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Tanzania Travel Guide

Located in East Africa, Tanzania is known for its vast wilderness areas that will leave adventurers in awe. Embark on an unforgettable safari in the world-famous Serengeti National Park, where you can witness the dramatic wildebeest migration, spot the Big Five, and immerse yourself in the raw beauty of the African savannah. For those seeking adventure, Mount Kilimanjaro presents an exhilarating challenge with its snow-capped peaks and breathtaking vistas. Hike through diverse landscapes, from lush rainforests to rocky slopes, and reach the summit for an awe-inspiring sense of accomplishment.

Beyond the wildlife and mountains, Tanzania is also home to the stunning Zanzibar archipelago, with its pristine white sandy beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Relax and unwind on the idyllic beaches of Zanzibar, go snorkelling or diving to explore the vibrant coral reefs, and immerse yourself in the rich Swahili culture of Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whether it's exploring the wildlife, conquering mountains, or indulging in beach bliss, Tanzania offers a captivating blend of adventure, natural beauty, and cultural immersion that will leave travellers with memories to last a lifetime.

Key Facts

Time Zone

GMT+3

Money

Tanzanian Shilling (TZS)

Dialing Code

+255

  • People visit Tanzania primarily to see the superb National Parks, climb Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, or visit the secluded island of Zanzibar. In the Serengeti or Ngorongoro Crater, you will see world-renowned game viewing, unrivalled in scale except for Kruger in South Africa or the Maasai Mara in Kenya.
  • It’s an important African country, heavily involved in African affairs and has a reputation for dealing fairly with conflict. Large Pan-African meetings are often held in Tanzania. 
  • It’s not that easy to get around and the transportation network is not great. But that is part of the charm of Tanzania; travelling may be a challenge, but it’s worth it when you finally reach your destination.
  • Tanzania is pretty safe. Of course, there are places where you would not venture at night, but Tanzania has a recent peaceful history.
  • The people in Tanzania are extremely friendly and laid-back.
  • The Maasai tribe, with their red loincloths and long spears, still follow the traditional Tanzanian way of life.
  • Communication is relatively easy. Many people understand English, and you will not have too much difficulty finding someone who speaks English.
  • The landscape is beautiful. As well as the awe-inspiring sight of Kilimanjaro rising from the plains to 20,000 feet, and the fabulous game parks, there are impressive landscapes all over the country.
  • Zanzibar is an unusual place. Visit the old houses of Stone Town, where Arab traders from the north used to deal in everything including spices, daggers and slaves, and enjoy the quiet, pristine, white beaches.
  • Olduvai Gorge is one of the world’s foremost archaeological sites, where many important prehistoric finds have been discovered. Work continues there today and is well worth visiting.

The capital city is called Dodoma. It achieved this status in 1996 and is an administrative capital, rather than a natural capital. Dar Es Salaam (known as Dar), the previous capital, is by far the biggest and most important city and is the commercial centre of Tanzania. 

  • Serengeti National Park is home to thousands of animals and while you are there, you can join a game drive or take a balloon ride over the flat plains at sunrise. Picture the quintessential African plain, an incredible stretch of land populated with roaming wildebeest, lions, elephants, leopards and a huge variety of other animals.  This dramatic landscape is unforgettable and a must-see in Tanzania!
  • Lake Manyara National Park is well worth a visit, as are Tarangire and Mount Meru.
  • Ngorongoro Crater – take a safari and there is an excellent chance of you spotting several of the Big Five and many other amazing animals. The Ngorongoro Crater is part of a string of craters and volcanoes in Tanzania.  One of the largest of such craters in the world, this is an excellent location to get up close and personal with the wildlife in a unique environment.  Inhabited by the Maasai people, tourism is kept controlled to ensure as little damage as possible is done to this natural habitat. 
  • Another truly dramatic sight is the world-famous Mount Kilimanjaro – the highest peak in Africa at 5895 metres. A climb to the peak will mean you can look down on the whole of Africa!  If you do want to take on the challenge then you will need proper training but the result is incredibly rewarding; just attempting the climb is achievement enough!
  • Visit the Olduvai Gorge where there have been major archaeological discoveries of both animal and human fossils.
  • If you have time, visit the Selous Game Reserve in the south of the country. Named after the famous explorer, Frederick Selous, it is the largest of Tanzania’s game parks, but a bit off the beaten track and wilder than the northern parks with their tourism infrastructure.
  • Enjoy the beaches north of Dar Es Salaam, as they are far less developed than Kenya’s coastline.
  • Tanzania is home to Africa’s largest lake, Lake Victoria.  See one of the earliest societies established on the continent and members of Tanzania’s largest tribe.
  • Visit Zanzibar and check out the exotic port of Stone Town and explore its narrow, winding cobbled streets. Relax on the idyllic beaches and dive or snorkel amongst magnificent colourful fish. Stunning blue waters surround the island of Zanzibar and the best and most exciting way of travelling to Zanzibar is by boat; as you cross the azure sea mainland life will feel very far away.   Arriving in the capital Stone Town you will be immediately struck with the beauty of this place; history and a distinct cultural personality ooze through the narrow streets.  Zanzibar provides a contrasting landscape to the bare plains of the Serengeti but the island is an equally stunning location. If you want to take some time out of your gap year to relax then Zanzibar is the perfect place. 

