Tanzania

By plane
By plane

There are two major airports; one in Dar es Salaam, Julius Nyerere International Airport IATA: DAR formerly known as Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere International Airport and Dar es Salaam International Airport, and one in Kilimanjaro, Kilimanjaro International Airport IATA: JRO (http://www.kilimanjaroair...), which is halfway between Arusha and Moshi.

Tanzania is served Internationally from

Europe by

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (http://www.klm.com) Amsterdam, +255 22 213 9790 Dar & +255 27 223 8355 Arusha. Daily flights with stopover in Kilimanjaro.

British Airways (http://www.ba.com) London-Heathrow, +255 22 211 3820. Flights on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.

Swiss International Air Lines (http://www.swiss.com) Zurich, +255 22 211 8870. 5 flights a week Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday with a stopover in Nairobi, Kenya.

Middle East and Asia by

Emirates (http://www.emirates.com) Dubai, +255 22 211 6100. Daily flights.

Qatar Airways (http://www.qatarairways.com) Doha, +255 22 284 2675, 1019, Julius Nyerere International Airport, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Daily flights.

Air India (http://www.airindia.com) Mumbai, +255 22 215 2642. Flights on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Africa by

South African Airways (http://www.flysaa.com) Johannesburg, +255 22 211 7044. Twice daily flights.

Ethiopian Airlines (http://www.flyethiopian.com) Addis Ababa, +255 22 211 7063. Daily flights except for Monday with a stopover in Kilimanjaro.

Kenya Airways Nairobi (http://www.kenya-airways.com), +255 22 211 9376 Dar & +255 24 223 8355 Zanzibar. Three daily flights with some stopping in Kilimanjaro.

Egyptair (http://www.egyptair.com) Cairo, +255 2 136665. Daily flights.

Carriers originating from Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe also maintain regular flights to Dar es Salaam.

And Domestically by

Air Tanzania (http://www.airtanzania.com), +255 22 211 8411, bookings@airtanzania.com.

Precision Air (http://www.precisionairtz.com), +255 22 212 1718, Along Nyerere/Pugu Road, P.O Box 70770, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, info@precisionairtz.com or pwreservations@precisionairtz.com also flights to/from Kenya.

Coastal Aviation (http://www.coastal.cc), +255 22 211 7959, P. O. Box 3052, 107 Upanga Road, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, safari@coastal.cc.

ZanAir (http://www.zanair.com), +255 24 223 3670, P.O.Box 2113, Zanzibar, Tanzania, reservations@zanair.com.

Regional Air (http://www.regionaltanzan...) provides almost daily service to all major cities, including Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Mwanza, Mbeya, Zanzibar, and most national parks.

Domestic flights are often late but generally reliable.

By train
By train

The Tanzania - Zambia train service, known as TAZARA (http://www.tazarasite.com/), operates trains twice a week between New Kapiri Mposhi, Zambia, and Dar es Salaam, leaving from Dar es Salaam on Tuesdays and Fridays.

A domestic railroad network links the country's major cities, including Kigoma, Mwanza, Dodoma, Tabora, and Dar es Salaam. The domestic train service is usually reliable, and ticket prices are affordable. Ticket prices differ, however, according to 'class', typically first, second, and third. First and second classes offer cabins with two and four beds, respectively. Third class is open seating. Hot meals and beverages are usually available from the dining car. It is not uncommon for the train kitchen to purchase fresh produce at many of the stopping points along the way. It is also possible to purchase fruit and snacks directly from local vendors who frequent the many train stations on each of Tanzania's many train routes.

By bus
By bus

The bus is a great way to get into Tanzania. Fly to a place like Nairobi, then you can catch a bus down to Arusha -- a great base for Mount Meru and Ngorongoro Crater. Also, you should not forget the south central part of Tanzania, away from tourist hawkers. Roads in Tanzania aren't in good condition; there are no highways, and there are very few multiple lane segments along main roads. Buses slow down or stop in most villages because of traffic, police, and speed calming tools. For your reference, the trip from Dar to Iringa takes at least 6 hours in a private vehicle. It's mostly a two-lane road, recently rebuilt by the Chinese, so it's in good condition for the most part.

Westbound and northbound buses leaving from Dar ply the same road A7 until you get to Chalinze, which is about halfway, less than two hours, between Dar and Morogoro.

