Tanzania Tours & Safari
IS IT SAFE TO VISIT TANZANIA?
Tanzania is generally a safe place to travel. The government makes sure that foreign tourists’ safety is a top priority because it is the capital of safari in Africa. Having said that, Tanzania is a poor nation that shares the same socioeconomic woes as other underdeveloped nations in Africa. You’ll be safe in Tanzania if you travel with a reputable tour operator and follow the customary safety and health precautions.
Although terrorism is uncommon in Tanzania, it is a concern across all of Africa. Consult your travel agent frequently, stay current on Tanzania’s political news, and make necessary adjustments to your travel plans if there is a higher-than-usual risk of terrorism or civil unrest.
Otherwise, common crimes like petty theft, bag snatching, and street muggings can be easily avoided by avoiding crime hot spots in city centers, traveling during the day rather than at night, staying in upscale accommodations in secure tourist areas of Tanzania, and keeping your valuables hidden away.
Tanzanian healthcare facilities are adequate in major cities but subpar in rural areas. It is strongly advised that you purchase travel insurance for a vacation to Tanzania that includes good medical coverage and, if necessary, coverage for an emergency evacuation. Before traveling to Tanzania, make sure your general immunizations are current and receive the necessary travel immunizations.
Last but not least, discuss anti-malaria medication with your doctor and bring enough insect repellent and sunscreen for your safari tour to Tanzania. In this article, additional health advisories for Tanzania are covered in great detail.
IS IT SAFE TO GO ON SAFARI TO TANZANIA?
A safari tour in Tanzania should only serve to create lifelong memories of exceptional wildlife sightings, breathtaking landscapes, and the rich cultural heritage of the Tanzanian people. You should have a wonderful trip to Tanzania as long as you abide by the safety precautions for safaris.
Simple rules for a safari tour in Tanzania include:
- always follow your guide’s instructions
- stay in the safari vehicle at all times until your guide says it’s safe to get out
- stay seated and keep your arms inside the vehicle; never hang out a window or stick your head out a sunroof
- never wander off away from the safari vehicle; if you need a pee break, ask your guide where to go before heading off into the bush
- keep quiet at animal sightings; don’t disturb them or your fellow safari travellers
- keep children quiet on safari vehicles; no loud noises or shouting
- stay close to your guide on a walking safari; keep in a single line and keep up with the group
- wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts in the evening to cover your arms and legs to prevent mosquito bites, and use an effective insect repellent throughout the day
- wear a wide-brimmed hat and use sunscreen to prevent sunburn
- drink plenty of bottled water to keep hydrated
- wear ‘safari’ colours that aren’t too bright or colourful, especially on walking safaris because you don’t want to stand out like a beacon for wild animals to spot
- use mild deodorant and avoid applying heavy-smelling perfume before a game drive
- bring a warm jacket, beanie and gloves for the early morning and evening drives; even in summer, it can be cold on sunrise and sunset game drives
POLITICAL-ECONOMIC SITUATION IN TANZANIA
Tanzania has experienced impressive political and economic transformation in recent years which is having a positive impact on its socio-economic development and welfare. It remains a poor country with considerable challenges but, on the whole, Tanzania has the potential to become a macro-economic success story.
For nearly two decades, Tanzania’s economy has been remarkably stable and the country has experienced a favourable growth rate year-on-year. A major challenge is its population growth rate which has grown at nearly 3 percent annually. The population of Tanzania was estimated to be 53 million in 2018 which places an extreme burden on its fiscal sustainability.
Extreme poverty has largely stagnated and there is a growing base of urban middle-class people in Tanzania. With this comes growing purchasing power with an increased demand for imported goods as well as increased demand for electricity, social services and infrastructure in urban areas. The government of Tanzania is working hard to meet these demands while striving to bridge the gap between a growing middle-class and a vast population living below the poverty line.
Nicknamed “The Bulldozer”, President John Magufuli came into power with promises to boost economic prosperity, fight corruption, tackle youth unemployment and establish free primary and secondary education.
Magufuli has been hailed by the international community for taking decisive steps to reign in public spending and stamp out corruption since he took office in 2015. This includes cancelling the independence day fete and redirecting the funds to widening parts of a highway notorious for gridlocks in Dar es Salaam, firing key government bigwigs in an anti-corruption clampdown and limiting all international travel for public servants unless absolutely necessary.
The main issue that concerns the international community is President Magufuli’s stance on freedom of expression in Tanzania. He’s limited live broadcasts of parliamentary sittings to ‘question & answer’ sessions and has imposed tough censorship on newspapers and radio stations to prevent the spread of fake news.
TERRORISM IN TANZANIA
Tanzania collaborates with the United States and regional partners to advance counterterrorism initiatives in light of the resurgence of terrorist activity across all of Africa. The nation has recently seen a number of alleged terrorist attacks, but they have only affected the coastal region of Pwani and have primarily targeted police and party officials.
The police responded to these assaults harshly, which seems to have discouraged additional assaults. It’s unclear from press reports whether recent violent crimes in Tanzania have any connection to terrorism because these incidents are frequently referred to as banditry.
