Travel Safety and Advisories for Tanzania

1. What are the current travel advisories for Tanzania?

As of the latest update, the current travel advisories for Tanzania are:

1. The U.S. Department of State has issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory for Tanzania, advising travelers to exercise increased caution due to crime, terrorism, and arbitrary enforcement of laws.

2. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) also advises against all but essential travel to areas within 20km of the border with Mozambique due to terrorist attacks in the region, particularly in the districts of Mtwara, Lindi, and Pwani.

3. Travelers are further advised to be cautious in crowded areas, especially markets, bus stands, and transport hubs, as pickpocketing and petty theft can occur.

4. Additionally, visitors should be aware of potential health risks, such as malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases, and take necessary precautions, including proper vaccination and mosquito bite prevention measures.

It is recommended to stay informed of the current situation and follow the advice of local authorities and tour operators while traveling in Tanzania.

2. Are there any safety concerns for tourists in Tanzania?

Yes, there are several safety concerns that tourists should be aware of when visiting Tanzania.

1. Crime: Petty crime such as pickpocketing and theft can be a concern, especially in crowded areas such as markets and bus stations. It is advisable for tourists to stay vigilant and keep their belongings secure.

2. Wildlife: Tanzania is home to numerous national parks and wildlife reserves, where encounters with dangerous animals such as lions and elephants can occur. It is essential to follow the guidance of experienced guides and rangers when on safari to ensure safety.

3. Road Safety: Road conditions in Tanzania can be poor, with inadequate signage and lighting, making driving risky, especially at night. It is recommended to use reputable transportation services and avoid traveling after dark.

4. Health Risks: Tanzania is located in a malaria-prone region, so taking precautionary measures such as using insect repellent and taking anti-malarial medication is essential. Additionally, staying hydrated and practicing safe food and water hygiene can help prevent illnesses.

By being aware of these safety concerns and taking necessary precautions, tourists can have a safe and enjoyable experience in Tanzania.

3. How safe is public transportation in Tanzania?

Public transportation in Tanzania can vary in terms of safety, depending on the mode of transportation and the region. Here are some key points to consider when assessing the safety of public transportation in Tanzania:

1. Bus Safety: Buses are a common mode of public transportation in Tanzania. While accidents can occur due to road conditions and driver behavior, many bus companies have taken steps to improve safety standards. It is important to choose reputable bus companies with well-maintained vehicles and experienced drivers.

2. Minibus Safety: Minibuses, known as “dala-dalas,” are popular for short-distance travel within cities and towns. These vehicles can be overcrowded and often lack safety features. Passengers should exercise caution when using minibuses and be aware of pickpockets in crowded situations.

3. Taxi Safety: Taxis are a relatively safe option for transportation in Tanzania, especially those operated by reputable companies or registered with a taxi association. It is advisable to negotiate fares in advance and only use licensed taxis.

Overall, while public transportation in Tanzania may not always meet the safety standards found in some Western countries, with caution, awareness, and common sense, travelers can navigate the public transportation system relatively safely.

4. Are there any health risks for travelers in Tanzania?

Yes, there are indeed health risks for travelers in Tanzania that they should be aware of and take precautions against to ensure a safe and healthy trip. Here are some of the key health risks:

1. Malaria: Tanzania is a malaria-endemic country, so travelers should take antimalarial medication as prescribed by their healthcare provider, use insect repellent, and sleep under mosquito nets to prevent mosquito bites.

2. Yellow Fever: A yellow fever vaccination is required for travelers entering Tanzania from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission. Make sure to carry your yellow fever vaccination certificate with you when traveling to Tanzania.

3. Water-borne diseases: Travelers should avoid drinking tap water and instead stick to bottled water or water that has been properly boiled or treated. Be cautious of consuming raw or undercooked foods, and always wash your hands before eating.

4. HIV/AIDS: Tanzania has a relatively high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, so it’s important for travelers to practice safe sex and avoid sharing needles or any other items that could transmit the virus.

It’s recommended to consult with a healthcare provider or a travel medicine specialist before your trip to get personalized advice on vaccinations, medications, and preventive measures based on your individual health status and travel itinerary.

