Tanzania Travel Guide
- Everything you need to know for your trip to Tanzania-
Tanzania, officially the United Republic of Tanzania, is a country in East Africa. The country offers a mixture of adventure, excitement, and a little bit of edge. Wildlife, fantastic beaches, kind people, unique cultures as well as breathtaking attractions such as Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Mt Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar Archipelago, etc., must convince you to visit this mysterious country at least once in your life!
Why Visiting Tanzania?
Tanzania has the most extensive diversity of wildlife and birdlife around Africa, living in some of the most valuable national parks globally, such as Selous Game Reserve, housing over 120,000 elephants, 160,000 buffalos, and 2000 rhinos. Besides, large groups of hippos, crocodiles, and wild dogs live here.
You might get surprised if I recommend you to visit Tanzania, but believe me! Every kilometer of this country is worth a visit. Spice Island, aka Zanzibar, is one of the best experiences you should try during your trip. The island is one of the most beautiful white beaches you can find around the world. You can also experience some beach activities like diving.
Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, is located in the north of Tanzania, around which local Chagga people live. Rich volcanic soils around the mountain provide a fantastic opportunity for farmers and pure spring waters. Interestingly, 75,000 people climb the mountain every year.
Food in Tanzania is fantastic. The cuisine is a mixture of traditional African foods with Arabic/Indian influence. Zanzibar is famous for its seafood, and it would be a pity if you visit the beach and don’t try the mouth-watering food.
Tanzania Top Destinations
Click on each Tanzania’s destination to read the full travel guide of the city or attraction.
Best Time to Visit Tanzania
Temperature: 82° F – 88° F (28° C to 31° C)
In the first half of spring in Tanzania, especially in southern regions, rainy weather is expected. However, from the Mid-April, the weather becomes much drier.
What to wear?
As for clothes, long sleeve shirts and pants are recommended.
Malarial mosquitoes are active in Tanzania, especially after heavy rains. Make sure to pack prescribed anti-malarial medications and spray.
Temperature: 84° F – 86° F (28° C – 30° C)
Surprisingly, summer is the colder time of the year in Tanzania. The temperature is moderate, with fewer rains. Summer is one of the best times for visiting the country, especially in coastal areas.
What to wear?
Light clothes such as sweatshirts and jackets (for evenings) are recommended. If you are in higher altitude destinations such as Ngorongoro or Kilimanjaro, make sure to have jackets and sweaters.
Temperature: 86° F – 88° F (30° C – 31° C)
Since September, the weather starts to increase with cool nights and mostly dry weather. From October, the rain increases, but in short periods.
What to wear?
Your clothing in autumn should be like the summer, but if you visit the country in the latter half of the season, you need to have rain gear on your packing list.
Temperature: 90° F – 92° F (32° C – 33° C)
Winter is the hottest time in Tanzania, and the weather can even reach 35 degrees Celsius. In the south, winter is the rainy season till April. It’s not recommended to visit the country in winter because the combination of massive heat and humidity can be bothersome.
What to wear?
Light clothing such as a light sweatshirt and raincoat in addition to sun hat and sunscreen are the best. In the evenings, the temperature may drop, and you need to have a jacket.
Best Tanzania Tours
Things to Do in Tanzania
Prepare to spend as much time as possible on some of the most beautiful parts of the planet. There are all kinds of things to do in Tanzania; you should have a little adventurous spirit and explore. Tanzania is a paradise for those looking for a safari or some time in nature. There are also some fantastic towns and historical sites to discover, and folklore to learn. Spend some time with the locals, try their cuisine, and pack your camera to take pictures of all the lovely animals you see.
Conquer Mount Kilimanjaro
The number one highlight of Tanzania and one of the best things to do is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Do not be mistaken! It is a challenging climb, yet one of the most exciting experiences of this country. If you like a little challenge and like adventure, get the necessary gear and find a good guide and go for the climb. The cold and snow-capped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro is at about 19,000 feet or 5,895 meters. The cold and the difficulty of this ascension require picking the right trail and your equipment and guide.
Be very careful, and if you are up to it, be sure to try this activity.
