The Tanzanian mainland coast is a part of the country which is often overlooked. While the appeal of Zanzibar and the islands off the coast is obvious, the vast majority of travellers to Tanzania do not consider the mainland coast.
And long may it remain that way, for some of the best beaches and authentic cultural experiences are found along the stretch of coast north and south of Dar es Salaam - and without hordes of visitors they will remain charming; an insight into what the region was like 100 years ago.
What are Tanzania's mainland coast beaches like?
Anyone dreaming of absolute seclusion on their Tanzania holiday
should consider heading to the Indian Ocean mainland coast for some of their time in the country. Just a short hop from Dar es Salaam, we really recommend a short stay on one of these wonderfully relaxing and highly romantic beaches either at the beginning or end of a honeymoon.
The only real drawback of the mainland coast is that for the most part there is no diving because the coral reefs are nowhere near as good as those of Zanzibar
. However, the joy of a hideaway on this glorious stretch of white sand coast is logistical ease and the high standards of beach luxury.
Along this stretch of coast south from Dar, Ras Kutani
and Amani Beach Hotel
are the two lodges that we recommend. The laidback, barefoot luxury Ras Kutani is one of our absolute long-term favourites in the office and countless guests give it rave reviews. The lodge is a beach-shack-chic Polynesian-style hotel, complete with bamboo and thatch rooms lying along a lagoon by the ocean. It is unquestionably one of the best hotels in our catalogue and would be double the price were it on Zanzibar! We particularly recommend Ras Kutani for Tanzania honeymoon itineraries. The nearby Amani Beach Hotel shares a similar location, but has not such a great beach - at only $100pppn, Amani is a great low-cost option. Along the coast north from Dar lies Tides Beach Lodge
, a great no-frills option that is the only Tanzanian mainland coast lodge to offer good diving.
Years of work and wildlife development at Sadaani National Park have created an exclusive opportunity to enjoy an individual East African safari experience including close-up wildlife encounters, integral elephant-tracking and inland river safaris while enjoying the fruits of the Indian Ocean at the same time. Now with a couple of great accommodation options, this has evolved into a real itinerary choice, particularly worthwhile for families with young children.
Tanzanian Indian Ocean Mainland - Further reading
While we try and make our website as comprehensive as possible, if you would like some more background information on Indian Ocean Mainland, or Tanzania in general, have a read through the Cadogan Guide to Tanzania and Zanzibar
, written by our director Annabel. The most recent edition was published in 2005 so some of it might be slightly dated but generally it’s as comprehensive as they come. Click here for the relevant section.