5. What is the current political situation in Tanzania and how does it affect travel safety?

The current political situation in Tanzania is relatively stable, with the country being governed by the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM). However, there have been reports of increasing restrictions on freedom of expression and a shrinking space for political opposition under the presidency of John Magufuli, who passed away in March 2021. The new president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, has indicated a willingness to improve relations with the opposition and promote democratic principles. In terms of travel safety, the political situation in Tanzania can have implications for travelers in the following ways:

1. Political unrest: Although Tanzania has not experienced significant political unrest in recent years, tensions between the government and opposition groups can sometimes lead to localized protests or demonstrations. Travelers should avoid participating in any political activities or gatherings to minimize risks to their safety.

2. Security measures: The government in Tanzania maintains a strong security presence to ensure stability and protect both citizens and visitors. Travelers may encounter checkpoints or increased security measures in certain areas, particularly during times of heightened political tension. It is important to comply with security procedures and cooperate with authorities when necessary.

3. Media and communication restrictions: The government in Tanzania has been known to impose restrictions on media outlets and communication channels, particularly during periods of political sensitivity. Travelers should be aware that access to certain websites or social media platforms may be limited, and exercise caution when discussing political topics in public spaces.

Overall, while the political situation in Tanzania is relatively stable, travelers should remain informed about current events and exercise caution to ensure their safety and well-being during their visit.

6. Are there any specific safety tips for solo female travelers in Tanzania?

Yes, there are several safety tips that solo female travelers should keep in mind when visiting Tanzania:

1. Dress modestly: It is important for female travelers to respect the local culture and dress modestly to avoid unwanted attention. Wearing conservative clothing that covers shoulders, chest, and knees is recommended.

2. Avoid walking alone at night: Like in many places around the world, it is safer for solo female travelers to avoid walking alone at night in Tanzania, especially in poorly lit or deserted areas. Consider taking taxis or using trusted transportation services.

3. Stay in reputable accommodations: Choosing safe and reputable accommodations can provide an added layer of security for solo female travelers. Opt for well-reviewed hotels, guesthouses, or lodges in safe neighborhoods.

4. Be cautious with new acquaintances: While Tanzania is generally a friendly and welcoming country, solo female travelers should exercise caution when interacting with strangers, especially those who seem overly friendly or pushy.

5. Keep important documents and valuables secure: It is advisable to keep important documents such as passports, identification, and money in a secure place, such as a hotel safe. Avoid flashing valuables in public to reduce the risk of theft.

6. Trust your instincts: One of the most important safety tips for solo female travelers is to trust your instincts. If a situation feels uncomfortable or unsafe, remove yourself from it and seek help if needed. It is always better to be cautious and prioritize your safety while traveling alone in Tanzania.

7. How safe is it to go on safari in Tanzania?

Going on safari in Tanzania is generally safe, with millions of tourists visiting the country each year to experience its incredible wildlife and stunning landscapes. However, it is important for travelers to take certain precautions to ensure their safety during the safari experience:

1. Choose a reputable tour operator: Selecting a well-established and reputable tour company with experienced guides is crucial for a safe safari experience. These operators are knowledgeable about the area, animal behavior, and have safety protocols in place.

2. Follow your guide’s instructions: Listen to your safari guide at all times and follow their directions regarding wildlife viewing, movement within the park, and safety precautions.

3. Stay in designated areas: It is essential to stay within designated safari areas and not venture off on your own, as this can be dangerous and potentially illegal.

4. Be aware of wildlife: Respect the wildlife by keeping a safe distance and not disturbing or provoking animals. Do not attempt to touch or feed the animals.

5. Pack appropriately: Bring essentials such as sunscreen, insect repellent, sturdy walking shoes, and appropriate clothing for varying weather conditions.

6. Safety in the vehicle: While on game drives, ensure that you stay inside the vehicle unless instructed otherwise by your guide. Vehicle doors should remain closed while in the vicinity of wildlife.

7. Emergency preparedness: Be aware of the emergency procedures and communication methods provided by your tour operator in case of unforeseen circumstances.

By following these safety tips and being mindful of your surroundings, going on safari in Tanzania can be a safe and unforgettable experience.

8. Are there any areas in Tanzania that should be avoided by tourists due to safety concerns?

Yes, there are certain areas in Tanzania that tourists should avoid due to safety concerns. These areas include:

1. The border regions with Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mozambique, which have experienced sporadic violence and instability.

2. The area around the border with Kenya, particularly in the Tanga region, due to the potential for banditry and attacks.

3. The island of Zanzibar, especially in its capital, Stone Town, where there have been reports of petty crime and isolated incidents of violence.

4. Certain neighborhoods in major cities like Dar es Salaam and Arusha, where crime rates are higher compared to other parts of the country.

