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Tanzania travel tips to enjoy your trip to the fullest

by Pilar Dujan | August 17, 2023
Tanzania travel tips for seeing wild lions

Tanzania is one of the most popular travel destinations in all of Africa. It has amazing wildlife, beautiful beaches (if you visit Zanzibar especially) and affable locals who are always ready to help.

The first step to plan your trip is to make sure you read and follow all the mandatory entry requirements for Tanzania. Once you’ve read them all and you have applied for your Tanzania eVisa, you can start planning your activities.

Keep reading to discover Visagov’s picks for essential Tanzania travel tips that every tourist needs to know.

Tanzania travel tips: Vaccines required

To travel to the United Republic of Tanzania, the only mandatory vaccine is against the Yellow Fever (if coming from an endemic country).

For the rest of foreigners there are no compulsory vaccinations, but the ones against Hepatitis A and MMR are recommended. 

Internet connectivity in Tanzania travel tips

If you travel to Tanzania, you will find that Daar es Salaam has many spots with free WiFi available. However, that won’t be the case in the rest of the country.

To avoid being completely offline, buying a SIM card is a good idea. Vodacom has the best network, but it’s a bit more expensive than the other companies. However, if you can afford it, buying a Vodacom SIM card will ensure you stay connected pretty much anywhere. You can check the different internet data options on their website.

Travel tips for Tanzania: Official currency

The currency of the United Republic of Tanzania is the Tanzanian shilling. The current exchange rates are:

  • 1 Tanzanian shilling = 0,00036 euros
  • 1 Tanzanian shilling = 0,00040 dollars

Although their currency is the Tanzanian shilling, in most places they gladly accept American dollars. You must carry cash with you at all times because you won’t be able to use your credit card in many places. However, the park entrance fees can only be paid by credit card.

Tanzania travel tips about being out in nature

Tipping in Tanzania travel tips

Tipping is engrained in Tanzania’s culture, so you should prepare your budget for the additional expenses. 

Your safari guide should be tipped at the end of the day, with some extra money for the driver and the cook. 

Drivers and restaurants usually take a 10% tip, nothing out of the ordinary, but know that people will ask for tips if you take their picture. Of course, you can always say no, but it’s good to know what to expect when traveling to a foreign country.

How to travel around Tanzania

Many travelers book a Tanzania safari when preparing for their trip. Some companies could include flights to get to your accommodation, but if you are more adventurous, you might want to rent your own 4x4 vehicle to drive around the country. This option can be hard as roads are often unpaved and you can also face crime on the roads. 

If you are traveling on a budget you can travel by bus, which can range from very basic to luxurious. 

There are several ways of getting around Tanzania, we recommend the best ones.

Packing travel tips for Tanzania

All tourists should pick carefully the items to pack: it’s advised to travel lightly. The essentials are:

  • Comfortable and waterproof hiking shoes
  • Protection against the sun (sunglasses, hats/caps and sunscreen)
  • Strong insect repellent
  • Binoculars
  • Long-sleeved shirts and pants in neutral colors like khaki. Don’t bring dark colored clothes to Tanzania as it attracts bugs that can carry diseases. 
  • Warm clothes for early mornings and late nights, but fresh and breathable clothes for the day. It’s best to pick items that can be layered to avoid having to bring extra clothes. 
  • A waterproof bag to protect your things from water and dust
  • A portable water bottle
  • Reusable cloth bags: the Tanzanian government has implemented a ban on plastic bags in 2019 and, if they catch you using one, you could be subjected to fines or even jail time.
  • Swimsuits and a cover-up for women in case you visit the beaches of Zanzibar.

Haggling in Tanzania travel tips

Hone in your bargaining skills before traveling to Tanzania: you will need them. Tourists are usually overcharged for products so they expect you to bargain. While you will likely never pay the same price as a local, you can get a fairer price if you haggle. 

