10 Useful Tanzania Travel Tips
Tanzania, often considered one of the most iconic countries in Africa, captivates the imaginations of many. Renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, including the Serengeti, Mount Kilimanjaro, and Zanzibar, it has become a magnet for travelers from around the globe seeking unforgettable safaris and encounters with magnificent wildlife.
This East African nation boasts not only stunning natural beauty but also a rich Swahili culture that warmly embraces visitors. With its abundant wildlife and diverse ecosystems, Tanzania offers an unparalleled experience for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Before embarking on your journey, you can check visa details at ivisa, and here are some essential Tanzania travel tips to keep in mind.
1. Embrace “Hakuna Matata”
Set against the backdrop of Disney’s beloved film, The Lion King, the phrase “Hakuna Matata” has permeated popular culture. Derived from Swahili, it translates to “no worries.” Tanzanians, known for their friendly demeanor, embody this spirit, assuring you that everything will be fine. While “Hakuna Matata” is widely recognized, locals often use the phrase “Hamna shida” in everyday conversation outside of tourist areas. So, when faced with challenges, rest assured that Tanzanians will remind you that all will be well in the end.
In Swahili, other Lion King-inspired names hold significance as well. “Nala” means “gift,” “Rafiki” denotes “friend,” and “Simba” represents “lion.”
2. Prepare Your Finances for Safari
Tanzania offers relatively affordable fuel, food, and camping options compared to other African countries. However, it’s important to be aware of the substantial park fees imposed on foreign visitors. While supporting conservation efforts is commendable, the significant price disparity between locals and tourists can feel disheartening. For instance, the entrance fee for the renowned Serengeti National Park is a hefty $76, and the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area charges the same amount. Moreover, if you plan to drive into the crater, an additional fee of $297 per day applies. Keep in mind that credit cards are the only accepted method of payment at park entrances, so be sure to have yours readily available.
Exploring Tanzania’s extraordinary national parks is undoubtedly worth the expense, but it’s advisable to factor these costs into your budget when planning your trip.
3. Respect and Protect the Environment
As a responsible traveler, it’s crucial to show respect for Tanzania’s natural environment and wildlife. Follow the guidelines provided by park authorities and local guides, and adhere to ethical wildlife viewing practices. Maintain a safe distance from animals, avoid littering, and dispose of waste properly. By minimizing your impact and leaving no trace behind, you contribute to the preservation of Tanzania’s unique ecosystems for future generations to appreciate.
4. Embrace Cultural Etiquette
Immersing yourself in the local culture can enhance your Tanzania experience. Learn a few basic Swahili phrases, such as greetings and expressions of gratitude, as this gesture will be warmly received by Tanzanians. When visiting villages or interacting with local communities, it’s respectful to seek permission before taking photographs. Additionally, dress modestly when entering religious sites and adhere to any customs or traditions specific to the region you are visiting.
5. Stay Hydrated and Prioritize Health
Tanzania’s tropical climate, especially in low-lying areas, can be hot and humid. It’s crucial to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout your journey. Be mindful of the quality of water you consume, opting for bottled or purified water to prevent any health issues. Consult with your healthcare provider regarding recommended vaccinations and necessary precautions before traveling to Tanzania.
By embracing these Tanzania travel tips, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on an extraordinary adventure in this remarkable East African country. From the vast plains of the Serengeti to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania’s wonders await you with open arms.
6. Play Nice With The Police
When traveling in Tanzania, particularly if you’re driving yourself, it’s important to be mindful of the local police presence. The Tanzanian police can often be found stationed along the roads throughout the country, eagerly looking for opportunities to issue “tickets.” You’ll easily spot them in their distinctive all-white uniforms, signaling you to stop in the middle of the road.
To avoid any complications, make sure to adhere to the designated speed limits and overtake other vehicles only when it is safe to do so. If you’re self-driving, it’s advisable to equip your vehicle with essential safety equipment such as a fire extinguisher, wear appropriate shoes, and keep a safety vest and red triangles handy. Failing to have these items might arouse suspicions or lead to potential bribe requests. Most fines imposed by the police are around 30,000 Tanzanian shillings, and they might pressure you to pay on the spot.
