Tanzania

Best time to go and how to get there

Tanzania: When to Go

Tanzania has a tropical climate with hot temperatures and high humidity, especially nearer the coast. The higher you are - and much of the interior is at altitude - the lower the temperature, particularly at night. On the coast be prepared for showers at any time.

From June to September (dry season)
The weather is less hot and less humid, but still warm. It's a good time for game viewing and ideal for walking safaris, as animals start to congregate around shrinking water sources. Temperatures become increasingly hot through October, with heavy concentrations of game around lakes and rivers.

From November to May (rainy season)
Things get increasingly wet and sticky, with April and May having the heaviest rainfall. This is the 'green season' with lush vegetation, full rivers and lakes, and abundant birdlife and wild flowers, as well as baby animals.

Within this framework, different areas have different patterns. Whale shark season is October to March.

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TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

Getting There

NB, please do not rely solely on this information for your travel planning.

See also Getting There: Zanzibar

TANZANIA:BY AIR

From the UK: carriers include British Airways.

Within Europe: try KLM, Swiss International Air Lines, British Airways, Condor Airlines.

Within Africa: with Air Malawi, Air Tanzania, Air Zimbabwe, Kenya Airways, Linhas Aereas de Mocambique, Tropical Air, Precision Air and South African Airways, and Zan Air.

BY SEA: Dar es Salaam port is the main port. Other ports include Zanzibar and Mafia. Ferries operate between Dar es Salaam and Mombasa. Passenger services run on Lake Tanganyika to Bujumbura (Burundi), Congo (Dem Rep of) and Mpulunga (Zambia); Lake Victoria connects Tanzania with Kenya and Uganda; and Lake Nyasa links Tanzania with Malawi and Mozambique.

BY ROAD: The tarmac road connecting Tanzania with Zambia is in good condition, as is the road north to Kenya. From Lusaka in Zambia, the Great North Road is paved all the way to Dar es Salaam. Road links from Rwanda and Mozambique are poor.

BY TRAIN: Safe, comfortable and fascinating way to see Tanzania. See Seat 61 for more details.

Getting Around

BY AIR: All national parks have airstrips and there are several charter companies. Airlines include Precision Air and Zan Air.

BY ROAD: Most minor roads become impassable to all except 4-wheel-drive vehicles during the long rains in April and May. It is not advisable to drive at night because of wild animals, cattle and goats on the road. The frequent petrol shortages, the difficulty of finding spare parts and the number of road accidents mean that hiring a car (while available in all major cities) is more hassle than its worth. But if you are determined to hire one then see our car rental recommendations.

BY TRAIN: Safe, comfortable and fascinating way to see Tanzania. See Seat 61 for more details.

BY BUS: Inexpensive buses connect most places; for example, there are services from Dar es Salaam to Arusha, Morogoro and Moshi. Visitors should avoid travelling by bus during the April/May rains.

Visa / Entry Requirements

Visas are required by most nationalities and cost US$ 30-60 depending on your nationality; it is currently £38 for a single entry tourist visa from the UK (in 2009).

You are advised to obtain one before travelling by applying at least a month ahead to your local embassy. Some embassies have an online application form.

If there is no embassy or consulate in your country, or if it is last minute, you can usually buy a single-entry visa with USD cash on arrival at the airport.

According to all literature, tourist visas last 3 months, but when we visited, ours appeared to be stamped for 6 months.

You must hold a passport valid for at least 6 months after your departure date.

Other Essentials

See Travel Health Advice for travellers going abroad from the UK.

Malaria
A potentially (though rarely) fatal disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes in tropical parts of the world. Unfortunately that includes Tanzania. In addition to preventing mosquito bites, as far as possible, by using DEET-based repellent, wearing long sleeves (especially over your ankle and wrist joints), and sleeping under an intact mosquito net, you are strongly advised to take anti-malarial medication. Advice about recommended drugs changes from country to country and year to year, so you should check with your doctor for the latest. In the UK, doctors currently recommend the once-weekly lariam for most travellers, though this may have unpleasant side effects including depression and hallucination – try it out before you leave and see how you react (we suggest about 2 weeks before departure, in case you need to go on to something else). The chloroquine / paludrine daily / weekly combination is now considered fairly ineffective, but still prescribed for pregnant women, as other drugs may affect the foetus. Malarone, appears to have fewest side effects while remaining effective, but is considerably more expensive. Most drugs should be taken for 4 weeks after your return to a non-malarial zone.

Injections
You should be up-to-date for:

  • yellow fever (lasts 10 years) - you may be asked to show your certificate on arrival (remember that this becomes valid 2 weeks after the injection)
  • polio (10-year booster)
  • hepatitis A (lasts 10 years)
  • typhoid (lasts 10 years)
  • diphtheria and tetanus (10-year booster; recommended)
    Meningitis, rabies and hepatitis B are only recommended for rural or high risk areas.

    Food hygiene
    You should observe a few simple rules. Wash your hands before eating. Drink mineral water rather than tap water. Check where your ice comes from, and whether your fruit juice is diluted. As for food, ‘cook it, peel it or forget it’; basically this means avoiding salads (unless you are sure they have been washed in mineral water), reheated food and meat or fish that you suspect may be stale. The hotels and guesthouses we feature on our site do in theory observe these rules, but you should always play safe – or risk getting diarrhoea.