Relax or Have a Blast on Zanzibar Beaches
In general, Tanzania and Africa have so many beautiful places to go, making it challenging to choose. But if you are looking for a beautiful beach and some watersports, you have to go to Zanzibar Beaches. You can relax on the white sands and enjoy the sight of the turquoise waters, or go diving. Scuba diving or snorkeling, the Zanzibar Beaches have something to offer in or out of the water.
Explore the Stone Town of Zanzibar
So far you know the beaches are excellent but do not forget to stroll around in the streets of Stone Town. One of the top things to do here is discovering a little about their history and culture and getting to know the locals.
The town is old and still has its old buildings and narrow streets. Other than exploring a town where the world-famous Freddie Mercury was born, there are some highlights to see. If you want to see some tourist sites, you can go to Old Fort, Forodhani Gardens, and other top places in Stone Town.
See the Marine-Life of The Mafia Island
Whenever going to beaches and sea destinations, be sure to have Mafia Island on your list. If you love diving and snorkeling, you can visit the rich marine-life of Mafia Island. Or you can simply visit the Marine Park of Mafia Island. Whatever you do, keep this beautiful destination in mind and think about the chance of swimming near the Whale Sharks of this amazing place.
Spend Some Time with Nature at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area
One of the areas in which you have to spend some time exploring is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The land is rich and full of all kinds of animals. It is an ideal place to go on safaris and see the wildlife or explore the beauties of the land.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is home to an ancient and famous volcano known as the Ngorongoro Crater. Because of the volcano and the constant water flow in the area, you can see all kinds of animals and plants in this area. The Ngorongoro Crater is the number one place to go on a safari and is famous for its “Big Five.” The Big Five includes the Lion, Buffalo, Elephant, Leopard, and Rhino.
There are, of course, birds and other animals to see, but the Big Five of the Ngorongoro Crater are the most popular.
Another excellent place in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the Olduvai Gorge, one of the most important archeological sites for humankind. The site is found in the 20th century and is the origin of the human race on the planet. Visit the Olduvai Gorge and visit the place where the first humans walked 2 million years ago.
Try Balloon Safari Over the Serengeti National Park
A visit to the wilds is always among the best things to do in Tanzania. What’s better is making that visit from the skies. You can always get the traditional jeep for your safari and watching the wildlife of this country, but if you like a more memorable experience, try the Balloon Safari Over the Serengeti National Park.
If you liked the experience of Balloon Safari Over the Serengeti National Park, you might want to go down for more visits. You can always try seeing the animals up close or:
See the Annual Wildebeest Migration
One of the best things to see in Tanzania and the Serengeti National Park is to watch the Annual Wildebeest Migration. You might want to plan your trip during the times of Migration to see thousands of animals searching for more suitable places to live.
Witness the Wonders and Beauty of Tanzania at Lake Natron
Lake Natron of Tanzania is a salty red water lake with high alkaline levels and a terribly high temperature. But going to Lake Natron is one of the top things to do in Tanzania because of its lesser flamingos. As impossible as it sounds, these wonderful creatures survive this environment and come here in flocks.
What makes this destination one of the most picturesque places in Tanzania is the red color of the bacteria in the lake, the color of these flamingoes, and the huge numbers. Find the astonishing Lake Natron near the Ol Doinyo Lengai, an active volcano, to take amazing pictures and see the most important breeding site for the lesser flamingos.
Visit the Arusha Cultural Center
One of the places you might want to spend some time in is Arusha. The Arusha Cultural Center in Tanzania is an excellent place to see how the tribes of this country used to live. Other than their culture and art, you will also see their daily items.
Go on Another Safari in Arusha National Park
As mentioned earlier, Arusha can provide several things to do while in Tanzania. One of them is yet another visit to the wilds and seeing some lovely animals. If you have had your fair share of safaris, then perhaps you might want to go for some hiking.
Hiking at Mount Meru
The second highest mount in Tanzania is Mount Meru inside the Arusha National Park. Like Kilimanjaro, you will need a guide with you, and spend a few days to reach the peak. But if you have not been to Kilimanjaro, it is good to know that some travelers take this hike to the top of Mount Meru as practice before Kilimanjaro. In any case, this trip will require appropriate gear and a guide.
Explore the Historical Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani
On an island named Kilwa Kisiwani, you will find a series of ruins that are called Kilwa Kisiwani. What you will see here are the remains of a great eastern African empire. They dated back as far as the 9th century and were part of a place that remained an active trade hub until the 16th century. The port, the fortress, the great mosque, and all the others that remain at the ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani are among the UNESCO listed Heritage sites of Tanzania that are popular for all travelers.
