Tanzania is one of the largest countries in East Africa, and a tourist jewel. Home to the continent's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, its lowest depression, the bed of Lake Tanganyika, its most famous national park, the Serengeti, and part of its largest lake by area, Lake Victoria. Tanzania's natural wonders are perfectly complemented by the excellent range of tourist attractions and activities.
Take in a sun-soaked getaway to the island paradise of Zanzibar for an exotic beach vacation complemented by a visit to the historic, UNESCO-listed Stone Town. Enjoy a snorkelling and diving holiday in the Spice Islands, especially Mafia Island, where a gorgeous coral reef system and the opportunity to swim with whale sharks draws underwater enthusiasts from all over the world.
USEFUL TRAVEL INFO
Best time to visit
Tanzania has two rainy seasons: the 'Mango rains' last from November to mid-January, and the chief monsoon season runs from mid-March to May. The best time to visit Tanzania is between June and August, when daytime temperatures are bearable, and nights are cool. The famous Serengeti migration starts in late February, but be warned that this is an extremely hot time of the year.
Time: GMT+3Electricity: 230 volts, 50Hz. Rectangular or round three-pin plugs are used.Language: Swahili and English are the official languages. Several indigenous languages are also spoken.
Money: The official currency is the Tanzanian Shilling (TZS), although the preferred currency is USD. ATMs are available in major towns and cities. Money can be exchanged in larger towns and at the airports or foreign exchange bureaux may offer a better rate of exchange than banks. Major lodges, some hotels and travel agents in urban areas accept credit cards, but these should not be relied on and can incur a surcharge.
There is good mobile phone coverage in main cities and towns, while rural areas may have limited coverage. Avoid making telephone calls from hotels as they can be very expensive. Internet cafés or Wi-Fi connectivity are available in the main towns and resorts.
Health & Safety
Consider vaccinations for hepatitis A, typhoid, yellow fever and polio. Those arriving from an infected country are required to hold a yellow fever vaccination certificate. There is a risk of malaria all year and outbreaks of Rift Valley Fever may occur. Take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and take malaria medication. Food prepared by unlicensed vendors should be avoided, as meat and milk products from animals may not have been cooked thoroughly. Sleeping sickness is a risk in the game parks, including the Serengeti, and visitors should take precautions against bites by tsetse flies. There is a high prevalence of HIV/Aids. Cholera outbreaks are common throughout the country and visitors are advised to drink bottled or sterilised water only. Travellers climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro are at risk for altitude sickness. Medical services are available in Dar-es-Salaam and other main towns, but facilities and supplies are limited even in cities, and often non-existent in rural areas. Visitors with particular requirements should take their own medicines. Comprehensive medical insurance is advised.
Most visits to Tanzania are trouble-free. As in other East African countries, the threat from terrorism is quite high in Tanzania and visitors should be cautious in public places, tourist sites and hotels, particularly in Zanzibar's Stone Town. Street crime is a problem in Tanzania, especially in Dar es Salaam, so be alert and cautious. Lonely beaches and footpaths are often targeted where women are particularly vulnerable to attacks. Leave valuables in hotel safes and do not carry too much cash at any time.
Visa & Passports
A visa is issued on arrival, for citizens of the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. Passports should be valid for six months from date of entry. Visitors must hold return/onward tickets and all documents required for the next destination. South Africans do not require a visa if intending to stay for a maximum of up to 90 days, provided that the passport is valid for six months from date of entry. Passports must contain one unused visa page. Visitors may obtain a visa on arrival at Dar-es-Salaam or Zanzibar airports, costing between US$ 50 and US$ 200 depending on nationality, payable in cash.
Airports in Tanzania & Zanzibar
Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR)
Situated eight miles (13km) southwest of Dar es Salaam.
Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO)
Located 25 miles (40km) southeast of Arusha.
Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ)
Located three miles (5km) south of Stone Town
TOP REASONS TO VISIT
Wildlife & Birdlife
Tanzania has the largest concentration and diversity of animals in Africa, and there are over 1,100 bird species to spot in the country. It also proudly showcases some of the world’s most treasured national parks and game reserves, including the Selous Game Reserve, which is the world’s largest game reserve. This is home to more than 120,000 elephants, 160,000 buffaloes and about 2,000 rhinos. Furthermore, the Selous boasts Africa’s greatest concentration of hippos, crocodiles and wild dogs.
The Maasai People
The ancient nomadic peoples of the Rift Valley region are the iconic Maasai, among the most well-known tribes living in traditional villages near the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. They are most recognised by their distinctive customs and dress, their stunning bright robes, beaded jewellery and remarkable height, have fascinated visitors for decades.
