Backpacking Tanzania

Hello to all seasoned and aspiring backpackers!



Tanzania is an East African country bordering on northern Kenya and Uganda; Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west; and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. Besides the legendary Mount Kilimanjaro, the country has a lot to offer its visitors.

Not only is Tanzania home to fossil remains providing the most continuous known record of human evolution during the past 2 million years, but it’s also home to animals that were once considered extinct, like the black rhino. Explore the village museums’ well-preserved huts of Tanzania’s most dominant ethnic groups and check out historic sites, including the bronze Askari Monument, St. Joseph's Cathedral, and the Azania Front Cathedral with a bell tower that rises well above its roof.

The country is filled with picturesque islands and turquoise beaches, along with plenty of palm trees, resorts, and restaurants. Tanzania has the only beachfront game reserve in East Africa, the Saadani National Park. It is also home to the Amboni Caves, along with their supernatural legends, animal tracks, and ancient paintings and artefacts. Tanzania should definitely be your next travel destination, and we’ll show you why!



See below for the perfect Tanzania itinerary for an unforgettable trip:


Important Basics

Official Language

Swahili

Basic Vocabulary
EnglishSwahili
HelloHabari
GoodbyeBaadaye
ThankyouAsante
Yesndio
Nohapana
Capital City

Dodoma

Form of Government

Presidential Republic

Phone Country Code

+255

Currency

Tanzanian shilling

Climate

Highest temperature by day: 38-31 degrees Celsius

Highest temperature at night: 17-21 degrees Celsius

Fun Fact

Tanzania has the most animals per square kilometre in the world!

Cities

Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam, Arabic for “abode of peace,” houses many spectacular tourist attractions, but the best place to start is at the Village Museum. Located 10 km from the city, this museum showcases 16 huts, each representing one of Tanzania’s major tribes. Explore these traditional dwellings and artefacts, observe tribal dances, and partake in other cultural activities and customs of the Tanzanian people.

St. Joseph Cathedral, built in 1902, is the seat of the archdiocese of Dar es Salaam and is a beautiful example of Gothic architecture well worth the visit. Another unique tourist attraction is the evangelical Azania Front Cathedral, which was built between 1899 and 1902 by German missionaries and is known for its red-tiled roof and tower. The State House, where the current President of Tanzania has his seat, is another historical building worth checking out. Don’t miss the Askari Monument either – a bronze statue representing an askari soldier in uniform pointing the bayonet of his rifle to the harbour. This monument, with Swahili and English inscriptions, commemorates the African troops who fought against the German army in East Africa during World War I.

Mbudya Island, part of the Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve, is another place of historical importance. Treat yourself to freshly grilled seafood on its white sandy beach and take the opportunity to swim in the beautiful water. Nearby, you’ll find Bongoyo Island – home to various species of sea urchins, starfish, anemone, clown fish, and angelfish.

Head back to town and enjoy the warm weather and more delicious food before heading to your next stop. If you have time, check out other tourist attractions in Dar es Salaam like Oyster Bay, the Botanical Garden, the Kivukoni Fish Market, and the Kunduchi Water Park.

Stay here in a single room for €19 per night.

Tanga

Take a bus for about €15 from Dar es Salaam to Tanga, where both the Saadani National Park and Mkomazi National Park await you. Mkomazi National Park, located between the West Usambara Mountains, Pare Mountains, and the Kenyan Tsavo National Park, is home to various plant and animal species such as hippos, crocodiles, and zebras, as well as rare animals once considered extinct, such as the black rhino.

The Saadani National Park is quite impressive and is the only park in East Africa that can boast sharing a coast with the Indian Ocean. Explore the nearby Amboni Caves with legends of witchcraft, extinct animals, ancient paintings, and many mysterious stories from the past. You can see where these mystical stories got their origins, as the Amboni are the most extensive naturally formed limestone caves in East Africa, boasting beautiful and seemingly supernatural stalactites and stalagmites. This historic location is best explored with a local guide who can tell you more about the caves’ history.

The Tongoni ruins, located 17km south of Tanga, are also worth exploring. Before the Portuguese disrupted the trade routes, it had the largest collection of Shiraz tombs in East Africa. All that is left of this once prosperous town is a mosque and some 40 tombs from the 14th and 15th centuries.
Afterwards, relax at Tanga’s beaches and unwind in the turquoise water in the midst of palm trees and other historical monuments.

If you enjoy climbing, scale the Usambara Mountains, a biodiversity hotspot where you can enjoy the beauty of nature with its soundtrack of birdsong, waterfalls, and trees dancing in the wind. Around the village, you can also go cycling and hiking and take long, tranquil walks in this peaceful part of the country.