Visit Lake Victoria, The Largest Lake in Africa
One of the best things to do in Tanzania is to visit Lake Victoria, the Nile River’s Source. It is one of the places that remain untouched as nearly none of the other travelers seem to come here. The sections of Lake Victoria in Tanzania have several islands and many exotic animals that the ordinary tourist will miss.
Heading to this area will give you a great chance to take some pictures of animals that you do not ordinarily see in Africa. Other than that, it is a good trekking destination with some towns in the region. Additionally, you can get a boat ride to go fishing or just cruising.
Enjoy the Calm and Beauty of Pemba Island
Zanzibar may have the title of “Paradise on Earth,” but Pemba Island always remains the best water sports place. The underwater world of Pemba Island is the richest and most beautiful in Tanzania. If you are looking for diving and a colorful world beneath the waters, keep Pemba Island on your list of things to do in Tanzania.
And keep in mind that diving and swimming is not all. The more time you dedicate to this place, the more you discover. Some travelers may choose Pemba Island for mountain biking, while others select it for historic sites at a town called Chake-Chake. Chances are, what you call a great vacation is waiting for you in this part of Tanzania.
Local Transportation in Tanzania
Dalla Dalla is a minibus that helps people get around on local routes and pick-up trucks or old 4WDs in rural areas. Prices are not expensive, and they are fixed. Unfortunately, vehicles are usually too crowded, and the driver stops at many stations. Also, accidents are frequent in this method.
Taxis are available around the country, but you should negotiate the price first since none of them use a meter.
Like many other Asian and African countries, Tuk Tuk is one of the main methods of transportation in Tanzania helping you to get around the cities.
Intercity Transportation in Tanzania
Air travel is the easiest and quickest way of getting around in Tanzania. The country has some domestic airlines helping you to reach almost all tourist destinations in the country.
Two railways are operating in Tanzania with 3-4 services. The beds are clean and fine, but the rolling stock is very old and dirty. Trains usually get crowded, and theft are common. In fact, traveling by bus is safer than a train.
Buses are the most popular vehicle for transportation in Tanzania. They are usually inexpensive, but you may not find them suitable for what you have back home!
Tanzania has 750 km of coastline in the Indian ocean, and the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) operates ports in Dar es Salaam, Mtwara, and Tanga. Also, there are some seaports, including e Lindi, Kilwa Masoko, Mafia Island, Bagamoyo, Pangani, and Kwale.
Flight Deals to Tanzania
Tanzania Travel Costs
|Budget||Less than US$50|
|Top End||More than US$200|
|Hostel or Budget Guesthouse||US$15–25|
|Double room in a midrange hotel||US$50–150|
|Double room in an upmarket hotel||From US$150|
|Meal in a local restaurant||US$2–5|
|Vehicle hire per day||from US$100|
|Domestic one-way flights||US$75–300|
Best Hotels in Tanzania
Find the best hotels in Tanzania using our best price search engine, or go with one of our All-inclusive tours with 4 Star hotels included. You can book our guaranteed hotels for your extra accommodation; before or after your tour days.
Tanzania Travel Tips
Don’t drink tap water as it may not be edible. Make sure to have bottled mineral waters.
There is a risk of malaria in Tanzania. Make sure to visit your doctor before your trip and have some medications during your travel.
Make sure to have your meal in high-end and reputable restaurants since they may not be as healthy as restaurants back home.
The standard voltage in Tanzania is 230 – 240 volts, and you need three square-pin variety sockets. Having a universal travel adaptor is always recommended.
Tipping is expected in Tanzania. For safari guides, $10-15, and for drivers, a few dollars are expected. In restaurants, 10% of the bill is fine for tipping. In taxis, rounding up the fare is appreciated, especially if you had a good experience.
Bargaining in Tanzania is expected! The offered price for anything in Tanzania is much more than the real cost, especially for tourists. Therefore, make sure to try it anywhere!
Wi-Fi is available in Tanzania’s major cities; however, the speed is slower and less secure than what you have back home. In national parks, don’t expect to have Wi-Fi!