The Great Migration
The Serengeti migration has also recently been proclaimed as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. This annual event is when visitors can bear witness to some six million hooves pounding across the open plains, as more than 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle join the wildebeests’ trek for fresh grazing. Yet even when the migration is quiet, the Serengeti offers some of the most scintillating game viewing in Africa.
Much of the annual migration cycle takes place in Tanzania, from the frenzied crossing of the Mara River in the north of the Serengeti in August and September, to a two-month bout of birthing in February and March on the Ndutu Plains, before the 1,000km pilgrimage begins again.
Located in North Eastern Tanzania, Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and can be seen from far into Kenya. It rises approximately 4,877 metres (16,001 ft) from its base, to 5,895 metres (19,341 ft) above sea level. The mountain is part of the Kilimanjaro National Park and is a major climbing destination.
The Ngorongoro Crater
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, located 180 km (110 miles) west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania and one of the most pristine wildernesses on earth. On the crater floor, grassland blends into swamps, lakes, rivers, woodland and mountain, a haven for wildlife, including the largest predator population in Africa. It is a breathtakingly beautiful setting and due to its popularity, it can get crowded, so we recommend a 2-night stay here, then moving on to the Serengeti for a quieter, more private safari experience.
Spice Island of Zanzibar
An archipelago of historic Indian Ocean islands, awash with atmosphere, intrigue, and idyllic beach experiences, with a wide range of accommodation choices and plenty to see and do. It is the perfect place to relax after an exhilarating safari or climbing Kilimanjaro and a glorious paradise for honeymooners. Stone Town is the island’s capital and an historic hub for commerce and culture. This ancient centre was the seat of the Sultans, whose crumbling palaces, bath houses and mosques are a legacy of this opulent and vibrant time at the heart of the gold trade. Stone Town remains a wonderful place to spend a night or two, getting lost among the ancient buildings and labyrinthine streets, eating fresh fish on the sea front, and breathing in the sights, sounds and smells of a truly Swahili centre. Zanzibar is renowned for its spice plantations and a must-see destination for any visitor to Tanzania.
Chimpanzees in Mahale National Park
Located in the very west of Tanzania and on the shoreline of Lake Tanganyika. Chimpanzee treks are the main draw card here and seeing them in their natural habitat is a truly magical experience.
Beaches & Diving
Tanzania has varied scuba diving sites, from Mafia Island Marine Park in the south to Pemba Island and Pangani in the north. Prime diving is also available in Zanzibar Island, especially at Mnemba Atoll.
Top Adventure Activities
Canoe amongst pink flamingos and elephants on Momella Lakes in Arusha Park
Exotic Spice Island Tours
Conquer Mount Kilimanjaro
Explore Coffee Plantations
Serengeti Balloon Safari
Hiking & Trekking
National Parks & Game Reserves
Serengeti National Park
Located in northern Tanzania, known for its massive annual migration of wildebeest and zebra. Seeking new pasture, the herds move north from their breeding grounds in the grassy southern plains. Many cross the marshy western corridor’s crocodile-infested Grumeti River. Others veer northeast to the Lobo Hills, home to black eagles. Black rhinos inhabit the granite outcrops of the Moru Kopjes.
Selous Game Reserve
The largest game reserve and second largest conservation area in Africa, sized at 5,000 sq km, with loads of attractions. It is noted as even four times bigger than the Serengeti. Whilst in Tanzania, it is a very special place to visit as it is the most remote of game reserves. Hot volcanic springs, sporadic lakes and channels from the nearby rivers such as the Great Rhuha and Rufiji rivers make Selous Game Reserve a breathtakingly beautiful park.
Ruaha National Park
The Park lies in the heart of Tanzania, where the Zambezi miombo woodlands meet the Tanzanian-Kenyan savannahs. This vast park, with its few camps, offers visitors an uncrowded glimpse into untouched Africa, with a huge diversity of game, birds and landscapes. It’s an area known for its incredible animal sightings, including large herds of elephant and plenty of predators. With over 500 species of birds, it’s a birdwatcher’s paradise. Some camps offer walking safaris to get as close to nature as possible as well as visits to numerous historical and cultural sites.
Katavi National Park
Lies along the rift escarpment in the west of Tanzania and is the country’s third largest park. Together with the neighbouring Rukwa, Lukwati and Luafi Game Reserves and numerous forest reserves, this ecosystem of 25 000 km² is the heart of one of the biggest and richest wildlife areas in Tanzania. It offers incredible scenery including immense wetlands, roaring waterfalls and original miombo woodlands, where the Sable antelopes often hide. During the dry season, huge herds of buffalo, zebras and impalas gather with elephants, waterbucks and duikers around the drying water reserves of Lake Katavi and Lake Chada.
