English and KiSwahili, the East African lingua franca, are both official languages. English is spoken to a fair standard throughout the tourism industry. There are many other indigenous languages spoken throughout Tanzania.
GMT + 3
Visas are required by most nationalities, but they can be bought upon arrival at all borders and international airports.
Tanzania is generally very safe, with malaria forming by far the greatest threat to life and limb. Occasional outbreaks of mugging occur in Dar es Salaam and Arusha, but these are unlikely to affect tourists unless they wander around town after dark.
The unit of currency is the Tanzania shilling (TZS). Major credit cards, especially Visa but also sometimes American Express and MasterCard, are accepted by many tourist hotels. They can also be used to draw local currency at ATMs in Arusha, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, but there are few ATMs elsewhere.
The combination of vehicle running costs and high park entrance fees means that there is no such thing as a cheap safari. At the bottom end of the comfort scale, a basic camping safari for 4-5 people, often using campsites outside the parks, will cost at least US $150 per person per day. Smaller groups will pay more per person, and safaris based in lodges might cost two to three times as much as a camping safari. Safaris that use exclusive tented camps will cost even more. Costs on Zanzibar and other areas of the coast vary widely depending on your choice of accommodation.
International flights serve Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro Airports. For those on the classic northern safari circuit, flying into Kilimanjaro Airport is the most sensible option. Some visitors opt to fly into Nairobi, which lies only four hours from Arusha by twice-daily shuttle bus. For those wishing to explore the most sensible option. For those wishing to explore the coast, the airports in Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam are the obvious choices.
A good network of domestic flights link Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar to most other attractions. National Parks are generally most easily visited on organized safaris, which are usually all-inclusive. Independent travelers can get to most other places via public transport.
Guidebooks to Tanzania are published by Bradt, Footprint, Insight, Lonely Planet and Rough Guides. Terry Stevenson and John Fanshawe's Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa is the best birding handbook. Locally published booklets to individual parks are widely available in Arusha and lodges.