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Tanzania Travel Tips & Information

We’ve outlined  few Tanzania travel tips that you should be aware before visiting the gifted Africa continent but to be more specifically  is Tanzania which is one among of 54 countries in Africa.

Swahili language is the National and official language used in Tanzania, the word “Karibu” which means ‘welcome’ you’re certainly going to feel at home when you arrive in Tanzania and get the opportunity to explore its national parks and meet its people karibu word will be used by many local people wherever you go.

Language

Tanzania has two official languages: Swahili and English. Swahili, which has its origins in Zanzibar, is the most commonly spoken language in both Tanzania and Kenya.

English is widely spoken, however you may wish to bring along a Swahili to English phrasebook to give you access to the basics. The locals are always appreciative if you know a little bit of Swahili!

Below you’ll find a few useful Swahili phrases to get you started.

Useful Swahili Phrases

  • Karibu: Welcome.
  • Habari/Hujambo: Hello.
  • Habari?/Habari yako?: How are you?
  • Nzuri: Good. Standard reply to how are you.
  • Samahani: Sorry.
  • Mambo vipi? : How are you ?/how do you feel
  • Poa: cool, reply to how are you doing
  • Asante: Thank you.
  • Chakula: Food.
  • Mzungu: White people
  • Rafiki: Friend.
  • Hapana: No.
  • Ndio: Yes.

Time

Tanzania is in the +3 GMT time zone. The sun rises at approximately 6.30 in the morning and sets at around 18.45 in the evening.

The locals also use what is known as Swahili Time, which is quite a bit different to the conventional way of keeping time as we know it. 1:00 in the morning is the first hour after the sunrise (approximately 7am) and 1:00 in the evening is the first hour after sunset (approximately 7pm).

That being said, most businesses will operate using the standard way of measuring time.

 

Tanzania travel tips

Food

Africa luxury food tour

Tanzania’s tourism industry means that there is a great variety of high quality food available. Hotels and restaurants provide cuisine from all around the world as well as local cuisine, so you can immerse yourself fully with Tanzanian food or sample the comforts of home.

Traditional Tanzanian food features plenty of meat (especially beef, chicken, and fish), rice, and vegetables. It’s simple, hearty food often accompanied by ugali, a flour and water based dough similar to polenta and eaten by hand.

Tanzanian’s love seafood, and Zanzibar is a culinary paradise for those who love freshly caught fish, shrimp, and the like.

You’ll also notice the Indian and British influences on Tanzanian cuisine, with everything from spicy curries to old British staples such as fish & chips popular with locals and visitors alike. In larger cities you’ll encounter steak houses, burger joints, and stores selling cuisine from around the world.

Vegetarians are also well catered for in Tanzania. With fresh fruits such as mangoes, coconuts, and pineapples available in abundance. With Tanzanian food so rich in vegetables, legumes, and rice – you’ll be able to find delicious vegetarian food without any trouble.

For the most part, food in Tanzania is perfectly safe to eat. It would be advisable to avoid eating cold, pre-prepared foods.

Tanzania travel tips

Weather

Best time to go to Tanzania

Tanzania is a year round destination. Due to its close proximity to the equator there are only subtle climatic variations throughout the year. Generally the coastal areas have a tropical climate, the highlands in the north a temperate climate and the vast central plateau is hot and arid.

June to September, the cooler dry season, is the optimum time to visit Tanzania when the grasses and scrubs have receded and animals tend to congregate around diminishing water sources making already excellent game viewing easier and more comfortable. The temperature rises from October onward making lazy game easy to photograph. The light rains and warmer temperatures arrive in November bringing new life to Tanzania and by December, January and February the game have given birth to their young. Mid March through to May is characterised by heavy intermittent rain and the surrounding bush land is green and lush.

At any time of year the temperatures on the Ngorongoro Crater rim can be decidedly cooler than on the Crater floor and in the Serengeti this is particularly noted from mid-May through to August.

Getting around in Tanzania
Domestic flights link Dar es Salaam with Kilimanjaro and a number of other airports; small airlines serve game parks, small towns and Zanzibar. Ferries traverse the larger lakes and serve Zanzibar and Pemba from Dar es Salaam.

Buses, which vary enormously in levels of comfort, roadworthiness and overcrowding, serve most parts of Tanzania. Minibuses and dalla-dallas (even smaller buses) tend to run along shorter local routes and are even more packed.

The limited train service – Tazara line south-west from Dar es Salaam to the Zambian order, and the Central line north-west via Dodoma to Mwanza or Kigoma – is slow and unreliable. Driving in Tanzania is for the stout-hearted only.

Getting around in Tanzania

Domestic flights link Dar es Salaam with Kilimanjaro and a number of other airports; small airlines serve game parks, small towns and Zanzibar. Ferries traverse the larger lakes and serve Zanzibar and Pemba from Dar es Salaam.

