Expat life in Dar-es-salaam
Expat life in Dar is pretty good, but be prepared for everything to be more expensive than you expect! Dar is much safer than Nairobi, and a great place for families, with good schools and family friendly activities, so is a popular choice for those working in Africa with kids. there is less of a single scene here, and even young couples without kids are few and far between.
Social life tends to revolve around specific clubs, the one I’m most familiar with is the Yacht Club, but there is also the “Little Theatre” for the dramatic set, and of course the Hash House Harriers (for the drinking/running set), just to name a few of the more prominent. Formalized dancing is also quite popular, and there are lots of classes and groups available- Salsa and Scottish Country Dancing are two that I’m familiar with. There is a very active drinking scene (outside of the Hash), with several good bars popular with Expats (George and Dragon and the Irish Pub) that also offer activities- everything from Karaoke and Open Mike nights to Pub quizzes and lingerie parties.
If you don’t fit easily into these groups you may find yourself quite bored. I have friends who are not interested in Boating, Drama or Running(at least as an excuse for drinking) and they often complain about boredom. If you are single, it is difficult to get out of town (dangerous to drive on your own) and there aren’t many opportunities for hiking or biking for the active set. If you are an outdoor activity enthusiast I highly suggest taking up sailing- Chui Bay, where the Yacht club is located, is ranked as one of the best sailing bays in the world- perfect for learning!
The Yacht club has the best nearby beach- safe and secure, but you have to be a member to use it, and in order to be a member you have to prove you are an active watersports enthusiast (generally by buying a boat or becoming immediately involved in one of the sections: sailing, fishing, motor boats, or Diving. Kayaking is also acceptable)- NOT just someone interested in the beach. Otherwise a little drive to get you north or south of town will bring you to beautiful white sandy beaches, perfect for a weekend excursion.
Flights within Africa are extremely expensive but frequent- the proximity to Nairobi makes for easy transfers – so it is possible to get out and see more of Africa.
Another word about expense- I know I keep bringing it up again and again, but TZ is one of the most expensive countries I’ve ever lived in as an Expat- it is really shocking to everyone who comes here. Make sure housing is included in your contract or be prepared to pay $3000 or more a month for a 2 bedroom apartment- $6000-$10,000 for a house (in the main expat areas). Grocery stores are well stocked but double the price of the same goods in Nairobi. Beer’s cheap (could be why the bar scene is so popular here…), but that’s about it. Make sure your salary and benefit package reflects that.
Overall, I do enjoy living in Dar es Salaam, have made some great friends amongst the expat community and manage to keep myself busy (and nicely tanned!) mostly through the Yacht club (I sail and dive), though there are some things I miss (hiking, biking and horseback riding), and I find I don’t get out to see the wildlife nearly as much as I’d hoped. feel free to message me for more information!
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