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Backpacking in Tansania

Travelling in Tanzania is very versatile, as you as a hiker and mountaineer, as well as sun worshipper and beach holidaymaker will get your money’s worth. Unique landscapes and an indescribable variety of animals await you. Tanzania borders Uganda and Kenya to the north, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rwanda to the west and Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi to the south.
The official capital of the United Republic of Tanzania is Dodoma, which was founded in 1907 by German colonists and is one of the largest cities in the country. Around 190,000 people live here. The seat of government and since 1996 the seat of the National Assembly, however, is in Dar es Salaam. A total of around 50 million people live in Tanzania. The country is considered a relatively safe travel destination. But you should avoid large crowds during your backpacker trip and ask in your accommodation for the current situation on the spot.
Both trekking and safari are possible in Tanzania because there is a good traffic infrastructure. Therefore it is not difficult to travel through the country and let the uniqueness work its magic on you. On the beaches you can recover perfectly from the strains of trekking and relax.
Daressalam Tansania

Daressalam Tansania

In addition to fantastic stalls, an indescribable landscape formation with flat steppes and unique mountain landscapes awaits you inland. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. It rises 5895 metres out of the plain and shows you its snow-capped summit, which shines like a diamond in the African sun. An equal mountain is Mont Meru, the house volcano of Arusha with 4565 meters.
On your backpacking trip to Tanzania, you’ll come across seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including three World Heritage Sites and three World Heritage Sites, as well as a mixed Natural and Cultural Heritage Site.  The cultural heritage includes the ruins of Kilwa and Songo Mnara and the rock paintings of Kondoa. As you roam through this stunning landscape with its indescribable biodiversity, Lake Victoria and many national parks await you to discover on a safari.
During your trip through Tanzania you will have a hot, tropical climate with a high humidity all year round due to the proximity to the equator. You can get money at many ATM machines, which can be found in major cities and tourist areas. In rural areas ATMs are rather rare. Therefore, you should always make sure you have enough cash. Credit cards are also not accepted everywhere.
There are only few problems with communication in Tanzania, even if you are not speaking Swahili. In many places you can communicate very well with English. You won’t starve either. Because everywhere you can get local delicacies at a food stall nearby or at other catering facilities.  Like the locals, you can eat with your fingers.
einzigartige Flora in Tansania

einzigartige Flora in Tansania

Culture in Tanzania

The north, the coastal region and the caravan road are very Islamic, in the inland Christianity is very widespread. Besides there are Lutherans, the Moravian Church, Africa Unland Church, the freedom church Evangelistic Assemblies of God Tanzania and many others. But everywhere you can also find followers of the traditional religions. Christians and Muslims often pay tribute to their rites.
The religions have an influence on the culture with which you come into contact both in the cities and in the countryside. As a backpacker you will be warmly welcomed in Tanzania. You move in a country where people smile a lot. You will be greeted on the streets with a friendly “Jambo” (hello to Swahili) or “Karibu” (welcome). The different religions live together peacefully.
Especially in the Muslim areas you should follow some rules of conduct which are prescribed by Islam. If you eat with your fingers, use your left hand, because the right hand is considered impure in the Muslim faith. Trading is the order of the day, especially when you go shopping at the markets.

