Tanzania, the largest country of East Africa, officially the United Republic of Tanzania, is located in eastern Africa within the African Great Lakes region. It shares borders with a great number of countries: Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. A large portion of the country is made up of a central plateau at between 900 m and 1800 m. But this doesn’t make Tanzania geographically monotonous: what cuts across the country are mountain ranges of the Eastern Arc and the Southern and Northern Highlands forming a part of the Great Rift Valley.
Not only that it’s not monotonous, it’s actually geographically extremely diverse, with the world known highest peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, and the lowest point of the land – which is the lake bed of the, again, world famous Lake Tanganyika, as well a portion of the largest lake in Africa (Lake Victoria), which makes traveling to this country a unique experience for any tourist.
Warnings & Dangers in Tanzania
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
If you go and visit Tanzania, chances are you will have no negative experiences or incidents. However, it is a country where you should be vigilant and take all possible precaution measures in order to minimize the risk of something going wrong.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Public transportation is not the safest or the most convenient option: you are highly advised to call your reliable taxi driver instead of hailing one on the streets, and public transport is where the pickpockets and thieves operate.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
There is an extreme threat of petty crime. Pickpockets are practically an everyday occurrence. You should be extremely careful when handling your valuables and never carry your money in a purse or a pocket. Never carry all your money in the same place, and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
The most common natural disasters in Tanzania are droughts, floods and epidemics. Various epidemics are common, but not one natural disaster has hit people harder in Tanzania, than droughts.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
There is also a risk of getting mugged and violent crimes aren't really rare in Tanzania. Avoid travelling alone, even within Lomé city limits, especially at night. It’s generally recommended not to resist armed attack.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
Tanzania is also targeted for terrorist attacks. Even though there haven't been major terrorist attacks in its recent history, apart from the bombing of the United States embassy in 1998, it suffered many smaller incidents, and most of them are performed against local security forces,
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
When it comes to scams, there is a high risk of getting scammed in Tanzania: children might try and fool you just to steal from you in the end, and others might try to distract you. There are also scammers impersonating officials or authorities and trying to extort money from you. Apart from that, double check your change and negotiate everything in advance.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Tanzania isn't exactly the safest place for a woman to be visiting alone. If you do, be sure to avoid remote streets, both during day and night, and do not flash your belongings or handle money in public. Stay out of the streets at night and be vigilant for any possible dangers at all times.
So... How Safe Is Tanzania Really?
Tanzania is mostly safe to visit, though caution is recommended especially in tourist areas such as Arusha, Stone Town (Zanzibar), and Dar es Salaam. Apart from petty crime on the streets of Tanzania in the form of pickpocketing, bag snatching and common scammers that operate in crowded areas such as markets, like Kariakoo and bus or train stations, there is also violent crime, and violent crime against foreigners is not altogether uncommon either, so be very cautious. When it comes to pickpockets, be especially wary of children running around, since they’re mostly forced into a life of crime and they might try and steal from you.
Another safety issues are taxi drivers and you are highly advised to call a taxi you trust instead of hailing one on the streets. If you must take a taxi that is unknown to you, take its number and send it to someone you trust so that they can track it, just in case something happens.
Also bear in mind there are scammers impersonating police and authority, trying to extort money from you while flashing “immigration papers” at you. Keep in mind that real officer mostly wear uniforms.
- Visas - All visitors to Tanzania require a valid Visa each time they enter the Republic, and the visa you receive is valid for up to 3 months from the date of issue. Still, receiving a visa doesn't mean you're automatically allowed to enter the country: The Immigration Officer reserves the right to grant or deny admission. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Tanzanian shilling is the official currency in Tanzania. You are recommended to collect your money directly from an ATM, since that's your safest option.
- Weather - Tanzania has tropical climate and the weather around coastline is hot and humid, while the highlands are cool and temperate. Tanzania has two rainy seasons; the short rains that last from October to December, and the long rains lasting from March to June.
- Airports - Julius Nyerere International Airport is the biggest international airport of Dar es Salaam, which is the largest city in Tanzania. The airport is located about 12 km southwest of the city centre.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Tanzania, since it covers not only the costs medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.