Is Tanzania Safe for Solo Female Travellers?

Is Tanzania Safe for Solo Female Travellers?

Tanzania! The land of breathtaking safaris, crystal-clear waters of Zanzibar, and the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro. It’s no wonder this East African gem is on every adventurer’s bucket list. But if you’re a woman considering a solo trip to Tanzania, safety is bound to be a top concern.

The answer: Tanzania is generally considered safe for solo female travellers, especially compared to other parts of Africa. However, just like anywhere else in the world, it’s wise to be cautious and take some precautions.

This blog is your one-stop guide to everything you need to know about staying safe as a solo female traveller in Tanzania. We’ll cover everything from the good news (Tanzanians are incredibly welcoming!), to the not-so-bad news (a little common sense goes a long way!), and wrap it all up with some top safety tips to ensure you have an incredible and worry-free adventure.

Why Tanzania is Great for Solo Female Travellers

There are many reasons why Tanzania is a fantastic choice for a solo female adventure:

Friendly and welcoming people: Tanzanians are renowned for their hospitality. You’ll likely encounter warm smiles, helpful greetings, and genuine curiosity about your travels.

Safe tourist infrastructure: Tanzania caters very well to tourists, with plenty of reputable tour companies, good quality accommodation options, and well-maintained transportation routes in popular tourist areas.

Sense of community: Whether you’re on safari or exploring a bustling market, there’s often a strong sense of community in Tanzania. This can make you feel more secure, especially if you strike up conversations with locals.

Things to Keep in Mind

While Tanzania is generally safe, here are a few things to keep on your radar:

  • Petty theft: As in many tourist destinations, petty theft can occur. Be mindful of your belongings in crowded areas, and avoid carrying large sums of cash.
  • Solo travel challenges: Navigating unfamiliar territory, transportation logistics, and potential language barriers can be trickier when travelling alone.
  • Unwanted attention: You might encounter some curious stares or catcalling, particularly in more remote areas. This is usually harmless but can feel uncomfortable.

Top Safety Tips for Solo Female Travellers in Tanzania

Safety Tips for Solo Female Travellers

Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty! Here are some essential safety tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable solo trip:

Research and plan: Do your research on the areas you plan to visit, understand local customs, and choose reputable accommodation. Consider pre-booking tours and activities, especially for safaris.

Dress modestly: While Tanzania is relaxed, dressing modestly, especially outside of tourist areas, can help you feel more comfortable and avoid unwanted attention.

Be confident: Project confidence, even if you’re feeling a little nervous. Stand tall, make eye contact, and avoid looking lost or unsure.

Trust your gut: If a situation feels off, it probably is. Don’t be afraid to walk away or politely decline offers that make you uncomfortable.

Stay connected: Let trusted friends or family know your travel plans and itinerary. Consider purchasing a local SIM card so you can stay connected.

Beware of scams: Be wary of anyone offering “special deals” or unsolicited help. Don’t carry valuables with you, and be discreet with your cash.

Night time: It’s best to avoid walking alone at night, especially in unfamiliar areas. Stick to well-lit streets and consider using ride-hailing apps like Uber (available in major cities).

Learn a few Swahili phrases: Learning a few basic Swahili phrases like “Jambo” (hello) and “Asante sana” (thank you very much) goes a long way in showing respect and can help you navigate basic interactions.

Pack smart: Pack light, comfortable clothing, and a scarf that can be used for various purposes (covering shoulders in religious sites, keeping warm on chilly evenings). Don’t forget a good first-aid kit and any necessary medications.

Also read Is Vanuatu Safe for Solo Female Travellers?.

Making the Most of Your Solo Trip

Solo travel can be incredibly rewarding! Here are some ideas to make the most of your Tanzanian adventure:

Join a group tour: Group tours are a fantastic way to meet fellow travellers, explore different areas, and benefit from the knowledge of an experienced guide. Many tour companies offer specifically female-only tours, which can be a great option for solo women.

Consider a homestay: Staying with a local family can provide a unique cultural experience and a chance to practice your Swahili! Homestays are often very safe and offer a glimpse into Tanzanian daily life.

Embrace the Local Culture:

Learn about Tanzanian customs: A little research on Tanzanian etiquette goes a long way. For example, it’s customary to greet elders first and avoid using your left hand for eating or shaking hands.

Support local businesses: Opt for locally-owned restaurants, shops, and tours. This not only injects money into the local economy but also allows you to experience Tanzanian culture authentically.

Strike up conversations: Tanzanians are generally friendly and love to chat. Don’t be afraid to practice your Swahili and learn about their lives. You might be surprised by the interesting conversations you have!

Take a Swahili class: If you have time, consider taking a short Swahili class before your trip, or even downloading a language-learning app. This will not only enhance your travel experience but also show respect for the local language.

The Tourist Trail:

Tourist Trail

While the well-trodden tourist path has its charm, Tanzania offers so much more for the adventurous solo traveller:

Explore lesser-known destinations: Venture beyond the Serengeti and Zanzibar. Consider places like Lake Manyara National Park, with its tree-climbing lions, or the remote beauty of the Mahale Mountains, home to chimpanzees.

Volunteer opportunities: Volunteering your time and skills can be a deeply rewarding way to connect with the local community. Many reputable organizations in Tanzania offer volunteer programs in areas like education, conservation, and healthcare.

Learn a traditional skill: Immerse yourself in the culture by taking a cooking class, learning a traditional dance, or even trying your hand at woodcarving.

Staying Healthy and Safe:

Get travel insurance: Travel insurance is essential for any solo trip. Make sure it covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost luggage.

Be aware of your surroundings: Pay attention to your instincts and avoid isolated areas, especially at night.

Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of bottled water to avoid dehydration, especially during the hot African sun.

Respect wildlife: Always follow your guide’s instructions on safaris and wildlife encounters. Don’t attempt to get too close to wild animals.

Be sun smart: Pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the strong African sun.

Packing Essentials for Solo Female Travellers:

A sturdy backpack: A comfortable backpack is essential for easy travel and exploring. Opt for a size you can manage comfortably.

Versatile clothing: Pack light, breathable clothing that you can mix and match. Consider layering options for varying temperatures, especially if you plan on visiting higher altitudes.

First-aid kit: Pack a basic first-aid kit with essentials like bandaids, antiseptic wipes, medication for headaches and upset stomachs, and any personal medications you require.

Cash and cards: Carry a small amount of Tanzanian shillings (TZS) for everyday purchases, but also have a reliable debit or credit card for larger transactions. ATMs are readily available in major towns and cities.

Copies of important documents: Make copies of your passport, travel insurance documents, and itinerary. Keep them separate from the originals in case of theft.

The Final Word:

Tanzania is a beautiful and welcoming country with so much to offer solo female travellers. By following these tips, planning your trip carefully, and embracing the local culture, you can ensure a safe, unforgettable, and empowering adventure in the heart of Africa.

Ready to start planning your Tanzanian adventure? Here are some helpful resources:

So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get ready to discover the magic of Tanzania!