Best Things to Do in Dar es Salaam

Best Things to Do in Dar es Salaam

The commercial hub of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, has grown from a humble fishing village in the 1900’s into one of Africa’s largest and most notable cities.

The city offers a range of attractions to the curious traveller and is not to be missed by visitors to the Great Lakes region.

Here are five of Dar es Salaam’s main attractions:


National Museum

The National Museum displays the most noteworthy parts of Tanzanian culture and offers visitors a glimpse into the nation’s past with relics from the colonial era and slave trade as well as the history of tribal rule in the country.

Opened as a tribute to King George V in 1940, the museum also displays some of the earliest fossils of human ancestors excavated during renowned archaeologist Louis Leakey’s expedition to the Olduvai Gorge in the 1930s.

Close to the Tazara Railway Line, the museum is a favourite amongst those on luxury train journeys, particularly those coming from South Africa.


Oyster Bay

Home to a large expatriate community, Oyster Bay (also known as Coco Bay) is one of the most popular areas amongst tourists for its stunning main beach and has been home to European settlers since colonial times.

Oyster Bay is one of the more affluent suburbs of the city where both tourists and locals come together to enjoy the vibrant nightlife, street food and live local music.


Bongoyo Island

Bongoyo Island is situated four miles off the Msasani Peninsula. With stunning white beaches and a number of popular restaurants on the northwestern tip of the island, it’s the perfect destination for a day away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

For those who enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling, there is a vast array of marine species to be found in the clear waters among the islands in the Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve, of which Bongoyo is the most popular.


Old Boma

Commissioned by the Sultan of Zanzibar, Majid Bin Said, in 1866 the Old Boma was built to accommodate guests of the Sultan, whose palace, which has since been demolished, was right next-door.

Old Boma is the oldest building in Dar es Salaam and while it may look quite unremarkable on the outside, the interior is an ode to the country’s colonial past and contains numerous elements of Zanzibar’s architecture, including its large wooden door and stone walls.


Mount Kilamanjaro

While not strictly a city attraction, Dar es Salaam is the closest major city to Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania’s most popular tourist attraction and the highest peak on the African continent. But you should know that it's still an 8-9 hour drive to get there. ;-)

At 5,895 metres above sea level, Mount Kilimanjaro also ranks as the highest free standing mountain in the world and is a major climbing destination for professional and amateur mountaineers alike, who come from all over the world to summit this dormant volcano.