Getting To and From Tanzania

These days there are many ways to travel to Tanzania. Overland railways connect the country, the roads are easy to navigate and well-maintained, cruise ships and passenger liners stop frequently at the ports, and international air carriers arrive and depart daily from the many airports located around the country. Travel to Tanzania is easier and more convenient than it has ever been before. World-class airport facilities and on-the-ground assistance make sure that your visit to the country is perfect from the first moment of arrival.

Whether you’re travelling independently or with a tour operator, be sure to book your ticket well in advance and make sure your return flights are confirmed. Travel agents in major cities can assist you in making any last-minute changes to your itinerary and flights.

By Air

There are frequent direct and indirect flights to Tanzania by numerous international airlines. At the time of writing, international airlines that fly to Dar es Salaam include KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Swiss International Airlines, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Oman Air, Turkish Airlines, South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Egypt Airways, Kenya Airways, Air Uganda, LAM Mozambique Airlines and Rwanda Air.

If you’re planning to visit Northern Tanzania, the best airport to arrive at is Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA). KLM has daily flights from Amsterdam. Ethiopian and Kenya Airways also fly into KIA.

If you’re planning to visit Zanzibar, southern and western Tanzania, you’ll want to fly to the capital Dar es Salaam. European carriers that fly into Dar es Salaam include British Airways, KLM and Swissair (which code shares with Delta).

Regional flights to Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and parts of northern Tanzania regularly fly from Nairobi (Kenya Airways, Air Kenya) and Addis Ababa (Ethiopian Airlines). Precision Air has several flights per week to Entebbe (Uganda), Mombasa and Nairobi.

By Land

To and From Kenya: There are several bus services available between Tanzania and Kenya.Buses regularly go from Mombasa to Dar es Salaam (12 hours), Nairobi to Dar es Salaam(about 13 hours), Nairobi to Arusha (5 hours), and Voi to Moshi. Some bus companies originating in Arusha will drop you off at your hotel in Nairobi and also offer pick-ups at Nairobi’s international airport.

To and From Malawi: The border crossing between Tanzania and Malawi is at the Songwe River Bridge. Direct buses between Dar es Salaam and Lilongwe depart several times a week and take around 27 hours. Your other alternative is to get to the border crossing and take minibuses in either direction to the closest towns — Karonga in Malawi and Mbeya in Tanzania. Spend the night and then continue on the next day. Both towns have regular long-distance bus services.

To and From Mozambique: The main border post is at Kilambo (Tanzania) which you can get to via minibus from Mtwara. To cross the border requires a trip across the Ruvuma River and depending on the tides and the season, this could be a simple quick canoe trip or an hour long ferry ride. The border post in Mozambique is at Namiranga.

To and From Uganda: Daily buses travel from Kampala to Dar es Salaam (via Nairobi — so make sure you get a visa for Kenya to transit). The bus trip takes at least 25 hours. A more manageable crossing is from Kampala to Bukoba (on the shores of Lake Victoria) which gets you to Tanzania in about 7 hours. You can also take a short 3 hour trip by bus from Bukoba (Tanzania) to the Ugandan border town of Masaka. Scandinavian also runs buses from Moshi to Kampala (via nairobi).

To and From Rwanda: Regional coach services travels from Kigali to Dar es Salaam at least once a week, the trip takes about 36 hours and crosses into Uganda first. Shorter trips between the Tanzania/Rwanda border at Rusumo Falls are possible but the security situation fluctuates so inquire locally in Benako (Rwanda) or Mwanza (Tanzania). Buses also run at least once a day from Mwanza (it will take all day) to the border of Rwanda, and from there you can catch a minibus to Kigali. Catching the bus from Mwanza means a ferry trip to start with so the schedule is fairly fixed.

To and From Zambia: Buses run a couple times a week between Dar es Salaam and Lusaka(about 30 hours) and between Mbeya and Lusaka (about 16 hours). The border that is used most often is at Tunduma and you can get minibuses from Mbeya to Tunduma and then cross into Zambia and take public transport from there.

By Train

To and From Zambia: A train runs from Kapiri Mposhi (Zambia) to Dar es Salaam and takes two nights.

By Boat

There are currently no official passenger-ferry services on Lake Victoria to connect Tanzania with Uganda and Kenya.

To and From Malawi: The only route across the lake from Tanzania is on the Songea ferry from Mbamba Bay (Tanzania) to Nkhata Bay (Malawi) near Mzuzu. The ferry is meant to run twice a month. The Ilala sometimes travels from Lake Malawi to Tanzania but schedules vary.

To and from Burundi: A weekly ferry runs between Kigoma and Bujumbura and takes about 14 hours.

To and From Mozambique: You can try and hire a Dhow to get to Mozambique from Tanzania and vice versa. Find out information locally in Tanzania’s dhow ports of Mikindani, Mtwara and Msimbati. In Mozambique check the ports at Mocimboa da Praia and Palma.

To and from Kenya (Mombasa): A ferry runs about once a week from Mombasa, Kenya and Tanga, Tanzania to Unguja and Pemba. Fares are around $40.

To and From Zambia: A regular ferry connects Kigoma (Tanzania) with Mpulungu (Zambia) along the shores of Lake Tanganyika. The ferry was the inspiration for the classic movie, African Queen. You can get off at smaller stops along the way including Lagosa, to get to Mahale Mountains National Park to enjoy the chimpanzees.