Africa is a destination ceremonious with expensive once in a lifetime package Safari tours or for the slightly more adventurous and only slightly more budget friendly; overland trucks, that ply a well warn path north to south through the continent.
But what about independent travelers looking to travel on a budget? How much does it realistically cost? And how much should you budget to spend?
Before deciding to travel to Tanzania these were the first questions we wanted answered.
Researching online and using guide books, we had difficulty finding quality resources that provided a summary of costs for independent travelers on a tight budget.
That’s why in this post we’ve put together an outline of our experiences which answers the question: How much does it cost to travel in Tanzania?
In this post we aim to provide a concise overview of how much we spent during our trip.
We’ll summarize costs item by item plus an average daily spend for transport, food and accommodation. The goal is to provide an accurate account of our costs that can be used as a guide for your next trip to Tanzania.
We’ll break down transport, food, accommodation and activity costs (budget Safaris in the Northern Circuit).
We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how affordable travel in Tanzania actually is….
How much does it cost to travel in Tanzania?
Not as much as you think!
The good news is Tanzania is full of cheap high quality eats, places to stay and transport options including low cost airlines.
For a 10 day trip in Tanzania it cost $51 USD per person per day (excluding a 3 day 2 night Safari at $140 USD per person per day ).
Let’s break it all down…
How Much Does Transport Cost In Tanzania
Okay, first let’s discuss transport.
Getting There And Away
None of this discussion will include flights to and from Tanzania, only since this depends on where you’re coming from.
To find the best deals we always use Skyscanner.
Getting Around Transport Costs
Our average daily transport costs where $10.70 USD per person per day.
To get a better understanding of the best transport options available in Tanzania first read our post ‘How To Get Around Tanzania‘. This gives a complete outline of transport options including Flights, Buses, Ferries, Taxis and Dalla Dallas.
The following is a breakdown of costs by transport type.
~ $USD 2-3
Typical Taxi fare in Dar Es Salaam and Arusha range from 5000 TZS ($USD 2-3) for short 1-5 Kms trips to 8000 – 10000 TZS ($USD 4-5) for longer trips 5-10 kms.
~ $USD 7
A First Class Bus (really ecomony) from Dar Es Salaam to Arusha taking approximately 12 hours cost 16500 TZS or $USD 7. We recommend spending a little more and flying. See below.
~ $USD 35
Non-Residents pay a premium on fares. One way tickets Dar Es Salaam – Stone Town, Zanzibar cost $USD 35 economy and $USD 40 Business Class. Economy seats are a little tight but fine for the short 2 hr trip.
~ $USD 70
Low cost carriers fly the popular Dar Es Salaam – Arusha and Zanzibar – Arusha routes. If you manage to book well enough in advance fares can be picked up for as little as $USD 70! Check out skyscanner for good deals.
~ $USD 1
Dalla Dallas are the local bus transport system in Tanzania. Often very crowded these are by far the cheapest way to get around. In Zanzibar no full leg fare should cost much more than 2000 TZS ($USD 0.86) per person. Luggage is often extra expect to pay 500 TZS ($USD 0.21) per bag.
Expect similar prices on the mainland.
Shuttle Bus to Kenya
~ $USD 25
A convenient and cheap way to travel from Arusha and Moshi to Nairobi, Kenya is by shuttle bus. Riverside Shuttles offer daily services costing $USD 25 per person.
Tickets can be purchased online but we recommend purchasing from the offices. Its a little cheaper.
How Much Does Food Cost In Tanzania
Our average daily food and drink costs where $8.70 USD per person per day
There’s a wide variety of good quality food options at prices to fit any budget.
Local restaurants in Dar Es Salaam, Stone Town and Arusha offer great value. At Zanzibar beach resort towns prices tend to be inflated and generally of poorer quality than those available in the bigger centres.
Hotels and guest houses almost always serve breakfast included in the room rate. As well as other meals offered at good rates.
