As Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam is a vibrant place filled with culture, beaches, local nightlife, food and more. Therefore, if you happen to find yourself in the city for a short period of time (2 to 3 days), it can be very overwhelming to decide what to do in Dar es Salaam.
Travelers have different interests. Many enjoy spending their time in a new city exploring the nightlife and partying, while others want to lay on the beach with a good book and cocktail, and some want to soak up as much history and culture as possible and interact with locals.
However, whatever you end up doing, you can’t miss out on these 7 local attractions that will surely make your time in Dar es Salaam truly memorable.
1. Kivukoni Fish Market
As a coastal city, Dar es Salaam has an abundance of fresh seafood, but even though you can find seafood in many places, none beat the experience you will have at the Kivukoni Fish Market. At the fish market, you get to hand pick from a wide selection of freshly fished seafood such as prawns, octopus, calamari and more; and then wait for your order to be cook in front of your eyes. This place is so amazing it was even featured on Buzzfeed.com as one of “Places Around The World You Should Eat At Before You Die”.
2. National Museum & House of Culture
If you are into history and want to learn more about Tanzania’s past and cultural heritage, the National Museum is the place to visit. The museum offers different exhibitions about the country’s tribal heritage, traditional crafts, musical instruments, local artists, colonial and political history and more. Moreover, you get to enjoy the serene and beautiful atmosphere of the museum’s garden – which is also a popular wedding party venue.
3. Makumbusho Village Museum
Makumbusho, meaning ‘reminders’ in English, and also known as the Village Museum, literally takes you back in time or into rural Tanzania, by illustrating fully the diversity and intricacy of village life amongst Tanzania’s ethnic groups. You can enter authentic village homes, learn about how they were constructed and the traditions of the people. You can also watch local artists demonstrate traditional painting, weaving, carving, tribal dances and other cultural activities. Simply put, the Village Museum offers a fully enriching traditional Tanzanian experience.
4. Kariakoo Market
Probably the busiest market area in Dar es Salaam, Kariakoo is the best place to go if you are looking for items at a cheap price. While locals frequent it to get everything from groceries, clothes, toiletries, furniture, car parts and more. Tourists can also find a wide range of souvenirs, African fabric, traditional clothes, shoes, instruments and many other cultural items.
Tip: Don’t afraid to bargain!
5. Mbudya Island
If you want to spend your time in Dar es Salaam relaxing by the beach, then Mbudya Island is worth the trip. The beautiful island is just off the coast of Dar es Salaam, and hosts pearly white sandy beaches, clear blue unpolluted sea water and plenty of sea life and seafood. The island can be reached by a boat from Jangwani Sea Breeze Resort in the Mbezi Beach area, and is never crowded – so perfect if you want a laid back and tranquil beach vibe.
6. Coco beach
If you find yourself in Dar es Salaam over the weekend, then make sure to go to the public beach, Coco Beach, on the Msasani Peninsula and eat some local street food; try the mishkaki and muhogo wa kuchoma (roasted cassava). This is an extremely popular hangout spot for Tanzanian families and friends of all social classes, making it one of the best ways to observe the diversity of Tanzanian society and the ways that we have fun.
7. Mwenge Wood Carver’s Village (Makonde)
If you are looking for authentic Tanzanian made art, clothes, shoes, bags, kitchenware, masks…you name it, then look no further than the Mwenge Wood Carver’s Village (locally known as Makonde). The entire area is dedicated to selling and promoting Tanzanian art. Moreover, the artists are often also the sellers which means that they can custom make paintings and carvings just for you and teach you about their artistic process. It’s truly a delightful and colorful experience that will leave you full of appreciation for the hard labor that goes into creating a work of art.
Find more places to visit in Dar es Salaam…