Best time to go and how to get there

Tanzania: When to Go

See also When to go to Zanzibar

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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Getting There

Note: flight, boat, train and bus timetables change constantly, and airlines come and go, so please do not rely solely on this information for your travel planning. Check with relevant companies, or a flight search engine like Skyscanner, first.

See also Getting to Zanzibar


From London to Dar es Salaam (Nyerere International Airport):
This takes over 10 hours - for example see British Airways from London Heathrow.

From other parts of the world to Dar:
Emirates from Dubai
KLM from Amsterdam
Qatar Airways from Doha
Swiss International Air Lines from Zürich (via Nairobi)

From within Africa to Dar:
Air Malawi from Blantyre, Lilongwe
Air Tanzania from Comoros, Entebbe/Kampala, Johannesburg, Kilimanjaro, Mwanza, Mtwara, Zanzibar
Air Zimbabwe from Harare, Nairobi
Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa
Kenya Airways from Nairobi
Linhas Aereas de Mocambique from Pemba
Tropical Air from various locations
South African Airways from Johannesburg
Zan Air from Zanzibar

From Europe to Kilimanjaro International Airport:
There are flights to the airport near Arusha (starting point for the Northern Circuit) with:
British Airways from London and elsewhere via Dar es Salaam or Nairobi
Condor Airlines from Frankfurt
KLM from Amsterdam

And from within Africa to Kilimanjaro:
Air Tanzania from Comoros, Entebbe/Kampala, Johannesburg, Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Mtwara, Zanzibar
Kenya Airways from Addis Ababa
Precision Air from Bukoba, Dar es Salaam, Mombasa, Mwanza, Nairobi, Shinyanga, Tabora, Zanzibar

From the USA to Tanzania:
There are no direct flights, so you'll have to change planes.


Dar es Salaam port is served by ocean freighters and passenger liners. Other ports include Zanzibar and the Indian Ocean port of 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 connecting Tanzania with Kenya and Uganda; and Lake Nyasa linking Tanzania with Malawi and Mozambique.


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.


There is a twice-weekly restaurant car service by Tanzania - Zambia Railway Authority Tazara) from Dar es Salaam to Kapiri Mposhi (Zambia). Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) provides services between Tanzania, Burundi, Congo (Dem Rep), Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

Getting Around

See also Getting Around Zanzibar


Tanzania is the biggest country in East Africa so flying is one of the most popular options to get about with regular services to all main towns. All national parks have airstrips and there are several charter companies operating single- and twin-engine aircraft to any town or bush airfield or airstrip in the country. There are two main domestic airlines:

Coastal Air fly daily from Zanzibar to Dar and Selous, as well as other game parks using connecting flights. Their e-mail seems to work well.

Precision Air, who have now teamed up with Kenya Airways, have a similar network, with flights to and from Zanzibar to Arusha and Mombasa as well as Dar, kilimanjaro and Nairobi.

Zan Air flies to Dar, Selous, Arusha, Mombasa and Pemba.

There is another smaller regional airport in Arusha, in the North of the country, which is currently expanding:

Regional Air Services is based in Arusha and has scheduled services to Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar, Manyara, Seronera, Grumeti and Kleins Camp.

With the new Safari Aviation flights, it is possible to combine Katavi and Mahale with Selous and Ruaha using direct flights on Monday and Thursday.

Most itineraries will involve a mix of flying and driving (some lodges will have their own plane for charters) - and all is arranged for you by the safari operator.


Tanzania has a reasonable network of roads, in varying condition, connecting all major towns. Most minor roads are not all-weather, becoming 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.


There is a twice-weekly restaurant car service by Tanzania - Zambia Railway Authority from Dar es Salaam to Kapiri Mposhi (Zambia). Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) provides the main services, including routes to northern Tanzania and a daily service from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza on Lake Victoria and Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika with a restaurant car.


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. Scandinavia Express is a reliable and comfortable operator.

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.

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.

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.