How much should I budget for my safari in Tanzania?
Best way to handle money when traveling to Tanzania
Most restaurants, lodges or campsites do not accept foreign debit cards. Paying with foreign credit cards (Visa and Mastercard) is possible at the more upmarket hotels and restaurants. ATMs are widely available across the country in all bigger provincial towns. Stanbic Bank, Standard Chartered, Barclays and CRDB are your most reliable banks, accepting Maestro, MasterCard and Visa. Do bring additional cards, as the daily uptake with a foreign card is limited at the ATMs. And, these banks are not widely available along the coast and the interior.
Tanzania is a cash economy. We strongly recommend that you bring some additional Euros or US Dollars with you in cash for unforeseen things. This can easily be changed to Tanzanian Shillings at any Forex Bureau in most provincial towns.
NOTE: fuel can only be paid in cash in Tanzanian Shillings.
Average costs for hotels, food and drinks in Tanzania
Petrol typically costs between $1.10 – $1.30 per litre
The average price of a three-course meal at a more upmarket restaurant or lodge is about $15-20 pp. Prices are considerably lower at a more local restaurant and eating out in Tanzania is cheap. A 10% tip is considered high but received with gratitude. If you're happy with the service, please be generous. Tips at most places are equally shared among all staff.
When staying at a lodge inside a national park or conservancy, the price category is roughly the following:
- Budget: up to USD 150 for a double room (BB)
- Mid-range: up to USD 400 for a double room (BB)
- High-end: beyond USD 400 (Full Board)
One can find plenty of budget and mid-range guesthouses and hotels outside of the national parks at a much lower rate.
Tips for visiting Tanzania on a budget
Tanzania is not a cheap travel destination and the most expensive of all countries where we operate. The park entrance fees are quite steep, so going on safari is expensive, especially in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro crater. However, it is definitely possible to enjoy Tanzania with a smaller budget if you follow our budget travel tips...
- Renting a RAV4 is much cheaper than renting a Landcruiser.
- Camping is a great way to save on accommodation costs and can cost as little as $ 5/ night if you stay at a campground outside of the protected areas. Almost every campsite is plotted and reviewed in the free app iOverlander.
- The Usambara and Udzungwa Mountains are great low-budget destinations, and traveling along the Tanzanian coastline is cheaper than staying in Zanzibar.
- Buy your groceries at the market, instead of going to the western supermarket, where prices can even be higher than back home.
- Eating in at your upmarket lodge or beach resort is considerably more expensive than eating out at a ( local) restaurant.
- We can't recommend it enough - visit Tanzania in low season! From March to May, hotel rates drop 25-50%, and also our car rental rates are lower.
There are numerous advantages to traveling during the low season.