Tanzania Travel Information
230 volts, 50Hz. Rectangular or round three-pin plugs are used.
Swahili and English are the official languages. Several indigenous languages are also spoken.
Visitors should consider vaccinations for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, and polio, and proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if visitors are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs. There is a risk of malaria all year and outbreaks of Rift Valley Fever occur; travellers should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and take malaria medication.
Food prepared by unlicensed vendors should be avoided, as meat and milk products from animals may not have been cooked thoroughly. Sleeping sickness is a risk in the game parks, including the Serengeti, and visitors should take precautions against bites by tsetse flies.
There is a high prevalence of HIV/Aids; cholera outbreaks are common throughout the country and visitors are advised to drink bottled or sterilised water only. Travellers climbing Mount Kilimanjaro are at risk for altitude sickness.
Medical services are available in Dar-es-Salaam and other main towns, but facilities and supplies are limited even in cities and often non-existent in rural areas. Visitors with particular requirements should take their own medicines. Comprehensive travel insurance is advised.
Waiters in the better restaurants should be tipped around 10 percent; guides, porters and cooks in the wildlife parks and on safari trips usually receive tips as well. The amount is discretionary according to the standard of service and the number of people in the travelling party.
Most visits to Tanzania are trouble free, but violent and armed crime does exist. Travellers are sometimes the victims of mugging and bag snatching (especially by passing cars or motorbikes), and armed robbery and burglary rates have increased throughout the country. Travellers should walk as far away from the road as possible and avoid walking and cycling at night. They should also avoid carrying large amounts of cash or other valuables, and leave their passport in the hotel safe.
As in other East African countries, there is some threat of terrorism in Tanzania, and visitors should be cautious in public places and at tourist sites. The area bordering Burundi should also be avoided. There have been reports of piracy in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden is a concern, with commercial and tourist vessels being fired upon and several tourists taken hostage.
Road accidents are common due to poor road and vehicle conditions, violation of traffic regulations and exhaustion among long-distance drivers. There have also been a number of ferry accidents in Tanzania in recent years. Travellers should take precautions, such as staying away from buses or ferries that seem overloaded or in poor condition.
Tanzanians are known to be friendly and generally welcoming, but travellers should be sensitive to local cultural mores. Drunkenness is frowned upon and Tanzanians feel strongly about showing respect for their elders.
Visitors to Zanzibar should be aware that it is a predominantly Muslim region and visitors should dress modestly and respectfully. Beachwear is fine on the beach or around a hotel pool, but not acceptable elsewhere. Topless sunbathing is a criminal offence. Some tourists buys a local sarong, called a kanga, which can be used to cover shoulders when needed, or otherwise be used as a towel.
Smoking in public places is illegal. Tourists should be especially careful during Ramadan, when public drinking, smoking and even eating in public should be avoided. Homosexuality is illegal.
Although Tanzanians come across as relaxed and friendly, it is important to observe certain formalities, especially with greetings. It is advisable to learn a few Swahili phrases when greeting, followed by a handshake.
Women and men rarely shake hands in Swahili culture; however, if the woman extends her hand, the man is obliged to take it. Tanzanians are to be addressed as Mr, Mrs, and Ms, followed by the family name.
Business dress is seldom very formal but lightweight suits are recommended for formal occasions. Business hours are similar to Western countries, but a longer lunch break is taken during the hotter months, and business continues later in the evening from Monday to Friday.
The international country dialling code for Tanzania, as well as Zanzibar, is +255. There is good mobile phone coverage in main cities and towns, while rural areas may have limited coverage. There are international roaming agreements with most international operators. WiFi is available in main towns and resorts; visitors can purchase local prepaid SIM cards for unlocked phones.
Travellers to Tanzania do not have to pay duty on 250g tobacco or 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars and one bottle of alcoholic beverages.
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