About Tanzania

These Tanzania travel tips will help you plan your trip to Tanzania. This page has information about visas, health, safety and when to go.

Quick facts about Tanzania

CAPITAL: Dodoma (official) and Dar es Salaam (administrative)
AREA :945,090 sq km (364,899 sq miles)
POPULATION : 45,000,000
OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: Kiswahili and English
NATIONAL CURRENCY: Tanzanian Shilling (Tshs or TZS).
BEST TRAVEL CURRENCIES: USD, Euro, GBP

Tanzania Safaris Climb Kilimanjaro

Visas

Citizens of the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, and most countries in the EU, need a tourist visa to enter Tanzania. Application details and forms can be found on Tanzanian Embassy web sites. US citizens can apply here. Tanzanian embassies issue multiple entry visas for $100 (handy if you're planning to cross over to Kenya or Malawi for a few days). Tanzanian tourist visas are valid for 3 months before you must exit the country. So while planning ahead for visas is a good thing, make sure the visa is still valid for the length of time you plan to travel in Tanzania.

You can obtain a visa at all airports in Tanzania as well as at the border crossings, but it is advised to get a visa beforehand. In order to get a visa you have to have proof that you plan to leave Tanzania within 3 months of your arrival.

As with all visa matters -- contact your local Tanzanian Embassy for the latest information.

Embassys of the United Republic of Tanzania around the world:

Belgium : 363 Ave Louise, 1050 Brussels Tel 02 640 6500 Fax 02 646 8026

Canada : 50 Range Road, Ottawa, Ontario KIN 8J4 Tel 0613 232 1500 Fax 0613 232 5184

China : No. 8, Liang Ma He Nan Lu, San Li Tun Beijing

France : 13 Ave Raymond Poincare 75116 Paris Tel 01 53 70 63 70 Fax 01 53 70 63 66

Germany : Teaterplatz 26, 53177 Bonn, Tel 0228 358051 Fax 0228 358226 Eschenallee 11 14050 Berlin (Charlottenburg, Westend)

Italy : Villa Tanzania, Viale Cortina D'ampezzo 185 00135 ROME Tel 06 321 0923

Japan : 21-9, Kamiyoga4, Chome, Setagaya-Ku, Tokyo Tel 03 425 4531 Fax 03 425 7844

South Africa : PO Box 56572 Arcadia 0007, Pretoria Tel 012 342 4371 Fax 012 430 4383

Sweden: Näsby Allé 6 183 55 Täby

Switzerland : 47 Ave Blanc, CH-1201, Geneva Tel 022 731 8920 Fax 022 732 8255

United Kingdom : 3 Stratford Place, London W1C 1AS Tel 0207 569 1470 Fax 0207 491 3710

U.S.A: Embassy of the United Republic of Tanzania 2139 R Street, NW, Washington DC, 20008.

U.S.A: Permanent Representative of Tanzania to the United Nations 201 East 42ND­ Street, Suite 1700 New York, NY, 10017

Health and Immunizations

No immunizations are required by law to enter Tanzania if you are travelling directly from Europe or the US. (Proof of a Yellow Fever inoculation IS REQUIRED if you are travelling to the island of Zanzibar.) If you are travelling from a country where Yellow Fever is present you will need to prove you have had the inoculation.

Several vaccinations are highly recommended when traveling to Tanzania, they include:

  • Yellow Fever
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis A
  • Diptheria
It is also recommended that you are up to date with your polio and tetanus vaccinations. Rabies is also prevalent and if you're planning to spend a lot of time in Tanzania, it may be worth getting the rabies shots before you go.

Malaria
There's a risk of catching malaria pretty much everywhere you travel in Tanzania. While it's true that areas of high altitude like the Ngorongoro Conservation Area are relatively malaria-free, you will usually be passing through areas where malaria is prevalent in order to get there.

Tanzania is home to the chloroquine-resistant strain of malaria as well as several others. Make sure your doctor or travel clinic knows you are traveling to Tanzania (don't just say Africa) so s/he can prescribe the right anti-malarial medication. Tips on how to avoid malaria will also help.

Safety
Tanzanians are well known for their friendly, laid-back attitude. In most cases you will be humbled by their hospitality despite the fact that most people are a lot poorer than you. As you travel in the touristy areas, you will probably attract your fair share of souvenir hawkers and beggars. Remember that these are poor people who are trying to earn money to feed their families. If you aren't interested then say so, but try and remain polite.

Basic Safety Rules for Travelers to Tanzania

  • Make a copy of your passport and keep it in your luggage.
  • Don't walk on your own at night in the major cities or on empty beaches especially in Pemba and Zanzibar.
  • Don't wear jewelry.
  • Don't carry too much cash with you. Wear a money belt that fits under your clothes.
  • Don't carry a lot of camera equipment especially in the major cities.
  • Beware of thieves posing as police officers.
Roads
Roads in Tanzania are pretty bad. Potholes, road blocks, goats and people tend to get in the way of vehicles and the rainy season completely wipes out half the country's roads. Avoid driving a car or riding a bus at night because that's when most accidents happen. If you are renting a car, keep the doors and windows locked while driving in the major cities. Car-jackings occur fairly regularly but may not end in violence as long as you comply with demands made.

When to Go to Tanzania


The rainy seasons in Tanzania are from March to May and November to December. Roads become washed out and some parks even have to close. But, the rainy season is the perfect time to get good deals on safaris and enjoy a quieter experience without the crowds.

The best months to climb Kilimanjaro are from July through September and from the middle of December until the middle of March. In October and November the mountain may be climbed although the chances for rain are greater during this time.