More backpacking information about Tanzania

Tanzania is one of the most expensive countries on the African continent. Therefore you should plan a daily budget of 50 to 70 Euro to make ends meet.
Wild animals in the great outdoors, indescribable landscapes and unique cultural experiences await you when you not only travel the country, but also embark on an exciting voyage of discovery. One of the special experiences is the Serengeti, where you will meet elephants, giraffes, herds of buffalo, rhinos, cheetahs, lions, vultures, antelopes, wildebeests and an infinite number of birds.
An expedition to Kilimanjaro is a unique experience. However, a 7 day tour can quickly exceed your budget. But as a backpacker you don’t have to start dreaming and ask yourself, what if?  Besides the big highlights, there are beautiful alternatives that are just as much fun where the adventure factor is guaranteed to be included.
The accommodations in Tanzania are not quite as cheap as in other backpacker countries. So you pay between 20 and 40 Euro per night for a simple room in a hostel. But sometimes there are also bargains where you should get your hands on.
Tanzania offers you an exciting African cuisine, where meat, delicious curries, grilled fish and calamari and other tasty delicacies belong to it. A hint of hotness and oriental spices are always with you. You should try everything once.
As a German citizen you need a visa for the entry. You can apply for it before your trip or have it issued directly at the airport. What else you should know as a backpacker in Tanzania, you can find under Visa & Vaccinations.
idyllischer Ort am indischen Ozean in Tansania

idyllischer Ort am indischen Ozean in Tansania

Backpacker Budget in Tansania

Compared to other countries in Africa, Tanzania is a little more expensive but not as expensive as North America, Japan and Europe, so you can make ends meet with 50 to 70 Euros.  A huge hole in the travel budget is the entrance fee for the national parks Mont Meru, Global-Steam, Serengeti and Kilimanjaro. Thus you pay for example for a 7-days tour on the Kilimanjaro times just flappe 1000 euro.
The local currency is the Tanzania Shilling (TZs). But also US dollars can be quite helpful when paying. A warm meal is already available for 4,50 Euro. However, you should rather plan 6 to 7 euros. The reason for this price structure results from the fact that the locals eat at home and the bars, snacks and restaurants are reserved for tourists. Unfortunately, this limits the authentic feeling. Away from the bigger cities and tourist areas, it gets a little cheaper.
For half a litre of local beer you pay around 2 euros, export beers are around 2.50 euros on average. You can get coffee for 1 to 2 Euros, depending on where you get your coffee. Coke in the 0,33 l bottle is available for about 1 Euro. For 1.5 l of water you pay 0.50 Euro in the supermarket. If you want fast food in between, you can get a combo at McDonalds for about 6 Euro.

Taxi driving Bus driving in Tanzania

Travelling by public bus is quite cheap. Driving a taxi in Tanzania is not as expensive as in Germany. If you want to cover a distance with a taxi, you should stubbornly negotiate a fixed price in advance. Because the vehicles don’t have a taximeter that calculates the fare. A ride from the airport to your accommodation in Arusha costs you an average of 40 euros. Taxis are easy to find because they are everywhere at the airport and in the cities. As an alternative to taxis there are Tuk Tuks which you can use as a means of transport.

Buses in Tanzania

Bus travel is the most common way to get from A to B in Tanzania. On the main routes between Dar es Salaam, Moshi and Arusha you can use luxury buses that are in relatively good condition. It is much cheaper with Dala Dalas, old minibuses that are used by the locals. Often they are overcrowded. There are also no fixed stops. They are simply stopped on the street to receive you as passengers. On the front of the vehicle there is a location and a number. They tell you where the Dala Dala is going. Since there are no fixed timetables, patience is very important. As a backpacker you pay a little more than the locals but never more than 0.80 euros.

Domestic fares in Tanzania

If you want to cover a longer distance in the interior of the country in a short time, a domestic flight can certainly be interesting, especially if you are planning a detour to Zanzibar. For example, you pay around 130 euros for a flight from Arusha and around 70 euros from Stone Town. Flights within Tanzania can be booked conveniently via Precision Air. The airline flies to all major cities and holiday regions. Charter airlines fly small aircraft to the runways in the bush and in the cities.

Rail travel in Tanzania

A railway line leads from Dar es Salaam to the west through the whole country via Dodoma to Kigoma at Lake Tanganyika. Since the line was already built in the German colonial period more than 200 years ago, this train journey becomes an experience of several days. Another railway line from the 1970s runs from Dar es Salaam southwest to Zambia. You can also use this TAZATA railway to travel through the country. However, this railway line is mainly used for the transport of raw materials.  Information on routes and ticket bookings can be found on the website of the Tanzania Railways Corporation.

