Backpacking guide to Tanzania -2020

Tanzania is one of the fascinating countries that cant be left out of your travel to visit list of 2020 because of numerous things it offers you during your visit no matter what length period of your stay.

zebras in serengeti national park- by symaa Navid

Tanzania is an East African country known for its vast wilderness areas. They include the plains of Serengeti National Park, a safari mecca populated by the “big five” game (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino), and Kilimanjaro National Park, home to Africa’s highest mountain. Offshore lie the tropical islands of Zanzibar, with Arabic influences, and Mafia, with a marine park home to whale sharks and coral reefs.

Maasai kids from Tanzania


Tanzania has tropical, temperate, and arid climates varying on location and altitude. To the coast, it is tropical, thus typically hot and humid. In the mountainous areas, the climate is temperate. The hottest period is between months November and February, and the coldest, between May and August.


Tanzanians are estimated at 41,892,895 million in population concentrated along the coast and isles. In Zanzibar, there is around 1.2 million from the total. Mainland Tanzania has a demographic of 99% of African descent from more than 130 tribes. The remainder are Europeans, Asians, and Arabs. In Zanzibar, the population are any of Arab, African, and Arab-African origins. Sadly, there are about 1.4 million Tanzanians living with the HIV, 6th in the world for the largest numbers of people with AIDS.


Officially, KISWAHILI and ENGLISH are used, but while Kiswahili is used as the national language, similarly in central and eastern regions of Africa, English is largely used as the primary language for commerce, education, and government. KIUNGUJA is the Swahili dialect widely-used in Zanzibar, as is ARABIC.



  • Hello = jambo/ hujambo/ ​salama.
  • How are you? = habari gani.
  • Fine (response) = nzuri.
  • Goodbye = kwa heri/ kwa herini (more than one peson)
  • See you later = tutaonana.
  • Nice to meet you = nafurahi kukuona.
  • Goodnight = lala salama.


The population in Tanzania is nearly equally distributed amongst Christians (30%), Muslims (35%), and indigenous beliefs such as Hindu, Sikh, and Baha’i (35%). In Zanzibar, however, the population is homogenously Muslim.


sunset view from serengeti

One of the major reasons for visiting Tanzania is reliving the Lion King movie and relinquishing the marvellous nature in Serengeti. And, it couldn’t be more real with almost 4,000 lions seeking refuge at the Serengeti National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Tanzania. In part of this, interesting to see are the actual sites used in the movie, such as the Olduvai Gorge, while there is no Pride Rock. This gorge is a long and deep canyon we recall from the of the wildebeest-stampede scene where King Mufasa meets his death. Apart from the Serengeti, another famous national park is the Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park, which does not only boast impressive wildlife, but also its gorgeous, just gorgeous forests and foliage, and its climbing opportunities in Africa’s highest summit. Deviating the visitors from the usual Serengeti tours only means ecological control in order to reduce the tourist trail and damages that normally entails flocking 4wd’s.

While I personally do not believe in coming to Tanzania only to miss the Serengeti or Kilimanjaro, other travel options will spice up your Tanzanian expedition. The tourism board recently campaigned for the Kalambo Falls in Rukwa- the 2nd highest waterfall in Africa at the southern tip of Lake Tanganyika. Of course, where there’s the Indian Ocean, there will be fun in the sand! The Swahili Coast is the coastline facing the Indian Ocean, and what’s even better is that, not only is a ‘healthy tan’ included in this white-sand package, but a bunch of architectural wonders too like the old mosques and coral palaces. The isle of Zanzibar is equally fascinating and charming, as is its towns of Mbeya, Mwanza,

Mtwara and Stonetown. Don’t leave out the capital Dar es Salaam for soaking up some local atmosphere and wonderful Tanzanian grub. Travelling to this country is fuss-free, most just come here for a weekend, but once here, you’ll opt for a longer stay.

Lake Victoria

The gorgeous region of Lake Victoria is not only accessible via Uganda.  Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the 2nd freshwater lake in the world.  It hold s unique ecosystem where many different types of animals can be seen and you can even swim and have a relaxing weekend here as well.

Ngorongoro Crater(Ngorongoro conservation area)

The crater is the largest intact volcanic caldera in the world and happens to be the home of the highest density of large game in Africa.  You can find “The Big 5” and is one of the best places in Tanzania to go on safari.


