12 practical tips for traveling in Tanzania

Tanzania is a beautiful country to travel to and for most people, it's a well-known African destination. Every year, numerous tourists visit Tanzania. Before your journey begins, there are several things to consider, ensuring you embark on your adventure well-prepared!

1. How do I enter Tanzania?

Most foreigners require a visa for Tanzania. Some foreigners from nearby countries can travel visa-free, such as individuals from Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, or Rwanda. Besides a visa, you need a valid passport with at least six months validity upon arrival in Tanzania. For volunteer work, you'll need a volunteer work visa; it's illegal to volunteer with a tourist visa. If your stay in Tanzania is less than 90 days, a visa costs around 50 USD, including a volunteer work visa. You can easily apply for a Tanzanian visa online. For more information, you can visit your government's website.

2. What are you saying?

In Tanzania, Swahili and English are spoken. Additionally, there are tribal languages such as the Maasai language, Maa. Our experience shows that people at lodges, hotels, and other tourist attractions usually speak English reasonably well. However, most local people primarily speak Swahili. Therefore, it's helpful to learn a few words, which is also highly appreciated. Check out our article on the most important words in Swahili to get started with your first words.

3. All these banknotes

In Tanzania, the currency is the Tanzanian Shilling. Currently, 10,000 shillings is around 4 USD. Besides the shilling, you can use USD at many tourist spots, but the exchange rate might not always be the best.

You'll find ATMs in larger towns and cities, but they're not common in smaller villages. Our experience is that some ATMs accept debit bank cards. Additionally, it's advisable to carry a credit card. Check in advance if your card is set for international use and what the monthly withdrawal limit is. In Tanzania, you often can't pay with a debit or credit card. Our tip is to withdraw enough cash from ATMs to avoid multiple transactions and save on transaction fees.

When withdrawing money in Tanzania, ATMs often dispense many 10,000 shilling notes because it's the highest denomination. There are also notes of 1,000, 2,000, and 5,000 shillings, along with coins of 50, 100, 200, and 500 shillings. For instance, if you withdraw 200 euros from an ATM, you'll receive a thick stack of notes.

4. On safari!

A safari in Tanzania is definitely worthwhile. There are many different national parks where you can spot a variety of animals, including the Big 5. Many people come to Tanzania for safaris. Safaris can be quite expensive, but the price varies. It depends on factors like where you book the safari, whether you stay overnight in the national park, and whether you opt for a group tour or a private tour.

5. When should I go?

The best time to travel to Tanzania is during the dry season from June to October and from December to February. Temperatures are around 25 degrees Celsius (77°F), and there is minimal rainfall during this period. Tanzania experiences an official rainy season from March to May, with October and November also known for short rain showers.


The best months for a safari are from June to November. During this time, you have the highest chance of spotting animals. It's advisable to avoid safaris during the rainy season because animals are less visible. This is due to the rapid growth of plants caused by the rain, making it challenging to spot animals amidst the vegetation. Additionally, during the dry season, there are limited watering holes, leading animals to frequent those areas. In contrast, the rainy season creates more watering holes, making it harder to spot animals.


The best times to visit Zanzibar are in January, February, and from June to September. Particularly in January and February, Zanzibar is delightful as the holiday rush has passed, and it's not as crowded as during the summer vacation period. It's advisable to avoid Zanzibar in the months of March through May due to the rainy season. Additionally, October and November experience short rain showers, but they are less intense than during the primary rainy season.

6. What should I wear?

It is advisable to bring modest clothing to Tanzania, especially for women. It's appreciated when shoulders and knees are covered, reducing attention in less touristy villages and towns. This also applies to Zanzibar, where 95% of the population is Muslim. Of course, this isn't necessary on the beach.

Moreover, covering clothing is also beneficial for nature walks or evenings. It reduces the chance of insect bites and can provide warmth as the evening approaches.

7. Au! My stomach!

In Tanzania, you can't drink water from the tap. Be cautious, especially with fruits and vegetables washed in contaminated water and ice cubes made from the same water source. When eating out, you can inquire about this. Also, it's essential to brush your teeth with mineral water and be careful not to ingest too much water while showering.

You can use tap water, for example, to cook rice. However, it's crucial that once the water boils, let it boil for an additional three minutes to eliminate all bacteria.

Furthermore, be cautious with undercooked food. Many people experience stomach issues in Tanzania. Traveler's diarrhea is common when visiting a country where food and drinks are prepared differently. In case of traveler's diarrhea, drink plenty of water and take ORS to prevent dehydration.

8. Dinner by candlelight

In Tanzania, you'll need a universal adapter. They use type D and G sockets. Additionally, power outages can occur occasionally. While most lodges and hotels have generators, this might not be the case if you're staying in more local accommodations. It's useful to carry a headlamp or flashlight with you. A tip: place a water bottle on your light to create a cozy ambiance when sitting at a table.

9. Help! A mosquito!

In Tanzania, you will encounter mosquitoes. These mosquitoes can carry various diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika. The mosquitoes transmitting these diseases are mostly active during the day. Additionally, malaria is a prevalent disease in Tanzania. The malaria mosquito primarily bites in the evening, night, and early morning. There are malaria pills that reduce the severity if you're bitten by a malaria mosquito. These pills come in different types, and a doctor can provide suitable advice.

Most hotels and lodges have mosquito nets available. However, when staying in more local accommodations, mosquito nets might not always be provided. It's helpful to carry one with you. You can purchase an impregnated mosquito net from various travel websites. It's advisable, especially if traveling solo, to bring a mosquito net for a double bed. This ensures the net fits well around your bed. Also, it's important to apply mosquito repellent containing DEET and wear long, breathable clothing when hiking in nature or during the evening to reduce the risk of mosquito bites.

10. How do I get there?

In Tanzania, for most popular attractions, you can purchase tickets online or on-site and arrange for a guide. However, for less touristy places, this might not be possible. You may not find tickets available online, and it can be unclear where to purchase them or arrange for a guide on-site. It's advisable to seek assistance from your lodge, hotel, or hostel. They can assist with transportation, guides, or obtaining tickets.

11. What do I smell?

In Tanzania, we often wondered if our neighbor had lit their fireplace. However, it wasn't the case. People set a piece of land on fire when they anticipate upcoming rain. The ash enriches the soil, making it fertile. That's why you frequently see fire and smoke in Tanzania.

Moreover, some people burn their waste, which might result in the smell of burning plastic, for instance. This is part of the experience, and unfortunately, there's little one can do about it.

12. Can you already video call there as well?

Yes grandma, good news! Even in Tanzania, you can make regular phone calls and even video calls. At the local market, you'll find many stalls selling SIM cards at low prices. For instance, you can buy a SIM card from Vodacom or Airtel. The people at these stalls assist you in inserting and activating the SIM card in your phone. When traveling with someone else, it can be useful for each of you to get a SIM card from a different provider. In some places in Tanzania, one SIM card might have coverage while the other doesn't, especially in more remote areas. If both of you have different SIM cards, there's a better chance that at least one of you will have coverage.

Do you want to read more about Tanzania

See all our articles with the best tips to discover all beautiful places in Tanzania.

Do you want to read more about Tanzania

See all our articles with the best tips to discover all beautiful places in Tanzania.

About the authors

How nice that you are on our website and that you have read this article! We are Mirte and Matthew, two Dutch adventurers with a passion for traveling, discovering cultures, and gaining new experiences. We've translated our love for the world into this website. We hope our articles inspire you to go on adventures! You can learn more about us through the button below.
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