MyTrip Connector & Safaris
How to come and visit Tanzania
Flights & getting in Tanzania
Most travellers reach Tanzania via air or travelling overland through one of the country’s many land borders.
Flights, cars and tours can be booked online at lonelyplanet.com/bookings.
Tanzania is easily reached via frequent air connections to Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar airports.
Airports & Airlines
Julius Nyerere International Airport Dar es Salaam; Tanzania’s air hub.
Kilimanjaro International Airport Between Arusha and Moshi, and the best option for itineraries in Arusha and the northern safari circuit. Note: it’s not to be confused with the smaller Arusha Airport, 8km west of Arusha, which handles domestic flights only.
Zanzibar International Airport On Zanzibar Island, at the southern edge of Zanzibar Town; it handles frequent charter flights from Europe, as well as several international carriers.
Other airports handling regional flights include Arusha Airport, Mtwara Airport and Mwanza International Airport.
A useful website for researching and booking East African regional flights is www.tripindigo.com. Tanzania’s flagship carrier is Air Tanzania, with domestic destinations, plus a small network of regional destinations. Other useful regional and international carriers include the following (all servicing Dar es Salaam, except as noted):
Air Kenya Flies between Nairobi and Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA).
Egyptair Dar es Salaam to Cairo (Egypt) and beyond.
Emirates Dar es Salaam to Dubai (UAE) and beyond.
Ethiopian Airlines Dar es Salaam and KIA to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), with onward connections to many other destinations.
Fastjet Johannesburg (South Africa), Harare (Zimbabwe) and Lusaka (Zambia) to Dar es Salaam.
Kenya Airways Nairobi and Mombasa to KIA, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar Island in partnership with Precision Air.
KLM Daily flights connecting KIA and Dar es Salaam with Amsterdam (Netherlands).
Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique Maputo (Mozambique), Pemba (Mozambique) and Nampula (Mozambique) to Dar es Salaam.
Malawi Airlines Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar Island to Blantyre (Malawi) and Lilongwe (Malawi); all flights are via Addis Ababa (Ethiopia).
Precision Air Nairobi (Kenya) to Dar es Salaam and KIA.
Rwandair Kigali (Rwanda) to KIA and Dar es Salaam.
South African Airways Daily between Dar es Salaam and Johannesburg (South Africa).
Swiss International Airlines Dar es Salaam to Zurich (Switzerland).
Departure tax is included in the price of a ticket.
Tanzania’s land borders are generally straightforward to cross. While there are through-buses on major routes, for less-travelled routes it’s generally faster (and often necessary) to take one bus to the border, walk across, and then get onward transport on the other side.
- Buses cross Tanzania’s borders with Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. At the border, you’ll need to disembark on each side to take care of visa formalities, then reboard and continue on. Visa fees aren’t included in bus ticket prices for trans-border routes.
- For crossings with other countries, you’ll need to take one vehicle to the border and board a different vehicle on the other side.
Car & Motorcycle
To enter Tanzania with your own vehicle you’ll need the following:
- the vehicle’s registration papers
- your driving licence (an international driving license, while not required for shorter sojourns, will make things easier)
- a temporary import permit (TIP; Tsh40,000 for one month, purchased at the border) or a carnet de passage en douane, which acts as a temporary waiver of import duty. The carnet (arranged in advance through your local automobile association) should also specify any expensive spare parts that you are carrying. The TIP is waived if your vehicle will be returning to its country of registration.
- road tax of US$25
- third-party insurance (Tsh50,000 for three months, purchased at the border or at the local insurance headquarters in the nearest large town); the COMESA yellow card is also accepted in Tanzania
- one-time fuel levy (Tsh10,000).
Most rental companies don’t permit their vehicles to cross international borders; if you find one that does, arrange the necessary paperwork with it in advance.
Most border posts don’t have petrol stations or repair shops; you’ll need to head to the nearest large town.
