28 Most Common Tourist Scams in Tanzania

Safety at Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Dodoma, Kigoma, Mbeya, Moshi, Morogoro, Mwanza, Mtwara
Note: If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. World Nomads Travel Insurance, backed by Lonely Planet & National Geographic, is one we recommend. Check it out before your adventure.

 

Zanzibar

Zanzibar

 

Many people travel to Tanzania to enjoy some of the most beautiful national parks in the world, such as the Serengeti national park and the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro national park.

You can also enjoy scenic beaches in places like Zanzibar, go diving off the coast of the Pemba and Mafia islands, and visit bustling markets and pretty architecture in Dar es Salaam.

Unfortunately, Tanzania has a rising crime rate which also includes violent crime. 

Although most visitors who stick to the main hubs are unlikely to witness this, they are increasingly becoming the target of attacks such as snatch thefts.

So read on to learn how to protect yourself here!

 

 

A. TOURIST ACTIVITIES

1. Fraud tour operators

Image source: tanzaniatourism.go.tz

 

How it works:

Like in Egypt, a common scam in Tanzania is fake tour operators who will offer to sell you a safari excursion.

They will usually ask for half the money upfront and you will then never see them again.

Another trick they use is to play off famous or more established brand names.

For instance, there is a company “Africa Scenic Safaris” which allegedly is an imposter of “African Scenic Safaris”.

 

What to do:

Engage a licensed, reputable tour operator which you can find via:

  • TourRadar: all the best multi-day tours by established names like Intrepid Travel, G Adventures, Trafalgar, etc can be found here with best price guarantee.
  • Viator: largest platform of day tours globally and in Tanzania with low price guarantee.
  • Your hotel / hostel affiliated tour operator: reliable but generally not the best or cheapest.

If you prefer to engage a tour operator offline, ask these questions:

  • Is the operator licensed (check the Tanzania Tourism Board’s website) and has a professional website, physical office, business email and working telephone number?
  • Are there online reviews? Do they sound legitimate?
  • Is the price too low to be true? What does it cover (vehicles, guides, safety, insurance, hidden fees, etc)?

When paying:

  • Avoid paying in full upfront unless through a reputable platform / operator.
  • If using an online platform, do not make payment off the platform.

Be wary of frauds who try to pass off their location and certifications of legitimate operators as their own.

 

2. Low quality tour operators

Image source: go2africa.com

 

How it works:

According to the Tanzania Revenue Authority, only 517 formal firms out of 1,401 tour companies comply with the law in 2018.

This means there’s a 63% chance of you engaging a shady tour operator.

To increase their margins, such operators could resort to providing poor and inadequate safety equipment or services.

Some have even bee reported to use public buses, rather than a private vehicle to bring you from point to point!

 

What to do:

Engage a licensed, reputable tour operator which you can find via:

  • TourRadar: all the best multi-day tours by established names like Intrepid Travel, G Adventures, Trafalgar, etc can be found here with best price guarantee.
  • Viator: largest platform of day tours globally and in Tanzania with low price guarantee.
  • Your hotel / hostel affiliated tour operator: reliable but generally not the best or cheapest.

If you prefer to engage a tour operator offline, ask these questions:

  • Is the operator licensed and has a professional website, physical office, business email and working telephone number?
  • Are there online reviews? Do they sound legitimate?
  • Is the price too low to be true? What does it cover (vehicles, guides, safety, insurance, hidden fees, etc)?

 

3. Unofficial tour guides

Kanyenye Street, Tanzania

Kanyenye Street, Tanzania. Image source: Wikimedia – Wesellgold

 

How it works:

This scam is slightly different from fake tour operators as you will actually be taken on a tour, like in Morocco and Tunisia.

The scam starts when you are approached on the streets by a friendly local who offers to show you around or just starts to follow you and points out places of interest along the way.

Even though you did not agree to the tour, the guide will still expect to be paid.

They will also usually take you to shops or eateries where they will get a commission.

 

What to do:

If someone starts to follow you on the streets then firmly and politely refuse to engage with them.

Real tour guides are authorised by the Commission for Tourism – they will have an identity badge.

