With a population of over 3 million people, Dar es Salaam is Tanzania’s economic capital and East Africa’s second largest port. From museums and shopping malls to international restaurants and luxurious resorts, Dar is the perfect hub to explore Tanzania’s diverse culture.
Though there are certainly many tourist attractions in Dar, I opted for a more offbeat beach experience in the quiet and less-visited Kigamboni district. Kigamboni is home to a vast, white-sand beach (called the ‘South Beach’), as well as small beach resorts and restaurants. It is possible to escape the traffic and reach Kigamboni by ferry from downtown via the Kigamboni Ferry terminal.
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I envisioned my last 2 days in Tanzania to be quiet and relaxing; I wanted to catch up on reading and writing, sit on a beach, eat great local food and embrace the culture I had come to love so much. I found an AirBnb in the Mjimwema village near the Kigamboni district, in a lot situated under a mango tree including a hammock and even monkeys! – SOLD!
I really like AirBnB as an option while traveling because it gives you the freedom to come and go in a local neighbourhood, you will most likely have the space to cook for yourself or work if you choose to, and the owners are often so helpful in directing you around the area or providing suggestions for local things not to be missed. You can choose to rent an entire house or flat via AirBnB if you wish for more privacy, or rent a room from the owner if you don’t mind the company.
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There are a variety of beach resorts in the Kigamboni area, some which boast a pool and bar area, while others are beachfront. Kijiji (translates to village in swahili) beach resort is a gorgeous plot of land facing the ocean, with a beachfront restaurant. It also has loungers shaded by thatched umbrellas where you can have lunch, enjoy a drink or even get some work done by the sea.
Where this resort is situated, the ocean has a consistent low tide to accommodate for its unique mangrove trees. Due to this, it is not an ideal spot to swim, but the resort is lovely and the trees are a really special treat.
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I chose to walk down the beach from Kijiji to another resort called Kipipeo. On this walk you will pass the mangrove trees, a local spot with traditional fishing vessels, and some huge jellies that have washed up on shore.
You will notice the farther you walk (once you pass the mangrove trees), the ocean resumes its normal, wavy self and becomes more accessible for swimming. Kipipeo is situated towards the end of the beach (not as far as south beach resort), where there is an international crowd hanging out on loungers or splayed out closer to the water on towels.
Apparently there is a 3000 Tsh fee for using their resort, however I just walked up from the beach and no one charged me. Drinks are quite expensive for Tanzania at 5000 Tsh for a bottled beer, but I felt it was justified to relax on a nice lounge chair by the ocean.
All and all it was a nice little weekend, so if you are heading to Dar es Salaam be sure to check out the beaches at Kigamboni for a break from the hustle and bustle of the city!
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