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Tanzania & Zanzibar

- So much to offer! -

Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar are names that you probably heard many times. People associate these names with the wild, exotic and authentic Africa and these four destinations are reason enough to pack your bags and travel to beautiful Tanzania.
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Capital: Dodoma
Government: Republic
Size: 945 203 km ²
Population: 45 million (2010)
Currency: Tanzanian shilling, one shilling = 100 senti
Official languages: Swahili, English
Time difference: UTC +3
…is located in eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean to the east, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the south, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west, and Kenya and Uganda to the north. Its name is a combination of the names of mainland Tanganyika, and Zanzibar, the offshore archipelago.
Both Tanganyika and Zanzibar were former British colonies. The name was changed to Tanzania when the colonies gained independence from Britain, and were later united.

In the mid 1990s the government and the parliament moved from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma, which consequently became the capital of Tanzania. Dar es Salaam is still the country's largest city and also the administrative capital. Dar es Salaam is also the main commercial hub of Tanzania.

In Tanzania, you can go from enjoying an idyllic beach on a paradise island to exploring the moss covered ruins of a Swahili town, to climbing along a misty mountain and hike with spear carrying Maasai warriors through the barren landscape around the volcano Ol Doinyo Lengai – all in the space of a few hours.

If you are looking for the good life, you should visit the northern parts of Tanzania and Zanzibar. These regions are well developed, they have good roads and plenty of hotels and restaurants. The southern and western parts of Tanzania are off the beaten track.

Zanzibar is an archipelago made up of Unguja (often referred to as Zanzibar), Pemba and several small islands located in the Indian Ocean, around 30-40 km off the coast of Tanzania. Zanzibar is indeed a true island paradise graced with wonderful white sandy beaches, beautiful palm trees, stunning coral reefs and the historic Stone Town (part of the capital, Zanzibar Town). Everything is surrounded by the beautiful turquoise ocean.

You travel to Zanzibar if you want to enjoy quiet days in a tropical climate. Here you can explore the islands' rich culture and beautiful scenery and experience the wonderful African culinary. Diving and snorkelling is an absolute must in the crystal clear water that offers a variety of exotic fish and corals.

Tanzania generally has a comfortable, tropical climate all year round, despite large differences in the different regions. Along the warmer and more humid coast, the climate is in large parts controlled by the monsoon winds that bring rain during two predominant periods. During the so-called "Masika", which runs from mid-March to May, it rains heavily almost every day, even if it rarely rains all day. As can be expected, the air can become uncomfortably sticky. In November, December and sometimes even January, "Mvuli" brings light rain.

In the inland, the climate is determined largely by altitude. Along the central plateau it is somewhat cooler and more barren, while in the mountainous areas in the northeast and southwest it sometimes reaches no more than 15 °C at night during June and July. Rain fall occurs all year round. The coolest months in the country are from June to October and the warmest are from December to March.

You can travel to Tanzania all year around, regardless of the season. The weather is coolest and driest from late June to October, but you should keep in mind that during the months of July and August many hotels and safari lodges, especially in the northern parts, are fully booked. October and November are very pleasant with fewer visitors and the landscape begins to slowly become greener when brief rain showers are becoming more common.

Temperatures are generally high from late December to February, without becoming unbearable. During the period around Christmas and New Year, please remember that hotels and safari lodges charge high season rates, just as in July-August. During the main rainy season, which occurs from March to May, you can save a lot on accommodation costs while enjoying the lush green landscape that is teeming with wildlife. However, smaller roads become impassable and because of this some hotels, especially along the coast, close for a month or two.

In Zanzibar, it is generally hot and dry from January to March, with little rainfall. During April and May, you will find considerably more precipitation, which decreases at the end of May and into June. The best time to travel to Zanzibar is from July to October when the temperature is around 25°C and it is dry with light winds and low precipitation.

Additional Information
You might need a visa to travel to Tanzania on holiday, please check with the Tanzanian Consulate or Embassy in your country.

During the rainy season from March to May the malaria risk is high, especially along the coast and in low-lying areas.

In some places it is safe to drink the tap water, but it is generally wise to refrain from drinking it or using it to brush your teeth.

Credit cards are not accepted at many places, not always even at the finer hotels. Where they are accepted, you often pay high transaction fees, so cash is the preferred method of payment. It is best to carry US dollars and/or Euros in large and small denominations, as well as traveller cheques. There are ATMs in major cities, but they are often out of order, so it is always good to have some form of backup in the form of e.g. traveller cheques.

Driving conditions in Tanzania can be very unpredictable when roads are easily made impassable by an unexpected thunder shower. This also goes for tarred roads in some places that are really poorly maintained. So it definitely is a challenge to self drive in Tanzania and it is a great advantage if you are familiar with similar driving conditions.
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