 

4. Drug set-up

 

How it works:

When travelling in and around Dar or Arusha, you are likely to be offered drugs by street touts such as:

  • Grass (locally known as Bhangi).
  • Miraa (Khat or Qat) a mild herbal stimulant from Kenya (legal there but illegal here).

While widely smoked, Bhangi is illegal and if caught, you will not only get heavily fined but could be deported.

What happens is should you buy it, there is a chance you may be ratted out by the tout to real police, or fake police will appear and confront you.

Either way, you will be asked to pay a big fine.

 

What to do:

Avoid buying, and none of this will happen to you.

If you are caught by real police, there is nothing much you can do besides doing what they ask of you (bribe).

However, if you have not obviously broken the law, be very skeptical when a “police officer” approaches you.

Three steps you can use to shake them off:

  • Verify badges and identification. Threaten to call the police hotline (end of this article).
  • Never give your passport if asked. Show only a photocopy of it.
  • If they want to fine you or check your bags, insist to only do so at a police station (use your GPS to find it or check with a local) with a lawyer or someone from your embassy.

Next, you should have hidden your valuables in a money belt or hidden pouch and use a cheap spare wallet with not much cash inside.

This way, the scammers may simply let you go since you do not seem to have much cash.

 

5. Pickpocketing

 

How it works:

A non-exhaustive list of hotspots include:

  • Crowded streets: Stone Town, street children in Arusha.
  • Public transportation: Ubungo Bus Station, Dalla Dalla minibuses, Posta daladala stand, ferry to Kigamboni, Mnazi Mmoja dala stand.
  • Markets and shopping malls: Kariakoo, trinket stalls on Samora Av.
  • Restaurants, hotels, nightspots
  • Tourist attractions: Coco Beach.

These thieves work in gangs, and will hang around to spot anyone carrying an expensive or neglected phone / jewelry / valuable / bag and where it is stored.

Once they mark a target, they will surround him or her and then work like this:

  • One keeps a lookout and blocks passer-bys from seeing the scene.
  • Another blocks, pushes or distracts you (e.g. ask you an innocent question / survey / drop something and ask you about it).
  • A third steals your valuable / slashes your bag and then passes it on.
  • The last hides the loot under a jacket / coat / newspaper and then escapes.

 

What to do:

Stay alert and watch out for suspicious characters, though that is easier said than done.

The best solution is still, to not make yourself look like a target. 

Further, make it impossible for thieves to steal from you with these methods:

  • Carry around a photocopy of your passport instead of the actual one.
  • Carry small amounts of cash in a cheap spare wallet that you wouldn’t mind losing. Do not leave it in your back pocket.
  • Conceal small valuables in a money belt / hidden pouch, large valuables in a slash-resistant and lockable anti-theft bag.
  • Leave most valuables in your hotel / hostel / apartment safe, secured with hotel safety tools.
  • Get a good travel insurance (e.g. World Nomads, trusted by Lonely Planet and National Geographic – check our review) to cover loss of valuables.

 

6. Robberies / muggings

 

How it works:

Although not very common, armed robberies do happen.

This can happen along the northern circuit that covers Arusha, Serengeti, and Ngorongoro national parks, as well as the Mount Kilimanjaro region.

Also, when in Dar-Es-Salaam, be careful along the Toure Drive (Msasani Peninsula) which is noted for armed robberies and muggings.

When on foot, the Themi River intersection as well as the area around the Clock Tower are hotspots as well.

Besides those places, armed hotel robberies were also reported in Zanzibar along the Ugunja east coast in 2008.

 

What to do:

Avoid travelling alone, especially at dusk or dawn, and in those hotspots listed.

Engage legitimate operators for whom safety is important:

  • TourRadar: all the best multi-day tours by established names like Intrepid Travel, G Adventures, Trafalgar, etc can be found here with best price guarantee.
  • Viator: largest platform of day tours globally and in Tanzania with low price guarantee

Book accommodation in safe areas via legitimate sites with real user reviews:

  • Booking.com: Frommer’s tests have found the site to offer the best selection and rates amongst competing sites most of the time. 
  • HomeStay: if you are up for gaining genuine insights of Tanzania by staying with a local host!

To minimize loss of valuables:

Get travel insurance (e.g. World Nomads, trusted by Lonely Planet and National Geographic – check our review) for two key purposes:

  • Monetary compensation for any loss of valuables.
  • Medical coverage in case you are assaulted.

