There are continuing problems with the electricity supply on Zanzibar. People who have booked a holiday on Zanzibar may wish to confirm with their hotel that replacement electricity (generator) will be provided.
There is an underlying threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
Piracy is a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, especially for shipping which does not take appropriate precautions or follow agreed shipping industry best practice guidelines. See the Sea Travel section of this
You should exercise particular caution if you intend to travel to the area bordering Burundi. See the Local Travel (Burundi border areas) section of this Travel Advice.
Long distance buses are frequently involved in accidents which can often result in fatalities. If you have concerns over the safety of the vehicle or the ability of the driver, you should use alternative methods of transport.
Armed robberies, while still rare, are increasing, both at remote sites and in urban centres. Several serious incidents involving British nationals and other expatriates have occurred in the Arusha region. See the Crime section of this
Around 50,000 British tourists visit Tanzania every year (Source: Tanzanian Tourist Board). Most visits are trouble-free. 13 British nationals required consular assistance in Tanzania in the period 01 April 2008 – 31 March 2009 for the following types of incident; deaths (3 cases); hospitalisations (1 case); and arrests, for a variety of offences (1 case). During this period assistance was also requested with regard to lost or stolen passports (57 cases).
You should keep your passport safe and secure at all times, and remember to carry a photocopy.
We recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. See the General (Insurance) Travel Advice.
Safety and security
There is an underlying threat from terrorism in Tanzania. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
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. For more general information see our Terrorism Abroad (http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/staying-safe/terrorism ) page.
Dar es Salaam
On 24 September 2009 two children died as a result of the ongoing clearance of unexploded ammunition and ordnance dispersed during the accidental detonation of the Mbagala ammunition storage depot (to the south of Dar es Salaam) on 28 April 2009. We advise that anyone visiting the area of Mbagala should not pick up any metal or suspicious objects and should report such findings to the local authorities.
Although most visits to Tanzania are trouble-free, violent and armed crime is increasing, with incidents reported both on the mainland and the islands. Mugging and robberies, sometimes accompanied by violence or the threat of violence, occur throughout Tanzania. All visitors, particularly women, should avoid walking alone, especially in isolated areas and on beaches, particularly (but not only) 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; always drive with your doors locked and windows up. Since 2006 there have been a number of serious incidents, some including physical attacks, involving British nationals and other expatriates. Several of these attacks were in Arusha Region.
Specific incidents in popular tourist areas from 2007 to date have included:
There are cases of armed crime in Dar es Salaam, including in the peninsula area and Coco beach, which is popular with expatriates.
Travellers should also exercise caution at the Ubungo bus station in Dar es Salaam where muggers and pickpockets have singled out tourists.
In Zanzibar there have been several reports of robberies, some accompanied with violence, occurring on popular tourist beaches.
For more general information see Victims of Crime Abroad.
Political demonstrations are relatively rare although they do occasionally take place in Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and elsewhere in Tanzania. With Presidential and Parliamentary elections scheduled for 2010 they are likely to occur with higher frequency. These demonstrations usually pass off peacefully, however you should exercise caution and avoid the area. You should check local media reports for information on future demonstrations.
Local Travel 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.
Tanzania’s national parks are popular destinations for tourists. Careful planning is important to get the best out of your safari. If you choose to camp use official sites only. Ensure that you are properly equipped and seek local advice when entering isolated areas. Some of the parks are extremely remote, and emergency access and evacuation can be difficult. There are risks associated with viewing wildlife, particularly on foot or at close range. You should always follow park regulations and wardens’ advice and ensure you have the correct documentation or permit before entering a national park.
You should be aware of the risks involved in the more hazardous activities in Tanzania. If trekking or climbing, you are advised to use reputable agencies, to remain on established routes, and always to walk in groups. You should ensure that you are well prepared and equipped to cope with the terrain and low temperatures. The extreme altitude on Mount Kilimanjaro can cause altitude sickness.
If you are elderly or have a heart condition, pulmonary or bronchial problems you should seek medical advice before travelling to Kilimanjaro or other mountains in the region. You should take out full insurance cover for medical treatment, accidents and evacuation by helicopter.
Burundi border areas
You should exercise particular caution if you intend to travel to the area bordering Burundi. There have been a number of armed robberies in this area, including vehicle hijackings. There are few facilities for visitors.
River & Sea Travel
Piracy is a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean and has occurred as far as 1000 nautical miles from the coast of Somalia. Attacks of piracy and armed robbery against vessels in and around the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin continue to affect only a very small proportion of overall shipping, but are frequent and continuing, proving successful almost exclusively against shipping which has not complied with agreed shipping industry best practice on self-defence measures, including on routing.