Below is a list of typical foods available at the average local restaurants and their average prices. These prices are fairly consistent throughout Dar Es Salaam, Arusha and Zanzibar (outside beach resort towns).
Prawn / Octopus in Coconut Curry 6000 TZS ($USD 2.61)
Indian Dal 3000 TZS ($USD 1.30)
Vegetable Curry 3000 TZS ($USD 1.30)
Biryani Rice 3500 TZS ($USD 1.52)
Vegetable Rice 3000 TZS ($USD 1.30)
Quarter Grilled Chicken 3000 TZS ($USD 1.30)
French Fries 2000 TZS ($USD 0.86)
Burger 5000 TZS ($USD 2.17)
Pizza 8000 TZS ($USD 3.48)
Chapati 500 TZS ($USD 0.22)
Freshly Squeezed Juices 3000 TZS ($USD 1.30)
Masala Tea 4000 TZS ($USD 1.74)
How Much Does Accommodation Cost In Tanzania
Our average daily accommodation costs where $19 USD per person per day (travelling as a couple)
Accommodation is expensive relative to the quality. But if you are just looking basic accommodation options its possible to find decent places at a reasonable price.
A basic double room typical cost us $40 USD per night. This almost always included a good quality breakfast which is very convenient.
We always use booking.com to search and book places to stay. Having a booking.com account and using the app makes it easy to track reservations and communicate with properties on the go. the free cancellation on most properties makes it easy to change plans and amend bookings.
For more information on a great place to stay in Paje, Zanzibar. Be sure to check out our post ‘Best Place To Stay in Paje, Zanzibar On A Budget‘.
How Much Does A Safari Cost In Tanzania
Our daily Safari costs where $140 USD per person per day (all inclusive) when on Safari
Safaris in Africa have a reputation for being notoriously expensive.
But with a little research and digging around it’s possible to find good quality budget safaris that won’t break the bank.
If your happy to rough it on accommodation and food. Its possible to go on Safari at a fraction of the price whilst still seeing the best that Tanzania’s National Parks have to offer.
Rates with budget Safari operators are typically charged on a daily basis.
The longer the safari generally the cheaper the daily rate.
For a 3 day 2 night safari we paid $140 USD per person per day. For a 4 day 3 night Safari we were quoted $130 USD.
For more information on how to plan and organize a budget Safari check out our post ‘How To Plan A Tanzania Safari On A Budget‘.
How Much Does A SIM Card and Mobile Data Cost In Tanzania
We spent $8.70 USD for a 4GB data plan valid for 30 days.
Sim Cards and mobile data is cheap in Tanzania.
Mobile internet makes planning and booking accommodation and transport so easy on the run. Getting a mobile internet connection is a must when travelling these days.
Its possible to use a roaming mobile connection provided by your home mobile company. But we find it far better value to purchase a local SIM card with every country we visit.
We spent TSH 20000 ($8.70 USD) for 4GB data plan valid for 30 days.
There are 4 major mobile providers in Tanzania all with a big range of mobile plans valid for different periods.
For more information on the different plans available and the how to get a SIM card in Tanzania check out our post ‘How To Buy A Sim Card In Tanzania‘.
Summary and Recommendations
With good planning travel in Tanzania is much more affordable than we’d expected.
Be sure to book flights well in advance to get the best deals. Tanzania has some great value budget airlines operating between Zanzibar or Dar Es Salaam and Arusha. Flying saves time and eliminates a bunch of hassles.
Taking local Dalla Dalla’s is a cheap and fun way to get around in Zanzibar. Taxi’s are cheap and the most convenient in bigger cities.
Book and compare accommodation options online. Book in advance with free cancellation policies even if you don’t have firm travel plans yet.
Seek out recommended local eateries for great value meals.
Get a local SIM Card on arrival. The’re cheap and the coverage is pretty good.
Organize a budget Safari with a local operator or agent. They’re fantastic value compared to the more expensive tour packages.