Tanzania Traveler Information - Travel Advice
Travel Advice with a Travel Advisory overview from the US State Department. Here we cover Visa, Safety & Security, local Laws and Insurance in our Tanzania Traveler Information guide.
At AARDY.COM we can’t recommend travel insurance enough. Whether you are just traveling a few hundred miles from home to see family, or traveling to the other side of the world, travel insurance should be considered an essential part of your holiday packing. The hope is that you won’t have to use your travel insurance, and that you’ll have a fun and enjoyable trip. The following Tanzania Traveler Information should help you make the most of your trip to Tanzania.
Note: Always check that your destination country is one approved for travel by your travel insurance provider.
PASSPORT VALIDITY: 6 months.
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES: 1 page.
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED: Yes.
VACCINATIONS: Yellow fever required if traveling from a yellow fever endemic country.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY: Travelers are required to declare international currency valuing more than $10,000 on both entrance and exit from Tanzania. Non-residents (except Kenyans and Ugandans) may not import or export Tanzanian Shillings (TZS).
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT: Non-residents (except Kenyans and Ugandans) may not import or export Tanzanian Shillings (TZS).
Embassies and Consulates
686 Old Bagamoyo Road,
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Telephone: +(255) 22-229-4000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(255) 22-229-4000, dial '1' for an emergency operator
Fax: +(255) 22-229-4721
See our Fact Sheet on Tanzania for information on U.S. – Tanzania relations.
Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements
Visas are required for U.S. citizens traveling to Tanzania.
Foreign nationals may apply for a visa online in advance of travel. Applicants may complete the e-visa application form and make payment online with a credit card or bank transfer at www.immigration.go.tz. If the e-visa is approved, the applicant will receive a “grant notice” via email. Present a copy of the grant notice to the Immigration Officer on arrival at the airport in Tanzania.
U.S. citizens may also obtain a tourist visa upon arrival at the airport in Tanzania. The cost is $100 USD. Be prepared to pay in cash in case connectivity issues make electronic transactions impossible.
A passport valid for a minimum of six months beyond visa issuance and/or date of entry, and at least one blank visa page, is required. Visitors who enter on visas must present a roundtrip ticket and demonstrate they have sufficient funds for their stay.
Be prepared to show your passport and explain your visa status when entering or departing Zanzibar or when traveling around the mainland.
Volunteer activity – even if the traveler is paying for the opportunity – is prohibited on a tourist visa. If you plan to engage in business or commercial transactions in Tanzania, please consult with the Embassy of Tanzania in Washington, D.C. before applying for a visa.
For information on obtaining a residence permit, please contact the Tanzanian Immigration Department's Ministry for Home Affairs website or by telephone.
Dar es Salaam: +255 (0) 22 2850575/6
Zanzibar: +255 (0) 24 223 9148
Yellow fever vaccination is required for all travelers arriving from, or having transited through, countries where yellow fever is endemic. Direct arrivals from non-endemic countries, including all countries in Europe and North America, are usually not required to show a yellow fever vaccination certificate. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides additional information about recommended vaccines and medications for travelers going to Tanzania. The CDC notes there are reports that unless a traveler has a medical exemption letter from a physician, some immigration officials require evidence of the vaccine for entry in Tanzania – particularly entry via Zanzibar – from all travelers. Travelers with neither the shot nor an exemption letter are usually allowed entry and directed to a health officer to obtain the vaccine. The CDC recommends that travelers staying for an extended time or those who will be heavily exposed to mosquitoes consider obtaining the vaccination before visiting Tanzania.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Tanzania.
Currency Restrictions: Travelers are required to declare international currency valuing more than $10,000 on both entrance and exit from Tanzania. Non-residents (except Kenyans and Ugandans) may not import or export Tanzanian Shillings (TZS.)
Safety and Security
Terrorist incidents, including the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, as well as occasional attacks by extremists on police stations and mosques, among other targets, highlight the threat posed by terrorism in East Africa and underscore the capacity of terrorist groups to carry out such attacks against Westerners.
U.S. citizens should exercise caution when traveling between Julius Nyerere International Airport and Dar es Salaam, as there have been incidents of robberies while cars are stopped at traffic lights and kidnappings. Drivers should lock their doors and keep windows up at all times.
Crime: U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution and stay current with media coverage of local events. Report crimes to the closest police station and request a copy of the report to use for any insurance claims.
Muggings, Robberies, and Assaults:
Robberies are common in Tanzania. U.S citizens become victims when they hail taxis at airports, bus stations, hotels, or on the street. Victims are held until they provide passwords for credit/debit cards and are driven around town to deplete their accounts at all available ATMs. Victims are usually released hours later. A number of people have been victimized en route to the airport. To minimize risk, travelers should use marked or known modes of transport. They should also consider leaving ATM cards at home and traveling to Tanzania with a minimal number of credit cards.