Sleep in Tanga in a double room for €18 per night.

Arusha

Catch a bus for €8 from Tanga to the picturesque city of Arusha. Visit the Declaration Museum, which commemorates the 1967 declaration by then-president Julius Nyerere, and explore the Meserani Snake Park with its great variety of serpents and other reptiles.

You can also visit the Maasai Cultural Museum and learn about the locals’ traditional way of life. The Maasai village is located on Dodoma Road, 25km west of Arusha. The best way to get there is by taking a camel ride from the snake park. Afterwards, visit the Natural History Museum and check out the wing dedicated to human evolution – undoubtedly one of the most interesting parts of the museum.

Take a food tour, learn how to cook the region’s most characteristic dishes, and visit popular restaurants like Khan's BBQ, Hot Plate, and The Blue Heron. Pearl necklaces, clothing and other accessories are for sale at Shanga Gift and Workshop, and the best local handicrafts (the perfect souvenirs!) can be bought in Schwari.

The main highlight of this area is definitely Mount Kilimanjaro – climb it with the help of a guide or just enjoy the impressive view from a safe distance.

The city offers good accommodation for €17 per night in a six-bed dorm.

Mwanza

You can get to this port city by bus for about €15. Keep in mind that you’ll need a few days to see everything, so plan enough time. Take a boat trip on Lake Victoria and marvel at the sheer expanse of the water while feeling the wind in your face. Hang out with the locals and dine at swanky restaurants near the shoreline. Chances are this famous lake outing will be the highlight of your trip.

Mwanza was given the nickname Rock City, as it’s surrounded by hills and unusual rock formations. Check out one of the most famous of these formations – Bismarck Rock – and have a picnic at one of the nearby parks. Explore Saa Nane National Park and come face to face with impalas, giraffes, and monkeys. If you want to get some shopping in, then head to the Maasai market, which sells local handicrafts, handmade jewellery, medicinal remedies, and artwork showcasing Mwanza’s culture.

In Bujora village, you can learn more about the locals’ way of life at the Sukuma Museum – an open-air museum founded by a missionary priest with a round church and royal pavilion that highlights the majority of Sukuma traditions.

Stay a bit longer in Mwanza and check out Rubondo Island National Park and take a safari tour to Serengeti and Ngorongoro – they’re definitely worth your time.

In Mwanza, you can get a single room for €9 per night.

Kigoma

Continue by bus (for about €18) to get to Kigoma. Spend a few days in town to relax and meet the locals. Snorkel in Lake Tanganyika, Kigoma’s main attraction, and admire the colourful variety of fish and aquatic creatures. Don't forget to put on sunscreen, though, as the sun is quite strong here. Explore Gombe National Park and meet some of mankind’s closest relatives: chimpanzees. Gombe National Park may be one of Tanzania’s smallest parks, but it is world famous.

The best time to visit is in the summer, when the ground is dry. Watch the sunset on Bangwe Beach after visiting one of the continent’s oldest markets in the village of Ujiji, famous for its ivory trade. This village is also the site of the meeting between Stanley and Livingstone, where the immortal words “Dr Livingstone, I presume?” were first uttered in 1871. Learn more about this history at the Livingstone Museum and Memorial. At the end of your trip, you’ll have worked up an appetite so be sure to try pilau and other yummy local dishes.

For accommodation, splurge on a single room for €31 per night.

Afterwards, return to Dar es Salaam to relax for another day and do some last-minute souvenir shopping.


Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam, Arabic for “abode of peace,” houses many spectacular tourist attractions, but the best place to start is at the Village Museum. Located 10 km from the city, this museum showcases 16 huts, each representing one of Tanzania’s major tribes. Explore these traditional dwellings and artefacts, observe tribal dances, and partake in other cultural activities and customs of the Tanzanian people.

St. Joseph Cathedral, built in 1902, is the seat of the archdiocese of Dar es Salaam and is a beautiful example of Gothic architecture well worth the visit. Another unique tourist attraction is the evangelical Azania Front Cathedral, which was built between 1899 and 1902 by German missionaries and is known for its red-tiled roof and tower. The State House, where the current President of Tanzania has his seat, is another historical building worth checking out. Don’t miss the Askari Monument either – a bronze statue representing an askari soldier in uniform pointing the bayonet of his rifle to the harbour. This monument, with Swahili and English inscriptions, commemorates the African troops who fought against the German army in East Africa during World War I.

Mbudya Island, part of the Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve, is another place of historical importance. Treat yourself to freshly grilled seafood on its white sandy beach and take the opportunity to swim in the beautiful water. Nearby, you’ll find Bongoyo Island – home to various species of sea urchins, starfish, anemone, clown fish, and angelfish.

