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How safe is Dar es Salaam?

Boston...
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How safe is Dar es Salaam?

My girlfriend and I are scheduled to stay in Dar for two nights in June before continuing on to Arusha for a safari. I am particularly concerned about traveling from the airport to our hotel via taxi because I will be carrying all of my valuables and have read that it is not uncommon for taxis to rob tourists. I am making arrangements with the hotel to send a taxi to pick us up at the airport. Are there any other precautions I should take?

When walking around Dar, is it possible to hire a local person to accompany us? If so, how much would a service like this cost?

Thanks.

Andrew

dar es salaam
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1. Re: How safe is Dar es Salaam?

Please read previous post on the same thing here

http://goo.gl/jdEMY

Findlay, Ohio
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for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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2. Re: How safe is Dar es Salaam?

It would be uncommon for an official taxi to rob you. A taxi (one licensed to taxi) will have white license plates with black numbers and letters on them. If it is a yellow background with black numbers it is not a licensed taxi.

Costa Rica
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3. Re: How safe is Dar es Salaam?

Dar es Salaam is a safe city, try to be careful like anywhere in africa, but in general nothing happend im a white man and walked during the night in the city and nothing happend is not Nairobi. I recomended this city

Findlay, Ohio
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4. Re: How safe is Dar es Salaam?

Do not walk about any city in Africa, this includes Tanzania and Zanzibar, after dark. It can be dangerous. If something is going to happen there it will happen after dark. If you must go anywhere after dark get a taxi, and make arrangements for them to come and bring you back to your hotel when it is after dark.

While some may walk about after dark and nothing happens, that is not good evidence that it is not dangerous after dark. They are lucky. This is a very poor country and white skin signals to many there that you are wealthy and have something they might like to try to take. Why risk it when taxis are inexpensive.

During the daytime it is typically no problem to walk about, just don't have valuable things like cameras hung from your neck, or carrying a laptop, or wearing excessive obviously expensive jewelry, that would be foolish in any large city. And Dar es Salaam is a city of about 3 million people, many are good people, some are not.

Boston...
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5. Re: How safe is Dar es Salaam?

Karl,

Thanks for your advice. I understand your point that you should not display valuable things as you walk around any city (pretty much anywhere in the world). Is it okay to walk around with a small backpack, or would a small backpack be considered valuable in Tanzania? I've heard stories that foreigners can be mugged for things like a backpack. Is it safe to carry a small camera in a pocket and take it out occasionally to take pictures?

I'm really excited about visiting Dar es Salaam and going on to Arusha for a safari and just want to understand what is considered safe/unsafe as I have no experience traveling in Tanzania.

Thanks again!

Andrew

Sydney
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6. Re: How safe is Dar es Salaam?

Hi Andrew, dont worry to much you will find Dar yet another unusual city in Africa. Dont wear jewellery of any sort, dont bring it with you when out walking, leave all valuables locked away in your safe. Muzungo (white person) stands out in any town in Africa, esp with a backpack and looking around like your lost or looking for directions. Likely you will be approached by touts, be patient and just so no thank you. Cash in front pockets, zipped. The back pack is not the issue, its what may be inside it to a thief!!

Women often have a bag across their shoulders, be mindful of the potential for a drive past grab of the bag. People may say this is unlikely but I know first hand. Male to outside (roadside) women the other side for extra safety and distance away from a car or motorbike.

Daytime is not a big issue but having said that, be careful when walking back streets even in daylight, try to avoid this esp if the street is quiet. Taking photos of monuments, places of interest ok. If you take photos of people and do it obviously it is likely they may ask you for a fee. So do this discretely.

Do not venture far walking from your hotel in Dar at night. Some hotels like the Sea Cliff have a shopping centre next door which is absolutely no problem.

Be confident but alert and just get out there and enjoy your trip.

Arusha

Quite safe these days though similar rules apply. Heaps more touts to drive you crazy though around the clock tower :)

Findlay, Ohio
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7. Re: How safe is Dar es Salaam?

Andrew... Dar is a big city so use the same cautions as you would in Boston, except know that this is a very poor country so there are those who are trying to get some money or valuable things to sell. You can probably wear a backpack, but if I was I would not be anywhere that I was alone (or thought I was). Actually Tanzanians will come to your assistance if you are about to get mugged, but of course if you are somewhere that there is no one else, then there is no one to assist you. Do not go out at night, it is more unsafe at night. Taking pictures will probably get you some comments from locals, most do not like their picture taken. It is illegal to take pictures of any government building or installation, some will be marked that way; that includes the post office, embassy, railroads, airports, etc. If a policeman sees you taking pictures of what is not allowed, they will take your camera; and if you are lucky they will only delete the pictures they feel are illegal, if you are unlucky you will not get your camera back. Don't let anyone tell you differently, I have had this happen in Tz at least 4 times (not by me but by those with me, I've always been able to talk to them and get the camera back.)

Arusha, while not quite as bad as Dar es Salaam, can also be a dangerous city, especially at night. There are more street kids in Arusha then many times in Dar. And they can be dangerous.

However, after saying all this, I will tell you that in the past 20 years I have seen this get worse, and while I am very cautious, I had an attempted mugging once in Dar during the daylight on the main street of Dar (Samora Street). I had a Tz come to my assistance and we chased them off.

leeds
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8. Re: How safe is Dar es Salaam?

Dar is a safe city, compared to say Nairobi. You can safely walk about in the city centre and any crowded areas in the daytime - however do not wear any jewellery, expensive watches etc, and beware of pickpockets. I would suggest putting any money/wallet in a zipped/buttoned pocket in your trousers/shorts as I have seen many a times where one person will pat you or ask you something to distract you from his colleague picking your wallet/money off your pocket!

Saying that the local people are very helpful and would always come to assist you, but these pickpockets are so professional they disappear in the crowd within a second.

Always use a taxi at night, licensed taxi, they are cheap and safe. There are loads of excellent restaurants/hotels/pubs in Dar so don't miss out on the nightlife!

Boston...
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9. Re: How safe is Dar es Salaam?

Karl, Roger and vj2001,

Thank you for your kind advice. I will certainly put it to good use. Its saddening to hear that the crime situation has deteriorated in Dar es Salaam over the last 20 years. Nevertheless, I am quite excited about my visit.

I'll be sure to post a thread on here when I return letting you know how it went.

Sincerely,

Andrew

Washington DC...
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10. Re: How safe is Dar es Salaam?

Definitely arrange for a taxi that is accountable..even taxis that are "registered" have robbed tourists....Unfortunately TZ is unsafe now compared to before (I have been working there since 2000 and lived there 3 times for a total of 6 years since)

Never walk around outside besides Stonetown..Stonetown, Zanzibar is totally safe..otherwise always use a taxi you know well