Traveling in Tanzania doesn’t always come cheap. Budget travelers can survive on little money but must be willing to sacrifice a degree of comfort to do so. Organized tours, safaris, treks and sightseeing can seem a little expensive but are certainly worth every penny spent.
The official currency of Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling (TSH). As you cannot bring the local currency into the country it is best to bring foreign currency and exchange it at the airport or bank within the country. Bring both large and small denominations of cash and try to get a mixture of notes back. Rural areas may have problems finding change for a 10,000 shilling note.
You will be hard pressed to find a cash machine when trekking through the Serengeti. In fact you will be hard pressed to find an ATM outside of a major city. In Tanzania it is advised to carry cash at all times as ATMs are few and far between.
Credit cards are accepted at a few top end establishments, however if you come armed only with a credit card your choices are going to be limited. You will also pay high fees on commission usually ranging from 5-10%. Always be sure to have some money with you and carry a credit card for emergency top ups when you hit the big towns. Just because you are in a major city don’t expect the proprietor to accept credit cards, many don’t – so always be sure to double check first.
Whilst in theory travelers’ cheques are a good idea you may have trouble changing your money outside of a major city. Most hotels and safari operators won’t take travelers cheques as direct payment so you will need to find a bank or exchange place to cash them in. You will also need to show the original purchase receipt before being able to exchange your cheques for hard currency.
You can find plenty of banks scattered around major cities and big towns. Most of the banks have facilities to accommodate international travelers and will be happy to exchange currency. Banks are generally open from 9am until 3pm but have limited opening hours on weekends.