Tanzania

Tanzania essential Information

 

Tanzania complete budget travel guide

Long regarded as one of Africa’s most beautiful destinations, Tanzania, and the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar, is famed for its soaring peaks, perfect beaches and spectacular wildlife. Whether its scaling Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest point, or the stunning Mount Meru or visiting the National Parks of the unequalled Serengeti or the lesser heralded  Arusha, Tanzania is guaranteed to take the breathe away.

Zanzibar is a whirlpool of cultures, starting with the stunning Stone Town and ending on the idyllic beaches facing out onto the magnetic Indian ocean. Throw in the friendly locals who are always willing to help a hitchhiker in need and this painfully wondrous land will always leave you wanting more.

Visas

Visa friendly for much of the world

Depending where you’re from but it’s possible to get three months entry for $50. And if you visit any country in East Africa such as Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Zanzibar, you won’t have to pay on re-entry.

No visa – 90 days

Citizens of the following countries do not require a visa to enter for up to 90 days:

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Dominica, Falkland Islands, Gambia, Ghana, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guernsey, Guyana, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Jersey, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Rwanda, Samoa, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Swaziland, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Visa on arrival90 days

Citizens of all other countries except the ones listed below can get a visa on arrival for 90 days:

Afghanistan, Abkhazia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Palestine, Senegal, Somalia, Somaliland, Sierra Leone, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan Sri Lanka

The entry requirements (documents etc..) for visiting Tanzania can be found here.

Mandatory Yellow Fever vaccination

Yellow fever vaccinations are obligatory for citizens of the following countries:

Angola, Argentina, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Suriname, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Venezuela

Advantages of hitchhiking in Tanzania

Tanzanians are friendly people especially if you look like a rasta (beard and long hair). I hitched a ride on a truck from Iringa to Mwanza – 941km during which I was with the crew for two days. They paid for all the food and even accommodation at a local guesthouse when we pulled up for the night.

Then when I reached Mwanza, I was walking on the streets and I said ‘hello’ to a local who ended up inviting me to stay with him and his family in a village 10km outside of the Lake Victorian city.

Reaching hitch-hiking spots is a bit of a walk and it is hot, however, many times I was extremely lucky where I just asked someone next to me if they were going in the same direction.

The police are friendly enough and there are many roadblocks. If you approach them and ask them to help you get a ride to your next destination, they are more than willing to do so (some might ask you to buy them food and drink but most are just happy to help). They’re also a great source to ask for a safe place to pitch a tent. I was stuck in Chalinze having arrived at sunset and with no rides heading to Arusha, I pitched my tent outside the police station. One officer even bought me dinner.

Throw in the advantage that English is an official language and visas are easy to obtain, and Tanzania & Zanzibar start to look like very appealing destinations.

Nyememve Island, Zanzibar (3)

Disadvantages of hitchhiking in Tanzania

Depending on the time of year you go, the weather is divided into two seasons – wet and dry. The wet season starts from about March and lasts until around June when the high tourist season kicks in. The rains are monsoon and I got caught out a couple of times. Tanzania is also intensely hot and humid.

There are more taxis and daladalas (buses) than there are private cars, or so it seems. It can be a long wait on the road unless you convince a taxi to take you for free as has happened for me. A lot taxis and buses will also stop beside you, mostly already overloaded with people and cargo and take up valuable hitching time to talk with you as potential rides zip by. From the northern border crossing I struggled to get a ride. I had to hike about 4 km down the road before a local in a timber yard offered me a ride to Mbeya, 122 km away.

Distances vary, depending on where you want to go. It’s a vast country with a lot of national parks so hitching can be limited to certain areas. For example, I tried to hitch through the Serengeti but failed and ended up taking a bus.

The cities are pretty hard to get out of. Dar es Salaam is a nightmare of traffic that seems to go nowhere. It’s so spread out that you’d need to take a bus to Ubongo, the main bus station on the outskirts of the city and then get lucky from there.

