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Tanzania

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Summary

  • Exerci​se a high degree of caution in Tanzania, including Zanzibar due to the risk of serious crime. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times. Monitor the media and other information sources about new safety and security risks.
  • There is a risk of serious crime. There are regular reports of petty theft, armed robbery and bag snatching particularly in Dar es Salaam. Be alert when using public transport, in shared taxis, at bus stations and places frequented by tourists. Avoid walking and travelling after dark. See Safety and security.​
  • There is a heightened security presence in the Pwani coastal region following recent attacks against police and local officials. Be particularly alert when travelling in Rufiji and surrounding areas, including at police checkpoints. See Safety and security.​

  • Ferries are known to be overloaded or unseaworthy with two major incidents in recent years leading to mass casualties. See Local travel.
  • In June 2017, the Tanzanian Government announced a 'crackdown' on LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and/or intersex) rights advocates operating in Tanzania, threatening arrest. In September 2017, 20 people were arrested in Zanzibar where they were receiving training about HIV/AIDS. See Laws.

  • Australia doesn't have an Embassy or Consulate in Tanzania. Consular and passport assistance is available from the Australian High Commission in Kenya. See Where to get help.

Entry and exit

You need a visa to enter Tanzania.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Tanzania for up-to-date information.

A yellow fever certificate is required for entry into Tanzania. For more information about yellow fever, including Australian re-entry requirements, see the Department of Health website.

Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months after the date you intend to return to Australia.

Safety and security

Terrorism

Since 2013, there has been an increase in sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims in Tanzania, including against places of worship. Further attacks are possible.

In planning your activities, consider the kind of places known to be terrorist targets. Possible targets include commercial and public areas known to be frequented by foreigners, such as hotels, clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, places of worship, airports, marketplaces, outdoor recreation events and tourist areas. Consider the level of security provided by the venue. Be alert in crowded places and monitor local media. Attacks may be indiscriminate and occur at any time.

  • In 2014, two bombing incidents in Stone Town, Zanzibar, killed one person and injured several others. There was also a number of small scale attacks in Arusha, targeting bars and restaurants.

Pay close attention to your personal security at all times. Monitor the media and other sources for information about new safety or security risks.

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world.

More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Civil unrest and political tension

Be alert in public places and avoid any public location without an obvious security presence.

Avoid large gatherings or demonstrations as they may turn violent. Monitor the media and other sources for safety information.

Crime

Exercise a high degree of caution in Tanzania, including Zanzibar, due to the risk of serious crime. Crime, including armed robbery and petty theft accompanied by violence or the threat of violence, is common, particularly in Dar es Salaam.

Sexual assaults of tourists occurs. If you become a victim of violent crime, including rape, seek immediate medical attention. HIV/AIDS is prevalent in Tanzania. 

Take particular care on public transport, in shared taxis, at bus stations, at places frequented by tourists, in national parks and on beaches. Avoid walking and travelling after dark, and be alert during daylight hours.

Crime in Dar es Salaam is becoming more brazen and common. There are regular reports of crime occurring along the Toure Drive on the Msasani Peninsula, particularly bag snatching from moving vehicles. There has been an increase in serious injury and death associated with resisting bag snatching, with victims being dragged behind vehicles for long distances or until the bag falls or breaks off. Don't resist bag snatch attempts. 

When driving, keep all windows closed, doors locked and valuables out of sight. Thieves also target travellers in isolated areas, including coastal areas. ​

Only use registered taxis. Tourists have been kidnapped and forced to withdraw cash from ATMs after being befriended by strangers or while using unlicensed taxis.

In 2013, there were three incidents of acid attacks in Zanzibar, one of which targeted two young British female tourists.

Exercise a high degree of caution in and around Arusha (northern Tanzania). Armed robberies, carjackings and home invasions have occurred.

Don't accept food or drink from strangers as it may be spiked.

If stopped by police, ask to see their ID, especially before paying fines.

Bandits operate in the provinces of Kigoma and Kagera near the borders with Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The US Embassy and the United Nations recommend that police escorts be used on parts of the Rusomo to Kahama Road near the border with Rwanda because of the threat of attacks by armed bandits.

National game parks and reserves: Incidents of armed banditry have been reported in national parks in Tanzania, including around Mount Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti and Arusha National Parks. Pay close attention to your personal security when visiting game parks and reserves.

Money and valuables

Credit card fraud occurs in Tanzania.  Use credit cards with caution and keep your credit card in sight at all times when using it. Avoid using ATMs that open onto the street. To reduce risk, use ATMs in controlled areas, such as within banks, shops and shopping centres. ATMs are usually available at major banks and hotels.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Local travel

Driving in Tanzania can be hazardous, especially at night. Most roads and vehicles are in poor condition. Excessive speeds, poor driving habits and poor lighting pose additional risks. Traffic accidents are common and can result in fatalities. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), you are six times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Tanzania than in Australia.

More information: Road safety and driving

When travelling by taxi or bus, including on long distance buses, use reputable carriers who maintain their vehicles.

Ferries can be overloaded or unseaworthy with two major incidents in recent years leading to mass casualties. Don't board any water craft that is overloaded or in bad condition.

