- There has been an increase in the number of incidents involving express kidnap, muggings and bag grabs, both on the mainland and Zanzibar. We advise both resident and visiting British nationals to remain vigilant at all times. Please see Safety and Security for more information - Crime .
- On Saturday 10 September 2011a local ferry, MV Spice Islander, sank on route to Pemba from Unguja (Zanzibar). 205 people were confirmed as fatalities from the incident and over 600 rescued; many more are still reported missing. See the Sea Travel section of this Travel Advice.
- On Wednesday 16 February 2011 an army ammunitions depot exploded in the Gongola Mboto district of Dar es Salaam, near to the international airport. We advise British nationals in the Dar es Salaam area to be vigilant and avoid any debris/objects that may have originated from the explosion. Report anything suspicious to your local police station. Please monitor local news and FCO travel advice for updated information.
- There is a general 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 that does not take appropriate precautions, or follow agreed shipping industry best practice guidelines. There have been an increasing number of piracy attacks in the waters immediately off Tanzania. Pirates are increasingly attacking smaller vessels with gunfire, including tourist and fishing vessels, and coming closer to shore. British nationals have been taken hostage. We caution against sailing out of sight of shore. The capacity of the Tanzanian Navy to respond to pirate attacks is very limited. See the Sea Travel section of this Travel Advice and the more detailed FCO Travel Advice on Piracy in the Indian Ocean.
- 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, use alternative methods of transport.
- Around 75,000 British tourists visit Tanzania every year. Most visits are trouble-free. See General – Consular Assistance Statistics. You should keep your passport safe and secure at all times, and remember to carry a photocopy.
- You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. See the General - Insurance.
Safety and Security – Terrorism
There is a general threat from terrorism in Tanzania. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
The Islamic terrorist group Al-Shabaab, while based in Somalia, poses a threat across the East Africa region. On 11 July 2010 there were bomb attacks in Kampala, Uganda, killing over 70 people and injuring many more. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the bombs, the first major terrorist attacks they have carried out outside Somalia. Al-Shabaab linked the attacks to Uganda’s military presence in Somalia as part of an African Union peacekeeping mission, and threatened further attacks in the region.
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.
See our Terrorism Abroad page.
Safety and Security – 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. A similar ammunitions depot explosion occurred on 16 February 2011 in the Gongo la Mboto district, near to the international airport of Dar es Salaam. Anyone visiting the areas of Mbagala or Gongola Mboto should not pick up any metal or suspicious objects and should report such findings to the local authorities.
Safety and Security - Crime
Although most visits to Tanzania are trouble-free, violent and armed crime is increasing, with incidents reported both on the mainland, Zanzibar and the islands. Muggings, bag grabs (especially from passing cars) and robberies, including forced withdrawal from ATMs, sometimes armed and accompanied by violence or the threat of violence, have increased throughout Tanzania especially in areas frequented by backpackers and expatriates. All visitors, particularly women, should avoid walking alone and close to the road, 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. Do not accept transportation with strangers or in unlicensed taxis and if possible ask your local hotel to arrange your transportation; always ask for official identification before accepting transport.
Travellers should also exercise caution at the Ubungo bus station and places frequented by backpackers, especially around the city centre in Dar es Salaam where muggers, pickpockets and unlicensed taxis with the intention to commit robbery, have singled out tourists.
Specific incidents in popular tourist areas from 2007 to date have included:
- An attack on a group of tourists, including a British national, by armed robbers near Lake Duluti in Arusha resulting in two tourists and a tour guide being shot.
- A party of five tourists being robbed by armed bandits near the Ngorogoro crater.
- Tourists and residents, including three British nationals, robbed by armed bandits at a private bar in Arusha.
- A British national was seriously attacked and robbed by an armed group at his private residence in Arusha.
- Tourists were robbed by armed bandits whilst travelling from Lake Natron to Arusha.
- An Australian charity worker was shot dead by armed bandits in northern Arusha.
- In September 2008 a large group of armed bandits carried out two separate attacks on European tourists staying in tented camps near Tarangire National Park.
- In January 2009 a group of Western tourists were robbed at gunpoint whilst returning to Moshi after climbing Mt Kilimanjaro.
- Between January 2010 and August 2011 over 30 British tourists in Dar es Salaam have been kidnapped, robbed and forced, with the threat of violence, to withdraw cash from ATMs and mobilise cash transfers up to £5,000 through Western Union after being befriended by strangers and also by using unlicensed Taxis. Even though all the victims have been released some have encountered violence and the threat of violence throughout their ordeal.
There are cases of armed crime in Dar es Salaam, including in the peninsula area and Coco beach, which is popular with expatriates.
In 2011 there has been an increase in the number of reported muggings and robberies, sometimes armed and accompanied with violence, occurring in Stone Town and on popular tourist beaches in Zanzibar.
See our Victims of Crime Abroad page.
Safety and Security – Local Travel
Information about travel away from areas regularly frequented by foreigners can be patchy. You should invest in an up-to-date travel guide and use only the services of reliable tour companies.
