Travelers planning their dream safari often ask us, “Is Tanzania safe?” That’s a great question! We’re always happy to help travelers who want to make informed decisions about their journeys.
We have good news: we’ve been in Tanzania since 1981 and have always known it to be incredibly safe and stable.
Just How Safe is Tanzania for Tourists?
The short answer: very! Tanzania is widely regarded as one of the most stable countries on the African continent. It’s even referred to as the Switzerland of Africa.
Plus, northern Tanzania–where Thomson guests go–is especially warm and welcoming. Hotspots like the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire and others are known to be very safe.
Nearly everyone coming to these places is a safari guest or Mt. Kilimanjaro trekker. And most of the Tanzanians here work in the tourism and hospitality industries. When you travel with Thomson, you’ll discover just how excited they are to welcome you and show you their home.
Staying Safe in Safari Camps
Thomson Nyumba camps are deeply immersed in the Tanzanian wilderness. They rotate seasonally to keep you close to the wildlife. In the 40+ years we’ve been in Tanzania, Thomson guests have never had problems with human-wildlife interaction. Sure, a zebra or wildebeest may occasionally brush up against the canvas of your tent. That’s the beauty of bush camping: harmless, unmediated proximity to wildlife.
But even these innocuous encounters are rare. Nyumba tents are big, imposing structures, and the wildlife tends to stay far from them because they don’t know what the tents are, or what’s inside.
In addition, Thomson camps always have an armed guard on duty. They patrol the campground throughout the night, walking from end to end and keeping a sharp eye out for any signs of wildlife. In the case that something wanders too close, the guards know how to safely drive it away.
Each Nyumba also features a cowbell–if you were, for example, concerned about walking from your tent to the lounge tent in the darkness, or if you felt like there was a critter that was a little too close, you can always ring the bell. Camp staff will immediately come to your assistance.
How Do Your Guides Help You Stay Safe on Safari?
Thomson guides are veterans with over 10 years’ experience and training. They know exactly how to handle any safety-related scenario on any Thomson safari.
Guides are not armed during wildlife drives simply because they don’t need to be. That’s the advantage of riding in customized Land Rovers with closed sides: not only does the vehicle protect you from the weather, dust, sun, rain and puddles, it’s also a form of camouflage. The animals see a big, moving piece of metal, not the people inside.
Out of an abundance of caution, your guide may remind you to keep your door closed and roll up your windows during your safari. They may ask you to stay quiet near certain animals, especially mothers with their young.
Thankfully, this kind of precaution is rarely necessary. The animals have a difficult time seeing you. Follow your guide’s directions and there’s no reason for concern.
How Long Will I Be in the Cities on a Thomson Safari?
Your exposure in cities like Dar es Salaam or Arusha is extremely limited. Thomson guides pick you up at hotels and airports and drop you directly in front of your next destination, meaning you never set foot anywhere we haven’t vetted.
That being said, don’t forget common sense when you travel.
- Don’t wander in unfamiliar areas.
- Keep your valuables on you.
- Avoid being loud, disruptive or showy, especially while wearing anything valuable.
These guidelines are most important in urban areas and airports in Tanzania. But it’s good common sense to follow them everywhere on safari–or in any big city anywhere in the world.
Is Tanzania safe for LGBTQ Folks?
Tanzania has a conservative, traditional culture. Displays of affection between anyone is frowned upon. For LGBTQ travelers, we recommend the same advice we recommend to everyone: refrain from PDA in cities, airports and rural areas.
Once you leave the cities, you’re solely with Thomson staff and guests, far out in the bush. The staff has years of experience working with travelers from all over the world–they’re excited to have you and will be warm and welcoming regardless of who you are.
Is Zanzibar Safe?
Yes! We suggest following the same guidelines you would elsewhere: respect cultural norms, travel with common sense and don’t wander without Thomson guides.
Zanzibar has a large Muslim population with different cultural expectations, so make sure you understand what to expect beforehand. You may see signs at the Zanzibar airport and billboards in the parking lots that indicate some of the customs they observe. For example, these signs might indicate what types of bikinis are acceptable. Failing to follow their guidelines may result in government fines.
Thomson guests are sometimes concerned about access to emergency medical care during their trip. It’s important to know that Tanzania is a country where the cities and towns have access to modern medical facilities, clinics and dispensaries.
In the unlikely event that a medical emergency arises, the Thomson team is trained to coordinate with your travel insurance to get you help as quickly as possible.
There are plenty of what-if scenarios with health emergencies. No matter what, the Thomson team knows how to handle it.