Thatched parasol and sun loungers on beach in Dar Es Salaam

The Arabic for Dar es Salaam is 'Haven of Peace' and this is certainly a good description of the beautiful Indian Ocean beaches and islands close to the city. As the gateway to Tanzania, it's the perfect starting point on your way to see Zanzibar, to go on safari or even to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

Dar es Salaam flights arrive at Dar Es Salaam International Airport (DAR), known officially as Julius Nyere International Airport. It is located 10 km from the city centre and a taxi is the easiest way to reach it. Once in the city, the first thing visitors should do is wander around taking in the colonial and historic architecture. Dar es Salaam is the busy cultural and financial centre of Tanzania, so there is a lot to see including the bustling Kariakoo Market, the beautiful harbour and a number of museums.

For those staying in the Msasani Peninsula it's just a 20km drive from the airport. From here it's possible to get a boat to the uninhabited island of Bongoyo, which is an ideal location to go snorkelling or just relax on the beach. To the north of Bongoyo is Mbudya Island, which is another stunning destination that is great for hikes as well as places to eat, drink and relax.

Visitors wanting to go further afield may be heading to Mount Kilimanjaro, to climb it or perhaps just stare in wonder. Most visitors will also want to visit the Zanzibar archipelago, where they can explore the historic Stone Town on the main island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Scuba diving is also very popular on Zanzibar. Another major port of call is the historic town of Bagamoyo, which was once the capital of German East Africa and a very important trading post.

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