Exploring Dar es Salaam

By 07:22

About a month ago, I visited Tanzania on business. It was the first time that I had been to Dar es Salaam and only once I got there did I realise that Tanzanian restaurants hardly accepted credit cards and when they did, network issues prevented the payments from going through most of the time. I was torn between using my own money that I was saving for my mini Zanzibar break and wanting to enjoy what Dar had to offer. Luckily when money became too much of an issue, I could eat at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel. Still, I managed to squeeze in bits of Dar. After all, I’d rather have stories to tell than save my money for life’s bare necessities.

I was so lucky to be staying in a hotel that was right next to Slipway. It’s called Slipway because it used to be a boat yard and you can still book sailing trips that leave from here to the nearby islands or just around the bay. Given that I didn’t have a car and I needed to save money that would have been spent on a taxi, I spent quite a few nights here. There’s a bunch of restaurants right next to Msanani Bay but my favourite was The Waterfront. If you get there early enough you can sit right at the edge of the bay and watch the waters gentle caress against the deck. The sunset is amazing when the skies turn all shades of orange. I didn’t enjoy the hotel food very much but I simply loved all the dishes I tried here. The portion sizes though are huge!

There’s a big market at Slipway and the prices are ridiculous. Maybe I just keep comparing the prices from my Thailand shopping spree to everywhere else I go to but most items (even fridge magnets) were not less than R75. I could only afford to buy some bracelets, coffee beans and fridge magnets. Apart from the pricing though, I felt that most items weren’t uniquely Tanzanian or African; I saw quite a bit of Thai products – handbags, placemats, etc. with a huge price mark up. But then again, in the luxurious Msanani Peninsula (kinda like Tanzania’s Camps Bay equivalent), I shouldn’t be too surprised that everything would be expensive. 

There’s a travel agent at Slipway called Costal Airlines. I used them to book my Zanzibar trip. So if you want to do some travelling in and around Tanzania, try them; they are very friendly and super organised.

I worked in Mlimali City so I frequented the Mlimali City mall for lunch every day. It is one of Dar’s biggest malls and it has a lot of South Africa’s favourite store brands like Mr Price and Game. The mall itself is busy but there are tons of restaurants which aren’t crowded if you want to grab a quiet lunch. But this is Africa and sometimes ordering a hot chocolate involves DIY.

I also had time to catch a pub quiz at Trinity Bar and Lounge. It’s in Msanani so it’s mostly frequented by expats and Tanzanian upper class during the week. Most of Dar es Salaam is not as well developed as Johannesburg and I do feel like a snob for saying that the Msanani area feels more like home.  Trinity has a relaxing open air beach bar vibe. They also have very difficult quiz nights if you’re into that sort of thing. I like to just relax in the ambience...

I am scheduled to go back to Dar es Salaam in February. I can’t wait to explore more. I plan on staying at Seacliff this time and apparently there’s quite a lot to do in and around the hotel. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to try it so please let me know. 

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