Tanzania frankly facing high poverty rates,poor infrustracture,inadequate sources of income to finance for education,health and agricultural facilities/sectors, so you volunteering in this beautiful country in maybe exchange of accomodation or non , adds a big contribution to the communities around and also it helps you personally in one way or other to get in direct contact with thed local people hence exchanges different cultures and learning local languages.


So the Tanzanian grub, what about it? Surely there’s the mundane and mushy ugali that one will eventually tire of if extensively travelled the Sub-Saharan Africa. But the beef done many ways? A lot of Tanzanians love their beef as mtori (cooked beef and plantain dish) or nyama choma (grilled), specifically called nyama n’gombe or beef nyama (grilled beef), which is steak essentially, cooked one way – overdone. This they eat with a side of ugali and grilled plantains. If you want there’s also nyama kuku, which you probably already guessed as grilled chicken (kuku, get it?)

Tanzanians just have a habit of throwing everything in an open flame, from corn cobs, to potatoes, cassavas, etc. Chips mayai is chips cooked in an omelette, a Tanzanian specialty which is even better with pili pili or the bird’s eye chilli sauce. Street food here means international food fare on the streets- very characteristic of Africa. The Indian chapattis and samosas are typical street grub. Curries are also an Indian legacy they do so well in these parts of SSA.


Tanzania luckly when it comes to accomodation, its nearly impossible not to find where your pocket fits, from hotels,lodges,5star hotels,guesthouses name it but a few..personally these a one of the places i stayed in and ones that i can recommend to any one planning to backpack around Tanzania or Zanzibar.

DAR ES SALAAM — check out Teddy”s home hostel, Chelsea hotel,The slow Leopard, Happy feet backpackers and Bahari beach hostel all of these accomodations they available on sites like,hostelworld,and tripadvisor

ZANZIBAR —– this beautiful island has also places i can recommed for stay which incude, Malindi Lodge, The seyyida hotel&spa,Lost&found hostel,zLife hostel , and Market backpackers hostel .

MWANZA —– in this beautiful city, i can only recommend one hostel there called Kiota hostel located in 12 minutes away from Mwanza cbd . Me and a number of my friends who stayed there for somedays truly had a great service ever and its one of the best or if not the best Hostel in all Tanzania we fully recommend and the one that trust me wont disappoint you.mrs Estelle and Mr Bashir a really great people.

drone photage of hotel tilapia ,mwanza

ARUSHA —— Arusha is a city in East Africa’s Tanzania, located at the base of volcanic Mt. Meru. It’s a gateway to safari destinations and to Africa’s highest peak, 5,895m Mt. Kilimanjaro, lying some 100 kilometers northeast. To the west lies Serengeti National Park, home to wildlife including lions, rhinoceros, giraffes and leopards. Annual migrations feature huge herds of wildebeests crossing its plains.

In this city i can fully recommend you to stay at Arusha backpackers hotel,mambo Arusha hostel, stan hostel and waka waka hostel because all these places a the only ones in this area that can deliver a great service that a backpacker travel needs..

As i said at first, when it comes to accomodation ,whether you want to sleep in a hammock,tent or bed ,Tanzania in all it cities country wide has all it takes to offer you the best stay that simply fits in your expenditure… Dnt forget the main reason why we travel .

Clothes to Pack:

You may not necessarily need hiking wear or anything special. Basic athletic wear can do the job. If you plan to climb Kilimanjaro, it is advisable to pack layers. This will include an inside base layer, Nylon Pants, T-shirts, sun-hat, a jacket, a light pull over, warm hat and gloves and waterproof jacket and pants in case it rains. The rain-wear is great for protection from mosquitoes, too! Why it is good to layer is because you can quickly change according to the weather.

Money facts

Budget: $20-$30 per day (excluding safaris and other excursion like Kilimanjaro)

Food: around $1 per meal for street food and $2-$5 for a semi-decent café/restaurant

Accommodation: $8-$50 per night per person standard rates


You may end up spending quite a bit on your flight to Tanzania – Plane tickets are an inevitable expense. But here are a few things that will help you save some money – Book your flight well in advance for the best price. Also, if you are moving around the country, choose to go by bus instead of flying. Moving within towns can also be super cheap- use rickshaws, because they are comfy compared to the local mini buses and motor bikes.

Whatever the matter on the platter, hakuna matata says the Tanzanian.

Welcome to the Mother of Swahili .

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