These Tanzania travel tips will help you plan your trip to Tanzania. This page has information about visas, health, safety and when to go.
Citizens of the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, and most countries in the EU, need a tourist visa to enter Tanzania. Application details and forms can be found on Tanzanian Embassy web sites. Tanzanian embassies issue single ($50) and double ($100) entry visas (handy if you’re planning to cross over to Kenya or Malawi for a few days). They do not issue visas for more than two entries.
Tanzanian tourist visas are valid for 6 months from the date of issue. So while planning ahead for visas is a good thing, make sure the visa is still valid for the length of time you plan to travel in Tanzania.
You can obtain a visa at all airports in Tanzania as well as at the border crossings, but it is advised to get a visa beforehand. In order to get a visa you have to have proof that you plan to leave Tanzania within 3 months of your arrival.
Health and Immunizations
No immunizations are required by law to enter Tanzania if you are traveling directly from Europe or the US. If you are traveling from a country where Yellow Fever is present you will need to prove you have had the inoculation.
Several vaccinations are highly recommended when traveling to Tanzania, they include:
- Yellow Fever
- Hepatitis A
It is also recommended that you are up to date with your polio and tetanus vaccinations.Rabies is also prevalent and if you’re planning to spend a lot of time in Tanzania, it may be worth getting the rabies shots before you go. Contact a travel clinic at least 3 months before you plan to travel.
There’s a risk of catching malaria pretty much everywhere you travel in Tanzania. While it’s true that areas of high altitude like the Ngorongoro Conservation Area are relatively malaria-free, you will usually be passing through areas where malaria is prevalent in order to get there.
Tanzania is home to the chloroquine-resistant strain of malaria as well as several others. Make sure your doctor or travel clinic knows you are traveling to Tanzania (don’t just say Africa) so s/he can prescribe the right anti-malarial medication.
Safety & Security in Tanzania
Tanzania is, overall, a safe country to visit. This is even more so if your visit is primarily an organized safari. Almost a million tourists visit Tanzania every year and most visits are trouble-free. There have been several terrorist attacks in the past, but the last one, where a hotel was bombed, was in 2002. Unfortunately, terrorism has become part of life and it is very difficult if not impossible, to safeguard against it. Fortunately, incidents are very rare and the chance of being a random victim is almost negligent. As with many third-world countries, theft and muggings are relatively common, but most incidents are in cities like Dar-es-Salaam and Arusha. Walking alone around the city is not recommended. An overnight stay at a reputable hotel or an organized visit to one of the many attractions in or around the city is fine.
Basic Safety Rules for Travelers to Tanzania
- Make a copy of your passport and keep it in your luggage.
- Don’t walk on your own at night in the major cities or on empty beaches especially in Pemba and Zanzibar.
- Don’t wear jewelry.
- Don’t carry too much cash with you.
- Wear a money belt that fits under your clothes.
- Don’t carry a lot of camera equipment especially in the major cities.
- Beware of thieves posing as police officers.
Roads in Tanzania are pretty bad. Potholes, road blocks, goats and people tend to get in the way of vehicles and the rainy season completely wipes out half the country’s roads. Avoid driving a car or riding a bus at night because that’s when most accidents happen. If you are renting a car, keep the doors and windows locked while driving in the major cities. Car-jacking occur fairly regularly but may not end in violence as long as you comply with demands made.
In 1998 a terrorist attack on the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam left 11 dead and 86 injured. The US, UK and Australian governments are all warning that more attacks may occur specifically in Zanzibar and/or Dar es Salaam. Vigilance is required, but there’s no need to avoid visiting these places — people are still visiting New York and London after all.
When to Go to Tanzania
The rainy seasons in Tanzania are from March to May and November to December. Roads become washed out and some parks even have to close. But, the rainy season is the perfect time to get good deals on safaris and enjoy a quieter experience without the crowds.
- The best months to climb Kilimanjaro are January, February and September when it is warm and dry.
- The best time to see the annual migration of millions of wildebeest and zebras is February to March when they have their young. The dry season (June to November) in general is the best time to go on safari in Tanzania since the animals congregate around the water holes and river banks.
- The best time to enjoy the beaches of Zanzibar and Pemba is between July and October when there are less tourists escaping the European winter and there’s little chance of rain.