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Country Guides for Africa


Tanzania Home of the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania is truly a safari destination. One quarter of the land has been preserved for conservation, and an estimated twenty percent of Africa's large mammal population lives here. During the annual migration, millions of wildebeest, zebras, and other hoofed animals move en mass in search of grazing, followed closely by preditors such as cheetahs, lions, leopards, hyenas and jackals. You may even see the magnificent canopy of pink flamingos, right ‘Out of Africa', and elephants, hippos, baboons, giraffes warthogs, and buffalo are commonly encountered. The nomadic Masai tribes in their colorful red robes still herd cattle in the northern plains, the picturesque Acacia trees still grace the Serengeti National Park.

Language: Swahili (official),English (official), Arabic, many local languages

Major International Airports:


From City
Dar es SalaamDar es Salaam Int'lDAR9 miles SW

Food and waterborne diseases are the number one cause of illness in travelers. Travelers’ diarrhea can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which are found throughout the region and can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (Typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage (hepatitis). Make sure your food and drinking water are safe.

Malaria is a serious, but preventable infection that can be fatal. Your risk of malaria may be high in these countries, including cities. Prevent this deadly disease by seeing your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites. Most travelers to East Africa, including infants, children, and former residents of East Africa, are at risk for malaria. All travelers at risk for malaria should take one of the following drugs (listed alphabetically): atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, mefloquine, or primaquine (in special circumstances).

A certificate of yellow fever vaccine may be required for entry into certain of these countries. For detailed information, see Comprehensive Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements. Also, find the nearest authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccine center.

Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis, trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), and Rift Valley fever are diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region. Protecting yourself against insect bites will help to prevent these diseases.

Schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection, is found in fresh water in the region, including Lake Malawi. Do not swim in fresh water (except in well-chlorinated swimming pools) in these countries.

Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers, walk and drive defensively. Avoid nighttime travel if possible and always use seat belts.

CDC recommends the following vaccines (as appropriate for age):

See your doctor at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect.

  • Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG).
  • Hepatitis B, if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months, or be exposed through medical treatment.
  • Meningococcal (meningitis) vaccine, if you plan to visit the western half of Ethiopia from December through June.
  • Rabies, if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation.
  • Typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region.
  • Yellow fever, if you travel anywhere outside urban areas.
  • As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles, and a one-time dose of polio vaccine for adults. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11–12 years who did not receive the series as infants.

To stay healthy, do...

  • Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, make water safer by BOTH filtering through an “absolute 1-micron or less” filter AND adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. “Absolute 1-micron filter” are found in camping/outdoor supply stores.
  • Eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.
  • If you travel to an area where there is risk for malaria, take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed. (See your doctor for a prescription.)
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites:
    • Pay special attention to mosquito protection between dusk and dawn. This is when the type of mosquito whose bite transmits malaria is active.
    • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
    • Use insect repellents that contain DEET (diethylmethyltoluamide).
    • Read and follow the directions and precautions on the product label.
    • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin.
    • Do not put repellent on wounds or broken skin.
    • Do not breathe in, swallow, or get into the eyes (DEET is toxic if swallowed). If using a spray product, apply DEET to your face by spraying your hands and rubbing the product carefully over the face, avoiding eyes and mouth.
    • Unless you are staying in air-conditioned or well-screened housing, purchase a bed net impregnated with the insecticide permethrin or deltamethrin. Or, spray the bed net with one of these insecticides if you are unable to find a pretreated bed net.
    • DEET may be used on adults, children, and infants older than 2 months of age. Protect infants by using a carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit.
    • Children under 10 years old should not apply insect repellent themselves. Do not apply to young children’s hands or around eyes and mouth.
  • To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot.
  • Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

  • Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Travelers to Tanzania are at risk from malaria and filariasis transmitted by mosquito bites, African tick typhus from from tick bites, onchocerciasis from blackfly bites and leishmaniasis from sandfly bites. Travelers should use topical insect repellent and wear insecticide-treated clothing.

Download Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by CountryDownload Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by Country

The water supply in Tanzania is grossly contaminated with viruses, bacteria and protozoa. Travelers should treat water before drinking to avoid potentially serious health problems.

Download Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by CountryDownload Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by Country

SAFETY AND SECURITY: On November 28, 2002, there was a car-bomb attack on a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, approximately 50 miles north of the Kenya-Tanzania border, in which 15 people were killed, and an unsuccessful attempt to shoot down an Israeli charter plane departing Mombasa. These incidents highlight the continuing threat posed by terrorism in East Africa and the capacity of terrorist groups to carry out attacks. U.S. citizens should be aware of the risk of indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets in public places, including tourist sites and other places where Westerners are known to congregate.

Political tension on Zanzibar and Pemba can be extremely high. In the past, riot police have clashed violently with demonstrators on several occasions, and a number of small explosions have occurred on Zanzibar and Pemba islands, as well as on the mainland. U.S. citizens are reminded that violent demonstrations and bombings could recur with little warning. To avoid potential violence, travelers should maintain a high level of security vigilance at all times and avoid political rallies and related public gatherings.

