How To See Tanzania On A Budget

With so much to see and do, incredible places to stay, and amazing food to eat, Tanzania is a dream destination for travelers. It can also be one of the most expensive places in Africa if you stick to the normal tourist routes. But don’t worry, you can still visit the country without breaking your budget — here’s how. 

Pugu Hills Nature Reserve in Tanzania

Former kaolinite mines now host bat colonies (Pharaoh han/Wikimedia Commons)

Spend A Day At Pugu Hills Nature Reserve 

Just 25 kilometres outside of Dar Es Salaam is the amazing Pugu Hills Nature Reserve. With an opportunity to hike the trails, bird watch, or visit the cave which is famous for its colony of bats, this nature reserve is well worth the $30 you pay for entrance.

Stay At Promised Land Lodge in Zanzibar 

Getting beachfront accommodation at a Zanzibar resort can cost anywhere between anywhere from US$200 to US$1000 per room for one night. But why spend all your money on accommodation when you can spend US$30 per room for one night including breakfast at Promised Land Lodge. This traditional sea facing Zanzibar lodge has a beach bar and restaurant where you can taste Zanzibar cuisine.

Kendwa_Beach in tanzania

(Zoheb/Wikimedia Commons)

Snorkel Off Kendwa Beach 

Pack your snorkelling gear and head to Kendwa Beach where for as little as $10 you’ll be able to to take a steady, wind powered wooden dhow to Coral Gardens. You’ll be able to find these dhows lined along the beach and you just need to pay the driver to take you. That’s a total bargain compared to the US$50 you’d pay for a private tour.

african wood carving in tanzania

(Steve Evans/Wikimedia Commons)

Haggle For A Good Price At Mwenge Wood Carver’s Village

Opposite the Village Museum in Dar Es Salam is the Mwenge Wood Carver’s Village. With vendors both working on carvings and then selling it in the market, it is a great place to get Tanzanian souvenirs. Even though there is a lot of the same things, if you browse you’ll find some that you’ll love.

Kivukoni Fish Market in Tanzania

(Gina Gleeson/Wikimedia Commons)

Eat At Kivukoni Fish Market In Dar Es Salaam 

Craving delicious seafood? Then head down to Ocean Road in Dar Es Salaam where you’ll find Kivukoni Fish Market. Even though it is extremely busy and has a fishy smell, the food is clean and scrumptious. Both locals and tourists sit around large tables and enjoy fish soup or BBQ fish. You can pick up a meal for no more than US$0.50.

Travel by TAZARA Train 

If you’re travelling to or from Zambia to Tanzania, forget taking a flight, rather hop on TAZARA Train and enjoy two days seeing this country like you’ve never seen it before. Not only is it safe, but it is also pretty comfortable and affordable. With flights costing from US$445, taking the train seems like a no-brainer with a first class ticket only costing US$26.

fish sellers in zanzibar tanzania

(Kfasimpaur/Wikimedia Commons)

Darajani Bazaar 

For a cheap bite to eat in Stone Town, Zanzibar then head to the Darajani Bazaar. It is the largest market in Zanzibar and you can grab anything from delicious seafood, fresh fruit and even a cow head. You can get a good meal for around US$1,50 compared to the US$20 you’ll pay at beachfront restaurants in Dar Es Salaam.

safari inn tanzania

(Photo courtesy of Safari Inn)

10. Stay At Safari Inn In Dar Es Salaam 

With free wifi, continental breakfast, and airport pick up, Safari Inn has everything you’ll need for your stay in Dar Es Salaam. With beachfront hotels going for as much as US$100 per night, at only US$16 this hotel is a steal. It’s also 15 minutes from the airport, five minutes from the Zanzibar ferry terminal, and within walking distance from restaurants, banks and forex bureaus.

spice plantation in zanzibar tanzania

(David Berkowitz/Flickr)

Head To The Spice Plantation 

Round up a bunch of your travel buddies and head on a spice plantation tour with Eco & Culture Tours Zanzibar. This guided walking tour takes you through villages and spice plantations while getting all the information about each plantation. If you decided to go alone you’ll pay $50, but the more people you go with, the cheaper it gets with five people being  US$25 each.

mount kilimanjaro in tanzania

(Marc van der Chijs/Flickr)

Stay At Happy Family Cottage Hostels in Kilimanjaro 

At only US$15 per night, Happy Family Cottage Hostel is a definite bargain compared to the Protea Hotel Aishi Machame at $130 per night. Located at the base of mount Kilimanjaro, this hostel has everything you need for a pleasant stay in Kilimanjaro.


(Duniasikuzote/Wikimedia Commons)

Take A Bus 

For long distance internal travel in Tanzania, just jump on a bus instead of a plane. One-way bus tickets range from US$50 to US$85, unlike plane tickets that go for US$160 and up.  You’ll need to buy your bus ticket before your travel date at the bus station. Always travel during the day.

More from AFKTravel:

15 Essential Experiences In Tanzania

Tanzania’s 7 Incredible UNESCO Sites (And Why You Should Visit)

Beyond The Serengeti: 10 Lesser-Known National Parks In Tanzania

This article was originally published on March 1, 2015.

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