The main crossings are at Kobero Bridge between Ngara (Tanzania) and Muyinga (Burundi), and at Manyovu (north of Kigoma).
Kobero Bridge From Mwanza, there are buses daily at 5.30am to Ngara (Tsh20,000, seven to eight hours). Shared taxis also run all day from Nyakanazi to Ngara (Tsh10,000, two hours). Once in Ngara, there is onward transport to the Tanzanian border post at Kabanga.
Manyovu Hamza Transport and several other lines (all ticket offices at Kigoma’s Bero bus stand) have direct service between Kigoma and Bujumbura (Burundi; Tsh15,000 to Tsh20,000, seven hours) at 6.30am several times weekly. Otherwise, take a dalla-dalla (minibus) from Kigoma to Manyovu (Tsh6000, one to two hours), walk through immigration and find onward transport. There’s always something going to Mabanda (Burundi), where you can find minibuses to Bujumbura, three to four hours away.
The main route to/from Kenya is the good sealed road connecting Arusha (Tanzania) and Nairobi (Kenya) via the recently modernised Namanga border post (open 24 hours, with a bank and immigration inside the main building). There are also border crossings at Horohoro (Tanzania), north of Tanga; at Holili (Tanzania), east of Moshi; at Loitokitok (Kenya), northeast of Moshi; and at Sirari (Tanzania), northeast of Musoma. With the exception of the Serengeti–Masai Mara crossing (which is currently closed), there is public transport across all Tanzania–Kenya border posts.
To & From Mombasa
Modern Coast Express (www.modern.co.ke) and several other lines run daily between Dar es Salaam and Mombasa via Tanga, departing in the morning in each direction, and departing around 1pm from Tanga (Tsh15,000 to Tsh17,000, four hours Tanga to Mombasa; Tsh25,000, 10 to 11 hours Dar to Mombasa). There’s nowhere official to change money at the border. Touts here charge extortionate rates, and it’s difficult to get rid of Kenyan shillings once in Tanga, so plan accordingly.
To & From Nairobi
To & From Voi
Tahmeed Coach (www.tahmeedcoach.co.ke) has a daily bus from Moshi to Mombasa via Voi (Tsh20,000, seven to eight hours). Also, dalla-dallas go frequently between Moshi and the border town of Holili (Tsh2000, one hour). At the border (6am to 8pm) you’ll need to hire a piki-piki (motorbike; Tsh1000) or bicycle to cross 3km of no man’s land before arriving at the Kenyan immigration post at Taveta. From Taveta, sporadic minibuses go to Voi, where you can then find onward transport to Nairobi and Mombasa. If you’re arriving/departing with a foreign-registered vehicle, the necessary paperwork is done only during working hours (8am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm daily).
To & From Kisii
There are currently no direct buses over the border. You’ll need to take one of the many daily buses between Mwanza and the Sirari–Isebania border post (Tsh15,000, five hours), and then get Kenyan transport on the other side to Kisii. Dalla-dallas also go daily from Musoma to the border (Tsh6000, two hours).
The only crossing is at Kasumulu (Songwe River Bridge; 7am to 7pm Tanzanian time, 6am to 6pm Malawi time), southeast of Mbeya (Tanzania).
From Mbeya’s Nane Nane bus stand, there are daily minibuses and 30-seater buses (known as ‘coastals’) to the border (Tsh5000, two hours). Once through the Tanzanian border post, there’s a 300m walk to the Malawian side, and minibuses to Karonga. There’s also one Malawian bus daily from the Malawi side of the border and Mzuzu (Malawi), departing the border by mid-afternoon and arriving in Mzuzu by evening.
- Look for buses going to Kyela (these detour to the border) and verify that your vehicle is really going all the way to the border (‘Kasumulu’), as some that say they are actually stop at Tukuyu (40km north) or at Ibanda (7km before the border). Asking several passengers (rather than the minibus company touts) should get you the straight answer.
