7 Reasons to Host Your Next Event in Dar Es Salaam

July 9, 2024

by Conor Walsh & Sofeeyah Lloyd

Long overlooked as a conference destination in East Africa, Dar Es Salaam is finally getting its time in the light. 

Tanzania’s vibrant economic hub offers a blend of accessibility, modernity, and that easy pace of life you can only find in a coastal city. From world-class conference halls to boutique beachfront boardrooms – you’ll find plenty of options for crafting a memorable conference. 

So, in this quick guide, we break down why more and more conferences are coming to Dar, and why you should join them. 

When you’re done reading and ready to start planning – get in touch! Our local Tanzanian team have spent years organizing successful events of every size in the city. They can answer any question and guide you through every step. 

 

1. Coastal Vibes

Before diving into why Dar Es Salaam is an excellent choice for your next international conference, let’s take a moment to soak in the city’s unique atmosphere. 

Dar Es Salaam (“Haven of Peace” in Arabic) is more than Tanzania’s economic hub. It’s a city with a unique soul, attracting visitors with its laid-back vibe and relaxed pace.

Nestled along the Indian Ocean, the city offers a rare blend of urban energy and serene coastal charm. The oceanfront is lined with palm trees, sandy beaches, and waterfront cafes, creating a calm ambiance which contrasts beautifully with the downtown’s dynamic hustle.

Food lovers will appreciate the opportunity to explore local seafood caught fresh every morning and taste classic Swahili dishes at myriad restaurants and beachfront eateries. As the sun drops below the Indian Ocean, conference participants can head to vibrant beach clubs, lounges, and rickety bars serving local beers and exquisite cocktails. 

Dar (as it’s known locally) may not be as exciting as regional giants, Nairobi and Kampala – but that’s kind of the point. It’s a place to slow down and appreciate the sea breeze, as you stroll along the delightfully boujee Slipway in Masaki or finish a long day of conferencing with a sunset drink and live music in Oyster Bay.

 

2. Favorable Visas

One of the key advantages of choosing Dar Es Salaam for an international conference is Tanzania’s welcoming visa policy. Tanzania has one of the most streamlined and efficient visa regimes in East Africa. 

Understanding the visa options available is crucial for international participants, so here’s a quick rundown of your options.

  • Visa Exemption: Citizens of 70 countries can enter Tanzania visa-free for short periods, many of them in Africa.
  • Visa on Arrival: Many nationalities can obtain a visa upon arrival at Julius Nyerere International Airport and other entry points. 
  • e-Visa: Tanzania also offers an e-visa system, allowing attendees to apply for and receive their visa online before departure.
  • Additional Visa Types: These include business, student, transit, and multiple entry visas at various lengths and costs. 
  • Group Visas for Conference Attendees: For large-scale events, organizers can coordinate with the Tanzanian government to facilitate group visas, further simplifying the process for groups of attendees.
 
Assistance from Local Organizing Teams: Our local team in Tanzania is well-versed in the nuances of these visa policies and can assist in navigating the process – particularly group visas. Book a call to learn more. 

 

3. Excellent Conference Centers

Dar Es Salaam’s rise as an international conference destination has been boosted by its impressive venues. They’re often architecturally striking and equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, with an added touch of warm Tanzanian charm.

Each venue is complemented by professional event management services, catering, and logistical support to ensure every aspect of your conference is handled with expertise. Your participants will enjoy a smooth experience while you experience minimal stress. 

Our favorites include: 
  • Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam, The Kilimanjaro: Looking out over the city’s bustling port and downtown, the Hyatt Regency oozes sophistication and elegance. Conference facilities are understated, spread across 17 meeting rooms. Accommodations are world-class, and include a stunning rooftop infinity pool. 
  • Dar es Salaam Serena Hotel: A tranquil oasis of luxury and comfort next to Dar Es Salaam’s best golf course, with the Indian Ocean a short distance away. The Serena perfectly blends African, Arabic, and European architectural touches to create a unique location for large and small conferences. It offers fantastic catering, exceptional support staff, and gorgeous indoor and outdoor venues. 
  • Ramada Resort by Wyndham Dar es Salaam: Located along the picturesque shores of Jangwani Beach, the Ramada Resort stands out for its idyllic beachfront setting, providing a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Its conference facilities are tailored for both intimate meetings and larger corporate events, equipped with modern technology and complemented by stunning ocean views. 

