Tanzania is the ninth country worldwide with the highest number of neighbours. It also happens to be the largest country in Eastern Africa covering 945,087 sq Km (364,900 sq Mi). It is wedged between Kenya and Mozambique in the north and south respectively. The rest are, clockwise from Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.

The turquoise waters of the Indian ocean break tide on its shores to the East leaving a mind-blowing stretch of scintillating snow-white coastline. Add its archipelago, Zanzibar, best known for its spices earning it the name ``Spicy Island``.

It is one of the 14 countries in the world with multiple capitals. Its administrative capital is at Dodoma while its commercial capital is down in Dar es Salaam.

It is also a masterpiece filled with a myriad of wonders of the world. The tallest freestanding mountain in the world, Mt. Kilimanjaro. Vast national parks including the Serengeti where the Great Wildebeest Migration occurs. It has an active volcanic mountain, Ol Doinyo Lengai, coupled with the nearby shifting black dune. Its breathtaking central rift lakes - including Lake Natron which mummifies animal carcasses. Sundry cultures including those of the Iraqw, the Maasai and the Swahili people.


Swahili is the official and national language in Tanzania. English is also an official and the primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education. Arabic is widely spoken in Zanzibar.

The mainland can get bitter cold particularly around the mountainous regions of Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro. However, temperatures rise significantly in the highlands towards the coastal region and the air is much drier. The mainland's coastal region, as well as Zanzibar, enjoy a tropical climate throughout.

The mainland has two rainy seasons running from November to December and then again from February to May. Conversely, the coastal area has only one rainy season lasting from March to May.


While travelling in East Africa, it is advisable to exercise the same caution and awareness normally accorded in any large city.

  • Never walk in solitude in apparently deserted areas, especially within cities.
  • It is preferable (and usually more enjoyable) to walk with a companion or in a group.
  • Beware that pickpockets create a distraction. Hold on to valuables (or money belt) if in such a situation
  • Beware, con artists target travellers. Walk away if an encounter with a local becomes convoluted and involves money or valuables
  • Never carry more than a day's supply of cash.
  • Do not carry travel documents and cash in plain sight.
  • Keep copies of travel documents, flight tickets and passport separately from the originals.
  • Lock all valuables in the hotel safe. In case one is not provided, enquire at the hotel reception.
  • Get adequate travel insurance coverage before travelling.

Passports must be valid 6 months after the anticipated travel date. Leave a blank page for each country to be visited. It is advisable to obtain visas in advance, from Embassies and High Commissions or online at https://eservices.immigration.go.tz/visa/ visa/ VISAS can also be obtained on arrival at all entry points.


The regulations vary depending on nationality and country of origin, and requirements may change. For more information contact the appropriate Kenyan diplomatic/consular authority or the government portal: http://immigration.go.tz/index.php/en/services/visa-information.


The currency unit is the Tanzania shilling (Tsh.)

For current exchange rates, please refer to the Internet or a newspaper.

The importation of both local and foreign currency is unrestricted, but the amounts must be declared upon arrival. The exportation of both local and foreign currency is also unrestricted, but amounts must be declared upon arrival. The most popular global foreign currencies can be traded at any of the Forex Bureaus (Bureau De Change) establishments in the main towns. Their rates are usually higher than bank rates.

How to carry your money

Cash is more readily exchanged and accepted and commands a better exchange rate in East Africa.

Try for a diversity of denominations.

Credit Cards

Major credit cards (and debit cards with Visa or Master Card logos) are a superb emergency back-up. Every traveller is encouraged to carry one, even when there are no intentions of using it – it comes in handy during an emergency.

Credit cards are accepted in most establishments in Tanzania.

Keep all receipts as proof of purchase.

How much money to take

Carry enough money to cover all expenses (souvenirs, laundry, drinks) plus a small reserve. Although ATMs are widely available in all major cities, they may be unreliable. Credit cards should be a financial emergency kit.

As Tanzania enjoys a healthy, invigorating climate, visitors need not feel a concern for their general health during their stay. However, malaria is endemic in certain areas and anti-malarial medication should be taken according to prescription recommendations. Beware of Dengue fever, sleeping sickness, Bilharzia and AIDS. Visitors requiring special medication should pack sufficient supplies in their hand luggage. Chemist shops are well stocked, but the medication may not be always readily available.

Mobile Infrastructure: The mobile network coverage in Tanzania is extensive, almost all the ‘usual’ safari circuit areas including National Parks and remote towns are covered.

Wi-Fi Infrastructure: Most, if not all, major hotels have wireless internet connectivity.

During the safari, all meals will be provided in the hotels, lodges and camps. The food is of excellent quality.

Generally, in Arusha and Dar es Salaam, lunch and dinner are billed separately.

The meal timings are usually as follows:

  • Full breakfast is served from 07:00 hrs to 09:30 Hrs
  • Buffet lunch is served from about 12:30 Hrs
  • Tea and coffee is served from 16:00 hrs to 17:00 Hrs
  • Dinner is served from 19:30hrs to 21:30 Hrs

Most of the hotels have both local and imported alcoholic and non-alcoholic refreshments available (beers, wines, liquors, liqueurs, and fruit juices).