Head back to town and enjoy the warm weather and more delicious food before heading to your next stop. If you have time, check out other tourist attractions in Dar es Salaam like Oyster Bay, the Botanical Garden, the Kivukoni Fish Market, and the Kunduchi Water Park.

Stay here in a single room for €19 per night.

Tanga

Tanga

Take a bus for about €15 from Dar es Salaam to Tanga, where both the Saadani National Park and Mkomazi National Park await you. Mkomazi National Park, located between the West Usambara Mountains, Pare Mountains, and the Kenyan Tsavo National Park, is home to various plant and animal species such as hippos, crocodiles, and zebras, as well as rare animals once considered extinct, such as the black rhino.

The Saadani National Park is quite impressive and is the only park in East Africa that can boast sharing a coast with the Indian Ocean. Explore the nearby Amboni Caves with legends of witchcraft, extinct animals, ancient paintings, and many mysterious stories from the past. You can see where these mystical stories got their origins, as the Amboni are the most extensive naturally formed limestone caves in East Africa, boasting beautiful and seemingly supernatural stalactites and stalagmites. This historic location is best explored with a local guide who can tell you more about the caves’ history.

The Tongoni ruins, located 17km south of Tanga, are also worth exploring. Before the Portuguese disrupted the trade routes, it had the largest collection of Shiraz tombs in East Africa. All that is left of this once prosperous town is a mosque and some 40 tombs from the 14th and 15th centuries.
Afterwards, relax at Tanga’s beaches and unwind in the turquoise water in the midst of palm trees and other historical monuments.

If you enjoy climbing, scale the Usambara Mountains, a biodiversity hotspot where you can enjoy the beauty of nature with its soundtrack of birdsong, waterfalls, and trees dancing in the wind. Around the village, you can also go cycling and hiking and take long, tranquil walks in this peaceful part of the country.

Sleep in Tanga in a double room for €18 per night.

Arusha

Arusha

Catch a bus for €8 from Tanga to the picturesque city of Arusha. Visit the Declaration Museum, which commemorates the 1967 declaration by then-president Julius Nyerere, and explore the Meserani Snake Park with its great variety of serpents and other reptiles.

You can also visit the Maasai Cultural Museum and learn about the locals’ traditional way of life. The Maasai village is located on Dodoma Road, 25km west of Arusha. The best way to get there is by taking a camel ride from the snake park. Afterwards, visit the Natural History Museum and check out the wing dedicated to human evolution – undoubtedly one of the most interesting parts of the museum.

Take a food tour, learn how to cook the region’s most characteristic dishes, and visit popular restaurants like Khan's BBQ, Hot Plate, and The Blue Heron. Pearl necklaces, clothing and other accessories are for sale at Shanga Gift and Workshop, and the best local handicrafts (the perfect souvenirs!) can be bought in Schwari.

The main highlight of this area is definitely Mount Kilimanjaro – climb it with the help of a guide or just enjoy the impressive view from a safe distance.

The city offers good accommodation for €17 per night in a six-bed dorm.

Mwanza

Mwanza

You can get to this port city by bus for about €15. Keep in mind that you’ll need a few days to see everything, so plan enough time. Take a boat trip on Lake Victoria and marvel at the sheer expanse of the water while feeling the wind in your face. Hang out with the locals and dine at swanky restaurants near the shoreline. Chances are this famous lake outing will be the highlight of your trip.

Mwanza was given the nickname Rock City, as it’s surrounded by hills and unusual rock formations. Check out one of the most famous of these formations – Bismarck Rock – and have a picnic at one of the nearby parks. Explore Saa Nane National Park and come face to face with impalas, giraffes, and monkeys. If you want to get some shopping in, then head to the Maasai market, which sells local handicrafts, handmade jewellery, medicinal remedies, and artwork showcasing Mwanza’s culture.

In Bujora village, you can learn more about the locals’ way of life at the Sukuma Museum – an open-air museum founded by a missionary priest with a round church and royal pavilion that highlights the majority of Sukuma traditions.

Stay a bit longer in Mwanza and check out Rubondo Island National Park and take a safari tour to Serengeti and Ngorongoro – they’re definitely worth your time.

In Mwanza, you can get a single room for €9 per night.

Kigoma

Kigoma

Continue by bus (for about €18) to get to Kigoma. Spend a few days in town to relax and meet the locals. Snorkel in Lake Tanganyika, Kigoma’s main attraction, and admire the colourful variety of fish and aquatic creatures. Don't forget to put on sunscreen, though, as the sun is quite strong here. Explore Gombe National Park and meet some of mankind’s closest relatives: chimpanzees. Gombe National Park may be one of Tanzania’s smallest parks, but it is world famous.

