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Is Tanzania Safe?

Tanzania is generally safe for travelers, but there are some risks to be aware of. Petty crime like bag snatching is common in urban areas, so remain vigilant. Terrorist threats exist, especially in border regions. Avoid protests and large gatherings due to potential unrest. Malaria is prevalent, so take antimalarial medication. Road conditions can be poor, so exercise caution when driving.

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Safety & Security

Tanzania is generally considered safe for travelers, but there are some risks to be aware of. Petty crime like bag snatching and pickpocketing occurs in crowded areas, especially in major cities like Dar es Salaam. Violent crime targeting foreigners is relatively rare but does happen occasionally. Tourists should exercise caution, avoid isolated areas, and not carry valuables openly.

  • Scams: Be wary of common scams like fake tour guides, taxi overcharging, and people asking for donations or money. Only use registered tour operators and taxis.

  • Civil Unrest: While Tanzania is largely stable, there have been instances of civil unrest and protests, especially around elections. Avoid demonstrations and monitor local news.

  • Terrorism: The risk of terrorism is low but present. Attacks by extremist groups have occurred, mainly targeting government and security interests. Remain vigilant in crowded public places.

  • Disputes: Disputes between locals and tourists sometimes occur, often due to cultural misunderstandings. Respect local customs and avoid confrontations.

Travelers should exercise caution, be aware of their surroundings, and follow the advice of local authorities and tour guides. Registering with your embassy and purchasing travel insurance is also recommended.

Health & Medical

Travelers to Tanzania should be aware of potential health risks and take necessary precautions. While the country offers incredible natural beauty and cultural experiences, it's essential to prioritize your well-being during your visit.

  • Vaccinations: Ensure you're up-to-date with routine vaccinations, including those for hepatitis A, typhoid, and yellow fever (required for certain areas). Consult your healthcare provider for specific recommendations based on your travel plans.

  • Malaria: Tanzania is a malaria-endemic country. Antimalarial medication is strongly recommended, especially if you're visiting rural areas or game reserves. Use insect repellent and sleep under treated mosquito nets.

  • Water and Food Safety: Drink only bottled or purified water and avoid raw or undercooked food to prevent waterborne and foodborne illnesses like traveler's diarrhea.

  • Insect-Borne Diseases: Protect yourself from mosquito and insect bites, which can transmit diseases like dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika virus. Use EPA-registered insect repellents and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.

  • Medical Facilities: While major cities have adequate medical facilities, resources may be limited in rural areas. Ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance and access to funds for medical emergencies.

By taking these precautions and staying informed about potential health risks, you can enjoy a safe and memorable trip to Tanzania.

Natural Disasters

Tanzania is generally not prone to major natural disasters, but there are a few weather-related risks that travelers should be aware of.

  • Flooding: The rainy seasons (March-May and November-December) can bring heavy rainfall and potential flooding, especially in low-lying areas and near rivers. Flash floods can occur with little warning.

  • Landslides: Heavy rains can also trigger landslides in mountainous regions, posing a risk to hikers and those traveling on roads in affected areas.

  • Drought: Periods of drought can occur, particularly in the central and northern regions, which can lead to water shortages and potential wildfires.

  • Volcanic Activity: Tanzania has a few active volcanoes, including Mount Ol Doinyo Lengai in the Rift Valley. While eruptions are infrequent, they can disrupt travel and pose risks to nearby areas.

  • Earthquakes: Tanzania lies along the East African Rift Valley, making it susceptible to occasional earthquakes, though major seismic events are relatively rare.

Travelers should monitor weather forecasts, heed any warnings or advisories issued by local authorities, and follow guidance from tour operators or guides when engaging in outdoor activities or visiting areas prone to natural hazards.


Transportation in Tanzania can be challenging for travelers. While major cities have decent public transportation options like buses and taxis, infrastructure in rural areas is often poor and unreliable.

  • Road Safety: Roads outside major cities are frequently in poor condition, with potholes and lack of proper signage. Driving at night is not recommended due to poor lighting and potential hazards.

  • Public Transportation: In cities like Dar es Salaam and Arusha, public buses (daladala) and taxis are available but can be overcrowded and unsafe. Taxis should be booked through reputable companies or hotels.