Incidents of piracy occur in the coastal areas of Tanzania. Somali pirates have been using mother ships to attack shipping vessels up to 1,000 nautical miles from the coast of Somalia. All forms of shipping are attractive targets for Somali pirates, including commercial vessels, pleasure craft and luxury cruise liners. There have been a number of attacks and kidnappings just off the coast of Tanzania. Be particularly alert and exercise extreme caution when anywhere near these waters. Don't leave sight of the coastline.

More information:

The safety standards you might expect of transport and tour operators are not always met, including for adventure activities such as diving. Sufficient safety equipment may not be provided, and recommended maintenance standards and safety precautions may not be observed. Always use available safety equipment, such as lifejackets or seatbelts, even if others don't. If appropriate safety equipment is not available, use another provider.

Wildlife

Respect wildlife laws and maintain a safe and legal distance when observing wildlife, including marine animals and birds. Only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators. Follow closely park regulations and the advice of wardens.

Swimming in lakes and rivers is unsafe because of the possibility of being attacked by wildlife and the risk of catching water-borne diseases.

Air safety

The Australian Government doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Tanzania.

More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to the local laws of Tanzania, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you’re arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research local laws before travelling.

The possession of pornographic material is illegal.

Homosexual activity is illegal. Penalties can include imprisonment for up to 30 years and detainees may be subjected to humiliating examinations. In June 2017, the Tanzanian Government announced a 'crackdown' on LGBTI rights advocates operating in Tanzania, threatening arrest. In September 2017, 20 people were arrested in Zanzibar where they were receiving training about HIV/AIDS.

More information: LGBTI travellers

Penalties for drug offences are severe and can include lengthy terms of imprisonment. More information: Carrying and using drugs

Photography around military zones, military assets and of military personnel is prohibited.

Serious crimes, such as treason and murder, carry the death penalty.

Penalties for some crimes, including rape and robbery with violence, include corporal punishment.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas can be prosecuted in Australia.

Local customs

There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in Tanzania, especially in Zanzibar. Take care not to offend. Away from tourist resorts, women should dress modestly, and avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless tops.

Information for dual nationals

Tanzania doesn't recognise dual nationality. This may limit our ability to provide consular assistance to Australian-Tanzanian dual nationals who are arrested or detained.

More information: Dual nationals

Health

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government won't pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas.

  • Get vaccinations before you travel.
  • At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition.

More information:

Medical facilities are limited in Tanzania and medicines are often unavailable, even in major cities. In the event of an accident or illness, medical evacuation by air to Nairobi, Kenya, or another country with the required facilities may be necessary. Costs for a medical evacuation are considerable.  

Malaria occurs widely and throughout the year in Tanzania, except in areas above 1,800 metres. Chloroquine-resistant strains of malaria have been reported. Other insect-borne diseases, including yellow fever, dengue fever, zika virus, filariasis and East African Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) also occur. Sleeping sickness is carried by the tse-tse fly, which is common to the northern safari circuit of Tanzania. Take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent at all times, wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing, and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.

HIV/AIDS is prevalent in Tanzania. Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, tuberculosis, measles, meningococcal, Rift Valley fever and rabies) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. Boil all drinking water or drink bottled water. Avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Avoid contact with domestic animals. Don't swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases such as bilharzia (schistosomiasis). Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

If you plan to climb Mt Kilimanjaro (5,895 metres) ensure you're physically fit, in good health and aware of the risks of altitude sickness. Travellers who ascend to altitudes greater than 2,500 metres, particularly if the ascent is rapid, are at risk of developing altitude sickness. Altitude sickness can be life threatening and can affect anyone, even the physically fit. Those more at risk include people who have had altitude sickness before, who exercise or drink alcohol before adjusting (acclimatising) to the altitude, or who have health problems that affect breathing. If you plan to travel to high altitudes, consult your doctor prior to travel and seek advice specific to you. Make sure your insurance policy covers your activities.

Natural disasters

The rainy seasons are March to May and November to December when flooding occurs and roads may become impassable. Monsoons occur in the coastal areas and islands between June and October. Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.

Tanzania lies on a fault line and is subject to earthquakes. See our earthquakes page for advice on travelling to and living in an earthquake-prone region.

All oceanic regions of the world can experience tsunamis, but in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, there is a more frequent occurrence of large, destructive tsunamis because of the many large earthquakes along major tectonic plate boundaries and ocean trenches.

More information: Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System

If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

Where to get help

Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergency phone numbers

The national emergency number is 112.

For criminal issues, contact the local police.  Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

Tourism products and services

If the matter relates to complaints about tourism services or products, contact the service provider directly.

Australian Government

Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Tanzania. The nearest Australian diplomatic mission is in Kenya. The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and can't do to assist Australians overseas.

​Full consular services are available from the Australian High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya. Contact details are below. 

Australian High Commission, Nairobi

Riverside Drive (400 metres off Chiromo Road)
Nairobi, KENYA
Telephone: +254 20 4277 100
Fax: +254 20 4277 139
Website: kenya.highcommission.gov.au
Facebook: Australia in East Africa
Twitter: @AusHCKenya

See the High Commission website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you're unable to contact the above missions in a consular emergency, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Additional resources