Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar

DonQui is on his way to Zanzibar for the weekend.

He had a number of travel choices from Dar and has opted to fly rather than take the ferry. His main reason for doing so is to be able to get back to Dar es Salaam airport to connect with another flight on Sunday evening. If he took the ferry he would have to struggle through Dar traffic again and he would rather maximise his time on the beautiful island of Zanzibar.

He takes the evening Precision Air flight, the return portion being due to deliver him back to Dar 2hrs 30mins before his flight on Sunday.Precision Air

He hopes it will all work out as planned!

It was a bit of a struggle getting to the airport from Jangwani. Late Friday afternoon the roads are always clogged in Dar and his Tanzanian friends warned him of election rallies that were blocking the traffic and making the journey even more nightmarish than usual.road

Fortunately he had already struck an agreement with a local taxi driver who took him a circuitous route through markets and the down the dirt roads of the more ramshackle parts of Dar. Bypassing the stationary traffic on the main routes he got DonQui to the airport in plenty of time for $15 less than the official rate.Dan Air 2

Previously DonQui has taken the Dan Air flight to Zanzibar. Dan Air is a very small outfit flying very small planes.IMG_2375

The trip itself was great fun, flying low and slow over the Indian Ocean.

What DonQui did not know at the time was that Dan Air operates from a different domestic airport which is close to main terminal but far enough to make connections problematic. Precision Air, on the other hand, flies out of Julius Nyerere International.

Travellers Cafe

The hop over to Zanzibar takes only 20 minutes and before long DonQui is settled down at the very pleasant Traveller’s Café in Stone Town.Samosas

Here is sips a Serengeti, munches on some rather fine Samosas, listens to the sound of the waves and begins to feel quite relaxed.

DonQui recommends
Trust the taxi drivers in Tanzania. You need to agree prices in advance but they will always honour them. If you arrange a pick up at a certain time and place you can count on them being there. Completion is stiff and they will keep their part of the bargain to gain future custom. At the airport there is no room for bargaining — the rates are set, but if you make a private arrangement in advance you can lower the price considerably.

Make sure you have a plentiful supply of US dollars in relatively low denominations. Many places are cash only and many prices are set in dollars. Even hotels and airlines will at times take cash only and not credit cards.

Dar es Salaam

DonQui likes Tanzania and he likes the Tanzanians. Everyone seems so friendly, open and helpful. Of course they operate on African, not Swiss, time but then maybe that is why they seem to smile more. DonQui does not recall seeing so many smiles in Switzerland despite the scenery and efficiency of that country.

Tanzania is truly beautiful and diverse, justly famous for its great wildlife parks, Kilimanjaro and the beaches of Zanzibar.

Dar_es_Salaam_before_duskUnfortunately DonQui cannot be quite so effusive about Dar es Salaam. The city is a busy, sprawling metropolis of over 4 million people with few immediately obvious attractions beyond the friendliness of the inhabitants.


With the growth of an increasingly prosperous middle class has come the curse of the automobile. With no public transport to speak of and no traffic management, the roads are a choking, crawling nightmare.

Most tourists only come to Dar as a stopping off place to somewhere else but DonQui has spent quite some time here over the past few years. Although he cannot truly say that he likes the city, he has a certain fondness for it and has found a few oases where he can feel quite comfortable.


His favourite place is Slipway.  Once a boat yard and now in the heart of the upmarket Msasani Peninsula it offers shops and restaurants geared to the well heeled citizens of Dar and the diplomatic community that has taken up residence in the surrounding area.


It may not be representative of the ‘real’ Dar but DonQui feels very much at home here with the multi-ethnic crowd, good food and relaxed ambiance.

IMG_2331Although most of Dar faces east over the Indian Ocean, Slipway faces west over the Msasani Bay. At sunset, the views are pretty hard to beat.

IMG_2346DonQui’s favourite place for a sundowner is the Waterfront Sunset Restaurant and Beach Bar. There he sips a cold Serengeti to watch the sun set over the bay alongside the eclectic mix of diplomat kids, weatherbeaten divers from the adjacent PADI centre, a mish-mash of expats, locals and tourists. He can hear English, Swahili, Afrikaans, Swedish, German and Finnish being spoken at the tables surrounding him. The food is pretty good too with everything from thin crust pizza to locally caught fish. His favourite, however, is the goat curry.

Further north, as the urban sprawl gives way to more open country is Jangwani beach where a number hotels, not least a new and very swanky looking Ramada Inn, have sprung up to cater for the conference and tourist trade.


The setting with white sand beaches overlooking the Indian Ocean is rather magnificent but outside the hotels there is not much on offer.

IMG_5576DonQui is spending a couple of nights at the White Sands Hotel. He cannot fault the place. The rooms are comfortable, mosquito proofed and all have beach front balconies or terraces. The beach is clean, the food is OK, wifi works, the endemic power cuts are dealt with by generators, and the staff are incredibly friendly.IMG_5574And they even have a pier just like Southwold!


In October the hotel is pretty well empty with staff seeming to outnumber customers, most of whom seem to be monitors for the Tanzanian election which takes place this coming Sunday. If there was more to do outside the hotel, DonQui could consider it for a holiday. He would jump at the chance to use it as a conference or training venue.