Country Information

Country Facts

  • Population estimated at just over 46 million million, with over 3.2 million living in Dar es Salaam, the biggest city (2012 census). Tanzania is a union of Zanzibar and Tanganyika.
  • Dodoma is the capital city. President Jakaya Kikwete is the leader of the current ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM)
  • The Tanzanian Shilling is the unit of currency. It is possible to change traveller's cheques in the main tourist areas, namely Dar, Arusha, Moshi and Zanzibar - but we don't recommend it due to bad rates and high commission fees. Major banks and hotels in other locations may also accept or change travellers cheques although the latter are often more trouble than they are worth. Credit cards are accepted in some major hotels and restaurants, and there are now many ATM machines in Dar es Salaam, several in Arusha and on Zanzibar.
  • There are two official languages: Kiswahili and English, and more than 100 different tribal languages.
  • Major religions in Tanzania are Christianity and Islam, with the coastal areas, especially the islands, being predominantly Muslim.
  • Tanzania is 945,166 sq km in size, which equates to approximately 4 times the size of Great Britain. It shares its borders with eight other African countries: Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.
  • Tanzania's time zone is GMT + 3 hours. Due to the proximity to the equator the hours of daylight and darkness are fairly even.
  • Most visitors to Tanzania will need a valid Tourist Visa. These can be issued on entry and recently Dar es Salaam International Airport has modernised its visa processing; however it takes time on arrival, and there is always a queue, so we recommend for ease and convenience arriving with your visa already in your passport. Check with the Tanzanian Embassy in your country of origin before departure.

The Weather

Tanzania has a pleasant tropical climate. Hot and humid along the coast (expect daytime temperatures of about 30'c), it becomes more comfortable as you move inland. Some areas lying at altitudes above 1000m are quite cool, and even surprisingly chilly at night, so a warm fleece or jacket may be needed. July, August and September tend to be the cooler months, with February usually being the hottest.

Most of the rainfall occurs between November and May, split into two rainy seasons. The short rains start in November and last 4 to 6 weeks. Long rains usually begin around March and continue through until the end of May. However the rains have been somewhat erratic in the past couple of years and it is hard to predict exactly when they will begin.

National Parks and other Protected Areas

Tanzania is one of the most spectacular and captivating countries in Africa, with scenery of unimaginable beauty and a high cultural diversity. Although more than 25% of the land is afforded with some form of protection, (more than any other African country), it is an unfortunate reality that many of the remaining wildernesses, particularly in the southern regions, do not receive an adequate level of protection and may soon cease to exist. It is our aim to draw attention to these areas and provide an economic reason for their protection.

Tanzania has 14 National Parks and numerous other conservation areas, ranging from the world famous Serengeti National Park and Selous Game Reserve to the more obscure Amani Nature Reserve and recently gazetted Kitulo Plateau National Park.

Tanzania is home to more than 80 large mammals, including the famous Big Five, and over a thousand species of birds!

What to Pack

There are several types of holiday options in Tanzania, ranging from a week or two relaxing on the idyllic beaches to the adventurous treks up Mount Kilimanjaro. Basic items of clothing (such as t-shirts) can be bought in even the most remote villages, so you can afford to pack light. Below is a brief list of a few essential items:

  • Sun hat, ideally wide brimmed if you are going on a game viewing safari or hike.
  • Sun screen and good quality sun glasses.
  • Insect repellent. Be aware that products containing DEET are the most effective but do have a tendency to melt certain plastics.
  • A solid pair of walking shoes or boots (even if you are not going hiking).
  • Sandals or something similar. It is possible to buy flip-flops very cheaply in almost every village.
  • Binoculars, especially if you are heading out game viewing. Get the best ones you can afford, it's worth it!
  • A weeks supply of underwear. Cotton is best.
  • A good book or two.
  • Torch and spare batteries.
  • A small towel (if you are camping or staying in budget accommodation)

The clothes you need depend on what you intend to do. For hiking activities you'll need good quality trousers, a shirt or t-shirt and maybe even a jumper or fleece if you are heading up where it may be cold. Shorts are not always practical for hiking as there may be rough grasses which can irritate your skin. You will need specialist gear if you intend to climb Kilimanjaro, which can be hired for the trip.