Drinks are not included (unless otherwise stated).

Special dietary requirements should be communicated well in advance or at the hotel’s reception upon arrival.

Tipping is optional.

Use the following tipping guidelines, if need be:

  • Many travellers budget between 2% and 3% of their trip cost for all tips
  • If travelling in a group, every group member does not have to give the same amount.
  • At the end of the safari, a volunteer group member can 'pass the hat' and present a collective tip to the drivers/guides. Many travellers give between $5 to $ 10 per safari day. Drivers can also be tipped individually.
  • The preferable tipping currencies are US$ Dollar/Euro/Pound Sterling.
  • A tip of 1 to 2 units is appropriate for airport and hotel porters as well as housekeeping staff.
  • It is not necessary to tip in any establishment if they charge a service fee, usually 10%.
  • Otherwise, a tip of between 5 and 10 % of the total bill is considered usual and customary.

It is recommended to take up a travel insurance cover for compensation in case of loss of items, flight delays, trip cancellations or even medical emergency. Ensure you understand the nitty-gritty of the cover.

Tanzania's electricity supply is at 220/240 volts AC, 50Hz, using a three-pin plug and socket. Carry plug adapters, if need be. Some places are serviced by generators, hence, ration electricity (and the light s may be dim).

It is important to charge all devices while there is supply. Travellers dependent on an overnight electrical supply (as in the case of those with sleep apnea) should communicate well in advance.

In general, avoid drinking tap water.

Bottled mineral water is available for purchase throughout.

Purified mineral water is available in the rooms while on safari.

SawaSawa Africa provides a litre of bottled water on a complimentary basis per safari day.

In general, avoid drinking tap water.

While donations may seem charitable, they can be disruptive and intrusive especially when a portion of people get them while the others are left empty-handed. Other times, it could place the traveller in danger of being hustled by a mob. As such, avoid distribution of money, pens, candy, and left-over food to children or adults encountered on the way.

If beggars approach, make eye contact, smile politely and keep moving. Offering anything to one beggar will open the harassment floodgates to the whole group.

During community visits, it is advisable to contribute towards community development as opposed to benefitting a few individuals. For example, instead of giving stationery to a few students, bring a large package of pens or pencils and hand it to the school head or administrator for distribution.

Every traveller should be mindful of the effects of their actions.

The intention may be good, but the effect may be negative. For example, sweets/candy may cause tooth decay yet remote villages have few, not to mention expensive, dentists. Also, giving out sweets and other gifts encourages children to run to every foreigner in the neighbourhood, leaving their school or house chores undone. It may also project a bad impression of their parents who may not afford the same gifts.

The glitz and glamour of London, New York and Paris pale compared to what Tanzania has to offer. From busy chaotic markets to popular standalone shops to skyscraper malls spread all over from Arusha to Dar to Zanzibar, there is something for everyone in this game of shopping.

There are well-stocked gift shops in many hotels, lodges and camps throughout the country, offering a wide array of traditional artefacts, Tanzanite jewellery, all-purpose fabric wraps and some beautiful stone and wood carvings all inspired by Tanzania’s varied cultures.

For more shopping experience, try any of the following:

  • Collectors Corner in Arusha: They are cutters and exporters of fine, coloured and collectable gemstones. They sell rare African jewels.
  • Tinga Tinga Arts Cooperative Society in Dar es Salaam: Tinga Tinga paintings, predominantly portraying the rich culture and tradition of Tanzania.
  • The Tanzanite Experience in Dar es Salaam: Experience the mystery and history of this amazing gemstone that is unique to Tanzania and a thousand times rarer than diamonds.
  • Shanga in Arusha: Beadwork galore made with love by physically challenged people.
  • Wonder Workshop in Dar es Salaam: Amazing world-class jewellery, sculptures, candles, stationery and other crafts made from old glass, metal, car parts and other recycled materials by physically challenged people.
  • Moto in Zanzibar: Indulge in a shopping spree of bags, sun hats, baskets, mats and other goods woven from ukili (palm leaves).
  • Asilia Leather Craft in Arusha: Visit this shop for some dashing leather goodies.
  • Afrika Sana in Dar es Salaam: Meander through the biggest store in Tanzania for a variety of African tailored items.
  • Cultural Heritage in Arusha: This unique cultural centre has curio shops, a jewellery boutique, tanzanite and a precious stone counter.
  • MCA Gallery in Dar es Salaam: Visit this gallery for an assortment of beautiful gemstone handicrafts and jewellery.
  • Silver Curio Shop in Dar es Salaam: This is probably the oldest curio shop in the country, with a wide range of curios, copper plaques and clocks.
  • Gem Point Ltd in Dar es Salaam: Get an exclusive and unique range of expertly crafted jewellery made of Tanzanite, hand selected diamonds as well as other precious and semi-precious gems.
  • Markets: For an assortment of souvenirs, try any of the open-air markets. Tanzania is full of these which include Majengo market, Central market in Arusha, Kilombero in Arusha, Mwenge carvers' market in Dar es Salaam, Mt. Meru curio and crafts market in Arusha and Kariakoo market in Dar es Salaam among others.
  • Shopping malls: Tanzania has not been left behind in terms of development, and the huge shopping malls that come with it. These are spread all over the country, which include Msasani City Mall in Dar es Salaam, Mlimani City in Dar es Salaam, the Slipway in Dar es Salaam, Sea Cliff Village in Dar es Salaam and the Sale Square Shopping Village in Arusha.
  • Monday – Friday: 8.00 am – 5.30 pm
  • Saturday: 8.30 am – 12.30 pm

