I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up and was not happy.”Ernest Hemingway
Tanzania is the most incredible country, It’s the Africa of your dreams.
Home to the Serengeti, Mount Kilimanjaro, and the paradise island of Zanzibar, there’s something for everyone in Tanzania – it really does have it all!
To help you plan your dream trip to Tanzania, I’ve created this helpful Tanzania Travel Guide, with lots of info and resources, useful links, and all of my Tanzania blog posts!
Currency: Tanzanian Shilling (TZS)
Languages: Swahili is the main language, however there are over 100 regional languages spoken and English is widely understood. See my list of the most useful Swahili words and phrases here.
Visa: A 90-day Single Entry Visa is $50 for most nationalities. However, the fee for American citizens is $100 but the visa is valid for 12 months. Volunteers usually go in on a tourist visa, but then must apply for a Class C volunteer when there which costs $200. Most nationalities can get visas on arrival, however some need to apply in advance. You can check your visa regulations here.
Main Airport(s): Kilimanjaro International Airport (Arusha/Moshi), Julius Nyerere International Airport (Dar es Salaam), and Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (Zanzibar).
When To Go: The best time for wildlife viewing is during the dry season between June and October. The short rains come in November and December and the long rains come in March to May. However, if you want to see the wildebeest migration you will want to avoid August to October as the migration moves into Kenya during this time. The wildebeest calving takes place during January and February. Whale shark season on Mafia Island is usually March to November.
Malaria: Malaria is a risk in parts of Tanzania so I would advise that you see a doctor before visiting to ensure you are protected. You can see whether you need a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate here.
Yellow Fever: You can see whether you need a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate here.
Internet & Mobile: The two main networks in Tanzania are Airtel and Vodacom. From my experience, Vocacom has better coverage in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. In Zanzibar, Zantel is usually the best network.
Water: I’d advise buying bottled water or using a filter bottle like this LifeStraw one.
Safety: Tanzania is generally a safe country to visit however petty crime is common and there have been some reports of robberies and muggings in Dar es Salaam and Stone Town especially, so you need to keep your wits about you. I would advise you to take taxis after dark and if you do need to walk at night, keep to busy streets and preferably walk in a group. Unfortunately, being gay is an illegal offense in Tanzania, and in October 2018, the government announced an anti-gay crackdown and asked the public to report gay people. That includes foreigners, so be careful.
What to Pack: You can see my complete Africa Packing List here.
Plugs: In Tanzania they usually use British 3-pin style plus and occasionally European 2-pin style plugs.
- Lonely Planet Tanzania
- Bradt Tanzania Guide
- Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles
- The State of Africa: A History of the Continent Since Independence
- Memoirs of an Arabian Princess
- By the Sea
- The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories
Top Tip: Greetings are everything to Tanzanians, so make sure you greet people properly and extra bonus points if you do so in Swahili.
The Best Things To Do in Tanzania
Backpack Tanzania: If you’re looking for an African country that has it all, Tanzania is probably the one. Here’s my Tanzania itinerary in case you’d like to follow it!
Climb Mount Kilimanjaro: To this day, climbing Kilimanjaro was one of my most challenging yet best adventures in Africa.
Go on Safari: Tanzania It wouldn’t be a trip to Tanzania without going on safari would it? The most popular safari destinations are the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater, but you also have Lake Manyara, Tarangire, Ruaha and Selous (to name a few).
Take the Tazara Train: One of my favourite journeys was taking the Tazara train from Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
Visit to the Maasai Tribe: Visiting the Maasai and learning about their unique culture is a must-do experience in Tanzania. Just make sure your visit to the Maasai is an ethical one.
Hike the Usambara Mountains: The Usambaras are one of the friendliest and prettiest places in Tanzania and perfect if you love to hike. The most famous area is around the town of Lushoto which has incredible views over the surrounding area. However, if you want somewhere even more remote and more special, head to Mambo in the far north of the mountains. If at all possible, this place is even more beautiful than Lushoto.
Visit Historical Bagamoyo: My favourite town in Tanzania is the historical town of Bagamoyo, about and hour and a half north of Dar es Salaam.
Explore Stone Town: If you are looking for an incredible place to visit, Stone Town is an absolute assault on the senses, with so much going on, it’s hard to know where to look.
Relax on the Beaches of Zanzibar: Both Tanzania and Zanzibar have amazing beaches. Most notable in Tanzania are the beaches of Pangani. Whilst in Zanzibar you may like Kendwa, Nungwi, Jambiani, Paje and Michamvi.
See the Chimps in Mahale Mountains National Park: If you really want to get off the beaten track, head to Mahale National Park on the shores of Lake Tanganika. This is where Jane Goodall studied chimpanzees for many years.