Dar es Salaam coast

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
The city of Dar es Salaam sits on a natural harbour backed by low hills. The IBA runs from the open bay of Ras Kiramoni in the north, up to and including Ndege Beach, to Ras Ndege, east of Mbwamaji village—a total length of 40 km. The inland limit of the site is the high-tide mark, but this is extended in places to include mangroves and salt-workings. To the seaward side the site extends out to the 12 km international limit. This allows inclusion of important feeding grounds for several seabirds which rarely venture inshore of the coral reef. Within the IBA are tidal mudflats, river inlets, saltpans, extensive mangroves, coastal thicket and several offshore islands which create a remarkably diverse coastal environment. With a tidal range of nearly four metres, up to 25 km² of exposed sand and mud can be available to birds at low tide.

Key biodiversity
See Box for key species. A total of 457 species have been recorded from the site. The area is of major importance to migratory waders from northern Eurasia, supporting about 30,000 birds. This includes large numbers of Calidris ferruginea, Calidris minuta and Pluvialis squatarola. Large flocks of some species, notably Tringa nebularia and Charadrius mongolus, are a feature of the return migration to northern latitudes during March and April. The only local population of Egretta ardesiaca feeds at Msasani Bay and probably breed in the freshwater swamps adjacent to the now defunct Msasani saltpans, an area of low-lying land unsuitable for building which is, nonetheless, rapidly being urbanized. The offshore island of Mbudya provides safe nest-sites for Platalea alba, Egretta dimorpha and Threskiornis aethiopicus. Sterna dougallii bred on islets off the harbour entrance in the 1960s. There are populations of an Acrocephalus warbler on the offshore islands that may not be Acrocephalus scirpaceus. Records of Acrocephalus griseldis suggest that several winter in coastal scrub near Mbezi Beach and Jangwani Beach wherever there is thick cover and a source of fresh water.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Virtually the whole of the inner harbour from Kurasini to Mtoni was until, quite recently, lined with protective mangroves and supported sizeable populations of waterbirds. It is now badly polluted and degraded. The mangroves of Msimbazi Creek have been largely cleared and are subject to uncontrolled pollution from such areas as the Muhimbili Hospital complex. Remaining mangrove forests should be fully protected and an effort made to rehabilitate those now degraded.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Dar es Salaam coast. Downloaded from on 06/02/2023.