Indian Ocean Coast
Dar es Salaam
For most visitors to Tanzania, Dar es Salaam is simply their point of arrival - the place from which they begin their Tanzania Safari or escape to the Indian Ocean beaches. This is a pity as Dar is an exciting and rewarding city, worthy of a little of your holiday time.
Dar es Salaam is the largest city, and main port in Tanzania. Located in a quiet bay off the Indian Ocean coast, the city has many colourful markets, and interesting museums. The city’s architecture is an eclectic mix of Swahili, German, Asian and British – reflecting its colonial and more recent history. The name means “Haven of Peace” although today Dar is a bustling and fascinating place. The huge harbour is alive with traditional dhows milling between cargo ships and cruise liners, and at the northern end is Kivukoni Front with its lively fish market. The Asian district is notable for its exotic spices, and great restaurants; and superb local art and crafts, including paintings, carvings, weavings and clothing are available at Nyumba ya Saana – the House of Art.
The best beaches, and good snorkelling close to Dar are at Bongoyo Island Marine Reserve, 7km north of the city.
To the North and the South of Dar es Salaam lie miles upon miles of pristine Indian Ocean Coastline. Mainland beaches are generally more private than those in Zanzibar, but diving is not as exciting as on Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia islands.
Southern Indian Ocean Beaches
Visitors looking for seclusion, peace and tranquillity will find idyllic beaches to the south of Dar, where the fine golden sands are fringed with palms, and pounded by the Indian Ocean waves. Luxurious accommodations can be found at Ras Kutani and the Amani Beach Club.
This elegant beach hideaway has just 12 private bandas nestled in a tropical forest on the banks of a freshwater lagoon. Just 35km south of Dar es Salaam, Ras Kutani is set on a 4km crescent of private white sandy beach, washed by the gentle surf of the temperate Indian Ocean. Ethnic furnishings impart a sense of the Tanzanian coast's rich cultural heritage. Each banda is en suite and has a large veranda with sea views.
Amani Beach Club
A luxurious and exclusive hotel located on the coast just south of Ras Kutani, about 1 ½ hours from Dar. The 12 spacious rooms are opulently decorated in Arabic style, with four-poster beds, marble floors and ethnic antiques. The Beach Club is set in colourful gardens with a large swimming pool and two restaurants.
Northern Indian Ocean Beaches
Without doubt “the place to stay” north of Dar is Lazy Lagoon. Found in the Zanzibar Channel, Lazy Lagoon Island is an hour’s drive north of Dar, followed by a 2km boat transfer. This little island paradise has 9km of magnificent, deserted white beaches. The lodge offers accommodation in large airy rooms with wide verandas, and compliments the relaxed hedonistic lifestyle with imaginative fresh seafood menus. Perfect for visitors wanting to simply escape, sunbathe, swim and snorkel in the azure waters. The more energetic can explore the mangrove forest; explore the lagoon by kayak, or take a dhow to the nearby historical town of Bagamoyo.
photo copyright: 3BestBeaches