Mahale Mountains National Park
Located about 128 km south of Kigoma town on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika and famous for containing some of the last remaining wild chimpanzees in Africa. The land in and around Mahale is the traditional homeland of the Watongwe and Waholoholo tribes. The terrain is mostly rugged and hilly, and is dominated by the Mahale Mountains chain that runs from the northwest to the southeast across the park. Mahale offers several outstanding attractions for visitors, from tracking wild habituated chimpanzees, to mountain climbing, snorkelling, fishing, kayaking and relaxing on deserted, pristine, white, sandy beaches.
Tarangire National Park
One of Africa's little-known gems and a must for any northern circuit itinerary. The park offers a variety of wildlife as diverse as its landscape and home to the largest population of African elephants. With four of the Big-5 also residing within the park, it is a great spot for a day trip from Arusha. The Tarangire River flows through the park, which makes it an excellent choice during the dry season when animals are forced to move closer to the river in search of water. Set against a backdrop of majestic baobab trees and twisted acacia, it makes for a beautiful experience.
Lake Manyara National Park
Located in Northern Tanzania, 126 km west of Arusha town and easily accessed by road or air.
With a variety of landscapes, the park offers a compact safari experience with a chance to see everything from the vibrant flamingoes to the fearsome, tree-climbing lions as well as elephants, hippos, and cape buffalo. The nearby market town of Mto Wa Mbu is a melting pot of cultures and a fantastic place to engage with Tanzanian culture, while the adjacent Maji Moto Hot Springs are a delightful escape for a swim. It is also one of the few places where guests can enjoy canoe safaris and night game drives.
Arusha National Park
Close to both Arusha and Moshi, this park makes for an excellent day trip. Home to the largest giraffe population in Tanzania, its also one of the only places that offer walking safaris. The park is dominated by the shadow of Mt. Meru, whose summit offers an unparalleled view of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Highlights from the park include 'Little Ngorongoro', Ngurdoto Crater, the famous fig-tree arch, and the opportunity for a canoe safari on the Momella Lakes.
Situated in northern Tanzania, bordering Uganda and Kenya, close to the Serengeti National Park. It is Africa's largest freshwater lake and the second largest in the world. Lake Victoria flows out into the River Nile, supplying the river with fresh water throughout the year. There are three island shores which are worth a visit, Ukrewe, Rubondo and Ukara island, that offers activities such as
fishing, bird watching, hiking and boat-rides.
Africa's second largest after Lake Victoria, is situated in west Tanzania along the border with Congo, Burundi and Zambia. The oldest of the African Rift lakes that was formed around twenty million years ago, inhabited by endemic fish species, crocodiles and hippos. Chimpanzee colonies are found on the western shore of the lake. The main settlement is the port town Kigoma with the old Arab slave trading place Ujiji. It was here where Henry Morton Stanley uttered the sentence “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”.
Mikumi National Park
Frequently compared to the Serengeti in the north, Mikumi is a sprawling national park that borders the massive Selous Game Reserve. The broad Mkata floodplain is an ideal place to spot lions as they lazily survey the vast herds of buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, and impala that roam the grasslands. Elephants seek the shade of acacia stands while hippopotamus wallow in pools close to the entrance gate. Unique to Mikumi are its African Wild Dog and large eland population. There is also over 400 bird species which makes it a birder’s paradise.
Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam began as a small fishing village and has become a melting pot of cultures, encompassing African, Arabic and South Asian flavours. A bustling metropolis by East African standards, and the largest city of the exotic land of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam is a major port which straddles some of the world's most important sea routes. It is the economic and cultural heart of Tanzania and the main transport hub for travellers.
Where to Stay
Dar es Salaam Serena Hotel
Experience urban living at this cosmopolitan hotel, located in the heart of the city centre business district with views of the Indian Ocean. Spacious, air-conditioned rooms feature modern décor, a flat-screen TV, minibar and private bathroom. Amenities include and outdoor pool, fitness centre,
2 restaurant and a bar.
Ramada Encore Hotel
Located in the central business district, this modern hotel offers air-conditioned rooms, with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and mini fridges, safes and tea and coffee making facilities. Some have ocean views, and suites add living rooms. There's also a stylish rooftop bar and an outdoor lap pool overlooking a private beach, along with a gym, a business centre and 5 meeting rooms.
New Africa Hotel & Casino
Overlooking the harbour, the hotel is a close to the Zanzibar Ferry Terminal. Featuring pool or sea views, the relaxed rooms and suites come with free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, desks, minibars, and tea and coffee making facilities. There are 3 eateries, including Thai cuisine, plus a bar. Other amenities include an outdoor pool with a sundeck, a spa, gym and a 24-hour casino, as well as a business centre.