It is always recommended for tourists to stay informed about the current situation in Tanzania through official travel advisories and to exercise caution when traveling to unfamiliar areas. It is also advisable to consult with local authorities or tour operators for guidance on safe places to visit in the country.

9. What should travelers do in case of an emergency in Tanzania?

In case of an emergency in Tanzania, travelers should take the following steps to ensure their safety and well-being:

1. Contact the local authorities immediately by dialing 112 for emergency services in Tanzania.
2. Seek medical assistance if you or someone in your group requires urgent medical attention. Hospitals and medical facilities can be found in major cities like Dar es Salaam, Arusha, and Mwanza.
3. Contact your country’s embassy or consulate in Tanzania to inform them of the situation and seek their assistance if needed.
4. Keep a copy of important documents such as your passport, travel insurance information, and emergency contacts in a safe and easily accessible place.
5. Follow the advice and instructions of local authorities, emergency response personnel, and your embassy or consulate during the emergency situation.
6. Stay in a safe location until the situation is resolved to avoid unnecessary risks or dangers.
7. Stay in communication with family and friends to keep them updated on your situation and well-being.
8. Be prepared with a travel insurance policy that includes coverage for emergency medical expenses, evacuations, and other potential emergencies while in Tanzania.
9. Stay informed about local news and updates regarding the emergency situation through reliable sources such as local media outlets or official government channels.

10. Are there any cultural norms or etiquette that travelers should be aware of for their safety in Tanzania?

Yes, when traveling to Tanzania, there are several cultural norms and etiquette that travelers should be aware of to ensure their safety:

1. Respect for elders and authority figures is highly important in Tanzanian society. It is essential to show courtesy and deference towards older individuals and those in positions of power.
2. It is customary to greet people with a handshake, especially in professional or formal settings. However, in some rural areas, a simple nod or verbal greeting may be more common.
3. Dress modestly, particularly in rural areas and when visiting religious sites. Revealing clothing may be seen as disrespectful and could potentially lead to unwanted attention.
4. Public displays of affection are not widely accepted in Tanzanian culture, so it is best to avoid such behavior.
5. When visiting someone’s home, it is polite to bring a small gift as a gesture of appreciation.
6. Avoid discussing sensitive topics such as politics, religion, or tribal issues unless you are well-informed and the conversation is conducted respectfully.
7. Be mindful of local customs and traditions, such as removing your shoes before entering someone’s home or a place of worship.
8. Be cautious when taking photographs, especially of individuals. Always ask for permission before capturing someone’s image, as some may find it intrusive.
9. Learn a few words in Swahili, the main language spoken in Tanzania, as this can help facilitate communication and show respect for the local culture.
10. Overall, demonstrating openness, curiosity, and a willingness to learn about and respect Tanzanian customs will enhance your travel experience and contribute to your safety and well-being during your stay.

11. How reliable are the local medical facilities in Tanzania for tourists?

Local medical facilities in Tanzania can vary widely in terms of reliability and quality, especially in more remote or rural areas. In major cities like Dar es Salaam and Arusha, there are reputable hospitals and clinics that can provide adequate medical care for tourists. However, in more rural areas, medical facilities may be limited in terms of resources, equipment, and medical expertise.

1. Some medical facilities may not meet Western standards, so it’s important for tourists to be prepared for potential challenges.
2. It is recommended that tourists traveling to Tanzania have comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical treatment and evacuation in case of emergencies.
3. To ensure quality healthcare, tourists should consider visiting private hospitals or clinics in major cities, as they are more likely to have better facilities and trained medical professionals.
4. Additionally, it is important for tourists to bring an ample supply of any necessary prescription medications with them, as availability may be limited in some areas.
5. In the event of a medical emergency, it may be advisable for tourists to seek medical assistance in neighboring countries like Kenya or South Africa, where medical facilities are more reliable and up to international standards.

12. Are there any specific safety precautions to take while visiting the beaches in Zanzibar?

When visiting the beaches in Zanzibar, there are several important safety precautions to consider:

1. Be cautious of strong currents and undertows, especially during the rainy season or high tide periods. It’s essential to adhere to any warnings or flags posted by lifeguards regarding water conditions.

2. Swim only in designated swimming areas that are monitored by lifeguards, if available. Avoid venturing into unknown or secluded waters where help may be challenging to access.

3. Stay hydrated and wear adequate sun protection, as the tropical sun in Zanzibar can be intense. Use sunscreen, seek shade when necessary, and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

4. Keep valuables secure and out of sight to deter theft. Consider using a waterproof pouch or a locker to safeguard belongings while enjoying beach activities.

