If you are planning a safari holiday in Tanzania, you should base yourself at Dar Es Salam, the country’s largest city. Not the capital, as one may think. But certainly the most famous place, at least as far as tourists are concerned. Dar Es Salaam is the starting point for many trips to the plains, the wildlife parks, the beaches. The best tour operators are based here. And here western tourists can find services and entertainment reflecting their expectations.

Founded as a small village, Dar Es Salaam (“the house of peace”) grew under the Portuguese government, first as a part of the independent kingdom of Zanzibar and then, (19th century) as the new German settlers’ main camp. In the 20th century it became larger and larger and today it has millions inhabitants living over three main areas: Ilala, Kinondoni and Temeke.

About Dar Es Salaam

The city’s real heart is the Ilala area. This used to be the original village, here history is still part of the local charme (palaces of King Majid, the old Market, the large Kiriakoo Market). New shops and modern buildings also add to this scenario. Most western tourists prefer to stay in Kinondoni, the “rich area”. Here you can enjoy restaurants, clubs, elegant buildings and hotels.
Around the corner, instead, there is the wide, poor land of Temeke. But this neighbourhood is also the real “soul” of the city’s African tradition. The two historic railway stations, the Jamatkhan and Kaole Mosques, the politics’ buildings, the cathedrals are the itineraries of tourism at Dar Es Salaam. And certainly you cannot miss the wonderful beaches of Kigamboni and Mbezi. The Monument to the African Warriors is the most important landmark.

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hotels in central city

What tourists do at Dar Es Salaam

Tourists come to Dar Es Salaam to enjoy all the typical tourist services they are used to. The city is a modern place, open minded, and well organized so to let foreigners feel “at home”. They can go around and admire monuments, enjoy the city’s market places, enter shops and have dinner and lunch in the many restaurants. They can also enjoy life on the beach and organize boat trips. Many of them, though, plan their safaris everyday. Dar Es Salaam is a tolerant and friendly city but some rules are strict, because they are linked to the islamic religion. Tourists cannot have wine or beer, in the city, but they can in some hotels.

Where to stay

Speaking of hotels, which ones are the best where to stay? You can choose among many different kind of resorts, from top luxury to more popular.

Hyatt Regency, with a large park all around and overlooking the ocean, gives top services in western style to its guests; set in a very tourist area.
Serena Hotel is a very elegant hotel offering also international menu and spa.
Four Points Sheraton is also set in a very tourist area, not far from the beach.
Ramada Hotel, set in the very heart of the city, offers the best international services.

Colosseum, elegant building including a fitness area.
Landmark Mbezi Beach Resort, set on a wonderful seaside location not far from the city centre.
Pauraque Hotel, a modern tower not far from the famous market places of Dar Es Salaam.
Sea Cliff Hotel wide resort with a large park around it, overlooking the ocean from a rocky cape.

Protea Marriott, midway between the international airport and the city centre also offers spa and pools.
Mediterraneo, set on the sandy shores of Mbezi.
Tiffany Diamond Hotel, with a nice view over the ocean.
Mikocheni Condo Hotel, a lovely historic building in central city not far from the main monuments, especially the old fish market.

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resorts on the beach