41 important things you need to know before traveling to Tanzania

Being one of the most popular countries in Africa for good reasons, other reasons to travel to Tanzania are the warm climate, natural scenery, friendly people, and fantastic wildlife that certainly combines for a great vacation experience. There are also other important things you need to know before traveling to Tanzania.

Tanzania is the biggest nation in East Africa and is bordered by eight countries and the Indian Ocean. Apart from Africa’s tallest peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro, the country also boasts of the world’s second-largest and deepest lake, Lake Tanganyika. Tanzania has around 120 different ethnic groups but surprisingly does not have a single dominant community. 

With more than 4 million wild animals, mostly in their natural habitat, Tanzania has the largest concentration of animals per square kilometer on the entire planet.  Here are some interesting facts about the country that you should know before actually traveling:

Important Facts about Tanzania

  1. Capital City: Dodoma, officially Dodoma City (previous capital was Dar es Salaam)
  2. Currency: Tanzanian Shilling (US$1=2,314 TZS approx.)
  3. Time: UTC + 3:00
  4. International Phone Code: +255

Geography of Tanzania

  1. Tanzania is a country surrounded by three great lakes of Africa – Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Malawi.
  2. The world’s longest river Nile originates from Lake Victoria in Tanzania, which also happens to be the second-largest freshwater lake in the world.
  3. The three major islands of Tanzania are Mafia, Zanzibar, and Pemba.
  4. Ruaha National Park, the largest national park in Tanzania, is home to its largest elephant population.
  5. Mpingo tree that is found in Tanzania is considered to produce the costliest timber in the world. The tree is also known as the music tree of Africa.
Lions in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Lions in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
  1. The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is one of the oldest ecosystems on the planet that boasts a diversity of flora and fauna that is not available elsewhere in the world.
  2. Tanzania is home to the largest crab in the world, the coconut crab, also apparently one of the tastiest crabs in the world.
  3. The famous Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania is the largest wildlife conservation in Africa and is larger than countries like Belgium, Costa Rica, Denmark, Burundi, Israel, Lesotho, and Kuwait.
  4. Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania is the first part to become popular for being the home to tree-climbing lions.
  5. The roof of Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro is the dream of most adventure travelers, but it is not as easy as it can be thought of.

Culture in Tanzania

Girls in traditional attire showing that Tanzania is a heavily religious country
Dressing Styles of Females in Tanzania
  1. Religion: 60% Christianity, 36% Muslims, 4% numerous indigenous religions
  2. Over 120 different languages are spoken in Tanzania, most of them from the Bantu family. Swahili (also called Kiswahili) is the official language of the country.
  3. Drugs and homosexuality are illegal in Tanzania.
  4.  Tanzania is a heavily religious country, so it is best for travelers to have conservative dresses at all times.
  5. Almost half the Tanzanian population is Muslim and the festival of Ramadan is a noticeably significant time for the community. A lot of restaurants remain closed during the daytime and opens only at night during the festival lasting for one month.
  6. Although ‘Jambo’ means ‘Hello’ in Swahili, try saying ‘Habari yako’ instead, which means ‘how are you’ or ‘what’s up?’
  7. Learn some Swahili phrases and slangs when you intend to visit Tanzania. Unlike Kenya and Uganda, it is quite difficult to get by in Tanzania without a bit of the Swahili phrases.
  8. Tanzanians prefer drinking tea in the mornings as a breakfast beverage and coffee in the evenings.

Political Facts of Tanzania

  1. United Republic of Tanzania is a merger of the mainland Tanganyika and the Zanzibar Archipelago that resulted after the Zanzibar Revolution in 1964. 
  2. Tanzania shares its national anthem ‘Mungu Ibariki Afrika’ with South Africa and Zimbabwe.
  3. Zanzibar has its own flag being a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania. Although the colors of the flag are the same, the style is different.
  4. Traffic laws are partially followed in Tanzania. Not all cars will stop for you when the green light is on or you are in a zebra crossing area.
  5. Play nice with the policemen while in Tanzania by remaining calm, patient, and polite as they seem to be waiting to hand out tickets, especially if you are driving.

Tanzania Travel Facts for Tourists 

  1. Tanzania possesses seven properties inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
  2. Cash is preferred over card payment almost anywhere you go in Tanzania. It is always better to have enough cash on hand as ATMs are found only in the bigger towns.
  3. Stone town is the historic center of Zanzibar city and usually, every tourist gets lost here unless using google maps.
  4. Not all the national parks or the safari parks in Tanzania have all the animals, so if a tourist is particularly interested in seeing a cheetah or a lion, it is best to do a quick research before deciding which park to visit.
  5. Roads in Tanzania probably aren’t in the best conditions with lots of potholes, weird grooves, unpaved roads, and wandering animals.
  6. The different transportation systems in Tanzania are Dala-dala (public minibus), Bajaji (3-wheel motorcycle with seating compartment), Boda Boda (motorcycle), and Taxi.
  7. Public transportation is quite confusing in Tanzania as the minibuses (known as dala-dala) stop in places where there are no signs of bus stops and no departure or arrival schedules.
Minibuses - a major means of transportation in Tanzania
Transportation in Tanzania
  1. It is advantageous for travelers to learn how to bargain before visiting Tanzania as most kinds of stuff in market places or even taxi rides have hiked-up prices that obviously are negotiable.
  2. Tours in Tanzania aren’t the cheapest ones especially when it comes to solo traveling.
  3. The TAZARA train travels 1160 miles from Dar es Salaam all the way to central Zambia at an affordable price.
  4. Most of the water in the country is unsafe for drinking purpose, so travelers need to stick to bottled water at all times.
  5.  Although the fuel, food, and camping costs are comparatively less in Tanzania, the national park fees are shockingly on the higher side.
  6. At some point while traveling in Tanzania, tourists may have to use a toilet that’s simply a hole in the ground with a poor plumbing system. Be prepared to squat!
  7. Tanzania is considered safe to travel.  But we recommend tourists to follow the travel advisory set up by the state.

You can make the best out of your trips to Tanzania by booking a private tour. Plan a tailor-made trip with Himalayan Glacier to enjoy the Tanzania tours your way.

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