These Tanzania travel tips will help you plan your trip to Tanzania. This page has information about visas, health, safety and when to go to Tanzania.
Citizens of the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, and most countries in the EU, need a tourist visa to enter Tanzania. Application details and forms can be found on Tanzanian Embassy web sites. US citizens can apply here. Tanzanian embassies issue single ($50) and double ($100) entry visas (handy if you’re planning to cross over to Kenya or Malawi for a few days). They do not issue visas for more than two entries.
Tanzanian tourist visas are valid for 6 months from the date of issue. So while planning ahead for visas is a good thing, make sure the visa is still valid for the length of time you plan to travel in Tanzania.
You can obtain a visa at all airports in Tanzania as well as at the border crossings, but it is advised to get a visa beforehand. In order to get a visa, you have to have proof that you plan to leave Tanzania within 3 months of your arrival.
As with all visa matters — contact your local Tanzanian Embassy for the latest information.
Health and Immunizations
No immunizations are required by law to enter Tanzania if you are traveling directly from Europe or the US. If you are traveling from a country where Yellow Fever is present you will need to prove you have had the inoculation.
Several vaccinations are highly recommended when traveling to Tanzania, they include:
There’s a risk of catching malaria pretty much everywhere you travel in Tanzania. While it’s true that areas of high altitude like the Ngorongoro Conservation Area are relatively malaria-free, you will usually be passing through areas where malaria is prevalent in order to get there.
As you travel in the touristy areas, you will probably attract your fair share of souvenir hawkers and beggars. Remember that these are poor people who are trying to earn money to feed their families. If you aren’t interested then say so, but try and remain polite.
Basic Safety Rules for Travelers
Make a copy of your passport and keep it in your luggage.
Don’t walk on your own at night in the major cities or on empty beaches especially in Pemba and Zanzibar.
Don’t carry too much cash with you.
Wear a money belt that fits under your clothes.
When to Go to Tanzania
The rainy seasons in Tanzania are from March to May and November to December. Roads become washed out and some parks even have to close. But, the rainy season is the perfect time to get good deals on safaris and enjoy a quieter experience without the crowds.
The best months to climb Kilimanjaro are January, February, and September when it is warm and dry.
The best time to see the annual migration of millions of wildebeest and zebras is February to March when they have their young. The dry season (June to November) in general is the best time to go on safari in Tanzania since the animals congregate around the waterholes and river banks.
The best time to enjoy the beaches of Zanzibar and Pemba is between July and October when there are fewer tourists escaping the European winter and there’s little chance of rain.
Getting To and From Tanzania
If you’re planning to visit Northern Tanzania, the best airport to arrive at is Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA). KLM has daily flights from Amsterdam. Ethiopian and Kenya Airways also fly into KIA.
If you’re planning to visit Zanzibar, southern and western Tanzania, you’ll want to fly to the capital Dar es Salaam. European carriers that fly into Dar es Salaam include British Airways, KLM, and Swissair (which codeshares with Delta).
Regional flights to Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and parts of northern Tanzania regularly fly from Nairobi (Kenya Airways, Air Kenya) and Addis Ababa (Ethiopian Airlines). Precision Air has several flights per week to Entebbe (Uganda), Mombasa and Nairobi.
To and From Kenya: There are several bus services available between Tanzania and Kenya. Buses regularly go from Mombasa to Dar es Salaam (12 hours), Nairobi to Dar es Salaam (about 13 hours), Nairobi to Arusha (5 hours), and Voi to Moshi. Some bus companies originating in Arusha will drop you off at your hotel in Nairobi and also offer pick-ups at Nairobi’s international airport.
To and From Malawi: The border crossing between Tanzania and Malawi is at the Songwe River Bridge. Direct buses between Dar es Salaam and Lilongwe depart several times a week and take around 27 hours. Your other alternative is to get to the border crossing and take minibusses in either direction to the closest towns — Karonga in Malawi and Mbeya in Tanzania. Spend the night and then continue on the next day. Both towns have regular long-distance bus services.
To and From Mozambique: The main border post is at Kilambo (Tanzania) which you can get to via minibus from Mtwara. To cross the border requires a trip across the Ruvuma River and depending on the tides and the season, this could be a simple quick canoe trip or an hour long ferry ride. The border post in Mozambique is at Namiranga.
To and From Uganda: Daily buses travel from Kampala to Dar es Salaam (via Nairobi — so make sure you get a visa for Kenya to transit). The bus trip takes at least 25 hours. A more manageable crossing is from Kampala to Bukoba (on the shores of Lake Victoria) which gets you to Tanzania in about 7 hours. You can also take a short 3 hour trip by bus from Bukoba (Tanzania) to the Ugandan border town of Masaka. Scandinavian also runs buses from Moshi to Kampala (via nairobi).
To and From Rwanda: Regional coach services travels from Kigali to Dar es Salaam at least once a week, the trip takes about 36 hours and crosses into Uganda first. Shorter trips between the Tanzania/Rwanda border at Rusumo Falls are possible but the security situation fluctuates so inquire locally in Benako (Rwanda) or Mwanza (Tanzania). Buses also run at least once a day from Mwanza (it will take all day) to the border of Rwanda, and from there you can catch a minibus to Kigali. Catching the bus from Mwanza means a ferry trip to start with so the schedule is fairly fixed.
To and From Zambia: Buses run a couple times a week between Dar es Salaam and Lusaka (about 30 hours) and between Mbeya and Lusaka (about 16 hours). The border that is used most often is at Tunduma and you can get minibusses from Mbeya to Tunduma and then cross into Zambia and take public transport from there.