Like many countries in Africa, Tanzania’s wildlife and natural beauty can offer an international traveler the experience of a lifetime. Its expansive wildlife reserves and white sand beaches pull in destination travelers from all over the world. You wouldn’t want to miss anything due to illness, so before you embark on your trip, take a minute to learn about a few Tanzania specifics that will help you prepare for a safe, healthy and enjoyable stay.
The coolest and driest season in Tanzania is between late June and September, explaining why the busiest travel season is during the months of July and August. If you plan to travel during these peak times, be sure to plan your trip well in advance, as hotels and park lodges will fill up quickly.
The rainy season in Tanzania extends from March through April, and during those months you can expect heavy tropical rains daily in the afternoons. The average high temperature reaches 90 °F (32 °C) in October, and the average low temperature dips to 59 °F (15 °C) in June and July.
Rule of Thumb: To make sure you’re never feeling under the weather, dress in removable layers and avoid feeling too hot or chilled.
The earliest known inhabitants of Tanzania were hunters and gatherers, producing a diet of mostly fish, vegetables and millet (grass cultivated for its seeds and grains). Through Tanzania’s rich and varied history, however, the Muslim Arabs, Portuguese, British and Germans have greatly influenced the cuisine of Tanzania today.
One of the most popular dishes in Tanzania is Mtori (cooked beef and bananas), but the national meat dish is Ugali – a polenta style dish made with corn flour that accompanies most varieties of stews or cooked meats. It’s often eaten with your hands, and the recipe is known to vary from one village to another.
Rule of Thumb: Washing your hands with soap or applying hand sanitizer before every meal is always recommended, but is especially important when eating with your hands as opposed to utensils. To avoid travelers’ diarrhea or the possible contraction of typhoid fever, you should only eat thoroughly cooked foods, drink bottled or boiled water, and eat fruit that has been washed and peeled.
Whether you’re planning on visiting Mt. Kilimanjaro, exploring local villages, or enjoying the capital city of Dodoma, planning for good health in Tanzania is just as important as buying tickets or obtaining a visa and passport. Feeling ill at home is bad, but being sick while abroad and away from your usual health care resources is much worse. Here are a few steps you can take to avoid disease and “tummy trouble” while visiting Tanzania.
Required Vaccinations: Tanzania’s Ministry of Health is now requiring Yellow Fever vaccinations for entry into or exit from the country. Your local travel clinic will be able to provide the necessary certification of your yellow fever vaccination and help you decrease the risk of delayed entry into or exit from Tanzania.
Recommended Vaccinations: Talk with a trained travel medicine specialist about vaccine preventable diseases such as Typhoid and Meningitis, as well as prophylactic medication for Malaria, and other medications to treat altitude sickness, jet lag and intestinal infections.
- Avoid swimming or wading in clear water lakes, rivers or ponds, and wear shoes at all times.
- Confine swimming to the ocean and well-chlorinated pools, and avoid walking or sitting on muddy river banks without protective covering.
- Clean minor cuts and scrapes as soon as possible with a sterile antiseptic, and seek immediate medical attention for more serious injuries.
- Ask your travel medicine specialist about diarrhea treatment kits and wound care kits during your appointment. They’re available at your local Passport Health office and can save you from unanticipated medical issues.
From the Serengeti and the breathtaking Ngorongoro Conservation Area, to the incredible sands of Zanzibar, Tanzania’s wildlife nature reserves and scenic beaches will capture the heart of any type of traveler. Be sure to protect your health and wellness before you go, and allow yourself to enjoy the country’s natural beauty to the fullest extent!