What currency should I carry with me?
The official currency of Tanzania is the Shilling. Smaller amounts of money are usually paid in Shilling, whereas larger amounts of money are paid in US$. Currently 1 US$ was worth approximately 1,580 Shillings. Money can be exchanged at the Bureau de Change which can be found at any larger town and in the airports. Make sure that they change your money at the rate which is written in front of the bureau.
Travelers from the US are advised to bring US$ in currency; make sure that the bills you bring are dated 2003 or later, as currency dated earlier may be rejected by currency exchange places. Also we at Oreta Adventures won't accept US$ bills which have been issued before 2003. You will get a better exchange rate for 50 and 100 dollar bills than for smaller bills. There are several banks where you can use ATMs. Visa card is the most widely accepted credit card.
Travelers from Europe are advised to bring Euros (or British Pounds, Swiss Francs). They can be changed to Shillings at all Bureau de Change and you save the costs for changing twice - first from Euro to Dollar at your country of origin, and then from Dollar to Shilling in Tanzania. You can use international credit cards, preferably VISA card, at the ATMs of most banks. At Barclay's bank (Moshi, Arusha, Zanzibar, Dar es salam) it is even possible to use your EC debit card.
Only hotels, restaurants and tourist shops of higher category accept international credit cards; when paying small amounts in US$ rather than Shilling, in most cases you get a worse exchange rate. Local
shops accept Shillings only.
Where can I get a visa for Tanzania?
Generally, everyone entering Tanzanian territory must have a tourist visa, the price is $100 for U.S. passport holders, US$75 for Canadians, and $50 for EU and most other passport holders. The best idea is to obtain the visa from the Tanzanian Embassy at your country of origin.
Can I send emails/make phone calls/send postcards from Tanzania?
Internet cafes have hit Tanzania and especially in the central area of the cities. Prices are cheap, but the connection speed is sometimes disappointing.
There are post offices where you can buy stamps, envelopes and postcards. The post is reasonably reliable although it may take some time to reach its destination, however courier services such as DHL are available. Telecommunications in Tanzania is generally good.
You can even use your standards GSM mobile phone in Tanzania. If you plan to use it a lot, you might consider purchasing a local SIM card.
Should I give a tip?
Tipping is not a local custom in Tanzania; it is common only amongst tourists and expatriates who live in the country. Giving monetary gifts to friends or relatives is common, however, both in the city and in the countryside. As tourism is growing in the country locals who work in the tourism industry are getting used to the notion of tipping and sometimes even expect a tip from clients.
Tips will vary depending on the length and complexity of the trip, the number of staff on the trip and the number of clients on the trip. Generally groups like to meet together before the end of the trek or safari to discuss how much they would like to tip each staff member based on their individual trek/safari experience.
Will I be able to speak to people in English in Tanzania?
The official and spoken languages of the country are Swahili and English. Many people have English as their second language as they were taught this at school. All Tanzanian working in the tourism field can communicate in English. In the countryside, or when communicating with children, local women or individuals of lower school education, it might however be difficult to speak in English.
It is appreciated by locals if travelers can speak some words in Swahili. A few words are surprisingly easy to master. It is a good idea to spend a few dollars to purchase a Swahili phrase book.
I'm a travel agent/journalist. Can you help me?
Of course we can! Please contact us for more information.
What souvenirs can I buy in Tanzania?
There are many smaller curio shops and local markets in the towns. We want to encourage you to buy at local shops to support local economies. Be careful when buying antiques that you receive a stamped certificate from the seller in case you are asked to prove your purchase at the airport. Sometimes in the countryside you will be offered goods from local countryside people for sale. When buying souvenirs, you should always bargain with people.
Can I go out to a good restaurant in Tanzania?
The number and variety of restaurants is improving. In cities and towns with some tourism traffic (Daressalam, Moshi, Arusha, Karatu, Zanzibar town) you can find good Swahili, African, Indian, Chinese and Italian restaurants. Many older restaurants serve typical English food but the variety is widening and many other influences are appearing in menus. Please contact us for any question you need to know about.