TANZANIA - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Tanzania. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to the threat of terrorism.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.
Explosions reportedly killed three people and injured many more at a political rally in Arusha on June 15, 2013.
In recent years, Tanzania has seen a slight increase in sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims, including in places of worship. Take this information into consideration when planning your trip.
Regional terror groups, including those associated with al Qaeda and al-Shabaab, continue to threaten Western interests and other potential targets in Tanzania. The September 21, 2013 attack on an upscale Nairobi mall illustrates the threat of attacks on civilians in East Africa. Further attacks cannot be ruled out. Be vigilant in crowded places and monitor local media.
Violent crime has increased throughout the country, both in the country and in main cities. Exercise a high degree of caution, especially in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, and in public places such as hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, cinemas and shopping centres. Muggings, attacks and hold-ups occur occasionally in Dar es Salaam, Stone Town and in the immediate vicinity of the coastal resorts on Unguja. You should be vigilant, particularly in Stone Town after dark. Avoid deserted beaches.
In Dar es Salaam, particular caution is warranted on Toure Drive (Msasani Peninsula) where muggings and attacks, including attacks on moving vehicles, have recently been reported.
Petty crime is prevalent. Muggings, pickpocketing and theft are common in crowded areas, on public transportation and on public beaches.
Sexual assaults involving tourists have been reported.
An increasing number of Canadians have reported being taken to automated banking machines (ABMs) and forced to withdraw funds from their account after accepting a ride from a stranger, a local taxi or a recent acquaintance. Incidents are most often reported at ferry, bus and train terminals in Dar es Salaam. Use only licensed taxis selected by a reputable hotel or restaurant, or one located at an official taxi stand. Always ask for identification before accepting transportation and check that the driver's ID matches the name of the car registration and taxi license. Avoid taking a taxi that has been hailed for you by a recent acquaintance. Instead, hail your own taxi. A licensed taxi is a white car with a white (never yellow) license plate, a colored stripe running laterally on the side panels of the vehicle, and a number inside a circle on both passenger doors.
Armed robbery, although rare, can also occur in parks and nature reserves, including the northern circuit in the vicinity of Serengeti National Park, Ngogongoro and Arusha National Parks, and regions surrounding Mount Kilimanjaro. Organized tours and independent travellers have been targeted. You should only travel with a reputable tour company (hotels can make recommendations). Avoid camping or travelling alone.
Remain on tourist routes and avoid remote areas. Exercise caution in and around Arusha, where armed robberies and carjackings have been reported. Should you find yourself on less-travelled roads and trails, avoid stopping since armed robberies and carjackings may occur. Keep doors locked and windows up at all times and do not pick up strangers. Travel in a convoy between cities, and avoid travelling after dark.
Travel near refugee camps in the northwestern area bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi (in the region of Kigoma and to the west of Kagera) is dangerous due to banditry.
Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. Canadians should avoid all large gatherings and demonstrations, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
Be careful when going through Customs at airports, as officials have been known to solicit bribes. In a common scheme, an official will ask the visitor to produce a certificate of proof of inoculation against yellow fever, even though a yellow fever certificate is only required if arriving from a country where yellow fever is endemic. If such a scheme occurs, you may request to speak to a senior official. However, if this does not work, be patient and negotiate with the official.
You may be approached by police officers requesting money for alleged offences. We recommend that you insist on proper identification before proceeding to a police station. You may also inform the police officers that you will contact the High Commission for advice. This tends to dissuade them from soliciting bribes. Report all such incidents to the High Commission of Canada in Dar es Salaam.
Traffic drives on the left. Road conditions are poor and road signs are often missing. For travel outside main cities, use a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Excessive speeds, driving habits, poor lighting, lack of vehicle maintenance, roaming wildlife and livestock, cyclists and pedestrians pose risks. Travel by road at night should be avoided. Within cities, travel with licensed taxis and ask for identification. Avoid driving unless you are familiar with local conditions.
Bus travel is not recommended, as bus accidents often result in fatalities. Rail service is limited, uncomfortable, and unreliable.
Use only licensed taxis selected by a reputable hotel or restaurant, or one located at an official taxi stand (see Crime section above).
While there are regular ferries travelling between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, Tanzania ports are often frequented by persuasive ticket scalpers. Passengers should only use reputable ferry companies, as two local ferries with foreign national passengers have capsized in 2012. If you believe a ferry to be overloaded or unsafe, refrain from boarding and make alternative travel arrangements. Vessels travelling between Zanzibar/Pemba, Tanga/Pemba and Mafia/Mainland Tanzania are reported to be less reliable and often overcrowded.
