Security and safety in Tanzania

Tanzania is a pretty safe country, at least by the standards of its neighbours. That said, the standards of its neighbours are very, very low indeed. Anybody who has already been to Kenya’s capital, which is known to many as ‘Nairobberi’, will testify to this. So in order to stay safe in Tanzania, you need to take care.

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When you are with your agency or in your hotel, your safety in Tanzania is paramount for them. But, of course, they can’t watch over you all the time. This is especially true when you’re not on the mountain.

Violent crime is relatively rare in Tanzania, but not unknown, especially in Dar es Salaam. Furthermore, pickpockets are common throughout the country and reach epidemic proportions in busy areas such as markets and transport terminals.

Your safety in Tanzania – some advice

The best (if somewhat contradictory) advice is to:

  • Keep a close eye on your things.
  • Don’t flaunt your wealth.
  • Wear a moneybelt.
  • Be on your guard against scams and con merchants …

… but at the same time don’t let a sense of paranoia ruin your holiday. Remember that the vast majority of travellers in East Africa spend their time here suffering no great loss beyond the occasional and inevitable overcharging.

If you are unfortunate enough to become the victim of a mugging, remember that it’s your money that they’re after, so hand it over. After all, if you’ve been sensible you will be insured against such eventualities anyway. And remember to report the crime as soon as possible to the police. They are generally quite helpful, particularly when the victim is a tourist. This will also help to back up your claim from the insurers and may help to prevent further crimes against tourists in the future.

One more word of advice: in towns and cities it is a good idea (and in big cities such as Arusha, it’s pretty much essential) that you take a taxi after dark. Bad things happen at night, as a quick perusal of the Arusha Times always shows.

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