Disturbing US State Dept report on Tanzania

Jan 5th, 2008, 06:59 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 29
Disturbing US State Dept report on Tanzania

Hi all:

I'm in the beginning stages of planning a trip to Kenya & Tanzania. I wasn't too surprised about what the U.S. State Dept's travel section had to say about Kenya (in sum, "Don't go."), but I was a little thrown about Tanzania. It seems that crime is *very* prevalent there.


This fear of crime is what made me avoid doing anything in South Africa, and since reading this site after returning, I really regret it. So I don't want to be too quick to judge Tanzania the same way, but the report was worrisome...

It's interesting I haven't read a post here yet where anyone's mentioned being victim of or witness to a crime, or even being concerned about it. Is it an issue for anyone?

And I know about being cautious wherever you go, and my home state has a lot of crime too, etc etc. But as I single female traveler I do feel particularly vulnerable, especially in places that specifically target tourists.

Your thoughts?
CarleenD is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 07:40 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Have you compared Tanzania with what is stated about other countries in State Dept Warnings? Many may contain crime information. I do not believe anything has changed recently for Tanzania.

If you go with a reputable outfitter and do typical safari things, you'll be fine.

I definitely would not say, "Don't go."

But I'd say, "Don't go walking around at night in a city or in the bush." "Don't hitchike." I'd also caution you not to go to parts of my city or probably your hometown--day or night.

I am extra cautious and don't walk around alone in some cities in Africa, even in the day, to avoid being a victim of crime.

If you start investigating or googling, you may come across these that happened a year ago or so:

On a walking safari near Arusha there was a guide killed and couple of tourists shot in a robbery.

A vehicle near Ngorongoro Crater was held up and valuables taken but no one hurt.

While these are tragic and a man lost his life, they are not commonplace.

If South Africa was your first choice and you did safari activites in places like Kruger or Sabi Sands, that would be fine too.
atravelynn is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 07:51 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 266
It all depends on your level of comfort - crime can happen anywhere. I find that the State Department tends to be pretty alarmist, and I am also a single female traveler and have traveled successfully to many, many places with State Department cautions - I pay attention to my surroundings and trust my instincts and intuition. Note also that there is no "travel warning" issued by the State Department for Tanzania. FWIW, despite the State Department warning for Kenya right now, if I had a trip booked in the next week or so I would still go, with caution.

My credit card number was stolen in South Africa last year, that was annoying but easily fixed and the only crime I experienced, and I am planning a trip to Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar this year.
hlg22 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 09:27 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 352
Yes, I agree wholeheartedly with the other posters--both in their encouragement to travel and their common sense precautions.

I was on a diving trip to the Philippines three weeks ago. If you follow what the State Dept. says about that country, you'd never go there. Typical overconservatism on their part. The Philippines has over 7000 ielands and almost all the trouble is confined to a couple in the south. Yet I had a wonderful time in the north, hundreds of miles and thousands of islands away. The only annoyance was the vendors who didn't want to take no for an answer.

I sometimes wonder if the negativism by the State Dept is intentional to keep us in a constant state of fear.


steeliejim is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 06:16 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Whether the US State Department or other country similary agencies didn't provide such information and sugar coated everything, we'd be wondering what's what. They have to provide such information for travelers regardless where we plan to visit.

There isn't a country anywhere that doesn't have petty theft, pickpockets, crime-on-crime by locals and occasionally visitors are involved. There have been incidents in western countries similar to that posted on Tanzania or Kenya, as well as terrorism as France, Spain, the UK, Turkey, Israel, etc.

For the same reason I would be foolish to walk around some areas in NYC at night, nor would I in a foreign country.

While on safari with a reputable ground operators, with a private guide and vehicle and then staying at lodges or camps, you're as safe as safe can be. And, you as a travelers have to always be aware of your surrounding. The few incidents mentioned on this site, some of which did make the papers in the west, were because they are rather rare.

I often wonder what the US State Dept would write about visitors planning a trip to our fine country - petty theft, pickpockets, gangs, general crime in cities as New Orleans or Baltimore, don't walk at night, public transport, high cost of health care if one is ill or injured, on and on (get the picture!). If they're honest it'll probably sound much like that above.
sandi is offline  
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