Dar Es Salaam is one of the most beautiful cities in East Africa. The lively and bustling city is a great travel destination, as it is home to comfortable and luxurious accommodation, spectacular landmarks, friendly locals, and delicious food! From the city, travellers can visit other great tourist spots in Tanzania, such as Arusha National Park, Lake Manyara, or the Serengeti. If you are travelling on a budget, you can have an excellent time in Dar Es Salaam. Here is a budget travel guide for the urban area!
Important Tips for Budget Travel
Carrying cash is a good idea, because it allows you to avoid paying ATM and bank fees.
If you make bookings online, you are likely to find discounts and offers that you can avail. Not only can you enjoy reduced prices, but making bookings beforehand can also help you avoid any last minute inconveniences.
Tourists should fly directly to Dar Es Salaam because flights to bigger cities tend to be cheaper. From Dar, they can travel to other tourist destinations in the country.
Instead of getting taxis on the road, you can call them using taxi apps and ride sharing apps, such as Uber, Bolt, and Taxify, which have specified prices and tend to be more affordable.
Many taxis, guides, tours, and shops in Dar Es Salaam do not specify their prices, so you can negotiate before paying and avail better deals by bargaining. At local markets, tourists can bargain for better prices. Before paying, you must confirm the final price.
Supermarkets and malls often sell branded or imported items which are costly, as compared to locally produced items found in local stores. Tourists can buy fruit and vegetables from local vendors instead of big stores, so they can get more affordable options, connect deeply to the region, and support the home economy of the country. Vendors in Dar Es Salaam sell fruits and vegetables such as coconuts, avocadoes, berries, passionfruit, guavas, watermelons, oranges, mangoes, pineapples, bananas, cauliflower, onions, chillies, peppers, cabbage, beans, lettuce, and carrot, as well as providing a variety of fresh herbs and aromatic spices.
Restaurants are often overpriced. Instead, you can eat street food, enjoying a more authentic experience of the region, and tasting the unique cuisine of Tanzania that has Portugese, Indian, Turkish, Swahili, and Arabic influences. You can enjoy dishes such as biryani, Kuku Paka (spicy curry), (porridge), pilao, samosa (fried triangles filled with meat or vegetables), sweet potatoes, Chipsi Mayai (chips and eggs), Muhogo (deep fried cassava), Mandazi (sweet doughnuts), Nyama Choma (grilled meat), and Mshikaki (meat skewers).
Using public transport is a good idea as it allows tourists to save a lot of money, and give back to the community by helping the local economy. You can opt for a Bajaj, which is a motorized tricycle (also known as a Tuk-Tuk), a ferry, or Dalla Dallas, which are minibuses that travel on set routes. During the pandemic, you must wear masks, and sanitize frequently.
Places to Visit on a Budget
The National Museum of Tanzania has an entrance fee of $3, which is affordable for most budget travellers. Here, you can find ancient Chinese pottery, fossil discoveries, a sacred fig tree, old Tanzanian wood carvings, prehistoric rock art, ancient relics and coins, paintings of important figures such as President Julius Nyerere, and indigenous ebony masks! Tourists can learn about the rich culture and heritage of the region, and buy souvenirs and keepsakes from the gift shop so they can always cherish the memories of their unforgettable trip.
Travellers can visit Pugu Hills Forest Reserve, a beautiful tourist spot that is home to hyenas, cheetahs, leopards, mongooses, giraffes, baboons, elephants, pangolins, jackals, galagos, warthogs, colobus monkeys, and impalas. You can also trek up to a cave that is seen as sacred by the local Zaramo people, and the extraordinary bat caves which are home to the Tanzanian woolly bat, Hildegarde’s tom bat, and horseshoe bat!
At Kariakoo Market, you can buy fruits, vegetables, clothes, electronics, keepsakes, souvenirs, and tools! The vibrant market provides a local flavor of the city, as tourists can meet locals and have enriching interactions. Tourists can bargain for affordable prices!
Askari Monument is one of the most famous landmarks in the city. The memorial has been placed for the soldiers with the British army during world war one, with the bronze statue pointing a rifle towards the harbour. The plaques have inscriptions in Arabic and Swahili.
Tourists can also take a trip to Coco Beach, where they can enjoy fresh seafood made by locals, which includes spices such as turmeric, cumin, pepper, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, and cloves. 11km away from Dar Es Salaam, this stunning coastline has great restaurants and food stands for delicious local food. Walking or jogging on the beach is a relaxing, stress relieving activity. You can swim or surf in the cool waters, or sunbathe on the white sands!