 

7. Beach thefts

Image source: elderandsisternevin.blogspot.com

 

How it works:

Beach thefts do happen around Coco Beach, especially if you leave your valuables unattended in order to go swimming.

There have also been reports of visitors being robbed on beaches around sunrise or sunset.

 

What to do:

If you want to go swimming without worrying about your valuables, there are three potential solutions:

Finally, avoid walking on beaches after dark, especially if you are traveling alone.

 

8. Fake goods

Image source: businesstimesafrica.net

 

How it works:

You may fake goods sold here particularly at tourist areas.

These usually include fake gold jewelry as well as gemstones (e.g. Tanzanite), like in India and Sri Lanka.

Scammers will tell you that these are high value items and charge you a high price but in reality they are worthless.

 

What to do:

If you want to buy some, learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff, or only visit licensed, experienced dealers with a good reputation.

You can find these by doing some online research or by asking your hotel / hostel staff.

If you do not want to go through the hassle of researching, other options available include:

  • Using local connections: get a local to bring you around.
  • Viator: largest platform of day tours globally – follow a shopping tour.

 

9. Drinks and food spiking

Image source: lifeguidetanzania.wordpress.com

 

How it works:

Drink and food spiking in a rising scam in Tanzania.

It can happen at a nightclub, when a scammer offers you a drink laced with drugs that will render you incapacitated.

They then either bring you back to your hotel to steal everything you have, or rob you at a secluded spot.

Another place this can happen is on a bus where someone offers you food or drinks that has been laced with drugs to knock you out.

By the time you awake, your money, valuables and luggage will be gone.

 

What to do:

Do not accept any food or drinks that you have not seen made in front of you.

Also, do not leave your drink unattended as this gives a scammer time to slip something into it.

Choosing canned or bottled drinks is a good choice as it is more difficult for someone to put a sedative inside.

Finally, do not flaunt your valuables. Leave them in your hotel / hostel / apartment safe which you can further secure with hotel safety tools.

 

B. TRANSPORT

1. Fake visa agents

Image source: liveandletsfly.boardingarea.com

 

How it works:

These scammers will offer to help you secure a visa extension or a volunteer visa.

Once you pay them the visa fee, they will disappear with the money.

 

What to do:

Only ever apply for a visa through the proper official channels.

Do not pay any fees upfront to someone who says they can process a visa for you.

 

2. Customs officer scam

Image source: liveandletsfly.boardingarea.com

 

How it works:

This happens at the customs counter where an immigration officer will approach you to collect your passport in an apparent effort to speed up the process.

He will also ask you to insert the visa fee of $100 inside the passport.

On reaching the counter, you will be shocked to be told that your $100 bill is “fake”.

Another variation is when an immigration official demands to see your inoculation certificate for yellow fever even where it’s not needed.

Since it’s actually not needed, most tourists would not have it. The official will then seek to fine you.

 

What to do:

Do not pass your passport and cash to anyone who claims to be able to help speed up the process.

Also, if you face any problems, seek to speak to a senior immigration official.

 

3. Corrupt baggage checkers

 

How it works:

This starts with the officer operating the X-Ray machine at Zanzibar Airport asking where you come from, then proceeding to demand a tip if you don’t want your bags opened up.

 

What to do:

Know that these operators are not allowed to ask for tips.

If you encounter such a situation, make others aware of what the officials are asking for in a loud voice to embarrass them or ask for their supervisors or airport manager.

 

4. Corrupt traffic police

 

How it works:

In Zanzibar, you may encounter corrupt traffic police who stops your rental car or motorbike.

You are then accused of a minor infraction, such as speeding even if you have not, and asked to pay a fine.

 

What to do:

If you drive, follow all laws and make sure to bring your driving license along.

Hide your cash and valuables in a money belt or hidden pouch and use a cheap spare wallet with not much cash inside.

This may allow you to negotiate the bribe down when you show that you have not much cash on you..

 

5. Mbeya Lilongwe fake bus scam

Image source: mbeyaenogile.blogspot.com

 

How it works:

If you are travelling out of Mbeya to Lilongwe in Malawi, watch-out for this infamous fake bus scam.

