20 Fun things to do in Dar Es Salaam

Its holiday time. Wonderlust gets the best of you and you find yourself in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

With little or no knowledge of where to start, what do you do?

Dar Es salaam, previously known as Mzizima, was set up as a summer residence for the sultan of Zanzibar in the 1860’s.
It was a trade hub where products, spices, ornaments, utensils and even slaves were sold off to Arabs in Zanzibar and beyond.


The present….
Since then, the city has grown from a residence to one of the most vibrant tourism and economic cities in the world. It is the largest and most populated Swahili speaking city in the world.
Due to its geographic position it has influences from the Arabic, Indian, German and British cultures with city architecture resembling these cultures.

If you are new to Dar es Salaam you may ask, what fun things can i do in Dar es Salaam? Where do i go in Dar es Salaam? What can i buy and where do i but it?

Here are 20 fun things to do in Dar es Salaam when you visit or intend to visit and how to get there using public means of transport.

1.Mbudya Island.

Located in the Northern side of Dares Salaam is Mbudya Island. A hidden beach heaven for the outdoor and beach lovers. This island is taken care of by the Tanzanian Marine reserve and therefore a small conservation fee is charged.


A view of Mbudya Island from the ocean

How to get there: Board a boat from Jangwani or white Sands and pay return fare to the island. Rates vary depending on how many people you are and so always prepare to bargain.

Pic couresy of Meddy Blanco

2. Kivukoni Fish Market
The fish market is a nice way to see a vibrant Dar Es Salaam early in the morning. The market attracts more than 1000 people who come to buy and auction fresh fish. The bee hive of activity starts as early as 6:00AM so be sure to be there early enough.

How to get there:
For now you may board an UDA bus to ferry any bus to Posta then connect with UDA to ferry fish market. The BRT service will start and Kivukoni fish market is the main terminal. You can board a BRT bus from Kimara, Ubungo, Morocco and Kariakoo. See the BRT route Map above.

3. Kariakoo Market
Kariakoo is one of the oldest residents in Dar es Salaam. Located near the harbor, the area has attracted many traders from time in memorial. The area is now full of shops and its vibrancy has made it one of the most fun things to do in Dar es Salaam.


Skyline view of Kariakoo Market

Kariakoo market has an interesting architecture as its roof was shaped in a funnel shape to harvest rain water. Read how shutterbugs Tz did an educative photo walk in Kariakoo.

How to get there:
Board a bus labeled Kariakoo and it will get you off at Msimbazi Street, the last stop of the buses to Kariakoo market.

4. Bagamoyo Old town
Located 60Km off Dares Salaam city center, is Bagamoyo old town. One of the oldest town in Dares Salaam, dating back to the 13th Century


It was originally a holding area for slaves before they were sold and shipped off to Zanzibar. Bagamoyo is also where Dr. Livingstone, one of the first missionaries in Africa died and was buried. It is also where the world wide instameet 12, Dar, WWIM12 was held.


The town boasts of an old museum, the governor’s boma, Dr. Livingstone’s church built in 1872 among many other ancient artifacts. Take pictures when you pay a visit there.


5. Bongoyo Island
Bongoyo Island is a marine reserve island where you can swim in the clean warm ocean. Snokerling and eating fresh fish from the ocean are some of the activities that make it a fun thing to do in Dar es Salaam.
How to get there: To get to Bongoyo Island get a boat from the slip way in Masaki, the fare is usually return.

6. Mlimani City Mall
Developed back in early 2010, Mlimani City opened the doors for uprising of shopping malls in Dares Salaam, making it on the list of fun things to do in Dar es Salaam. The mall houses banks, shops, mobile service providers customer care, supermarkets, souvenir shops, restaurants, a bar as well as a movie theater.


The Swahili International tourism expo (SITE)is held at Mlimani city every year. It is your one stop shop for knowing what and where to be in Dar.


Mlimani City, Where the Swahili International Tourism Expo (SITE) took place Stalls at the SITE 2015

How to get there:
If using public transport, coming from Ubungo or Makumbusho terminus, board a bus labeled “Tegeta” or “Bunju” and alight at Mlimani City. If coming from Posta, Kariakoo or Makumbusho terminus, board a bus labeled “Makumbusho” or “Ubungo” and alight at the mall. Enjoy your visit 🙂

7. Own the Night
Among the most emerging trends in tourism is seeing the city at night.

Night View by Kiligo Dussa

Some of the best views of Dar es Salaam can be seen from Akemi revolving restaurant, Millennium Towers, Hong Kong hotel in Kariakoo, High spirit lounge on IT Plaza among other places.
Have a look at the tag #WeOwnTheNight_Dar for more awesome pictures of Dar es Salaam.


