Facts about Tanzania
The largest country in East Africa, Tanzania boasts the highest mountain on the continent, the exotic spice islands of historical Zanzibar, and the famous Serengeti National Park whose seemingly endless plains stage one of the greatest spectacles of animal behavior, the annual migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra followed by their predators.
The Great Rift Valley gives rise to the unique geological formations found in the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater and Mt Kilimanjaro. It is also home to the world’s largest game reserve, the Selous, covering an area larger than Switzerland.
Tanzania is richly endowed with many animal and bird species and offers some of the finest game viewing on the continent. Dar-es-Salaam is the largest city, a hustling, bustling and surprisingly scenic tropical seaport that is a common starting point for trips into the country. A dusty safari into the vast wilderness is superbly complemented by time spent on the refreshing Zanzibar islands, with white palm-fringed beaches, beautiful coral gardens, and historic Stone Town – an exotic reminder of
its days as a major spice and slave trade centre. Tanzania is home to hundreds of different ethnic groups and cultures, from the red-clad herders of the Masai tribes on the Serengeti plains to the modestly veiled women of Zanzibar’s Islamic Stone Town. The warmth and smiling faces of its friendly people will touch the heart of every traveller.
Language: Swahili and English are the official languages. Several indigenous languages are also spoken.
Travel Health: Travelers are advised to take medical advice at least three weeks before leaving for Tanzania. Most visitors will need
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 occur; travelers should take precautions to avoid
mosquito bites. Food prepared by unlicensed vendors should also be avoided, as meat and milk products from infected animals may not have been cooked thoroughly. Sleeping sickness is a risk in the game parks, including the Serengeti, and visitors should avoid bites by tsetse flies.
Comprehensive medical insurance is advised.
Tipping: Waiters in the better restaurants should be tipped around 10%. Guides, porters and cooks in the wildlife parks and on safari trips expect
tips. The amount is discretionary according to standard of service and the number in your party.
Local Customs: Visitors to Zanzibar should be aware that it is a predominantly Muslim area and a modest dress code, especially for women, should be respected when away from the beach and in public places. Topless sunbathing is a criminal offence. Smoking in public places is illegal.
Duty Free: Travelers to Tanzania do not have to pay duty on 250g tobacco or 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars, 500ml of alcoholic beverages, and 473ml perfume. Restrictions apply to firearms, plants, plant products and fruits.
Major Airports in Tanzania:
Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR)
Location: The airport is situated eight miles (13km) southwest of Dar-es-Salaam.
Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO):
Location: The Airport is situated 40km East/Southeast of Arusha.
Time: Local time is GMT +3.
Facilities: The airport has a post office, banks, a bureau de change, restaurants, cafeterias, bars, wireless Internet connection, Business Lounge, duty free shop, newsagent/tobacconist, pharmacy, gift shop, travel agent, and tourist help desk. Facilities are available for disabled travelers.
Arusha International Airport (ARS)
Located 40kms East/Southeast of Arusha and 30kms West/Southwest on
coordinates (03o 25’S, 37o 42’E)
Climate: Tanzania has a tropical equatorial climate, which tends to make the country hot throughout the year, with more humidity on the coast and drier regions in the central plateau. In the north of the country, there are two separate wet seasons, the longest being from March to May, and the shorter from November to December. The rest of the country experiences only one wet season, from November to May. Heavy rains can mean that road access becomes more limited, and most travel to Tanzania takes place in January and February, when the weather is hot and dry. January to March is the best time to visit the magnificent Serengeti, when most grazers give birth and there are lots of lion on the prowl, and visitors can also witness the incredible spectacle of the annual wildebeest migration to and from Kenya that occurs at the beginning of the dry season and again with the first rains – usually at the beginning of June and then again in mid-November. The capital of Tanzania, Dar-es-Salaam, has a temperature range year round of between 66ºF (19ºC) and 88ºF (31ºC). The spice island of Zanzibar has a warm climate all year round, modified by cool sea breezes, though travel to Zanzibar is best avoided in the rainy reason, from April to May.
Money: The official unit of currency is the Tanzanian shilling (TZS), divided into 100 cents. The tourism industry prices everything in US Dollars and they are the preferred unit of currency. Major currencies can be exchanged in the larger towns. Foreign exchange bureaux in the main towns usually offer a better rate on traveler’s cheques than do the banks. ATMs are available in major cities only. Major lodges, some hotels and
travel agents in urban areas accept credit cards, but these should not be relied on and can incur a 10% surcharge.
Passport/Visa Note: All visitors entering Tanzania require a visa.
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. All visitors also require proof of sufficient funds and should hold documentation for their return or onward journey. Passports
should be valid for at least six months from date of entry. Those arriving from an infected country must hold a yellow fever vaccination certificate.
It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.