Life for expats in Dar es Salaam is characterized by an international community, with good employment opportunities and decent incomes, reasonable prices for housing (to rent or buy), and plenty of people from abroad to socialize with. Services are much better than the Tanzanian average, with efficient banking facilities and a simple visa system, as well as reliable internet. The construction boom of recent years also means there is plenty of choice for housing, such as modern apartments, and a variety of schools, including international schools specifically for foreigners.
The national healthcare system in Tanzania, including in Dar es Salaam, is poor. State-owned hospitals tend to be overcrowded and the standard of care is not comparable to international standards. Most expats opt for private healthcare and there are good providers in Dar es Salaam, with information widely available. Private healthcare insurance is more expensive, however.
Education on the health hazards in Tanzania is important for newcomers. Malaria is prevalent in Dar es Salaam and foreigners are advised to take preventative measures, such as anti-malaria medication and protection against mosquito bites. HIV and AIDS are also rife, which is another reason why most expats prefer not to rely on the national hospitals.
The transportation network within the city center is outdated. Most foreigners choose to drive to their jobs, but traffic is a serious problem. The cheapest mode of transportation is the dala dala; a minibus that operates like an informal bus service. There are safety concerns regarding dala dalas, however, and they tend to be overcrowded. There is a bus system under construction, which should make moving around the city easier, but recent news suggests it has been delayed.
Dar es Salaam is well-connected with the rest of Tanzania, however, and indeed with the rest of East Africa. Several of the region’s main railways and highways original near the city. The Julius Nyerere International Airport is the largest in the country, with daily flights to both regional and international destinations.
Safety is an issue in Dar es Salaam and violent crimes and homicides are becoming increasingly frequent, according to various indexes. Snatching jewelry in broad daylight is fairly common and pickpockets operate widely. Foreigners are particularly vulnerable since the criminals assume wealth. Kidnapping is another issue, with previous instances of foreigners being kidnapped for ransom.
However, it is possible to minimize the security hazards by paying attention and avoiding crowded places. Visitors from overseas are advised not to carry large amounts of cash and to leave valuables (including passports) locked in a safe. Most expats employ a security guard or live in a compound that has a shared security post.