Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam has come a long way since its beginning as a sleepy fishing village. It is now Tanzania’s largest city and host to an eclectic combination of cultures that combine to create a truly one-of-a-kind destination.

Tanzania sits in central east Africa, with the Indian Ocean lying to its east. Neighbours of this fascinating and picturesque nation include Kenya, Mozambique, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Since its establishment by a Zanzibar sultan as a fishing town in the 1860s, Dar es Salaam has been through a variety of changes over the years. The city was taken by the German East Africa Company in 1887, then captured by British forces in 1916. It has grown from a tiny population to an urban hub with over 1.6 million residents.

Many travellers consider Dar es Salaam as more of a gateway to Tanzania’s other attractions rather than a hotspot itself. However, this is not really the case; there are many interesting things to see and do in the city.

Dar es Salaam is an enduringly popular place for cruise lines to include in their itineraries. Companies such as Silversea Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and Oceania Cruises offer journeys that stop here.

Port Location

Dar es Salaam’s port does not have a dedicated cruise ship terminal. As such, your vessel will dock at one of the various berths that line the port. The harbour’s natural geography allows your ship to drop you right into the centre of the city.

Port Facilities

The facilities immediately available to you upon docking will depend on the berth assigned to your cruise ship. However, regardless of this, basic facilities should be accessible via a short walk or drive. Speak to your cruise staff before disembarking for more details.

How To Get Around

Walking is typically the best way to get around in Dar es Salaam. If necessary, hiring a car is an option. There are also some taxis and many minibuses (or ‘dala dalas’) available around the city.

Travel times from the port:

On foot:

  • It is a 36 minute journey to the Botanical Gardens

  • It is a 47 minute journey to the National Museum and House of Culture

  • It is a 53 minute journey to the Village Museum

  • It is a 58 minute journey to the Kivukoni Fish Market.

By car/taxi:

  • It is an 11 minute journey to the National Museum and House of Culture

  • It is a 12 minute journey to the Kivukoni Fish Market

  • It is a 16 minute journey to the Village Museum

  • It is a 24 minute journey to Coco Beach

  • It is a 58 minute journey to Kunduchi Water Park

  • It is a 63 minute journey to Bahari Zoo.

General Information

  • Currency – The local currency in Dar es Salaam is the Tanzanian shilling (TZS), which is made up of 100 cents. Banknotes circulating currently are the 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, and 10,000 shillings denominations. Coins come in 50, 100, and 200 shillings. 

  • Time Zone – Dar es Salaam follows East African Time (EAT), which is 3 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

  • Weather – Temperatures are typically high in Dar es Salaam, with the average maximum ranging from about 31 degrees Celsius in February to about 29 degrees Celsius in August. Humidity is moderately high throughout the year, though it peaks in April, which is also Dar es Salaam’s rainiest month.

Highlights

  • Village Museum – This unconventional museum is essentially an assortment of traditional dwellings. Visitors interested in gaining a rich understanding of the local culture and history will not want to miss this site. The open-air museum, founded in 1996, provides information and displays relating to 16 or so of Tanzania’s ethnic groups, so be prepared for a fascinating and comprehensive insight into the country’s heritage as you explore the preserved homesteads and see the traditional crafts and objects.

  • Kivukoni Fish Market – Many consider the Kivukoni Fish Market as essential stop for any traveller in the city. With a bustling crowd of friendly people and plenty of boats unloading colourful collections of fish, this market gives you a rare appreciation for the Tanzanian fishing industry. Just keep your belongings close to avoid pickpockets and don’t be surprised by the strong smell!

  • Bongoyo and Mbudya Islands – To unwind and get away from the hustle and bustle, take a boat to either Bongoyo Island or Mbudya Island. These exotic getaway islands provide the perfect place for some quality relaxation. Soothing ocean breezes, beautiful beach scenery, delicious fresh seafood, and good company… what more could you need? For blissful peace, choose Bongoyo. For a more active vibe, head for Mbudya.

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