Tanzania Travel Information
About Tanzania, Africa
Tanzania boasts some of the most impressive national parks and game reserves in Africa. The Serengeti National Park is considered the continent’s premier spot to see wildlife roam unheeded across vast open plains.
If you close your eyes and conjure up the quintessential romantic image of Africa, what you’ll most likely imagine is Tanzania: the drama of the wildebeest migration along a seemingly endless savannah; the incongruous snow and glaciers of Mt Kilimanjaro; the iconic and statuesque Maasai warriors; the exotic palm-fringed beaches on the spice islands of Zanzibar. It’s all here.
Nearby, within the steep walls of the Ngorongoro Crater lies the most densely concentrated population of African mammals on earth. Not to be forgotten, the Selous Game Reserve is larger than Switzerland, and is wild, remote and still virtually untouched by humans.
Even further from the beaten path are parks in the extreme west of the country which offer the unique opportunity to track chimpanzees in their natural habitat on the fringes of Lake Tanganyika, one of Africa’s Great Lakes.
Beyond its safari stalwarts, Tanzania has no less than 804km (503 miles) of sublime coastline and pearly-white beaches with some magnificent islands offshore. Known as the Swahili Coast, this was a favored stop on ancient trading routes between the Indian sub-continent and the Middle East. Spices, jewels, and slaves once passed through, bringing with them a mélange of cultural riches that remain today.
Tanzania’s not short on mountains either. The striking and snow-capped Mt Kilimanjaro is Africa’s tallest at 5,895m (19,341ft) and climbing it is an unforgettable experience. Its slightly smaller sister Mt Meru is arguably even prettier, and a quicker climb.
Tanzania is home to more than 120 different ethnic groups and cultures, but it has seen little of the ethnic or religious-based violence that has afflicted certain other nations in the region. In fact, the country is an inherently peaceful place and embraces its multicultural heritage, which adds to its broad appeal.
Tanzania weather, climate, and geography
Best Time To Visit
The climate is tropical and coastal areas are hot and humid, while the northwestern highlands are cool and temperate. There are two rainy seasons; the short rains are generally from October to December, while the long rains last from March to June. The central plateau tends to be dry and arid throughout the year.
Tanzania can be visited year-round, although the best time for traveling is outside of the rainy season between June and October when temperatures stay well below their summer peaks. Beachside locations like Zanzibar can be fine to visit during the hotter months of December to January when ocean breezes make the high temperatures bearable (though humidity can still be high). However, this is also the time popular for typical beach holidays, especially for those traveling from Europe wanting some winter sunshine, and hotels can book up early especially for the Christmas and New Year period.
Tropical clothing is worn throughout the year, but in the cooler season, from June to September, jackets and sweaters may be needed, especially in the evenings. Clothing appropriate to temperatures below zero is required on the higher slopes of Kilimanjaro and Meru. Also, note that it can get very cold at night on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater and early morning game drives may be chilly before the sun comes up.
The United Republic of Tanzania lies on the east coast of Africa and is bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north; by Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west; by the Indian Ocean to the east; and by Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The Tanzanian mainland is divided into several clearly defined regions: the coastal plains, which vary in width from 16 to 64km (10 to 39 miles) and have lush, tropical vegetation; the Masai Steppe in the north, 213 to 1,067m (698 to 3,500ft) above sea level, which gives rise to two prominent mountains, Kilimanjaro, 5,895m (19,341ft) above sea level and Africa’s highest peak, and Mount Meru, 4,565m (14,973ft); and there’s a high plateau known as the Southern Highlands in the southern area towards Zambia and Lake Malawi.
Savannah and bush cover over half the country and semi-desert accounts for the remaining land area, with the exception of the coastal plains. Over 53,000 sq km (20,463 sq miles) is inland water, mostly lakes formed in the Rift Valley and Tanzania’s share of Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika, both on its western border. Lake Victoria covers 69,490 sq km (26,832 sq miles), which is Africa’s largest lake and 49% of it lies in Tanzania. With maximum depths of 1,470m (4,821ft), Lake Tanganyika is estimated to be the deepest lake in Africa and is 673km (420 miles) long and averages 50km (31 miles) across; 41% of its area lies in Tanzania. The United Republic of Tanzania includes the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, about 45km (28 miles) off the coast to the northeast of the country.
Tanzania Passport And Visa Requirements
|Passport Required||Visa Required||Return Ticket Required|
A passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry to Tanzania is required by all nationals referred to in the chart above.
