You don’t need to travel very far in order to get away from it all –and by it all I mean the 9-5 job, the stress, the 2-hour Dar es Salaam traffic, and the bills (just kidding, you can’t get away from those!). Weekend trips to places that are just a few hours’ drive away are actually great ways to break up your routine, relax and reconvene with nature without having to sacrifice your annual leave days and break the bank.
Now, the list of places in Dar –and its outskirts –where you can truly have a small vacation (from now on we shall call it a small-cation) is not very long. But the three hidden gems on this list make up in quality for what we lack in quantity.
Plan your next small-cation with these three getaway spots in mind!
Tucked away on a secluded seaside estate, The Overhang is a charming collection of self-catered beach cabins nestled in the heart of Kigamboni, an hour and a half away from Dar es Salaam’s city centre.
Enclaved by 550m of private white sandy beach, the eco-friendly peninsula property is home to an untouched ecosystem of countless species of wildlife. Each of the estate’s four thoughtfully designed cabins offers guests an intimate getaway experience featuring unrivalled views of the Indian Ocean. Uniquely inspired by their surroundings, The Overhang’s cabins are selectively furnished with amenities ideal for a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Overhang is a peaceful haven for romantics, adventurers, creatives, escapists, the spirited or the spiritual. It is a place where time slows down, allowing guests to reconnect with nature and emerge relaxed and rejuvenated.
While there, make sure to take advantage of the private beach, bar and bbq area, swimming pool and free activities including kayaking, snorkeling, cycling, hiking, SUPing, surfing, and board games.
MAGOROTO FOREST ESTATE
Magoroto Forest Estate is a natural lakeside campsite hidden away in the East Usambara Mountains (in Tanga), about a 4-hours mini-road trip from Dar es Salaam. During the late 1800s, the breathtaking, 1460 acre estate was used by German colonialists as a plantation to grow rubber, then finally palm oil, up until the 90s. The estate’s spectacular lake was also constructed by the Germans to support their agricultural estate.
High up in the East Usambara mountains (altitude: 850m), the estate is far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life. The protected Mlinga Rain Forest, which forms a large part of the mountains, is well known for its rich biodiversity. At Magoroto Forrest Estate, the air is cleaner, the earth is greener, and the water is crisper. Everything is stripped back to the essentials (albeit with more comfort) to bring you back to nature.
During the day the estate offers unparalleled views of the Muheza Valley and the Indian Ocean, and at night, the sky clears up into an explosion of stars. Whether you want to hike up the mountain or trek through the plantation, stargaze or roast marshmallows over camfire, row a boat or float peacefully on the lake, have a picnic or a barbeque on the grill, read a book or tell ghost stories by the fireplace, rise with the sun to meditate or do yoga, Magoroto Forrest Estate, has something for everyone.
PUGU HILLS FOREST RESERVE
Though just an hour away from Dar’s city center, Pugu Hills Forest Reserve feels like a million miles away. The 15 acre property is a regenerating natural forest habitat with everything from butterflies to bush babies to monkeys to exotic birds. The forest has a number of hiking trails with lookout points with amazing views of the city, a lake, a campsite, and an interesting collection of abandoned factories.
Whether you spend the night in the bush, falling asleep to the sounds of the forest, or spend the day bird watching from the restaurant, Pugu Hills Forest Reserve is the place to go to decompress and enjoy nature.