Tanzania Travel, East Africa
Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a 20km wide volcanic crater near Arusha. Tanzania travel photo by Joachim Huber.
Tanzania’s Greatest Hits (according to their Tourist Office)
A pride of lions in Serengeti National Park, but with an absent dad as usual.
Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month
Dates depend on full moon in your location so they may differ by one day depending on where you plan to be.
In 2020 Ramadan will start on April 23 and will continue for 30 days until May 23.
During this time most, if not all, Muslims will neither eat nor drink during the daytime and consequently many cafes, restaurants and even shops may open only after sunset; public eating, drinking and smoking by tourists will be frowned upon.
The last day of Ramadan, known as Idd al Fitr, can be a wild time with much celebrating, depending on location; Zanzibar is known for its penchant for excitability at this time.
Hiking in Tanzania
• Many Wildlife Parks and Game Reserves offer protected walks where a visitor/group hires a rifle-toting guide to accompany them on an informative and down-to-earth stroll among the beasties. Arusha town is especially well set up for these hikes.
• Tanzania’s richly endowed northern highlands offer spectacular hikes particularly in the gorgeous Usambara and Pare mountains and can be organised via one of the excellent cultural tourism programmes.
Moshi or lovely Lushoto are both good bases for highland treks.
• There are superb rain forest hikes in Udzungwa, though it is not easy to overnight there.
Getting to Tanzania
Apart from planes to Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam, there are plenty of regular African buses lurching from Kenya to Tanzania. Nairobi – Arusha or Dar es Salaam, Mombasa – Dar es Salaam, Voi – Moshi, for example.
More adventurous visitors might try for a dhow sailing from Mombasa – Zanzibar (Pemba).
From Zambia’s Kapiri Mposhi trains run erratically on the Tazara line to Dar es Salaam.
Getting around Tanzania
• Domestic airlines perform respectably and prices are acceptable.
• Buses, both full size and mini-buses known as dalla-dalla are the transport norm and get just about everywhere though roads are in bad shape and accident rates high, especially on the Arusha to Moshi route. Buses are not permitted to travel at night.
• Car rental costs are high, particularly since most tourists will require a 4WD vehicle hired from Dar es Salaam.
• Ferries are an interesting option and can be found on Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Nyasa and on the sea coast, but sadly the lovely, tranquil and traditional dhow as serious transport is now rare in Tanzania after a couple of bad accidents with tourists.
Another interesting possibility for Tanzania travel is spending time with and getting to know local tribes, often involving wildlife walks, horse riding, or village visits with Maasai, Meru or Il Larusa tribes. Learn about traditional healing, village life, cattle care (drink blood? ! ) and more. There are too many cultural tourism projects in Tanzania to list so if you’re interested check with the Tanzania Tourist Board in Arusha which is the current hub for these kind of activities.
Single-entry three-month visas can be bought on arrival at an airport or from a Tanzanian consulate beforehand. If you wish to stay longer it’s easiest to leave the country and return. Visas for overland crossings vary constantly and even from border to border, but should be cheaper.
Tourist areas, safaris and scuba ($80+ per day) are pricey but individuals who go their own way without these luxuries can survive on surprisingly little, perhaps $20 per day or less, though even a low end safari will cost at least $90 per day.
Take $ cash for ease of exchange but also some cheques for backup. Towns have ATMs that will provide funds too (at a price).
Credit cards are accepted for major tourist services but you can expect a 5% or even 10% surcharge so it may be cheaper to withdraw the cash from an ATM after all!
• Malaria is caused by stings from the female Anopheles mosquito and is commonplace in low-lying areas of Tanzania. It can be avoided by protecting yourself from mozzie bites and taking prophylactic pills. See our mosquito page for avoidance tactics and an anti-malarial summary, but we feel that at the moment expensive Malarone is the best preventative.
• Eating and drinking advice for foreigners in developing countries such as Tanzania can be found on our Travel Health page.
• Make sure you are inoculated against typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A and have a polio booster before heading off on your Tanzania travel experience.
• HIV is prevalent in Africa so be very sensible about intimate relationships with local people and do not imagine being drunk excuses terminal idiocy.
• when out walking in wilderness areas wear shoes and walk noisily to protect against snakes – who would much rather be doing something other than sinking their pristine fangs into your dirty, sweaty foot.
• don’t swim, wash or even touch stagnant fresh (as opposed to salt, which is fine) water, such as fresh-water lakes, unless your guide can confirm it’s safe from bilharzia, a tiny and unpleasant burrowing critter that can cause long term damage, though it is curable.