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Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's bustling commercial hub, is often just a stopping off point for visitors entering or leaving the country and is typically overlooked as a destination in its own right. But with a burgeoning bar & restaurant scene, and thriving nightlife, it is well worth allowing an extra day or two to get a taste of big city life in one of East Africa's most dynamic and vibrant cities.
From your base at The Slow Leopard, you can explore the heart of the old port city, once one of the most influential trading centres in the region, sample Dar's restaurants, cafes and bars, stock up on supplies for your safari, or escape a week of important meetings by easily hopping across to one of the nearby islands for the day.
The Slow Leopard Dar offers two accommodation options to suit your travel needs. Breakfast is included and is served in the downstairs restaurant. Guests can choose between fruit and granola or fresh eggs on toast and a coffee or a tea.
The 6-bed mixed dormitory makes staying on the “Peninsula” very affordable. Our bunk beds are hand by local carpenters from reclaimed Indian Ocean coconut wood. Each bed has a locker, private light, and power source. The room is equipped with AC and a fan, mosquito nets and desk.
The double room is perfect for couples or work trips, it is light and airy, with a desk and direct access to a shared balcony. The room has an AC unit, fan, and mosquito net.
Both the dormitory and double room share a bathroom with two showers and two sinks, a communal room with a small library where tea & coffee is available 24hrs, and access to a large private balcony.
Restaurant & Bar
If you are craving a great burger (meat or vegetarian!), a selection of local and imported poisons, or you just wants to catch up on the sport and make some new friends, then the Slow Leopard has you covered.
Our menu combines fresh local and imported ingredients to cater to everyone’s taste. Aside from our famous burgers, check out the signature nachos and our range of fresh salads.
The bar stocks both local and imported beer, wine and spirits. We pride ourselves on always having ice cold beer, just the way it should be!
There is also a range of red and white wine to cater to everyone’s taste and budget as well as local and imported spirits for all your favourite mixers.
For more information check out our specific bar and restaurant page
Getting Here, Around and Away
We are located in the suburb of Masaki, just around the corner from Slipway, a location that most taxi or Bajaj drivers will know. Tell the driver that you wish to be dropped at the corner of Chole Rd and Slipway Rd in Masaki. There is a tyre shop on the corner, and we are located 50m up the road on the same side. We are also on Google maps! Check out the map at the bottom of this page.
The fastest and easiest way to get to Slow Leopard Dar is by taxi. We have a group of reliable taxi drivers that we can book to collect you from most arrival points. They have done these pick-ups many times, are very reliable, know the location of our hostel, and know us! To make a taxi booking please email us with the date of arrival, full name, arrival time and flight number or bus company name. Please be aware that arrival times in Dar can vary greatly, which can sometimes make meeting a taxi pick-up challenging. Please be patient with our drivers, they will get there, or may have already been waiting a few hours!
If you decide to get your own taxi on arrival, please take care. If a driver seems overly eager to take you at any price, look elsewhere. Negotiate your fare beforehand (check out our price guide below), and always be clear that your destination is understood before getting underway. Always ensure doors are locked once underway and that the driver doesn’t stop to collect other passengers.
Here are average taxi costs for getting around Dar es Salaam:
Airport (International & Domestic) - 45,000 TZS
Zanzibar Ferry/City Centre (From Slow Leopard Dar) - 20,000 TZS
Intercity Bus – Ubungo (Nth) - 30,000 TZS
Intercity Bus – Mbagala (Sth) - 40,000 TZS
TAZARA Rail Station - 30,000 TZS
Other Transportation Options:
Bajaji (Tuk tuk)
These three-wheeled vehicles with covered seating for 3 are everywhere. Negotiate before starting your trip and give clear instructions on where you are going – they will just drive! Note, they typically can’t travel into the city centre, or into the airport parking area. Bajaji costs are generally half the price of taxis.
City Bus (Daladala)
There is local bus transport from all of these places. While sometimes chaotic, very full and very slow, they are also very reliable and offer a relatively easy and cheap transport option – with an added sense of adventure. There are some designated stops, but most will pick-up and drop-off anywhere along their fixed-routes. Look for a bus with “Masaki” stenciled on the front, or ask for directions to the Masaki bus – you may have to change buses. Most conductors or friendly commuters will be happy to point you in the right direction. The general fare for a bus is 400 TZS so it generally doesn't cost any more than 1,000 TZS to get anywhere in the city.
Uber is new to Dar es Salaam so it can sometimes be a little unreliable; however, the pricing is very competitive and often a lot cheaper than taxis. People have often had trouble getting an Uber from the airport, so often going with one of our taxis is a lot easier.
Bolt is equivalent to Uber but can be slightly more reliable and sometimes even cheaper!
What to do in Dar?
Dar es Salaam is the bustling commercial capital of Tanzania, and with over 5 million people it’s a rapidly growing African city, offering plenty of opportunities to explore and have some fun. Here’s a few ideas for your time in Dar, and if you need help organizing or planning any of these, please ask a member of staff during your stay or send through an email via email@example.com
- Markets (food and arts)
- DARCH Architectural tours
- Island Beach Days
- Afriroots biking tours
- Swahili Courses
- Nafasi art space
- Slow Leopard downtown walking tour
- Night life!! Bars & Restaurants
Dar es Salaam is no more dangerous than other big cities in the world, however there are a couple of things you should be wary of:
Appropriate clothing is important, showing too much skin can attract unwanted attention especially in busy market and downtown areas, and Stone Town Zanzibar.
Do not take unlicensed taxis. Typically found at the bus and train stations, please do not get into cars that aren’t advertised as taxis, or have not been specifically ordered for you by a Slow Leopard staff member.
Recently there have been some instances of people waiting outside the hostel being very friendly and offering help. Once they have gained your trust they will offer you a lift in their car to wherever you are going as they are going in your direction. On the way they will let other people into the car and they will rob you. Please be wary of this and do not get in cars with strangers. Please report to management at The Slow Leopard if anyone tries to approach you outside the hostel offering lifts or attempting to sell you anything. We have trustworthy taxi and bajaj drivers who can be called anytime, Uber is also a good option.
Bag snatchings from cars and motorbikes are relatively common, but you can easily avoid this by not carrying bags while walking on the streets. If you absolutely must, do not strap the bags across your shoulders--wear it on one shoulder only so it slides off. Apart from losing your valuables, you can be dragged by your bag!
Although the area of Masaki is generally considered safe, we urge guests to avoid walking around in poorly lit roads after dark. Please take a bajaj or an Uber.