Daladala

Daladala – photo by: _ncg (Creative Commons)

Almost all drivers ask for money, so either you’ll have to negotiate or convince them to take you without money. If you do get a ride, you might be crammed into a car that is overloaded with baggage and people. It’s not uncommon to sit in the back of a pick-up so pack waterproof clothing and a splash guard for your bag (large plastic bin liners also do the trick).

Although people who work in the tourism industry speak better English than those that don’t, in rural areas the standard of English is not great. Ki-Swahili is more useful and is quite an easy language to pick up.

Police are corrupt. Most bribes are in the form of soft drinks or food but cash won’t be refused. They are though, rather paradoxically friendly and accommodating.

Pickpockets range from the young to the old. I caught an old beggar who tried to lift my camera out of my pocket. I pushed him away and angrily told him to ‘fuck off’ which did the trick. They usually work in pairs so if you’re walking down the street and suddenly find yourself flanked by two dodgy looking characters get ready to be picked. One will distract you while the other fishes in your pockets.

Stone Town, Zanzibar (4)

Stone Town, Zanzibar

Crossing to Zanzibar

No visa drama and how to get there

Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous archipelago that, although has its own president and parliament, still answers to Tanzania’s ruling (the name Tanzania is a combination of Tanganyika – the colonial name under Germany – and Zanzibar). You don’t need a separate visa to travel to Zanzibar (assuming you have a Tanzania one) but you still need a passport to get in even if you got stamped in Tanzania.

To get to Zanzibar you can fly in or take the ferry from Dar es Salaam. There’s the fast ferry that takes 90 minutes or the slow ferry that takes three hours and is cheaper (cheapest ticket is with The Flying Seahorse ticketing office). Going back to Dar es Salaam is either the fast ferry or the night ferry which leaves at 8 p.m. and arrives at 5 a.m. the following morning. You sleep on the ferry when it docks somewhere in the south of the island. Just make sure it runs as I was caught out with the night ferry being serviced in Mombasa. You can also get a local fishing boat from Pangani about a hundred K’s north of Dar. A bit pricer unless you have 15 people together to share the $150 boat hire and it goes to Nungwi in the north rather than Stone Town in the central west.

Vanora, Stone Town, Zanzibar

Food & Drink

What food to expect

Like everywhere else I’ve been in Africa, the staple local cuisine is ugali (pap in South Africa, nshima in Zambia, nsima in Malawi) made from corn flour (or maize, as is the local term) which they eat three times a day. I can only tolerate it once a day as it sits like a brick in your stomach. It has no protein and is 100% carbohydrates. It is also very hot (temperature-wise) so let it cool down a bit. In Tanzania, in the Msouma area around Lake Victoria, they also offer red ugali which has more flavour as it’s mixed with cassava.

The fruits are mainly pineapples, mangoes and passion fruit. Avocado and apple-pears are also popular. Spiced porridge is also a popular entrée before dinner and is mainly spiced with cinnamon.

Rojasoup / Zanzibar soup is a great breakfast dish full of potatoes, pastries, meat and some undecipherable stuff that tastes great. You shouldn’t pay more than 1,500 shillings.

Zanzibar Pizza is a savoury pastry dish filled with your choice of veggies, meat or, for the sweet palates, Nutella with choices of banana, mango, peanut butter, cinnamon and pieces of Snickers or Mars Bars. Quite the heart-stopper.

Stone Town hosts a night food market full of culinary wonders from seafood to sweet stuff. Always get the price before buying or you’ll get taken for a ride. And I’d avoid the seafood at the market as you don’t know how long it’s been out. By all means, eat seafood but as a rule, however, I only eat seafood in towns by the sea. Cause then you know it’s fresh.

All food is cooked over charcoal fire, usually outdoors. Order food about an hour before you actually want to eat. It takes that long to cook. African time.

Sailing around Zanzibar (1)

Short on cash?

Ugali is the cheapest feed you can get with a side of chicken/pork/goat/beef/fish and some steamed vegetable like spinach. It’s traditionally eaten with your right hand.

Rice and beans are also popular. A dish will cost you about 1500 Shillings at a local eatery and is eaten everywhere (to compare, western food – pizza, burger – ranges from 10,000 to 20,000 Shillings).