The best time to visit is in the summer, when the ground is dry. Watch the sunset on Bangwe Beach after visiting one of the continent’s oldest markets in the village of Ujiji, famous for its ivory trade. This village is also the site of the meeting between Stanley and Livingstone, where the immortal words “Dr Livingstone, I presume?” were first uttered in 1871. Learn more about this history at the Livingstone Museum and Memorial. At the end of your trip, you’ll have worked up an appetite so be sure to try pilau and other yummy local dishes.

For accommodation, splurge on a single room for €31 per night.

Afterwards, return to Dar es Salaam to relax for another day and do some last-minute souvenir shopping.

Tanzania Route Map

Itinerary and Stops.

Tag
Route/Station
Transport
Unterkunft
1. Home - Dar es Salaam
Home - Dar es Salaam
Flight
300
single room
19
2. Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam
-
single room
19
3. Dar es Salaam – Tanga
Dar es Salaam – Tanga
Bus
15
double room
18
4. Tanga
Tanga
-
double room
18
5. Tanga
Tanga
-
double room
18
6. Tanga
Tanga
-
double room
18
7. Tanga - Arusha
Tanga - Arusha
Bus
8
six-bed dorm
17
8. Arusha
Arusha
-
six-bed dorm
17
9. Arusha
Arusha
-
six-bed dorm
17
10. Arusha
Arusha
-
six-bed dorm
17
11. Arusha - Mwanza
Arusha - Mwanza
Bus
15
single room
9
12. Mwanza
Mwanza
-
single room
9
13. Mwanza
Mwanza
-
single room
9
14. Mwanza
Mwanza
-
single room
9
15. Mwanza - Kigoma
Mwanza - Kigoma
Bus
18
single room
31
16. Kigoma
Kigoma
-
single room
31
17. Kigoma
Kigoma
-
single room
31
18. Kigoma
Kigoma
-
single room
31
19. Kigoma - Dar es Salaam
Kigoma - Dar es Salaam
Bus
22
single room
19
20. Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam
-
single room
19
21. Dar es Salaam - Home
Dar es Salaam - Home
Flight
300

Total price.

Flights 600,00
Transportation 78,00
Tours 0,00
Accommodation 376,00
Total1054,00

Du möchtest 

deine eigene

Reise erstellen?

Du möchtest deine

eigene Reise erstellen?

Dos and Donts, Food & Drinks, Costs.

Breakfast

Madazi: A sweet flat bread, often served with a kind of jam dip or syrup and fruits for breakfast.

Soups

Coconut-bean soup: A favourite among the locals, consisting of a sweet and sour mix of beans cooked in coconut milk.

Main Courses

Ugali: This maize or cassava puree is often served with meat or rice.

Nyama Chocan: A Tanzanian BBQ consisting of different kinds of meat with cassava or plantains.

Mchicha: A stew or curry that is mainly made with spinach, peanuts, and (sometimes) meat.

Chips Mayai: A potato-filled omelette. This classic dish is served with a spicy sauce.

Drinks & Snacks

Tea with milk: Der Tee ist in Tansania sehr beliebt und die Einheimischen mixen ihn gern mit Milch und vor allem sehr viel Zucker.

Safari Lager: This is one of Tanzania’s most popular beers – a must-drink for backpackers!

Kibgayi: This is a local liqueur made with vodka, gin, and Afrikoko.

Tanzania

The exchange rate for 1000 Tanzanian Shilling is around €0.40 (as of February 2020). See prices for certain products and the cost of living below:

Cost of Living 

Food

Free Time

Personal Hygiene

Dos

Cover up: Wear long-sleeved clothing and trousers, especially if you’re a woman – a good option is a loose pair of trousers, so you’re still dressed lightly.

Try the soup: Backpackers are usually crazy about Tanzania’s soups!

Wear simple colours: Avoid flashy colours like neon – neutral colours are the way to go.

Don'ts

Don’t wear black: Avoid wearing black, especially at night.

Be friendly: Many locals live in poverty and appreciate it when travellers treat them respectfully with a smile.

Don’t wear designer outfits on safaris: Try to fit in – old clothes are more practical and will suffice.

Visa, Visa, Passport & Vaccinations

Passport

Yes

Temporary passport

Yes

National ID

No

Temporary national ID

No

Child’s pass

Yes

Visa

(Not necessary)

Vaccine

Robert-Koch-Instituts

Additional Remarks.

It is recommended that at the time of entry, your travel documents be valid for at least six months beyond the end of your stay.

The team at Backpacker Trail wishes you lots of fun and an unforgettable trip!

Success message!
Warning message!
Error message!