If you are going to Arusha, the bus will veer north on the A17. Other notable destinations along this route are Saandani National Park, Pangani, Tanga, Lushoto, Kilimanjaro, and Moshi. From Arusha, you can also take a bus to Mwanza and Kigoma, but once you've past the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the roads are in extremely poor condition, and you are in for a bumpy ride.

If you continue on past Chalinze you'll pass by Morogoro also the turn off for Dodoma, the entry point into the Selous Game Reserve, Mikumi National Park, the old main gate to Udzungwa Mountains Parks, and Iringa, which is the turn off for Ruaha National Park.

Iringa is the place to explore the southern circuit, with a new campsite at the Msosa gate to the Uduzungwas the Iringa side of the park and the gateway to Ruaha possibly Tanzania's best park. It is a great place to stay for a few days.

After Iringa, you'll either go west, to Mbeya, or south, to Songea. Head to Mbeya if you want to either visit Lake Tanganyika, enter into Malawi, or head north to Kigoma. North of Mbeya, the roads aren't sealed, so it will be a long and very unpleasant trip. If you want to see Lake Nyasa a.k.a. Lake Malawi, take the bus to Songea. Although you are within a stone's throw of Mozambique, there are no official entry points into Mozambique.

Finally, if you're headed south of Dar, then you'll take the B2. This is the main route to the Selous and the Rufiji River. Along the way, you can also stop in Kilwa, Lindi, and, finally, Mtwara. The road isn't sealed the whole way, so, again, bring on a cushion.

Outside Dar, roads between other cities and villages are in very poor condition, although they are slowly being improved. For instance, traveling from Arusha to Dodoma is slow. It can be faster to return to Chalinze and then board a bus to Dodoma. This is pretty much the case for any travel between cities that are not located along the road to Dar.

The border town of Namanga is a hectic outpost that epitomizes much of Africa. The bus even waits here for you to cross the border. You can even get off on the Kenyan side, walk across the border, and get on the bus again on the Tanzanian side.

From Dar by bus it is also possible to travel to Malawi, Uganda, and Rwanda.

Useful information on the Dar Es Salaam bus stand "Ubungo" and some specific bus lines can be found in the Dar_es_Salaam article.

By car
By car

Warning: If you are from the first world, you must be careful about driving in Tanzania, or throughout most of Africa, unless you have already experienced the driving conditions in developing countries. Nonetheless, here is some useful information for those thinking to undertake the challenge.

Drive on the left side of the road

Tanzanians drive on the left like in the UK, India, Australia, Japan, and other countries, as opposed to driving on the right, like in North America and most European countries. Experienced drivers from "right-hand drive" countries will need about half a day of driving around before adjusting to the change. Although the gear shift, windshield wipers and turn signal activators are reversed, luckily, the pedals are not. Just follow the traffic. However, even with some practice, you should always be vigilant, as you could easily find yourself disoriented, which could put you at risk of a head-on collision or hitting a pedestrian, if you are used to driving on the opposite side of the road.

Choice of vehicle

If you're hiring a car when you get here, your best option is a 4x4 sport utility vehicle with good road clearance, especially if you plan on going on safari in any of the national parks. Look for the Land Cruiser, Hilux Surf 4Runner, and Range Rover vehicles. Avoid mini-SUVs, such as the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CRV, because they can't always negotiate the poor road conditions in most of Tanzania's national parks. Another issue is 4-wheel drive options. Vehicles with always-on 4x4 are not the best choice for off-road driving. These vehicles were designed for driving in the snow on paved roads or through small mud holes. What you encounter in national parks in Tanzania is quite different and demands a proper 4-wheel drive vehicle capable of traversing large mud holes and sandy roads. Even then, you may still get stuck.

Navigation

Nelles Maps of Tanzania, Rwanda & Burundi
(http://www.nelles-verlag.de) is the best map. They've taken the time to locate the smallest of villages along the routes, which is great for navigating places where landmarks are scarce.

There are markers and white concrete pillions along the main roads. They identify the next major city or town along the route and how many kilometers remain.

Driving in the city

This only applies to Dar es Salaam, since all other cities and towns are relatively small and easy to get around in. The city center is extremely congested from 9AM-6PM, Monday to Friday. There are few traffic lights, and the streets are very narrow. It's a dog-eat-dog kind of place, so offensive driving skills are a must, as no one will let you pass if you just sit and wait at stops signs. Streets are crowded with parked and moving cars, SUVs, lorries, scooters, and very muscular men pulling insanely overloaded carts. People can spend hours stuck in traffic jams, especially around Kariakoo Market.

There are a few roundabouts in downtown, which the locals call "keeplefties" because they thought that the sign advising drivers to "Keep Left" when entering the roundabouts named this fascinating Mzungu invention. Mzungu is the Swahili word for "white" foreigners. It is not derogatory, and it's more along the lines of calling a white person a Caucasian.

When parking on the street in Dar, find a spot to park, then lock your doors and leave. When you return, a parking attendant wearing a yellow fluorescent vest will approach you for payment. The fee is 300 Tsh for two hours. The attendant should either hand you a ticket, or the ticked will already be on your windshield. DO NOT leave without paying if there is a ticket on your windshield. The attendant will most likely be forced to make up for the missing money, as he probably earns, at best, a mere 3000 Tsh a day.

Carjacking is uncommon but opening doors or jumping through open windows to steal valuables is not. Keep your windows closed and the doors locked. When vehicles are stopped at traffic lights or parked on unattended locations, thieves have been known to steal mirrors, paneling, spare tires, and anything that is not either engraved with the license plate number or bolted into the vehicle's body. Choose your parking spots carefully and don't leave valuables in plain sight. You can either offer the parking attendant a small tip to watch your vehicle, 500 to 1000 Tsh, or find a secured parking lot, especially if you are leaving your vehicle overnight.

Routes

The two main roads are the "Dar es Salaam to Mbeya" road A7/A17, which takes you to the Southern Highlands through the towns of Morogoro, Iringa, and Mikumi National Park, and near the Selous and Ruhaha National Parks. The other road is the "Dar to Arusha and the Serengeti" road B1, which takes you to the Northern Circuit by the towns of Tanga and Moshi, and Mount Kilimanjaro, Saadani, Tanrangire, Ngorongoro and Serengeti National Parks.

Dangers and annoyances

Tanzanians drive very fast and won't hesitate to overtake in a blind curve. Also, most commercial vehicles are poorly maintained and overloaded, and you'll see many of them broken-down along the main highways. NEVER assume their brakes are working or that the drivers have fully thought through the dangerous maneuver they are undertaking.

Most roads in Tanzania are poorly maintained and littered with potholes and dangerous grooves formed by overloaded transport vehicles. All main roads cut through towns and villages, and often traffic calming tools a.k.a. speed or road humps ensure vehicles reduce their speed when passing through. Unfortunately, few are clearly marked while most are hard to see until you are right upon them, and if you are coming too fast, you could be thrown off the road. SLOW DOWN when entering any town, or you might not be able to avoid these and other hazards. This defensive driving attitude is also prudent because animals and children often bolt out into the street.

If you are involved in an accident with a pedestrian, drive to the nearest police station to advise them. DO NOT exit your vehicle and attempt to resolve the situation, even if you are sure it was not your fault. Tanzanians are some of the nicest people you will ever meet in Africa, but they have been known to take matters into their own hands. This is largely due to their mistrust of the police and the belief that anyone with money, e.g. rich foreigners, can buy their way out of a problem.

If you encounter a convoy of government vehicles, move out of the way. They have priority, although this is debatable, and will not hesitate to run you off the road if you don't give way. You could also be fined by the police for your failure to give way.

FYI: In Tanzania, you can determine vehicle registration by the license plate colours. Yellow plates, starting with "T" and followed by three numbers, are privately owned vehicles. Official Tanzanian government plates are also yellow, but they display only letters and usually start with "S" the fewer the letters, the higher up in the food chain the owner is. Green plates are diplomatic; Red are international development agencies; Blue are UN and similar organizations; White are taxis, buses and commercial safari vehicles, and Black are the military and the police. This coding does not apply in Zanzibar and Pemba.

Passing Etiquette

Drivers following you will activate their right turn signal light to indicate they wish to pass you. If the road is clear, activate your left turn signal; if not, activate your right turn signal. Look for this when attempting to pass.

What to bring

A large jerry can 20 liters with emergency fuel. FYI - Don’t enter a national park without a full tank of gas.

A shovel, a machete "panga" in Swahili, and tow rope

Good road maps

First-aid kit

Drinking water, at least 5 liters, and non-perishable emergency food supplies.