At the main bus station in Mbeya, you will find many touts selling tickets for buses to different Malawian cities.

They come with brochures, documentation, sheets and one group even has an office at the bus station!

Once you pay, they put you on a dala-dala (mini-bus) that will get you to the border where your bus to Malawi is supposedly waiting but upon reaching there, there is no such bus!

 

What to do:

The best way is to go where the actual buses that go to the Malawian border can be boarded, which is at Nane Nane station.

This station is on Highway (A104) about 10 kilometers from Mbeya. You can reach there with a dala-dala easily boarded on the highway.

At Nane Nane, you will only have to pay 5000 TZS for a bus that takes you to Kyela.

Let the driver know you are going to Ipinda station or Malawi and he will assist you. From Ipinda, you can opt for the moto taxi or walk about 1 km to the border.

 

6. Bus bag helper

 

How it works:

Around bus stations in Tanzania, there are touts always looking for ways to make money.

Besides the many roving street vendors, you may encounter touts who offer unsolicited help.

For example, someone may forcefully take and carry your bags for you and then demand an extortionate tip.

 

What to do:

These touts strike whenever you get off a vehicle at the bus station, so take extra care when alighting.

However, if you do need help with your luggage, it may not be such a bad idea to engage them, though you never know if they will run away with your luggage or ask for an outsized tip.

 

7. Bus conductor scam

 

How it works:

On the bus, the bus conductor will collect your fare, and if he owes you change but doesn’t have the right amount, he will give you a ticket first to hold on to.

As the bus proceeds, the conductor who owes you change may disembark at a stop and a new conductor boards the bus.

When you demand for your change from the “new” conductor, he will not have it.

 

What to do:

Try to have the exact amount if possible. Else, make sure to monitor the conductor if you are owed change.

 

8. Ferry ticket touts

Image source: travelplugged.com

 

How it works:

Aggressive ferry ticket touts operate at most Tanzanian ports.

They will push you to buy tickets for ferries and boats that are overcrowded and dangerous, often at inflated prices.

The worst however, are the scammers who sell fake tickets.

In particular, they love to sell fake night ferry tickets from Dar es Salaam to Stone Town which tourists assume exist but doesn’t, as there is actually a ferry ride for the reverse direction (Stone Town to Dar es Salaam).

 

What to do:

If you want to buy a ticket for a ferry in Tanzania then buy direct from official channels or from platforms of day tours like Viator (largest globally and in Tanzania).

Also, always inspect the boat before you embark to make sure that it is seaworthy.

 

9. Ferry tickets for locals scam

Image source: Wikimedia – Muhammad Mahdi Karim

 

How it works:

This involves ferry tickets for travelling between Dar es Salaam and Stone Town.

You may encounter touts selling heavily discounted tickets which only Tanzanians can buy.

However, if the ticket inspector finds you with it, he will force you to buy another ticket at the full rates set for tourists.

 

What to do:

To avoid all these scams, only buy a ticket through these sources:

  • Direct from company / official counters.
  • Licensed retailers.
  • Your hotel / hostel if such a service is provided.
  • Day tour platforms like Viator (largest globally and in Tanzania).

 

10. Unlicensed taxi drivers

 

How it works:

You might find these scammers at tourist attractions or transportation hubs, such as the central bus station at Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar ferry port, etc.

They will offer you a much cheaper fare to get you hooked.

However, they may simply take you to a secluded location and either demand a higher fare or rob you.

Another warning sign to watch out for is if there are others in the taxi, both in front or hiding at the back. These are simply accomplices to rob you.

 

What to do:

It is very unsafe to take an unlicensed taxi in Tanzania.

Avoid hailing taxis from the streets unless you are sure it is an official taxi.

Ideally, take taxis affiliated to reliable hotels or at taxi stands. You can ask your hotel or restaurant to call one ahead as well.

Official taxis in the mainland have white number plates while those in Zanzibar have yellow number plates.

Another alternative is to use taxi booking apps such as Uber here (but of course there are other issues with it as well).

 

11. Overcharging taxis

Image source: tvcnews.tv

 

How it works:

Note that taxis in Tanzania do not have meters.

This means that you will need to agree a fare with a taxi driver before you head to your destination.

