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Vanessa Mdee. Courtesy of the artist.

City Guide: Vanessa Mdee’s Guide to Dar es Salaam

In our series City Guide, we ask our favorite musicians, actors, artists and celebrities what their go-to spots are in their hometown.

In this installment, all-around boss and ‘Cash Madame’ Vanessa Mdee gives us the keys to Dar es Salaam, showing us the best spots for tunes, romance, food and more. 

Make sure to check out Vanessa’s addictive pop hits “Niroge,” “Hawajui,” “Never Ever,”  and, of course,  “Cash Madame.” 


Best Concert Venue

Vanessa Mdee: The Mlimani City Conference Hall is a pretty dope venue – you can transform it into whatever you envision for your concert, and the acoustics are amazing for live performances. Also, the beaches in Dar es Salaam are extremely aesthetically pleasing and sometimes double as dope concert spots.


Best Night Spot

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VM: A little lounge called Elements Bar and Lounge has the best DJs spinning every weekend. You will always bump into local and international celebs there.


Best Restaurant

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VM: Depends on what you’re into—The Oriental at the Hyatt for sushi, Akemi for an amazing 360 degree view of the city (it revolves), Samaki Samaki for that youthful Tanzanian vibe, Addis in Dar for Ethiopian cuisine or your local hole-in-the wall a.k.a. ‘Mama Ntilie’ for your Swahili dish.


Best Date Spot

VM: The Slipway, with a variety of restaurants right beside the ocean the Slipway is easily one of Dar es Salaam’s prime locations. Trust me, you will fall in love with the sunset and maybe that hot date. Or, the swanky Cape Town Fish Market located right on the beach as well with some of the most exotic cocktails and a variety of sea food dishes.

Best drink to have while in town

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VM: Konyagi!!! You gotta try our local Tanzanian gin. Be warned, this is NOT FOR THE LIGHTWEIGHT.


Best outdoor activity

VM: Visit our marine reserves Mbudya, Bongoyo or Sinda Island—located 20-30 mins out. These islands are Dar es Salaam’s best kept secret (though probably not for long). At almost close to nothing you can swim in the clearest warm waters of the Indian ocean. You can even catch your lunch *wink* BYOB!!!


Best chill spot for working on music

VM: My crib right on the Dar es Salaam peninsula with the best view of the Indian Ocean.

This article is a revisited version of Vanessa Mdee’s 2013 City Guide for OkayAfrica.

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