Travel Tips for Tanzania: What to Know Before You Go

Dreaming of an African adventure? Whether it’s a thrilling safari, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, or a relaxing beach getaway in Zanzibar, Tanzania has it all. But before packing your bags, have you considered everything you need to know for a smooth and enjoyable trip? From health precautions to cultural tips, this guide helps you prepare for your Tanzanian journey.

Understanding Tanzania

Tanzania is located in East Africa, bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south, and the Indian Ocean to the east. Tanzania’s diverse landscapes—savannas, mountains, and coastal areas—make it a versatile travel destination.

Aspect Dry Season (June – October) Wet Season (November – May)
Safari Experience Excellent wildlife viewing, animals gather at water sources Lush landscapes, fewer tourists, some areas inaccessible
Weather Warm and dry Hot and humid, frequent rains
Trekking Best time for Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru treks Muddy and slippery trails, lower visibility
Beach Holidays Ideal conditions for beach activities Hot and humid, occasional storms
Crowds Peak tourist season, higher prices Fewer tourists, lower prices

Tanzania has a tropical climate, with variations depending on the region. The coastal areas are hot and humid, while the highlands are cooler. The best time to visit for a safari is during the dry season, from late June to October when wildlife is easier to spot. For climbing Kilimanjaro, January to March and June to October are ideal.

Preparing for Your Trip

Most travelers to Tanzania need a visa, obtainable on arrival or in advance from Tanzanian embassies. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after your planned departure date. It’s also recommended to have a few blank pages for entry stamps. 

When selecting  Tanzania safari packages, read the policy carefully to ensure it covers all your planned activities. Before traveling to Tanzania, buy comprehensive travel insurance covering medical emergencies, trip cancellations, lost luggage, and activities like safaris and mountain climbing. 

Packing Essentials

  • Clothing: Pack light, breathable clothing for the tropical climate. For safaris, neutral colors like khaki, beige, and olive are best. Bring a warm layer for cool evenings and mornings, especially in highland areas. If climbing Kilimanjaro, be prepared for temperatures ranging from hot at the base to freezing at the summit.
  • Footwear: Comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots are a must, especially if you plan to go on a safari or trek. Sandals or flip-flops are useful for the beach and casual wear.
  • Accessories: Bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen for sun protection. Pack a quality camera with extra memory cards and batteries to capture the scenery and wildlife. Binoculars are useful for wildlife viewing.
  • Health and Safety Items: Pack a basic first aid kit, including any prescription medications, pain relievers, antiseptic wipes, band-aids, and insect repellent. A reusable water bottle and water purification tablets are useful for staying hydrated and safe.

Navigating Tanzania


Transportation options in Tanzania include domestic flights, buses, and taxis. Domestic flights are convenient for long distances; buses are more economical but can be time-consuming. In cities, taxis and ride-sharing services are available; agree on the fare beforehand if the taxi doesn’t have a meter.

Driving in Tanzania

If you plan to rent a car, remember that Tanzania drives on the left. Roads can be challenging, especially in rural areas, so a 4×4 vehicle is recommended. Ensure you have an international driving permit and familiarize yourself with local driving laws and conditions.

Money and Currency

The currency in Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling (TZS). While ATMs are available in major cities, it’s wise to carry some cash when traveling to remote areas. Credit cards are accepted in some hotels and restaurants but are less common in rural regions. Use reputable banks or exchange bureaus when exchanging money.

Making the Most of Your Trip

Tanzanians are renowned for their hospitality. Take the time to interact with locals and learn about their culture and way of life. Experience Tanzanian culture and support local communities through community-based tourism projects.

Explore famous spots like Serengeti and Zanzibar, and discover hidden gems like Lake Victoria, Ruaha National Park, and the Usambara Mountains. Opt for eco-friendly accommodations and tours that respect wildlife and minimize environmental impact.

Experiencing Tanzania

Safari Tips

Tanzania is renowned for its safari destinations, including the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Tarangire National Park. Book your safari with a reputable tour operator, and remember to pack essentials like binoculars, a camera, and plenty of memory cards. Follow your guide’s instructions and respect wildlife and the natural environment.

Keep noise to a minimum and avoid sudden movements to prevent disturbing the animals. Stay inside the vehicle unless instructed otherwise by your guide. Never feed or approach wildlife, as this can be dangerous for both you and the animals.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Climbing Kilimanjaro is a challenging yet rewarding experience. Choose a reputable trekking company, and ensure you’re adequately prepared physically and mentally. Acclimatization is key, so take your time and follow your guide’s advice. Proper gear, including warm clothing, sturdy boots, and a good sleeping bag, is essential.

Visiting Zanzibar

Zanzibar offers stunning beaches, a rich history, and a vibrant culture. Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-visit for its narrow alleys, bustling markets, and historical buildings. Don’t miss the chance to relax on the beautiful beaches and explore the spice plantations.

While Zanzibar is relatively liberal compared to mainland Tanzania, it’s important to dress modestly, especially in villages and towns. Swimwear is acceptable at the beach, but cover up when away from the water.

Cultural Considerations

Swahili and English are the official languages of Tanzania. Learning a few basic Swahili phrases enhances your experience and helps you connect with locals.. Tanzanians are generally friendly and welcoming, so polite greetings and respectful behavior are appreciated.

Respect local customs and traditions. Dress modestly, particularly in rural areas and when visiting religious sites. Public displays of affection are generally frowned upon. When eating, use your right hand, as the left hand is considered unclean.

Tipping is customary in Tanzania, especially in the hospitality and service industries. In restaurants, a tip of 10% is usually appreciated. For safari guides and porters, tipping guidelines are often provided by the tour operator.

Staying Safe in Tanzania

Tanzania is generally safe for tourists, but it’s wise to take common-sense precautions. Avoid walking alone at night, especially in unfamiliar areas. Keep your valuables secure and be aware of your surroundings.

Scams and petty theft can occur, so be cautious when dealing with strangers and avoid displaying wealth. Drink bottled or purified water to avoid waterborne illnesses. Stick to well-cooked foods and avoid street food that may not have been prepared under hygienic conditions.

Use insect repellent to protect against mosquito bites and sleep under a mosquito net if provided. Know the local emergency numbers, such as the police and medical services. Your embassy or consulate can also assist if needed. Keep a list of important contacts, including your tour operator and accommodation.


Is it safe to travel to Tanzania?

Yes, Tanzania is generally safe for tourists. However, it’s important to take common-sense precautions such as avoiding walking alone at night and keeping valuables secure.

What is the best time of year to visit Tanzania?

The best time for safaris is during the dry season, from late June to October. For climbing Kilimanjaro, January to March and June to October are ideal.

Do I need a visa to enter Tanzania?

Most travelers will need a visa, which can be obtained upon arrival or in advance from Tanzanian embassies. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after your planned departure date.

What should I pack for a trip to Tanzania?

Pack light, breathable clothing, comfortable walking shoes, a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, a camera, binoculars, a basic first aid ki

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