Tanzania is now one of the top travel destinations in Africa due to its great variety of landscapes, wildlife and cultural experiences… ranging from the glaciers on top of Mt Kilimanjaro, the sweeping grasslands and wonderful wildlife of the Serengeti to the pristine beaches of Zanzibar.
Many parts of Tanzania still remain largely ‘untouched’- 25% of the land area is protected with 16 National Parks, 15 Game reserves and 63 other game controlled areas. These parts harbor a great diversity of mammalian and bird species- many of which are endangered and only found in Tanzania. The environment of Tanzania has managed to remain predominantly unchanged due to the way of life of many of the indigenous people who live in harmony with the variety of fauna and flora. The ‘Africa’ of your dreams still exists here in Tanzania.
There are only two types of season in Tanzania- rainy or dry! The long rains occur from the beginning of April until the end of June and the short rains are in November. Some of the best wildlife viewing is done just after the end of the rainy season, at the beginning of July as food is plentiful and the landscape is transformed from dry and dusty to luscious and green.
Temperatures vary across the country depending on your elevation (down to -20⁰C/-4⁰F on top of Kilimanjaro) but the normal temperatures range from 16-32⁰C/60-90⁰F so it is always fairly mild. During the rainy seasons you may need to bring a jumper and some long pants but otherwise you will normally find yourself nice and toasty!
The currency used throughout the country is the Tanzanian shilling (tsh). The exchange rate normally hovers between 1500-1600 Tsh for the 1 USD. If you wish to bring a currency with you it is easy (in all major towns and cities) to find a bureau de change that will change US dollars, British pounds and the Euro. We also recommend bringing some USD with you as most tourist operations (including park entrance fees, visas etc.) are done in this currency. Make sure that the notes youbring are from no more than 7 years ago as many notes were forged before this time and will not be accepted here!
Tanzania’s people are known to be some of the friendliest in East Africa… You will find big smiles and warm welcomes from everyone here. Although there are more than 120 different tribal cultures found here there is little conflict in this very peaceful nation. The two main religions in the country are Islam and Christianity- you will find the coast to be mostly Islamic (or 98% in Zanzibar!) whereas inland is predominantly Christian.Among the different ethnic groups, the vast majority are Bantu-speakers; the largest is the Sukuma, with others including the Nyamwezi, the Makonde and the Chagga of the Kilimanjaro region.
Unlike in other African countries, most people identify themselves as Tanzanian first and foremost. This reflects the ideals which were introduced by the leader of the nation for over twenty years, Julius Nyerere.
Travel around Tanzania
Depending on your budget and time-schedule, there are a few different options for getting around Tanzania to see all this magnificent country has to offer.
Air travel: Many different airlines now fly within Tanzania and then to other East African countries. These include Precision Air, Air Tanzania and Fastjet, to name a few. The major airports are in Dar Es Salaam (JK Nyerere airport) and Kilimanjaro International Airport (between Arusha and Moshi) but there are also many small airports around many of the 25 regions of Tanzania, including on Zanzibar. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for further information if you are wishing to book flights.
If you have a longer time schedule and a lower budget you might wish to travel the local way- getting to take in the varied landscapes of the country along the way! There are large and fast bus services between the major cities departing every day. The roads in the east of the company (for example between Dar Es Salaam and Arusha/Moshi) are really good now but if you want to get a bit more off the tourist track and get to the East or South of the country you may be experiencing some bumpy and long rides on largely unmade roads… Either way, we’re happy to help you arrange your plans if you wish to travel this often fun and interesting way!
For most tourists the only bit of ‘sea-travel’ they may do will be the crossing to Zanzibar Island. There are many different ferry companies doing this journey several times per day. For the more adventrous you may head over East to explore Lake Victoria in the region called Mwanza.
Travel around town
You tend to have 3-4 options for getting around; taxis, bajaj (tuk-tuk), bodaboda (motorbike taxi) or daladala (local minibus)… in that price order.
In Tanzania we have more than 120 tribal languages but the official language spoken everywhere is Swahili. Here are a few useful phrases to get you started:
Mambo? (what’s up?)…. Poa (everything’s cool)
Habari? (how are you?)… Nzuri (good).
Shingapi? (How much?)
Ni naomba….. (Can I please have…..)
Ni naenda…….(I am going….)
Asante sana… (Thank you very much)
Don’t worry about taking intense Swahili classes before your arrival- you will find that in most areas, other than the really rural places, you will be able to get by communicating in English (at most secondary schools they are required to talk only English)!
Tanzania Visas information
All travelers who are not East African residents, are required to obtain a visa for Tanzania. Happily, the process is a simple formality.
If you opt to fly to Nairobi rather than direct to JRO you’ll need to take the Riverside Shuttle bus from Nairobi to Arusha. Passing through Kenya in this way you’ll require a Kenyan tourist visa which can be purchased at the airport when you land. A tourist visa for traveling to Kenya from Tanzania if opting to fly out from Nairobi, can be purchased at the Namanga border which you are required to cross, however if you entered Tanzania from Kenya on your way to Kilimanjaro then your original Kenyan visa will probably still be valid as nowadays Kenyan tourist visas are issued on multiple-entry basis.
If flying direct to Tanzania however, although it is possible to purchase your visa on arrival at the kiosk on the right hand side of the arrivals foyer at Kilimanjaro International Airport, the Tanzanian High Commission advises visitors to apply for this in advance as they reserve the right to deny you a visa on arrival.
Travelers are advised to apply in person by visiting the Tanzanian Embassy with their passports and payment in cash . Those willing to take the risk involved with trying to obtain a visa at the border (we have only ever heard of a small handful of persons who had problems) should have USD 50 in cash if flying on a British passport, or USD 100 in cash if flying on a US passport. Those of other nationalities are advised to have USD 100 in cash ready, though in most cases the cost will be only USD 50.
Please note that the visa application can only be made within three months of the date of travel.
Office hours are Monday to Friday: 1000–1230.
TANZANIAN EMBASSY IN BRITAIN
3 Stratford Place, London, W1C 1AS
Tel.: +44 020 7569 1470
Fax: +44 020 7491 3710
Tanzanian visa for American Citizens
2139 R Street NW, Washington D.C 20008
Telephone: (202)884-1080, (202)939-6125/7
Information about Tanzanian visas for Americans is available here.
Tanzanian visa for Canadian Citizens
50 Range Road Ottawa
Tanzanian visa for Australian Citizens
3rd Floor, MPH Building
23 Barrack Street
PERTH WA 6000
Honorary Consul: Mr Didier Murcia
Tel: +61 (0) 8 9221 0033
Fax:+61 (0) 8 9221 0133
Hours of business 8.30am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday
Help with completing your Tanzanian tourist visa application form
When completing the visa application form some of the answers to the questions asked are not obvious. Below are suggested responses:
Type of visa applied:
Port of entry:
‘JRO’ if arriving to Kilimanjaro International Airport
‘Namanga’ if arriving by Shuttle Bus from Nairobi
Means of financial support:
‘Cash and credit cards’
Reference in Tanzania:
You can contact us if you will need any help…
Point Africa Safaris
+255 785 957232
Arusha, Tanzania, EA