- Stay alert when walking on beaches, footpaths, and roads; especially on Zanzibar, in Dar es Salaam, and Arusha.
- Avoid carrying a bag, wearing flashy jewelry, or using personal electronics while in public.
- If you must carry a bag, hold it by the handle loosely so you can let go quickly and not be injured if someone in a passing vehicle attempts to grab it. Do not put the strap across your chest as you can be dragged and badly injured.
- While on safari, visiting parks, hiking, or mountain climbing, remain alert to your surroundings and report anything unusual to your tour guide, park ranger, or the police.
- If someone attempts to rob you, hand over all your valuables immediately, comply with the demands, and do not make eye contact with the aggressors.
ATM/Bank Fraud: To reduce your vulnerability:
- Minimize the amount of cash you carry.
- Avoid using stand-alone ATMs.
- Monitor your account balance regularly and immediately report unusual activity.
- Avoid using debit cards if possible.
- If you will be spending time outside of the large cities, have sufficient cash or traveler’s checks for your trip.
Reputable financial institutions will require the bearer of a traveler’s check to present the original receipt for the checks and proof of identity before completing a transaction.
If a public official attempts to solicit the payment of a fine from you, ask to travel to the nearest police station to file a report regarding the incident. Obtain a receipt and a written report of any such transactions. If your passport is seized, ask for a receipt, note the officer’s name, location, and contact details and report it immediately to the U.S. Embassy.
Home Invasions: U.S. citizens residing in Arusha and Dar es Salaam frequently report crimes targeting the homes of expatriates. Armed home invasions usually involve some violence and some victims have been seriously injured.
- If you live in Tanzania, ensure that your home has a safe haven, a secure area with reinforced barriers, where you can retreat and remain safe if intruders enter.
- A professional security company with 24-hour guards and roving patrols as well as the use of house alarms can help mitigate risks.
Carjackings: To avoid carjackings:
- Drive with doors locked and windows rolled up.
- Do not stop in unpopulated areas.
- Travel in convoys if possible.
- Be wary of drivers of stopped cars flagging motorists down for assistance.
Zanzibar: Beware of pickpocketing, assaults, and bag snatching in Zanzibar. Wear modest dress and keep a low profile, especially on Friday afternoons, the traditional time to attend mosque.
Arusha: In Arusha, the high number of foreign tourists attracts pickpockets and bag snatchers. You are strongly discouraged from walking around at dusk or at night, and encouraged to avoid the section of Arusha on the far side of the Themi River at all times when on foot. Many muggings have occurred near the clock tower in the center of town.
Tanga: Criminals use the Amboni Caves north of Tanga City to hide from authorities. Police and military raid the cave system to apprehend criminals. Additionally, armed robberies in the shopping establishments of the Mzizima Ward of Tanga Rural District are common.
Mwanza: Violence and attacks by armed groups in and around the city of Mwanza have increased. You should remain alert and avoid large gatherings when travelling to Mwanza.
Pwani coastal region: Following an uptick in violence in April 2017, Tanzanian authorities have increased their security presence in the Pwani coastal region, about 100km south of Dar es Salaam. Additional checkpoints are in place, particularly on highways and in towns.
VICTIMS OF CRIME:
U.S. citizen victims of crime should report crimes to the local police at 111 and contact the U.S. Embassy at 255 22 229 4122 and at 255 22 229 4000, dial ‘1’ for an emergency operator.
Sexual Assault: Sexual assault is a risk for U.S. citizens, especially for women travelers. Victims of sexual assault should see a doctor immediately to ask about the availability of post-exposure HIV prophylaxis or other necessary medical care. They should also report crimes to local police at 111 and may contact the U.S. Embassy at 255 22 229 4122 and at 255 22 229 4000, dial ‘1’ for an emergency operator.
- Avoid drinks given to you by strangers and do not leave your drink unattended
- Avoid walking after sunset, especially alone
- Be careful about sharing travel plans as well as personal and social media information
Some police stations in Dar es Salaam (such as Oysterbay and Selander Bridge) offer a special desk for tourists to report crimes. However, they have limited daytime hours. In general, police stations may not have an English speaker available or be staffed to make a written report even during opening hours.
Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- replace a stolen or lost passport
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not consistently occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
Penalties for possession or sale of illegal drugs of any kind are severe in Tanzania, with a minimum sentence of seven years imprisonment for simple possession and 30 years to life for more serious charges.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately.
Photography: Photographing military installations is forbidden. Individuals have been detained and/or had their cameras and film confiscated for taking pictures of hospitals, schools, bridges, industrial sites, and airports. Sites where photography is prohibited are not always marked.
- Know the signs of altitude sickness.
- Heed the advice of the professionals organizing the ascent.
- Don't try to save money by selecting a tour guide who offers a faster ascent - your body needs adequate time to acclimate to the altitude.
- If you experience altitude sickness, descend immediately and seek medical help.
