The currency unit is the Tanzanian shilling (Tsh) which is divided into 100 cents.
1 € = about 2,000 Tsh mid-2013. For 1 US $, it was about 1,800 Tsh mid-2015, at the normal rate (in bureaux de change, not in hotels).
The dollar remains the second currency, “unofficial”, and still the most requested currency, but it is increasingly competing with the euro, which nobody refuses (except small shops or restaurants where you pay local currency).
Bring dollars and euros to be quiet and change one or the other currency as and when made in Tanzanian shillings.
Dollar denominations of more than 5 years are systematically refused (too many forgeries): check the dates of issue of your dollars at the time of exchange.
Note: Park fees must be paid in dollars. Most chic hotels also ask to be paid in dollars. Paying in euros is possible, but the exchange rate will be very unfavorable.
Be careful, in restaurants or shops, you sometimes align, and by ease, the prices in shillings to the dollars on the basis of 2 000 Tsh for 1 $. This is obviously the scam.
No matter where you change your money, avoid the black market. As everywhere, risk of scam.
Banks: open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 3 pm, and sometimes Saturday morning. Roughly speaking, they all offer the same exchange rate, less favorable than bureaux de change.
Foreign exchange offices (Forex Bureau or Bureau de Change): exchange rate much more interesting than banks and transactions much faster. No commission. Like everywhere, recount his money before leaving the wicket.
Change in hotels: as always, very unfavorable rate. Always have a Tsh reserve on you and make sure you do not have to change your currencies.
Still very little accepted in Tanzania. When they are, the order of preference is Visa, American Express, MasterCard, and Diners Club. They are generally accepted in lodges and large hotels. Most travel agencies, car rental agencies, large souvenir shops accept payment by card.
Do not use your credit card without being knowledgeable about the commission taken, and the reliability of the merchant. The commissions are around 5% on average!
Cash withdrawal with a credit card: distributors arrive slowly. They are easily found in Dar es Salaam and some in Arusha. They are few in Zanzibar.
Traveling backpack (without 4×4, without guide) will not ruin you. However, it is not very easy, unless you are satisfied with the cities and Zanzibar.
For visits to national parks, it is compulsory to go through an agency. Either from your country of origin, or from Arusha. It is impossible to visit the large parks without a minimum of organization. You have to be accompanied either by a guide-driver or a ranger. And it pays, of course.
The agencies will offer you a package including accommodation, meals, a 4×4 vehicle with driver guide, as well as the entrance to the parks. This last position is very high. Rated $ 35-100 per day.
The prices of hotels and lodges in and around the parks remain too high for the services offered. For the accommodation as for the food in the parks, the value for money is really not good.
Lodges, hotels, guesthouses and guesthouses
Most rooms in large hotels pay in US dollars. During the rainy season, from mid-March to the end of May, many establishments lower their prices by 20 to 30%. Breakfast is always included or almost.
The following price ranges are calculated on the basis of a meal. These forks are not worth for Zanzibar, much more expensive. Arusha follows the same trend.
Very cheap: less than 3,000 Tsh (1,50 €).
Cheap: 3,000-7,000 Tsh (1,50-3,50 €).
Average prices: 7,000-15,000 Tsh (3 – 9 €).
More chic: more than 16,000 Tsh (8 €).