The name Tanzania conjures up images of wildebeest stampeding across vast savannah, rain forests teeming with monkeys and birdlife, and great plains brimming with legions of game. All of these natural wonders and more are on offer in this exceptionally diverse African nation. Visitors typically visit Tanzania to partake in at least one of the four well known Tanzanian tourist experiences: a relaxing seaside vacation on the picturesque island paradise of Zanzibar, an underwater tour of some of the world’s most renowned dive sites around the gorgeous Spice Islands, a safari adventure in some of Africa’s most impressive game reserves, or a hiking excursion around Mount Kilimanjaro National Park. Whichever of these incredible holidays you choose, you will undoubtedly be welcomed by some fabulously friendly and peaceful inhabitants who, despite being divided into 120 different ethnic groups and cultures, live in harmony with one another and provide some of the most wonderfully exotic local cuisine you could imagine. With all of this diversity on offer, the most difficult part of your Tanzanian holiday experience is likely to be deciding where to go!
NOTE: Plastic bags are now banned in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, and are likely to be confiscated by customs officials on arrival, whether in clients’ baggage or carried by hand. For example, Duty-Free bags
Government regulations change without notice, it is important to check regulations with the relevant authority prior to travel. This is a guideline only.
- Passports should be valid for at least six months, with at least 2 free pages, are required by all nationals referred to in the chart above.
- Visas are required by all nationals referred to in the chart above. Visas can be purchase on arrival at most airports but to avoid delays on arrival, you can apply for your visa in advance of arrival through the Tanzanian Consulate in your country or a visa service. Validity for single entry tourist visa is normally up to 3 months.
Costs currently are U$50 for most nationalities but a $100 for US citizens.
Banking and Currency
- The unit of currency is the Tanzanian shilling. Visitors may import an unlimited amount of foreign exchange.
- We recommend you change money at official bureaux de change, although some lodges and hotels may offer facilities which would often offer a less attractive rate of exchange.
- Take cash, not Travellers Cheques! Change some money into Tanzanian shillings soon after your arrival.
- Credit Cards can usually be used in the international hotels and in restaurants and shops of the main towns and tourist related businesses.
- However, it is always advisable to have some cash because frequently these credit card machines do not work or are down without connection.
- There are ATM cash machines in Arusha and Dar es Salaam, and at airports.
- Large notes (US$50-US$100) prior to 2000 are not normally accepted. Best make sure you have smaller denomination and notes which have been issued after 1999.
Travel, Transport and Getting Around
There are really only three ways for tourists to travel sensibly in Tanzania and in these cases dmAFRICA is the recognised expert:-
- By organised safari vehicles, usually commencing in Arusha or Nairobi.
- By light aircraft. Arusha is the hub airport in Tanzania, and there are charter and regular flights to all the main wildlife areas in East Africa as well as the islands. If you are flying from Kenya it is necessary to clear customs and immigration in Arusha, Mount Kilimanjaro or Dar es Salaam before proceeding to your lodge or camp.
- By private jet; most lodge/camp airstrips are not equipped to handle many of the more sophisticated private jets. It is normal to access Tanzania at Mount Kilimanjaro or Dar es Salaam or Zanzibar airports and travel onwards by light aircraft. Night flying in game parks is not normally permitted.
Health and Medical Information
- Malaria is endemic. You must consult your doctor before you travel to ensure that you are prescribed the correct type of tablet protection.
- Yellow fever inoculation is obligatory for entry into Tanzania if you have been to a country where yellow fever infection exists.
- Immunization against hepatitis, cholera and meningitis is recommended.
Please check the latest information with your medical practitioner
- There are privately owned pharmacies that can prescribe most medication should you
be sick. A few wildlife lodges and camps have a private nurse on duty and almost all have camp staff trained in basic first aid.
- Unfortunately petty theft and more serious crime is a factor in East Africa. Take the same precautions as you would in any major city.
- Avoid walking alone in apparently deserted areas, especially in and around the cities.
- Avoid displaying expensive items, especially jewellery, in public areas.
- Use the safe boxes, and other security accessories, made available to you in hotels and lodges/camps.
- It is preferable and usually more enjoyable to walk with company or in groups.
Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice
- In general, the food served in hotels and lodges is European food. A full breakfast and lunch will be buffet style and dinner is usually a set menu. A few top of the range lodges offer limited a la carte menus.
- Agriculturally, Tanzania is virtually self sufficient with staple crops, and fine quality beef and other livestock. On safari, game meat is sometimes on the menu.
- Pineapple, mango, papaya, banana, avocado and coconut are all plentiful and inexpensive when in season.
- Freshwater fish from the abundant rivers and lakes is plentiful, especially trout from around Arusha and tilapia and Nile perch from Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika.
- Of course, at the coast the seafood from the Indian Ocean is included on all menus, with a variety and quality which is now legendary.
- Wine is imported from South Africa, Europe and the New World. There is also a red wine which is made by the monks near Dodoma; it is “challenging”, as is the locally made gin konyagi!
- Local beers are of the lager type and are good.
Climate and Weather
- Serengeti: All year round. The best time for migration river crossings is June and July and late September and October.
- Ndutu, Serengeti: December to March as this is when the migration is based in the area with most of the calves being born around February and March.
- Ngorongoro: All year round
- Lake Manyara: All year round
- Tarangire: July to November when it is dry elsewhere and the animals move to the Tarangire River.
- Arusha National Park: All year round
- Lake Natron & Lake Eyasi: Avoid April and May
- Kilimanjaro: All year round except April to May.
- Zanzibar, Pemba, Mafia and the Coast: All year except April and May
- Selous: June to November
- Ruaha: June to the end of February
- Mahale & Gombe: All year except April and May
- Lake Victoria: Almost year round.
Clothing and Dress Recommendations
- When meeting and parting, hands are always shaken; this applies throughout the country in both rural and urban areas. It is the convention to use the right hand, not the left, to shake hands or pass or receive anything.
- The dress code is casual, although most international hotels and restaurants prefer gentlemen to wear long trousers for dinner.
- Bright, light colours and white clothing is not advisable for safaris particularly for walking safaris as animals see mostly in black and white. Safari clothing should be in neutral or bush colours (please note that army camouflage or military uniform is not permitted in almost all African countries)
- Good manners and respect come naturally to Tanzanians, charming national traits which they look upon visitors to reciprocate.
Tanzania has good Internet Service Providers with email and internet services offered by many hotels and lodges (free / paid). In most towns there are plenty of private business centres and cyber cafes offering email and internet access, although the speeds might be somewhat slower than what you are used to.
Electricity and Plug Standards
- 230 volts AC, 50Hz.
- Plugs may be round or square three-pin, fused or un-fused.
- Power cuts can be common in the rainy season, though most hotels and businesses have back-up generators.
- In some safari lodges electricity is not available during the night.