|Dar Es Salaam||$705|
Situated in East Africa, mainland Tanzania is bordered by Uganda and Kenya, Mozambique and Malawi, Zambia and Zaire, and Burundi and Rwanda. The India Ocean graces the coastline, and mountains steal the landscape view.
Watching the migration of wildebeest in the Masai Mara; trekking up Mount Kilimanjaro; lazing on a white sand beach in Zanzibar or haggling for beads at Stone Town’s market: Tanzania should be the first port of call for any traveler wanting the full “African experience”. Tourists book flights to Tanzania for a huge variety of holidays, for this country really has it all. The vast landscape of the Masai Mara is home to all the big game. As well as the annual migration Serengeti National Park, there are lions, elephants, giraffe, zebra, monkeys and much more, to be seen from a range of various safari lodges.
From the hot plains of the Masai Mara, it is a short trip to “Kili” the only snow-topped mountain in Africa. Hikes up to its peak are regularly undertaken, and nearby Moshi is a quiet town to stop off at en route. Down on the Tanzanian coast, Dar es Salaam is less forgiving to a casual holidaymaker, but this is a modern-day African city in every respect. Most of the country’s industry occurs here, and all Tanzania flights arrive in Dar.
Across the sea, the tropical island of Zanzibar has long been a favorite destination for honeymooners. Atmospheric Stone Town is a maze of Portuguese-style stone buildings, with some grand colonial hotels on the seafront. Zanzibar’s coastline is dotted with white sand beaches, fringed with palm trees and relaxed backpacker hotels. The pace of life is slow and laid-back here, with little to do most days but snorkel and watch the dhows come in with the latest catch. Don’t skip over this African country because of its size or limited population – there is more to see in Tanzania than most places on earth. Finding a cheap flight to Tanzania can mean the experience of a lifetime.
Tanzania has a tropical climate that varies by region. There is some seasonal change in the coastal, inland and island territories. The central, western and northern regions can have uncomfortably hot days, around 95 degrees, which are occasionally refreshed by downpours.
Tanzania is a year-round destination. Game viewing is excellent all year-round, but to witness the annual wildebeest migration during which millions of animals move from the Masai Mara in Kenya to the Serengeti in Tanzania, visit between December and April. It is one of the wonders of the natural world. Not all animals migrate however. For birdwatchers, Tanzania is an excellent location all year round, but to really see the country at its best, book a flight to Tanzania during the winter months. This is when more than 150 species of birds migrate south.
Visit after the rainy seasons (June, February for example) to really see Tanzania’s flora at its most lush and glorious.
There isn’t really an off season however the wettest months hit the country hard during March and April so you’ll find the cheapest flights to Tanzania around then. April and May can also be classed as low season as the circuit parks in the south and west parts of the country tend to close.
Flight times into Tanzania can vary significantly depending on which part of the world you’re traveling from. Flights from California and Washington in the U.S. usually take around 20 hours, and flights from New York take around 15 hours. If you’re traveling from Florida, prepare for a 17 hour flight. Flights from the U.K. take approximately 9 hours, and flights to Tanzania from Japan typically last about 15 hours.
Kilimanjaro International Airport is the main airport for Tanzania travel, as its central location allows for easy access to East Africa’s major tourist attractions. The airport serves several major carriers, however, if you are flying from the U.S., you may need to transfer. Airlines served by Kilimanjaro International Airport include Delta, KLM, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, and Air France.
Coastal areas of Tanzania tend to be hot and humid during the spring and summer months, while the northwestern highland areas remain slightly cooler all year long. If you’re traveling during the warm periods, pack loose, breathable clothing and protective sunwear such as a sun hat and sunglasses, especially if you plan to go out on safari or sign up for any walking tours. The temperatures drop during the evening, so you’ll also want to pack a few light jackets and long pants. Long-sleeved tops and long pants also help to protect against mosquitoes, which tend to be most prevalent after sundown.
If you’re planning on visiting any of the villages in Zanzibar on the mainland, it’s important to keep in mind that traditional laws require women to wear long skirts and long sleeved tops, especially when visiting churches or mosques. Additional items to pack include a Swahili translation guide to familiarize yourself with the native language, mosquito repellent, and comfortable, closed-toe shoes for when you head out on safari.
When packing carry-on luggage, include anything you may need to access during your flight, especially if your time in the air is relatively long. Essential items include a travel-sized first aid kit, medications, snacks, and baby wipes for freshening up once you land.
