Tanzania Travel Advice
Best Time to Visit Tanzania
Tanzania can be visited all year round, but the best times to visit are:
June to August: The temperatures during this time of the year are bearable during the day and cool at night. However, as this is the wet season this is not necessarily the best time of year for safaris, as animals are not forced to congregate near water sources like they do in the middle of the dry season right after Christmas.
January to February: This is the best time to visit the Serengeti. It is during this time that huge herds of wildebeest, zebra and buffalo return from the Masai Mara to the better grazing areas of the Serengeti. It is unfortunately also the hottest time of the year in Tanzania so expect very high temperatures.
Visiting the Serengeti during the short rains in October and November makes for a pleasant visit as there are fewer crowds and the landscape is becoming greener.
Average summer temperatures vary from 18°C to 29°C with winter temperatures averaging between15°C to 26°C.
Rainy season: mid-March to May ("long rains") and November to December ("short rains").
Flights & Getting Around
Tanzania has two major airports, namely:
Dar-es-Salaam International Airport - Tanzania's main airport and the gateway to the Tanzanian coast, as well as Selous Game Reserve.
Kilimanjaro International Airport- Tanzania's second international airport and gateway to the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire and Lake Manyara.
You will however have to travel to the nearby Arusha Airport for charter flights to the safari destinations airstrips, and as international flights often arrive at Kilimanjaro Airport late in the day, a night in Arusha is usually necessary. Charter flights are the easiest way of getting from one destination to another in Tanzania due to its size.
Visa & Passport Requirements
Visitors to Tanzania must possess a passport that is valid for 6 months after date of travel. Almost all visitors to Tanzania require a single-entry visa which is valid for three months. You should try to obtain a visa for Tanzania before departing your home country, however, visas can also be purchased at Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro airports. Make sure you have enough US dollars cash on hand to pay for the visa.
The following vaccinations are recommended for Tanzania: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies and typhoid, and boosters for tetanus, diphtheria and measles. While a yellow-fever vaccination certificate is not officially required to enter the country unless you’re coming from an infected area, having a yellow fever certificate on hand is advised. You can visit your local travel clinic or doctor at least 6 weeks before departure for up to date information on the vaccinations needed. Although most Tanzanians can drink water from a tap, it is not advisable for visitors to do so.
Tanzania's unit of currency is the Tanzanian Shilling, although we advise that visitors to Tanzania carry and use US Dollars cash only. Credit cards and traveller's cheques are accepted at most restaurants, bars, lodges and hotels but incur hefty transaction fees and commissions, meaning that cash is widely relied on.
Tipping lodge staff and drivers/guides is customary for good service on a Tanzania safari, but check first to see whether a service charge has been added to your bill. There is no recommended amount for tipping, but a general rule for restaurants and bars is 10% of the bill. On safari tipping is always dependant on the size of your group, the level of luxury of the safari and how much you believe your guide and the lodge staff deserve for their efforts.
What to Pack
As it never gets very cold in Tanzania, when packing for safari, light casual clothing in practical, neutral colours and a warm jacket for evening game drives are a safe bet throughout the year.
For mountain hiking it is recommended to take thermal underwear, a rain jacket and sturdy hiking boots. Don't forget a heavy duty warm jacket as temperatures on the peaks reach well below zero.
If visiting Zanzibar or any coastal town don't forget to take a swimsuit, as it is invariably warm. Ladies are recommended to take cotton skirts, blouses, dresses and sandals. On the beaches and within the confines of hotels, normal swimwear is acceptable but nudity is not.
As over a third of the population in Tanzania is Muslim, it is therefore not etiquette for ladies to walk around in public displaying their legs and shoulders. Remember to dress modestly as short shorts, miniskirts, vests and tank tops will be frowned upon.
Don’t forget your sunblock.