- Your chances of getting a direct vehicle are better in the larger ‘coastals’, which depart from Mbeya two or three times daily and usually go where they say they are going.
- The border buses stop at the Kasumulu (Songwe River) transport stand, about a seven-minute walk from the actual border; there’s no real need for the bicycle taxis that will approach you.
- There are currently no cross-border vehicles from Mbeya into Malawi, although touts at Mbeya bus station may try to convince you otherwise. Going in both directions, plan on overnighting in Mbeya or Tukuyu; buses from Mbeya to Dar es Salaam depart between 6am and 7am.
The main vehicle crossing is via Unity Bridge over the Ruvuma at Negomano, reached via Masasi. There is also the Unity 2 bridge across the Ruvuma at Mtomoni village, 120km south of Songea. It’s also possible to cross at Kilambo (south of Mtwara) via vehicle ferry. At the time of research, Mozambique tourist visas were being issued at all borders. However, this situation could change at any time; it’s essential to get an update before setting your plans, as it’s a long way from the border back to the closest consulate.
Vehicles depart daily from Mtwara beginning at about 6am to the Kilambo border post (Tsh6000, one hour) and on to the Ruvuma River, which in theory is crossed daily by the MV Kilambo ferry. The ferry, again in theory, takes half a dozen cars plus passengers (Tsh500 per person). However, its passage depends on tides, rains and mechanical condition. There is also a faster, passenger-only motorboat making crossings throughout the day between 7am and 6pm (Tsh1000). If neither of these are operating, you’ll need to negotiate a ride in a dugout canoe (about Tsh5000, 10 minutes to over an hour, depending on water levels, and dangerous during heavy rains). Although improved, the border remains a rough one, and it’s common for touts to demand up to 10 times the ‘real’ price for the boat crossing in dugouts. Watch your belongings, especially when getting into and out of the boats, and keep up with the crowd.
Once in Mozambique, several pick-ups go daily to the Mozambique border crossing at Namiranga, 4km further on, and from there to Palma and Moçimboa da Praia (US$10, three hours).
Further west, one or two vehicles daily depart from Songea’s Majengo C area by around 11am (Tsh12,000, three to four hours) to Mtomoni village and the Unity 2 bridge. Once across, you can get Mozambique transport on to Lichinga (Tsh30,000, five hours). It’s best to pay in stages, rather than paying the entire Tsh40,000 Songea–Lichinga fare in Songea, as is sometimes requested. With an early departure, the entire Songea–Lichinga trip is easily doable in one day via public transport.
The main vehicle crossing is via the Unity Bridge at Negomano, southwest of Kilambo, near the confluence of the Lugenda River. From Masasi, go about 35km southwest along the Tunduru road to Nangomba village, from where a 68km good-condition track leads southwest down to Masuguru village. The bridge is 10km further at Mtambaswala. On the other side, there is a decent-in-the-dry-season 160km dirt road to Mueda (slated to be paved by 2019). There are immigration facilities on both sides of the bridge. Entering Tanzania, take care of customs formalities for your vehicle in Mtwara.
The Unity 2 bridge south of Songea is another option. With a private vehicle the Songea to Lichinga stretch should not take more than about eight or nine hours.
At Kilambo, the MV Kilambo vehicle ferry operates most days around high tide. Enquire at ECO2 or the Old Boma in Mikindani to confirm whether the ferry is running.
The main crossing is at Rusumu Falls, southwest of Bukoba (Tanzania).
Trinity Express goes four times weekly between Dar es Salaam and Kigali via Dodoma, Singida and Kahama (Tsh80,000 to Tsh85,000, 30 to 35 hours). It’s better to do the trip in stages. From Mwanza, there are daily buses via Kahama to Benaco (Nyakanazi), from where you can get transport to the border. After walking across the border, there is Rwandan transport on the other side to Kigali; reckon on about 12 to 14 hours and Tsh32,000 for the entire journey from Mwanza to Kigali.