It isn’t difficult to find your way to your hotel from the airport although you are very limited on the options available. There is no bus or train service available which makes a taxi your only option if you haven’t planned ahead. Taxis do have a price list to different destinations but don’t be afraid to negotiate a little to try and a get a better price. When you have booked your flights to Tanzania you can also look into hotels that offer a shuttle service. There are some hotels who charge ridiculous amount of money for the privilege of being collected. That said, if the hotels in Stone Town do offer free transfers, so this is something you should definitely look into.
Dar es Salaam:
Once your flights to Tanzania land at Dar es Salaam you’ll have just a couple of options available to get you to your hotel. The easiest, most convenient method is to pre-arrange transport before you leave. A lot of hotels provide airport transfers either in with the total cost or as a small additional fee. It is advisable to secure a hotel which provides this service as it makes traveling to your hotel easier and you won’t have to worry about any issues. The best time to arrange this is, of course, after you’ve booked your flights to Tanzania. Your other option is to hail a taxi. While taxis aren’t cheap, they aren’t that expensive either, so it will come down to your own preference.
Air Tanzania flies domestically to Dar Es Salaam, Mtwara, Mwanza, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar, Precision Air also offers domestic links, and there are smaller charter airlines linking local airports and more out-of-the-way parts of the country.
There are two railway systems – the Tanzania Railway Corporation operates two lines, the central line from Dar es Salaam to Tabora and one to Tabora to Mwanza port on Lake Victoria. The Tanzania to Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) links Dar Es Salaam with various destinations.
Bus services are plentiful. Scandinavian and other lines provide good service throughout the country. Buses don’t move until they are full however so don’t take the timetables as gospel.
The quality of the roads varies greatly. If renting a car, a four-wheel drive is best, albeit expensive. A chief rule of Tanzania travel is to avoid driving. Although it’s possible, parking is usually an issue, and road conditions are both unpredictable and potentially dangerous. Instead, consider taking a bus, but don’t expect it to be very timely because they don’t leave until they are absolutely full.
To get to the islands off the coast of Tanzania including Zanzibar and Pemba, there are boat (including ferry, catamaran, hydrofoils, or dhow) and air services. Azam Marine, for example, offers passage from Dar Es Salaam/Zanzibar or Pemba/Zanzibar.
Trains cover more vast distances, and with two lines to choose from you can get just about anywhere in Tanzania. The Tanzania Railway Corporation and the Tanzania to Zambia Railway Authority are two companies that ensure safe, reliable rides. The domestic railway offers directions such as Central from Dar es Salaam to Tobora, and from Tobora to Mawana.
Tanzania is known for its natural scenic beauty, from Mount Kilimanjaro to miles of green space and open plains throughout the safari parks. Whether you’re up for the adventure of your lifetime or simply wish to sit back and soak up East Africa’s culture and atmosphere, Tanzania has something for everyone to enjoy.
While many travelers head to Tanzania to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro, you don’t have to climb to the highest peak to enjoy its beauty. Sign up for a guided walking tour around the lower level of the mountain and navigate the Shira Plateau, where you’ll find amazing views and spot various wildlife species in their natural habitats. Make sure to pack your camera, as you’ll want to capture every moment.
For a fun adventure and a bird’s eye view of the world-famous Serengeti National Park, sign up for a balloon safari. Your guide will take you high above the massive plains for an amazing tour of the park from a unique point of view. You’ll catch glimpses of all types of wildlife, including lion prides, lone leopards in the acacia trees, elephants and more, all from the beautiful sky. If you prefer a more up-close and personal look at the animals and scenery, sign up for a guided jeep safari or walking tour with one of the skilled park guides.
If you’re hoping to get a little beach time in during your Tanzania holiday, take a ferry over to the island of Zanzibar and spend the day on one of the many beaches. Splash around in the crystal clear waters along the northwest coast, or explore the coral cliffs and lagoons of the less-crowded southwest coast. Pack a picnic for a meal on the sand, or enjoy a delicious dinner at the Zanzibar Beach Resort’s restaurant.
Finding Flights from Tanzania
If you’re looking to expand your journey past Tanzania and need an outbound flight, Cheapflights can help. Kilimanjaro Airport serves several international major carriers, making it easy to book a flight to almost anywhere around the globe.
The most common mode of transportation to the Kilimanjaro International Airport is by taxi. While you may spot taxis throughout the city, it’s important to book your ride ahead of time and schedule pick-up from your hotel or lodging accommodations to ensure you arrive at the airport on time. Tanzania Transfers is the most commonly used taxi company, and you can easily book your ride online. Tanzania Transfers also offers private minibuses for large groups. If you prefer to take a shuttle van, Riverside Shuttle offers rides to Arusha, where you will be provided with a private transfer for the rest of your journey to the airport.
If you’re looking for more information on the Kilimanjaro International Airport, check out our Tanzania airport guide
(prices quotes are from London)