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.
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:
- Yellow Fever
- Hepatitis A
It is also recommended that you are up to date with your polio and tetanus vaccinations. Rabies is also prevalent and if you’re planning to spend a lot of time in Tanzania, it may be worth getting the rabies shots before you go.
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.
Tanzania is home to the chloroquine-resistant strain of malaria as well as several others. Make sure your doctor or travel clinic knows you are traveling to Tanzania (don’t just say Africa) so s/he can prescribe the right anti-malarial medication. Tips on how to avoid malaria will also help.
Tanzanians are well known for their friendly, laid-back attitude. In most cases, you will be humbled by their hospitality despite the fact that most people are a lot poorer than you. 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
- 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 wear jewelry.
- Don’t carry too much cash with you.
- Wear a money belt that fits under your clothes.
- Don’t carry a lot of camera equipment especially in the major cities.
- Beware of thieves posing as police officers.
Roads in Tanzania are pretty bad. Potholes, road blocks, goats and people tend to get in the way of vehicles and the rainy season completely wipes out half the country’s roads. Avoid driving a car or riding a bus at night because that’s when most accidents happen. If you are renting a car, keep the doors and windows locked while driving in the major cities. Car-jackings occur fairly regularly but may not end in violence as long as you comply with demands made.
WHEN TO GO
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.
Getting Around Tanzania
To get from northern Tanzania to the capital Dar es Salaam, or to fly to Zanzibar, there are several scheduled flights you can take.
Precision Air offers routes between all the major Tanzanian towns. Regional Air Services offers flights to Grumeti (Serengeti), Manyara, Sasakwa, Seronera, Dar es Salaam, Arusha and more. For quick flights to Zanzibar from around Tanzania, check out ZanAir or Coastal Aviation.
Renting a Car
All the major car rental agencies and plenty of local ones can provide you with a 4WD (4×4) vehicle in Tanzania. Most rental agencies do not offer unlimited mileage, so you’ll have to be careful when calculating your costs. The roads in Tanzania aren’t very good especially during the rainy season and gas (petrol) is expensive. Driving is on the left side of the road and you’ll most likely need an international driving license as well as a major credit card to rent a car. Driving at night is not advised.
If you’re driving in the major cities beware that car-jackings are becoming more commonplace.
If you’re planning a self-drive safari in Tanzania then the Northern circuit is a lot easier to navigate than the western or southern wildlife parks. The road from Arusha to the Serengeti takes you to Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater. It’s in reasonable condition, although getting to your campsite may not be as easy once you’re within the park gates.
Please Note: Whilst we have made every effort to ensure the information provided in this document is accurate, African Safari Experts is in no way responsible for the information provided. We will endeavor to communicate any amendments to the information in a timely manner.