Tanzania Volunteer FAQ & Volunteer Abroad in Tanzania

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Tanzania Volunteer FAQ: Common questions for volunteer abroad programs - volunteer in Tanzania. Volunteer work in Tanzania projects, programs & voluntary work in Tanzania with children, schools, hospitals, clinics.

The following are questions and answers the majority of Tanzania volunteers have. A volunteer going to Tanzania needs to be aware of issues such as visas, immunizations, malaria and what to expect about the weather.

Volunteers in Africa are concerned about these issues especially if it is their first time to travel and volunteer in Africa and Tanzania in particular.

  • Some facts about Tanzania?
  • How is the weather in Tanzania?
  • Which airport should I fly into?
  • Will I be picked from the Airport?
  • Do I need visa to enter Tanzania?
  • How is the weather in Tanzania ?
  • What immunizations/vaccines will I need?
  • What about Malaria in Tanzania?
  • Is it safe to drink tap water?
  • How is food in Tanzania?
  • What clothing is appropriate? Any cultural restrictions?
  • What are the laundry arrangements?
  • What do I need to pack?
  • What about the electricity supply for laptops, hair-dryers etc?
  • Is internet service available?
  • What is the currency in Tanzania?
  • Are credit cards accepted in Tanzania?

    Some facts about Tanzania?

    Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa. It borders Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.

    The capital of Tanzania is Dodoma and the largest city is Dar Es Salaam. There are two major airports in Tanzania. Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar Es Salaam - formerly known as Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere International Airport and Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) which is between Arusha and Moshi.

    Tanzania has over 130 tribes and about half of the population is Christian. Islam has the 2nd largest following and the rest of the population follows traditional religions.

    The official languages in Tanzania is Swahili and English. Swahili is widely preferred and spoken by almost everyone. Others speak local dialects.

    How is the weather in Tanzania ?

    Tanzania weather varies from place to place. It is humid and hot in Dar Es Salaam, hot during the day and cool at night in Arusha. The long rainy season is from March to May and the short rains are from late October to late December.

    During July to August the weather is cool and dry and again in December to January when it is hotter but bearable.

    Lightweight clothing and rain gear are recommended. If you plan to travel during the colder months, remember to carry warm clothing for the evenings. A mosquito net is also required.

    Which airport should I fly into?

    This depends on where your program is located. You can fly to Julius Nyerere International Airport, Jomo Kenyatta International airport or Kilimanjaro Airport in Arusha.

    The two most convenient airports to fly into if your program is in Arusha is Kilimanjaro International Airport or Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.

    There are shuttles from Nairobi to Arusha and leave for Arusha at 0800hrs and 1400hrs everyday. The journey takes 5 hours and a one way ticket to Arusha costs $20.

    Buses travel by day throughout Tanzania. They are not permitted to travel at night.

    Will I be picked from the Airport?

    There will be someone waiting for you holding a placard bearing your name at the arrival lounge of the airport and you will be taken to your host.

    Please send us your arrival information (date, time and flight details, ) well in advance so as to facilitate your airport pickup.

    Do I need visa to enter Tanzania?

    Visitors from most countries including Europeans, Americans and nationals from Commonwealth countries such as New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and the UK require a visa in order to enter Tanzania.

    You can get a visa before you travel from Tanzania diplomatic missions overseas or at the port of entry. You should apply well in advance, especially if you are doing it by mail.

    How safe is Tanzania?

    Tanzania is a peaceful country. The people are very warm and friendly towards foreigners. We ensure you are placed in safe environment and you will be very well looked after while volunteering in Tanzania.

    However, it is essential to take simple precautions;

  • Do not carry your valuables around.
  • Take a copy of your passport and visas to carry with you.
  • Leave your passport, credit cards, debit cards and other valuables such as cameras and laptops at home and do not go out alone late at night.

    What immunizations/vaccines will I need?

    If you are travelling to/from a country where yellow fever is present you will need to take a yellow fever vaccination.