Buses, which vary enormously in levels of comfort, road-worthiness and overcrowding, serve most parts of Tanzania. Minibuses and dalla-dallas (even smaller buses) tend to run along shorter local routes and are even more packed.

The limited train service – Tazara line south-west from Dar es Salaam to the Zambian order, and the Central line north-west via Dodoma to Mwanza or Kigoma – is slow and unreliable. Driving in Tanzania is for the stout-hearted only.

Tanzania accommodation

Camping in Tanzania can mean anything from basic clearings in National parks to luxurious tented lodges costing upwards of $200 per night. Similarly, guesthouses and hotels range from budget flophouses to top-end resorts.

In essence, you tend to get what you pay for, though some mid-range hotels offer good value. Avoid guesthouses with bars unless you plan to be up all night yourself.

 

Tanzania travel tips

Water

It is not safe to drink tap water in Tanzania. In fact, it is advisable to use tap water only for showering or washing your hands.

To avoid health problems, use only bottled or filtered water for drinking and brushing your teeth.

Bottled water is cheap and readily available in Tanzania, and all lodges and restaurants will have it available. Sote Tours vehicles always come stocked with plenty of bottled water to ensure you remain hydrated while on safari.

Currency

The official Tanzanian currency is the Tanzanian Shilling. They have coins for 50, 100, and 1000 shillings; and notes for 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, and 10,000 shillings.

The US Dollar is widely used, but may not be accepted in some establishments. It is also important to note that most businesses that do accept US currency will not do so if it is torn or wrinkled.

Notes must not be older than 2006, as local businesses will automatically reject these due to a past counterfeiting problem.

Banks & Currency Exchange

Currency can be exchanged at banks, currency exchange offices (which are plentiful in the city), and in most hotels. Hotels generally offer the least favorable exchange rates.

Banks in Tanzania are open from 8:30 am until 4 pm Monday to Friday, and from 9:00 am until 01:00 pm on Saturdays, there are few banks open on Sunday

Tanzania travel tips

Tax

The tax rate in Tanzania amounts to 16% for most products and services. There is no process for reclaiming this amount upon departing the country.

ATMs

ATMs that accept both Visa and MasterCard are available in most cities. You will be able to withdraw from your accounts in local (Tanzanian shillings) currency by entering your PIN. The daily withdrawal limit amounts to roughly $300 USD.

Be sure to alert your bank that you will be traveling to Africa. Many banks will deem transactions made out of your native country as suspicious, and may lock access to your accounts if you have not forewarned them.

Credit Card

International credit cards (especially Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Thomas Cook) are accepted in most stores, restaurants, hotels, camping sites, lodges, car rental companies, etc. Many smaller stores will not have EFTPOS facilities, so it is generally better to carry cash.

Credit cards typically attract a 5-15% tax.

Traveler’s Cheques
Traveler’s cheques are not accepted anywhere in Tanzania.

 

Tanzania travel tips

Visas & Passports

Visa East Africa

Entering Tanzania requires both a valid passport and a Tanzanian visa. While the information below is up to date at the time of writing, it is advisable to always check ahead to ensure visa processes or charges have not changed.

 

How to process visa and other details of immigration please visit this link immigration website 

Who needs a visa?

With the exception of Hong Kong, Jamaica, Barbados, Malaysia, and roughly a dozen African nations; everybody entering Tanzania is required to have a tourist visa.

Passport

To enter Tanzania, you’ll also need a passport with at least six months validity remaining. If you are planning to apply for a visa upon arrival, you will also need two free, adjacent pages remaining in your passport.

How to obtain a VISA

Visas are available upon arrival in Tanzania, whether you’re landing at the airport or are making a border crossing.

The cost of a visa upon arrival is $50 for non US citizens, and $100 for US citizens. This should be paid in USD. Other currencies are not accepted.

If you have any further questions about the visa process you can visit immigration website don’t hesitate to contact us. That’s what we’re here for!

Tipping

Tipping is customary in Tanzania, and is very much a part of the incomes of many people in the hospitality and tourism industry.

As a general rule of thumb, tipping for satisfactory service should be as follows:

Safari and Kilimanjaro climbing guides: $20 per person per day.
Cooks, Porters, Caddies etc.: $15 per person per day.

Electricity and Electronic Devices

Tanzanian power outlets use 220-240V, 50Hz. If you are traveling from a country with a voltage less than 220V should check whether or not their electronic devices have a dual voltage power supply. If not, you may need to purchase a converter before leaving.

Generally speaking, most electronics (smart phones, digital cameras, tablets, and computers) work on a dual voltage basis. Electrical appliances such as razors and hair dryers do not..

Tanzania uses the 3 pin ‘British’ plug, which is comprised of three square/rectangular pegs. Travel adaptors can be purchased at airports and at most larger department stores.