For travellers entering Tanzania from Rwanda: in order to purchase a Tanzania visa at the border, you must have US dollars or Tanzanian shillings. Rwandan francs will not be accepted, and they cannot be exchanged for Tanzanian shillings at the border.
The main post is at Mutukula (Tanzania), northwest of Bukoba, with good tarmac on both sides. There’s another crossing further west at Nkurungu (Tanzania), but the road is sparsely travelled. From Arusha or Moshi, travel to Uganda is via Kenya.
Kampala Coach has a daily bus from Arusha to Kampala via Nairobi (Tsh75,000, 20 hours). The cost to Jinja is the same as Kampala.
Several companies leave Bukoba at 6am and again at 12.30pm for Kampala (Tsh20,000, six to eight hours). Departures from Kampala are at 7am and again at 11am.
From Mwanza to Kampala, there is a daily direct connection via Bukoba (Tsh45,000, 16 hours).
The main border crossing (7am to 8.30pm Tanzania time, 6am to 7.30pm Zambia time) is at Tunduma (Tanzania), southwest of Mbeya. There’s also a crossing at Kasesya (Tanzania), between Sumbawanga (Tanzania) and Mbala (Zambia).
Minibuses go several times daily between Mbeya and Tunduma (Tsh4000, two to three hours), where you walk across the border for Zambian transport to Lusaka (about US$20, 18 hours).
The Kasesya crossing is mainly of interest for self-drivers as there’s no direct transport; at least one truck daily goes to the border from each side (Tsh10,000, four to five hours from Sumbawanga to Kasesya). With luck you can make the full journey in a day, but since departures from both Sumbawanga and Mbala are in the afternoon, and departures from the borders are in the early morning, you’ll likely need to sleep in one of the border villages.
If driving from Zambia into Tanzania, note that vehicle insurance is now available at the Kasesya border.
The Tazara (www.tazarasite.com) train line links Dar es Salaam with Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia twice weekly via Mbeya and Tunduma. The Mukuba express service departs Dar es Salaam at 3.50pm Friday (1st-class sleeping/2nd-class sleeping/super seater/economy class Tsh104,000/84,600/78,700/72,600, about 43 hours). Kilimanjaro ordinary service departs Dar es Salaam at 11am on Tuesday (Tsh86,500/70,600/65,600/60,500, about 59 hours). Departures from Mbeya to Kapiri Mposhi (express 1st/2nd/super seater/economy class Tsh58,000/46,000/44,400/40,900) are at 1.20pm Saturday (Mukuba express, about 24 hours) and 2pm Wednesday (Kilimanjaro ordinary, about 32 hours). Students with ID get a 50% discount. From Kapiri Mposhi to Lusaka, you’ll need to continue by bus. Departures from New Kapiri Mposhi are at 4pm Tuesday (express) and 11am Friday (ordinary). Visas are currently available at the border in both directions.
Sea & Lake
There’s a US$5 port tax for travel on all boats and ferries from Tanzanian ports.
Regular passenger ferry service between Kigoma and Bujumbura is suspended. Inquire at the passenger port in Kigoma for an update. However, once the situation settles in Burundi, it should be possible to travel on cargo ships between Kigoma’s Ami port and Bujumbura (about Tsh10,000, 18 hours). Sailings are erratic; they average three times weekly, although expect to hear that ships are sailing ‘tomorrow’ for several days in a row. Lake taxis go once or twice weekly from Kibirizi (just north of Kigoma) to Bujumbura, but are not recommended as they take a full day and are occasionally robbed. However, you could use the afternoon lake taxis to Kagunga (the Tanzanian border post, where there’s a simple guesthouse), cross the border in the morning, take a motorcycle-taxi to Nyanza-Lac (Burundi) and then a minibus to Bujumbura. Note that as of mid-2017, all Burundi travel was in flux due to the security situation there; check government travel advisories for an update.