Tanzania has a wide range of culinary influences, spread across different regions and areas. An influx of Indian heritage means that Indian cuisine is popular in many areas. Rice is a staple of the Tanzanian diet and another popular food is Zanzibar rice bread. Okra, spinach and grilled meats are widely available and you might like to try the special type of marinated beef called Mshikaki. Another Tanzanian speciality is an omelette with chips cooked within it. For those of you who might be longing for a taste of home, you’ll be pleased to hear that the Tanzanians are as big on drinking tea as we are in Britain!

Tanzania has a tropical climate, and apart from the highlands where temperatures average 16°C, the temperature is nearly always above 20°C. Summer is between November and February and will reach the low 30s. Winter is late May to August, averaging in the mid-20s. Temperatures rarely fall lower than 20 °C (68 °F), but rainfall comes from March-May (called the long rains) and October-December (called the short rains).

Visa

Visas may be required in order to enter or transit through certain countries depending on your passport nationality, your reason for travel and how long you intend to stay.

Visa, passport and entry rules are subject to change and you should check the most up-to-date information from the relevant embassy or visa specialist.

To make things easier we have teamed up with The Travel Visa Company who are one of the UK’s leading travel visa specialists. You can use their website, alongside embassy websites,  to find out the specific entry requirements for the countries you intend to travel to.

For a fee, their dedicated team of experts can also apply for visas on your behalf, taking away the hassle and streamlining the process for you if you wish. For more details on the services they provide please click here – The Travel Visa Company

Passport

Passports must be kept in good condition. Travellers with damaged passports may be refused entry at immigration. It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure that all travel documents are in good condition before they travel. Most countries will also require at least 6 months of validity on your passport from the time you finish your trip. 

Further Entry Requirements

Some countries will require proof of certain vaccines, such as yellow fever or covid, in order to gain entry. Please check with the relevant embassy or a visa specialist before travelling.

The languages spoken in Tanzania are Swahili and English.

230V

The plug system is the old-fashioned three-pin large round plug (as used in South Africa), with some large square three-pin plugs (as used in the UK), so you definitely need a universal plug adapter.

Tanzania is a peaceful combination of Muslim and Christian cultures. You should pay respect to the people of this country and when away from the beaches it is best to remain covered up.

Health

Medical facilities can be limited in Tanzania so make sure you are aware of where your nearest facility is.

Malaria is present in Tanzania and it is best to take precautionary measures by taking anti-malaria tablets and following our general advice about health when travelling. 

HIV and Aids are unfortunately still prevalent in Tanzania so take any necessary precautions! 

See your GP for advice on vaccinations before travelling to Tanzania.

Safety

Tanzania is on a fault line so Earthquakes can occur but the last one was in 2007. 

Crime does occur in Tanzania but if you know what to look out for then you should stay safe. Avoid areas heavily populated by backpackers and keep an eye out for pickpockets. Unlicensed taxi drivers can be a risk so make sure you ask for identification before climbing into a taxi. If in doubt get your accommodation to arrange a taxi for you. Avoid travelling around alone if possible and stay vigilant. 

Going on safari is the reason a lot of people go to Tanzania and is an essential part of your African experience. Plan your trip well and make sure you have a reputable guide. Remember that the animals aren’t tame and always show them the respect they deserve - after all, you are in their habitat. For any other guidance please see our general guide to safety when travelling.

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