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TANZANIA - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Tanzania due to rising crime levels and the threat of terrorism.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Demonstrations occur and are more likely in Zanzibar during flare-ups of political tensions, which occur from time to time. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Violent and petty crime are common throughout the country. Exercise a high degree of caution, particularly in public places and popular tourist areas in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, such as:
- nightclubs and cinemas
- shopping centres
Avoid walking around at night.
Seek local advice on the security situation prior to visiting beaches. Avoid deserted beaches.
Tourists have been victims of assaults, including sexual assaults, at major bus, rail and ferry hubs in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.
If you are the victim of an armed robbery, do not resist. Attackers could assault you for failing to comply or not complying quickly enough.
Leave personal belongings, including cash, passports and airline tickets, in a hotel safe or other secure location.
National parks and nature reserves
Armed robbery, although rare, can also occur in parks and nature reserves, including the northern circuit in the vicinity of Serengeti National Park, Arusha and Ngorongoro 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.
On the road
Remain on tourist routes and avoid remote areas. Exercise caution in and around Arusha, where armed robberies and carjackings have taken place. If you find yourself on less-travelled roads and trails, avoid stopping because armed robberies and carjackings may occur.
Bag snatching from passing vehicles is very common. When walking along the street, do not carry your bag with the strap across your body. You could be badly injured if a thief drives by and attempts to steal your bag.
In Dar es Salaam, be particularly careful on Toure Drive (Msasani Peninsula), where muggings and attacks, including attacks on moving vehicles, have occurred.
When travelling between cities, you should do so in a convoy, whenever possible. Avoid travelling after dark.
Travel near refugee camps in northwestern Tanzania, particularly in the region of Kigoma and to the west of Kagera bordering Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, is dangerous due to banditry. If you plan to travel to this region, hire private security for your protection.
Canadians have been taken to ATMs and forced to withdraw funds from their account after accepting a ride from a stranger, a local taxi, ride share companies or a recent acquaintance. These incidents have most often occurred at ferry, bus and train terminals in Dar es Salaam. To minimize the risk, do not accept unsolicited offers of assistance or rides from new acquaintances or strangers.
Armed home robberies occur and foreigners’ homes have been targeted by criminals. Always lock your doors and windows and use reinforced barriers wherever possible. Do not rent temporary accommodations from new acquaintances. Be sure to go through a reputable agency if looking for long-term accommodations in Tanzania.
While better in larger centres, road conditions across the country 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.
Avoid driving unless you are familiar with local conditions.
In the event of an accident, drive immediately to the nearest police station, if possible. Crowds tend to form around accidents and foreigners are extorted for money or assaulted (even when they are not at fault).
Avoid travelling by road at night. Due to the potential for assault or robbery when stopped at a light at night, some drivers ignore traffic lights. This practice makes intersections dangerous at night.
There is a threat of terrorism. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time. Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Stay at hotels that have robust security measures. Keep in mind, however, that even the most secure locations cannot be considered completely free of risk.
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.
Local officials have been the targets of armed attacks in Pwani Region. There is an increased police presence in the region. Additional checkpoints are in place and curfews could be imposed on short notice. Remain vigilant at all times.
Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. Be cautious when using your credit or debit card at ATMs, and:
- pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
- use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
- avoid using card readers that have an irregular or unusual feature
- cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
Foreigners have been victims of scams relating to volunteer work visas and safaris. If you plan to engage in these activities, only deal with reputable companies and check their references.
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
Some officials solicit bribes as you go through customs at airports. In a common scheme, an official will ask the visitor to produce a certificate of proof of inoculation against yellow fever, even in cases where you do not need one. If this happens to you, ask to speak to a senior official.
Police officers may approach you requesting money for alleged offences. Before proceeding to a police station, insist they produce proper identification.
If you think you are dealing with a corrupt official, you may inform them 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.
You should avoid travelling by bus, as buses are frequently involved in accidents that often result in fatalities. Rail service is limited and maintenance standards are low.
Use only licensed taxis selected by a reputable hotel or restaurant, or one located at an official taxi stand. Avoid taking a taxi that has been hailed for you by a recent acquaintance. Always ask for identification before accepting transportation and check that the driver's ID matches the name of the car registration and taxi licence. A licensed taxi is a white car with a white (never yellow) licence plate, a coloured stripe running laterally on the side panels of the vehicle and a number located inside a circle on the passenger doors.
There are regular ferries travelling between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. Tanzanian ports are often frequented by persuasive ticket scalpers. Only use reputable ferry companies. If a ferry seems to be overloaded or unsafe, do not board it and make alternative travel arrangements. Vessels travelling between Zanzibar and Pemba, Tanga and Pemba, and Mafia and mainland Tanzania are less reliable and often overcrowded.
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and may occur further out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
If you are considering climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, carefully consider the inherent risks involved. It is important to investigate the numerous tour operators in order to find a reputable guide. People are seriously injured or killed on the mountain every year, and emergency assistance is severely limited. If you intend to climb:
- never do so alone and always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
- buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
- ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
- ensure that you are properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
- inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back to camp
- know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal
- obtain detailed information on trekking routes or ski slopes before setting out and do not venture off marked trails
General safety information
Tourist facilities are adequate in major cities but limited in remote areas, with the exception of principal game lodges and beach resorts.
While camps and lodges are generally guarded, potentially dangerous wild animals sometimes venture within the boundaries of the camp. When visiting parks or nature reserves, follow the advice and warnings of local tour guides. Do not walk around at night and never leave children unattended.
