Travel guide to Tanzania

» Tanzania
The largest country in East Africa, Tanzania, is a paradise for travellers who want safaris, hiking, mountain-climbing and grand vistas of nature. The nation was founded in 1964 when Tanganyika and Zanzibar were fused together. Today it is a very popular destination for travellers.

Facts

Top
Local name
Tanzania
Capital
Dar es Salaam (Dodoma is the administrative capital officially, but the transfer from Dar es Salaam has not finished yet)
Size
945,087 km2
Principal Languages
Swahili and English
Principal Religion
Christianity and Islam
Inhabitants
35,306,000
Government
Republic
Geography
Tanzania is in Eastern Africa, facing the Indian Ocean. The country borders on Kenya and Uganda in the north, on Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the west and on Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique in the south. The islands off the coast, Pemba and Zanzibar, are also part of the republic of Tanzania.

Travel preparation

Top

Best time to visit

The normal tourist season is in January and February when the warm and dry weather is the most agreeable. If you come to see the wildlife of the savannah, the dry season is not the time to visit because many of the animals will have travelled to Kenya then.

Literature

Lonely Planet Tanzania, Zanzibar & Pemba

Local conditions

Top

Currency

Shillings (TZS), 1 shilling = 100 cents

Net cafes

There are several Internet cafés in Tanzania, but only in cities such as Arusha, Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam.

In case of emergency

To call for help in Tanzania, dial the following numbers: Ambulance and fire brigade: (999) Police: (0811-322-999) Airport police: (844-354)

Tipping

In Tanzania it is customary to add five to ten percent to the bill in restaurants and to give the porter a small amount per suitcase. Tour guides on safaris are given a substantially greater amount.

Timezone

When it is 12:00 in the UK (summertime), it is 14:00 in Tanzania. When it is 12:00 in the UK (wintertime), it is 15:00 in Tanzania.

Weight and Measures

The following weights and measures are used in Tanzania: Length: metres Weight: kilos The old Imperial units of measure - yards, pounds and gallons - are still used in some places.

Photography

If you want to take picture of the locals you should always ask in advance to prevent insulting the Masai or other tribe peoples. On a safari the best time to take pictures is either early in the morning or in the late afternoon with a good long lens.

Drinking water

Water from the tap should not be consumed unless it has been boiled and filtered. Bottled water can be bought in most shops and in hotels.

Electricity

The following power source is used in Tanzania: 240 Volts AC, 50 Hz

Behaviour

On the coast and on Zanzibar most people are Muslim. Therefore visitors should always dress properly in clothing that covers shoulders and knees. It is unacceptable to be topless or to swim naked.

Business Hours

Shops are open form 9:00 to 18:00 (Monday - Friday) and from 8:30 to 12:30 (Saturday). Some shops are closed during lunch. Banks are open from 8:30 to 12:30 (Monday - Friday) and from 8:30 to 13:30 (Saturday).

Food and drink

Most hotels serve local food while the big chain hotels also have Western food on the menu. Usually there is a big selection of seafood such as prawns and lobster. Tropical fruit is another item which is usually included in the meals in the shape of coconuts, Paw-Paw fruit, mango, pineapple and bananas. Tanzania also offers a number of delicious alcoholic drinks, among these is the lager beer Safari, the local gin Konyagi, the coconut/chocolate liqueur Afrikoko and Dodoma wine.

Disabled travellers

The conditions for disabled travellers are not very good in Tanzania. Before you decide you should check with your travel agent if there are hotels with facilities.

Holidays

New Year's day: 1 January The Revolution of Zanzibar Day: 12 January Union Day: 26 April Labor Day: 1 May Farmers' Day: 7 July Independence Day: 9 December Christmas Day: 25 December Holidays that can be moved Good Friday: March or April Easter Monday: March or April

Accommodation / Hotel

Top

Camping

There are many camping sites in Tanzania. Some have standard facilities with sinks, toilets, bivouacs and fire wood while others are more simple. If the camping site is situated in a national park it is necessary to get permission before camping and taking pictures. It is recommended to check out prices and rules before arriving in one of these camping sites.

Hotels

The hotels in Tanzania are anything from very good and expensive to cheap with a minimum of facilities. Even when the hotel rooms are expensive, there is often the possibility that two people share a single room. This will not happen in the big hotels. The cheapest hotels are almost always full, but luckily new ones are under construction (on Zanzibar - among other places) .

Bed og breakfast or guesthouse

Guesthouses in Tanzania, which are often extensions to local bars or restaurants, are a cheap form of accommodation. But it is a good idea to keep an eye on your belongings, as they are always in danger of being stolen. This form of accommodation can not be booked ahead and the prices are generally higher in the cities.

Hostels

Hostels can be found in the national parks of Lake Manyara and Serengeti. Furthermore there are YMCA hostels in Dar es Salaam and Moshi and a YWCA hostel in Dar es Salaam, which accommodates women and couples.

Other Accommodation

The Tanzanian tourist agency hire out the so-called Wildlife Lodges, which are nice, well-equipped lodges placed in the national parks.

Local transport

Top

Planes

Tanzania has three big, international airports. They are: Dar es Salaam International (DAR), Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), and Zanzibar Airport (ZNZ). Buses and taxis take passengers to other destinations from all of these airports. Usually the big national parks have small run-ways for private airplanes. The national flight company, Air Tanzania, and a number of private companies fly national flights all over the country.

Bus

The State Travel Service ensures that there are cheap bus connections which cover most of the country. Unfortunately the buses are characterized by poor comfort, unreliability and frequent breakdowns. The worst times to take the buses are at the end of the month and during the rainy-season - when they are particularly crowded.

Trains

Tanzania Railway Corporation is responsible for the trains, which operate between all large towns and cities. There are three different classes, all at fair prices, but tourists should stick to first and second class - which have beds in the compartments.

Taxi

Dar es Salaam is the only place which has set fares per kilometer. In all other cities it is necessary to negotiate the price before the ride begins in order to not be cheated. Taxi drivers expect a ten percent tip.

Car rental

There are not many possibilities of renting a car in Tanzania, and if you do rent a car, it is often fairly expensive. Despite the freedom that a car will give you, it is rarely worth the trouble. Organized safaris are often much better.

Boat or Ferry

There are speed boats which operate between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar daily. The trip takes about two-three hours each way, and there is also the possibility of continuing from Zanzibar to Pemba. There are also steamers on Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika .

Special conditions

Top
A safari can be embarked upon in a lot of different ways. If you are up for trying something different than the average jeep-safari, there is also the possibility of going on a balloon-safari, a camel-safari, an elephant-safari, a horse-safari and a walking-safari. The last mentioned kind only takes place in private reserves as safari on foot is forbidden in the public parks.

Find your travel arrangement to Tanzania here

Travelmarket England
The travel search engine Travelmarket.co.uk searches across more than 1,000 websites to find the best and cheapest travels for you.