Some of the more recent bombings on Zanzibar have targeted establishments that may be perceived by certain fundamentalist elements to be ‘decadent.' Although to date the targets have been bars not generally frequented by Westerners, American travelers should be aware that such attacks have occurred and the possibility exists that future attacks may not be limited to establishments patronized exclusively by locals. In the past, there have also been published threats in some Zanzibar newspapers warning that women who dress immodestly may be subject to harassment. American citizens are advised to dress modestly and to refrain from intemperate public behavior.

The area near Tanzania's borders with Rwanda and Burundi has been the site of minor military clashes, and refugee flows across the borders into Tanzania continue. There have been a number of incidents of criminal and violent activity in the region. Travelers to this area should exercise caution.

On August 7, 1998, terrorists bombed the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam. Tanzania's borders remain porous, and Americans should remain aware of their surroundings.

GAME PARKS: Tanzania offers opportunities for observation of wildlife in its natural habitat. Many tour operators offer structured, safe excursions into parks and other wildlife viewing areas for close observation of flora and fauna. However, travelers should bear in mind that they, too, must play a responsible role in maintaining safety. Tourists are mauled or killed each year as a result of having relaxed their vigilance. Tourists are reminded to maintain a safe distance from animals and to remain in vehicles or other protected enclosures when venturing into game parks.

CRIME: Crime is a serious problem in Tanzania, and visitors should be alert and cautious. Street crime in Dar es Salaam is common and includes mugging, vehicle theft, "smash and grab" attacks on vehicles, armed robbery, and burglary. Crime involving firearms is becoming more common. Thieves and pickpockets on buses and trains steal from inattentive passengers.

Pedestrians on beaches and footpaths, whether in isolated areas or in popular tourist venues, are often targeted for robbery or assault. This is especially true on Zanzibar and in Dar es Salaam and its environs. Visitors should limit the amount of cash they carry and leave valuables, such as passports, jewelry and airline tickets, in a hotel safe or other secure place. Cameras are highly coveted by thieves; guard yours carefully. Because of the potential for fraud, credit cards should only be used in reputable tourist hotels.

Carjackings have occurred in both rural and urban areas. Visitors are advised to drive with doors locked and windows rolled up. Travelers are urged not to stop between populated areas and to travel in convoys if possible.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends, and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at

Source: U.S. Department of State

The climate of Tanzania experiences little variation from month to month, and is influenced primarily by altitude. The coastal region has a tropical climate - hot and humid year round with abundant rainfall. The higher central plateau experiences cooler, dryer weather, and lower humidity. Most of Tanzania has a rainy season from November through April and is dry for the remaining months, with the exception of the coastal areas which receive some rain year round, the bulk of which falls from March through May.

Precip. Days
Precip. Totals
Dar es Salaam9745"

Tanzania's electrical current is 220/50 (volts/hz) and uses the plug adaptors listed to the right under Related Items. Many North American appliances are designed to operate only within the 100-125 volt range. These appliances will suffer damage if plugged into 220-250 volts without the proper transformer or converter.

To determine which plug adaptors you'll need and if you'll require a transformer or converter, use our Electrical Connection Wizard.

For a detailed discussion of international electrical standards, see our related article on Electrical and Phone Adaptation.

Download Magellan's Guide to World Electrical ConnectionsDownload Magellan's Guide to World Electrical Connections

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport and visa are required for travel to Tanzania. U.S. citizens with valid passports may obtain a visa either before arriving in Tanzania or at any port of entry staffed by immigration officials. U.S. passports should be valid for a minimum of six months beyond the date the visa is obtained, whether it is acquired beforehand or at the port of entry. Also, foreigners are required to show their passports when entering or exiting the islands of Unguja (more commonly known as, and hereafter referred to as, Zanzibar) and Pemba.

Detailed entry information may be obtained from the Tanzanian Embassy at 2139 R Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202) 939-6125; or the Tanzanian Permanent Mission to the United Nations at 205 East 42nd Street, 13th Floor, New York, NY 10017, telephone (212) 972-9160. Overseas, inquiries may be made at the nearest Tanzanian embassy or consulate.

Travelers are reminded to safeguard their U.S. passports while in Tanzania. Passport loss can lead to delays in departing the country and can cause disruption of travel. Tanzanian authorities require that travelers who are not in possession of the visa and entry stamps obtained upon admission to Tanzania visit the immigration office prior to departure to regularize their status. Persons attempting to depart the country without proper documentation may be subject to fines or delays in departure.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry and departure.

Source: U.S. Department of State

The time zone for Tanzania is 3 hours offset from GMT, which means that if it is 12:00 noon in New York, the time in Tanzania would be 8:00 pm

The unit of currency in Tanzania is the Tanzanian shilling (TZS).

Look up the current exchange rate using's Universal Currency Converter

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