Although Dodoma, in the middle of the country, is Tanzania’s designated capital city, Dar es Salaam remains Tanzania’s social and commercial heart, as the country’s largest city and main port. Most travellers fly into and out of ‘Dar’, as it’s always called. We’ll often be able to arrange for you to connect straight through to your safari or beach lodge, but occasionally an overnight stop here is needed. Then visitors are often surprised how much they enjoy the place.
Dar isn’t one of Africa’s most beautiful cities; many parts of it are dusty and poor. Yet it’s a vibrant and interesting corner of modern Africa. Colourfully clad people jostle with vehicles and bicycles in the streets, whilst street-stalls sell anything from wooden carvings to matching sets of luggage.
Whether you’re visiting prior to a Tanzania safari, or en route back from a Mozambique beach retreat, the city has a handful of good international-style hotels, which include:
To start or end your trip in style – the exclusive Oyster Bay is arguably the best hotel in Dar. With only 8 suites, the food and service is up there with any of the top safari lodges.
In the centre of town, the Moevenpick Royal Palm Hotel is probably one the city’s best larger hotels.
The Southern Sun (formerly the Holiday Inn) is also conveniently located in town, and with an outdoor pool is a pleasant stop over hotel.
About half an hour’s drive from the airport, the Sea Cliff, is a reliable and pleasant hotel which stands right beside the ocean.
Meanwhile, for something much smaller and simpler, but near to a buzzy open-air square with a modern market and restaurants, head for the Slipway.
If you have a little longer in and around Dar, and can stay for two days, then think about spending a few days at one of the two lovely beach retreats in the Ras Kutani area.