Sometimes however a driver will try to charge you a heavily inflated price as they assume that you do not know the going rate.

 

What to do:

Always negotiate the fare before getting into a taxi. Agree on the currency, price, and that it is for the taxi, not per pax.

You can estimate a fair price of any route by checking:

  • With your hotel / hostel staff.
  • An online taxi fare estimator / online travel forums.
  • Taxi booking apps like Uber.

Take a photo of the car license plate and also of the driver’s license in case anything goes wrong.

If all these are too much effort, you can also consider:

  • Using a rental car.
  • Arranging private transport through your hotel / hostel.
  • Or through day tour platforms like Viator (largest globally and in Tanzania).

 

12. Carjacking / car thefts

 

How it works:

Carjacking is a rising problem in Tanzania and areas to be wary at include:

  • Arusha
  • Borders with Burundi and Rwanda
  • Between Tanga and Kenyan border
  • Between Julius Nyerere International Airport and Dar es Salaam
  • Coco Beach area of Touré Drive on Msasani Peninsula
  • Highways between Morogoro and Mikumi; between Chalinze and Segera

Thieves will often place objects / debris on the road to stop you or will flag down vehicles claiming they have an emergency such as a flat tire.

Other ingenious variations also include setting up of fake police roadblocks to stop, and even having someone jump out in front of your car.

Once you stop, you will either be robbed, be fined by fake police and brought to ATMs to withdraw all your cash or even have your car stolen.

 

What to do:

Take care when you are driving and do not stop if you see debris in the middle of the road.

If someone tries to signal a problem with your car, avoid stopping or stepping out of your car. Instead, stop a distance away to check.

Should there be any damage, drive to a garage to fix it, rather than allowing the “good Samaritan” to help you.

Avoid driving at night, and avoid driving in areas outside the city centers.

 

13. Car smash and grab

 

How it works:

This is prevalent in major cities in Tanzania and usually takes place at traffic lights.

Often a gang or someone posing as a hawker will walk up to your car and smash the window and grab your valuables.

Areas known for smash and grab thefts include Toure Drive on the Msasani Peninsula.

 

What to do:

Ensure that your car doors are locked and windows are up.

Do not leave any valuables exposed in the car:

Finally, get travel insurance (e.g. World Nomads, trusted by Lonely Planet and National Geographic – check our review) for two key purposes:

  • Monetary compensation for any loss of valuables.
  • Medical coverage in case you are assaulted.

 

C. MISCELLANEOUS

1. Snatch theft

Image source: Flickr – Stefan Magdalinski

 

How it works:

Generally, there are two versions of snatch thefts – strike and run; distract and grab.

Possible contexts:

  • Bikes / mopeds riding past, with pillion rider doing the snatch.
  • Snatching from behind you, then running into a getaway car to escape.
  • At restaurants, stealing unattended bags / valuables on the chair or table.
  • Hotelsairports, where distracted / tired tourists carry all their valuables out.
  • The beach where tourists are relaxed, or when they head to the water.
  • Nightclubs, where “prostitutes” pretend to proposition tourists by grabbing them but are really trying to steal your valuables.
  • Seats beside a train’s doors where a thief gets out just before the doors close.
  • Stealing of bags on overnight trains / buses.
  • Valuables snatched through a car / bus window.
  • Thefts around ATMs.

Some hotspots:

  • Cities: Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam, Arusha
  • Transportation hubs: Tazara train station, Ubungo bus station, Dar es Salaam airport, Zanzibar ferry terminal
  • Others: Slipway on Msasani Peninsula in Dar es Salaam, Touré Drive, Haile Selassie Road.

 

What to do:

At crowded places, even seemingly safe places like a restaurant / hotel:

While out walking / on transport:

  • Use a cross body anti-theft bag facing away from the road / windows of your vehicle.
  • Do not carry valuables in your hands when walking by the road or when beside a vehicle window / train door.
  • Avoid wearing obvious jewelry which can be easily ripped off.

Other measures:

  • Leave valuables in hotel / hostel / apartment safe secured with hotel safety tools.
  • Get a good travel insurance (e.g. World Nomads, trusted by Lonely Planet and National Geographic – check our review) to cover loss of valuables.

