How to stay healthy in Tanzania

One of the biggest concerns for travellers is how to stay healthy in Tanzania. After all, you may only have a week or two in the country. Losing a couple of days to illness is thus a big deal and can have a huge impact on one’s holiday.


Diarrhoea in Tanzania is often symptomatic of nothing more than a change of diet rather than malignant bacteria. So if you get a vicious dose of the runs and your sphincter feels like a cat flap in the Aswan Dam, don’t panic. Don’t assume you’ve got food poisoning either, because it might well not be.

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That said, there are problems with hygiene in Tanzania, so it’s wise to take certain precautions. Firstly, take heed of that old adage about patronizing only places that are popular. That waym food doesn’t have a chance to sit around for long. Secondly, eat only food that has been cooked, boiled or peeled.

Thirdly, stick to bottled, purified or filtered water and avoid ice unless you’re certain it has been made from treated water.

Fourth, wash all fruit, vegetables and your hands. Ensure all food is thoroughly cooked too.

Fifth, shellfish, ice cream from street vendors and under-cooked meat should all be avoided like the plague. Or you could end up feeling like you’ve got it.

Finally, slathering yourself in an insect repellent to prevent you from being eaten alive by the smaller members of Tanzania’s animal kingdom is a good idea too.

Staying healthy in Tanzania: Other health problems

We could go into a detailed examination here of all the possible diseases you could catch in Tanzania. But the truth is that for most of the worst ones you should have already had an inoculation or be taking some sort of prophylactic. See our webpage on inoculations for Tanzania for details of these. Besides, it’s unlikely that you’ll suffer anything more in Tanzania than a dose of the runs or some altitude sickness. If you’re careless, then you might also get a touch of sunstroke.

If you do get a dose of the runs, just rest up and take plenty of fluids until you recover. To protect against sunstroke, wear a high-factor sun lotion and a hat. And drink a lot of fluids too; maintaining a reasonable salt intake will also help to prevent dehydration.

As for altitude sickness, which the majority of trekkers on Kili suffer from to some extent, as well as other ailments that you may contract on the trail, read the detailed discussion on our Altitude sickness on Kilimanjaro webpages.

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