Domestic flights may be subject to delays and cancellations.
Consult our Transportation FAQ in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters, and in some cases, further out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
General safety information
Leave personal belongings, including cash, passports and airline tickets, in a hotel safe or other secure location.
Avoid walking after dark. Do not accept food or drink from strangers as they may be drugged.
Seek local advice on the security situation prior to visiting beaches.
Tourist facilities are adequate in major cities but limited in remote areas, with the exception of principal game lodges and beach resorts.
Wild animals can be dangerous. When visiting parks or nature reserves, follow the advice and warnings of local tour guides.
If you are considering climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, carefully consider the inherent risks involved, primarily altitude sickness and hypothermia. It is important to investigate the numerous tour operators in order to find a reputable guide. Each year people are seriously injured or killed on the mountain and emergency assistance is severely limited.
Due to power shortages, power cuts may occur on a daily basis. Travellers should expect occasional disruptions in power, as not all businesses are equipped with a generator.
In an emergency, dial 112 for police.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Tanzanian authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the High Commission for the United Republic of Tanzania for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Tanzania, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected departure from the country. You are required to show your passport when entering or exiting the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba.
Canadians must be in possession of a visa to visit Tanzania.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Work/volunteer visa: Required
Although visas are available upon arrival, you should obtain visas prior to arrival in Tanzania. When you arrive, ensure that immigration officials validate your visa by stamping your passport or writing any required information in it. A tourist visa is valid for three months from the date of issue, and the duration of a stay cannot exceed three months. Moreover, some visas are valid for a period shorter than three months. Frequent visitors and business persons should request multiple-entry visas.
Verify that you abide by the terms and expiry date indicated on your visa. Substantial fines are levied on those who overstay the period allowed by their visitor visa or residence permit.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. Please consult our Children page for more information.
Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination before allowing entry. Consult the World Health Organization’s country list to obtain information on this country’s requirements.
The Agency strongly recommends that you consult with a travel medicine clinic or health care provider preferably six weeks before departure.
The Agency publishes travel health advice for Tanzania.
Medical facilities are limited and medicines are often unavailable, even in Dar es Salaam.
Medical evacuation to Nairobi, Kenya, may be necessary in the event of an accident or sickness. If very serious, a medical evacuation to a third country such as South Africa may also be necessary.
Bring adequate supplies of all medications in their original containers, clearly labelled. Carry a signed, dated letter from your doctor describing all medical conditions and listing all medications, including generic names.
Laws & Culture
You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention FAQ for more information.
Alcohol is not sold in some parts of Zanzibar. Avoid consuming alcohol in those areas.
The use of non-prescription drugs is prohibited.
Penalties for drug-related offences can be severe.
Homosexual activity is illegal and is subject to significant penalty.
Possession of pornographic material is illegal.
The export of hunting “trophies” is strictly regulated. Contact the High Commission for the United Republic of Tanzania for specific information regarding customs requirements.
Photography of military installations is forbidden. Individuals have been detained and/or had their cameras and film confiscated for taking pictures of hospitals, schools, bridges, industrial sites and airports. Always ask permission before photographing individuals.
An International Driving Permit is required.
In Zanzibar, Islamic practices and beliefs are particularly influential. Exercise common sense and discretion in dress and behaviour throughout Tanzania. Respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities. Visitors should dress conservatively. Women should cover their shoulders and refrain from wearing shorts.
The currency is the Tanzanian shilling (TZS). The use of credit cards is very limited. However, they are generally accepted at larger hotels, European carriers and other businesses that cater to international clientele. There may be an additional fee of up to 5% when using credit cards.
Outside of Dar es Salaam and at smaller establishments, cash in either Tanzanian shillings or U.S. dollars is the preferred method of payment, particularly for hotel bills, domestic airline tickets and entry to national parks. Canadian dollar traveller’s cheques are not accepted. Automated banking machines (ABMs) are becoming more widely available, although only in main cities, and some can be used to access Canadian bank accounts; however, they are subject to breakdowns. We recommend that you carry a small supply of cash in U.S. dollars for use in airports and at borders.
Natural Disasters & Climate
Coastal areas and islands are subject to monsoons between June and October. In most areas, the long rainy season occurs from March to May and short rains last from November to December. Roads may be impassable during the rainy season without the use of a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
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