The main languages spoken are Swahili and English. Locals appreciate any Swahili you can speak!
The local currency is Tanzanian Shillings. U.S. dollars, Euros, and credit cards may be accepted by larger stores and hotels, but the exchange rate is sometimes better with shillings. There are currency exchanges in the airport and in towns to exchange your money.
ATM’s are available in larger towns like Moshi and Arusha and can be a good option for getting local currency. There is an ATM at JRO and 3 in Moshi. Your ATM card must have a Plus symbol to work. The local bank will charge about $5 plus any fees your bank charges.
US$100 bills must be 2003 or later and in good shape (no tears, not too crinkled), or they will not be accepted. For travellers cheques, there is often a $1/cheque fee, and the exchange rate is better for $100 cheques.
It helps to bring smaller bills for tipping and also for small purchases as change is not always available.
Currently, guides and porters prefer U.S. dollars for tips as the value of the Tanzania shilling has been declining.
To dial internationally from Tanzania, dial: 000 + area code + telephone number. Hotel receptionists will help you make calls.
When calling Tanzania, you must dial the country code of 255.
Your personal cell phone will work if it is a global cell phone and coverage is spotty. You can buy a Celtel and Vodaphone in Tanzania for about $30 plus minutes. You may want to consider renting one or getting a satellite phone.
Tanzania uses 220 volt current with a U.K. or European plug. An electrical converter is recommended for 110 volt (U.S.) electrical devices. On safari, many hotels are on generators or solar power, so electricity may not run all day and all night.
Tanzania sometimes experiences rolling black outs throughout the country. Some businesses are able to run a generator, but many are without power at random times and days.
Moshi and Arusha are typical African towns. The roads are in horrible shape, and traffic can be bad.
Shopping is limited, and bargaining is the norm. Caucasians may get charged more than an African, so take your guides shopping if possible.
The streets are not safe after dark. You will want a local to escort you if driving or walking after dark. Hide money, all jewelry, and any expensive items you have with you while walking around. There are many pickpockets and scam artists.