Boat trips in Tanzania

On the larger lakes such as Lake Victoria, Lake Eyasi, Lake Manyara, Lake Natron, Lake Nyasa and Lake Tanganyika steamboats are sailing, which you can use for one trip. The given schedules are not always kept, but it is worth waiting.
Roadtrip in Tansania

Roadtrip in Tansania

Backpacker Routen in Tansania

As a backpacker you will enjoy a diverse landscape with unspoilt nature and a unique wealth of plants and animals that offer you unique experiences. There are the coast, lakes, mountains, wildlife parks, highlands and valleys that alternate. You will see the savannah and the Kilimanjaro, which rises majestically to 5895 metres above sea level. Tanzania is not only the highest but also the lowest point of the entire continent.
This is Lake Tanganyika, which is 358 metres below sea level. The largest lake on the continent is Lake Victoria, which you can visit during your journey. More than six percent of Tanzania’s surface area is made up of different lakes. The beauty of Tanzania is that there is something for every backpacker type. What should you have seen during your backpacking trip?
Route 1: The classic (15-20 days)
  • 3 days exploring Dar es Salaam and experiencing the Tanzanian culture in the Village Museum. Pure shopping is the order of the day.
  • 2 days in Morogoro on a hike in the Uluguru Mountains.
  • 3 days Tanga. Explore the city and enjoy the unique beach.
  • 3 days to discover the Usambara Mountains and 30 million year old rainforests.
  • 3 days immerse Arusha in the culture of the Massai and comb the Ngurdoto Crater National Park at Mount Meru.
  • 3 days in the Serengeti encounter a variety of animals in the wild.
  • 1 day meeting chimpanzees in Gombe Steam National Park.
  • 1 day Kingoma visit the MV Liemba and take her across Lake Tanganyika.
Route 2: Backpacker Intensive Trip (up to 30 days and more)
  • 3 days exploring Dar es Salaam and experiencing the Tanzanian culture in the Village Museum. Pure shopping is the order of the day.
  • 3 day Bagamoyo discover historical treasures of the slave trade and the German colonial times.
  • 2 days in Morogoro on a hike in the Uluguru Mountains.
  • 2 days exploring Pangani and immersing yourself in the historical treasures.
  • 3 days Tanga. Explore the city and enjoy the unique beach.
  • 3 days to discover the Usambara mountains and 30 million year old rainforests.
  • 3 days immerse Arusha in the culture of the Massai and comb the Ngurdoto Crater National Park at Mount Meru.
  • 2 days to visit Mwanza and experience the beauty of Lake Victoria.
  • 4 days in the Serengeti to encounter a variety of animals in the wild.
  • Meet chimpanzees for 3 days in the Gombe-Steam National Park.
  • 2 days Kingoma visit the MV Liemba and drive with her over the Tanganyika Lake.
  • 2 days comb Ruaha National Park.
  • 1 day Mikindani on the traces of the slave trade walk.
Gipfel des Kilimanjaro

Gipfel des Kilimanjaro

Travel times in Tanzania

The East African country Tanzania is in principle a year-round destination, because the different regions have very different climatic zones, which result from the landscape forms. Therefore, the best time to travel depends on whether you want to experience a safari inland on your backpacker trip, an ascent of Kilimanjaro or a beach holiday on the Indian Ocean.
As the country is located directly south of the equator, there are no significant temperature changes during the seasons. There is only one dry season between May and October and two rainy seasons. The big rainy season is from March to the beginning of June and the small rainy season in October and November. However, it does not affect all regions.
In the coastal region and in the high regions there is considerably more rain than in the inland. You will find a tropical climate with year-round temperatures around 25°C during the day. At low altitudes, however, it can sometimes reach 35°C. Due to the season, the thermometer drops to 15°C in the evening, especially when you are in the central plateau below Kilimanjaro.

