Best 8 things to do in Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam combines the hustle and bustle of Tanzania’s largest city with a delightfully tranquil pace of life. Unlike other East African towns, this one is not overrun with visitors. This provides an excellent opportunity to see urban African life as it is lived by its population. Visit its markets and street food scenes, museums, and outdoor attractions. All of this and more may be found in our Dar es Salaam activity guide.

1: Visit the National Museum of Tanzania

One of the greatest things to do in Dar es Salaam is to visit the National Museum of Tanzania. The museum, situated in the city center, provides an intriguing look into Tanzania’s rich cultural and natural past.

Exhibits within the museum highlight Tanzania’s ancient history, including displays of fossils and implements used by early people. There are other displays highlighting the country’s rich fauna, such as a big elephant facsimile and a section devoted to marine life.

Apart from natural history exhibits, the museum also shows traditional Tanzanian art, like as woodcarvings, fabrics, and ceramics. There’s also a part devoted to the history of Tanzania’s numerous ethnic groups, along with displays showcasing their habits, traditions, and way of life.

The National Museum of Tanzania is a must-see destination in Dar es Salaam, offering a unique chance to learn about Tanzania’s rich history and culture.

Also read: Best 15 National Parks to visit in Tanzania

2: Go to the Kariakoo Market

Kariakoo Market in Dar es Salaam

A visit to Dar es Salaam’s Kariakoo Market is highly recommended for anybody interested in experiencing local culture and purchasing one-of-a-kind souvenirs or commodities.

Kariakoo Market is one of East Africa’s biggest and busiest marketplaces, offering a diverse range of things such as fresh vegetables, spices, apparel, electronics, and more. The market is a cultural melting pot, with sellers and consumers from Tanzania and beyond.

You’ll be able to connect with the merchants, learn about their goods, and perhaps eat some local cuisine while wandering the market. But keep a watch on your stuff and proceed with care, since the market may be busy and stressful.

Check out a local guided tour in this market here.

3: Take a tour of the Bongoyo Island

If you appreciate stunning beaches and outdoor activities, taking a trip to Bongoyo Island in Dar es Salaam is undoubtedly one of the finest things to do.

Bongoyo Island is a tiny deserted island off the coast of Dar es Salaam that may be reached by boat from the Msasani Peninsula. The island is well-known for its crystal-clear seas, white sandy beaches, and coral reefs, making it a popular snorkeling, swimming, and sunbathing destination.

Many travel providers in Dar es Salaam offer day tours to Bongoyo Island that include transportation, snorkeling equipment, and lunch. Once on the island, you can relax on the beach, explore the coral reefs, and enjoy a delicious seafood lunch.

The island is also an excellent site to go bird watching since it is home to various bird species such as the black-headed heron, kingfisher, and grey-headed gull.

4: Visit the Askari Monument

Askari Monument is one of the best things to do in Dar Es Salaam

Anyone interested in learning about the city’s history and culture should definitely pay a visit to the Askari Monument in Dar es Salaam.

The Askari Monument is a bronze monument situated near the main railway station in Dar es Salaam. It was built in 1927 to honor Askari warriors who fought for the British during World War I.

The statue shows an Askari soldier standing at attention, with a weapon and a bayonet. It is a significant emblem of Tanzania’s colonial heritage and independence fight.

Apart from its historical importance, the Askari Monument is a popular place for photography and people-watching. The surrounding area is lively, with locals and tourists alike congregating around the monument, chatting and taking in the sights and sounds of the city.

A visit to the Askari Monument is an excellent chance to learn about Tanzania’s history and culture while also enjoying the colorful ambiance of Dar es Salaam’s city center.

5: Go to the Tinga Tinga Arts Cooperative Society

If you are interested in art and culture, one of the greatest things to do in Dar es Salaam is to visit the Tinga Tinga Arts Cooperative Organization.

