Warm blue water, easygoing people and warm weather always make for a great vacation and escape from the hassles of everyday life -- all three come in abundance in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It is somewhat of an anomaly in today’s world, largely untouched compared to the U.S. and Europe, and rich with natural resources and beauty. Travel north from your Dar es Salaam hostel and climb Kilimanjaro or go on a safari through the Ngorogoro Crater, both of which actually call Tanzania home (a common misconception is that these are located in Kenya).
As this is a former German colony, you'll note that the Germans left behind one of their famous trademarks -- how to brew beer. Nothing is better on a hot day than a bottle of Serengeti or Safari lager, and the best thing is that a bottle is half a liter as opposed to the normal sizes you find in the U.S. and Europe.
Without a doubt if you are traveling through the country you will need to land in Dar es Salaam, which means “haven of peace.” Lined by the Indian Ocean, Dar boasts great Indian and local cuisine, or chakula in Swahili. And local giant Azam boasts the best ice cream you'll ever have, which is perfect, considering the intense heat you will encounter.
Although there is not much to see in Dar, there are a couple of islands that have been designated natural reserves that are only a few minutes away by car. First is Bongoyo Island, which lies off the Msani Peninsula. Often referred to simply as “Peninsula,” the area is home to many of the nightspots and upscale residences, with the area serving as a home to many foreign ambassadors.
You can take a ferry from Slipway to the island, where you will be greeted by sandy beaches, clear blue water, and fisherman asking you what kind of seafood you would like them to catch for your lunch. There is literally nowhere on the planet that serves seafood that fresh. Of course if you would like to stick to the basics, chicken and chips (or chipsis as they’re called by Tanzanians), are options.
If you’re looking for a similar but less expensive and less crowded experience, a well-known option that is more popular among the non-tourist population is Mbudya. You have to drive about thirty minutes from central Dar, but it is amazing with water that is different shades of blue.
With a renewed focus on tourism, Tanzania’s many sights should only become more elegant, accessible, and widely known. Therefore if you want to take advantage of one of Africa’s best kept secrets, learn some Swahili and start living hakuna matata.
Hi, I'm Jake,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Dar es Salaam hostels. Welcome.