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 – as anybody who has already been to Kenya’s capital, known to many travellers as ‘Nairobberi’, will testify – so do take care.

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

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 and 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 – you should be insured against such eventualities anyway. Report the crime as soon as possible to the police, who are generally quite helpful, particularly when the victim is a tourist. This will 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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