A guide to serviced offices and office space to rent in Dar es Salaam as well as general information that may be useful if you are considering renting office space in the city.
History & Geography
Dar es Salaam, literally translated to mean ‘Port of Peace’, is Tanzania’s capital and one of the most important cities in the region. Located on the country’s eastern coast, Dar es Salaam is a natural harbour and has miles of long sandy beaches. Dar es Salaam started life as Mzizima, a small fishing village on the site of what is now the city. In 1866 the ruler of the area, Sultan Majid bin Said of Zanzibar decided to expand the village into a major city which he dubbed Dar es Salaam. For years the port thrived from the sultan’s infusion of money for building projects, but upon his death in 1870 the city’s prosperity declined. In 1887 the German East Africa Company established a trading station in the city and this revived the local economy. Once again Dar es Salaam started thriving. Eventually Dar es Salaam became the administrative centre of German East Africa. The construction of the Central Railway Line in the early 20th century further boosted the city’s regional importance. During WWI Dar es Salaam was captured by the British who renamed it Tanganyika. However the city retained its administrative importance and continued to be expanded. Under British rule most Europeans lived in the affluent suburb of Oyster Bay, and the Africans live in Kariakoo. Additionally a large number of South Asians moved to the city and established a community. In December 1961 the Tanganyika African National Union was formed and the city became independent of British rule. In 1964 Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form Tanzania and the newly renamed Dar es Salaam was named as capital of the new country. Currently plans are in place to relocate the capital to Dodoma, a city in the interior. However currently Dar es Salaam remains the country’s capital.
Dar es Salaam is extremely important to Tanzania’s economy as a whole. The city is Tanzania’s commercial and cultural hub. Much of the city’s economy is made up of the service industry. Because the city has so many business and government functions the service industries associated with these thrive. Dar es Salaam has a long-established banking and financial services industry as well as real estate and construction. The last few years has seen a massive construction boom in the city. Recently the Benjamin William Mkapa Pension Tower, Tanzania’s largest building, was completed. However there are still major problems with basic infrastructure in the city. There are frequent power outages in the city and the transportation system is in major need of updating. Moreover Dar es Salaam has a consistent problem with the amount of slums in the city. Up to 80 percent of the population of Dar es Salaam lives in ‘informal housing’ without running water or electricity. It is in the city’s northern suburbs that the wealthy elite live, many in waterfront mansions. Currently Dar es Salaam is the third fastest growing city in Africa and has had population increases of almost six percent in each of the last two years.
Tourism & Culture
Dar es Salaam does not have a large tourism industry but is nevertheless an exciting destination for visitors. The most popular facet of Dar es Salaam with tourists are the beaches on the Msasani Penninsula to the north of the city, as well as those to the south in Kigamboni. Also available are trips to the famous Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve located on nearby islands. Here you can snorkel, swim, and sunbathe. Many tourists also visit Bongoyo Island, which is easily accessible by boat. For those more interested in the history and culture of Tanzania, a visit to the National Museum of Tanzania is a must. Associated with the National Museum is the Village Museum, on the outskirts of the city. Here one can see different huts from Tanzania’s assorted tribes and groups. Of late there have been an increasing amount of restaurants springing up in Dar es Salaam, many of which serve the region’s traditional Tanzanian Barbeque cuisine. This consists mostly of mishkaki, which is Shish kebab, and ugali, maize flour cooked with water. Music-lovers will also find no shortage of things to do in Dar es Salaam as the city has a thriving music scene. ‘Bongo flava’ is the most popular style of music, and is Tanzania’s version of hip hop and r n b.
Dar es Salaam is served by Julius Nyerere International Airport which is located approximately eight miles south of the city. The airport has connections to the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. Currently a new terminal is under construction. Traffic in Dar es Salaam is notoriously bad and gridlock is common. Most residents of the city use the ubiquitous dala dalas, minibuses, to get around. The city is also connected to Zambia by the TAZARA Railway.
Dar es Salaam has seen something of a construction boom in recent years resulting from far-ranging changes in legislation. This has gone a long way to redressing the crippling lack of office space which has plagued the city for so long. However despite the rapid pace of construction Dar es Salaam still suffers from a lack of Grade A office space. Other than the CBD, the districts with the most office space in Dar es Salaam are Sinza, Magomeni, and Kinondoni. The latest international company to set up office space in the city is IBM.
Below are photographs taken in February 2015 of offices in the business district around Ohio Street and Garden Avenue. This area is very close to Julius Nyere International airport and around half a kilometre to Barack Obama Drive – named after his namesake’s visit to the country in July 2013.