Backpacker Unterkünfte in Tansania

Tanzania is not a cheap backpacker country. This is not only noticeable in the entrance prices for the different national parks, but also in the prices for a consideration. But you have many possibilities to find accommodation. However, these also have their price. For a double room in a middle class accommodation with own bath and breakfast inclusive you pay fast 60 to 120 euro.
An extraordinary possibility to sleep is an overnight stay in a safari tent, which costs you 80 Euro per night. But it’s also much cheaper if you choose a simple hostel. If you are looking for cheap alternatives, you should check out the Hostelworld hostel page. It gives you a quick overview of the prices. According to this, a bed in a hostel costs on average as follows:
  • Dar es Salaam 6 -21 Euro
  • Arusha 6-17 Euro
  • Moshi 6-17 Euro
  • Kilimanjaro 37 Euro
  • Karatu 17 Euro
  • Bagamoyo 15 Euro
The prices in the hostels can vary considerably depending on the standard you are offered. For a double room you will quickly pay three times as much. Therefore, you should also look for motels and hotels, which can be a cheap alternative.

Motels on exit roads and motorways

Motels and hotels are a great alternative for an overnight stay. Depending on the situation, you can get a double room with its own bathroom for 26 euros per night and have a certain luxury. You should be aware that the standard is not comparable to European hotels and motels when you consider the cheaper options. You can find most of the houses at the entrance and exit roads to cities and on motorways or close to the city centre.

Camping in the great outdoors

Camping is a very cheap alternative and offers you the feeling of freedom, adventure and campfire romance. However, you should choose your sleeping places carefully and use designated camping sites. You should also register as a camper when you enter the park and ask if it is possible to stay overnight in your own tent. The camping areas will be controlled by armed park rangers to ensure your safety. Wild camping should be avoided as there are too many dangers.
Tierwelt Tansania

Tierwelt Tansania

Backpacker Trips & Tipps in Tansania

Travelling the country is one thing, experiencing much of the culture and indescribable nature and wildlife is another. But you should be aware that there are costs in all national parks, which can be very different. A balanced backpacking trip, with the focus on certain things, provides a relaxed journey, where you can really take in countless impressions that the country offers you.
An exciting alternative is to travel to Tanzania and organize everything locally. This spontaneity is rewarded twice because you not only save money, but also your nerves. The best planning and organization won’t help you if everything comes differently than you planned in advance. Tips in US dollars are very important in Tanzania and belong to the good tone, because the people who offer you a service live off the tips and feed their families.
Wasserfall in unbeschreiblicher Landschaft

Wasserfall in unbeschreiblicher Landschaft

Backpacker Highlights in Tanzania

One of the backpacking highlights in Tanzania is the Lake Manyara National Park, known as the Eighth Wonder of the World. It is located 120 kilometres from Arusha, at an altitude of 1,900 metres and offers you a unique variety of animals. The smallest national park, the Gombe Stream National Park on the border to Burundi, is world-famous for its primate researcher Jane Goodall observing chimpanzees. In addition to chimpanzees there are crocodiles, lions, cheetahs and flamingos.
Shopping is of course also a real highlight, especially if you are looking for pretty things at the markets. You will be offered unique, colorful fabrics, hand-carved figures, woven baskets and African jewelry, which is decorated with unique stones like rubies. Don’t forget to trade, as this is quite common.

Backpacker insider tips in Tanzania

Between Arusha and Moshi you’ll find an absolute insider’s tip, as you won’t find an oasis with crystal-clear water and shady fig trees in the desert-like landscape that invites you to relax and unwind. The way to this hidden paradise leads you past individual settlements until the oasis emerges from nowhere. It has many names. Some call it “chemka”, others call it “maji moto” or “kikuletwa hot springs”.
After passing the dense green of palm and fig trees you will come across an idyllic pool with imposing roots on the shore and turquoise water glistening in the sun’s rays. At the front end of the pool there is an inlet. The bubbling creates bubbles that give the feeling of boiling water.
In the oasis with the hot springs you meet Nile monitors in stately size. In the water itself live so-called doctor fish or also suction barbs, which free your feet from keratinized parts during a free Spa treatment. Here you can enjoy bathing and the idyll. Therefore you shouldn’t miss this wonderful, dreamy place.
Savanne in Tansania