  • Long-Distance Travel: For long-distance travel between cities and national parks, private taxis or tourist shuttle services are generally safer options than public buses, which may be unreliable and prone to breakdowns.

  • Self-Driving: Renting a car and self-driving can be risky due to poor road conditions, erratic driving behavior, and potential for breakdowns in remote areas. Hiring a local driver is recommended if self-driving.

  • Safety Precautions: Travelers should exercise caution when using public transportation, avoid traveling alone at night, and keep valuables secured. Carrying a copy of important documents and contacting your embassy in case of emergencies is advisable.

Cultural Norms

Tanzania is a culturally diverse nation with a rich heritage. Respecting local customs and traditions is essential for travelers to have a rewarding experience. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Dress Modestly: Avoid revealing clothing, especially when visiting religious sites or rural areas. Cover your shoulders and knees as a sign of respect.

  • Greetings: Tanzanians value polite greetings. Take the time to exchange pleasantries before engaging in conversations or transactions.

  • Photography: Ask for permission before taking photographs of individuals, especially in rural areas or at religious sites.

  • Ramadan: During the holy month of Ramadan, avoid eating, drinking, or smoking in public during daylight hours out of respect for those fasting.

  • Haggling: Bargaining is expected when shopping at markets or with street vendors, but do so politely and without aggression.

  • Gestures: Be mindful of gestures that may be offensive, such as pointing with fingers or showing the soles of your feet.

  • Alcohol and Public Displays of Affection: Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol and public displays of affection, as they may be considered disrespectful.

By respecting local customs and traditions, travelers can foster a deeper appreciation for Tanzania's rich cultural heritage and create positive interactions with the local community.

Emergency Services

Emergency services in Tanzania are generally limited, especially outside major cities. While ambulance services exist in urban areas, response times can be slow due to traffic congestion and limited resources. Private hospitals and clinics often have better emergency facilities compared to public ones.

  • Ambulance Services: Available in major cities like Dar es Salaam and Arusha, but response times can be delayed. Private ambulance services are more reliable but expensive.

  • Police and Fire Services: Present in cities, but often understaffed and lacking resources. Response times can be slow, especially in rural areas.

  • Private Medical Facilities: Major private hospitals like Aga Khan and Regency Medical Center in Dar es Salaam offer better emergency care, but at a higher cost.

  • Tourist Police: A specialized unit exists to assist tourists, but their presence is limited to major tourist destinations.

  • Travel Insurance: Comprehensive travel insurance with emergency evacuation coverage is highly recommended, as quality emergency care may require medical evacuation.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Is Tanzania safe for tourists?

Tanzania is generally safe for tourists, but caution is advised. Avoid isolated areas, especially at night, and be vigilant against petty crime in cities. Obtain comprehensive travel insurance and follow local advice. Terrorist threats exist, so monitor travel advisories.

Is Tanzania safe for solo female travelers?

Solo female travelers should exercise caution in Tanzania. Avoid walking alone at night, dress modestly, and be wary of unwanted attention. Harassment and gender-based violence are concerns, so take precautions and trust your instincts.

Is Tanzania safe for families?

Tanzania is a family-friendly destination with opportunities for safaris and beach vacations. However, be cautious with food and water to prevent illness. Ensure children have necessary vaccinations and pack appropriate medications.

Is Tanzania LGBTQ+ friendly?

Same-sex relationships are illegal in Tanzania, and the LGBTQ+ community faces discrimination and potential persecution. Public displays of affection between same-sex couples should be avoided. Exercise discretion and caution.

Do you need a visa to go to Tanzania?

Most visitors require a visa to enter Tanzania. Citizens of the United States, Canada, and the European Union can obtain a tourist visa on arrival for stays up to 90 days. A valid passport is mandatory.

Can you drink tap water in Tanzania?

Tap water in Tanzania is not safe to drink. Stick to bottled or purified water, even for brushing teeth. Avoid ice cubes and raw foods washed in tap water to prevent waterborne illnesses.

What is the currency in Tanzania?

The Tanzanian shilling (TZS) is the official currency. US dollars and major credit cards are accepted in tourist areas, but cash in shillings is recommended for local transactions.

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