Traveling Luck for Tanzania

Tanzania is located in Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Kenya and Mozambique.

Tanzania has borders with Burundi for 451km, Congo (Kinshasa) for 459km, Kenya for 769km, Malawi for 475km, Mozambique for 756km, Rwanda for 217km, Uganda for 396km and Zambia for 338km.

Land in Tanzania is plains along coast; central plateau; highlands in north, south.

Tanzanian land covers an area of 945087 square kilometers which is slightly larger than twice the size of California

As for the Tanzanian climate; varies from tropical along coast to temperate in highlands.

Tanzanian(s) speak Kiswahili or Swahili (official), Kiunguja (name for Swahili in Zanzibar), English (official, primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education), Arabic (widely spoken in Zanzibar), many local languages
note: Kiswahili (Swahili) is the mother tongue of the Bantu people living in Zanzibar and nearby coastal Tanzania; although Kiswahili is Bantu in structure and origin, its vocabulary draws on a variety of sources, including Arabic and English, and it has become the lingua franca of central and eastern Africa; the first language of most people is one of the local languages.

Tanzanian National Map

Tanzanian Map

Regions of Tanzania

Shortly after independence, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form the nation of Tanzania in 1964. One-party rule came to an end in 1995 with the first democratic elections held in the country since the 1970s. Zanzibar's semi-autonomous status and popular opposition have led to two contentious elections since 1995, which the ruling party won despite international observers' claims of voting irregularities.


Tanzania Country Profile

Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. The economy depends heavily on agriculture, which accounts for almost half of GDP, provides 85% of exports, and employs 80% of the work force. Topography and climatic conditions, however, limit cultivated crops to only 4% of the land area. Industry traditionally featured the processing of agricultural products and light consumer goods. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and bilateral donors have provided funds to rehabilitate Tanzania's out-of-date economic infrastructure and to alleviate poverty. Long-term growth through 2005 featured a pickup in industrial production and a substantial increase in output of minerals, led by gold. Recent banking reforms have helped increase private-sector growth and investment. Continued donor assistance and solid macroeconomic policies supported real GDP growth of more than 6% in 2005.

Tanzanian natural resources include hydropower, tin, phosphates, iron ore, coal, diamonds, gemstones, gold, natural gas, nickel

Kilimanjaro is highest point in Africa; bordered by three of the largest lakes on the continent: Lake Victoria (the world's second-largest freshwater lake) in the north, Lake Tanganyika (the world's second deepest) in the west, and Lake Nyasa in the southwest

Tanzanian religion is mainland - Christian 30%, Muslim 35%, indigenous beliefs 35%; Zanzibar - more than 99% Muslim.

Natural hazards in Tanzania include flooding on the central plateau during the rainy season; drought.

Travel Advice on Tanzania

Tanzania

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with the addition of Summary and Health (reports of an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever in Arusha).  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

SUMMARY

  • There is a high threat from terrorism in Tanzania, including Zanzibar.

  • Armed robberies are increasing, both at remote sites and in urban centres, including Dar es Salaam.

  • You should exercise particular caution if you intend to travel to the area bordering Burundi.

  • An outbreak of Rift Valley Fever in Arusha was reported in February 2007.

  • Around 50,000 British tourists visit Tanzania every year.  Most visits are trouble-free.  The main type of incident for which British nationals require consular assistance in Tanzania is for replacing lost or stolen passports.  You should keep your passport safe and secure at all times, and remember to carry a photocopy.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see:  Travel Insurance.


SAFETY AND SECURITY


There is a high threat from terrorism in Tanzania, including Zanzibar, as there is in other East African countries.

There were simultaneous terrorist attacks on the US Embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi (Kenya) in August 1998.  These killed 12 people in Dar es Salaam and 232 in Nairobi.  In Mombasa (Kenya) a suicide car bomb attack on a hotel on 28 November 2002 killed at least 15 people.  There was an unsuccessful attempt to shoot down an Israeli charter plane on the same day.

You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.  Please read "Security and General Tips" and "Risk of Terrorism when Travelling Overseas".

Crime

Most visits to Tanzania are trouble-free, but armed crime is increasing.  In 2006 there have been a number of serious but isolated incidents involving British nationals and other expatriates.  The incidents occurred on both the mainland and the islands.  Some of those attacked and robbed were injured.

Mugging and robberies, sometimes accompanied by violence or the threat of violence, do occur throughout Tanzania.  You should avoid walking alone, especially in isolated areas and on beaches, particularly after dark.  In November 2006 a foreign tourist was robbed at knifepoint on a beach near Ras Nungwi in Zanzibar.  Around Paje, on the south east coast of Zanzibar, there has been a series of robberies from guest rooms in some of the cheaper hotels and from tourists on foot. British gap year students were attacked, robbed and one injured in Mtwara (southern Tanzania) on 14 November 2005.

Dar es Salaam and other cities in Tanzania are relatively trouble-free, although in February 2006, there were cases of armed crime in Dar es Salaam, including in the peninsula area and Coco beach, which is popular with expatriates.  You should take sensible precautions.  Avoid walking after dark.  Do not make yourself an obvious target for muggers and pickpockets.  Do not carry cameras or large sums of cash in the streets or wear expensive-looking jewellery or watches.  Be alert to the risk of thefts of personal property from cars and taxis stationary in traffic.
Political Situation
Political demonstrations are relatively rare although they do occasionally take place in Dar es Salaam and elsewhere in Tanzania.  So far in 2006 all demonstrations have passed off peacefully.  When a demonstration is planned, you should exercise caution and avoid the area.