If you suspect that you’re being solicited for a bribe unjustly, insist on receiving an official receipt or inform the police that you will pay the fine at the nearest police station. This approach can often deter them, especially if you haven’t violated any traffic rules. Throughout our six-week stay in Tanzania, we were frequently pulled over by the police, but by adopting these tactics, we managed to escape paying bribes in all but two instances when we exceeded the speed limit by 11 km/h and 3 km/h, respectively.
When dealing with the police, it’s crucial to remain calm, patient, and polite. Sometimes, a friendly and respectful demeanor can go a long way in diffusing tense situations.
7. Beaches, Plains, And Mountains
Tanzania offers a plethora of attractions that can overwhelm even the most seasoned travelers. From the exquisite turquoise beaches of Zanzibar to the breathtaking vistas of the Usumbara mountains, the country has something to offer for everyone. It boasts the highest peak in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro, as well as the untamed jungles of the Mahale Mountains and the vast plains of the Serengeti. With its abundant wildlife and rich cultural heritage, Tanzania is a destination that guarantees an unforgettable experience.
When planning your trip to Tanzania, we highly recommend exploring different regions to experience diverse climates and landscapes. Many travelers opt to conclude their safari or Kilimanjaro climb with a well-deserved period of relaxation in one of the top-notch hotels in Zanzibar.
8. Those Tanzanian Shillings
Before embarking on your Tanzanian adventure, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the local currency. The national currency of Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling. As of the time of writing, the exchange rate stands at around 2,200 shillings to $1 USD. While ATMs are readily available in most major towns, it’s important to note that they often charge high withdrawal fees ranging from 8,000 to 15,000 shillings.
Although USD is accepted in many tourist hotspots in Tanzania, it’s common to receive unfavorable exchange rates. Therefore, it’s advisable to carry Tanzanian Shillings for your day-to-day expenses. Credit cards, on the other hand, are rarely accepted outside of tourist hotspots and hotels. We recommend considering alternative methods to manage your cash and cards while traveling abroad, ensuring you have a smooth and hassle-free experience.
9. Discover the Majestic Kilimanjaro and Savor the Local Delights!
When it comes to the stunning beauty of Mount Kilimanjaro, it’s surprising how many people are unaware that this iconic mountain is located in Tanzania. Nestled at the base of Kilimanjaro is the charming town of Moshi, serving as the starting point for countless adventurous souls embarking on their unforgettable trek to the summit.
Standing tall at an impressive elevation of 5895 meters, Kilimanjaro proudly claims the title of the highest point in Africa. As one of Tanzania’s most renowned tourist attractions, the mountain offers awe-inspiring vistas that are truly worth the journey. However, if you prefer to soak in the magnificent views without taking on the arduous climb, I highly recommend visiting Moshi anyway and exploring the surrounding mountains or embarking on a hike to the base camp. And while you’re there, don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in Kilimanjaro beer, a national treasure that can be enjoyed at any local bar—no sweat or hiking required!
If you’re eager to embark on your own Kilimanjaro adventure, you can conveniently book a trek by clicking here. Whether you’re a seasoned mountaineer or a passionate explorer, Mount Kilimanjaro promises an experience that will leave you in awe.
10. Hydration Tips: Opt for Bottled Water in Tanzania
When visiting Tanzania, it’s crucial to prioritize your health and well-being by being mindful of your drinking water choices. As a general rule, it’s best to refrain from consuming tap water in the country.
While we’ve been able to navigate most parts of Africa efficiently and sustainably with our trusty Lifestraw Go, Tanzania presents unique circumstances. Here, we’ve opted for bottled water as our primary source of hydration, both for the sake of convenience and safety. Fortunately, finding bottled water in Tanzania is hassle-free, and you can easily purchase a 1.5-liter bottle for a reasonable price ranging from 1000 to 2000 shillings.
Although we’ve adjusted our water-drinking habits in Tanzania, I still highly recommend investing in a Lifestraw Go for other regions in Africa and various situations where it can come in handy. This innovative tool not only saves you money but also reduces unnecessary waste, allowing you to quench your thirst while minimizing your ecological footprint.
By prioritizing your hydration needs and making informed choices, you can enjoy a safe and enjoyable journey through Tanzania and beyond.