Tanzania Coast

Stay on the mainland coast for Swahili culture and long walks or horse rides on peaceful Indian Ocean beaches.


The mainland Tanzania coast has long been a Cinderella to the beguiling lure of visiting Zanzibar and the spice islands. This is understandable, for the islands are seductive and easy to reach by scheduled flight. But there is a charm to the Tanzania beaches on the mainland that is gaining some recognition of its own. Interesting small lodges have opened, often as labours of love. Often these are in beautiful and quiet coastal spots where the locals are not used to many visitors. Yet they relish the chance to trade produce and stories with overseas guests.

Saadani National Park, Tanzania Coast

Saadani on the Tanzania coast is unique. Not just in that it is the only coastal game reserve, but in the sense that staying here is as much about visiting a community as a wildlife sanctuary. Though the Saadani game reserve was created in the 1960s, the local Saadani village dates back to the 9th century. Once an important trading hub, its 800 or so inhabitants and their families are now mostly fishermen. Unusually, the community is not separated from the reserve. Which seems to bring advantage to both.

The tiny number of lodges here all draw their staff locally and are all very much involved with local community projects. Locals make use of the beaches to fish. And guests spend a fair amount of time in the village as well as on game drives or chilling on the beach.  Lodges to consider here are Saadani Safari Lodge & Simply Saadani Camp.

Bagamoyo, Tanzania Coast

Swahili culture is a heady mix of Arab, Indian and African origin. About an hour north of Dar es Salaam is the World Heritage Site of Bagamoyo. Tanzania’s oldest town. In the 19th century, the fishing harbour became the final mainland stop for the ivory traders. Later the prosperous trading centre was the starting point of various European explorations. Such as those of Livingstone, Speke and Stanley. There are numerous ruins, a museum and a mosque dating back to the 12th century to explore. The place to stay is a private island just offshore, Lazy Lagoon.

Tanzania coast sunset

Dar es Salaam

The port of Dar es Salaam is Tanzania’s largest city. It is also a gateway to the Selous, Zanzibar and to the southern Tanzania coast with their ancient Swahili settlements. Dar es Salaam itself is not a pretty city but it does offer an accurate window on to modern African city life. Colourful street markets jostle with cars and bicycles and sell anything and everything from curios to everyday items. You can stay just up the coast, outside the city.


Why you may love it

  • Easy access.
  • Interesting small lodges.
  • Quiet coastal spots.

When to visit Tanzania Coast

January to mid-March

Summer in Tanzania Coast

The coast is tropical which means hot and humid for most of the year. There is a steady rainfall through the year apart from a short dry spell from June to October. However this takes the form of short, sharp thundery rain-showers, usually in the late afternoons and approx every 3 to 4 days in these summer months. So there’s plenty of sunshine at other times (averaging 8 hours per day). It’s a hot 32-33C during the day and a warm to hot 23C at night.
MAX TEMP 32 ℃ / 90 ℉
MIN TEMP 23 ℃ / 73 ℉

Mid-March to May

Wettest time in Tanzania Coast

This is the rainiest time of the year and not recommended for a beach holiday. It typically rains every other day during this time. This slightly cools down the temperatures but not by much. April is particularly cloudy with only 5 hours of sunshine.
MAX TEMP 30 ℃ / 86 ℉
MIN TEMP 21 ℃ / 70 ℉

June to mid-Oct

Dry season in Tanzania Coast

This is the only dry period with only 3-4 short rain showers each month. It’s a wonderful time for some beach relaxation after your safari as temperatures are still hot (29C during the day) and a very pleasant 18C at night). Days are dry and sunny with 8-9 hours of sunshine on average.
MAX TEMP 29 ℃ / 84 ℉
MIN TEMP 18 ℃ / 64 ℉

Mid-Oct to December

Summer rains in Tanzania Coast

This is start of the summer rains with hot and humid conditions and short, sharp thundery rain-showers, usually in the late afternoons. Rainfall tends to be higher at the start of summer (November and December before settling down later on.)
MAX TEMP 31 ℃ / 88 ℉
MIN TEMP 21 ℃ / 70 ℉

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