Goat soup is traditionally a breakfast dish, chapatti, skewers of beef or chicken (I recommend the beef over the chicken) and my favourite – Chips Miyi: hand-cut potato fries with egg, salad and chilli sauce, 2000 shillings in local places.

What to drink?

Chai is the local spiced tea and is served with or without milk.

Tanzanians drink sodas such as Coke or Fanta. A lot of them will drink beer or Konyagi, the local gin. It’s cheaper to buy a small flask at about 4,000 shillings and share that around with tonic. Cheap spirits are sold in plastic sachets. These are the burn-a-hole-in-your-stomach kinda spirits so eat something before getting on the piss. A local homemade moonshine is called pombe made from papaya. Jebel is coconut liquor. And there’s also banana beer which I didn’t get a chance to sample (and have heard that I haven’t been missing out).

In Zanzibar, avocado smoothies are a must. Coconut and sugar cane juice are on all street corners. The former is a great hangover cure, the latter in a great pick-me up after a night of drinking

Tea is more popular than coffee.

On the mainland water from the tap is best boiled first or sip it slowly to allow the stomach to get used to it. I didn’t have any issues drinking from the tap but then again, I have the stomach of a Tiger shark. Please note though, that in Zanzibar water safety is an issue. The water from the tap tastes as thought it’s filtered directly from the ocean. Although I used it for brushing teeth and showering, don’t drink it. Even locals buy bottled water.

Local beers are Kilimanjaro, my favourite with a great slogan – “If you can’t climb it, drink it”. Safari is alright. Serengeti and Tusker are strong flavoured. Ndouvo is perhaps the best and the only beer sold in a 330ml bottle. The others are all sold in 500ml bottles.

Ugali and cabbage

Ugali and cabbage by Mark Skipper – Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons

Accommodation

Where to sleep?

You’ll be surprised where you can find couchsurfers in Africa. From the smaller, lesser known towns and villages to the big cities. I only stayed in one guest house in Dar es Salaam called Q-Bar down in Coco Beach. Accommodation options vary widely, with limited options off the normal tourist hot spots.

The peak season is July, August and the Christmas holidays so you can expect higher prices at these times. During off season, especially from March to June, it is often possible to negotiate prices down, sometimes up to 50%.

I’m sure that wild camping is available. As is with any African nation, always ask permission from the locals to pitch a tent.

Sailing around Zanzibar (2)

Weather

Mostly hot, hot, hot but watch out for the rain

There is a great variation of weather within Tanzania, mostly depending on the season and the elevation. In the highlands temperatures range from 10 – 20 °C regardless of the period (hot or cold seasons). The rest of the country is a lot hotter with temperatures rarely falling below 20°C all year round. The hot season, which lasts from November to February on average, has temperatures ranging from 25–31°C while the colder period, between May and August, temperatures are closer to 20°C.

It’s hot in the day with temperatures reaching mid-30s. From the crack of dawn it can already be in the late 20’s, cracking the 30° by 8 a.m. Depending on the season, the nights are cool, especially in the south of Zanzibar but a fan is a must.

There are two wet seasons in Tanzania which cover different areas of the country. Between October – April, the southern, central and western parts of the country experience extremely wet weather. From March – May, the areas north of Lake Victoria and east to the coast are the ones to get wet. And when it rains? Bring a kayak.

Stone Town, Zanzibar (3)

Culture & traditions

Religion

Tanzania is mix of Muslims, Christians and pagans that still practice in witchcraft (they believe that Albinos possess powers and will kill or take a limb from them when they’re babies. Lesson: don’t be born an Albino in Africa). Everyone believes in either Jesus or Allah. Call for prayers for Muslims are five times a day starting at 4.30 a.m. Friday is the holy Muslim day and Sunday is the Christian day of rest. Zanzibar is predominately a Muslim country although, there are pockets of Christians.

Clothing – what’s appropriate and what’s not

It’s inappropriate for women to wear short-shorts and revealing skirts in the day (go to a club/bar and it’s a whole different world) but you don’t need a head scarf. It is recommended for women to cover their shoulders.

