A practical foreign exchange and currency guide to Tanzania
What's in this Tanzania currency guide:
The official currency of Tanzania is the Tanzanian shilling, with symbol and currency code TZS.
14 Nov 2022
30 Aug 2022
28 Nov 2021
29 Nov 2017
30 Nov 2012
03 Dec 2002
The below comparison table makes it easy to find the best exchange rates and lowest fees when you want to make a Transfer or Spend Tanzanian shilling.
Tanzania is the country that has become synonymous with the Serengeti, Mount Kilimanjaro, and Zanzibar. People from all over the world flock to Tanzania to have a safari in some of the best national parks in the world. The country is staggeringly beautiful, populated by a warm Swahili culture, and home to some of the best wildlife on this planet.
The local currency is Tanzanian Shilling (Tzs). Many hotels require payment in US$, in particular for accommodation, but also for food and drink and for tours. You will also notice when booking and planning your trip that most of businesses quote prices in US Dollars.
For local shopping and smaller expenses, like shopping on markets and local restaurants, bus tickets Tanzanian shillings are must to have in your wallet. Changing money in Tanzania is not a problem in most populated areas. Hotels usually have a worse rate than banks, so you should go to a Forex office (aka Bureau de Change) or bank if possible. Banking hours are 08.30-12.30 on weekdays, staying open until 15.00 in larger towns, and 08.30 to 11.30 on Saturdays.
The legalisation of private forex bureaux has killed off the black market that previously thrived in Tanzania, and you can assume anybody offering to change money on the street is a con artist.
Credit cards are widely accepted in at tourist-oriented shops and similar facilities in Arusha, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, as well as most upper range hotels. They can also be used to draw cash directly from an ATM in Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Mwanza. Away from these few major centres and upmarket tourist locations, cards are of limited use, and are best carried as a secondary means rather than as a primary source of payment or cash. Visa is the most widely accepted card by a long shot, but MasterCard and American Express are also accepted at a limited number of outlets.
If you are arriving by air, you will likely land in Dar es Salaam. Be mindful that local airlines offering connections to other domestic destinations, such as Arusha or Kilimanjaro are notorious for their delays and cancellations, while flights to smaller towns such as Kigoma may be advertised but actually unavailable.
Tanzania’s largest city is Dar es Salaam, an urban centre spread out along the Eastern coastline. Registered taxis are generally safe and easily accessible from the Dar airport for 50,000 Tsh (or 20,000 Tsh in smaller towns). In Dar Es Salaam, the white cars will be identifiable with a yellow stripe and a three-digit number along the side. its always best to determine the cost of your fare with the driver based on a flat-rate before departing.
Overland buses are an economical option to travel from city to city across Tanzania, but they can be extremely long and uncomfortable journeys due to the poorly maintained roads. Local buses (dala dalas) are a cheap way to get around Tanzania’s cities, at only 500 Tsh per ride, but will require some Swahili language skills.
Trains are a safe transit option to connect from Dar es Salaam to both Mwanza and Kigoma via Tabora. There is also a second railway service which runs all the way Southwest to Zambia.
Though the railway system is a more comfortable transit option than buses, they do require the luxury of time and have been known for their significant delays, which could leave you stranded at the connecting train station at night.