Most visitors require visas with the exception of citizens of certain countries of the Commonwealth. Citizens of the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, and most countries in the EU, need a tourist visa to enter Tanzania. It is advisable to obtain them in advance from Embassies and High Commissions as several airlines insist of them prior to departure.
Application details and forms can be found on Tanzanian Embassy web sites. You can also obtain a visa at all airports in Tanzania as well as at the border crossings, but it is advised to get a visa beforehand as waiting time can be long.
Requirements may change, so you are advised to contact the appropriate diplomatic or consular authority before finalizing travel arrangements.
All persons carried on the companies vehicles are governed by the respective laws of the land and all claims are subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of Tanzania.
If you are flying, there are strict weight restrictions (15kg of luggage) whilst travelling on light aircraft for the following reasons:
- The aircraft are designed with a maximum bodyweight and luggage weight allowance
- Some airfields are elevated and short and temperatures can be hot and therefore the permissible aircraft carrying capacity is reduced
- The aircraft have physical space restrictions.
It is highly recommended to bring soft sided bags so that your bags can easily be stowed. It is sometimes easier to carry two small bags rather than one large, and as most good camps have a laundry service, large amounts of clothing are not necessary.
It is strongly advised that you take out fully comprehensive insurance including death, medical expenses, injury, delays, loss and damage of property. Hippo Tours will not be held responsible for any such claims.
What to take
Don't forget the camera, camcorder and binoculars, and take a torch for finding your way around the camp at night. Stock up with replacement batteries for all these goods. The main electricity supply is 220V, 50Hz. Plugs are usually the 13-amp 3-pin square (British) type.
Take sun-glasses, hat, sun lotion, lip balm and some insect repellent. It is better not to get stung, even if you are taking anti-malaria tablets.
A spare pair of glasses or contact lenses is also a good idea.
Take plenty of film, it can be difficult to obtain outside the main centres.
Credit cards is useful in most areas, Banking facilities in remote areas are restricted, so cash is useful too. In built up urban areas automated teller machines (ATMs) are available.
What to wear
It never gets really cold in Tanzania, so lightweight clothing is the norm. On safari, avoid brightly coloured clothes, they may alarm the animals. Browns, beiges and khaki are preferred. Short-sleeve shirts / blouses and shorts are ideal, but pack a sweater as it can be a bit chilly in the early morning and in the evening. Wear a hat to avoid sun-stroke and don't forget a swimsuit. Women should carry a wrap to cover their legs (knees in particular) and shoulders in towns or villages as revealing clothes can cause offence, especially in Zanzibar and other Muslim areas.
On the beach, and within the confines of beach hotels, normal swimwear is acceptable, but topless or nude bathing is strictly forbidden.
Suggested packing list
- Good quality sunglasses
- Sun hat & suntan lotion
- Insect repellent
- T-shirts and long-sleeved cotton shirts
- Long trousers
- Good walking shoes (running/tennis shoes are fine)
- Warm winter jersey or fleece
- Light rain gear
- Bathing suit/pool wear
- Camera equipment and plenty of film /memory cards (batteries and chargers)
- Personal toiletries (basic amenities supplied by most establishments)
- Malaria tablets (if applicable) and any prescription medication you are taking
- Basic medical kit (aspirins, plasters, Imodium, antiseptic cream and Antihistamine cream etc)
- Visas, tickets, passports, money & photocopies of all important documents, to keep separately
Visitors from countries infected with cholera and yellow fever must produce international certificates of vaccination. This is particularly relevant for those travelling from other African countries i.e. Tourists coming from Kenya into Tanzania will need to show their Yellow Fever inoculation at the Namanga border crossing.
No immunizations are required by law to enter Tanzania if you are travelling directly from Europe or the US. 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 travelling to Tanzania, they include:
- Yellow Fever
- Hepatitis A
The UK Department of Health recommends vaccinations against hepatitis A, polio and typhoid. It is essential for visitors to take a course of malaria prophylaxis.
Modern medical services are available in Dar es Salaam and other major centres. There are only a limited number of chemists in the country, so visitors are advised to bring their own medicines with them.
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.
There's a risk of catching malaria pretty much everywhere you travel in Tanzania so taking tables to try and prevent it is definitely recommended
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 Travellers 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 Jewellery
- 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.
Currency and Money Matters
The unit of currency is the Tanzanian Shilling (TShs), which is divided, into 100 cents. Visitors can take any amount of foreign currency, no currency declaration is required, but import and export of Tanzanian currency is illegal.
Most major currencies, particularly US Dollars are accepted and are convertible at banks and bureaux de change in the main towns and tourist areas. Credit cards, mainly visa and master card, are generally only accepted in larger establishments but may attract a surcharge for processing. Keep small bills in handy for tips and please note that US$ notes are only accepted from the year 2000 onwards, older notes are not taken in most bureau de changes, banks, offices and camps/lodges/hotels.
Several carriers operate to Tanzania via Europe:-
- Emirates fly daily from Dubai to Dar es Salaam.
- Qatar Airways fly twice daily from Doha to Dar es Salaam.
- Fly Dubai fly daily from Dubai to Dar es Salaam (except on Thursday).
- Air Seychelles fly only on Wednesday and Saturday from Seychelles to Dar es Salaam.
- South African Air fly twice daily from Johannesburg to Dar es Salaam.
- Kenya Airways fly daily from Nairobi to Dar es Salaam
- Air Mozambique fly on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from Mozambique to Dar es Salaam.
- Rwanda Air fly daily from Kigali to Dar es Salaam (except on Monday)
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines fly daily from Amsterdam to Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro.
- Swiss Air fly daily from Zurich to Dar es Salaam (except on Tuesday).
- Turkish Airlines fly daily from Istanbul to Dar es Salaam.
- Condor Air fly only on Monday and Friday from Frankfurt to Dar es Salaam
- Egypt Airline fly daily from Cairo to Dar es Salaam (except on Wednesday)
- Oman Air fly daily from Oman to Dar es Salaam
- Ethiopian Airlines fly twice daily from Addis Ababa to Dar es Salaam.
- Tanzania can also be reached via African gateways served by Air Zimbabwe, Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways and South African Airways.
International flights serve Dar es Salaam, eight miles from the city centre and Kilimanjaro, 31 miles from Arusha. Zanzibar airport is 5 miles from Stone Town.
An international airport tax of US$40 is levied, however this is often included in the price of an air ticket. Airport tax for domestic flights is 16,000 TShs (approximately US$8).
Coastal areas are hot and humid with an average daytime temperature of 30ºC. Sea breezes make the climate very pleasant from June to September. The central plateau experiences hot days and cool nights.
The hilly country between the coast and the northern highlands has a pleasant climate from January to September, with temperatures averaging around 20ºC. Temperatures vary around Kilimanjaro according to the season, registering a low 15ºC during May - August rising to 22ºC during December - March.
For the whole country, the hottest months are from October to February. The main, long rainy season is from mid-March to May.
English is widely spoken but any attempts at a few words of Kiswahili will always be appreciated
Distances in Tanzania are vast, and travel by road can be tiring. It is wise to spend more time in fewer parks. You will see more and won't return home exhausted. Flying in small planes is a recommended way to maximize on time.
Keep your distance from animals and be quiet to avoid distressing them. Always follow the instructions of your ranger or guide. Don't leave your vehicle in the parks except in designated places. Keep to recognized tracks to avoid damaging vegetation.
Not normally obligatory, but a tip for exceptional service - a maximum of 10% - will be appreciated. Tip US$15 per day for drivers or tour guides but remember that an excessive tip can make it difficult for the next customer.