Sunset in Serengeti
Sunset in Serengeti

Serengeti

Sunset in Serengeti
Photo by Hu Chen

TANZANIA

Africa

Tanzania Travel Information

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Key facts

Capital:

Dodoma

Location:

Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Kenya and Mozambique

Currency:

Tanzanian shillings (TZS)

Area:

947,300 sq km

Population:

62,092,761 (July 2021 est.)

Languages:

Kiswahili or Swahili (official), Kiunguja (name for Swahili in Zanzibar), English (official, primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education), Arabic (widely spoken in Zanzibar), many local languages; note - Kiswahili (Swahili) is the mother tongue of the Bantu people living in Zanzibar and nearby coastal Tanzania; although Kiswahili is Bantu in structure and origin, its vocabulary draws on a variety of sources including Arabic and English; it has become the lingua franca of central and eastern Africa; the first language of most people is one of the local languages

Religion:

Christian 63.1%, Muslim 34.1%, folk religion 1.1%, Buddhist <1%, Hindu <1%, Jewish <1%, other <1%, unspecified 1.6% (2020 est.)

TimeZone:

UTC+3

Tel Code:

+255

Weather

Climate

Tanzania has a tropical climate, with two distinct rainy seasons. The long rains occur from March to May, and the short rains from October to December. The rest of the year is relatively dry, with temperatures remaining warm throughout. The coastal regions tend to be more humid, while the inland regions are generally dry and hot.

Best time to visit

Dry season (June-September)

The best time to visit Tanzania is during the dry season, which runs from June to September. This is the time when the weather is the most stable and the wildlife is most active. It's also the peak tourist season, so it's best to book accommodation and safari tours well in advance.

Shoulder season (January-February and November)

The shoulder season, which runs from January to February and November, is also a good time to visit. The weather is still relatively dry and stable, and there are fewer tourists, which can make for a more authentic experience.

Rainy season (March-May and October-December)

The rainy season is not the best time to visit Tanzania, as the heavy rains can make travel difficult and disrupt safari plans. However, it is also less crowded and the prices tend to be lower. If you're planning to visit during the rainy season, it's best to focus on the northern circuit, where the rains are less heavy.

Transportation

Bus

Buses are a popular and inexpensive way to get around Tanzania. The bus system is extensive and covers most parts of the country, although it can be crowded and uncomfortable at times. Buses in Tanzania are operated by both government-run and private companies and have different levels of comfort and safety standard.

Train

Trains are a great way to explore Tanzania, offering scenic routes and comfortable seating. The train system is limited and mainly covers the central corridor, which connects major cities such as Dar es Salaam, Dodoma and Tabora. However, train travel can be slow and the trains can get crowded, especially during peak season.

Car rental

Car rental is a popular option for those who want more flexibility and independence when traveling around Tanzania. There are many car rental companies in the country, with a wide range of vehicles available to rent. However, it's important to be aware of the local traffic laws and road conditions before renting a car. It is also important to note that most of the national parks can only be accessed by 4x4 vehicles.

Fly

Tanzania has a few domestic airlines that operate flights to most of the major tourist destinations, and this can be a convenient and relatively fast way to travel around the country. However, it can be quite expensive compared to other options and some of the smaller airports and airstrips have limited flights schedule.

Taxi and Tuk-tuk

Taxis and tuk-tuks are a popular and inexpensive way to get around in cities and towns. They are convenient for short distances, however, it's important to agree on a fare before setting off and be aware of the traffic conditions. Taxis and tuk-tuks are not always available in rural areas and remote destinations.

Accommodation

Hotels

Tanzania has a wide range of hotels, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly guesthouses. Many of the larger hotels are located in tourist hotspots such as Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Zanzibar, but there are also many smaller, more intimate hotels located in more remote areas of the country.

Guesthouses

Guesthouses are a popular accommodation option for budget-conscious travelers in Tanzania. These small, family-run establishments offer basic amenities and a homely atmosphere at a fraction of the cost of a hotel. Guesthouses can be found in most towns and cities across Tanzania, as well as in rural areas.

Campsites

Campsites are a popular option for budget-conscious travelers and adventure enthusiasts. There are many campsites in Tanzania, which are particularly popular with hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Some campsites offer basic facilities such as toilets and showers, while others offer more luxurious amenities such as private bathrooms and hot water. Many of the national parks in Tanzania have designated campsites, which are a great way to experience the parks and their wildlife.