There’s no issue in wearing bikinis while going for a swim although it might be better to wear short-shorts rather than the bikini bottom (a lot of African men I’ve encountered have aspirations of sleeping with a white woman. Regardless of marriage).

Men can wear shorts. In Nungwi a lot of Italians go for their resort-catered holidays and all the men wear Speedos. Some things just don’t need to be seen.

Women tend to wear shitenges (African sarongs). Their hair is usually a weave made of either synthetic material or those that have money, human hair.

Gaddafi Mosque, Tanzania 2

Gaddafi Mosque (the largest mosque in Tanzania) by Job de Graaf, Commons

Gender roles and LGBT rights

Women do a lot of the field work. I’ve heard from volunteer medical professions that women will give birth and then 40 minutes later walk out with the baby strapped to their back and work in the field.

There is no gender equality. Once a man is married, the wife slaves about the house, cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping. She serves the man and any guests, pouring the water over his hands before meal times and at the end, setting the table and then clearing it.

Men and women don’t sit together at the table in most homes. The women will sit with the children on the floor in a separate room for meals while the men sit comfortably on seats and chow down.

Monogamy is non-existent on the male side. They’ll go out and have no qualms about sleeping with another woman. The wife, who may or may not know, won’t leave him either. He’ll probably father some kids from several different women.

Liberal attitude towards LGBT are scarce. Some places of accommodation have signs in the room that state that no two same-sex people can share a bed or even the room. Freddie Mercury, perhaps the greatest rock singer/performer ever to exist was born in Stone Town and although his home is a mini-tribute to him, the government refuses to make a proper tribute like a statue or name a street after him because of his sexuality (after he died, some British fans came to Zanzibar and had a party on the roof of his childhood home. The police broke it up).

Freddie_Mercury's_birthplace

“Freddie Mercury’s birthplace” by Moongateclimber. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

Cleanliness and hygiene

Folks that live by a waterway use it for washing, bathing and cleaning of the dishes. You’ve never seen anyone so meticulously scrub themselves down like an African.

Toilets are usually outhouses and squats. Always carry toilet paper in case (most lodges have western toilets).

Conversation pointers

You’ll always be asked if you’re married and if you have kids. Also, be prepared for the look of incredulity if you say you aren’t and you haven’t.

Africans love the English Premier league. The majority support Chelsea, Arsenal or Manchester United.

Handshakes are in the 3-form variety – from the usual stance, to the switchback to the usual. And knuckles which you then tap your chest above your heart.

They’ll say pole’ (pronounced: Po-lay) if anything happens to you: If you trip, rip your bag, swallow a fly, spill a drink.

Africans talk loudly as though they’re yelling and use a lot of hand gestures. Make sure you don’t get whacked in the head. They also struggle to pronounce the letter ‘L’. It will be pronounced as an ‘R’.

Maasais

The Maasai tribe is one of the most feared tribes in Africa and therefore the warriors are used as security at almost every hotel, lodge and store front. You wouldn’t want to mess with someone whose bar mitzvah is to go into the bush with nothing but a spear and kill a full grown lion.

In Zanzibar you’ll see Maasai warriors on the beaches. They are fake Maasai, locals who have taken on the tribes fame to make a buck. A lot of them are gigolos swooning old European ladies for money.

Maasai, Zanzibar

Maasais in Zanzibar By Rod Waddington. CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons.

Language

What languages will you need?

There are over 120 languages spoken in Tanzania and no one language is spoken natively by a majority of the population. The most useful languages are Bantu Swahili (which is also spoken in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and English which serve as the two official working languages. The various ethnic groups in the country normally speak their mother tongue and, to varying degrees, the official languages.

The remaining languages can be divided into two broad language families: Niger-Congo, spoken by Tanzania’s Bantus and Nilo-Saharan, spoken by the Nilotic population.

Money & Costs

What are the costs?

Tanzania’s currency is the Tanzanian shilling (TSH). Bill denominations are 10,000, 5000, 1000, 500 with coins of 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 & 1 shilling(s). The smaller coins are rarely used.

Also, note that US dollar bills from before 2006 are not accepted for exchange anywhere.