Tanzania is very safe for solo women travelers. However, it’s better to have a guide or visit by a tour to avoid any possible threat. Otherwise, make sure to dress more conservatively.
|Dar es Salaam||+255 22 2117362|
|Dar es Salaam Traffic Police||+255 22 2111747|
|Arusha||+255 27 2503641|
|Moshi||+255 27 2755055|
|Zanzibar||+255 24 2235669|
|AAR||+255 754 760790 (Dar es Salaam)|
|AAR||+255 27 2701121 (Arusha)|
|IST Clinic – 24hr doctor||+255 754 783393 (Dar es Salaam)|
|Aga Khan Hospital||+255 22 2115151 (Dar es Salaam)|
|Selian Lutheran Hospital||+255 27 2509974 (Arusha)|
|Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre||+255 27 2750748 (Moshi)|
|Fazal Memorial Hospital||+255 27 2646895 (Tanga)|
|Mnazi Mmoja Hospital||+255 24 2231071 (Zanzibar)|
|Flying Doctor (AMREF)|
|Emergency||+254 20 315454 (Kenya)|
|+254 20 600090 (Kenya)|
|Ultimate Security||+255 713 123911 (Dar es Salaam)|
|Dar es Salaam||+255 22 2118637|
|Arusha||+255 27 2503569|
|Moshi||+255 27 2751557|
Currency & Money Tips
Tanzania’s official currency is the Tanzanian shilling, abbreviated as Tsh with banknotes dominations of 200, 500, 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000. Besides, coins are 50, 10, and 20 in Tanzanian currency. You can also use US dollars for airlines, national park entry fees as well as ferry tickets to Zanzibar and the other islands.
ATMs & Credit Cards
ATMs are available around the country, and you can use them to exchange your money. Visa and Mastercard are the most reputable credit cards in Tanzania, and you will need them for paying the entrance fee of most national parks. The maximum withdraws from ATMs would be Tsh300,000 or Tsh400,000 per transaction and Tsh1.2 million daily.
As mentioned, you need to have your credit card in Tanzania to exchange by ATMs and pay most national parks’ entry. The commission is 5% to 10% on average.
Forex bureaus are quick and less bureaucratic than banks. Also, they are open for longer hours of the day and accept more currencies than the banks. Note that these bureaus are not available in small towns.
The best bank for exchanging money is NBC, which has branches all over the country.
Travelers Cheques are not acceptable and no longer be changed in Tanzania.
Food & Drink (Tanzanian Food)
Tanzania is full of delicious food and snacks that are exotic in both its ingredients and way of eating. Although you are not required to eat with your hands, you might want to wash them and then eat as some locals do. Tanzanian cuisine is as much about the food as it is about culture and history.
They love meat and have a wide variety of vegetables and local herbs and spices in their food. If you plan an adventure, their food is healthy and rich and can keep you on your feet as you head out to conquer Kilimanjaro.
Tanzania’s national dish is Ugali, which is very common and a staple food for the Tanzanians. You can see Ugali served with almost anything you eat. It is made of white maize flour and water and looks like a big chunk of sticky rice when prepared.
Besides being an important part of Tanzanian cuisine, Ugali has a unique way of consuming it. Instead of using a spoon, you can try the traditional way of using the Ugali with your hand as a spoon! It is a bit difficult, but if you wash your hands and want to try the local’s way, it can be a good experience.
Nyama Choma, which translates to “grilled meat” or “roast meat,” is a popular street food among locals and a memorable experience. You can find this grilled meat at a restaurant, served with vegetables, but it is worth trying Nyama Choma from a street stall. They usually use goat meat, and to make you certain of the quality, they may even cut the meat into chunks before your eyes. As it is cut and prepared, it is that barbequed in coal and served.
You can have Nyama Choma with Ugali other than vegetables, but our recommendation is a good drink. The way they prepare the meat, it becomes very chewy and some parts, too hard to eat. Bring your friends or join the locals as they eat to make the experience much more pleasant.
Chipsi Mayai, also known as Chips and Eggs, or French Fries Omelet, is another popular street food and breakfast among locals. It is basically fried potatoes with beaten eggs on top. When this simple omelet is prepared, it can be topped with vegetables and lots and lots of ketchup.