Tanzania Country Profile

Local Travel

Tanzania’s national parks are popular destinations for tourists.  When camping, use official sites only.  Ensure that you are properly equipped and seek local advice when entering isolated areas.

There are risks associated with viewing wildlife, particularly on foot or at close range.  You should always follow park regulations and warden’s advice.

You should exercise particular caution if you intend to travel to the area bordering Burundi.  Refugee movements are common.  There have been a number of armed robberies in this area, including vehicle hijackings.  There are few facilities for visitors.

Information about travel away from areas regularly frequented by foreigners can be patchy.  You are advised to invest in an up-to-date travel guide and use only the services of reliable tour companies.

River & Sea Safety
You should be aware of concerns about the safety and reliability of ferry services in Tanzania.  Particular concerns have been raised about the Kigamboni ferry service (across the mouth of Dar es Salaam harbour).  Alternative road routes are available.  There have also been reports of similar concerns about the ferry service on Lake Victoria.
For further information please see: River and Sea Safety

Road Safety

Take extra care when driving.  Road conditions are generally poor and there are a large number of accidents.  Keep doors locked, windows up and valuables out of sight, as vehicles are sometimes targeted by thieves.

Be particularly careful driving at night, as there have been isolated incidents of attempted thefts from cars and a higher incidence of drunk driving at night-time.  Avoid driving out of town at night.  If you are driving and become aware of an unusual incident, or if somebody out of uniform tries to flag you down, it is often safer not to stop your car and to continue on your journey.

If renting a motorcycle (available in Zanzibar), you should adopt the same safety precautions as you would in the UK.  Check for serviceability, wear a helmet and ensure that you are capable of handling the machine.

If you are stopped by the police, you should ask to see identification before making any payments for traffic violations.

UK driving licences are acceptable for visitors, but British residents are expected to obtain a Tanzanian driving licence.


LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS

Tanzanians are welcoming and well disposed towards visitors.  But you should be sensitive to local culture.  Loud or aggressive behaviour, drunkenness, foul language and disrespect, especially towards older people, will cause offence.
There is a high proportion of Muslims in Tanzania, especially along the coast and on Zanzibar and Pemba. You should dress modestly. Women should avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless tops away from tourist resorts, and particularly in Stone Town and other places where the local population may be offended.  You should respect local customs and sensitivities at all times, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.
Homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania (including Zanzibar).
All drugs are illegal in Tanzania (including Zanzibar) and those found in possession will be fined.  There are severe penalties, including custodial sentences, for drug trafficking.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

You should have a valid passport and visa when visiting Tanzania and Zanzibar.  You can obtain visas at Tanzanian diplomatic missions or on arrival.  If you overstay the validity of your visa, or work without an appropriate permit, you will be liable to arrest, detention and a fine before being deported.

Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.  For further information on entry requirements, contact the Tanzanian High Commission, London.


HEALTH

We strongly advise you to obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  This should cover you for medical repatriation by air, if necessary.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see:  Travel Insurance.
You should be aware that medical facilities are limited, especially outside Dar es Salaam.
The main health risks are malaria, stomach upsets, sunburn and minor infections.  Before leaving the UK, you should take medical advice on appropriate anti-malaria medication and on arrival in Tanzania, ensure you take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes.  More than three-quarters of British travellers who contracted malaria in 2005 did not take preventive measures, such as malaria prevention tablets.  However, malaria can occur despite appropriate prevention, and therefore you should promptly seek medical care in the event of a fever or flu-like illness in the first year following your return from travelling to a malaria risk country.  Before travelling you should seek medical advice about the malaria risk in Tanzania.
In February 2007 there was an outbreak of Rift Valley fever in Arusha. Rift Valley fever is a mosquito-borne disease. You should take necessary precautions to prevent mosquito bites if you are travelling in this area.  For further information please see:  http://www.nathnac.org/pro/clinical_updates/rvf_010207.htm
There are regular outbreaks of cholera in Tanzania, largely in rural areas where access to sanitation is limited. Cases have also been reported in 2006 in parts of Dar es Salaam.  The Zanzibari Health Ministry has announced that since March 2006 there has been an ongoing outbreak of cholera in Zanzibar and Pemba, with several hundred people hospitalised and some deaths. Indefinite quarantines have been imposed on several villages in northern Zanzibar.  There have been no cases of cholera reported in any of the main tourist areas, but some of the affected areas are within 20km of tourist developments.  You should therefore boil or filter drinking water, or buy it in sealed brand bottles.

There is a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS.
There were outbreaks of measles in Dar es Salaam in September 2006 and in Zanzibar in December 2006.  You should ensure you are up-to-date with immunisation against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) before travelling.  If you were born before 1970, and have had measles as a child, then you do not require a vaccination.  If you were born in or after 1970, and you have not received the childhood MMR vaccine, then you should consider vaccination.

You should seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date.  For further information on health, check the Department of Health's website at:  www.dh.gov.uk.


GENERAL

If things go wrong when overseas, please see:  What We Can Do To Help.

British residents and visitors staying more than three months should also register with the Consular Officer at the British High Commission on arrival.  This can also be done online at the website of the British High Commission in Tanzania (http://www.britishhighcommission.gov.uk/tanzania go to Passport and Visas, then consular, then online consular registration).

You should carry identification (eg a copy of your passport at all times.

Credit cards are accepted by some, but not all, hotels, and by more up-market shops in urban areas.  ATMs are only available in major cities.