Surroundings, Dar es Saalam
Within a 25-kilometer radius surrounding Dar es Salaam are beautiful beaches for swimming, snorkeling and diving, ruins and forest reserves.
The shoreline of Dar es Salaam is not particularly good for swimming. The beaches north of Dar es Salaam are lined with resorts and have become popular weekend getaways. The best beaches are Kunduchi and Mbezi beach; they are separated by a lagoon but are easily accessed off Bagamoyo Road. The Kunduchi Ruins include a late 15th C mosque, Arabic graves from the 18th or 19th C and preserved pillar tombs.Snorkeling around the reefs or sailing in dhows to some of the small islands such as Bongoyo or Mbudya are other opportunities while visiting the beaches. Bongoyo Island Reserve has some walking trails and a quiet beach area, except on holiday weekends. Mbudya is popular for snorkeling or swimming only.
Pugu Hills is located in the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, about 15 kilometers southwest. Venturing into the many traditional communities in Pugu Hills allows visitors to enjoy rural life in Tanzania. The hills have several small forest reserves and the roads are only lightly traveled. Several missions were established and it is also the location of Pugu Secondary School where Julius Nyerere taught before entering politics.There are several bat caves located in Pugu Hills and visitors can experience thousands of bats coming out at dusk for their nocturnal hunting.
Pugu Hills Forest Reserve
The Pugu Forest, originally named the Mogo Forest, is considered one of the oldest forests in the world. The Pugu Hills Forest Reserve is the location of the source of the Msimbazi River. It is home to hippos, lions, cheetahs and black and white Colobus monkeys as well as the giant elephant shrew, bushpigs and mongoose. The forest is protected because of its high bio-diversity levels. Pugu Forest has been visited by many biologists and is one of the top forests for bird conservation in Africa with over 80 recorded species. On the other side of an abandoned railway tunnel are man-made caves that house a large colony of bats. Visitors to Pugu Forest can watch the bats as they fly out of the caves in the evening, which is quite a sight.The Pugu Forest Reserve encloses one of the world's largest kaolin mine thus the area has a long history of mining operations. Kaolin is a type of fine white clay used in manufacturing porcelain, paper and textiles.Kisarawe is a small rural town near Pugu Hills Forest Reserve, the town was used by European residents as a destination to escape the coastal heat. The Natural Resources office in Kisarawe will provide tourists with a permit to use the hiking and cycling trails. The trails lead to a lookout with views of Dar es Salaam.
The coastal area south of Dar es Salaam is more tropical and rural the further south you travel. Miles and miles of white sandy beaches make for a relaxing getaway.The beach near Kigamboni, close to Mjimwena village, is the closest spot to Dar es Salaam for camping.Gezaulole, south of Kigamboni, has a cultural program for tourists to learn about Zaramo life, local history or plan a day trip by sailing to nearby Sinda Island.Ras Kutani is an isolated area for anyone seeking a secluded tropical location. Water sports and fishing are popular in Ras Kutani.