In our opinion, Tanzania is safe to visit; the level of safety and security is very high. This is even more so if you book an organized safari. Theft and pickpocketing are relatively common in big cities, but incidents are easily avoided using a few simple safety precautions. Almost a million tourists visit Tanzania every year, and most visits are trouble-free.
General Travel Safety Precautions
African safaris are generally safe, in our opinion. Especially if your visit is primarily an organized tour, your tour operator and guide will ensure your safety at all times. Self-drive safaris are generally safe, but it is recommended to seek advice about the safety of the areas you intend to visit. Below are some general safety tips:
- Buy good travel and health insurance.
- Check the passport and visa requirements for your destination.
- Get all the required vaccinations, antimalarial medication, and insect repellent (those containing DEET are most effective)
- Lock all your travel bags and keep all valuables in your hand luggage
- Make duplicates of important travel documents or keep copies online.
- Bring appropriate clothing to protect against the sun, mosquitoes, and stay warm on open vehicle game drives.
- Check luggage restrictions on all your flights (including domestic flights)
- Don’t drive at night.
- Put your valuables in the safety deposit box of the hotel.
- Always be polite and respectful to police officers and military personnel. In the rare instance that you might get asked for a bribe (on a self-drive safari only), a light attitude and a joke might well get you off the hook.
Wildlife Viewing Safety Precautions
Wildlife viewing is generally very safe, in our opinion. A professional guide will ensure your safety on a guided safari. Self-drive safaris are safe as long as you treat animals with respect and follow all park rules. It is sporadic for incidents to occur. Below are some general safety guidelines and tips.
- Always follow your guide’s instructions and guidelines.
- Always keep your voice down when close to animals.
- Stay in the car during game drives except at designated areas where you are allowed to get out.
- Don’t stand up in the car, hang out of the window, or sit on the roof.
- Don’t drive too close to animals if you are on a self-drive safari and back off if the animals seem disturbed.
- Don’t drive between elephants in a herd, especially females, and they’re young.
- Stay together as a group close to your guide on a walking safari and always walk in single file.
- Never run or jog in a wildlife area as it entices predators to attack
- Never walk between a hippo and water; it may panic and charge because its safety route to the water is blocked.
- Never leave food in your tent; it will attract wildlife.
- Cover your arms and legs in the evening and use insect repellent to protect against mosquitoes
- Wear a hat, use sunscreen and drink plenty of water
- Don’t wear bright and colorful clothes or too much perfume – especially on walking safaris.
- It is recommended not to wear dark-colored clothing in tsetse-fly areas – such as black or dark blue – since it attracts these stinging flies.
- Bring warm clothes for morning game drives in open vehicles.
Cities & Urban Areas: Safety Precautions
Travel in Africa is generally safe, in our opinion. Especially if on an organized tour or safari. However, as is the case worldwide, there is an increased risk of crime in large cities and urban areas. Visitors on guided activities are mostly shielded from these risks, and their guide will ensure their safety. When unguided, normal safety precautions and common sense should keep you safe. Below are some general tips:
- Ask at your hotel if it is safe to walk around the local area; when new to a place, it’s always good to seek local advice on safety issues.
- Don’t wear jewelry when walking in cities and leave all valuables in a safety deposit box at your hotel.
- Avoid walking alone in a large, unfamiliar city.
- Don’t walk around at night; take a taxi.
- Avoid getting engaged with people approaching you in the street.
- Be careful when drawing money from an ATM; go elsewhere if you suspect people hanging around.
- Always lock your car doors and close windows when driving in busy towns.
- Never leave a car unattended with valuables or luggage visible.
Malaria and Vaccinations in Tanzania
High risk throughout the country except in high altitude mountains over 2000m, including the Ngorongoro Crater rim, Mt. Kilimanjaro, and parts of the Eastern Arc Mountains. Most safari parks are high-risk zones. The highest risk of transition is in the rainy season from November to May. See the websites below for more detailed advice.
Summary of Safety & Security in Tanzania
Staying Safe on Wildlife Viewing Activities: Your safari guide will ensure your safety at all times – always listen carefully to the instructions and follow the park rules. When on a self-drive safari, never leave your car outside of designated areas and never approach animals too close.
Staying Safe on a Chimp Trek: Chimp trekking in Gombe Stream National Park is a very safe activity. Visitors are taken to a habituated chimpanzee community. The chimps mostly ignore visitors, and you’ll be able to watch them behaving naturally. A park ranger will brief you on how to behave while close to the chimps to ensure your and their safety.
Staying Safe in Cities and Towns: Most crime in Tanzania is in the cities (as is the case throughout the world). Petty theft and pickpocketing are quite common, but violent crime is infrequent. You are unlikely to encounter any problems on a guided tour. Venturing out in the cities unguided is fine as long as you follow a few simple safety precautions: check with your hotel whether the area is safe to walk; only take a bit of cash with you; don’t display any valuables; don’t walk around after dark. For more safety tips that apply to African cities in general