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  • Writer's pictureTassia de Cock

Backpacker's Guide to Dar es Salaam



Dar es Salaam, the vibrant port city nestled along the Tanzanian coastline, is a haven for backpackers seeking an authentic East African experience. With its rich history, diverse culture, and stunning coastal landscapes, Dar es Salaam offers an unforgettable adventure for those willing to explore beyond the beaten path. In this backpacker's guide, we'll uncover the hidden gems, local flavours, and cultural wonders that make Dar es Salaam a must-visit destination.


1. Connect with the Local Vibes:

Dar es Salaam's heartbeat is found in its bustling markets, lively streets, and friendly locals. Begin your journey by immersing yourself in the local culture at Kariakoo Market, where the sights, sounds, and smells create an authentic Tanzanian experience. Engage with the locals, sample street food and embrace the chaos.


2. Explore the Historical Side:

Dive into the city's past at the National Museum, where exhibits showcase Tanzania's diverse history and cultural heritage.


3. Relax on the Beaches:

Dar es Salaam boasts pristine beaches, providing a perfect escape from the urban hustle. Kigamboni is the perfect choice for sunbathing, swimming and socializing. Consider taking a short boat ride to one of the islands for a day of snorkeling and relaxing.


4. Budget-Friendly Accommodations:

Embrace the backpacker spirit by choosing budget-friendly accommodations. Dar es Salaam offers a range of hostels, guesthouses, and budget hotels catering to travelers seeking affordable yet comfortable stays. Popular areas for backpackers include Kariakoo, Mikocheni, Masaki and Kigamboni.


5. Indulge in Local Cuisine:

Tanzanian cuisine is a flavorful fusion of Swahili, Arab, and Indian influences. Sample local delicacies such as ugali, nyama choma, and samosas from street vendors. For a more immersive experience, join locals at local eateries and taste the authentic flavours of Dar es Salaam.


6. Dive into the Nightlife:

Dar es Salaam comes alive after dark with a vibrant nightlife scene. Explore the eclectic bars, clubs, and live music venues in areas like Oyster Bay and Masaki. Join locals and fellow travelers for a night of dancing, live music, and delicious cocktails.


7. Day Trips and Excursions:

Take advantage of Dar es Salaam's proximity to some of Tanzania's most iconic destinations. Plan day trips to Bagamoyo or Pugu Hills or catch a ferry to Zanzibar for a taste of the island's unique charm.



Dar es Salaam charms backpackers with its blend of culture, history, and natural beauty. This coastal gem is a gateway to the wonders of Tanzania, offering an enriching experience for those willing to explore its vibrant streets, relax on its sandy beaches, and savor the warmth of its people. Embrace the spirit of adventure, and let Dar es Salaam leave a mark on your backpacking journey through East Africa.

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