What to Wear: While visiting Tanzania, you should dress modestly (upper arms and legs covered and no exposed midriffs) outside of the hotel or resort and when arriving and departing from Zanzibar.
Ramadan: During the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast during daylight hours, avoid eating, drinking, smoking, or chewing gum in public except in hotels or restaurants.
Scams: U.S. citizens have been victims of scams involving the alleged sale of gold, diamonds, gemstones, minerals, and other natural resources. You should be very cautious of seemingly lucrative business opportunities offered by agents based in, or with ties to, Tanzania and neighboring countries.
There are also scams involving offers to arrange volunteer visas and safari excursions. Vet anyone offering to provide you such a service and check their references carefully.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report– see country reports
- Human Rights Report– see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Rights: Tanzania’s penal code criminalizes consensual same-sex sexual activity on the mainland and on Zanzibar. Those arrested and charged for consensual same-sex sexual conduct may be sentenced up to thirty years in prison. Authorities use the penal code to intimidate and arrest individuals on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Individuals detained under suspicion of same-sex sexual conduct may be subject to or threatened with forced anal examinations. Members of the LGBTI community may be denied entry to Tanzania by immigration authorities (including on Zanzibar) or once admitted may be targeted, harassed, and/or charged with unrelated offenses. Public displays of affection between persons of the same sex may be met with harassment or violence. Non-governmental organizations that support the LGBTI community and their staff may also be targeted, harassed, or have staff members detained by local authorities.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation challenging to find in Tanzania. Sidewalks are nearly non-existent and there are frequent power outages. The Tanzanian constitution prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities.
Women Travelers: Hire only legitimate tour guides, preferably arranged by a known travel agency or hotel. Be wary of offers of sightseeing from new contacts and avoid being alone with strangers who propose special, customized sightseeing trips. Practice common sense and remain vigilant regarding your surroundings.
If you are the victim of sexual assault, see your doctor immediately to ask about the availability of post-exposure HIV prophylaxis or seek medical care outside of Tanzania if needed. Feminine hygiene products can be difficult to obtain, particularly outside of large cities.
See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Click here to access the list of medical facilities in Tanzania from the Embassy website.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
- We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
- Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although Tanzania typically only requires yellow fever shots for those traveling from an endemic country, there are occasional reports of officials requiring yellow fever shots from all foreign travelers.
Further health information:
Travel and Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety: Road travel in Tanzania can be extremely dangerous, especially at night. Traffic in Tanzania moves on the left. Drivers and pedestrians alike must maintain vigilance. Although a number of inter-city highways are periodically repaved and maintained, maintenance schedules are erratic and even good roads may deteriorate quickly due to weather conditions.
During the rainy seasons (late March to mid-June and mid-November to mid-December), many roads in Tanzania, both urban and rural, are passable only with four-wheel-drive vehicles.
Traffic Laws: Tanzanian law requires all motor vehicle operators to be in possession of a valid driver’s license. Persons staying in Tanzania for fewer than six months may use a valid U.S. driver’s license after validation by local traffic authorities, or an international driver’s license. Persons intending to remain in Tanzania for more than six months are required to obtain a Tanzanian driver’s license. All vehicles are required to carry third-party liability insurance and to post the decal in the front window.
Public Transportation: Use taxis or hire a driver from a reputable source. When traveling by taxi:
- Do not ride in a taxi hailed by someone you do not know.
- Ask the hotel or restaurant to recommend a driver. Before entering the vehicle, ask the driver to see their credentials, take a picture of the taxi license plates, and send the photo to a friend.
- Make sure the child locks are not engaged and the door can be opened from the inside.
- After entering, lock the doors and roll up the windows. If the driver unlocks the doors or rolls down the windows, exit immediately.
- Do not ride in taxis already carrying a passenger. If a taxi stops to allow another person to enter, exit immediately.
Travelers should also avoid using dala-dala microbuses and bajaji, three-wheeled taxis.
Ferries traveling between the mainland and Zanzibar may be unsafe. When traveling by ferry:
- Travel on a high-speed ferry.
- Purchase your tickets inside the ferry terminal, from a travel agency, or online in advance, not from vendors outside.
- Tickets should include your name, date of travel, and class of travel.
- Travel during daylight with good visibility, fair weather, and calm water.
- Avoid overcrowded vessels or those which lack sufficient life vests, easy access to exits, and a functioning communications system.
- Become familiar with emergency procedures on board, especially the locations of life jackets and emergency exits.
- Beware of pickpockets aboard the ferry, and be wary even of uniformed personnel who seek to assist you.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Motorcycles: Riding motorcycles is not advisable and is restricted in some areas.
Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Tanzania, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Tanzania's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA's safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Tanzania should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and the NGA broadcast warnings website (select “broadcast warnings”).
For additional travel information
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution and Travel Advisories.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
International Parental Child Abduction
Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Tanzania. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.### **Recent AARDY Travel Insurance Customer Reviews**