Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania Report of what it's like to live there - 01/23/22
Personal Experiences from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
I’ve lived outside the US for 16 years, mostly in Europe and Asia.
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
San Francisco, around 25 hours through Europe usually.
3. What years did you live here?
2021 to present.
4. How long have you lived here?
5. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. 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.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Local items are very reasonably priced and widely available. Imported items on the other hand are very expensive, something like say a small price of Parmesan cheese could be $15-30.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
Enough non-perishable items to last the tour.
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
There are many options, most use Piki which will deliver from most restaurants in the area.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
My house came with a huge insect problem. I’ve been dealing with the worst ant infestation ever along with some termites, millipedes, spiders and malaria laden mosquitoes. You’ll have geckos and poisonous snakes as well.
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Available and cheap. Some have maids, cooks, drivers and gardeners.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
There are some which aren’t that great and are surprisingly expensive.
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
Seems fine to use CCs but I’d avoid ATMs. I’ve already had to replace my debit card because it was flagged by my bank for fraud (thankfully).
5. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
None, but it would be nice and would help to cut down on the confusion.
6. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
Yes, it would be difficult. There are barely roads and sidewalks are VERY rare.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
There is Uber which has been safe so far, security does not recommend local buses, bajajis or motorcycle taxis.
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
4WD would be best but you could get by with a car if you had to.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
If 100 mbps is fast enough for you then your all set, roughly $100 usd per month.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
Google Fi works well here.
1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?
No quarantine and pet services are here, but they may be below the standard to which you are accustomed.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
Local salaries are low, most spouses work at the embassy if they want a job.
2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
Yes, mostly petty crimes of opportunity, but there are I've heard of sometimes violent crimes and kidnappings with a tour of all the ATMs to drain your bank account.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Malaria, Tanzania basically denies COVID is here, frequent food poisoning, medical care is okay if you can afford the private offices or get care at the embassy.
3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?
Good air quality.
4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?
Rainy season brings pollen allergies.
5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?
6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
IST, which has been good so far.
2. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
Medium, morale ranges from love it here to hate it here, maybe 70/30.
2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
Yacht club, house parties.
3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
Single men seem to enjoy it more than single women for some reason, but I’d say it’s best for couples or families with older kids.
4. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?
Locals are very friendly and welcoming here.
5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
No, it is illegal here from what I have read.
6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
Women are treated differently in some cases, unfortunately.
7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Ocean, islands, beaches, cheap seafood.
8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
Ha, no it is not a shopping post…
10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
Pay and ocean.
Words of Wisdom:
1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?
You will be asked for money by locals frequently.
2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
Not if I had a better option.
3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
4. But don't forget your:
5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?
6. Do you have any other comments?
There are many cool things to do here, I’d definitely recommend coming for Safari or Kilimanjaro but I’d pass on relocating to Tanzania.