 

2. Express kidnappings

 

How it works:

There have been reports of “express kidnappings” in areas at ferry, bus and train terminals in Dar es Salaam as well as outside such as South Beach, Stone Town, and Coco Beach.

Sometimes this is the work of organized gangs or unofficial taxi drivers who will drive you to a secluded location and threaten you.

The kidnappers may insist that you withdraw all your money from multiple ATMs to secure your release or that your family wire money via Western Union.

 

What to do:

Do not take unlicensed taxis and avoid traveling alone after dark.

It may also be a good idea to keep a separate bank account just for traveling:

  • Do not keep too much cash in there.
  • Only carry a bank card of that account so even if kidnapped or if the card is stolen, you would not have much to lose.

Finally, get travel insurance (e.g. World Nomads, trusted by Lonely Planet and National Geographic – check our review) for two key purposes:

  • Monetary compensation for any loss of valuables.
  • Medical coverage in case you are assaulted.

 

3. SIM card scam

Image source: loyaltylobby.com

 

How it works:

Intriguingly, none of the shops in Stone Town sell SIM cards.

So there are scammers (not just in Stone Town) who may approach you to sell SIM cards or help you manage the SIM card registration process.

Should you buy from them, you will probably be paying a few times of the remaining value in the SIM card.

 

What to do:

Get your SIM card in Dar-Es-Salaam or at the Zanzibar Airport.

 

4. Black market currency exchange scam

Image source: YouTube – MTamil Darbar

 

How it works:

You may be offered a better rate at a black market money changer or a money changer roaming the streets than at a local bank.

Black market money changers however have a bag of tricks to scam you.

For instance, these include short changing you through a sleigh of hand trick, giving you counterfeit bills, charging an inflated commission which they not mention earlier, etc.

Further, street money changers can simply run away.

 

What to do:

If the rate offered sounds too good to be true then it probably is.

Should you use one, make sure to count all your money carefully before you leave.

It is very difficult however to know if you have been handed fake currency or if you have been given notes that are out of circulation.

As such it is best to only change money at the banks or at ATMs.

 

5. ATM fraud

 

How it works:

Generally, ATMs can be rigged in two ways.

First, the card skimmer and pinhole camera / keypad overlay set up:

  • A card skimmer is installed over the card slot to capture your card details.
  • As for the pinhole camera / keypad overlay, it is used to capture your PIN but in different ways.

Second, the card trap:

  • Scammers can use cheap tools to rig the card slot to trap your card.
  • When you find your card stuck, they will come over and act as a helpful soul, and ask you to retype your PIN to make the card come out.
  • Obviously, your card will still be trapped, but the scammer will have now seen your PIN.
  • Should you head into the bank or somewhere else to seek help, the scammer will unblock your card and escape.

 

What to do:

Avoid using ATMs at dark, secluded areas. Use only those in controlled environments such as in banks.

Scan the area as well for any suspicious looking characters, and cover your PIN when typing it in.

Also, although not directly relevant, consider using a RFID blocking wallet.

That will prevent your cards’ details from being skimmed by thieves with a mobile RFID reader / scanner.

 

6. Credit card fraud

 

How it works:

At the Zanzibar Airport, you may encounter emigration officials who refuse to accept cash payment and insist that you use a credit card for your visa application.

Several days later, you may be shocked to be notified by your bank that your card has been used to make fraudulent transactions.

 

What to do:

Insist that you do not have a credit card and to use cash. If it does not work, ask to speak to the manager.

 

D. KEY SAFETY ISSUES

This is not meant to be a fear mongering exercise, as most visits are trouble free as long as you exercise some common sense.

However, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Information below has been compiled from:

 

1. Violent crime, hazards, hotspots, terrorism, civil unrest

Image source: smartraveller.gov.au

 

How it works:

A brief summary:

  • Violent crime: increasing.
  • Hazards: sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims has also been on the rise.
  • Hotspots:
    • Tanzania – Mozambique border (Palma, Mocimboa de Praia, Macomia in Cabo Delgado) has seen attacks by Islamist extremists.
    • Refugee camps in northwestern Tanzania and borders with Burundi and Rwanda (Kigoma, Kagera) dangerous due to banditry.
  • Terrorism: small scale terrorist attacks by extremists suspected to be linked to Al-Shabaab based in Somalia.
  • Civil unrest: demonstrations and political rallies can occur.

