Is it safe to go on safari in Tanzania?

October 17, 2019

Tanzania is, overall, a safe country to visit. This is even more so if your visit is primarily an organized safari. Almost a million tourists visit Tanzania every year, and most visits are trouble-free. There have been several terrorist attacks in the past, but the last one – where a hotel was bombed – was in 2002. Fortunately, incidents are very rare, and the chance of being a random victim is almost negligible. As with many third-world countries, theft and muggings are relatively common, but most incidents are in cities such as Dar es Salaam and Arusha. Walking alone around the city is not recommended. An overnight stay at a reputable hotel or an organized visit to one of the many attractions in or around the city is fine.

As for all traveling abroad and in wildlife areas, we do advise these basic safety precautions:

Serengeti Safari

Please note: by reading the advice below you may get the impression that wildlife viewing is a dangerous activity. That is not the case. In our opinion, wildlife viewing can be considered very safe as long as you treat the animals with respect and use common sense. It is extremely rare for incidents to occur and your professional guide is there to ensure your safety. The advice below is solely intended to further decrease the already small risks.

Always follow your guide’s instructions and guidelines.

Stay in the car during game drives except at designated areas where you are allowed to get out of the car.

Never walk off far to pee behind a bush – ask for advice from your guide about where to go.

Don’t stand up in the car, hang out of the window or sit on the roof.

Don’t drive too close to animals if you are on a self-drive safari. Back off if the animals seem disturbed.

Don’t drive between elephants, especially females and their young. Never get too close to elephants, particularly lone males.

Don’t talk or laugh too loud.

Stay close to your guide and group on a walking safari and always walk in single file.

Watch where you put your feet while walking in the bush.

Never run or jog in a wildlife area as it entices predators to attack. For the same reason, never run away from a predator when confronted. Instead ask your guide for help and instructions or slowly walk backwards while facing the predator.

Never walk between a hippo and water. It may panic and charge because its safety route to the water is blocked.
While on a canoe safari, stay in the shallows, to avoid hippos. Keep enough distance from animals on river banks.

While camping, or in a tented camp, never leave food in your tent; it will attract wildlife.
Cover your arms and legs in the evening and use insect repellent to protect against mosquitoes. The repellent should contain at least 30% DEET.

Wear a hat, use sunscreen and drink plenty of water.

Don’t wear bright and colorful clothes or too much perfume. This is especially true for walking safaris and, to a lesser extent, for other wildlife viewing activities. In tsetse-fly areas it is recommended not to wear dark-colored clothing – such as black or dark blue – since it attracts these stinging flies. Bring warm clothes for morning game drives in open vehicles during the cold months of June, July and August.

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