Travelling to a new country for the first time is always exciting, but it is even more exciting when the trip is to a whole new continent (if you look at our travel map, Africa is looking quite empty)! We took the long way to Tanzania (intentionally), including a 23 hour and 50 minute layover in Switzerland, which allowed us to visit Bettina’s family and spend the night in a real bed. This meant that we arrived in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, late at night about two days after we left Chicago.
Markets of Dar es Salaam
With only one day in our itinerary to explore Dar es Salaam, we were very fortunate to have a local tour guide, Rumina, show us around. We started at one of the smaller local markets which was full of fresh fruit and vegetables, spices, and an assortment of other household goods.
We were less than 20 minutes into our day and Bettina had already purchased a new handbag! According to Rumina, this would be one of the best places to pick one up on the cheap.
The heat and humidity (about 33C/92F and 85% humidity) was quickly getting to us – so why not freshen up with a little bit of coconut water?
Dar Es Salaam has an estimated population of over 5 million. With a fairly small city center it certainly does not seem to be that large.
We enjoyed getting a sense of the city on our driving tour, along with a stop along the coast at Coco Beach to pick up some freshly fried cassava chips.
When we stopped the car here we were immediately bombarded by everyone hawking whatever food they had to sell. While everyone was friendly, it can be a bit overwhelming when you have 10 or more people all following you around trying to sell you something! The fact that we very much looked like tourists didn't help.
Slipway, Dar es Salaam
If you’re interested in getting some great African artwork, there is a market near the Slipway which has a huge selection of locally made goods, where we picked up a few more souvenirs!
And when you are tired of shopping, right next door is a couple of great oceanside restaurants for food and drinks with amazing views.
Shop Bettina's Look
Her purse is from Aldo and is currently on sale!
Where to Stay in Dar es Salaam
During our short trip to Dar es Salaam, we stayed at the Hyatt Regency Kilimanjaro. (We managed to pay for our stay entirely with Hyatt points which we had collected on previous trips.) The hotel itself is beautiful and everyone made us feel very welcome.
We loved our room and the city views that came with it.
After our city tour, we went back to our hotel to cool down in the air conditioning and freshen up before dinner, but not before stopping off at the rooftop bar of our hotel.
With a great view over the harbour, this is one of the many great spots to catch a sunset in Dar.
Shop Bettina's Evening Look
Another great place to catch a sunset is the Cape Town Fish Market, a restaurant and bar right on the water. The perks of being there on a Sunday night included great live music, including local Tanzanian songs and other popular Western music sung with a very questionable accent, causing us to wonder which language they were actually singing in!
We finished the night off with some great food – we have no idea what was ordered, but it was all delicious!
For only having one day to spend in Dar es Salaam, we feel like we got a pretty good feel for the city, but also can’t wait to return to spend a few more days. For anyone who has safety concerns, as long as you apply typical common sense considerations as you would in any large city in the world, you will have a great time exploring this wonderful city. We were surprised at how incredibly friendly everyone was and how delicious the food was. This was a great start to our time in Tanzania, before going on our African Safari and visiting Zanzibar!
Have you been to Dar es Salaam?
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