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Home : African Safari Destinations : Tanzania Safari Information

Know Before You Go

Tanzania & Zanzibar

Tanzania Safari information The United Republic of Tanzania lies on the Indian Ocean and is bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, by Burundi, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo to the west, 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 16-64km (10-39 miles) and have lush, tropical vegetation; the Masai Steppe in the north, 213-1067m (698-3500ft) above sea level; and a high plateau in the southern area towards Zambia and Lake Nyasa (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 Kenya and Uganda to the north, by Burundi, Rwanda and Zaïre to the west, and by Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the south. The coastline comprises long tropical beaches and the major off-shore islands of Zanzibar, Mafia and Pemba. Population stands at 30.3 million – approximately 32 people per square km. Zanzibar is an independent nation united to mainland Tanzania politically. This island has been inhabited for millennia. The local African people who found a fertile refuge here from the invasions of other cultures with the sea as their protection. Until the last 500 years or so the local population were undisturbed although frequently visited by traders from far off places.


Know Zanzibar before African safari All visitors require valid passports and return air tickets. Visas are required by all nationals of foreign countries excluding the following: (a) Nationals of Antigua & Barbuda, Belize, Brunei, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cyprus, Grenada, Indonesia, Kenya, Kiribati, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritius, Namibia, São Tomé, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tonga, Uganda, Vanuatu, Zambia and Zimbabwe; (b) Holders of a Tanzanian re-entry pass. The cost of a visa is dependent on your nationality. US citizens must pay US $100 for an entry visa. Note: Please check with your nearest Tanzania Consulate for up to date information for other than US citizens. Visitors from countries infected with yellow fever and cholera must produce international certificates of vaccination. This is particularly relevant for those traveling from or passing through Yellow Fever Endemic Zones in Africa including Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote D'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Niger, Chad, Central African Republic, Togo, Benin, Sao Tome, and Principe, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, United Republic of Tanzania, Angola, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Somali, Sudan and Equatorial Guinea. It is also important to note that travelers from the main land (Tanzania) to the island of Zanzibar would need to have a yellow fever certificate.


The local currency unit is the Tanzania Shilling, which equals 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of TSh 10,000, 5000, 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of TSh 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1, and 50, 20, 10 and 5 cents. Money may be changed at authorized dealers, commercial banks or bureaux de change at the international airports, major towns and at many safari lodges. Banking hours are 8:30am-4:00pm Monday to Friday, 8:30am-1:00pm on Saturday. Visa and American Express are the most widely recognized credit cards, while Access/MasterCard and Diners Club both have limited acceptance. Check with your credit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other facilities, which may be available. Visitors are strongly advised against changing money on the black market.


The entire country and the major offshore islands of Zanzibar, Mafia and Pemba fall into the tropical region. Coastal areas are warm and humid whereas central regions are warm and dry. Mountain altitudes have cool weather. The main “long” rainy season runs from March to May, which are also considered the winter months. The northwestern highland regions are cooler than the rest of the country. Here the “short” rains appear from November to December and again from February to May. These tend to be in the form of a daily thunderstorm. From June to October is the dry season where daytime temperatures are very comfortable but evenings can be quite cold, especially at the Ngorongoro Crater. Please plan accordingly in terms of layered clothing to keep warm, particularly if staying in tented accommodation. From mid December to March is summer weather, bringing dry and very warm conditions.


Water supplies are safe in urban areas and established resorts, but are not reliable outside of the main cities and safari camps/lodges. Water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should have first been boiled or otherwise sterilized.


The electricity supply is 240V AC, 50 Hz. Plugs may be round or square 3-pin, fused or unfused.


Reliable services for telephone and postage exist in the main towns throughout the country and are open from 8:15am to 4:00pm, although remote areas (except for upmarket resorts) are less well equipped. A direct international dialing service is available from the major cities, hotels and lodges. For international telephone calls, the country code is 255. There are many public call boxes in post offices and main towns. Telex/telegram: Telex facilities are available at Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam, Arusha and at the post office in Dar es Salaam. Safari lodges communicate via two-way radio or satellite.


Greenwich Mean Time + 3 hours throughout the year.


Kiswahili and English are the official languages. Other African languages such as Bantu and those of Nilo-Hamitic and Khoisan origin are also spoken. The English-speaking visitor to Tanzania and Zanzibar will have no problems while traveling throughout the country to major cities and tourist areas.


Apart from the specialty herbs, spices and traditional preparations of Zanzibar, weaving of baskets and fabric, as well as sculpture are particularly noteworthy.


1 January
New Years Day
12 January Zanzibar Revolution Day
26 April
Union Day
1 May
Labour Day
7 July Industrial Day
8 August Peasants’ Day
9 December Independence Day
25 December
Christmas Day
26 December Boxing Day

Muslim religious festive days are treated as national holidays. The dates on which these fall are determined by phases of the moon and change from year to year. During the fast of Ramadan, typically during January, many businesses will be closed and in some areas restrictions are placed on smoking and drinking for this period.

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