Money Matters

The regulated currency is the Tanzanian shilling (Tsh). Notes are 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, and 10,000. At this writing, the exchange rate was about Tsh 1,700 to US$1.

To avoid administrative hassles, keep all foreign-exchange receipts until you leave the region, as you may need them as proof when changing any unspent local currency back into your own currency at the airport when you leave. Don't leave yourself with any shillings—you won't be able to change them outside of Tanzania.

Bargaining, especially at marketplaces, is part of the shopping experience. But always be aware of the exchange rate and pay appropriately—you don't want to underpay, but you also don't want to be charged exorbitant "tourist" prices.

Most large hotels accept U.S. dollars and Tanzanian shillings and take all major credit cards; all budget hotels will accept Tanzanian shillings.

ATMs and Banks

There are banks and ATMs in all major cities; you can draw cash directly from an ATM in Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Mwanza, and Stone Town in Zanzibar. Most ATMs accept Cirrus, Plus, Maestro, Visa Electron, Visa, and MasterCard. The best place to withdraw cash is at an indoor ATM, preferably one guarded by a security officer. Most machines won’t let you withdraw more than the equivalent of about $200 at a time. Don’t leave withdrawing money to the last minute or late on Friday when everyone gets paid their salaries.


For a two- or three-night stay at a lodge or hotel, tip a couple of dollars for small services and US$2–US$5 per day for room steward and waiter. A good guide should get a tip of US$15–US$20 per day per person; if he's gone out of his way for you, then you may wish to give him more. It's a good idea to carry a number of small-denomination bills. U.S. dollars are acceptable almost everywhere, but if you're planning to go to more remote places, then shillings are preferred.

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