There's nothing like up-to-date, relevant travel information direct from the experts - get essential Tanzania travel advice before you go
Things to know before Travel to Tanzania
Money & Spending
Tanzania's unit of currency is the Tanzanian Shilling but our advice is to use US Dollars only - and in cash: credit cards and traveller's cheques (although accepted in most establishments) incur hefty transaction fees.
ATMs are found throughout the major towns in Tanzania but in case they are out of service you should always have a supply of back-up cash. Note that due to the number of fake notes in circulation, no US Dollar bills printed before 2003 will be accepted in Tanzania.
Tipping In Tanzania Safari
Tipping lodge staff and drivers/guides is customary for good service on a Tanzania safari, but check first to see whether a service charge has been added to your bill. Tipping is always in addition to the price quoted by your operator and the amount varies depending on the size of your group, the level of luxury of the safari and whether you thought an exceptionally good job was done. When travelling in the major Tanzania cities, a 10% tip is customary in restaurants and bars when a service charge is not included. For in-depth tipping guidelines, enquire with one of our Africa Safari Experts – they’d be happy to share their knowledge with you.
Climate in Tanzania
Average summer temperatures: 18°C to 29°C
Average winter temperatures: 15°C to 26°C
Rainy season: mid-March to May (“long rains”) and November to December (“short rains”).
Refer to “best time to visit Tanzania” for climate charts, details on the best wildlife-viewing times and when to witness the Serengeti migration. When travelling in the major Tanzania cities, a 10% tip is customary in restaurants and bars when a service charge is not included. For in-depth tipping guidelines, enquire with one of our Africa Safari Experts – they’d be happy to share their knowledge with you.
Safari Packing List Tanzania || What to Pack
When packing for your Tanzania safari, light casual clothing in practical, neutral colours and a warm jacket for evening game drives are a safe bet throughout the year. For more on what to pack for a safari, refer to our Africa Safari Guide travel advice section.
When visiting Zanzibar it is important for women to dress modestly out of respect for Muslim cultural beliefs. T-shirts that cover the shoulders, long skirts and capri pants are generally better options than tank tops and shorts.
When travelling in the major Tanzania cities, a 10% tip is customary in restaurants and bars when a service charge is not included.
For in-depth tipping guidelines, enquire with one of our Africa Safari Experts – they’d be happy to share their knowledge with you.
Religious belief is strong in Tanzania with Christianity and Islam dominating. Most Muslims live on the coast and in Zanzibar; visitors should be aware of the conservative nature of these destinations and dress and behave accordingly.
Tanzanians are renowned for being friendly and harmonious people; however it is courteous to ask permission before photographing people.
Visa and Passport Requirements
Almost all visitors to Tanzania require a visa, which costs between US$20 and US$50 for a single-entry visa valid for three months. You should try to obtain a visa for Tanzania before departing your home country (especially if you require multiple entry); however, visas can also be purchased at Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro airports as long as you are able to pay cash in US dollars. Visitors to Tanzania must possess a passport that is valid for six months after the initial date of travel.
Tanzanian People and Culture
Tanzania’s 46 million inhabitants are overwhelmingly young and non-urban: half the population is under 15 and more than 80% live in rural areas. Some 120 ethnic groups make up the African population and there are significant numbers of Asians, Arabs and Europeans but Tanzania has long promoted a harmonious national culture, one that is based on a subtle but strong social code of courtesy and respect.
English and Swahili are the official languages.
Tanzania Landscapes & Wildlife
Lying between the two arms of the Rift Valley, Tanzania's huge central plateau is bounded to the west by Africa's great lakes, to the north by mountains (including Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak) and to the east by the Indian Ocean coast. Most of the country is covered in grassland, open woodland and savannah but significant pockets of rainforest exist in remote mountain ranges.
Home to 20% of Africa's large mammals, Tanzania is the continent's premier game viewing destination. More than 25% of the country is given over to conservation and several Tanzania animal reserves rank among the biggest in the world. Most visitors head for northern Tanzania where the most famous and accessible animal reserves are but huge, virtually unvisited savannah and rainforest reserves lie in south and central Tanzania, delivering genuine off-the-beaten-track safaris.
Tanzania wildlife highlights include the wildebeest migration which moves through the Serengeti from November to July; abundant predators; East Africa's easiest Big 5 game viewing at the Ngorongoro Crater; chimpanzee trekking in Gombe Stream and the Mahale Mountains; plus - with a bird list of 1 100 - some of the world's best bird watching.
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