The largest country in East Africa, Tanzania boasts the highest mountain on the continent, the exotic spice islands of historical Zanzibar, and the famous Serengeti National Park whose seemingly endless plains stage one of the greatest spectacles of animal behaviour, the annual migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra followed by their predators.
The Great Rift Valley gives rise to the unique geological formations found in the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater and Mt Kilimanjaro. It is also home to the world's largest game reserve, the Selous, covering an area larger than Switzerland.
Tanzania is richly endowed with many animal and bird species and offers some of the finest game viewing on the continent. Dar-es-Salaam is the largest city, a hustling, bustling and surprisingly scenic tropical seaport that is a common starting point for trips into the country. A dusty safari into the vast wilderness is superbly complemented by time spent on the refreshing Zanzibar islands, with white palm-fringed beaches, beautiful coral gardens, and historic Stone Town - an exotic reminder of its days as a major spice and slave trade centre. Tanzania is home to hundreds of different ethnic groups and cultures, from the red-clad herders of the Masai tribes on the Serengeti plains to the modestly veiled women of Zanzibar's Islamic Stone Town. The warmth and smiling faces of its friendly people will touch the heart of every traveller.
Language: Swahili and English are the official languages. Several indigenous languages are also spoken.
Travel Health: Travellers are advised to take medical advice at least three weeks before leaving for Tanzania. Most visitors will need vaccinations for hepatitis A, typhoid, yellow fever and polio. Those arriving from an infected country are required to hold a yellow fever vaccination certificate. There is a risk of malaria all year and outbreaks of Rift Valley Fever occur; travellers should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Food prepared by unlicensed vendors should also be avoided, as meat and milk products from infected animals may not have been cooked thoroughly. Sleeping sickness is a risk in the game parks, including the Serengeti, and visitors should avoid bites by tsetse flies.
There is a high prevalence of HIV/Aids. Cholera outbreaks are common throughout the country and visitors are advised to drink bottled or sterilised water only. Medical services are available in Dar-es-Salaam and other main towns, but facilities and supplies are limited; visitors with particular requirements should take their own medicines. Comprehensive medical insurance is advised.
Tipping: Waiters in the better restaurants should be tipped around 10%. Guides, porters and cooks in the wildlife parks and on safari trips expect tips. The amount is discretionary according to standard of service and the number in your party.
Safety Information: As in other East African countries, the threat from terrorism is high and visitors should be cautious in public places and tourist sites and hotels, particularly in Zanzibar's Stone Town. The area bordering Burundi should be avoided. Street crime is a problem in Tanzania, especially in Dar-es-Salaam where tourists should be alert and cautious. Lonely beaches and footpaths are often targeted; women are particularly vulnerable to attacks. Visitors should leave valuables in their hotel safe and not carry too much cash on them at any time. Armed crime is on the increase and there have been serious attacks on foreigners in Arusha and on Pemba Island.
Local Customs: Visitors to Zanzibar should be aware that it is a predominantly Muslim area and a modest dress code, especially for women, should be respected when away from the beach and in public places. Topless sunbathing is a criminal offence. Smoking in public places is illegal.
Business: Although Tanzanians come across as relaxed and friendly, it is important to observe certain formalities, especially with greetings. It is advisable to learn a few Swahili catch phrases when greeting, followed by a handshake. Women and men rarely shake hands in Swahili culture, however if the woman extends her hand, the man is obliged. Tanzanians are to be addressed as Mr., Mrs., and Ms, followed by the family name. Business dress is seldom very formal, however lightweight suits are recommended for formal occasions. Business hours are similar to Western countries, but a longer lunch break is taken during the hotter months, and business continues later in the evening from Monday to Friday.
Communications: The international country dialling code for Tanzania, as well as Zanzibar, is +255. The outgoing code is 000, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 00027 for South Africa). City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)24 for Zanzibar and (0)22 for Dar-es-Salaam. International calls made from rural areas may have to go through the operator. Mobile phones work in the main urban areas and Zanzibar; the network operators use GSM 900 and 1800 networks. Travellers should contact their service provider to ensure they have international roaming. Avoid making telephone calls from hotels; they can charge as much as $10 per minute. Internet cafes are available in the main towns and resorts.
