Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania Report of what it's like to live there - 10/13/21
Personal Experiences from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
No. Previous experience in Accra, Ghana; Islamabad, Pakistan; Kyiv, Ukraine; and Almaty, Kazakhstan.
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
San Francisco bay area, California. Usual routing is via AMS and takes about 25 hours.
3. What years did you live here?
2019-2021 (and currently).
4. How long have you lived here?
5. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Passable but not great. We are in a stand-alone house that always has maintenance issues. Landlord uses cheap parts and inexpensive labor, in my opinion. Every time I think we finally got the house settled, something else happens. It's endless.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Reasonably available but specialty items are more expensive. We frequent about three stores. Its not uncommon to got to one then realize they do not have what you are searching for, and then to need to go to another store.
Funny example: I bought Kirkland Organic Corn Chips (yes, from Costco). The kind you can get for about $5-6 in the US. They cost about $18 and were quite broken but surprisingly they were not that stale.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
We usually ship nonperishable specialty items. Grocery items are more expensive in Dar, especially on the peninsula.
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
Piki for food delivery. A lot of restaurants with many cuisines.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Very available and reasonable rates.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
There are gyms. I have a trainer that comes to my house twice a week. Many expats join the Dar Yacht Club which is great for water activities.
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
Yes, be careful at ATMs.
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
There are some.
6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
You don't need to speak Kiswahili but it helps. There will be a lot of misunderstandings with your household help, but you can manage.
7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
It would be difficult.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Use Uber or Bolt. Private thire vehicles and bajajis (tuktuks) are plentiful and affordable.
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
SUV with high clearance. Many bad roads including in the city, and when it rains - look out.
Do not bring a new vehicle. And vehicle break-ins are fairly common (window smash and grabs). Leave nothing visible. There are masai watchman so pay them to watch the vehicle.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
Yes, not long to install. Day or two.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
They are plentiful.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?
You can but don't let it appear as though you are taking a job from a local.
2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Business/Business casual at work. Casual in public. Formal attire at formal events.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
Crime is very high. Mostly grab and go. Do not carry valuables.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?
Generally good, five-minute walk to the ocean and the bay. No air issues that I know about.
4. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?
5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Summer all year round.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
Not that large. Dar Yacht club is the place to join. You will meet people.
2. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
Probably not in Tanzania.
3. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
World-class safaris. Beaches. The ocean. Zanzibar. Islands and more islands.
4. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
Yes, its been fun.
2. But don't forget your: