Tanzania travel safety

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of tourist 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, expressed or implied. The Government of Tanzania 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 Tanzania to provide services.

Safety and security

COVID-19 – Preventative measures and restrictions

In an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19, most governments have implemented preventative measures and restrictions.

These could include:

  • curfews, movement restrictions, or lock downs
  • the obligation to wear a face-covering or a surgical mask in some circumstances
  • the obligation to present proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test result to access public services and spaces

Foreign authorities might not recognize or accept proof of vaccination issued by Canadian provinces and territories. You may need to obtain a translation, a notarization, an authentication, or the legalization of the document.

Before travelling, verify if specific restrictions or requirements are in effect.

Border with Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa)

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.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations may occur, particularly in Zanzibar and occasionally in Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Mwanza, Mbeya, Mtwara, and Stone Town. Demonstrations increase during flare-ups of political tension which can include election periods. 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

Border with Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa)

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.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations may occur, particularly in Zanzibar and occasionally in Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Mwanza, Mbeya, Mtwara, and Stone Town. Demonstrations increase during flare-ups of political tension which can include election periods. 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

Crime

Petty crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs, particularly in public places and popular tourist areas in Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Arusha.

Exercise caution in and around:

  • beaches
  • hotels
  • restaurants
  • nightclubs and cinemas
  • shopping centres

In Dar es Salaam, exercise increased caution in and around:

  • Coco Beach
  • transportation hubs
  • markets, particularly Kariakoo Market
  • Masaki/Oyster Bay Peninsula, particularly along Toure Drive

In Zanzibar, exercise increased caution in and around Stone Town.

To mitigate the threat from theft:

  • ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • seek local advice on the security situation prior to visiting beaches
  • avoid deserted beaches

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

Violent crime

Tourists have been victims of assaults, including sexual assaults, in Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Arusha.

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.

  • Exercise a high degree of caution
  • Avoid walking around at night

Crimes against children and people with albinism, including murder, have occurred. Be particularly cautious.

Organized crime

Organized crime associated with international drug trafficking occurs in Tanzania, as it is situated along a transit route used to transport drugs from Asia to Africa. Though tourists are rarely affected, exercise caution in large cities.

Kidnappings

Kidnapping-for-ransom does not pose significant risk in Tanzania, though armed groups from bordering countries are known to employ this tactic.

Exercise caution along border areas, namely:

  • areas bordering Lake Tanganyika, which marks the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • the southeastern border with Mozambique.

Express kidnappings

Tourists 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 near hotels and transportation hubs such as 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. Always book transportation from a reputable company or through your hotel.

Home invasions

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.

LGBTQ2

LGBTQ2 persons have been subject to physical and verbal harassment by locals and authorities. The situation has become worse since 2016 under the new government.

On the road

While better in larger centers, road conditions and road safety are poor throughout the country.

Conditions

Road signs are often missing, and visibility is poor due to insufficient lighting. Poorly maintained cars, roaming wildlife, livestock, cyclists and pedestrians also increase the risk associated with driving. Outside major cities, four-wheel drive vehicles are highly recommended.

  • Avoid driving unless you are familiar with local conditions
  • 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
  • In the event of an accident, drive to the nearest police station

Tourist facilities are adequate in major cities but limited in remote areas, with the exception of principal game lodges and beach resorts.

  • Monitor fuel levels to ensure that your fuel tank is never lower than half full

Road safety

Drivers often drive at excessive speeds, and they can be aggressive or reckless. Accident causing fatalities are common.

Armed robberies, carjackings and attacks on moving vehicles have occurred in Arusha and Dar es Salaam, particularly on Toure Drive (Msasani Peninsula).

  • Avoid travelling alone
  • Keep windows rolled up and doors locked
  • Avoid travelling after dark
  • Remain on tourist routes and avoid remote areas
  • If you find yourself on less-travelled roads and trails, avoid stopping because armed robberies and carjackings may occur
  • When travelling between cities, you should do so in a convoy, whenever possible

Crowds tend to form around accidents and foreigners are extorted for money or assaulted (even when they are not at fault).

National parks and nature reserves

Organized tours and independent travellers have been victims of armed robbery in parks and nature reserves.

Exercise caution in:

  • the northern circuit in the vicinity of Serengeti National Park
  • Arusha National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area
  • regions surrounding Mount Kilimanjaro

Avoid camping or travelling alone and hire a reputable tour guide. Hotels can make recommendations for reputable tour companies.

While camps and lodges are generally guarded, potentially dangerous wild animals often venture within the boundaries of the camp.

  • Follow the advice and warnings of local tour guides and camp employees
  • Do not walk around at night
  • Never leave children unattended

Mountaineering

If you are considering climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, carefully consider the inherent risks involved. 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

Terrorism

There is a threat of terrorism, particularly in Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Arusha and border areas. 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.

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.

Fraud

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.

Corruption

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.

Public transportation

Buses

You should avoid travelling by bus (dala dala), as public buses are often overcrowded, poorly maintained and driven in a reckless manner. Public buses are frequently involved in accidents which have resulted in fatalities. There have been reports of sexual assault on buses.

Intercity buses are typically safer and meet higher maintenance standards.

  • Do not travel on overnight buses

Rail

Rail service is limited and maintenance standards are low. There have been reports of theft on crowded trains, particularly overnight trains.

Taxis

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, a number located inside a circle on the passenger doors and visible insurance and registration numbers located on the windshield.

  • Do not use motorcycle taxis (pika-pika or boda-boda) or three wheel taxis (bajaj), as drivers are often reckless and do not provide adequate safety equipment for passengers (such as helmets)
  • 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

Maritime transportation

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

Vessels travelling between the following ports are less reliable and often overcrowded:

  • Zanzibar and Pemba
  • Tanga and Pemba
  • Mafia and mainland Tanzania

Ferry accidents occur due to the overloading and poor maintenance of some vessels.

Do not board vessels that appear overloaded or unseaworthy.

Piracy

Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters, particularly in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Power Outages

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.

Emergency services

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Tanzania’s 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, expressed or implied. The Government of Tanzania 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 Tanzania to provide services.