Savanne in Tansania

Essen & Trinken in Tansania

Tanzania’s cuisine uses mainly staple foods such as cereals, rice, vegetables and fruit. They are prepared with a hint of pungency and a variety of delicious spices. Lamb, goat and beef are the main ingredients in meat dishes. Almost all dishes are accompanied by Ugali, a polenta-like porridge made from corn, manioc, sorghum or millet.
Likewise rice with vegetables, different sauces and hot spices belongs to many courts. The preparation takes place in different ways, so that you get it sometimes as a porridge and sometimes baked in fat as a rice cake served. A large number of different rice varieties are used for this, which also differ in taste. An important component are peppers, which provide a fiery hot spice.
Food is a communal event in Tanzania. Due to the Muslim influence, men and women in rural areas eat separately from each other. Food is eaten from a communal bowl with the fingers of the right hand, because the left hand is considered unclean.

Food in Tanzania

Bananas are a popular accompaniment to meat dishes and are prepared in various ways. Sometimes they are fried, fried, roasted or grilled and sometimes they are served as a creamy paste. When backpacking in Tanzania, it is imperative that you taste Pilau, where rice, cinnamon, pepper and cloves are joined together. Just as delicious are the great curries and various stews with vegetables and meat, which you’ll get as main dishes.
As a snack there is Kitumbua, a delicious roasted bread. In Tanzania there is only a small selection of dishes where meat is not included. Therefore vegetarians and especially vegans will have a hard time enjoying the varied cuisine. The locals will also give you an uncomprehending look and shake your head.

Drinking in Tanzania

Coffee and tea are abundant in Tanzania, as there are many tea and coffee plantations. In the same way you can get freshly prepared, delicious sugar cane juice everywhere. It is served with ice and lemon and is a real thirst quencher. If you feel like a delicious beer, you should try the local beers with the melodious names Safari Lager and Kilimanjaro.
The locals like to drink the beer, which is made from fermented corn. The taste takes some getting used to for Europeans, but you might want to try it anyway. Konyagi, the local gin, is the perfect drink to enjoy the sunset. In Muslim areas, alcohol is usually only available in tourist areas.

Backpacker Visa und Impfungen für Tansania

Für euren Backpacker Trip nach Tansania braucht ihr Visum, das es bei der Botschaft von Tansania in Berlin für 50 US-Dollar oder bei der Einreise auf den internationalen Flughäfen von Tansania und an allen großen Grenzübergängen gibt. Ihr braucht gültige Einreisepapiere. Gemäß dem Auswärtigen Amt lauten die Einreisebestimmungen wie folgt:

  • Reisepass: Ja
  • Vorläufiger Reisepass: Ja
  • Personalausweis: Nein
  • Vorläufiger Personalausweis: Nein
  • Kinderreisepass: Ja, mit Lichtbild


Da sich die Einreisebestimmungen für deutsche Staatsbürger kurzfristig ändern können, solltet ihr rechtverbindliche Informationen vor Reiseantritt beim Generalkonsulat einholen.

Medizinische Hinweise & Impfungen für Sansibar

Neben den Standardimpfungen des Robert-Koch-Institutes, die auf dem neusten Stand sein sollten, müsst ihr euch für euren Backpacker Trip  gegen Gelbfieber impfen lassen. Denkt daran, dass der Wirkstoff 10 Tage vor Reiseantritt geimpft wird. Eine Auffrischung von Hepatitis, Polio usw. solltet ihr auch durchführen. In großen Städten und Touristengebieten ist eine ärztliche Versorgung gewährleistet. Allerdings entspricht sie nicht den europäischen Standards.