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC; formerly Zaïre)
Cargo boats go roughly once weekly from Kigoma’s Ami port to Kalemie (about US$10, deck class only, seven hours) or Uvira. Enquire at Ami port, or check with the Congolese embassy in Kigoma about sailing days and times. Bring food and drink with you, and something to spread on the deck for sleeping. Prior to travelling to the DRC, check government travel advisories for a security update, and keep in mind the difficulty of getting a visa.
There is currently no passenger ferry service on Lake Victoria between Tanzania and Kenya. Dhows do ply regularly between Mombasa and the Zanzibar Archipelago, but foreigners are prohibited.
There are currently no passenger ferries operating between Tanzania’s Mbamba Bay and Malawi’s Nkhata Bay. Cargo boats (about Tsh10,000 to Tsh15,000, six hours) occasionally accept passengers, but safety standards are minimal and there have been several sinkings. There are no fixed schedules; ask at Immigration for information on the next sailing. Departures are often in the middle of the night to take advantage of calmer waters.
Dhows between Mozambique and Tanzania (12 to 30 or more hours) are best arranged at Msimbati (Tanzania) and Moçimboa da Praia (Mozambique).
There is currently no official ferry service between southwestern Tanzania and Mozambique. The main option is taking a cargo boat between Mbamba Bay and Nkhata Bay, and then the MV Chambo on its weekly run from Nkhata Bay on to Likoma Island (Malawi), Cóbuè (Mozambique) and Metangula (Mozambique). There are also small boats that sail along the eastern shore of Lake Nyasa between Tanzania and Mozambique. However, Lake Nyasa is notorious for its severe and sudden squalls, and going this way is risky and not recommended.
There’s an immigration officer at Mbamba Bay, Mozambique immigration posts in Cóbuè and in Metangula, and Malawi immigration officers on Likoma Island and in Nkhata Bay, although only the Cóbuè post is currently issuing visas.
In southeastern Tanzania, the MV Kilambo ferry crosses the Ruvuma River daily (in theory) between Namiranga (Mozambique) and Kilambo. A smaller passenger-only boat also does the trip daily. There are immigration posts at Kilambo and Namiranga.
There is no passenger ferry service between Tanzania and Uganda on Lake Victoria.
The venerable MV Liemba has been plying the waters of Lake Tanganyika for more than a century on one of Africa’s classic adventure journeys. It connects Kigoma with Mpulungu in Zambia every other week (in theory), with prices for 1st/2nd/economy class costing US$105/95/75 (payment must be in US dollars cash). The trip takes at least 40 hours and stops en route at various lakeshore villages, including Lagosa (for Mahale Mountains National Park; US$40 for 1st class from Kigoma), Kipili (US$75) and Kasanga (southwest of Sumbawanga; US$100). In theory, departures from Kigoma are every second Wednesday at 4pm, reaching Mpulungu Friday morning. Departures from Mpulungu are (again, in theory) on every second Friday afternoon at about 2pm, arriving back in Kigoma on Sunday afternoon. Delays are common.
Food, soft drinks, beer and bottled water are sold on board, but it’s a good idea to bring supplements. First class is surprisingly comfortable, with two clean bunks, a window and a fan. Second-class cabins (four bunks) are poorly ventilated and uncomfortable. There are seats for third (economy) class passengers, but it’s more comfortable to find deck space for sleeping. Keep watch over your luggage. Booking early is advisable, but not always necessary, as 1st-class cabins are usually available. There are also two VIP cabins, one with private bathroom.
There are docks at a handful of ports, including Kigoma, Kipili, Kasanga and Mpulungu, but at all other stops you’ll need to disembark in the middle of the lake, exiting from a door in the side of the boat into small boats that take you to shore. While it may sound adventurous, it can be rather nerve-racking at night, and if the lake is rough.
For those coming from Zambia, there is usually a Tanzanian immigration officer on board to assist with processing visas.
At the time of writing the Liemba was scheduled to undergo major renovations, and schedules are likely to be curtailed or changed; enquire first before setting your plans.