Information & Facts
Synonymous with the Serengeti and the magical and tropical
island of Zanzibar, Tanzania is an eco-tourist's dream and a great
place to see sights of a wilder variety.
With so many wonderful game-viewing opportunities abounding in
Tanzania, the most popular parks include the Mt Kilimanjaro Game
Park and the Serengeti National Park. Off the shore of mainland
Africa, Zanzibar is known for crystalline turquoise waters and
sandy white beaches on its north shore. And while you're there, be
sure to stop off at the National Museum and the Palace Museum.
The quickest and most comfortable way to travel round this
magical country is to fly between cities, but for the more rural
area and game parks it's advisable to hire a car or preferably a
4x4. But for those on a budget, bus is the cheapest and easiest way
Although Tanzanians come across as relaxed and friendly, it is
important to observe certain formalities, especially with
greetings. It is advisable to learn a few Swahili catch phrases
when greeting, followed by a handshake. Women and men rarely shake
hands in Swahili culture, however if the woman extends her hand,
the man is obliged. Tanzanians are to be addressed as Mr., Mrs.,
and Ms, followed by the family name. Business dress is seldom very
formal, however lightweight suits are recommended for formal
occasions. Business hours are similar to Western countries, but a
longer lunch break is taken during the hotter months, and business
continues later in the evening from Monday to Friday.
Tanzania is hot throughout the year and is humid on the coast
and dry on the central plateau. The heavy rains last from March to
June and can make unsealed road travel difficult. The hot, dry
weather in January and February attracts the most tourists. The
best time to visit the Serengeti is from January to March when the
grazers are calving and there are plenty of lion around, or to
witness the wildebeest migration to and from Kenya which occurs at
the onset of the dry season and again with the first rains, usually
the beginning of June and mid-November. Zanzibar has a warm climate
year-round and its coastal resorts are tempered by sea breezes. The
island is best avoided in April and May, the rainy season.
The international country dialling code for Tanzania, as well as
Zanzibar, is +255. The outgoing code is 000, followed by the
relevant country code (e.g. 00027 for South Africa). City/area
codes are in use, e.g. (0)24 for Zanzibar and (0)22 for
Dar-es-Salaam. International calls made from rural areas may have
to go through the operator. Mobile phones work in the main urban
areas and Zanzibar; the network operators use GSM 900 and 1800
networks. Travellers should contact their service provider to
ensure they have international roaming. Avoid making telephone
calls from hotels; they can charge as much as $10 per minute.
Internet cafes are available in the main towns and resorts.
Visitors to Zanzibar should be aware that it is a predominantly
Muslim area and a modest dress code, especially for women, should
be respected when away from the beach and in public places. Topless
sunbathing is a criminal offence. Smoking in public places is
Travellers to Tanzania do not have to pay duty on 250g tobacco
or 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars, 500ml of alcoholic beverages, and
473ml perfume. Restrictions apply to firearms, plants, plant
products and fruits.
230 volts AC, 50Hz. Rectangular or round three-pin
plugs are used.
Travellers are advised to take medical advice at least three
weeks before leaving for Tanzania. Most visitors will need
vaccinations for hepatitis A, typhoid, yellow fever and polio.
Those arriving from an infected country are required to hold a
yellow fever vaccination certificate. There is a risk of malaria
all year and outbreaks of Rift Valley Fever occur; travellers
should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Food prepared by
unlicensed vendors should also be avoided, as meat and milk
products from infected animals may not have been cooked thoroughly.
Sleeping sickness is a risk in the game parks, including the
Serengeti, and visitors should avoid bites by tsetse flies. There
is a high prevalence of HIV/Aids. Cholera outbreaks are common
throughout the country and visitors are advised to drink bottled or
sterilised water only. Travellers climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro are at
risk for altitude sickness. Medical services are available in
Dar-es-Salaam and other main towns, but facilities and supplies are
limited; visitors with particular requirements should take their
own medicines. Comprehensive medical insurance is advised.
Swahili and English are the official languages. Several
indigenous languages are also spoken.
The official unit of currency is the Tanzanian shilling (TZS),
divided into 100 cents. The tourism industry prices everything in
US Dollars and they are the preferred unit of currency. Major
currencies can be exchanged in the larger towns. Foreign exchange
bureaux in the main towns usually offer a better rate on travellers
cheques than do the banks. ATMs are available in major cities only.
Major lodges, some hotels and travel agents in urban areas accept
credit cards, but these should not be relied on and can incur a 10%
All visitors entering Tanzania require a visa. Visitors may
obtain a visa on arrival at Dar-es-Salaam or Zanzibar airports,
costing between US$50 and US$200 depending on nationality, payable
in cash. All visitors also require proof of sufficient funds and
should hold documentation for their return or onward journey.
Passports should be valid for at least six months from date of
entry. Those arriving from an infected country must hold a yellow
fever vaccination certificate. It is highly recommended that
passports have at least six months validity remaining after your
intended date of departure from your travel destination.
Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated
by travel agents and official sources.
As in other East African countries, the threat from terrorism is
high and visitors should be cautious in public places and tourist
sites and hotels, particularly in Zanzibar's Stone Town. The area
bordering Burundi should be avoided. Street crime is a problem in
Tanzania, especially in Dar-es-Salaam where tourists should be
alert and cautious. Lonely beaches and footpaths are often
targeted; women are particularly vulnerable to attacks. Visitors
should leave valuables in their hotel safe and not carry too much
cash on them at any time. Armed crime is on the increase and there
have been serious attacks on foreigners in Arusha and on Pemba
Island. In February 2007 a party of tourists were also robbed by
armed men near Ngorongoro Crater. Road accidents are common in
Tanzania due to poor road and vehicle conditions, violation of
traffic regulations and exhaustion among long-distance drivers. In
the most recent accident, a bus travelling to the popular tourist
town Arusha plunged off a bridge into the river after the driver
lost control of the vehicle, killing at least 47 passengers.
Waiters in the better restaurants should be tipped around 10%.
Guides, porters and cooks in the wildlife parks and on safari trips
expect tips. The amount is discretionary according to standard of
service and the number in your party.