    Vaccinations are not mandatory but highly recommended vaccinations include:

  • Diphtheria and tetanus
  • Polio
  • Hepatitis A & B
  • Typhoid
  • Yellow fever
  • Rabies
  • Meningitis
  • Malaria
  • Cholera
  • Consult your doctor for more details.

    What about Malaria in Tanzania?

    Malaria is common in Tanzania. To protect yourself should;

  • Visit your doctor 4-6 weeks before travelling for any necessary anti-malarial medication.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites by using insect repellant on exposed skin.
  • Wear long sleeved shirts and trousers especially in the evenings.
  • Spray you room with an insecticide and use a mosquito net around your bed.

    Is it safe to drink tap water?

    We recommend that you purchase bottled water for drinking purposes. You can buy bottled water from supermarkets and most shops in Tanzania.

    How is food in Tanzania?

    Tanzanian food mainly consists of ugali (thick cornmeal), rice, potatoes and chapatti. This may be served for dinner with beans, eggplant, greens, chicken or meat stew.

    Breakfast usually consists of tea served with toast / porridge /eggs, or fruit. French fries, burgers, sandwiches etc are available in restaurants and hotels.

    What clothing is appropriate? Any cultural restrictions?

    Bring along some comfortable, casual and semi-casual clothing: sweat shirts, shorts, jeans, skirts and any other clothing that you would ordinarily wear. Include warm clothing for nights, especially if you volunteer in July and August. Avoid flashy items.

    When out in the community, it is good to follow local etiquette. Female volunteers need to wear pants and/or long skirts. Dressing in Tanzania is quite liberal. However, approach it with cultural sensitivity in mind and you will be fine. Please ask when you are not sure what is and is not appropriate.

    What are the laundry arrangements?

    Volunteers are responsible for their own laundry. You will probably need to hand wash your clothes or pay someone to do your laundry.

    What do I need to pack?

    Volunteers need to bring their own toiletries, towels, face towels and other personal effects.

    It is safe to bring your laptop, cameras, video cameras, hair dryers, shavers and other electrical products.

    Other suggested items:

  • Malaria tablets
  • Adapter plugs and converters for electrical appliances
  • Moisturizing cream and suntan lotion
  • Insect repellant
  • A mosquito net or plan on buying one upon arrival.
  • Basic medical kit
  • Hat and sun glasses
  • Footwear - good walking shoes (running/tennis shoes) and sandals
  • Unlocked mobile phone
  • Passport, visas, tickets, money, etc.

    What about the electricity supply for laptops, hair-dryers etc?

    Before travelling, you need to know the type of electric plug and socket in your destination and also the voltage of the electric power, the frequency (Hertz) and any special requirements like fuses or earth connections that may interfere with the use of your equipment.

    The electricity supply in Tanzania is 220/240 volts/50 Hz (240V 50 Hz D & G). The electric sockets are three-pin square (British-type).

    Remember that simple adapters do not convert voltage or frequency. Incorrect use may keep you from using your equipment, damage it and even cause personal injuries. Using a plug adapter just changes the shape of the prongs. Countries with different voltages and frequencies may use similar plugs. Check to need if you need a power converter and not simply a plug adapter.

    Is internet service available?

    Internet is available at internet cafes throughout Tanzania.

    What is the currency in Tanzania?

    The unit of currency is the Tanzania Shilling (TShs). It is subdivided into 100 cents and comes in notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 denominations.

    Foreign currency in cash or in traveller’s checks may be exchanged at the banks, authorized dealers, at the bureau de change or at the airport although you will get better rates at the banks or exchange bureaus in town.

    Are credit cards accepted in Tanzania?

    Major credit cards such as MasterCard and Visa are accepted. American Express, Discover and Diners Club are often not accepted. ATMs will mostly accept MasterCard, Visa and Visa Electron cards. Major credit cards are accepted at supermarkets, expensive restaurants and hotels. However, it is advisable to carry some cash.