Bongoyo Island, nestled just off the coast of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania, is a beautiful uninhabited island that makes for the perfect day trip with its pristine white sandy beaches and turquoise waters!
In this article, we’ll explore how to go on a fun day trip from Dar Es Salaam to this pristine island, as well as things you can do when at Bongoyo Island!
How To Get To Bongoyo Island
Bongoyo Island is easily accessible from Dar Es Salaam, meaning getting to the island is very straightforward.
To catch the boat to Bongoyo Island, head to the Ferry Terminal by the Slipway Shopping Mall in the upmarket Masaki area 9km north of Dar Es Salaam (location on Google Maps).
At first, you’ll get into a dingy just for a few minutes to transfer you across to the ferry that is moored in deeper water. The ferry will then transfer you across to Bongoyo Island.
The boat ride takes around 30 minutes to get to Bongoyo Island, which is 2.5km from the mainland.
It’s a lovely scenic ride, and as you are coming near to Bongoyo Island the sand bar on the island looks so impressive, so definitely make sure to get some photos!
Bongoyo Island Ferry Departure Times
Five boats depart every day from Slipway to Bongoyo Island, and they do depart on time so arrive a bit early to make sure you get your spot on the boat before it leaves!
The boats depart every hour or two (9.30 am, 10.30 am, 11.30 am, 1.30 pm, and at 3 pm) – here is the ferry timetable between Bongoyo and Dar Es Salaam.
The morning boats are the best boats to get across as it means you get to spend longer at Bongoyo Island! Boats return back from Bongoyo Island to the mainland at 12.30 p.m., 2.30 p.m., and 5 p.m.
If you prefer to visit the island when there are fewer people, go on a weekday. Weekends are a lot busier!
Whilst this doesn’t often happen, it’s just good to be aware that the boats only leave if 4 or more passengers are there.
If there are less than 4 passengers, you will either need to pay for the price of 4 passengers or wait for the next boat.
The morning boats are always the busiest so you generally won’t have to worry about there being enough passengers then!
Bongoyo Island Ferry Cost
A return ferry ride from the mainland to Bongoyo Island costs just $13 USD per person, making it a great low-cost day trip!
In addition to the ferry fare, as the island is located in a marine park, you will also need to pay for the marine park fee ($12 USD each for non-Tanzanians) – so the whole journey basically costs $25.
Things To Do On Bongoyo Island
Bongoyo Island offers a range of activities, from snorkelling to hiking on nature trails to enjoying a delicious seafood lunch at the beach shack!
Enjoy The Beach
The boat drops you off right on the beach on Bongoyo Island, and it’s beautiful. Make sure to spend some time relaxing on the beach in the sun, swimming in the crystal-clear calm water, and looking for starfish and unique seashells!
The sun is strong here so it’s a good idea to hire a thatched umbrella (called a Banda). It costs 5,000 Tanzanian Shillings ($3) for the day.
Bongoyo Island is surrounded by colourful coral reefs and diverse marine life. Grab your snorkel gear and admire the corals and fish – you may even spot a turtle if you’re lucky!
Hiking and Nature Trails
Aside from the beach, the rest of Bongoyo Island is pretty much covered in lush vegetation, so there are some nice hiking trails here.
We walked the Shark’s Lagoon Trail – a pleasant 1-hour round trip to a lagoon. It’s a rocky trail, and the path isn’t marked very well so definitely wear shoes! It was, however, easy enough for us to find our way around.
Locals strongly advise against doing the walk alone, just in case there are any unsavoury fishermen lurking in the woods. Even when you are doing the walk with someone, always be vigilant and aware of your surroundings.
Have some fresh seafood and drinks at the beach shack close to the beach, or you can even bring your own food if you prefer!
Bongoyo Island has a designated picnic area, complete with shaded spots and facilities, so you can relax and unwind.
Why Bongoyo Island is the Best Day Trip From Dar Es Salaam
In case the above hasn’t convinced you why a visit to Bongoyo Island is a great day trip from Dar Es Salaam:
Bongoyo Island Is So Close To Dar Es Salaam
Bongoyo Island is just a short ferry ride away from Dar Es Salaam, meaning it is a very accessible day trip option for both tourists and locals.
You can experience a beautiful idyllic paradise island without having to go far from the city!
Bongoyo Island Is Stunning & Ideal For Relaxing
Bongoyo Island is an incredibly stunning hidden gem, with a beautiful unspoiled beach and calm turquoise waters ideal for swimming and relaxing in.
Whilst there are several nice beaches in Dar Es Salaam, these beaches aren’t really regarded as very safe, nor are they advisable to swim at.
Bongoyo Island, on the other hand, is an ideal secluded but safe beach to relax at and go swimming in. This beach is a world away from the hustle and bustle of Dar Es Salaam.
Bongoyo Island Makes For An Affordable Day Out
The ferry ride and overall cost of visiting Bongoyo Island is very budget-friendly – perfect if you’re travelling on a budget!
With its accessibility, natural beauty, and diverse activities, it’s no wonder that Bongoyo Island is considered the best day trip from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
So, pack your sunscreen, snorkel gear, and a sense of adventure, and get ready for a day of relaxing in this tropical paradise!
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Catrina is a Travel Writer, SEO Specialist and ex-Flight Attendant based in Sydney, Australia. She has visited 85 countries and lived in several – including Italy, Australia, United Arab Emirates and England. Her work has been featured in a variety of popular travel publications including Fodors, Escape, Australian Traveller and Bear Grylls, as well as several international aviation and travel companies. The majority of her work however features on her own website – 24hourslayover.com where she has written over 500 travel articles!