Duty Free: Travellers to Tanzania do not have to pay duty on 250g tobacco or 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars, 500ml of alcoholic beverages, and 473ml perfume. Restrictions apply to firearms, plants, plant products and fruits.
Tanzanian Tourist Office: +255 (0)22 512 7671 (Dar es Salaam) or www.tanzaniatouristboard.com
Tanzania Embassies Embassy of Tanzania, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 939 6125.
High Commission of Tanzania, London, United Kingdom (also responsible for Ireland): +44 (0)20 7569 1470.
High Commission of Tanzania, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 232 1509.
High Commission for the United Republic of Tanzania, Tokyo, Japan (also responsible for Australia and New Zealand): +81 (0)3 3425 4531.
High Commission of Tanzania, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 342 4371/93.
Foreign Embassies in Tanzania United States Embassy, Dar-es-Salaam: +255 (0)22 266 8001.
British High Commission, Dar-es-Salaam: +255 (0)22 211 0101.
Canadian High Commission, Dar-es-Salaam (also responsible for Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles): +255 (0)22 216 3300.
Irish Embassy, Dar-es-Salaam: +255 (0)22 260 2355.
New Zealand High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa (also responsible for Tanzania): +27 (0)12 435 9000.
Tanzania Emergency Numbers Emergencies: 112/999.
Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO):Location:The Airport is situated 40km East/Southeast of Arusha.
Facilities: The airport has a post office, banks, a bureau de change, restaurants, cafeterias, bars, wireless Internet connection, Business Lounge, duty free shop, newsagent/tobacconist, pharmacy, gift shop, travel agent, and tourist help desk. Facilities are available for disabled travellers.
Departure Tax: US$ 30 for international flights and US$ 5 for domestic flights.
Kilimanjaro International Airport (ARS)
Located 40kms East/Southeast of Arusha and 30kms West/Southwest on
coordinates (03o 25'S, 37o 42'E)
Climate: Tanzania has a tropical equatorial climate, which tends to make the country hot throughout the year, with more humidity on the coast and drier regions in the central plateau. In the north of the country, there are two separate wet seasons, the longest being from March to May, and the shorter from November to December. The rest of the country experiences only one wet season, from November to May. Heavy rains can mean that road access becomes more limited, and most travel to Tanzania takes place in January and February, when the weather is hot and dry. January to March is the best time to visit the magnificent Serengeti, when most grazers give birth and there are lots of lion on the prowl, and visitors can also witness the incredible spectacle of the annual wildebeest migration to and from Kenya that occurs at the beginning of the dry season and again with the first rains - usually at the beginning of June and then again in mid-November. The capital of Tanzania, Dar-es-Salaam, has a temperature range year round of between 66ºF (19ºC) and 88ºF (31ºC). The spice island of Zanzibar has a warm climate all year round, modified by cool sea breezes, though travel to Zanzibar is best avoided in the rainy reason, from April to May.
Money: The official unit of currency is the Tanzanian shilling (TZS), divided into 100 cents. The tourism industry prices everything in US Dollars and they are the preferred unit of currency. Major currencies can be exchanged in the larger towns. Foreign exchange bureaux in the main towns usually offer a better rate on travellers cheques than do the banks. ATMs are available in major cities only. Major lodges, some hotels and travel agents in urban areas accept credit cards, but these should not be relied on and can incur a 10% surcharge.
Passport & Visa
Entry requirements for Americans: A visa is issued on arrival, and a passport valid for six months from date of entry is required. Visitors must hold return/onward tickets and all documents required for their next destination.
Entry requirements for UK nationals: A visa is issued on arrival, and a passport valid for six months from date of entry is required. Visitors must hold return/onward tickets and all documents required for their next destination.
