All you need to know for your holiday to Tanzania
Additional requirements and restrictions may apply for travel during the Covid-19 pandemic. Travel Butlers aim to highlight these requirements to affected clients, however the onus remains with the traveller to ensure they are aware of any requirements and restrictions that will apply to their own trip.
For up-to-date travel information from the UK government, please check:
UK Government Advice: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/tanzania
It is expected that these rules will be lifted and that the entry requirements will revert to normal as soon as the government of Tanzania deems it safe to do so.
Normally, holders of the following passports require a visa to enter Tanzania when travelling as a tourist:
United Kingdom; United States of America*; Canada; Australia; New Zealand; Belgium; Netherlands; Italy; France; Germany; Spain; Ireland.
If you are a passport holder from another country, please contact your local Tanzania High Commission or Embassy for up-to-date visa requirements or check this website which lists countries whose nationals are NOT required to apply for a visa to enter Tanzania: http://immigration.go.tz/index.php/countries-which-are-not-required-to-apply-for-visa - so if your nationality is not listed, you will be required to obtain a visa.
Visas are issued online via the Tanzania Immigration website https://eservices.immigration.go.tz/visa/ or single entry visas can be obtained on arrival. You cannot get a multiple entry visa on arrival.
* American nationals applying online MUST select Multiple Entry Visa type.
Please note that getting a single entry visa on arrival can take a substantial amount of time and if possible, we would advise getting your visa online prior to travel IF YOU ARE ARRIVING INTO TANZANIA via the following international airports/border posts – Kilimanjaro (JRO), Julius Nyerere/Dar es Salaam (DAR), Zanzibar (ZNZ), Namanga Border Post (road border between Tanzania and Kenya) and Tunduma (road border between Tanzania and Zambia). NOTE: Zanzibar Airport is referred to as Abeid Amani Karume International Airport on the online visa application.
Other entry ports/border posts are not currently equipped to validate online visas, so if you are entering Tanzania via any other border post (such as Tarime – between the Mara and Serengeti) then obtaining the visa ON ARRIVAL is still recommended.
Zanzibar is part of the United Republic of Tanzania, so the same single entry visa can be used upon arrival at Zanzibar.
Single entry visas obtained at port of entry currently cost USD 50 per person (but USD 100 per person for US nationals) - costs all subject to change - and the cost is payable in USD cash only. We recommend small denominations of dollars as officials are not in the position to give change. You must also bring 2 recent passport size photographs of yourself if getting the visa on arrival.
Online visa applications for minors under 18 years travelling alone or with only one parent/legal guardian must also be accompanied by a consent letter, jointly signed by both parents or legal guardians approving the travel.
Please note that if you are applying online, you need to allow 2-3 weeks to receive your visa.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Tanzania and have sufficient blank pages for entry/exit stamps (AT LEAST 4 consecutive pages).
IMPORTANT: Plastic bags are banned in Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania. Arriving visitors are requested to avoid bring plastic bags into the country - this includes in suitcases and carry-on hand luggage. Please check hand luggage before disembarking and any plastic bags (including plastic duty-free shopping bags and the transparent plastic bags that some airlines require passengers to use for keeping liquids, cosmetics, etc) should be left in the plane. Ziploc bags that are specifically used to carry toiletries will be permitted as they are expected to remain in the permanent possession of visitors and are not expected to be disposed in the country.
PLEASE NOTE: Countries can change their entry requirements at any time. Travel Butlers try to ensure that the information displayed here is correct, but the onus remains with the traveller to verify the information with the relevant High Commission or Embassy and ensure that they can comply with the applicable entry requirements.
You are advised to contact your doctor or clinic around 4-8 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations and to get their professional medical advice regarding travel to Tanzania.
To help prevent diarrhoea, avoid tap water – drink only bottled water and use bottled water for tooth brushing, and avoid ice made with tap water – and only eat fruit or vegetables that are cooked or can be peeled. To help avoid heatstroke, drink plenty of bottled water/fluids, and keep out of the midday sun.
There is a risk of malaria in all areas of Tanzania and Zanzibar - check with your doctor about suitable antimalarial tablets. Dengue fever can also be transmitted via mosquito bites. Try to avoid mosquito bites wherever possible - wear loose long-sleeved clothing and trousers, and use a repellent on clothing and exposed skin.
Tsetse flies are found throughout most of Tanzania's Northern and Southern Parks, especially in wooded areas. There have been some cases of sleeping sickness occurring after a tsetse fly bite, although these are mainly amongst farmers/locals who have repeated exposure to bites. However, the fly can still deliver a painful bite, so it is advisable to take necessary precautions - don't wear dark colours, especially black and blue (including denim), wear long-sleeved clothing/trousers, and don't walk through bushes during the hottest part of the day.
