Guide to Air Travel in Tanzania
If you’re looking for information about air travel to Tanzania, then you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a chance to encounter stunning wildlife, fabulous beaches, friendly people and fascinating cultures. From the world-famous Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, the Zanzibar Archipelago and the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania offers all these and more wrapped up in one great adventurous package.
Flying in and out of Tanzania has become more accessible, safe and straightforward. The country is served by several air carriers that connect major cities in the country as well as smaller airstrips and islands, like Zanzibar, Pemba, and Mafia. Within the country, it’s possible to fly to other cities and towns and also National parks, as they’re well serviced by smaller airstrips. If you plan to tour the northern parks, then Kilimanjaro Airport is the ideal place; but if you plan a southern itinerary, then landing in Dar es Salaam is a good option.
Direct and one-stop flights
Visitors can jet into Dar es Salaam (Julius Nyerere Airport), Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar Airports via direct or one-stop flights. Arusha is the nearest city to Kilimanjaro International Airport in mainland Tanzania, and the primary starting point for the Northern Tourism Circuit. Arusha Airport, although much smaller, is a major hub for domestic flights that fly visitors to the game reserves. You can fly from Dar es Salaam to Arusha, and onwards from there can use the domestic and charter flights between the game parks. You can book domestic flights with the local carriers.
Visas, Passports and other flight requirements
Information about air travel can change without warning, so you’re advised to contact the Tanzanian Embassy nearest you to verify the following:
- That your passport has a full page for endorsement
- Your visa is valid for six months
- A vaccination certificate is mandatory if you arrive from yellow fever infected country
- Most visitors can obtain a visa at the airport for $50 USD, payable in cash.
If you’re traveling to Tanzania for the first time, the first impression that hits you is the sense of excitement and adventure. However, like any weary traveller, there are some small but important differences if you’re flying domestically and regionally:
1.Not exactly shiny and glitzy
If you’re flying in from developed countries, you may get dismayed and let down by the small choices in services and facilities that are quite a far cry from what you’re used to in European and American airports. The information desks, ATMs, taxis, gift shops, restaurants and lounges may not measure up to developed world’s standards, but they are there and you will be thankful for them.
2. Threadbare airstrips
In the far-flung and remote places, you may discover the only facility available is a threadbare airstrip of cut grass or swept gravel. You may miss taxis on arrival, or it may be hours before any transportation arrives. And during the rainy season, it’s impossible to land any small plane as it gets muddy and risky.
3. Confusing terminals
When connecting to local flights, it pays to remember your departure point. It’s not usual to find flights sharing the same runways.
4. Types of aircraft
The choice of aircraft in Tanzanian airspace is reasonably impressive, and the fleet comes in different sizes and can ferry different numbers of passengers. Although the planes are smaller, the most popular and widely used is the Cessna Caravan, Cessna Grand Caravan and Embraer Brasilia 120. The largest domestic plane that plies this huge East African country is the Fokker F28. Other available planes include Cessna C206, Cessna Citation 560, and Stationair, all capable of flying 5 to 8 maximum passengers respectively. These are all privately-owned and can be chartered upon request.
5. Charter, Seasonal and On-demand flights
Over 50 operators are flying to over 450 routes in and outside Tanzania airspace. However, not all air routes are regulated and lack scheduled flights that operate to and from their location.
But you can get seasonal flights that only operate during peak tourist seasons and decrease during the low seasons.
6. Baggage allowance
Because of the small size of the planes, the size of baggage is correspondingly limited. This varies from operator to operator, but as a rule of thumb, 15 kg is allowed as well as carry-ons weighing 3 kg. Some operators permit 20kg of baggage on their bigger aircraft.
Some affordable airlines operating in Tanzania
Here are some airlines that operate in Tanzania and offer reasonably good packages;
- Auric Air
- As Salaam Air
- Regional Air
- Air Tanzania
- Precision Air
- Coastal Aviation
- Safari Airlink
To know more about Tanzania have a look at our previous article Top 10 Tanzania Travel Tips For Planning Your Trip.