 

What to do:

Stay alert, avoid secluded areas, travelling alone at night, and don’t look like an easy victim (e.g. looking like a tourist / flaunting valuables).

Monitor local media in case of any terrorist threats, avoid hotspots and avoid participating in demonstrations.

Hotspots of violent crime to be wary of:

  • Dar es Salaam: South Beach, city centre, Coco Beach area of Touré Drive, Haile Selassie Road, Masaki / Oysterbay peninsula area, Ubongo bus station.
  • Zanzibar: Stone Town, hotels, beaches.
  • Arusha: near the clock tower in the center of town.
  • Tanga: Amboni Caves, shopping establishments of the Mzizima Ward of Tanga Rural District.
  • Mwanza
  • Pwani coastal region: Rufiji.
  • Borders: with Mozambique (Palma, Mocimboa de Praia, Macomia).
  • National parks: Mount Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti and Arusha National Parks.

 

2. Medical care

Image source: esther.ie

 

How it works:

Facilities and medicine are unfortunately, limited and not always available in Tanzania.

Diseases to vaccinate against / watch out for include:

  • Insect borne diseases: ebola, malaria, dengue, sleeping sickness, rift valley fever, chikungunya, lymphatic filariasis, onchoceriasis.
  • Food and water borne diseases: travellers’ diarrhoea, tuberculosis, schistosomiasis, typhoid, hepatitis, cholera.
  • Human borne diseases: HIV.
  • Animal borne diseases: avian influenza, rabies, ebola.
  • Others: Altitude sickness at Mt Kilimanjaro.

 

What to do:

If you can’t afford travel insurance (e.g. World Nomads – our review), you can’t afford to travel, as:

  • Emergency health services can cost a bomb.
  • Insurance providers can make complex logistical arrangements to get you the best medical treatment fast.

Vaccinations to consider:

  • All travellers: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, flu shot.
  • Most travellers: Hepatitis A, typhoid.
  • Some travellers: Hepatitis B, malaria, rabies.

Prevent insect bites:

  • Protective clothing.
  • Insect repellents.
  • Insecticide treated bed / cot nets.
  • Plug-in insecticides.
  • Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass.

Food safety:

  • Practise safe hygiene such as washing hands with soap.
  • Only drink bottled water or water that has been boiled.
  • Avoid unpasteurized dairy products, ice cubes, uncooked and undercooked food.

 

3. Natural disasters

 

How it works:

A brief summary:

  • Rainy season: March to June and November to December. Many roads only drivable with four wheeled drives.
  • Earthquakes: lies on a fault line, susceptible to earthquakes and tsunamis from the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

 

What to do:

Effective preparation and prevention involves staying at the “right” place, travelling at the “right” time and getting travel insurance (e.g. World Nomadsour review) that covers natural disasters.

Check the latest media reportsweather forecasts and sources such as the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.

Reacting to one:

  • Earthquakes: drop (to hands and knees), cover (head and neck with arms), hold on (to sturdy furniture; expect aftershocks.
  • Tsunamis: signs include abnormal ocean activity and load roars. Protect yourself from an earthquake first if there is one. Else, get to a high ground as far inland as possible.

 

4. Transport safety

 

How it works:

Driving in Tanzania can be very dangerous, especially at night. Some contributing factors:

  • Poor road conditions, especially those in the national parks and after heavy rains.
  • Erratic driving behaviour.

Take note when taking public transportation:

  • Dala dala microbuses and bajaji (three wheeled taxis) should be avoided.
  • Overcrowded ferries with a lack of life vests and easy access to exits are unsafe as well.

 

What to do:

Make sure your travel insurance (e.g. World Nomadsour review) covers travel accidents.

Driving: check latest media reports, weather forecast, stay alert, wear seatbelts, keep doors locked and windows up.

 

E. GETTING HELP

1. Emergency numbers to call

Image source: enca.com

 

  • Emergency hotline (for all services): 112
  • Traffic Police in Dar es Salaam: +255 22 2111747

Join the community!

Get protected!

Submit a scam / share your experience

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Shares