Tanzania Travel Guide

2024-01-16 | Published By: Bold Himalaya

Tanzania, a mesmerizing jewel, in East Africa is renowned for its landscapes, vibrant cultures, and remarkable wildlife. Situated along the coast of Africa this captivating destination offers an assortment of experiences, for travelers seeking adventure, rejuvenation, and cultural immersion. Within this travel guide, we will explore the marvels of Tanzania by showcasing its attractions, cultural gems, and valuable recommendations to ensure an unforgettable expedition.

Geography and Location of Tanzania

Tanzania is situated in East Africa bordered by nations like Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Comoros, and the Seychelles. To the east Tanzania is bordered by the Indian Ocean. With its size of 947,303 square kilometers, it stands as one of the largest countries, in Africa.

Tanzania's geography presents a mesmerizing blend of marvels. From the Serengeti Plains in the north, where the Great Migration unfolds against grasslands to the majestic peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro at its core this country offers a captivating tapestry. The presence of the Great Rift Valley carves through its landscape and hosts the Ngorongoro Crater, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Along its border lie coastal lowlands housing cities like Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar's historic Stone Town – both showcasing an amalgamation of influences. Offshore lies the Zanzibar Archipelago with beaches and historical significance. The Southern Highlands provide an escape with their landscapes and tea plantations while Tanzania's diverse topography is further enriched by its Great Lakes and volcanic highlands. This rich geographical mosaic sets a stage, for wildlife adventures, cultural exploration, and a plethora of experiences that make Tanzania truly captivating.

Ethnic Diversity of Tanzania

Tanzania is a country that embraces a range of cultures representing an intricate tapestry created by more, than 120 different ethnic groups. The cultural landscape of the nation bears the imprints of its journey blending harmoniously with Arab, Indian, European, and indigenous influences. Notable ethnic groups like Sukuma, Chaga, Haya, and Nyamwezi contribute their traditions, languages, and artistic expressions. 

Along the regions, the vibrant Swahili culture takes the stage with its distinct language and a fusion of African, Arab, and Persian elements. In the southern parts of Tanzania communities such as the Maasai proudly uphold their customs manifested in their recognizable attire and traditional ceremonies. The music, dance forms, and artistic expressions from each community further enhance Tanzania's identity. 

This cultural mosaic is joyously celebrated through festivals like the Zanzibar International Film Festival and age-old customs like the Maasai jumping dance – all testaments to Tanzania's deep-rooted commitment, to preserving and sharing its diverse heritage.

Visa Procedures to follow to enter Tanzania

Visa on Arrival:

  • Documents Required;

Make sure you have all the documents, with you including a passport, a completed visa application form (usually available at the entry point) passport-sized photos, and proof of sufficient funds for your return or onward travel.

  • Payment;

Be prepared to pay the visa fee in the currency. In some cases, payment in U.S. Dollars or euros may be accepted. It is recommended to carry cash as credit cards may not always be accepted.

  • Processing;

Upon your arrival, at the entry point, the immigration authorities will handle your visa application process. This typically involves an interview, verification of documents, and confirmation of payment.

  • Conditions;

Typically when you apply for a visa, on arrival it is granted for some time. May come with certain conditions. These conditions might include limitations on the types of activities you are allowed to participate in while you're, in the country.

Online Visa Application:

To apply online for a visa you need to follow these steps;

1. Visit the website of the immigration department or an authorized visa application platform. Fill out the visa application form, with detailed information.

2.. Upload the documents, such as a passport-sized photo, a scanned copy of your passport proof of accommodation travel itinerary, and sometimes proof of funds.

3. To pay the visa fee you can make the payment online using accepted methods such, as credit/debit cards or other electronic options.

4. Your application will be reviewed by immigration authorities. The processing time may vary from a day to weeks depending on the country and type of visa applied for.

5. After processing your visa application you will be sent an email that will inform you about the visa status. Finally, you will receive your visa which you should print and bring along before entering Tanzania.

6. Upon arrival at your destination present your printed e-visa along with the required documents, at the immigration counter. The entry conditions and duration of your visa will be as specified in the approval.

Best Time to visit Tanzania

The ideal time to plan a trip, to Tanzania depends on the kind of experience you desire considering the climate and unique attractions found in regions of the country. Tanzania generally has two seasons; the dry season and the wet season.

Dry Season (June to October);

This period is widely regarded as the time for wildlife safaris in parks like Serengeti and Ngorongoro within the northern circuit. The weather during this time is typically dry and cool with humidity levels making it comfortable for travel. It also aligns with the Great Migration in the Serengeti a mesmerizing spectacle where large herds of other animals migrate in search of pastures. Additionally June to October presents an opportunity to visit Zanzibar and coastal areas for beach holidays due to dry weather.