Note: Some businesses open on Sunday. Muslim-owned businesses close on Friday afternoons but may open on Sunday.

In Zanzibar, some shops close for siesta from 12.00 (noon) to 3.00 pm but stay open until 7.00 pm. In larger cities, markets open daily from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm.

Leave any luggage that will not be in use during the safari at the City Hotel, for collection upon return.

Note that international airlines allow a luggage allowance of 20 – 30 Kgs whilst LOCAL carriers allow 15 Kgs only – especially those flying into and out of the bush (Parks and Reserves)

On Check-out / departure day, place all luggage at the door while heading for breakfast to cue the porters to take it to the reception, to await check-out.

There are a few Dos to keep in mind while travelling.

  • Upon arrival at the hotel, register at the reception to get the room key.
  • Check-in is generally from 12.00 hrs while check out is at 10.00 hrs
  • Check out for day-use rooms is at 6.00 pm.
  • For concessions on late check-outs, it is recommended to contact/liaise with the Hotel Reception, the night before.
  • Upon checkout, return the key to the reception while settling the bill (if possible, settle all bills the night before to avoid the long queues in the morning).
  • Once checked out, request for a luggage ticket, which is required to leave the hotel.

Respecting Wildlife:

  • Observe the animals silently with minimum disturbance of their natural activities.
  • Loud talking on a game drive can frighten the animals away. Noise may also antagonize fellow visitors.
  • Stay in the vehicle at all times, except at designated picnic or walking areas.
  • Animals are wild and can be unpredictable.
  • Never attempt to attract an animal's attention.
  • Don't imitate animal sounds, clap your hands, pound on the vehicle, or throw objects.
  • When viewing wildlife, keep to a minimum distance of 20 meters and pull to the side of the road to allow others to pass.
  • Please respect the driver-guides' judgement about proximity to wildlife, particularly lions, cheetahs, and leopards.
  • Don't insist on getting closer for a better photograph. A vehicle driven too close can hinder a hunt or cause animals to abandon a hard-earned meal.
  • Litter tossed on the ground can choke or poison animals and birds.
  • Never attempt to feed or approach any wild animal on foot.
  • This is especially important near lodges or in campsites where animals may have become accustomed to human visitors.
  • Refrain from smoking during game drives. The dry African bush ignites very easily, and a flash fire can harm hundreds of animals.

Conserving East Africa's Natural Environment:

  • Minimise the disposable items brought on the trip. Leave film boxes, wrappings from new clothes, and other un-needed items at home.
  • Please note that the use or importation of plastic carrier bags was banned in Kenya in August 2017.
  • Be conscious of disposal of tissues, lens paper, water bottles and caps, food wrappers and other trash.
  • Avoid using the trash containers on the road-side stopping places since the garbage will not find its way to the dumping site. Instead, keep a small trash bag and empty it back at the hotel or camp each night.
  • Entry into the National Parks and Reserves is restricted between 6.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m.
  • Night game drives are NOT allowed, except in private wildlife conservancies.
  • Off-road driving is prohibited in the Parks and Reserves. Stay on established trails to preserve grass and other plants.
  • Don't pick any vegetation, or carry any item of biological interest, including eggshells, feathers and bones of any kind as souvenirs.
  • Be mindful of the environment, consider picking up litter left by other visitors.

The picturesque landscapes, exotic wildlife, historical sites, and world-renowned sites, Tanzania is without a doubt picture perfect! Note that it is considered rude to take pictures of people without asking for their permission.

Please note that it is prohibited to take photos of:

  • The President and/ or his entourage
  • The police or uniformed personnel
  • Military installations, ministers, official and military buildings, airports, and border posts
  • The national flag and official residences


  • It is recommended that you bring a power bank with sufficient storage and memory cards as they may not always be readily available on the ground.
  • Keep your cameras in a dust-resistant padded case, away from direct sun.
  • A 200mm (or longer) telephoto lens will prove very useful on safari.
  • An ultra-violet filter and a lens cap are strongly recommended.

Christianity: 61.4% of the population are Christians.

Islam: 35.2% of the population are Muslims. Zanzibar is almost entirely Muslim.

Indigenous beliefs: 1.8% have faith in traditional religious beliefs.

Others: 0.2% of the population believe in other faiths including Hinduism and Buddhism.

No religion: 1.4% of the population is not affiliated with any religion.