Served in a restaurant or a street vendor, it is simple yet tasty. If you see a place serving Chipsi Mayai with bell peppers, onions, and other ingredients, you should not pass the opportunity to taste them.
When in Zanzibar, you should keep a close eye on a local food called “Zanzibar Pizza,” which is, in fact, not a Pizza! First, a dough is prepared and then filled with several things like meat (any meat can be used), vegetables (again, there is a large variety of vegetables you can see), and if you are lucky, a delicious slice of cheese. Some people use their own unique ingredients to make them taste even more exotic and amazing than it already is.
As soon as the dough is filled, the mix is fried and served with vegetables and sauce. It is not seen anywhere outside of the Stone Town, so you better try some Zanzibar Pizza while in the area.
Pilau is said to have come from the middle east because of its aromatic spices and rice. Wherever it comes from, it is a traditional Tanzanian food made with rice and spices. The best thing a vegetarian can get in Tanzania is it is tasty and has a great smell.
Pilau is found in restaurants and homestays and sometimes served as a side dish. Rice and spice, with some vegetables and onions to make you fall in love.
A food that originated in India and can be eaten for any of the daily meals is Chapatti. It is mostly served during events and celebrations or for a guest of the Tanzanian household. The African version of Chapatti is a little different than the Indian one, with having more filling. If you like Asian food, the Chapatti will leave you satisfied at any time of the day.
Ndizi Kaanga is something famous as it is seen in many East-African and Middle-Eastern dishes. It is made of fried green bananas or plantains. You can try it as a street-side snack or use it in a meal as it is not too sweet. How you eat Ndizi Kaanga is up to you, but be sure to give it a try as you travel in Tanzania.
Another favored barbequed food in all of Africa is Mshikaki. This type of street food is usually made with beef (other types of meat may also be used) that is marinated and then slowly cooked over coal. The marinated meat is skewered along with vegetables, pepper, and onions served with a special sauce or some fries on the side.
The Mshikaki will melt in your mouth, releasing all the flavors of the vegetables and herbs used in the marination.
Mobile & Internet
Buying a SIM card in Tanzania is easy, and the data speed can be very fast.
The best companies for buying SIM cards are:
- Vodacom (for most travelers)
- Airtel (if you are mostly in Serengeti)
- Zantel (if you only visit Zanzibar)
Vodacom has the most comprehensive coverage in the country, but Zantel is the best for Zanzibar.
How to buy?
The best way of buying a SIM card in Tanzania is through the Vodacom store in the international terminal at Dar es Salaam airport. It takes only 5 minutes to buy a SIM card.
15,000 TZS (~$6.50.)
- 5 GB of data
- 200 minutes of domestic calls
- 100 domestic text messages
Holidays & Festivals
Some of holidays in Tanzania, like Eid al-Fitr are based on Lunar Islamic calendar and other holidays are based on Gregorian calendar.
|Holiday||Date in 2021||Date in 2022|
|New Year’s Day||1-Jan||1-Jan|
|Zanzibar Revolutionary Day||12-Jan||12-Jan|
|Eid al-Fitr Holiday||14-May||3-May|
|Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday||18-Oct||8-Oct|
Shopping in Tanzania
The leather industry is strong in Tanzania, and handcrafted leathered items can be found at very reasonable prices made by skilled and professional craftsmen. Leathered belts, shoes, wallets, handbags, etc., can be found around the country, especially in Arusha.
Tanzanite is a unique gemstone, which you can find only in Tanzania! It’s a lovely souvenir for friends and family. You can find rings, bracelets, earrings, and many other types of jewelry in Tanzanite around the country, especially in Arusha.
Kanga and Kitenge
Kanga is a fantastic piece of cloths decorated by some writings usually used by East African Women. It can be a wonderful souvenir for women.
Painting in Tanzania is one of the leading arts, and you can find beautiful paintings from Maasai groups, Mt. Kilimanjaro, animals, landscape, etc.
Woodworks in Tanzania are exceptional! The Makonde people are famous for creating breathtaking wood arts in Tanzania.
Music culture is very reach around Africa, and each region has its own specific musical instrument. You can buy small local drums made from animal skin and string instruments somehow similar to the guitar.
Massai Shuka is a fantastic decorative fabric made of hand-woven cotton by Massai People, which is popular among visitors and locals alike. Different colors and patterns are used to create these fabrics.