Safety and Security – Local Travel – National Parks
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. Always follow park regulations and wardens’ advice and ensure you have the correct documentation or permit before entering a national park.
Safety and Security – Local Travel – Trekking
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. 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 seek medical advice before travelling to Kilimanjaro or other mountains in the region. Take out full insurance cover for medical treatment, accidents and evacuation by helicopter.
For more general information see GOGAPYEAR.COM andbackpackers.
Safety and Security - Local Travel – 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.
Safety and Security – Local Travel – 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.
There have been a number of piracy attacks in the waters immediately off Tanzania. Pirates are increasingly attacking smaller vessels, including tourist and fishing vessels, and coming closer to shore. British nationals have been taken hostage. The capacity of the Tanzanian Navy to respond to pirate attacks is very limited. Sailing vessels are particularly vulnerable to attack due to their low speed and low freeboard. All mariners intending to sail through high risk areas should consider the necessity of their travel and alternatives, such as transporting the vessel by yacht carrier.
Yacht races and rallies do not have to take place in these high risk areas and place their competitors at unnecessary risk of attack. These events are often publicised and could draw adverse attention from pirates. We advise mariners not to take part in these races.
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. They should also report regularly to the UKMTO (email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel: +971 50 552 3215), giving location, course and speed, and plan their routing carefully so as to avoid placing themselves in unnecessary danger. As a precautionary measure, boat owners and operators and fishermen are strongly advised to keep 24 hour visual and radar watch.
For further advice, see the FCO Travel Advice on Piracy in the Indian Ocean and our River and Sea Safety page.
On Saturday 10 September 2011a local ferry, MV Spice Islander, sank on route to Pemba from Unguja (Zanzibar). 205 people died in the incident and over 600 rescued, many more are still reported missing. If you believe a ferry to be overloaded please refrain from boarding and make alternative travel arrangements.
Safety and Security – Local Travel – 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, 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, 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, ask to see identification before making any payments for traffic violations.
See our Driving Abroad page.
Safety and Security – Local Travel – Train Travel
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.Safety and Security – Political Situation
Tanzania Country Profile
Parliamentary and presidential elections took place in Tanzania on 31 October 2010. Historically, elections have caused unrest and violence on the islands of Zanzibar. The voter registration process, polling day and the wait for results have caused tensions and civil unrest on the island of Pemba. Follow local media reports and be alert to any developments which might trigger public protests or unrest. Avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people. If you become aware of any nearby troubles avoid the area and monitor this travel advice and the local media for updated information.
Tanzanians are welcoming and well disposed towards visitors; but 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. 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 groupshave been verbally harassed in such areas.
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. See ourTravelling During Ramadan page.
Homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania (including Zanzibar).
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.
See our Your Trip page.
Entry Requirements – Visas
All British passport holders need 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 need a multiple entry visa 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.
Entry Requirements – Passport validity
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.
Entry Requirements – Yellow Fever Certificates
Travellers from non-endemic countries travelling to Tanzania do not require a Yellow Fever Certificate. Please note, however, that travellers from non-endemic countries that travel through an endemic country are subject to yellow fever vaccination only if they stay outside the Airport or have a long connection up to twelve hours: See the Tanzanian Government website for more details:http://www.tanzania.go.tz/tips.html.
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.
Entry Requirements – Travelling with children
For information on entry requirements contact Tanzanian High Commission in London.
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 and rift valley fever, occur periodically, largely in rural areas where access to sanitation is limited. 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 seek medical attention immediately.
In the 2010 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 1,200,000 adults aged 15 or over in Tanzania were living with HIV; the prevalence percentage was estimated at around 5.6 of the adult population compared to the prevalence percentage rate in adults in the UK of around 0.2%. You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. For more general information on how to do this see HIV and AIDS.
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) andNHS Scotland’s Fit For Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.
See our Travel Health page.
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.
General – Insurance
You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. This should cover you for medical repatriation by air, if necessary. Check for any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake. See our Travel Insurance page.
If things do go wrong when you are oversees then see our When Things Go Wrong page.
General – Registering with the British High Commission
Register with our LOCATE service 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.
General – Consular Assistance Statistics
Around 75,000 British tourists visit Tanzania every year (Source: Tanzanian Tourist Board). Most visits are trouble-free. 151 British nationals required consular assistance in Tanzania in the period 01 April 2010 – 31 March 2011This included some of the following types of incidents; 48 Lost/Stolen passports; Ten deaths; nine arrests; seven hospitalisations; three child abductions and two rapes.
General – Money
The Tanzanian Shilling is the official currency of Tanzania, but US Dollars are also widely accepted (please be aware that dollar notes printed before 2003 are usually not accepted). Money can be changed freely at many authorised dealers, banks or bureaux de change. You should obtain a receipt after transaction. Most banks in major cities have ATMs. However, these are not always reliable and sometimes break down or run out of money. Travellers cheques are not widely accepted by banks and bureaux de change in Tanzania.