Facts for the Visitor
Visas, Climate, Currency, Driving - all you need to know for your holiday in Tanzania
Holders of the following passports require a visa to enter Tanzania when travelling as a tourist: United Kingdom; United States of America; Canada; Australia; New Zealand; Belgium; Netherlands; Italy; France; Germany; Spain; Ireland. If you are a passport holder from another country, please contact your local Tanzania High Commission or Embassy for up-to-date visa requirements.
Visas are issued at any Tanzania Embassy, online via the Tanzania Immigration website https://eservices.immigration.go.tz/visa/ or on arrival - please note that getting a visa on arrival can take a substantial amount of time and if possible, we would advise getting your visa online prior to travel. Single entry visas obtained at port of entry currently cost USD 50 per person (but USD 100 per person for US Nationals) - costs all subject to change - and the cost is payable in USD cash only. We recommend small denominations of dollars as officials are not in the position to give change. Please note that if you are applying online, you need to allow 2-3 weeks to receive your visa, and Embassy applications can take longer. American nationals applying online MUST select Multiple Entry Visa type. Online or Embassy visa applications for minors under 18 years travelling alone or with only one parent/legal guardian must also be accompanied by a consent letter, jointly signed by both parents or legal guardians approving the travel. NOTE: Zanzibar Airport is referred to as Abeid Amani Karume International Airport on the online visa application. Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Tanzania and have sufficient blank pages for entry/exit stamps (AT LEAST 4 consecutive pages).
PLEASE NOTE: Countries can change their entry requirements at any time. Travel Butlers try to ensure that the information displayed here is correct, but the onus remains with the traveller to verify the information with the relevant High Commission or Embassy and ensure that they can comply with current passport and visa requirements.
You are advised to contact your doctor or clinic around 4-8 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations and to get their professional medical advice regarding travel to Tanzania.
To help prevent diarrhoea, avoid tap water – drink only bottled water and use bottled water for tooth brushing, and avoid ice made with tap water – and only eat fruit or vegetables that are cooked or can be peeled. To help avoid heatstroke, drink plenty of bottled water/fluids, and keep out of the midday sun.
There is a risk of malaria in all areas of Tanzania and Zanzibar - check with your doctor about suitable antimalarial tablets. Dengue fever can also be transmitted via mosquito bites. Try to avoid mosquito bites wherever possible - wear loose long-sleeved clothing and trousers, and use a repellent on clothing and exposed skin.
Tsetse flies are found throughout most of Tanzania's Northern and Southern Parks, especially in wooded areas. There have been some cases of sleeping sickness occurring after a tsetse fly bite, although these are mainly amongst farmers/locals who have repeated exposure to bites. However, the fly can still deliver a painful bite, so it is advisable to take necessary precautions - don't wear dark colours, especially black and blue (including denim), wear long-sleeved clothing/trousers, and don't walk through bushes during the hottest part of the day.
Tanzania is not listed as a yellow fever endemic country, however, in accordance with International Health Regulations, Tanzania requires all travellers over one year of age to present a yellow fever vaccination certificate on arrival if (a) they are arriving from a yellow fever risk country; (b) they have been in transit longer than 12 hours at the airport of a yellow fever risk country; (c) they have left the airport whilst on transit in a yellow fever risk country. These countries include Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.
PLEASE NOTE: Although Tanzania is not listed as a Yellow Fever endemic country, Zanzibar immigration officials MAY ask to see Yellow Fever vaccination certificates or exemption certificates upon arrival from the Tanzania mainland. We would therefore suggest that if your holiday includes both mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar, each traveller considers getting/travelling with a Yellow Fever certificate to avoid any complications upon arrival at Zanzibar.
language and people
Kiswahili is the official language of Tanzania. However, English, as the second official language, is the spoken commercial language and is widely understood.
The unit of currency is the Tanzanian Shilling, which is divided into 100 CENTS. Notes are issued in denominations of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, and 10,000 Shillings. Coins are issued in denominations of 50, 100 and 200 Shillings.
There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency that may be taken into Tanzania, and the declaration of foreign currency is no longer required. It is still suggested, however, that you save ALL receipts from your currency exchange transactions in Tanzania.
Tanzania has a cash-based economy, and the US Dollar is one of the most preferred currencies. Cash is more readily accepted than travellers' checks, which can be difficult to exchange.
Credit cards are accepted on a limited basis; most hotels, restaurants, and shops in larger cities accept at least one variety of major credit card such as Visa, MasterCard, or American Express. In Tanzania, some credit card use is subject to a surcharge of 5% to 10% of the cost of the item. Travellers who wish to use their ATM card overseas should check with their own individual bank to verify whether the ATM card will be valid in a particular country.
You can read more about the climate in our guide to the best time to visit Tanzania.
The international dialling code for Tanzania is +255. The mobile telephone services are usually available only in urban areas.
Electricity runs 220 / 240 volts. 2 types of plugs are commonly used throughout the country - the South African type (3 large round pins/prongs) and the smaller UK type (3 square pins/prongs).
Adaptors for both, and for other types of international plugs, are readily available at major airports.
Tanzania operates on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) + 3 hours.
It is mandatory in Tanzania to wear seatbelts while driving on tarred roads. There are also very strict speed limits in place in many areas - so while you think your driver may be deliberately driving slowly, it will be because if he is caught speeding by the 'hidden' police traps he may lose his licence.
Although the major roads within cities will be paved/tarmac, they are only periodically repaved and maintained, and maintenance schedules can be erratic - so even good roads may deteriorate in periods of inclement weather.
Elsewhere, once you leave the main city areas and you enter the more rural areas, the main roads may still be paved but they can be bumpy and badly pot-holed. You may find yourself driving through bustling rural communities where both animal stock and people wander along the roadside. Whilst it is tempting to take photos of the locals, please try to resist as this may cause offence.
In some areas too, you may find that you drive through military areas - in which case, definately keep your camera in its bag unless you wish to have your camera confiscated or even spend the night in a prison cell!
In the National Parks, the roads are of course unmade so therefore you can expect more dust and more bumps. The term you will often hear is that the roads offer you an 'African massage' - an amusing way of saying you are thoroughly jiggled around in your seat! On the positive side, however, if you wear a fitness tracker, you will easily meet your daily steps goal with all the bouncing around!
During the rainy season (end March through to May), some roads in the Parks may become completely impassable.