The best time to see the annual migration of millions of wildebeest and zebras is February to March when they have their young. The dry season (June to November) in general is the best time to go on safari in Tanzania since the animals congregate around the water holes and river banks.

The best time to enjoy the beaches of Zanzibar and Pemba is between July and October when there are less tourists escaping the European winter and there's little chance of rain.

Currency and Money Matters
The Tanzanian unit of currency is the Tanzanian Shilling (TSh). Bills range from 500 shillings to 10,000 shillings. The exchange rates fluctuate, the latest rate is approximately 2230 shillings to the dollar.

Exchanging Money
The easiest foreign currency to exchange in Tanzania is the US dollar. While you get better rates at banks and foreign exchange bureaus for the larger bills, keeping a stack of small bills is handy for tips. Most of the high-end hotels and wildlife parks accept US dollars but it can sometimes be a bit cheaper if you pay fees and accommodation in Tanzanian shillings. Do NOT bring travelers checks, they are nearly impossible to cash and if you find a place that will accept them you will receive a much worse exchange rate (1:1500).

ATM's can be found in all the major cities, but some machines enjoy eating cards, so use at your own risk. Major credit cards are only accepted at the more expensive restaurants and hotels.

Getting To and From Tanzania

By Air
If you're planning to visit Northern Tanzania, the best airport to arrive at is Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). The following airlines service Kilimanjaro:

If you're planning to visit Zanzibar, southern and western Tanzania, you'll want to fly to the capital Dar es Salaam. European carriers that fly into Dar es Salaam include British Airways, KLM and Swissair (which codeshares with Delta).

Regional flights to Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and parts of northern Tanzania regularly fly from Nairobi (Kenya Airways, Air Kenya) and Addis Ababa (Ethiopian Airlines). Air Tanzania has several flights per week from Dar es Salaam to Entebbe (Uganda), the Comoros Islands and Johannesburg.

By Land
To and From Kenya: There are several bus services available between Tanzania and Kenya. Buses regularly go from Mombasa to Dar es Salaam (12 hours), Nairobi to Dar es Salaam (about 13 hours), Nairobi to Arusha (5 hours), and Voi to Moshi. Some bus companies originating in Arusha will drop you off at your hotel in Nairobi and also offer pick-ups at Nairobi's international airport.

To and From Malawi: The border crossing between Tanzania and Malawi is at the Songwe River Bridge. Direct buses between Dar es Salaam and Lilongwe depart several times a week and take around 27 hours. Your other alternative is to get to the border crossing and take minibuses in either direction to the closest towns -- Karonga in Malawi and Mbeya in Tanzania. Spend the night and then continue on the next day. Both towns have regular long-distance bus services.

To and From Mozambique: The main border post is at Kilambo (Tanzania) which you can get to via minibus from Mtwara. To cross the border requires a trip across the Ruvuma River and depending on the tides and the season, this could be a simple quick canoe trip or an hour long ferry ride. The border post in Mozambique is at Namiranga.

To and From Uganda: Daily buses travel from Kampala to Dar es Salaam (via Nairobi -- so make sure you get a visa for Kenya to transit). The bus trip takes at least 25 hours. A more manageable crossing is from Kampala to Bukoba (on the shores of Lake Victoria) which gets you to Tanzania in about 7 hours. You can also take a short 3 hour trip by bus from Bukoba (Tanzania) to the Ugandan border town of Masaka. Scandinavian also runs buses from Moshi to Kampala (via nairobi).

To and From Rwanda: Regional coach services travels from Kigali to Dar es Salaam at least once a week, the trip takes about 36 hours and crosses into Uganda first. Shorter trips between the Tanzania/Rwanda border at Rusumo Falls are possible but the security situation fluctuates so inquire locally in Benako (Rwanda) or Mwanza (Tanzania). Buses also run at least once a day from Mwanza (it will take all day) to the border of Rwanda, and from there you can catch a minibus to Kigali. Catching the bus from Mwanza means a ferry trip to start with so the schedule is fairly fixed.

To and From Zambia: Buses run a couple times a week between Dar es Salaam and Lusaka (about 30 hours) and between Mbeya and Lusaka (about 16 hours). The border that is used most often is at Tunduma and you can get minibuses from Mbeya to Tunduma and then cross into Zambia and take public transport from there.

By Train
To and From Zambia: A train runs from Kapiri Mposhi (Zambia) to Dar es Salaam and takes two nights.

By Boat
There are currently no official passenger-ferry services on Lake Victoria to connect Tanzania with Uganda and Kenya.

To and From Malawi: The only route across the lake from Tanzania is on the Songea ferry from Mbamba Bay (Tanzania) to Nkhata Bay (Malawi) near Mzuzu. The ferry is meant to run twice a month. The Ilala sometimes travels from Lake Malawi to Tanzania but schedules vary.

To and from Burundi: A weekly ferry runs between Kigoma and Bujumbura and takes about 14 hours.

To and From Mozambique: You can try and hire a Dhow to get to Mozambique from Tanzania and vice versa. Find out information locally in Tanzania's dhow ports of Mikindani, Mtwara and Msimbati. In Mozambique check the ports at Mocimboa da Praia and Palma.

To and from Kenya (Mombasa): A ferry runs about once a week from Mombasa, Kenya and Tanga, Tanzania to Unguja and Pemba. Fares are around $40.

To and From Zambia: A regular ferry connects Kigoma (Tanzania) with Mpulungu (Zambia) along the shores of Lake Tanganyika. The ferry was the inspiration for the classic movie, African Queen. You can get off at smaller stops along the way inlcuding Lagosa, to get to Mahale Mountains National Park to enjoy the chimpanzees.