Dar es Salaam is the best launch pad and gateway for Tanzania safaris. Many of the best and most reputable safari operators base themselves in Dar es Salaam because tourists can simultaneously enjoy a beach holiday and the city sights here while waiting for safari. What’s more, it’s the perfect place to relax and reflect on your safari when you return.
Two friends and I stayed at Kipepeo Beach & Village before we started our overland safari with Acacia. I picked this place as I thought it would be easier with starting the safari: and it was… just what we needed after 18 hours of traveling too. (Jessica E, Australia) Trip Advisor.
From Dar es Salaam, you are much closer to Tanzania’s South and Western wildlife parks. While the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater are the best known conservation areas, visitors often overlook Southern Parks such as Selous and Ruaha which are highly regarded among passionate wildlife enthusiasts. These parks actually offer a wider choice of activities at much better value for money than the Northern parks. Similarly, in the West of Tanzania the Mahale and Katavi parks, though more expensive to reach, contain a distinctly more unique safari experience. Indeed, Tanzania has such a varied countryside that every safari is a different experience but from Dar es Salaam you have better access to this variety with a wider choice.
A popular Southern choice is Africa’s largest and oldest game reserve: Selous. The riverine green landscape of Selous boasts dense bush, lakes, and rivers that sustain huge quantities of wildlife that can be explored via some of the best boating and guided walks of any of the Tanzania safaris. Ruaha Park on the other hand shows off a dry red soil across ancient plains where your safari will see vast buffalo herds contend with prides of lions. Ruaha also hosts the highest concentration of elephants in Africa that is sure to make your safari an incredible experience.
In the West, Katavi National Park remains a rare pristine wilderness favoured by passionate wildlife and Tanzania safari enthusiasts. Katavi offers a much wilder experience with options for camping and walking among the big game the Park is known for. On the banks of Lake Tanganyika (from where the mainland of Tanzania gets it names), Mahale Mountains National Park is another tremendously wild safari option with an abundance of life that includes the most renowned chimpanzee experience in Africa.
Generally, Tanzania safaris in the South and Western parks are where you can get a much wilder experience where you may not even see another safari vehicle during your trip. You will return from your safari both enlightened and tired. And where better to replenish with a little R&R than a Dar es Salaam beach holiday. Dar es Salaam’s Kipepeo Beach is the perfect gateway to prepare your Tanzania safari and, when you return, to reflect on your experiences with a chilled cocktail on the pristine ocean beach.
Camping Holidays in Tanzania
Camping holidays in Tanzania options are many and easy to come by. Bringing your own tent is a great way to get all the experiences Tanzania has to offer while saving money and the good news is most beach hotels have designated grounds for the camping traveler. Be careful though, if you plan on pitching your own tent in the Serengeti you will be paying a hefty price.
Unfortunately, you can not simply set up your own camp at the national parks. Not only is this illegal but it is highly dangerous what with all the lions and buffalo and what not. Every national park has camping options however, run by hotels or safari operators, which vary depending on your preference and budget. For example, Selous River Camp offers basic but comfortable tents for $100 a night or luxury mud huts for over $200. However, your best option for camping holidays in Tanzania is to check out safari operators such as Meru Treks. They usually offer a range of bundle price options for you to choose on your safari with camping always reducing the price. Generally, you can take a two to three day safari with camping for around $500 that includes armed security to protect you from curious animals. Be sure to check with the safari operator in advance, chances are they provide the tents.
Don’t leave your tent at home though! If you want to pitch your own equipment, camping holidays in Tanzania are still easily done. Outside the national parks, most beach hotels and eco-lodges will allow you to pitch a tent for a small fee but be sure to phone ahead to make sure. Places like Kipepeo Beach and Village offer the best option for a camping holiday in Tanzania. At Kipepeo Beach for example, $10 will get you a camping spot right on Dar es Salaam’s South Beach, with shared bathrooms, electrical hookups, and space for both small and large groups. This is not only a perfect money saver, but is also a humbling beach experience under magnificent stars only a short while yet a world away from Dar es Salaam city centre.
For safari and national parks, camping holidays in Tanzania command a higher price than you may have expected but don’t forget these are stunning natural resources that are preserved by those prices. If you cannot afford them, camping holidays in Tanzania are still the best way to save money especially for the backpacker and when visiting close to the towns and cities such as Dar es Salaam with hotels such as Kipepeo Village offering fantastic rates.
Best Islands off Dar Es Saalam
Kipepeo Beach 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.