Entry requirements for Canadians: A visa is issued on arrival, and a passport valid for six months from date of entry is required. Visitors must hold return/onward tickets and all documents required for their next destination.
Entry requirements for Australians: A visa is issued on arrival, and a passport valid for six months from date of entry is required. Visitors must hold return/onward tickets and all documents required for their next destination.
Entry requirements for South Africans: A visa is issued on arrival, and a passport valid for six months from date of entry is required. Visitors must hold return/onward tickets and all documents required for their next destination.
Entry requirements for New Zealanders: A visa is issued on arrival, and a passport valid for six months from date of entry is required. Visitors must hold return/onward tickets and all documents required for their next destination.
Entry requirements for Irish nationals: A Visitor's Pass is issued on arrival, and a passport valid for six months from date of entry is required. Visitors must hold return/onward tickets and all documents required for their next destination.
Passport/Visa Note: All visitors entering Tanzania require a visa.
Visitors may obtain a visa on arrival at Dar-es-Salaam or Zanzibar airports, costing between US$50 and US$200 depending on nationality, payable in cash. All visitors also require proof of sufficient funds and should hold documentation for their return or onward journey. Passports should be valid for at least six months from date of entry. Those arriving from an infected country must hold a yellow fever vaccination certificate.
It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
A visa is required to enter both Tanzania and Kenya. You can obtain a visa at the airport, upon arrival, or in advance from the Kenyan or Tanzanian embassy. Visit www.kenyaembassy.com or www.tanzaniaembassy-us.org or http://tanzania.travisa.com/ for details.
Visa Services:Embassy of Kenya:
Flights to Tanzania from the UK: There are only a few direct flights to Tanzania from the UK. Flights to Tanzania arrive at Dar es Salaam's Nyerere International Airport and take around 10 hours.
Which airlines fly to Tanzania?
British Airways offers the only direct flights to Tanzania from the UK. There are indirect fights to Kilimanjaro International Airport via both Dar Es Salaam and Nairobi. KLM flies direct to Dar es Salaam from Manchester. These are the only two airlines to offer direct flights to Dar es Salaam from the UK. Flights arrive at Dar es Salaam's Nyerere International Airport, which is situated eight miles (13km) south-west of Dar-es-Salaam. Virgin Atlantic and Air Tanzania fly to Zanzibar via Nairobi and Johannesburg respectively.
There are connecting flights from the USA to Tanzania arriving at Julius Nyerere and Kilimanjaro International Airports, which is about eight miles (13km) south-west of Dar es Salaam.
Which airlines fly to Tanzania from the USA?
There are indirect cheap flights to Tanzania from New York, Boston, Houston, Chicago and Seattle on KLM, and from New York, Boston and Seattle on Northwest Airlines. Connecting flights to Tanzania also depart from New York on Emirates, Delta and South African Airways, and from Seattle on British Airways.
GAME PARKS AND NATIONAL RESERVES: Tips, Do's and Dont's
Respect the privacy of the wildlife, this is their habitat.
Beware of the animals, they are wild and can be unpredictable.
Don't crowd the animals or make sudden noises or movements.
Don't feed the animals, it upsets their diet and leads to human dependence.
Keep quiet, noise disturbs the wildlife and may antagonize your fellow visitors.
Stay in your vehicle at all times, except at designated picnic or walking areas.
Keep below the maximum speed limit (40 kph/25 mph).
Never drive off-road, this severely damages the habitat.
When viewing wildlife keep to a minimum distance of 20 meters and pull to the side of the road so as to allow others to pass.
Leave no litter and never leave fires unattended or discard burning objects.
Respect the cultural heritage of Tanzania, never take pictures of the local people or their habitat without asking their permission, respect the cultural traditions of Tanzania and always dress with decorum.
Stay over or leave before dusk, visitors must vacate the Park between 6.00 p.m. - 6.00 a.m. unless they are camping overnight. Night game driving is available through special arrangements.
Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) have started enforcing the single entry permit which for quite some time the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) have been disputing. Starting from 01st April 2015, visitors will be required to pay park fees every time they reenter the national parks.