Tanzania has local prices and tourist prices (locals pay less than a dollar to enter the national parks. Serengeti will set you back $60 USD a day). Always haggle as almost everyone will try and ride your pocket. Or, if you’ve made friends with a local, ask them to purchase something for you. Just keep in mind, everyone wants to make money off tourists – even friends.

Tanzania average costs

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Current exchange rate

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Health & Safety 

Health issues – mosquitoes, where not to swim and careful with the water 

Mosquitoes are found everywhere so malaria is an issue. Travel with a mosquito net, use repellent and don’t camp by water ways. I don’t use any anti-malarial medicine but that’s not to say that you shouldn’t.

Don’t swim around Dar es Salaam. The city pumps its sewage into the waters. Also, don’t swim in Stone Town. It doesn’t have a sewage treatment facility so guess where all the waste gets pumped into? I spent some time with a marine biologist who confirmed this with tests she conducted concluding that “Stone Town is the only place in the world I’ve ever gotten an ear infection from diving”.

As mentioned before in Zanzibar the tap water is unsafe. Beer is a great substitute.

Crime issues – use your common sense 

I always felt safe in Tanzania & Zanzibar but at night it is recommended to walk around in groups (especially females) as there are many drunks – especially in the main cities. I didn’t experience any crime but as is with anywhere, keep your valuables close. Always ask permission to take a photo of someone.

Police can be at parties as undercovers looking to catch people smoking weed as it is done openly. I was arrested at a party but I made the cops laugh and told them I had no money and in the end, with the help of the bar manager and her well connected local friend, I was released after a two-hour debate in which they failed to install fear in me (read the full story here.

Furthermore in Zanzibar be especially careful on the beach as boys are notorious for harassing tourists, especially girls.

Wild animals 

Wild animals are everything African you can imagine. Most are contained to the national parks but I stayed in a village on the outskirts of the Serengeti National Park (which isn’t fenced) and was told how two lions came in the previous night and killed three cattle. The villagers killed the lions (the previous month 8 lions were killed in a similar raid).

The man-eaters are lions, leopards, hyenas, and crocodiles (although with the cats, it’s usually when they’re too old, diseased or have broken teeth that they resort to human flesh).

Although the grazers are more dangerous: elephants, hippos (biggest killer in Africa after the mosquito) and Cape Buffalo.

To ward off predators, you must do the unthinkable and charge at them without making eye contact (they see it as a challenge. Rather, stare at their nose). With grazers, run like Usain Bolt.

Baboons are ferocious beasts. Don’t fuck with them (their canines are longer than a lion’s). They’re not afraid of white folk and have a tendency to attack women. But they are scared of locals (so I’m told. I didn’t test this theory out).

I didn’t swim or snorkel on Tanzania’s coast having done all of that in Zanzibar. But there are marine reserves on the coast. Fire coral stings if touched and there are blue-bottle jellyfish that pack a punch. Watch out for sea urchins. If you step on one, DO NOT attempt to pull out the barbs (they’ll just break off). Wash the area with papaya juice (ask at any resort/restaurant and they’ll provide) and then whack the affected area with a wooden spoon to break up the barbs. It’ll make it easier for your body to absorb. I stepped on one and had six barbs in the bottom of my foot. I did the above and was partying that night and walking without a problem.

In Zanzibar the wild Red Colobus Monkeys can be found in the Johazani National Park. Snakes, spiders and reptiles like lizards and geckos are also around as are sand crabs, hermit crabs and coconut crabs.

Nyememve Island, Zanzibar (4)

Types of roads

There are 91,049 km of roads in Tanzania, of which only 6,578 km is paved. Tanzania’s main roads are sealed and they even have shoulder lanes. In rural areas there’s always cattle, goats, chickens, dogs and children running across it. Drivers have to zig and zag to avoid them. Remember, animals are people’s livelihoods, if you hit one, pull over and do the right thing and pay the owner (just make sure it is in fact the owner and not some passer-by trying to make a buck).

Trunk Road (T): The best conditioned roads in Tanzania comprising of a national route that links two or more regional headquarters. Important trunk roads include the T1 (TANZAM highway) which travels from Dar es Salaam to Zambia (and on to Lusaka). The T2 from Chalinze to Kenya, and the main road out from Dar es Salaam, the T7.