The Tinga Tinga Arts Cooperative Society is a local group that promotes and supports traditional Tanzanian art, notably the Tinga Tinga painting style. The cooperative was started in the 1960s by a local artist called Edward Saidi Tingatinga, who developed a distinct painting style that has come to be associated with Tanzanian art.

Visitors to the cooperative may see local artists produce Tinga Tinga paintings and buy artwork and other items directly from the cooperative. For anyone interested in learning more about the Tinga Tinga style of painting, the cooperative also provides courses and classes.

Besides from its creative talents, the cooperative is an excellent resource for learning about Tanzanian culture and history. The Tinga Tinga painting style is profoundly based in Tanzanian customs and mythology, and many of the paintings portray scenes from Tanzanian daily life.

Overall, a visit to the Tinga Tinga Arts Cooperative Society is an excellent opportunity to support local artists and craftspeople, learn about Tanzanian culture and history, and bring home a one-of-a-kind and meaningful keepsake of your stay in Dar es Salaam.

6: Visit the Village Museum

village museum dar es salaam

Visiting the Village Museum in Dar es Salaam is unquestionably one of the greatest ways to learn about Tanzania’s rich cultural history.

The Village Museum is an open-air museum in Dar es Salaam’s outskirts. It was founded in 1996 with the goal of preserving and showcasing traditional Tanzanian rural life and culture. The museum exhibits a collection of approximately 20 traditional Tanzanian homes, each with its own distinct architecture, interior decor, and cultural objects.

Guided tours of the Village Museum are available for visitors to learn about the many homes and the cultures they represent. Cultural activities and performances, such as traditional music and dance shows, are also held in the museum, as are workshops where visitors may learn traditional crafts like as weaving and ceramics.

In addition to its cultural programs, the Village Museum is a wonderful spot to unwind and take in the stunning natural surroundings. The museum is located in a lovely, green forest and has various picnic sites where visitors may enjoy a meal or snack.

A visit to the Village Museum is an excellent chance to learn about Tanzania’s unique cultural legacy as well as to appreciate the beauty and tranquillity of the country’s natural surroundings.

7: Take a trip to the nearby beaches

Visiting the local beaches is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Dar es Salaam, especially if you’re looking for a tranquil and refreshing retreat.

Dar es Salaam is situated on the coast of the Indian Ocean, and there are numerous magnificent beaches nearby. Among the most popular beaches are Bongoyo Island, Mbudya Island, and Kigamboni Beach.

These beaches include crystal blue oceans, gorgeous sandy beaches, and plenty of opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. Several beaches also include restaurants and bars where you may eat and drink while taking in the surroundings.

In addition to the beaches, the surrounding environs are perfect for exploring. You may go boating around surrounding islands, hiking in adjacent woods, or visiting nearby communities to learn about local culture and customs.

8: Go on a wildlife safari

Mikumi National Park near Dar es Salaam

Although Dar es Salaam is not well-known for its wildlife safaris, there are various chances to observe magnificent wildlife in the neighboring locations.

The Mikumi National Park, approximately 5-6 hours’ drive from Dar es Salaam, is a popular alternative. This park is home to a diverse range of animals, including elephants, lions, giraffes, zebras, and several bird species. Tourists may enjoy guided game drives in the park to get up up and personal with these beautiful creatures.

The Saadani National Park, approximately 2-3 hours’ drive north of Dar es Salaam, is another alternative. This park is unusual in that it is Tanzania’s only coastal national park, giving visitors the opportunity to witness both land and sea animals. Tourists may witness lions, elephants, buffalo, crocodiles, and hippos on guided game drives, boat rides, and even guided walking safaris.

There are also various options to go snorkeling or scuba diving in the neighboring seas if you are interested in marine animals. The Mafia Island Marine Park, roughly an hour’s flight from Dar es Salaam, is home to a rich diversity of marine life, including coral reefs, sea turtles, and several fish species.

Check out a private Full-Day Trip to Mikumi National Park from Dar es Salaam here.

Dar Es Salaam safaris and events

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