Tanzania is, overall, a safe country to visit. This is even more so if your visit is primarily an organized safari. Almost a million tourists visit Tanzania every year and most visits are trouble-free. Unfortunately, terrorism has become part of life in other country and it is challenging if not impossible, to safeguard against it. Fortunately, incidents are sporadic and the chance of being a random victim is almost negligible. As with many third-world countries, theft and muggings are relatively common, but most incidents are in cities like Dar-es-Salaam and Arusha. You can walk alone around the city with normal precaution. An overnight stay at a reputable hotel or an organized visit to one of the many attractions in or around the city is fine.
Tanzania, like most parts of Africa, is home to several tropical diseases unfamiliar to people living in more temperate and sanitary climates. However, with adequate preparation, and a sensible attitude to malaria prevention, the chances of serious mishap are small. To put this in perspective, your greatest concern after malaria should not be the combined exotica of venomous snakes, stampeding wildlife, gun-happy soldiers or the Ebola virus, but something altogether more mundane: a road accident.
Private clinics, hospitals and pharmacies can be found in most large towns, and doctors generally speak good English. Consultation fees and laboratory tests are inexpensive when compared with most Western countries, so if you do fall sick, don’t allow financial considerations to dissuade you from seeking medical help. Commonly required medicines such as broad-spectrum antibiotics, painkillers, asthma inhalers and various antimalarial treatments are widely available. If you are on any short-term medication prior to departure, or you have specific needs relating to a less common medical condition (for instance if you are allergic to bee stings or nuts), then bring necessary treatment with you.
Solo Travel in Tanzania
While solo travellers may be a minor curiosity in rural areas, especially solo women travelers, there are no particular issues with traveling solo in Tanzania, whether you’re male or female. The times when it’s advantageous to join a group are for safaris and treks (when going in a group can be a significant cost-saver) and when going out at night. If you go out alone at night, take taxis and use extra caution, especially in urban and tourist areas. Whatever the time of day, avoid isolating situations, including lonely stretches of beach.
Women travelers in Tanzania have little to fear on a gender-specific level. Over the years, I’ve met several women traveling alone in Tanzania, and none had any serious problems in their interactions with locals, aside from the hostility that can be generated by dressing skimpily. Otherwise, an element of flirtation is about the sum of it, perhaps the odd direct proposition, but nothing that cannot be defused by a firm ‘No’. And nothing for that matter that you wouldn’t expect in any Western country, or – probably with a far greater degree of persistence – from many male travelers.
It would be prudent to pay some attention to how you dress in Tanzania, particularly in the more conservative parts of the Swahili coast. In areas where people are used to tourists, they are unlikely to be deeply offended by women travelers wearing shorts or other outfits that might be seen to be provocative. Nevertheless, it still pays to allow for local sensibilities, and under certain circumstances revealing clothes may be perceived to make a statement that’s not intended from your side.