This article aims to contribute to the literature on the quest for resilient cities by focusing on the climate change resilience building discourse in peri-urban areas, and specifically by exploring the role of social capital-an under-researched topic. The article examines bonding social capital and bridging social capital, with a focus on how they can potentially contribute to, or inhibit, the socio-ecological system resilience building processes in the context of climate change reality in peri-urban areas. Theoretically, the author draws on the existing social capital and resilience related literatures; empirically, the article presents findings from a study conducted in the peri-urban areas of Pugu and Kazimzumbwi forest reserves on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam city in Tanzania. The study deployed a household survey and key informant interviews. It found that both bonding and bridging social capital were strong in the research area, suggesting the feasibility of building resilience to climate change effects. Examples are given of a number of resilience building interventions that were established through synergies between social capital actors and local communities, although some doubt is cast over the sustainability of these initiatives. Overall, both theoretical and empirical evidence suggests the importance of including a focus on social capital in exploring the building of climate change resilience pathways in peri-urban areas, and especially in the context of the global south. © The Author(s) 2020.