Tanzania in a nutshell

Usually, when traveling, not showing that you’re a tourist is an art. I hate it when I can’t blend in, I love it when people consider me a local and ask for directions. But in places like Tanzania, it’s difficult to get around without being noticed – not only we haven’t seem white locals, but we didn’t even meet many travels on the buses we took and in the places we’ve been. Of course that the guys met quite a few white people during their visit to the safari, but apart from that, we didn’t meet many, just the 2 Irish people and a British guy who were staying at the same couchsurfer host like us in Mwanza and the German couple on TAZARA. We figured that most people who come to Tanzania either just go to safaris or they travel with rented or bought cars, not so much with public transportation.

So, when you’re obviously a tourist, locals treat you like one and they always try to over-charge for local products (prices are rarely displayed in Tanzania). It took us a while to know what the real prices for transport, food, internet, accommodation are (and I’m still not sure I got them 100% correct!). In any case, as of November 2016, here’s a list of what we usually paid for things we got (at this time, $1 = Tsh 2,150).

Transport

  • Ferry from Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam – $35
  • Bus from Dar es Salaam to Moshi – Tsh 30,000
  • Bus from Moshi to Arusha – Tsh 3,000
  • Bus Arusha – Katesh – Tsh 11,000
  • Bus Katesh – Kondoa – Tsh 7,000
  • Bus Kondoa – Kolo Tsh 3,000
  • Bus Kolo – Babati Tsh 6,000
  • Bus Babati – Mwanza Tsh 30,000
  • Bus Mwanza – Kigoma Tsh 31,000
  • Train Kigoma – Morogoro (1st class) Tsh 65,500
  • Train Kisaki – Kapiri Mposhi (2nd class) Tsh 70,600

Food and drinks

  • A 1,5l bottle of water is Tsh 1,000 or Tsh 1,200
  • A 0,5l bottle of soda is Tsh 1,000 (but I don’t encourage the consumption of soda, especially if it’s made by Coca-cola Inc.)
  • A small bag of peanuts is Tsh 500
  • A small bag of cashews is Tsh 2,000
  • One mango can vary between between Tsh 100 and Tsh 500 depending on how big it is
  • One banana is Tsh 100 or Tsh 200
  • One medium sized pineapple is around Tsh 2,000 (smaller ones can be cheaper)
  • One big watermelon is around Tsh 3,000
  • One avocado is somewhere between Tsh 500 and Tsh 1,000
  • One meal (rice with some meat or potatoes with eggs or polenta with some meat) can be somewhere in between Tsh 2,000 to Tsh 5,000 in a local, not fancy restaurant
  • A milk tea is usually Tsh 500, but some people might ask for Tsh 1,000

Accommodation

  • Accommodation in hostels made for foreigners is around Tsh 15,000 for one bed, but guest houses for locals would offer a room with two beds for as cheap as Tsh 6,000 if you’re fine with using a common bathroom. For Tsh 15,000 you usually also get your own bathroom. Usually, however, there’s no warm water (but I honestly didn’t consider warm water to be a necessity considering the temperatures here) and no internet. In more touristic places like Arusha and Moshi it’s more difficult to find accommodation at local rates, although the facilities are more or less the same.

Internet

  • A TiGO SIM card is Tsh 1,500; for using Internet, there’re all sort of special offers. We managed to get 4GB for a week with Tsh 2,000.

Getting cash out

  • Extracting cash at NMB takes a commission of Tsh 9,000 no matter on the amount extracted, on top of whatever your local bank might demand; using other banks, though (NBC, Barcleys) takes a higher commission, around Tsh 15,000, unless you have a Barcleys account in which case they won’t take a commission (at least they haven’t for my friend who has a Barcleys account in London)
    I read online that it’s more difficult to exchange euros than dollars, but everywhere I changed dollars, they also had a quota for euros. So I think I lost a few dollars while changing euros to dollars and dollars to Tanzanian shillings.

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