Regional Road (R): secondary national road  that connects Trunk Roads to one another or a regional head quarter to a smaller district head quarter. Regional roads have 3-digit numbers. They are almost never paved.

District Road: All other roads in Tanzania are classed as district roads, these include collector roads, feeder roads and village roads. These roads are unpaved.

There are two general speed limits in Tanzania

In non-residential areas the speed limits is 120kph (75mph).
In built up areas the speed limit is 60kph (35mph).

Bad road in Tanzania

“Transportation in Tanzania Traffic problems” by Chris 73. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Road map of Tanzania

Tanzania & Zanzibar hitchhiking essentials: road map of Tanzania & Zanzibar

source: ezilon.com

Absolutely essential hitch-hikers phrasebook

Hello – Hujambo
Thank you (very much) – Asante (sana)
Yes – Ndiyo
No – Hapana
Please – Tafadhali
Excuse me. (getting attention) – Samahani
How are you? – Habari (Yako)?
Well, thanks. – Sijambo
Goodbye – Kwa heri

Hitch-hiking – kuomba lifti
I don’t have money. – Sina fedha
We don’t have money. – Hatuna fedha
Money – fedha / pesa
I’m going to … – Mimi nina kwenda …
We are going to … – Sisi ni kwenda …
Where are you going? – Unakwenda wapi?
Can we you help me get to… ? – Bwana, unaweza kunisaidia kwenda… ?

I am … – Mimi …
My name is … – Jina langu ni …
I am from … – Ninatoka nchi ya …
What is your name? – Jina lako ni nani?
Where are you from? – Unatoka wapi?
Pleased to meet you. – Nimefurahi kukutana nawe
I don’t understand. – Sielewi.
Beautiful! – Maridadi!

now – sasa
today – leo
yesterday – jana
tomorrow – kesho
later – baadaye
before – kabla ya

friend – rafiki

Where is … ? – … iko wapi?
Can you stop? – Je, unaweza kuacha?
We need the road to … – Tunahitaji barabara ya …
I want to get off here. – Nitashuka hapa
Turn left – kugeuka kushoto
Turn right – kugeuka kulia
Straight ahead – mbele kabisa
here – hapa

Bus station – stesheni ya basi
Train station – stesheni ya treni
Help! – Msaada!
Look out! – Kuangalia nje!
street – mitaani
road – njia
roundabout – mzunguko
crossroads – njia panda

Do you have …? – Je, kuna … ?
How much is … ? – Hii ni bei gani?

food – chakula
bread – mkate
water – maji
beer – bia
chicken – kuku
rice – wali
potatoes – viazi
pasta – tambi

Can we camp here? – Tunaweza kambi hapa?
tent – hema
bag – mfuko
map – ramani

People in Tanzania

People in Tanzania. Photo by Nevit Dilmen, used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Main Border Crossings

Tanzania neighbours 8 different countries: Uganda (to the north), Kenya (north-east), Mozambique (south), Malawi (south), Zambia (south-west), Democratic Republic of Congo (west), Burundi (north-west)  and Rwanda (north-west).

Tanzania – Uganda

There are two border crossings between Tanzania & Uganda

  • The main border crossing is located at the border town of Mutukula. It is located  211 km south-west of the Ugandan capital of Kampala, the capital of Uganda and connects to the B8 on the Tanzanian side.

Tanzania – Kenya

There are six border crossings between Tanzania & Kenya

  • The busiest border crossings is at Namanga, a border town between Kenya and Tanzania, 180 km from Nairobi and 120km from Arusha. Crossing the Namanga border can be a little hectic due to the amount of people but the process is fairly easy.

Tanzania – Mozambique

There are no land border crossings between Tanzania & Mozambique so the crossing must be done by boat.

  • It is possible to take a boat from Mtware (Tanzania) – Mocimboa de Praia (Mozambique). There are also options from Msimbati (Tanzania) and the possibility of arriving at Palma (Mozambique).

