Tanzania is a generally safe country, but don’t invite temptation. Keep an eye on your belongings. Don’t walk in the towns or cities at night. Take a taxi. Don’t take cameras or large amount of cash, also beware of pickpockets. Do not leave money or valuables in your hotel room and use a safe deposit box. We advise not to come with valuable jewellery which you should leave at home.
Tanzania police have established a special tourism unit to take care of the safety requirements of diplomatic mission members and other foreign tourists visiting destinations in the country. We believe that peace and security are critical factors in attracting more visitors to any destination.
The climate of northern Tanzania is tropical, having two rainy seasons and two dry seasons every year. The rainy season during April and May is called the long rain reason, and receives the most rainfall. The second rain season in November and December, the short rain season, has less rainfall. Southern Tanzania has one long rain season from November to May, with a spell of drier weather in January and February. The rest of the year is dry.
They may also be local climate patterns due to the geography, for example around mountains, large lakes and ocean.
Rain can not be ruled out completely during dry season, as there is good and bad weather in East Africa, but these seasons are generally dry.
The temperature in the highlands range between 10° C and 20° C (50-68° F), during cold and hot seasons respectively. The rest of the country the temperature is usually around 30° C/85° F or more. Temperature on Mount Kilimanjaro and Meru may drop to below freezing.
Tanzania Time Zone
GMT +3 hours.
Tanzania’s national language is kiSwahili and English is an official language. English is widely spoken but a few words of Swahili can be useful to visitors and will be appreciated greatly by locals. Tanzania has more than 120 different dialects.
The currency unit is the Tanzanian shilling. There are numerous banks in the major towns and cities as well as bureau de change. Hours of business vary from bank to bank, but most are open from 9h00 to 15h00, Monday to Fridays and from 9h00 to 1h00 on Saturdays. Most of bureau de changes work outside of these hours. It is advisable to take US Dollars with you, which are accepted everywhere.
You can get Tanzania shillings from ATMs. Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered, Exim Bank, CRDB Bank etc, can be found in the cities and major towns and their ATMs accept Visa and Master cards. We highly advise you to check with your bank regarding ATMs use in Tanzania. It is possible to withdraw Tanzanian shillings upon arrival at Kilimanjaro and Dar es salaam international airports. However, Stone Town is the only place in Zanzibar where you can find an ATM. There are no such facilities elsewhere on island. Credit cards are accepted in the major hotels and lodges, as well as gift shops.
Exchange rate: Of course the rates change all the time, but to give you an idea 1 USD is about 2,200 Tsh; Euro is about 2,500 Tsh, GBP is about 2,900 Tsh.
Yellow fever vaccination is mandatory. You will have to show your yellow fever vaccination certificate upon your entry to Tanzania. Malaria is endemic but is preventable, it occurs below 1,800 meters and you should use the recommended prophylactics. Please consult your doctor about these. The best way to prevent contracting malaria for the duration of your Tanzania vacation is to try and avoid mosquito bites by using an insect repellent, by sleeping under mosquito nets and to wear proper clothing after sunset.
Please consult your local travel clinic for the latest recommendations.
A visa is required by most travellers to Tanzania. Check current requirements with the nearest Tanzanian High Commission, Embassy or consulate. You can obtain your visa on arrival at all international airports and overland borders.
Tanzania gets cooler in the evenings and early mornings (especially the months of June/July/August/September). The best advice is to dress in layers with a sweater and light windbreaker. Early morning/night temperature can be around (40-60° F). During the day it can rise to around (70-86° F).
It is advised not to dress on bright and light colours for a number of reasons.
- Brighter colours are proven to attract tsetse flies.
- Brighter colours are proven to scare the animals.
- Lighter colours show dirt and dust less.
- The neutral range of colours do not absorb heat as much as darker colours and will you cooler.
When it comes to packing, a handy tip to remember is that all lodges and camps provide a daily laundry service which means you don’t have to pack as much.
For climbing on Kilimanjaro or Meru, please take thermal underwear, light layers, sweater, rain jacket, good socks and sturdy boots.
Please find out more on our recommended packing list.
The tourist areas and lodges sell a wide range of souvenirs, jewellery and trinkets. Don’t be afraid to haggle at roadside stalls (your driver guide will advise you where to shop and on a reasonable price). The most popular souvenirs are wooden handcraft, curios, and a famous love stone which is the well known gem stone, Tanzanite.
The packing list below is provided as a general guide on what to take on your African safari holiday. A safari won’t be fun if you have packed all the wrong stuff, so what to pack on safari is key to having a great time.
If you are catching a domestic flight in east Africa, you should be aware that the weight limit is 15 kg [33 lbs]. If your bags are heavier you may have to pay an excess luggage charge.
Soft-sided bags are mandatory on light aircrafts and due to the limited vehicle capacity. A lock for your bag is always useful.
- Passport (with visa entries)
- Health cards (vaccination certificate)
- Airline tickets/E-tickets
- Cash & traveller’s cheque
- Credit cards (VISA, Mastercard)
- Photocopy of passport/visa/insurance papers etc.
- Copy of your safari itinerary
- Trainers/walking shoes/walking boots (if doing any walking safari). A good pair of sneakers will be fine (bring a plastic bag to put them in afterwards in case they get dirty).
- Flip flops.
- A wide brimmed hat to protect you from the sun.
- Jacket/windbreaker/Fleece for the very chilly early morning and evening game drives.
- Waterproof light rain jacket.
- Warm sweater/Fleece jacket.
- 2-3 pairs safari trousers/chinos.
- 2-3 pairs safari shorts.
- 4-6 pairs sport socks.
- 3 short sleeve shirts.
- 2 or more long sleeve shirts.
- 2-3 t-shirts.
- Night wear.
- Swim suit-even if you are not going to the beach some of the camps and lodges you will visit will have swimming pools.
- 1 pair or more casual trousers(men)evening outfit (women)-for evening in the city.
Toiletries & Medicine
- Malaria prophylaxis
- Prescription drugs(also bring the generic names for these drugs ,good idea to pack two separate lots).
- Insect repellent (containing DEET for tsetse flies and mosquitos).
- Sun screen (SPF 15 or higher).
- Lip balm.
- Shampoo/conditioner (if you have a preferred brand otherwise these are provided by most hotels, camps).
- Hair brush/comb.
- Electric/hand razor.
- Antibacterial hand wash/sanitiser.
- Feminine hygiene supplies.
- A digital SLR or a mirror lens camera with a long lens up to 300 mm or more.
- A point and shoot camera or smartphone.
- Chargers and cables and a back-up hard drive for your photos.
- Sunglasses (good ones as the African sun is bright).
- Prescription glasses (and a spare pair).
- Flashlight (small with extra batteries or headlamp).
- Batteries for electronic equipments.
- Convertor plug set if needed (the electric supply is 240 volts, 50hz). Sockets are usually 3 pin and are of the square variety.
- Alarm clock.
- Money pouch or money belt.
- Pocket knife(not in hand luggage).
- Binoculars (one pair is available in the vehicle).
- Small day backpack for game drives and walks.
- Favourite non perishable snacks.
- Ear plugs.