To learn more, check out our comprehensive list of Dar Es Salaam’s best conference venues. 

 

4. Diverse Accommodation

Dar Es Salaam offers diverse accommodation options to suit the needs and budgets of conference participants from outside the city. 

Top-tier hotels like the Hyatt Regency and the Serena Hotel offer premium services, exquisite dining options, and stunning views of the Indian Ocean. Mid-range options such as the Southern Sun and the Sea Cliff Hotel provide excellent value, combining comfort with affordability. Plenty of boutique guesthouses and budget hotels scattered throughout the city offer clean, comfortable, and cost-effective lodging without compromising on essential services.

Many of these accommodations are conveniently located near major conference centers, reducing travel time and enhancing the participants’ overall experience and enjoyment of the city.

 

5. Government Support

The Tanzanian government has been attracting much positive news attention recently for its increasingly pro-business practices and proactive attitude toward foreign investment. They are actively courting institutions and investors from nearby countries, offering significant incentives and support – with great success!

This approach extends to conferences and the MICE industry as a whole. If you decide to host an international conference in Dar Es Salaam (or anywhere else in Tanzania), you can expect a lot of support from relevant government agencies. 

Over the years, we’ve helped conference organizers secure logistical and financial support, streamlined visa applications, direct access to preferred 3rd party service providers, and much more through our partners in the Tanzanian government. 

Book a call to learn how we can help you. 

 

6. Safety and Security

Dar Es Salaam, as the economic hub of Tanzania, has made significant strides in ensuring a safe and secure environment for its residents and international visitors.

The city boasts lower crime rates than most major East African cities. Pickpocketing in crowded spaces can be an issue, like in any city. But violent crime, especially against foreigners, is extremely rare. Walking around most uptown neighborhoods during the day is perfectly safe and often quite pleasant. At night, Ubers are plentiful and cheap. 

Tanzania is also considered the most politically stable country in the region. In fact, it’s almost a running joke how boring and predictable politics can be here. Protests and demonstrations occur around elections, but rarely descend into violence, and the current government is making significant efforts at political reform. 

For international conference organizers, you can rest assured your participants won’t get caught up in any major crises or political upheavals.

 

7. Gateway to Tanzania

Of course, any international participants attending a conference in Dar Es Salaam will be dreaming of game drives in the Serengeti, swimming in Zanzibar’s crystal clear waters, and maybe even a hike up Mt. Kilimanjaro. 

So, good news: Dar is the perfect gateway to Tanzania’s many world-renowned attractions. 

While Tanzania is a massive country, and its most popular attractions are spread throughout its borders, Dar is connected to them all via regular flights. So, for conference attendees with limited time in the country, planning a brief itinerary that includes a safari or two and a few days in Zanzibar is perfectly reasonable. 

But if they have to pick one thing, we recommend a short excursion to Zanzibar. Getting to Zanzibar from Dar is easy. Flights take 30 minutes and run throughout the day. The ferry is also an option, taking 2-3 hours if the weather permits a smooth passage. 

You only need 2-3 days to explore Zanzibar and soak up its history, beauty, and unique character. It’s also much more relaxing than a safari, which can be dusty, bumpy, and hot. We would much rather unwind post-conference on a quiet beach, with a cold drink, and a gentle sea breeze. The great thing is, Dar allows you to choose!

 

Conclusion

Dar Es Salaam’s coastal charm sets it apart as a conference destination in mainland East Africa. 

It’s a city where the rhythm of the ocean compliments the buzz of urban life, where every conference can be paired with the opportunity to explore bustling ports and serene beaches – or jump on a short flight to Africa’s most famous landscapes, natural wonders, and wildlife.

So, when you’re ready to take your next conference to a destination that promises both professional success and an unforgettable journey, Dar is waiting to welcome you. 

Our local team in Tanzania will be here, too, to help you plan every step. Get in touch to see how we can help you craft an unforgettable conference.

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