Shoulder Seasons (November and December March to May);

November and December mark a period of rain which slightly influences travel conditions; however, wildlife is still abundant during this shoulder season. Prices may be more affordable. From March to May Tanzania experiences its season when some lodges and camps might close temporarily. Nevertheless, this time showcases landscapes.

Wet Season (January, to February);

This phase represents the peak of the Tanzania season.

This is an opportunity to engage in bird watching since there are birds around. The climate tends to be pleasant making it an ideal time to discover and appreciate both the cultural wonders of the area.

Check out this link to learn in detail about the Best time to visit Tanzania

Best places to visit in Tanzania

  • Serengeti National Park;

Famous, for the phenomenon of the Great Migration Serengeti offers wildlife encounters with expansive grasslands diverse ecosystems, and a wealth of animal species.

  • Ngorongoro Crater;

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ngorongoro Crater showcases an amphitheater teeming with an exceptional concentration of wildlife including the majestic Big Five.

  • Mount Kilimanjaro;

As Africa's summit, Mount Kilimanjaro entices adventurers from all corners of the globe. Multiple routes lead to its peak each offering mesmerizing landscapes and varied ecological wonders.

  • Nyerere (Selous) National Park;

Counted among Africa's game reserves Selous mesmerizes visitors with its terrains, vibrant wildlife, and the mighty Rufiji River. It promises a unique track experience.

  • Ruaha National Park;

Celebrated as Tanzanias Park Ruaha captivates explorers with its rugged vistas, rich biodiversity, and the magnificent Great Ruaha River flowing through its heart.

  • Katavi National Park;

Secluded and less frequented by tourists Katavi unveils wildernesses adorned with plains and an impressive concentration of buffalo herds alongside other captivating wildlife.

  • Mahale Mountains;

Nestled along the shores of Lake Tanganyika, Mahale Mountains National Park is renowned, for sheltering a community of wild chimpanzees amidst breathtaking natural landscapes. Zanzibar Island is famous, for its Stone Town, beaches, and lively culture. It's a place where you can experience a mix of history aromatic spice plantations and breathtaking coastal views.

  • Mnemba Island

If you're looking for a luxurious getaway with coral reefs Mnemba Island is the perfect choice. It offers resorts where you can indulge in snorkeling and diving adventures surrounded by water.

  • Pemba Island

For those seeking a quieter alternative, to Zanzibar but still want landscapes intriguing ruins and vibrant coral reefs Pemba Island is the destination. It's less crowded but equally captivating.

  • Mafia Island:

Mafia Island is a destination offering pristine white sandy beaches and incredible diving experiences. It is renowned for its life and fascinating historical remnants.

Check out this link to learn in detail about the best places to visit in Tanzania

Activities to do in Tanzania

Tanzania has a lot to offer for travelers seeking experiences ranging from wildlife safaris to serene beach retreats. Here are several activities you can enjoy while visiting Tanzania;

  • Wildlife Safaris;

Immerse yourself in the wonders of parks, like Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire and Selous where you can witness incredible wildlife encounters. Don't miss the mesmerizing Great Migration in the Serengeti, where vast herds of wildebeest and zebras traverse the plains.

  • Conquer Mount Kilimanjaro;

Embark on a journey to conquer Africas peak, Mount Kilimanjaro. With various routes available, each offering levels of difficulty this challenge promises an experience.

  • Chimpanzee Trekking;

Indulge in a trekking expedition in parks like Gombe Stream and Mahale Mountains to observe chimpanzees thriving in their habitat.

  • Relax on Zanzibar Pristine Beaches;

Unwind on the beaches of Zanzibar including Nungwi and Paje where you can partake in water activities such as snorkeling, diving, and sailing amidst surroundings.

  • Historical Exploration in Stone Town;

Discover the enchanting Stone Town in Zanzibar—a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its streets adorned with historic architecture and vibrant markets brimming with local culture.

  • Hot Air Balloon Safari;

Experience a captivating perspective of the Serengeti by embarking on a hot air balloon safari at sunrise—an adventure that offers panoramic views unlike any other.

  • Cultural Tours;

Engage with tribes, like the Maasai, Hadzabe, and Datoga through cultural tours that provide unique insights into their traditions and way of life.

Discover the heritage vibrant dances and day-to-day routines of the local communities.

  • Hiking

Embark on an adventure in the Usambara Mountains, where you can immerse yourself in picturesque hikes, lush surroundings, and authentic interactions with the locals.

  • Snorkeling and Diving

Uncover the mesmerizing beauty beneath the surface as you snorkel or dive in Mafia Island. Marvel, at its reefs diverse array of marine creatures and pristine waters that allow for unparalleled visibility.

  • Bird Watching;

Tanzania is a haven, for bird enthusiasts. You should consider visiting parks such as Lake Manyara and the Selous Game Reserve, where you can witness an array of captivating bird species.