Due to power shortages, outages may occur on a daily basis. Expect occasional disruptions in power, as not all businesses are equipped with a generator.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Tanzanian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Tanzania.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Work/volunteer visa: Required
Canadians need a visa to visit Tanzania. At main ports of entry, you can get a visa on arrival for a maximum of 3 months. When you arrive, ensure that immigration officials validate your visa by stamping your passport or writing any required information in it. Some visas are valid for a period shorter than three months. If you are a frequent visitor or business traveller, apply for a multiple-entry visa before the start of your trip.
Verify that you abide by the terms and expiry date indicated on your visa. You could receive a substantial fine if you overstay the period allowed by your visitor visa or residence permit.
Working and volunteering in Tanzania
You cannot perform any type of work, including volunteer work, on a tourist visa. When planning to travel to Tanzania to do volunteer work, contact the High Commission for the United Republic of Tanzania for information on specific requirements.
Work permits must be verified by Tanzanian immigration officials within 30 days of issuance. You can get this done at any Tanzanian Immigration office or online the Immigration Department's online verification system.
You must be able to show proof of return or onward ticket. You could be refused entry if you fail to show it upon request.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of Congo - June 8, 2018
- Chikungunya: advice for travellers - March 19, 2018
- Cholera in Africa and Western Asia (Yemen) - May 10, 2018
- Polio : vaccine advice - March 7, 2018
Posted: January 26, 2018
Risk of a Large Outbreak of Meningococcal Disease in Africa
The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that countries in Africa's meningitis belt (see country list below) and neighbouring countries are at a high risk for a large outbreak of meningoccocal disease (commonly called meningitis).
There is a high risk of a large outbreak in the area because the strain of meningitis that is currently circulating is a new hyper-invasive strain of serogroup C and there is a shortage of meningitis C-containing vaccine.
If you plan to travel to any country in Africa's meningitis belt or a neighbouring country, it is recommended that you get vaccinated against meningococcal disease with a conjugate serogroup C-containing vaccine.
For more information, see the WHO Situation update on meningitis C epidemic risk.
Countries in Africa's meningitis belt include: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, and United Republic of Tanzania.
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world.
Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
This country is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area where there are many cases of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is a serious and sometimes fatal infection. Travellers who may be at high risk should consider getting vaccinated. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers) or those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings.
There is a risk of polio in this country.
- Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up to date. Polio is part of the routine vaccine schedule for children in Canada.
- One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended as an adult.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is low potential for yellow fever exposure in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination may be recommended depending on your itinerary.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in East Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in East Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Cholera is a risk in parts of this country. Most travellers are at very low risk.
For protection of cholera
All travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.
Travellers at higher risk should discuss with a health care provider the benefits of getting vaccinated.
Travellers at higher risk include those:
- visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
- visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring.
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in East Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness), Rift Valley fever, West Nile virus, yellow fever and zika virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis, is caused by filariae (tiny worms) spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can cause a range of illnesses. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for lymphatic filariasis although drug treatments exist.
Onchocerciasis (river blindness) is an eye and skin disease caused by a parasite spread through the bite of an infected female blackfly. Onchocerciasis often leads to blindness if left untreated. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from blackfly bites, which are most common close to fast-flowing rivers and streams. There is no vaccine available for onchocerciasis although drug treatments exist.
Zika virus infection
Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. The mosquito that spreads the virus is found here.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites and other diseases spread by insects.
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in East Africa, like avian influenza, ebola, and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Medical facilities are limited and medicines are often unavailable, even in Dar es Salaam.
Medical evacuation, which can be very expensive, may be necessary in the event of serious illness or injury.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
You must carry photo identification, such as a copy of your passport, and be ready to present it to authorities upon request.
Illegal or restricted activities
Alcohol is not sold in some parts of Zanzibar. Avoid consuming alcohol in those areas.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences.
Possession of pornographic material is illegal.
Photography of military installations is forbidden. Individuals have been detained and/or had their cameras and film confiscated for taking pictures of public structures and buildings, including hospitals, schools, bridges, industrial sites and airports. Always ask permission before photographing individuals.
Flora and fauna
Collecting and removing any flora or fauna from its natural habitat is illegal. This includes removing seashells from marine parks.
Tanzanian law strictly regulates the sale, possession or removal from the country of animal or animal parts, including jewellery and hunting trophies. Certain items are exempt; however, you need a special permit from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism before attempting to leave the country with these items.
Tanzanian law prohibits sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Those convicted face up to life imprisonment and possibly a fine.
LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Tanzania.
Traffic drives on the left.
An International Driving Permit is required and must be used along with your Canadian driver’s licence.
Police roadblocks are common. If you are stopped by police, always cooperate and give proof of documentation requested of you. If you are asked to pay an on-the-spot fine for a traffic violation, ask to travel to the nearest police station to file a report and to contact the High Commission of Canada in Tanzania. Always ask for an official receipt.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Tanzania.
If local authorities consider you a citizen of Tanzania, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.
During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), use discretion when drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. In 2018, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around May 15.
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).
Credit cards are generally accepted at larger hotels, European carriers and other businesses that cater to international clientele, but are rarely accepted elsewhere. 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 are 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.
ATMs are available in main cities, and some can be used to access Canadian bank accounts; however, they are subject to breakdowns. You should carry a small supply of cash in U.S. dollars for use in airports and at borders.
Natural disasters and climate
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 become impassable during the rainy seasons without the use of a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
Many areas are prone to flooding during the summer months.
Tanzania is located in an active seismic zone.
Dial 112 for emergency assistance.
Dar Es Salaam - High Commission of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission in Dar Es Salam and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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