Tanzania – Malawi

There is one  border crossings between Malawi & Tanzania

  • The only border crossing is the Songwe River Bridge. The river forms part of Malawi’s border with Tanzania. Buses and minibuses provide transport to and from the border daily.

Tanzania – Zambia

There are two border crossings between Zambia & Tanzania

  • The most important border crossing can be found at Tundumo(Tanzania)  –Nakonde (Zambia) which lies at the end of the Zambian Great East Road.

Tanzania – Democratic Republic of Congo

There are no land border crossings between Tanzania & Democratic Republic of Congo so the crossing must be done by boat.

  • In theory it is possible to take a boat from Kigoma (Tanzania) – Kalemie (DRC). However, due to the uncertain domestic situation in the DRC very few travellers attempt to make the journey.

Tanzania – Burundi

There are three border crossings between Tanzania & Burundi

  • The main border crossing is located at Kobero Bridge lying between the towns of Ngara (Tanzania) and Muyinga (Burundi). The road from Ngara to the border is mostly paved and in good condition

Tanzania – Rwanda

There is one border crossings between Tanzania & Rwanda

  • The only crossing between the two countries is located at Rusumu Falls on the B3 highway (Tanzania).

Tanzania border crossings map

Tanzania Top Destinations

Mount Kilimanjaro

Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania - small

Photo: Travelling Pooh (Commons)

Soaring into the clouds, Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak, standing at a daunting 5896 m, and is one of Africa’s most iconic sights. The mountain is part of the Kilimanjaro National Park which is a UNESCO listed site, and over 25,000 excitable climbers attempt the ascent every year. Don’t be fooled into thinking it is easy, however, as for all those that try many do fail. You will need to be in good shape and hope that altitude sickness doesn’t grip hold. The climb also doesn’t come cheap  – expect to shell out around $1200 for the privilege. But boy, it is worth it!

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Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park

Photo: Kyle Taylor (Commons)

Arusha National Park is one of the smallest in Tanzania (552km2) but is famed for its trekking opportunities and as being one the most beautiful in the country. I climbed Mt Meru and it was one of the best things I’ve done. Seeing the sunrise above Kilimanjaro is unequivocal. It’s a more challenging climb than Kili and is a lot cheaper (climbing Kili starts from $1200 USD compared to Meru which shouldn’t be more than $300 USD). The area is also a great place to organise your Serengeti / Ngorongoro Crater tours. Recommended companies include Likizo Safari and Volunteer or Africa Tried and Tested. Likizo also offer volunteer opportunities and 10% of their profit goes back into the community by helping out villages in rural areas with clean water, medical supplies and school books. You can also volunteer with them for a few weeks on one of their many community projects.

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Mwanza

Mwanza

Photo by: FrooiOhnesorg (Commons)

Known as Rock City due to the huge granite boulders that seem to hang precariously along the shores of Lake Victoria, Mwanza is Tanzania’s second largest city and is a major industrial centre and port. I didn’t really do much here as I became a volunteer teacher at the school my host had begun. But I’m sure you’ll find things to do around town.

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Stone Town

Stone Town, Zanzibar (4)

Stone Town, Zanzibar

Set in the heart of Zanzibar Town, Stone Town is a UNESCO listed warren of alleyways overhung with wooden balconies. It is arguably Africa’s most multicultural place and is brimming with history. Explore the many alleyways by yourself or with a guide. I recommend Bushman who can be reached on: +255 777 919294 or  (tell him Simon the Nomad sent you. He can also host if you don’t have a place to stay around Stone Town although he is about 5km outside of town). If you find yourself in Stone Town in mid-February, the SautiZaBusara music festival is not to be missed. Regarded as the friendliest festival in the world, it’s free if you get in – and stay in – before 16:00. It’s one of the best music festivals I’ve ever been too. Four days of epic African music. Eat local food. If you can afford the luxury, eat at 6 Degrees South or African House next door and enjoy the stunning sun setting over the Indian Ocean.

