Best Islands off Dar es Salaam
Kipepeo Beach & Village is a well known gateway for getting to one of the best islands off Dar es Salaam: Sinda Island. Sinda actually consists of “Inner” Sinda and “outer” Sinda islands that are part of a larger coral reef formation. The formation makes Sinda one of the best islands off Dar es Salaam for snorkeling, surrounded by patch reefs that harbour a variety of species such as tiny clownfish and huge moray eels. Sinda Island is also famed as a quiet spot favoured by honeymooners and people just enjoying a day trip with a picnic. It is about 15km offshore but getting there is simple, with boats departing daily from Kipepeo beach and a chance to see dolphins on the way.
Some of the other best islands off Dar es Salaam include Mbudya Island, which is one of four islands in the Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve. It that can be reached via a 10-minute motorboat ride from Kunduchi and seems a world away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Dar es Salaam with white-sand beaches and some great snorkeling. You can rent thatched huts on the beach, called Bandas, for the day and dine on some fresh seafood barbequed by locals on the island.
Also in the Reserve is Bongoyo Island off the Msasani Peninsula just north of the city centre. There are no bandas here but you can catch the shade under thatched umbrellas after glimpsing the abundant sea life among the coral including starfish and clownfish. There are also some great nature trails to explore behind the beach where you can navigate your way to the other shore. Bongoyo is well served with a snack bar that serves cold drinks and freshly caught seafood.
Aside from Sinda Island, the best island off Dar es Salaam has to be Zanzibar. Zanzibar is actually a big tropical autonomous archipelago over 25km North-East of the city, but the main island Unguja (commonly referred to as Zanzibar) is easily reached by ferry or plane from Dar es Salaam. The famous “Spice Islands” are unforgettable, offering some of the best tropical beaches, snorkeling, and diving in the world. If you don’t want to stay the night, in a day trip it is possible to either see the UNESCO Heritage Site of Stone Town or head straight to the beach but you cannot come to Dar es Salaam without getting out to see Zanzibar for a recommended couple of days.