Dar is an interesting city; but the first thought one gets is that the place cannot compare to Nairobi. However, one must approach the place with the knowledge that Nairobi is the largest city in East and central Africa whose real estate growth has been ranked first in the entire world. But Dar has its high points too, subtle distinctions which wow you and diminish your contempt of the Swahili city. But Dar is also maddening in so many respects especially to a foreigner; attributes perhaps lost to the local Tanzanite. Its a blend of pure hospitality coupled with the challenges of a metropolis struggling to shed its challenging past and move to a future of economical and social prosperity. Dar is a place of opportunity where age is not a factor to success and the people not dictated by the monopolistic tendencies of larger industries. Here people have one interesting characteristic which make most things possible; they are willfuly free and are open to new experiences.
A typical bus will drop anchor at the Ubungo bus station near Magomeni. The first time I was there, I got into a minor argument with the gate attendance due to my ignorance of the pay policy to passengers wishing to enter the station. However, the said lady shed all hostility on realizing I was Kenyan and understood that our station practices are inherently more different to theirs. Since buses aren’t allowed to travel at night in Tanzania, high possibility is that a Nairobi bus will arrive at Night. The hotels around the station are a bit pricey with prices ranging from 35 to 80k TZ shilling. One can chose to take a bus to Kariokor which is the downtown part of the city center which has several hotels starting from 20k TZ shilling per night or head to the estates where hotels are in plenty and the prices are more friendly.
For me, I would recommend you take a bus to Sinza area, any bus from kariakor or Posta to Sinza via Shekilango road all which pass outside the bus station should be appropriate. Madukani area after Shekilango, just ask the conductor to drop you there, has several nice lodges for 15k TZ sh. Cross the road after alighting and start walking downwards and you shall see signposts indicating the guesthouses, try Miami beach Guest house, they have a really soft king sized bed. My first week I was lodging at the Classic Lodge, Africa Sana area, the red light district of Sinza. I ended up there due to the influence of another traveler who likes the area due to the clubs and the beautiful prostitutes. For those who like the fast life., I would recommend this area, the hotels here are superb and affordable and the restaurants here have awesome barbecue and a feast for your eyes as the half clad ladies of the night go about their businesses draped in the arms of young and not so young men. For those who love staying near the beach and have limited resources, I would recommend Masaki area; the beach is just a walking distance from there. Next post, I shall take you on a literal journey of the pleasures Dar has to offer; the fun and culinary delight of this ancient city.