Tanzania Travel, Backpacking & Gap Year Guide
Tanzania may be a destination that you are unfamiliar with but this East African country is a heavyweight when it comes to things to do. Jungle adventures, wildlife safaris, tribal villages, Mount Kilimanjaro and beaches, its hard to think of what Tanzania hasn’t got. Get information, advice and inspiration for the best things to do if you would like to travel, go backpacking or take a gap year in Tanzania.
Tanzania Travel Ideas, Backpacking Trips & Gap Year Programs
Travel to Tanzania
Tanzania is a country that offers perhaps the greatest diversity of things to do in Africa.
View our comprehensive travel and backpacking guide with tips, iideas and advice for itineraries, costs, how to save money, and more!
Our destination guide aims to give you all the information you need to have an amazing experience in this amazing country. Find affordable travel and backpacking ideas with advice for amazing things to do and how you can be more than just your average traveller.
Get inspired to visit Tanzania today!
- Capital: Dodoma (Population: 325,000 approx)
- Currency: Tanzanian shilling (TZS) $1 =1,623TZS / £1 = 2,540TZS
- Population: 37,000,000 (approx)
- Language: English + local languages
- Area: 950,000 sq km (approx)
- International Calling Code +255
- Climate: Tanzania has a dry and wet season
- Transport: We recommend booking private bus transport for Kenya, local transport can be unreliable / unsafe
- Tourist Visa: Most nationalities can gain a tourist visa on arrival
Weather & Best Time to Visit Tanzania
The most popular peak time for tourists is July and August but Tanzania is a year round destination and you can have just a good time throughout the year. If you are looking to book a break to Tanzania we recommend visiting during the wildebeest migration from December to May, this time of the year more than any other you will stand a good chance of seeing exotic animals like lions, elephants, buffaloes, leopards and rhinoceros’. Each month offers something different and you are gauranteed to see animals and wildlife anytime.
Travelling & Backpacking in Tanzania
Tanzania is one of the best countries to visit in Africa due to the spectacular nature, exotic wildlife and culture - there are over 100 tribal groups living here. Tanzania has a rich history with Indian, Arabian, and African influences, most international flights arrive into Dodoma which is a good base to explore the country and get away from the city life.
There are lots of places to consider visiting including the beautiful island of Zanzibar, the Jozani Forest, Prison Island and dolphin spotting in the spectacular Indian Ocean. If you are going for the whole experience try to sample the local food, people in Tanzania love ugali (a type of corn mash), koranga (a watery beef stew), pilau rice with an extra dish like meat or vegatables and also seafood like fish. Tanzania is also home to some of the largest national parks in Africa making this one of the best wildlife holiday destinations in the world.
Tanzania is an incredibly diverse country with many different tribes living there including the famous Masaai, you will have one of the best experiences of your life here.
Gap Year in Tanzania
Tanzania is such an amazing country to spend a gap year. There are lots of trips and also the option to do something constructive which is not only great for your CV / resume, it will be an experience which you will be able to cherish for the rest of your life.
On a structured program you could help education and community initiatives. If you are a qualified teacher you could join a summer break in Tanzania, this is a great way to use your break to make a difference use your teaching skills to help children. Sports coaching is very popular too, local people love football and you can help coach at schools and in local communities. Participating is not only a lot of fun and rewarding, but its a good opportunity to explore and see more of Tanzania as usually you work during the week then have weeknd free.
You will find the majority gap year programs in Tanzania will require you to be aged 18+ and have a positive and flexible attitude but there are also summer taster trips for 16 and 17 year olds which can be arrange with large international sending agencies. Some programs include local NGO's and charities might require you to pay a fee or donation, this usually include meals, transport and accommodation. Most packages are small group with a blend of international travellers of all ages from all over the world.
Some placements are in rural or rustic conditions, always research options before applying to see if they are right for you
Best Places to Visit in Tanzania
Here are some of the incredible destinations you should add to your Tanzania itinerary:
- Arusha National Park
- Gombe Stream National Park
- Katavi National Park
- Lake Manyara National Park
- Lake Nyasa
- Lake Tanganyika
- Lake Victoria
- Mahale Mountains National Park
- Mikumi National Park
- Mount Kilimanjaro
- Ngorongoro Crater / Ngorongoro Conservation Area
- Olduvai Gorge
- Ruaha National Park
- Selous Game Reserve
- Serengeti National Park
- Tarangire National Park
- Udzungwa Mountains National Park
- Yhe Kondoa Rock Art Sites which are a Unesco World Heritage Site and consist of ancient cave drawings which are over 2000 years old
Popular Cities to Visit
Dar es Salaam:
Not the most spectacular city in the world but chances are you will pass through here, there are lots of gardens, shops, museums and beaches
The capital of Tanzania and there are lots of excursions which can be arranged here
Located in Northern Tanzania and is the gateway to the country, we recommend going to climb Mt Meru
A place where you can join various excursions
Tanzania Travel Tips
Visit Zanzibar and relaxing and pure white sandy beaches, expect hot weather almost all year round. The Ngorongoro Crater is spectacular and there is also the opportunity to see wildlife here. No trip to Tanzania would be complete with a visit to the Serengeti National Park which is home to some of the best wildlife in Africa. Floating around Lake Victoria and seeing birds and other animals. There are lots of National Parks you could visit in Tanzania, we recommend the Tarangire National Park
Health & Safety:
One of the questions we ofen get asked is how safe is Tanzania to visit. You are very unlikely to encounter and problems but like in any destination you will need to be more cautious in the larger cities where petty theft can be an issues. To prevent this try not to flash expensive valuables in public. Tanzania is an incredibly hot destination so be prepared for this, try to pack and dress light. Living conditions and local infrastructure can also be basic so pack accordinly. If you sign up for a structured holiday through our website you will usually get 24/7 support so you can relax and just enjoy the experience.
We recommend trying to learn some basic Swahili phrases and learning more about the culture of the country.