Luxury lodges and tented camps

Tanzania is home to many luxury lodges and tented camps, which offer an upscale accommodation option. These properties are located in prime wildlife-viewing areas such as the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Selous Game Reserve. They offer comfortable accommodations, delicious meals, and excellent wildlife-viewing opportunities.

Homestays

Homestays provide an immersive cultural experience, as travelers stay with a local family in their home. This type of accommodation is becoming increasingly popular in Tanzania and can be found in many rural areas, as well as some towns and cities. Homestays offer a unique opportunity to experience Tanzanian culture and hospitality firsthand.

Money

Money Tips for Travel

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with international transactions.
  • Bring a mix of cash, credit, and debit cards--and possibly a travel money card.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.
  • Make sure to have a backup option for accessing money in case your primary method doesn't work.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • NEVER accept currency conversion at ATMs! Always get your home bank to convert at much better rates.
  • Think about getting a Wise or other travel debit card; these can provide much better rates and some free ATM withdrawals.

ATM and Credit Cards

  • Research the availability of ATMs and credit card acceptance at your destination before you depart.
  • Keep your ATM card in a safe place and be mindful of your surroundings when using it.
  • Try to stick to using ATMs that are affiliated with major banks.
  • Keep your credit card information safe and secure, and be aware of potential scams.
  • Make sure your cards have the necessary security features, such as chip and pin.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.

Exchange Rates

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • Be careful of places that may offer to exchange money at rates that seem too good to be true.

Mobile

When traveling, getting mobile access is very important these days. If you are working remotely, wanting to update social media, or need to access your banks SMS authentication messages having a reliable service is a must. At WhereNext we recommend:

eSIM

Services such as those offered by our partner, Airalo, allow you to easily order and install an eSIM for different countries or regions that you are traveling in.

Dual SIM phone

If you have a phone that supports dual SIM's then you can get a SIM on arrival for each country, this is probably better done at a telco store rather than at the airport.

Extend your home plan

Depending on where you live and your mobile service provider you may be able to extend your plan to cover mobile roaming at reasonable rates.

Keep your primary SIM

With the amount of accounts we all have that require two factor authentication via SMS, keeping a constant number for these accounts is a must.

Community

There are several online communities and platforms that you can use to meet people while traveling, both for making new friends or for networking professionally. Some popular options include:

Facebook groups

There are many Facebook groups dedicated to connecting people while traveling, from expat groups and travel communities to groups specific to certain cities or regions of the country. You can search for groups based on your interests or location and connect with others who share similar interests.

Meetup

Meetup is a platform that allows you to find groups of people that share your interests in your local area. There are Meetup groups all around the world, and they cover a wide range of topics, such as language exchange, sports, and cultural activities.

Internations

Internations is a social network for people who live or work abroad. It has a large community of expats and organizes regular events, activities and gatherings that allow members to connect and socialize.

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a platform that connects travelers with local hosts, who offer free accommodation and a chance to experience the local culture. It's a great way to meet locals and make friends!

Reddit

Reddit has a large community, and there are several subreddits dedicated to connecting expats and travelers. You can use it to ask questions, get advice, and connect with others who are also living or traveling in the country.

Linkedin

LinkedIn is primarily a professional network, but you can also use it to connect with people who work in the same industry or have similar backgrounds. It can be useful to connect with people before you arrive and establish a few professional contacts to help you get started.

At WhereNext, we use Nomad List as a global community and then research more local ones for our destination. These are just a few examples of online communities you can use to meet people; please suggest any others that you think are appropriate for this destination.

Insurance

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It covers a wide range of needs--even some you might not expect!

Medical Coverage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for medical expenses if you become ill or injured while traveling. This can include coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, and emergency medical transportation. It's also a good idea to ensure that your travel insurance covers COVID-19 related illness and delays!

Trip Cancellation and Interruption

Travel insurance can provide coverage if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unexpected events such as illness, weather, or travel bans. It can also provide coverage if your trip is delayed or if your travel provider goes out of business.

Lost or Stolen Luggage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for lost or stolen luggage, as well as personal items such as passports and electronic devices.