Tanzania is not listed as a yellow fever endemic country, however, in accordance with International Health Regulations, Tanzania requires all travellers over one year of age to present a yellow fever vaccination certificate on arrival if:
They are arriving from a yellow fever risk country*
They have been in transit longer than 12 hours at the airport of a yellow fever risk country*
They have left the airport whilst on transit in a yellow fever risk country*
*Yellow fever risk countries include Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda but it is up to the traveller to check the full list via this website http://www.who.int/ith/2015-ith-annex1.pdf?ua=1
language and people
Kiswahili is the official language of Tanzania. However, English, as the second official language, is the spoken commercial language and is widely understood.
We would ask that all travellers are respectful of the local culture as follows:
Loud and aggressive behaviour, drunkenness, foul language and disrespect, especially towards the older generation, is likely to cause offence. Kissing in public or display of affection is not customary to Zanzibar. Drinking alcohol in public places (outside of clubs/restaurants) may offend the residents.
As over a third of the population in Tanzania is Muslim, it is important to dress modestly out of respect for the Muslim culture.
On the beaches and within the confines of hotels/beach resorts, normal swimwear is acceptable but nudity/topless sunbathing is not.
Away from beach resorts, women should avoid walking around in public areas (especially in Stone Town) displaying their legs, midriff and shoulders - ‘short’ shorts, miniskirts, vests and tank tops are viewed as a sign of disrespect.
A dress code in public places (such as the airport, Stone Town, markets and shopping centres) has now been introduced and ALL tourists must now cover their bodies from shoulders to knees in public areas. The authorities will penalise visitors for inappropriate appearance and penalties and fines will be given out - depending on the severity of the offence, the fine could be up to $700 or more.
Homosexuality is illegal on mainland Tanzania and on the island of Zanzibar. Many of the local communities are also very traditional and conservative, and whilst everyone is of course entitled to their own sexual preferences and gender identity, we would advise all clients (and this includes members of the LGBT+ community as well as members of the heterosexual community) to refrain from overtly public displays of affection which may cause offence to some local citizens and in some cases public displays of homosexuality such as kissing in public or holding hands could even lead to an arrest and imprisonment.
You should always ask permission before taking anyone’s photograph. Military and security sensitive areas cannot be photographed.
The unit of currency is the Tanzanian Shilling, which is divided into 100 CENTS. Notes are issued in denominations of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, and 10,000 Shillings. Coins are issued in denominations of 50, 100 and 200 Shillings.
There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency that may be taken into Tanzania, and the declaration of foreign currency is no longer required. It is still suggested, however, that you save ALL receipts from your currency exchange transactions in Tanzania.
Tanzania has a cash-based economy, and the US Dollar is one of the most preferred currencies. Cash is more readily accepted than travellers' checks, which can be difficult to exchange.
Credit cards are accepted on a limited basis; most hotels, restaurants, and shops in larger cities accept at least one variety of major credit card such as Visa, MasterCard, or American Express. In Tanzania, some credit card use is subject to a surcharge of 5% to 10% of the cost of the item. Travellers who wish to use their ATM card overseas should check with their own individual bank to verify whether the ATM card will be valid in a particular country.
You can read more about the climate in our guide to the best time to visit Tanzania.
The international dialling code for Tanzania is +255. The mobile telephone services are usually available only in urban areas.
Electricity runs 220 / 240 volts. 2 types of plugs are commonly used throughout the country - the South African type (3 large round pins/prongs) and the smaller UK type (3 square pins/prongs).
Adaptors for both, and for other types of international plugs, are readily available at major airports.
Tanzania operates on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) + 3 hours.
It is mandatory in Tanzania to wear seatbelts while driving on tarred roads. There are also very strict speed limits in place in many areas - so while you think your driver may be deliberately driving slowly, it will be because if he is caught speeding by the 'hidden' police traps he may lose his licence.
Although the major roads within cities will be paved/tarmac, they are only periodically repaved and maintained, and maintenance schedules can be erratic - so even good roads may deteriorate in periods of inclement weather.
Elsewhere, once you leave the main city areas and you enter the more rural areas, the main roads may still be paved but they can be bumpy and badly pot-holed. You may find yourself driving through bustling rural communities where both animal stock and people wander along the roadside. Whilst it is tempting to take photos of the locals, please try to resist as this may cause offence.
In some areas too, you may find that you drive through military areas - in which case, definately keep your camera in its bag unless you wish to have your camera confiscated or even spend the night in a prison cell!
In the National Parks, the roads are of course unmade so therefore you can expect more dust and more bumps. The term you will often hear is that the roads offer you an 'African massage' - an amusing way of saying you are thoroughly jiggled around in your seat! On the positive side, however, if you wear a fitness tracker, you will easily meet your daily steps goal with all the bouncing around!
During the rainy season (end March through to May), some roads in the Parks may become completely impassable.