5. Respect local customs and cultural norms while at the beach. Dress modestly and be mindful of your behavior to ensure a harmonious experience with the local community.

By following these safety precautions and exercising vigilance, you can enjoy a relaxing and secure beach experience in Zanzibar.

13. Is it safe to drink tap water in Tanzania?

No, it is not safe to drink tap water in Tanzania. The tap water in most parts of Tanzania is not potable and can contain harmful bacteria and parasites that can lead to illnesses such as typhoid, cholera, and diarrhea. To ensure safe drinking water during your travels in Tanzania, it is recommended to stick to bottled water or water that has been properly treated. You can also use water purification tablets or devices to make tap water safe for consumption. Additionally, remember to avoid consuming beverages with ice made from tap water and to brush your teeth with bottled or purified water. Staying hydrated is crucial when traveling, so taking the necessary precautions with your drinking water is essential to prevent any potential health issues.

14. What are the common scams targeting tourists in Tanzania and how can they be avoided?

1. One common scam targeting tourists in Tanzania is the fake tour guide scam. Scammers posing as tour guides may approach unsuspecting tourists and offer to show them around popular attractions or safaris. To avoid falling for this scam, it is important to always do research and book tours through reputable companies or agencies recommended by trusted sources.

2. Another prevalent scam in Tanzania is the overcharging scam, where vendors or taxi drivers may overcharge tourists for goods or services. It is advisable for visitors to familiarize themselves with the local currency and typical prices for various items to avoid being ripped off. Negotiating prices beforehand and asking for receipts can help prevent falling victim to this scam.

3. The fake police officer scam is also something tourists should be wary of in Tanzania. Scammers may dress up as police officers and demand money or valuables from tourists, claiming various reasons such as fines or fake violations. Travelers should always request to see a badge or identification before complying with any demands and should seek assistance from a legitimate police station if unsure.

4. To avoid falling for these scams and others, such as pickpocketing or distraction thefts, tourists should remain vigilant, stay alert in crowded areas, keep valuables secure, and trust their instincts. It is also recommended to seek advice from local authorities or experienced travelers on common scams in the area before embarking on any trips in Tanzania.

15. Are there any safety concerns related to wildlife encounters in Tanzania?

Yes, there are safety concerns related to wildlife encounters in Tanzania, given its diverse and abundant wildlife population. To ensure a safe wildlife viewing experience in Tanzania, it is important to follow these guidelines:

1. Respect wildlife from a safe distance: Avoid approaching animals too closely or disturbing their natural behavior. This not only protects you but also prevents stress to the animals.

2. Stick to designated viewing areas: Always follow the instructions of your guide and stay within designated viewing areas. Venturing off on your own can be dangerous and lead to unexpected encounters with wildlife.

3. Do not feed the animals: Feeding wildlife can disrupt their natural diet and behavior, as well as encourage dependency on human food sources. It can also attract dangerous predators to areas frequented by tourists.

4. Be cautious during walking safaris: If you are participating in a walking safari, ensure you are accompanied by an experienced guide who is trained in wildlife behavior and safety protocols.

5. Stay alert at all times: Wildlife encounters can be unpredictable, so it is essential to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Listen to your guide’s instructions and remain calm if you come across any animals.

By following these safety precautions and guidelines, you can enjoy a memorable and safe wildlife experience in Tanzania.

16. Is it safe to travel to Tanzania during the rainy season?

Traveling to Tanzania during the rainy season can present some challenges, but it is generally safe as long as you take necessary precautions. Here are some important points to consider:

1. Weather Conditions: The rainy season in Tanzania typically occurs from March to May and November to December, bringing heavy rainfall and potential flooding in some areas. This can affect road conditions, making travel more difficult.

2. Health Concerns: With increased rainfall comes a higher risk of waterborne diseases such as cholera and malaria. It’s important to take precautions such as using mosquito repellent, sleeping under mosquito nets, and drinking only bottled or treated water.

3. Activities and Safaris: Some national parks and wildlife reserves may be more challenging to visit during the rainy season due to muddy roads and dense vegetation. However, this can also be a good time for bird watching and lush green landscapes.

4. Accommodation and Services: Some lodges and camps may close during the rainy season, so it’s important to check availability and make bookings in advance. Services and facilities in remote areas may also be limited.

5. Safety Tips: When traveling during the rainy season, it’s important to stay informed about weather conditions, follow local advice, and have a flexible itinerary in case of disruptions. Consider hiring a local guide who is familiar with the area and can navigate safely.