On game drives you can wear whatever you feel comfortable in. It is best to stick to subtle lighter colours. If you have fair skin it is a good idea to always have a long sleeved shirt at hand for sun protection. It can be surprisingly cool on the mornings, especially when you are perched on top of your safari vehicle moving through the bush, so a light windbreak jacket or fleece will be useful.

If you are venturing out on an extended camping safari then you will need to bring along several changes of clothes. It will usually be possible to get laundry done along the way, but it helps if your clothes are made from quick drying fabrics - denim should be avoided. Camping shops are now full of hi-spec gear that is designed to keep you cool and dries in minutes. In some locations long sleeves and trousers are recommended for evening wear to avoid insect bites.

Wild Things will supply all camping equipment. You may want to bring your own sleeping bag or sheet.

Be Respectful

Tanzania's large Muslim population mainly live around the coastal regions and on the islands. However it is still important to dress decently when in any town or village, even inland. Women should cover their knees and shoulders and avoid low revealing tops. Skirts are considered more conventional than trousers. It is also more respectable for a man to wear trousers rather than shorts, and it is not acceptable to walk around in public without a shirt. When staying in a National Park or Reserve, at a lodge or camp-site, it is acceptable to wear shorts and sleeveless tops.

Ladies

To avoid any extra attention dress sensibly, following the guidelines above. This cannot be stressed enough for places like Zanzibar and Pemba. You will notice that many of the women in Tanzania secure a Kanga (sarong) over whatever they are wearing. This usually serves to keep their clothes clean but you may find a Kanga very useful, and easier than changing from shorts to long skirt all the time. You can also throw a light scarf around your shoulders when walking around town.

On the beaches topless or nude sunbathing is prohibited, and ignoring this rule could find you being harassed by the authorities. Bikinis are OK, but avoid the tiny string bikinis, and again keep a sarong to hand.

Sanitary supplies are usually available in bigger towns, but you should bring enough with you. You may also find a travel pack of baby wipes very useful on camping trips and game drives.

Health

If this is the first time you are venturing away from the securities of the First World into the tropics, then you should definitely consult your doctor. He or she can advise you on what is best to pack into your personal medical kit and what precautions you should take for the various risks. Most drugs are available without prescription in Tanzania, but you may not have time to reach a pharmacy, and therefore you should carry some basic supplies. Ask for the best advice on Malaria Prophylactics. You MUST inform us in advance if you are allergic to any foods or medicines.

The tap water is not safe to drink. In remote bush lodges and tented camps you will be fine brushing your teeth in the tap water, but in big towns such as Dar and Stone Town we recommend you use bottle water for teeth brushing and avoid getting water in your mouth when showering. Bottled water is widely available and will be provided on all Wild Things Safaris.

KEY TO MAP OF TANZANIA:

1.Masai Mara (Kenya), 2.Serengeti NP, 3.Ngorongoro Conservation Area, 4.Lake Manyara NP, 5.Tarangire NP, 6.Arusha NP, 7.Kilimanjaro NP, 8.Mkomazi GR, 9.Saadani NP, 10.Mikumi NP, 11.Selous GR, 12.Udzungwa Mountains NP, 13.Ruaha NP, 14.Rungwa GR, 15.Kisigio GR, 16.Uwanda GR, 17.Katavi Plains NP, 18.Ugalla River GR, 19.Mahale Mountains NP, 20.Gombe Stream NP, 21.Moyowosi GR, 22.Kigosi GR, 23.Burigi GR, 24.Biharamulo GR, 25.Rubondo Island NP.

Please Contact Us if you are interested in any of these destinations and we will design a tailor-made Tanzania safari to suit your individual interests.

Written by

Special Offers

Amani Forest Camp - Emau Hill - Discounted Resident Rates

5% discount on en-suite accommodation for TZ residents more info