All mariners should follow the ‘Best Management Practise for the Gulf of Aden and off Somalia’ (http://www.icc-ccs.org.uk), published by the International Maritime Bureau. We urge mariners to register with the Maritime Security Centre (Horn of Africa) for up to date advice and guidance on passage round the Horn of Africa – www.mschoa.org, and to plan their routing carefully so as to avoid placing themselves in unnecessary danger.
For more general information see River and Sea Safety (http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/staying-safe/river-safety )
Road Travel UK Driving Licences are acceptable for visitors, but British residents are expected to obtain a Tanzanian driving licence. Should you wish to operate a motorcycle a motorcycle licence (Class A) is also required.
Take extra care when driving. Road conditions are generally poor and there are a large number of accidents, often involving inter-city buses. In 2008 and 2009 overland buses have been involved in serious crashes that resulted in numerous fatalities and injuries to several tourists. If you have concerns over the safety of the vehicle, or the ability of the driver, you should use alternative means of transportation.
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 there is 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.
For more general information see Driving Abroad.( http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/staying-safe/driving-abroad )
There have been several accidents on Tanzanian railways in 2009. It is worth asking for the latest information before committing to long-distance train travel in Tanzania.
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.
There have been cases where women travelling alone and in small groups have been verbally harassed in such areas. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.
For more general information see Travelling during Ramadan. (http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/be-a-responsible-tourist/travelling-during-ramadan ) Homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania (including Zanzibar).
You should carry identification (e.g. a copy of your passport) at all times.
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.
For more general information for different types of travellers see Your Trip.
All British passport holders require a visa to travel to Tanzania and you should obtain one prior to travelling from your nearest Tanzanian diplomatic mission.
It is possible to obtain a tourist visa for a single entry at the main ports of entry to Tanzania but this is subject to the fulfilment of all immigration requirements.
If you will require a multiple entry visa you will need to arrange this through a Tanzanian diplomatic mission before your arrival in Tanzania. Otherwise you will have to buy a single entry visa each time you enter the country.
Please note that working as a volunteer in Tanzania requires a Class C work permit. This should be obtained from your nearest Tanzanian diplomatic mission before you travel. 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.
You should have a valid passport and visa when visiting Tanzania and Zanzibar. In order to apply for a visa your passport must have validity of not less than six months.
Yellow Fever Certificates
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission. This is particularly relevant for those travelling to Tanzania from neighbouring African countries. See the Tanzanian Government website for more details: http://www.tanzania.go.tz
As some countries list Tanzania as a Yellow Fever endemic country you may also be asked for a certificate after departing Tanzania and arriving at other destinations.
Basic Swine Flu checks are carried out at the main points of entry to Tanzania.
Travelling with children
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 Tanzanian High Commission in London. (http://www.fco.gov.uk/content/en/contact/sub-sahara-africa/dl-tanzania )
You should be aware that medical facilities are limited, especially outside Dar es Salaam.
Malaria is common to Tanzania. There have also been recent cases of sleeping sickness occurring after bites from tsetse flies in Northern parts of Tanzania, including the Serengeti. Other diseases, such as cholera (of which approximately 4000 cases were reported by the end of October 2009) and rift valley fever, occur periodically, largely in rural areas where access to sanitation is limited.
You should drink or use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks. If you suffer from diarrhoea during or after a visit to Tanzania you should seek medical attention immediately.
In the 2008 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 1,300,000 adults aged 15 or over in Tanzania were living with HIV; the prevalence rate was estimated at around 6.2% of the adult population. This compares to the prevalence rate in adults in the UK of around 0.2%. You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS.
You should seek medical advice before travelling to Tanzania and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date. For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit the websites of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) and NHS Scotland’s Fit For Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.
For more general health information sees Travel Health. (http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/staying-safe/health/ )
Tanzania lies on an active fault line stretching from the north of the country to the south and tremors occur from time to time. The last significant earthquake happened in 2007 in the region of the Kenya border, and was magnitude 6.0.
We 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 exclusion, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
If things do go wrong when you are oversees then this is When Things Go Wrong.
Registering with the British High Commission
Register with our LOCATE service (https://www.locate.fco.gov.uk/locateportal ) to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency.
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: (UK in Tanzania: go to Passport and Visas, then consular, then online consular registration).
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.
This useful information has been obtained from http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/sub-saharan-africa/tanzania.