Drink coconut juice straight from the nut or sugar cane juice, crushed on sight. Every night, opposite the Old Fort in Forodhani Park there is a nightly food market. Always ask what the price is first before ordering otherwise they will try to swindle you. I recommend the Zanzibar soup and the Zanzibar pizza – Nutella with banana and anything else you want added. Mmm-mm! I’d avoid the seafood as you don’t know how long they keep it if it doesn’t sell. At about 4 p.m., in the same park, kids leap off the sea wall into the polluted water with an array of aerial acrobatics displays – until the police come and disperse them.

For partiers, 6 Degrees South host a rooftop party every Saturday night. Tatu hosts a party almost every night. Local club Rock Café is quite the experience (go with a local though). For a sailing experience on a beautifully crafted traditional outrigger canoe, contact Rahim at The Vanora.

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Nungwi

Nungwi

Photo: Yoni Lerner (Commons)

Constituting one of Zanzibar’s most popular tourist destinations, Nungwi is a large fishing village that is full of resorts but with the attraction of kite boarding, snorkel trips or diving expeditions to Mnemba Island and other islands around (Tumbatu has the most abundant of sea life and coral. Watch out for strong currents). Entertainment-wise there is a Thursday night beach party at Cholos, on Fridays Sunset hosts a party and on Saturdays and on the full moon the party is at Kendwa Rocks but also venture out to the local bars.

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Kizimkazi

Kizimkazi

Photo: Anton Matthee (Commons)

Snorkel trips, mangrove tours and caving, Kizimkazi consists of two adjoining settlements: Kizimkazi Dimbani to the north and Kizimkazi Mkunguni to the south. The reason most come here is to see dolphins in nearby Menai Bay but I’d avoid tours as they are unethical. Boats race towards the dolphins, up to 10 boats at a time causing a lot of stress to these amazing mammals. I ask that you don’t support this. Also be sure to visit the Shirazi mosque (located around 2km north) which dates back to the early 12th century and is one of the oldest Islamic buildings on the East African coast.

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Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Perk

Photo: Anita Ritenour (Commons)

With a name synonyms with some of Earth’s most majestic predators, the Serengeti National Park is many people’s highlight on a trip to Africa. The park covers 14,750 km2, is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site and its most stunning things to see include the annual migration of over 1.5 million wildebeest and 250,000 zebra, and its numerous Nile crocodiles. If that isn’t enough for you, how about observing lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, and jackals hunting giraffes and buffaloes or witnessing gazelles, topis, elands, hartebeest, impalas, klipspringers and duikers moving across the grasslands? Seeing all this amazing nature doesn’t come cheap though, visitors have to pay $110 in entrance fees for Serengeti and Ngorongoro and visiting as a budget traveller is all but impossible.

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Tanzania map with question markAnd what would you recommend?

What should be our number 8 in your opinion? We are very curious to hear where you’ve been and what you liked, so please share your knowledge and experience in the comments!

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We will add the best recommendations to our map!

Tanzania Top Destinations Map

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Simon’s Overall Experience

Zanzibarians & Tanzanians love to drink and party harder than you think. They are a proud nation and the people are always smiling and willing to help. The food and drinks are cheap and the scenery ever changing and breath-taking.

While hitchhiking you don’t really need signs as most people don’t read them. They’ll stop and ask where you’re headed.

The main problem with Zanzibar is the many hawkers and hasslers that try to sell you anything from trinkets to boat trips. They’ll follow you and harass you with a sad story about their poverty, way of life and struggle with living. If you genuinely want to help, buy something (but haggle!). If not, just say: Hapana, Asante (No, thank you).  If they ignore that the first two times then stop, and say it sternly with the added, Rafiki or Kaka (friend or brother): Kaka, hapana, asante! There’s a lot of parties on this island though and my liver has been pickled. I haven’t drunk this much since my 30th birthday.

Lastly, be open, friendly and greet everyone on the street. You’ll be surprised at the adventures you’ll end up having.

The Animal - Simon's travel companion

written by: Simon (The Nomadic Diaries)

Tired of society’s rinse ‘n’ repeat lifestyle, Simon has decided to dedicate the rest of his life to hitch-hiking the globe without flying or using money. Instead, he barters for food and board and adventures. Life is one shot. Go live it.

Check out his blog at: thenomadicdiaries.wordpress.com