Penalties for those arriving in Tanzania with plastic bags

We have been advised that Tanzania is, from the start of next month, banning plastic bags from entering the country.

This does of course have huge ramifications for Kilimanjaro trekkers, many of whom use plastic bags to keep their clothes and other items separate in their rucksacks and to provide an extra layer of waterproofing.

The plastic bag ban also includes rubbish sacks and bin liners, which many Kili trekkers use as they are larger than regular plastic bags.


In Kenya, where they introduced a similar ban last year, those convicted of breaking the law were threatened with four years in prison or a fine of $40,000 for even using one!

The statement reads as follows:

“For all travellers coming to Tanzania its imperative to note the information below to avoid delays on arrival at any one of our airports. Please share with your fellow agents, operators, clients, colleagues, guests and friends so the transition is seamless.

Effective 1st June 2019: All passengers arriving at any Tanzania airport including tourists can possibly face very heavy fines for using plastic bags in any way, shape or form. Using, manufacture or importation of plastic bags, including garbage bags and shopping bags is illegal. Offenders, including tourists, could face very heavy fines.

Visitors/Citizens and Residents alike are advised to avoid packing any plastic bags in their suitcases or in carry-on hand luggage before flying to Tanzania. Items purchased at the airport before boarding the aircraft should be removed from plastic bags. Please check hand luggage before disembarking at entry points and any plastic bags should be left in the plane.

Similarly the transparent “zip-loc” plastic bags that some airlines require passengers to use for keeping liquids, cosmetics, toiletries etc separately in hand luggage are also not permitted to be brought and should be removed and left on the plane before disembarking.” [UPDATE: Please see our new bulletin on this subject, as Tanzania is officially allowing ziploc bags into the country.]

We have always recommended that trekkers bring plastic bags with them to Tanzania to guarantee their kit remains dry. We will thus have to alter this section in the guide book and on the website – and advise you to seek some other way to keep your kit dry and separate inside your rucksack.