Dar es Salaam South Beach is often described as the best beach in Dar es Salaam. It is known by a lot of names: Kipepeo Beach (including our bar/restaurant), South Beach, Kigamboni – but every name stands for a beautiful beach experience. Commonly known as South Beach, it is a popular destination for Dar es Salaam’s residents wishing to escape the heat, hustle, and bustle of the city. At Kipepeo Beach and Village, our guests love relaxing on our beach chairs and enjoying the spectacular view. Why? Just imagine the tropical turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean gently rolling on to the smooth white sand as the afternoon sun kisses your skin and the cool breeze blows gently through your salt-sprayed hair. So, whether you are at Dar es Salaam South Beach just to take a break from the city, a full relaxing holiday, or as a launch pad for safari, you are sure to find what you are looking for.
Nestled away from the polluting industry closer to the city and further South, Dar es Salaam South Beach is perfectly placed to provide a bounty of clean tropical waters, fresh air, and natural life including birds, butterflies, mongooses, and monkeys. What’s more? There are no rocks or sea urchins as you bath in the calm waters, making it an ideal and safe beach for swimming even at low tide! On top of that, there is great snorkeling to be experienced while enjoying a ride on a Dhow sailing trip to the nearby Sinda Islands or, closer to shore, a mangrove forest exploration adventure. So, pop along to Dar es Salaam South Beach – watch the fishermen sail by in their dhows, take a walk on the sand, cool down and just have a relaxing time.
One of the best things about Dar es Salaam South Beach is that it is almost forgotten by the city, but that means it’s a little harder to find. It is good to have a specific idea of how to get there from the city centre:
- Grab the Kivukoni/Kigamboni ferry which crosses the mouth of Dar-es-Salaam harbour. Kigamboni is a fishing village 5 minutes south of the harbour.
- At Kigamboni, pick up a taxi or Dala Dala bus (the motorbikes and Bajaj/tuktuks are cheapest but less safe). Follow the coastal road south for approx. 9km.
- About 20m before the Oilcom Petrol Station near a Y junction, you will see a sign on your left (seaward side) for Kipepeo Beach and Village. Follow that road down towards the sea for about 1km until you reach us where you can get a full experience of South Beach.
- Karibu (Swahili for welcome) Dar es Salaam South Beach!
Looking for some excitement yourself? Kipepeo Beach offers snorkeling trips right from the beach and to Sinda Islands where the patch reefs harbour a variety of species from tiny clownfish to huge moray eels. Dekeza Dhow’s experienced and professional crew are ready to take you on an adventure where they will make sure you see all there is to see, with a possibility of dolphins. Not enough? What about a kayak trip into the mangroves? Check out our price list below for details.
At Kipepeo Beach you will find whatever you’re looking for… be it watersport and exploration or just sun, sand and relaxation. Karibu (Swahili for welcom) Kipepeo Beach!
Snorkeling and Sailing Experience
$35pp Starts at 9.30 Am – Returns to Kipepeo at 3.00pm
Sailing and Snorkeling to view the corals and marine life just off the Sinda Islands. Snorkeling gear provided.
$250 per trip with minimum 4 pax and maximum 6 pax (any pax above 4 are charged $20pp)
Full day Fishing with Quality Equipment along the Zanzibar Channel.
Mangrove Forest Explorer
$15pp Morning Cruise Departs 9 am. Sunset Cruise Departs at 3.45 pm
A gentle paddle up the Siwatibe Creek flanked by mangroves and home to a variety of small animals, birds, fish, and crabs. Cold drinks included
Kipepeo Beach is the bar, restaurant, and beach area of the Kipepeo Beach and Village establishment. The Village part houses the hotel and camping element of our beautiful little paradise. We are situated at Mjimwema (a small fishing village), on the South Coast of Dar es Salaam, 9km from the Kigamboni Pontoon which links the major East African city of Dar es Salaam to the South coast. The pontoon departs from Kivukoni, near the fish market, and takes 5 minutes to get to Kigamboni. From there you travel on a beautiful palm lined tarmac road through an area that is so undeveloped it seems that it has been forgotten by the city so close by.
The tropical turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean gently lap upon the idyllic white sands of Kipepeo beach, otherwise known as South Beach. After taking a swim in the year-round warm waters take yourself up to our German colonial-era built bar sat perfectly on the beach – a cold drink is never far away. At the bar, you can avail of a full selection of local and imported beers, wines and spirits, as well as a variety of juices and non-alcoholic drinks. As a beach bar Kipepeo Beach offers a variety of cocktails and very frosty beers to help you to get through a hard day sitting on South Beach.
You’ll notice the birds chirping away while you relax at Kipepeo Beach. If you get curious, Bird lists are available at reception. Go seek them out and you will also find, thanks to the salt pan and mangrove environement, a variety of butterflies fluttering around too. In fact, this is where we got our name from (Kipepeo means butterfly in Kiswahili). If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the two families of mongoose that are living around Kipepeo Beach, or hear the call of an excited bush baby at night.