8. Buni Hub and other innovation hubs in Dar es.Salaam
For the technology lovers, there are afew mushrooming technology hubs in Dar es Salaam where working space is provided as well as an audience of like-minded individuals and events. Pop in to Buni Hub for example where technology lives and is nurtured for young Tanzanians and Africa and from other parts of the world.

How to get there: Located on Ali Hassan Mwinyi road, from Makumbusho bus terminus board a bus to Mawasiliano, Sinza, or Tegeta and alight at “Sayasi” bus stop. From Mawasiliano bus terminus board a bus to Makumbusho or Posta or Kariakor and alight at “Sayansi” bus stop as well.

9. Slipway Masaki
The slipway peninsula is home to some of the most beautiful sunsets in Dar es Salaam. Located in Masaki, the slipway is a nice place to relax and take in the view of the ocean. It is also where WWIM9 Dar was held in June 2014.


How to get there:
Several buses marked “Masaki” operate in the area but you will have to board a Bajaj to reach slip way as it
is on the far end of the peninsula but worth the while.

10. Askari Monument
Located in the central business district of Posta, the askari monument is a statue depicting a soldier holding a bayonet pointing to the harbor. The statue signifies the soldiers who fought as carrier corps in world war one. The Askari statue is supposedly located precisely in the middle of Dar es Salaam, on the round about that bisects Samora Avenue and Maktaba Street.

Pic credits: Kiligo Dusssa

11. National Museum of Tanzania and House of culture
We all have a history, Tanzania’s and more specifically Dar’s history can be found at the National Museum and House of culture which is a fun thing to do in Dar es Salaam when you visit. It shows you where Dar has come from for you to compare with where it is now.

12. Village Museum

The village museum gives you an experience of Tanzania’s tribes and how they make their traditional huts. In the evenings you can enjoy dance and music from the traditional dancers in the museum.

Pic by Lusu Bilo


13. Kunduchi wet n wild water park
This is a waterpark for everyone who loves water slides and swimming. It is ideal for both children and adults and the many slides will not disappoint any water theme park lover.

How to get there:
Board a bus fromtown labeled “Kunduchi” and the water park is the last stop.
The park has an entrance fee though so be prepared to pay for that.

14. Mwenge wood curvers market
Located on the market area of Mwenge right opposite Mlimani city is Mwenge market of wood carvers and African artifacts vendors. You can pick African souvenirs from the shops ranging from lessos, statues, sandals, bags, clothes and more.

15. Watch a movie
Dar has seen the rise of movie theaters and you can definitely catch latest movies. One of the prominent ones include Century Cinemax in Mlimani City Mall, Oysterbay Branch, the newest one is Century Cinemax at Mkuki house mall along Nyerere road and Suncrest Cineplex at quality center mall.

See directions to Mlimani city on number 6 above and for Mkuki house and Quality center just Board a bus to Nyerere road.

16. Azania Lutheran Church
Overlooking the harbor, Azania Lutheran church was built by German missionaries in Tanzania. The architectural design provides an interesting background for photography and a visit to Dar es Salaam. Located in the business district of Posta, the church is easy to access once at Posta.


17. Temple Road
Like the name suggests, temple Road is an area with religious temples and their architectural designs make
them fun to see in Dar es Salaam. Its location on downtown Dar make it easy to find and enjoy the view.

18. Tingatinga art centre
Tingatinga is a form of art that is known for bright colours and animal inspired prints on paintings and materials. The art was started by Edward Said Tingatinga and at the art centre you can peruse and buy anything that interests you.

19. Enjoy Swahili food
Many restaurants in Dar es Salaam serve swahili foods as well as other continental cuisine and fast food. In Dar, food vendors make it a point to include spices and coconuts as they are distictively native foods introduced by the Arabs.
Make sure you enjoy a meal of “samaki wa nazi” (fish with coconut sauce) as well as viazi and mihogo (potatoes and cassava) on the streets.

20. Dar es Salaam War Cemetery Memorial
Dar es Salaam War Cemetery, commemorates by name more than 1,500 officers and men who died in East Africa during and after January 1917 (the advance to the Rufiji river) who have no known grave.
The memorial was moved from a site elsewhere in the township and re-sited in Memorial Garden in Upanga.
The War Cemetery is open every day from 0600hrs to 1800hrs.

Enjoy your your stay in Dar Es Salaam.

(This post first appeared here on In Daresalaam)


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