The currency in Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling (Tsh). Tanzania is almost a completely cash based society so you will need to have cash to pay for anything you buy here. There are a number of ATMs in Arusha so it is very easy to take out cash in local currency. However, Visa related cards are much more commonly accepted than MasterCard. Amex and Diners are non-existent here. There are a large number of Foreign Exchange Bureaus so you can exchange into local currency
The simplest way to stay in contact with people here or at home is to buy a Tanzanian Sim Card. Sims are very cheap to buy and you just buy prepaid credit to make calls or send an sms. Phone credit is available everywhere.
If your phone is locked or does not work internationally you can easily buy a cheap phone in town for about US$40.
We have internet access at the hostel but this is a paid service. We charge $2.00USD per day or 3,000 tsh. If you want to use internet at the hostel you can pay in cash and we will charge you for your entire stay one time. There are many restaurants and cafes that provide internet service as well.
The weather in Arusha is generally very warm. Due to its elevation (approx 1500m) it does not have the humidity which you will experience in many other places in the country, especially at the coast. There are rainy seasons in April-May and Oct-Nov however these are quite unpredictable and often it only rains at night.
From Sept-May daytime temperatures range from 22-35 degrees Celsius, with night time temperatures rarely dropping below 15 degrees Celsius. June-Aug is winter and daytime temperatures range from 18-25 degrees Celsius and night time temperatures may drop to 10 degrees.
If you are coming in the winter months it is definitely worthwhile bringing some warmer clothes.
The Tanzanian electrical plug is the British 3 square prong plug. Most people feel comfortable to bring ipods, phones, laptops etc and use them at the hostel.
It is important to discuss your health concerns with your Doctor. There are a number of Hospitals and Clinics in town where you can get any medical assistance you need in country. There are also a number of pharmacies in town, however they don’t have the range of products you may be used to, so it is worthwhile bringing what you can from home. We recommend that all travels take out their own travel insurance before leaving home.
Tanzania is a reasonably safe country and is not plagued with the civil unrest present in many African countries. However it is important to always be aware of your surroundings. During the day you are generally very safe, but keep your valuables hidden from sight whenever possible. It is not safe to walk around at night, however it is quite safe to take a taxi in or out of town for dinner, a movie or to go to the pub.
Tanzania is quite a conservative society so please respect this by not wearing shorts or skirts above the knee, bare midriff tops or anything too revealing. Obviously this is simply a guideline, but if you wear these sorts of things you are likely to attract even more attention to yourself and you may end up feeling uncomfortable.
Here are some suggestions that may be helpful.
It is a requirement to have a Yellow Fever vaccination to enter Tanzania and you will probably be asked to provide proof of this upon entry
There are a range of other vaccinations that may be useful such as Hepatitis, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Typhoid and Polio, however you need to discuss these with your Doctor
Malaria is common here so it is worthwhile discussing an anti-malarial treatment with your Doctor. The hostel provides a mosquito net on every bed. Insect repellent is also recommended.
Amoebas can be quite common so be sure to always wash your hands before eating. Anti-bacterial wipes or hand wash can be very useful.
Stomach upsets are common when adjusting to a new environment so assume that at some point you will get diarrhea. Be prepared with Imodium and Gastrolyte to replenish your body if this occurs.
We suggest that you don’t drink the local water, however most people find that it is OK to brush their teeth with it. The hostel also provides boiled drinking water.
Recommended Items to bring
- Long pants
- Knee length shorts (no short-shorts)
- Long skirts
- A “Nice” outfit for going out
- Fleece Jacket/Vest
- Sweater and track pants
- Rain jacket
- Flip flops
- Hiking Boots
- Bathing suit
- Head torch
- Travel alarm with batteries
- Water Bottle
- Insect Repellent
- Wash cloth
- Nail Brush
- General Toiletries
- Day pack