  • Cultural Festivals;

Immerse yourself in the Tanzanian culture by attending festivals and events. This will provide you with an opportunity to indulge in the music mesmerizing dances and traditional customs that make Tanzania so unique.

  • Visit Lake Natron;

Embark on an adventure exploring the landscapes surrounding Lake Natron. This remarkable lake is renowned for its hue and serves as a vital breeding ground, for elegant flamingos.

Check out this link to learn  in detail about Things to do in Tanzania


Tanzanian food is a fusion of African, Arab, Indian, and European flavors. It offers a variety of dishes to suit tastes. Some popular staples include ugali, which is a porridge made from maize, and nyama choma, which is delicious grilled meat. The influence of spices can be seen in dishes, like pilau ( rice) and mishkaki (skewered grilled meats). 

Along the regions, fresh seafood takes the stage in dishes like samaki. When it comes to street food cravings you can't go wrong with chipsi mayai (French fries omelet) or mandazi ( dough) for a tasty treat. A refreshing touch to meals comes from kachumbari—a salad made with tomatoes and onions. Vegetarian options include coconut bean soup known as maharage ya nazi as an abundance of tropical fruits such as mangoes and avocados that offer delightful choices.

Accommodation Options

Tanzania provides a range of accommodation options to cater to preferences and budgets. Let me give you an overview of the types of places you might come across when looking for a place to stay in Tanzania;

  • Luxury Lodges and Resorts;

Tanzania is home, to lodges and resorts around popular safari spots like the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. These accommodations offer top-notch amenities, personalized services, and often breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.

  • Camps;

For an immersive safari experience, you can consider staying at tented camps. These camps allow guests to be close to nature while still enjoying amenities. Many are strategically located within or near parks.

  • Mid-Range Hotels and Lodges;

If you're looking for accommodations at a price there are numerous mid-range hotels and lodges available. These options strike a balance between amenities and affordability often found in cities, near parks, or along tourist routes.

  • Budget. Hostels;

For budget travelers who still want amenities, there are plenty of affordable guesthouses and hostels in cities all over Tanzania. These options offer value for money without compromising on essentials.

  • Beach Resorts;

Along the areas in destinations like Zanzibar and Mafia Island, you'll find an array of beach resorts that provide oceanfront accommodations with easy access to beaches and water activities.

Tips and Bits of Advice

  • Vaccinations for Immunity

There are several health precautions you should take before departing for your safari in Tanzania. Tanzania's tropical climate favors germs, plants, and animals that are unknown to most tourists. Knowing which immunity injections need to be given prior to travel is a good idea. Prior to visiting the African continent, it is generally advised to get a few immunizations administered.


Yellow Fever


Hepatitis A



It is advisable to have these vaccinations at least three months before your trip, and you can conveniently get them at the closest clinic.

  • Get a SIM Card

Whether you're exploring the outdoors or wandering through the city there are times when you just need internet access no matter how hard you try to disconnect. It comes in handy for checking maps using Google Translate finding information or any other purpose. Fortunately, Tanzania has plenty of stores where you can easily find and purchase SIM cards that can be tailored to your specific needs. You can choose between options that include making calls or simply using the internet on your phone. Additionally, there are data plans that you can customize to suit your requirements.

  • Essential Items

If you're wondering what essentials to pack for your visit to Tanzania here's a list of items you should have with you;

1. Make sure to bring your passport.

2. Carry all identification documents.

3. Keep some cash on hand at all times.

4. Bring along an adapter for outlets.

5. Pack warm clothes as temperatures tend to drop in the evenings.

6. Don't forget sunscreen.

7. To fend off mosquitoes carry mosquito spray.

  • Tipping in Tanzania

Tipping customs in Tanzania do not follow a protocol. It's important to keep in mind that most people working in the service industry earn very little and rely on tips to supplement their income. For guides, it is customary to give a tip of USD 10 15, per day while the driver, cook and porters on an overland safari should also receive a few dollars each. In restaurants, it is considered appropriate to leave around 10% of the bill as a tip. As, for taxis rounding up the fare is a kind gesture that shows your appreciation.

Currency Exchanges

Tanzanian Shillings are the country's official currency. The Tanzanian shilling (TZS) is the currency used in Tanzania. In large cities, major currencies including the US dollar, the British pound, and the euro can be easily exchanged, primarily through bureau de changers. When changing money, a bank takes longer than a bureau de change.

Most establishments will give you a cheap, fixed price (somewhere won't buy them). Many banks, including Standard Chartered Banks, CRDB, National Bank of Commerce (NBC), FMBE, EXIM, and Barclays Banks, have ATMs across the country where you can withdraw cash from your VISA or MasterCard accounts. Large hotels, motels, and travel agencies are the only establishments that take credit cards.