TANZANIA BORDER WARNINGS
Safety warnings for border crossings include:
Flagged as a high-risk country, travel advisories recommend people avoid entering Burundi from Tanzania due to continual political unrest, bandits and terrorism.
The border between Tanzania and Rwanda is flagged as a high-risk area due to reported rebel activity by bandits, armed conflict and kidnapping. It’s recommended that if you need to cross over at the Tanzania/Rwanda border, that you arrange a police escort or private security company. This applies to any trip that takes you on the Rusomo to Kahama road.
Democratic Republic of Congo/Tanzania border
Travel advisories recommend people avoid entering the DRC from Tanzania due to continual clashes between armed rebel forces and the DRC military.
NO-GO AREAS FOR TANZANIA
There are no serious trouble spots in Tanzania but travellers are cautioned to be careful as follows:
- be wary of armed bandits in Arusha which is the launching point for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro; this is opportunist crime in areas that do not have a strong police presence
- Stone Town in Zanzibar is a notorious crime hotspot, predominantly petty theft and street muggings on unsuspecting tourists
- bag snatching and street muggings have increased in Dar es Salaam; particularly by thieves on motorcycles
- armed robberies have occurred at Ngorongoro Crater; travel with a reputable tour operator and stick to popular tourist destinations
IS IT SAFE TO WORK IN TANZANIA?
The people of Tanzania are friendly and warmly welcome you to their country. On the whole, it’s safe to work and live in Tanzania but this relies on you finding a home in an upmarket suburb, working in a safe location and practicing due caution.
As an ex-pat living and working in Tanzania, you need to be aware of an increase in crime and common scams. Be careful that locals don’t take advantage of you by hassling you for money or asking for bribes. Corruption is rife in cities like Dar es Salaam and even the police are guilty of trying to solicit bribes. Be aware of common fraud and scams so you don’t fall victim to them.
Healthcare facilities in Tanzania are below standard compared to global medical centres so it’s advisable to have comprehensive medical insurance that provides cover for an emergency evacuation if needed. Make sure your general vaccinations are up-to-date before arriving to work in Tanzania and have the travel vaccinations recommended for living in Africa.
The HIV/AIDS rate is high in Tanzania so take extreme caution when it comes to sexual relationships, bearing in mind that Tanzania still has strict laws prohibiting same-sex relationships. Other diseases you are at risk of catching in Tanzania include Hepatitis A, typhoid fever, yellow fever, malaria, dengue fever and rabies. Your doctor will provide you with information on the required vaccinations for these diseases.
Drinking tap water in Tanzania is not recommended. Many expats get water filtration systems installed in their homes to minimise the risk of contracting waterborne diseases. Mosquito nets are recommended to prevent malaria. Avoid eating at restaurants that don’t have good sanitary conditions and avoid eating food from street vendors where the risk of contracting typhoid is heightened.
Dar es Salaam is the busiest city in Tanzania and crime has increased in recent years. Expats usually rent a house or apartment in a security complex that offers 24-hour security guards and they have an alarm system installed. Home robberies and carjackings are common so it’s important that you make security a priority for you and your family. Don’t walk around at night and avoid trouble crime spots in the city centre.
CIVIL UNREST IN TANZANIA
Civil unrest in the form of protests and demonstrations flare up on occasion in Tanzania, particular around the time of elections. Expats and tourists are rarely affected by this civil tension but it’s wise to stay up-to-date on current affairs and avoid places where protests and demonstrations are happening. There’s always the risk that they turn violent.
Reputable tour operators in Tanzania make your safety a priority and will change routes to safari destinations if there’s any likelihood there’ll be unrest or conflict in an area.
CRIME IN TANZANIA
Tanzania is considered safe to visit but common sense must prevail, particularly when you are passing through Dar es Salaam which is heavily populated. It’s rare that a tourist will fall prey to violent crime; the problem is usually petty crime in the form of bag snatching, pickpocketing, theft out of hotel rooms, street muggings and tourist scams such as card skimming.
The more exclusive hotels in Dar es Salaam are found in an area known locally as the Slipway. The area does attract opportunist thieves but there is a strong security presence and you should be safe if you follow the usual precautions to avoid falling victim of a crime.
Bag snatching is the biggest problem in Dar es Salaam; where thieves on a motorbike pull up next to a distracted tourist on foot and grab his/her travel bag. Be vigilante and keep your bag close to your body at all times when walking down busy roads.
Travelling in a private taxis on your own is not recommend because this is when a solo tourist is most vulnerable. Never take a taxi if the drivers “friends” are in the car; and where possible, catch a taxi with more than two people.
Never exchange money on the street. Firstly, it’s illegal and secondly, it’s dangerous. Always swop money or do any banking transactions inside a reputable bank.
Remember, Tanzania is a very poor country with high unemployment and high cost of living. Be vigilante when visiting local street markets; don’t flash your cash, don’t wear expensive jewelry and keep your backpack or handbag closed and close to your body.
Theft out of hotel rooms will happen if temptation is put in someone’s way. Make use of the digital safes in hotel rooms and if possible, avoid leaving behind in the room expensive equipment and money.