Overall, while traveling to Tanzania during the rainy season can offer unique experiences, it’s essential to be prepared for the weather conditions and potential challenges that may arise.

17. How prevalent is petty crime against tourists in Tanzania?

Petty crime against tourists in Tanzania is unfortunately relatively prevalent, especially in tourist areas and crowded locations such as markets, beaches, and public transportation hubs. Incidents such as pickpocketing, bag snatching, and scams are not uncommon, particularly in popular tourist destinations like Zanzibar, Arusha, and Dar es Salaam. To minimize the risk of falling victim to petty crime while traveling in Tanzania, it is advisable to take certain precautions:

1. Avoid displaying signs of wealth such as expensive jewelry, cameras, or large amounts of cash in public.
2. Keep your belongings secure and be vigilant in crowded places.
3. Use reputable transportation services and be cautious of unofficial taxis or touts.
4. Stay aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts if you feel uncomfortable in a situation.

By staying alert and taking these safety measures, tourists can reduce the likelihood of becoming a target for petty crime while visiting Tanzania.

18. What are the requirements for travel insurance when visiting Tanzania?

When visiting Tanzania, it is highly recommended to have travel insurance that provides comprehensive coverage for various potential issues that may arise during your trip. Some requirements to consider when getting travel insurance for Tanzania include:

1. Medical Coverage: Make sure your insurance includes coverage for medical emergencies, hospital stays, and medical evacuation in case of serious injury or illness.

2. Emergency Evacuation: Ensure that your insurance policy covers emergency evacuation, especially if you plan to visit remote areas where medical facilities may be limited.

3. Trip Cancellation and Delay: Look for coverage that protects you in case you need to cancel your trip or experience delays due to unforeseen circumstances.

4. Personal Liability: Check if your insurance includes personal liability coverage in case you are involved in an accident that causes harm to others or their property.

5. Adventure Activities: If you plan to engage in adventurous activities like safari tours or mountain climbing, make sure your insurance covers these specific activities.

It is important to carefully review the terms and coverage of your travel insurance policy to ensure that it meets your specific needs and provides adequate protection during your visit to Tanzania.

19. Are there any safety considerations for hiking or trekking in Tanzania, such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro?

Yes, there are important safety considerations to keep in mind when hiking or trekking in Tanzania, particularly when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro:

1. Acclimatization: It is crucial to allow enough time for acclimatization to the altitude to prevent altitude sickness. Climbers should choose longer routes with gradual ascents to give their bodies time to adjust.

2. Physical fitness: Climbing Kilimanjaro is a strenuous endeavor, so climbers should ensure they are in good physical condition before attempting the trek.

3. Proper gear: Having the right equipment, including sturdy hiking boots, warm clothing, and a good quality sleeping bag, is essential for a safe and successful climb.

4. Experienced guides: Climbing Kilimanjaro with a reputable guide service is recommended to ensure safety and proper guidance throughout the trek.

5. Weather conditions: Weather on the mountain can be unpredictable, so climbers should be prepared for varying conditions and pack accordingly.

6. Hydration and nutrition: Staying well-hydrated and properly fueled is important for maintaining energy levels and avoiding altitude sickness.

7. Emergency procedures: Familiarize yourself with emergency protocols and evacuation procedures in case of any unexpected situations during the climb.

By taking these safety considerations into account and being well-prepared, hikers can have a safer and more enjoyable trekking experience in Tanzania, including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

20. How can travelers stay informed of current safety updates and advisories for Tanzania during their trip?

Travelers can stay informed of current safety updates and advisories for Tanzania during their trip by following these steps:

1. Monitor official travel advisories: Travelers should regularly check the travel advisories issued by their own government, such as those provided by the US Department of State or the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

2. Register with embassy or consulate: Travelers should register with their embassy or consulate in Tanzania, so they can receive important updates and be easily located in case of emergencies.

3. Local news sources: Keeping an eye on local news sources can provide valuable insights into any ongoing safety or security issues in the area.

4. Travel forums and online resources: Online travel forums and websites such as TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree forum can offer firsthand experiences and updated information from fellow travelers.

5. Consult with tour operators or accommodation providers: Tour operators and accommodation providers often have up-to-date information on safety issues in specific regions of Tanzania and can provide guidance to travelers.

By following these steps and staying informed through multiple channels, travelers can ensure they are well-prepared and aware of any safety updates or advisories during their trip to Tanzania.