Travel to Tanzania and the beaches of Zanzibar

Camping travel tips for Tanzania

The most adventurous travelers have the chance of camping in the African savannah. It’s best to arrange your excursion with a local company that provides guides and security. You will be in the middle of the animals territory, close encounters could happen so it’s best to be with a knowledgeable guide.

There are different kinds of camping experiences available. You could make a reservation for one of the luxurious campsites, but you can also take part in a more authentic camping experience. The primary advantage of going to a fancier camping site is that some have wired fencing to keep away dangerous animals, but it won’t be the same as lying on your sleeping bag inside a tent.

Most companies provide a chef on top of a guide and driver, so don’t worry about having to carry food across the savannah. In fact, campers are advised against having food inside their tents: it could attract unwanted visitors. Keep your tent fully closed and the campsite pristine. 

Having a head torch is a good recommendation, especially if you have to make any bathroom excursions at night. If you find yourself in that situation, stay as close to your tent as possible, don’t make the possibility of embarrassment your top priority because it could be dangerous if there are animals lurking nearby. A flashlight could also work, but a head torch has the advantage of keeping your hands free.

Last but not least, you should know that it’s best to go camping during the dry season. Rain can make your experience more difficult than necessary, but keep in mind that the dry season is also the high season for tourism: lodges could run out of place or hike up their prices. To avoid these issues, book yours with anticipation. 

When is the best time to travel to Tanzania?

The United Republic of Tanzania is a large country with many contrasts. As such, the perfect time in Tanzania for traveling will depend on what we want to visit.

The climate can vary depending on the region. On the coast you can expect hot and humid weather and heavy rainfall. In the mountains, the climate is considerably colder and drier.

If we travel to go on safari, we can do it at any time of the year. If our trip is to visit the natural parks, such as Serengeti, the best time is from December to March or from June to September.

And if we want to visit the idyllic beaches of Zanzibar, the best time of the year to do so is from December to March, within the dry season and when it is warmer.

Travel tips for Tanzania about the wildlife

Safety in Tanzania travel tips

Tanzania is a safe country and is one of the safest countries on the African continent. However, we must take precautions as in any other destination. For starters, you should avoid remote places, especially at night.

You should be particularly vigilant in big cities such as Dar Es Salaam as there can be muggings on the street. You should not wear visible jewelry or carry valuables. You should also avoid any political demonstrations or gatherings.

Be careful if you are planning on trekking up in the mountains as it can be dangerous to go alone and it is preferable for you to be accompanied by a tour guide.  

Take care when out on safari. Do not leave your vehicle and always follow your tour guide's advice, as you are dealing with unpredictable wild animals.

To maximize your own safety, you should avoid areas such as:

  • The Mtwara region, specifically the border with Mozambique
  • The border with Burundi
  • The border with the Democratic Republic of Congo

Additional Tanzania travel tips

  • If you are a woman and you are away from tourist areas in Zanzibar and Pemba, you should dress modestly and avoid shorts and sleeveless tops. Authorities may fine tourists if clothing is deemed inappropriate.
  • You should carry your ID at all times while in Tanzania, as police may request it. 
  • Flora and Fauna are protected by law in Tanzania, so you must never take anything such as shells or flowers from nature and attempt to take it out of the country as you may be subject to fines or imprisonment. 
  • It should be noted if there are any irregularities, the immigration officer at the point of entry may deny entry to a visa holder if they have evidence that the visa holder cannot meet the immigration entry requirements of the country.
  • We must be careful with meals and avoid eating raw foods, including fruits and vegetables.
  • Don’t drink tap water in Tanzania. It’s only safe for showering and washing hands, not even for brushing your teeth. You should use bottled or purified water for drinking, cooking and brushing your teeth. Ice should be avoided unless you know it was made with purified water.
  • You won’t have a problem communicating with the locals: English is widely spoken.
  • Pack a universal travel adapter. You might need a voltage converter depending on where you come from (the voltage in Tanzania is 230-240 volts).
  • The country suffers from frequent power cuts, but don't worry, electricity comes back shortly.
  • Prepare yourself to travel to Tanzania with our guide.