Visas for Tanzania are required by all nationals referred to in the chart above, except:
1. Nationals of Cyprus and Malta, who do not require a visa.
You can obtain single-entry and transit visas on arrival at the port of entry into Tanzania. Passport photos are not required; all other requirements must be in place. However, multiple-entry business visas cannot be issued at the point of entry and you must obtain these in advance through Tanzania’s embassies. For more information about visas, visit the website for the Immigration Services Department (www.immigration.go.tz).
Nationals not referred to in the chart are advised to contact the embassy or high commission to check visa requirements for Tanzania.
While still part of Tanzania, Zanzibar, and the other islands are administered autonomously; they have their own immigration procedures and you will be asked to show your passport on entry and exit.
Types And Costs
Single-entry tourist visa: US$50 on arrival (the exception is US citizens for whom a single-entry visa is US$100) or £40 in advance.
Double-entry tourist visa (in advance): £70.
Multiple-entry business visa: £80 (six months) or £100 (12 months).
Single-entry tourist visa: up to three months. You can re-enter Tanzania on the same visa (providing it is still valid) if coming into Tanzania for the second time from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda or Burundi.
Multiple-entry business visa: up to three months per visit within a six- or 12-month period.
You can obtain visas from the embassy or high commission before you travel. You can also obtain them at any point of entry (airports and land borders) on arrival. This is a much easier option but you will need to pay for them in cash in US Dollars. Ensure that you have sufficient blank pages in your passport (the minimum for entry into Tanzania is two).
Allow three working days for visa processing if applying in advance. You can pay an additional fee for a 24-hour or same-day service.
Tanzania Health Care & Vaccinations
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* A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from all travelers over one year of age.
Before leaving home, visit the doctor or a travel clinic for advice on vaccinations, malaria prophylactics, and general advice. Basic traveler vaccinations recommended include yellow fever, tetanus, typhoid and hepatitis A. It is vital to take out comprehensive travel medical insurance, and it is essential that is should include repatriation to your home country in the event of an emergency. There are a wide variety of policies to choose from, so shop around. If you are going to be active in Tanzania (mountain climbing or scuba diving for example), ensure the policy has adequate provision.
There are some good private hospitals in Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Stone Town on Zanzibar, but facilities are rudimentary outside of these and medicines are often unavailable. All treatment must be paid for in advance. Tanzania’s emergency telephone number (ambulance, fire, and police) is 111. The best private hospital in the country is the Aga Khan Hospital, Ocean Road, Dar es Salaam, (tel: (022) 211 5151; www.agakhanhospitals.org). However, for cases of extreme emergencies or surgery, visitors with adequate health insurance will be transferred to a private hospital in Nairobi, Kenya which has the best medical facilities in East Africa.
Malaria: The risk of contracting malaria is prevalent throughout Tanzania and prophylactics should be taken (take expert advice before you leave home). Symptoms can start as something resembling a severe attack of flu. If you develop any symptoms even after several weeks after your return home, seek medical advice. Travelers should take precautions against mosquito bites – cover-up at dusk and use insect repellent. Almost all hotels in Tanzania have air-conditioning and/or fans which help ward off mosquitoes and most tourist-class hotels have mosquito nets over the beds.
Altitude sickness: This can strike from about 3,000m (9,800ft) and is caused by lack of oxygen and should be a consideration for anyone climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. Symptoms include heart pounding, shortness of breath and dizziness. The best way of preventing it is a relatively slow ascent – some time spent walking at medium altitude, getting fit and acclimatizing is helpful. To decrease the symptoms, an immediate descent is necessary.
All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated. Travelers should use bottled water for drinking, brushing teeth, washing vegetables and reconstituting powdered milk. Ice should be avoided.
Other food hygiene precautions should be strictly observed if eating in a local restaurant, but visitors should encounter few problems if eating in upmarket restaurants and hotels. Eating snacks from street stalls (common in Tanzania) is not advised, but if items are fresh and cooked well (and the same could be said about buffets in tourist hotels) then you shouldn’t encounter any problems. If you get traveler’s diarrhea, which doesn’t usually last more than 48 hours, the key treatment is rehydration. If it is more persistent, then seek medical advice.
Rabies is prevalent in Tanzania (in monkeys as well as domestic animals). There is a high incidence of HIV/AIDS. Avoid swimming and paddling in fresh water as there is a risk of bilharzia (prevalent in both lakes Victoria and Tanganyika); swimming pools that are well chlorinated and maintained are safe. On the coast and islands, there are sea urchins so take care when snorkeling and diving – if possible wear plastic shoes. If diving, ensure you are fit to do so. Be aware that serious diving injuries may require time in a decompression chamber and the nearest one is in Kenya – check that your medical insurance covers this eventuality.