City Centre (red area)
Located just a 10 minute drive from the airport, the city centre around Kisutu is where you’ll find a lot of the better hotels. They are safe and clean, and even the better ones are affordable. You shouldn’t need to pay much more than £40 to £45 per night for a comfortable stay and there are plenty of places to eat (though not all will serve alcoholic drinks) so this area can be a handy base for a trip to Dar.
Msasani Bay (black area)
My favourite nights out in Dar es Salaam always took place in this part of the city, specifically at Cape Town Fish Market. This is quite a high end place to eat, drink and relax, but it is right on the beach with beautiful views and with a very trendy vibe. You’ll find a lot of the wealthier residents hanging out here, with expats from all over the world descending on the area to network or just grab a beer and listen to a live band.
Masaki (green area)
Masaki is very much a tourist hotspot. It’s pretty high end, so you can expect to pay more for accommodation here than in the city centre, but it’s full of trendy restaurants, cafes and bars and you’ll find the more affluent residents hanging out here. So it’s very safe and you can be sure to have a lot of fun in Masaki.
Oyster Bay (orange area)
Like Masaki, the nearby Oyster Bay (sometimes called Coco Beach) is another tourist hotspot and a place frequented by the wealthier locals, since there’s a ton of cool venues to eat and drink. Coco Beach itself is open to the public and so it can get a bit crowded at times, and the terrible Dar es Salaam traffic getting there can be a pain, so if you are there for the beach, you may want to stick to the private resorts.
Mbezi Beach (blue area)
This is one of the more famous beaches in Dar, and for good reason – it’s beautiful. The white sand and clear water attracts foreign tourists and the wealthier locals will visit at the weekends, so you get a good mix of people. Since it’s a little more exclusive, accommodation is a bit pricier, but you can stay somewhere really nice for around £60 a night.