Emergency Assistance and Evacuation

Many travel insurance plans offer emergency assistance services, such as providing information on local hospitals and doctors, assistance with replacing lost or stolen documents, and help with arranging transportation in the event of an emergency. At WhereNext we have partnered with Global Rescue for evacuation services, which are highly recommended if you are undertaking dangerous activities or are travelling to dangerous parts of the world.

Liability coverage

Travel insurance can also provide liability coverage in case you cause an accident or harm someone while you are traveling.

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It can help cover the costs of medical expenses, trip cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, and more. It's always a good idea to review the coverage and compare the different options available before making a decision. At WhereNext we both use and have partnered with Safety Wing for general travel insurance.

Entry Requirements

Here are some general travel tips regarding entry requirements that apply across all countries:

Passport

Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in the country you are visiting. Some countries will not allow you to enter if your passport is set to expire within a certain period of time.

Visa

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if you need a visa. Some countries require a visa for entry, while others do not. Make sure to apply for a visa well in advance of your trip as the process can take several weeks. Check the latest Visa requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Health Requirements and COVID-19 Rules

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if there are any health requirements for entry. Some countries require vaccinations or proof of medical insurance. Check the latest health requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Travel Insurance

Consider purchasing travel insurance, especially if you are traveling internationally. Travel insurance can cover you in the event of trip cancellation, medical emergencies, and other unexpected events. Our travel insurance partner is SafetyWing. For dangerous activities and/or countries consider a rescue service like those offered by our partner, Global Rescue.

Customs

Be familiar with the customs and laws of the country you are visiting. Some countries have strict laws regarding drug possession, alcohol consumption, and dress codes.

Currency

Check the currency exchange rate and make sure you have enough local currency for your trip. Some countries may not accept credit cards or travelers cheques, so it is always good to have some cash on hand. At WhereNext we recommend use a Wise debit card, which provides low cost currency conversions and ATM withdrawals.

Research the country

Research about the culture, customs and laws of the country you are visiting. It will help you to understand the place more and also prepare you better for the trip.

Contact Information

Make a copy of your passport and keep it in a separate place from your passport. Also, leave a copy of your itinerary and contact information with a friend or family member at home.

COVID Status

I am vaccinated 
Tanzania Closed
Test
Required
Quarantine
Not required

Check Visa Requirements

      Things to Do

      Tanzania is a land of incredible natural beauty, with a vast array of activities and experiences to enjoy. From the famous wildlife and wilderness of the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater, to the white sandy beaches of Zanzibar and the towering peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, there's something for everyone in this East African country. Here are some of the top things to do in Tanzania:

      1. Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

      As the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro is a must-see for any adventure seeker. The climb to the summit is a challenging but rewarding experience, offering stunning views and the satisfaction of reaching the rooftop of Africa.

      2. Safari in the Serengeti

      The Serengeti is one of the most famous wildlife destinations in the world, and for good reason. The park is home to an incredible array of animals, including the Big Five (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and rhino), as well as large herds of wildebeest and zebras.

      3. Explore the Ngorongoro Crater

      The Ngorongoro Crater is a massive caldera formed by the collapse of a volcano, and is now home to an abundance of wildlife. The crater is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is often referred to as the "eighth wonder of the world."

      4. Relax on the Beaches of Zanzibar

      Zanzibar is an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania, known for its white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and exotic culture. The island is a perfect place to relax and unwind after a busy safari or climb.

      5. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride

      Take to the skies for a once-in-a-lifetime hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti. The early morning ride offers a unique perspective of the wildlife and landscapes below.

      6. Discover Olduvai Gorge

      Olduvai Gorge is a significant archaeological site and the location of some of the oldest known human remains. It offers a glimpse into the history of human evolution and the development of our ancestors.

      7. Visit Lake Victoria

      Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa, and the source of the Nile River. The lake offers a variety of activities, such as fishing, boat rides, and swimming.

      8. Visit Tarangire National Park

      The Tarangire National Park is known for its large elephant herds and baobab trees. The park also offers a chance to spot a variety of other wildlife including big cats, primates, and antelopes.

      9. Visit the Maasai Mara

      The Maasai Mara is a large game reserve in Kenya that borders the Serengeti. The reserve is known for its large herds of wildebeest and zebras, as well as the annual wildebeest migration.

      10. Visit Stone Town

      Stone Town is the historical part of Zanzibar City. It is famous for its winding streets, bustling markets, and beautiful architecture. The town is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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