museum of Tanzania, the Askari Monument, and the Kivukoni Fish Market. The Kariakoo Market is another popular destination where visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture by shopping for fresh produce, textiles, and souvenirs.

What is the food like in Dar es Salaam?

Dar es Salaam has a diverse culinary culture influenced by different cultures from around the world. One of the most popular local cuisines in the city is Swahili cuisine. The cuisine is a mix of African, Indian, and Arabic influences and is characterized by the use of spices and coconut milk. Some of the must-try dishes in Dar es Salaam include pilau, ugali, and nyama choma. Visitors should also try the street food in the city, which offers a range of delicious and affordable options.

What is the nightlife like in Dar es Salaam?

Dar es Salaam has a diverse nightlife scene, with many bars, nightclubs, and restaurants offering visitors a chance to experience the city’s vibrant culture. Popular nightlife venues include the Slipway, the Bahari Beach Hotel, and the Oyster Bay Shopping Center. There are also many street food vendors and outdoor bars, which offer an authentic Tanzanian nightlife experience.

What is the shopping experience like in Dar es Salaam?

Dar es Salaam has a range of shopping options to suit all budgets and preferences. Visitors can shop for locally made handicrafts, fabrics, and souvenirs at the Kariakoo Market and the Mwenge Carvers Market, while luxury items can be found at high-end malls such as the Slipway and the Mlimani City Shopping Center.

What is the language spoken in Dar es Salaam?

The official language of Tanzania is Kiswahili, which is widely spoken in Dar es Salaam. English is also widely spoken, especially among the educated elites and in the tourism industry. Visitors who speak neither Kiswahili nor English can hire translators or communicate through gestures and body language.

Is Dar es Salaam safe for tourists?

Like any other big city, Dar es Salaam has its fair share of crime. Visitors are advised to take precautions such as not walking alone or in poorly lit areas, not displaying valuables in public, and not accepting rides from strangers. They should also be alert at all times and take necessary precautions to ensure their safety.


Dar es Salaam is a vibrant and diverse city that should be on every traveler’s list of places to visit in Africa. The city offers a range of attractions and experiences that cater to different interests, budgets, and preferences. We hope this guide answered some of the most frequently asked questions about what Dar es Salaam is like and helps you plan your trip with ease.

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What is Dar es Salaam Like? A Comprehensive Guide

Experience Adventure Like Never Before: Book Your Tour Today!