When on safari, it is advisable to bring along items that run on batteries. While most hotels and our vehicles do have power outlets in which you can charge your devices, in campsites or lodges that run on generators, you may not have access to electricity to charge your appliances.

 

Tanzania travel tips

Safety

Tanzania is one of the safest countries in East Africa, but you never can be too careful when you’re on the road. While safari areas are generally very safe, the country is no stranger to criminal activity. Like any other country in the world, there is always some risk of theft.

It is advisable that you listen closely to your guide’s advice at all times, and that is especially true in some urban areas. Either leave your valuables (such as many, electronics, credit cards, and documentation) behind in your hotel room’s safe, or carry them with you in concealed inner pockets.

Don’t flaunt your valuables in public, as this may draw unwanted attention to you. Pickpockets are particularly active in heavily tourist areas, so it pays to be cautious when in cities and areas popular with tourists.

It is always a good idea to make copies of all of your important documents and keep them in your luggage.

 

Tanzania travel tips

Health

As a developing country, Tanzania has issues with a number of potential harmful diseases. Thankfully, many of these can be vaccinated against before you travel.

Before departing for your trip, it is advisable that you speak with your physician about getting vaccinated against the following:

Typhoid
Hepatitis A & B
Meningitis
Rabies
These are in addition to the vaccinations that all travelers should have up to date regardless of where they are traveling, such as: MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, chickenpox, polio, and a flu shot.

It is also advisable that you speak with your physician about measures that you can take to minimize your chance of exposure to malaria and cholera.

Finally, if you are traveling from an area where yellow fever is a problem, you will be required to have a yellow fever vaccination as a condition of entry. If you are traveling from such an area and do not have a vaccination certificate, your visa application may be denied.

Malaria is prevalent throughout Tanzania, except in high altitude areas (above 1,800m) such as Mt. Kilimanjaro and Ngorongoro. Malaria medications differ from country to country dependent on conditions, so be sure to advise your physician that you’ll be traveling to Tanzania. Saying you’ll be traveling to Africa is not enough, as conditions differ greatly between countries. You should begin taking your malaria medication a few days before your trip, and continue to take it for a short period after you have returned home.

HIV/AIDS are no more a problem here than they are anywhere else in the world. Provided you are not taking undue risks, you have nothing to fear.

When it comes to medical attention, nurses and doctors in Tanzania are highly qualified, Most camping sites, lodges, and hotels have on site physicians and are in close contact with the Flying Doctors Service should an evacuation be needed.

Rules and Regulations

Tanzania, like all countries, has rules and laws that need to be followed. These include:

It is illegal to sunbathe topless;
It is illegal to urinate in public;
The buying, selling, and use of drugs is illegal;
It is advisable not to talk on the telephone while inside a bank;
It is forbidden to take plants, animals, seeds, minerals, archaeological finds, corals, ivory, or sea turtle shells out of Tanzania;
Without prior authorization, you should not photograph the President or certain public facilities such as military bases, airports, bridges, police stations etc.

Dress Code

There is no dress code for safari, however it is advised that you were inconspicuous clothes in brown, green, beige, khaki, or other neutral colours so as not to draw attention to yourself or frighten the animals away.

As driving distances can be quite long while on safari, it is advisable that you dress lightly and comfortably. With evenings able to get quite cold, it is also advisable to bring along warmer clothes.

Guests of certain lodges may also be expected to wear trousers and collared shirts for dinner (for men) or dresses (for women)

Tanzania is a conservative country, so don’t dress provocatively.

Telephones and Internet

The international code for calling Tanzania is +255.

Almost all campsites and lodges in Tanzania offer phone and internet services. Internet cafes can also be found in different Tanzania regions.

Cell/Mobile Providers

There are five mobile providers in Tanzania: TTCL, Airtel, Zantel, Vodacom, and Tigo; all of which offer roaming services. Mobile network coverage for both data and phone calls is quite good across Tanzania. You should still be able to access your phone while on safari, although some areas of the national parks do not receive coverage.

In emergencies, your relatives can also reach you by calling our telephone numbers or emailing us in the office.

Postal Services

The postal service in Tanzania is well organized. Sending and receiving letters poses no problem at all, however telegrams are less reliable.

Most hotels offer fax, email, and internet services for guests to use.

Stamps can be purchased at the post office, in souvenir shops, and in most hotels.

 

Tanzania travel tips

Tanzania Public Holidays

1 Jan – New Year’s Day

12 Jan – Zanzibar Revolution Day

26 April – Union Day

01 May – Worker’s Day

07 July – Peasant’s Day (also called Saba Saba, which mean 7-7)

09 Dec – Tanganyika Independence Day

Muslim Festivals, including Ramadan, and Prophet’s birthday, account for four days of public holiday, and their precise dates depend on the lunar calendar.

Good Friday and Easter Monday are also observed.