Dar Es Salaam - Post Report Question and Answers

What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing here has honestly been the worst I’ve ever experienced. In my experience, the landlord seems to go for the cheapest labor (which may or may not show up to the appointment) where they will do the most shoddy work you’ve ever seen. In my opinion, safety and quality are cast aside. My crappy house is unfortunately in need of constant repairs and I’ll probably never have it fully sorted. - Jan 2022

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. - Oct 2021

Almost all the houses are on "The Peninsula" This comprises Oyster Bay & Masaki areas and is home to 85% of expats in dar. there are also some folks in Mbezi beach. Oyster bay - this is the old Expat center and has about half of the American diplomats in 2-3 large compounds and a few stand-alones. I live here and find it quieter with leafy tree line streets. if you squint, you'll think you're in an American suburb. Has a decent supermarket (Simply Fresh) and a handful of restaurants Masaki - 30 years ago this was all farm land - it's been rapidly developed and poorly zoned. many folks will deal with noise pollution from nightlife . This is closer to Slipways, Sea Cliff, Dar Yacht Club, and dozens of restaurants & nightlife options. Currently, everyone is in a house, half are in compounds and half are stand-alone. Most of the houses are decent sized. As land has become more valuable on the Peninsula, landlords have become greedy and squeezed 6 houses on a plot that should only have 3-4, this results in very small yards and your neighbors being very close. Seems like everyone wants/expects a stand-alone with a pool and a large yard for their 4 dogs - these folks usually seem disappointed. The Peninsula is actually quite small - I can drive from one side to the other in 10 minutes. Commute times to the Embassy are 5 to 15 minutes. Many of the other missions are a bit more downtown and their commutes are 20-30 minutes. That'll be further reduced once the silly bridge is finished. - May 2020

Houses are large. A mix of stand-alone housing and multi-house compounds. The compounds can be noisy/chaotic, but you have built in support. Commutes most of the year are not bad (10-20 mins). However, as with most things in Tanzania, quality work and/or maintenance are not high priorities. Thus, during and for weeks after the rainy season (MAR-MAY) the roads wash out and it becomes an absolute mess, causing significant delays/frustration. - Jun 2017

Everyone lived on the Peninsula and since we go against traffic in the morning, the commute was about 10-15 minutes depending where you lived on the Peninsula. Sometimes shorter. - Dec 2015

Most people are provided with stand-alone houses. More and more compounds are coming into the housing pool as housing costs go up. Almost everyone (99%) live on the peninsula which is "expat land." Houses usually have 1 bathroom per bedroom; a decent-sized kitchen; some yard-space; sometimes a staff quarters. Some are large; others smaller. In general, housing is good, though some residences have odd characteristics, and of course, there are many issues with electricity, water, etc. It's Africa. - Jul 2015

Most are stand alone houses; some in compounds and some not. Most are a nice size. Some have large yards, but some do not. We happen to live in one of the smaller houses and that was okay with us. We also have a small yard, but thankful we have some grass and plants. Please do not come to post thinking you will be receiving a palatial house. Yes, some people do receive a large house and yard, and yes, there are some with pools, but that isn't everyone! Some lucky people have Indian Ocean views, but most people do not. Everyone from the embassy lives on the peninsula and commute time is usually about 15 minutes (without traffic). Easy commute, but watch for dala dalas, Bajaj drivers, motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians. - Mar 2014

Most housing is on the peninsula and is fairly good sized and nice. The commute to the embassy, with no traffic, is about a 10-15 minute drive, but during "rush hour", the ride can take around 30 minutes. Traffic is bad outside the peninsula, and traffic lights usually don't work---or people don't adhere to them. - Feb 2013

Most expats live in the Msasani area or "Peninsula", which is an enclave of diplomats and business professionals who live in a nice area north of downtown. This is an area with all the NGOs, many diplomats, and nice grocery stores, hotels, and other amenities. The problem was that housing was getting saturated, due to everyone wanting to live in the same area, so plots that might be nice for one house often had two houses on them. This is not the typcial African living---with large gardens and colonial homes. Homes were generally smaller, with small yards. Apartments were also becoming more common. I would say that the biggest problem with Dar was the housing crunch, with its limited opportunities. - Feb 2013

Most expats live on the Penninsula. Traffic downtown is horrible, and can take 45+ minutes to get to the office if you work at the UN or one of the downtown embassies. It takes less than 10 minutes if there aren't many cars on the road. The American Embassy and many NGOs are in the opposite direction, so the commute time is very short. - Aug 2011

Single-family homes are the norm for embassy personnel, but some expats live in apartments. Rents are outrageous ($4,000-5,000/mo) but most homes are comfortable. The vast majority have generators, as power outages are frequent. - Jun 2010

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