I am a strong proponent of research.  I believe it’s essential to know about the culture and customs of the destinations you travel to.  It’s a well-known fact that Tanzania is home to Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa.  However, several other points are important to know.  In my blog, I try to give more than just picturesque information. Here are some true but little-known facts I found out about Tanzania.

Since 2019, mainland Tanzania has been enforcing a ban on plastic bags. There are a range of fines imposed on travelers if found improperly disposing of plastic bags.  Visitors should avoid carrying plastic bags in their suitcase or carry-on before arriving in Tanzania. Ziploc bags for toiletry are still allowed.  There is a special desk at all entry points into Tanzania to dispose of plastic bags visitors may unknowingly bring into the country.

It is illegal to wear camouflage in Tanzania.    Green camouflage clothing is reserved exclusively for Tanzania’s People’s Defense Force. While you may see some people may be wearing some colored camouflage outfits. Know that only official military personnel is permitted to dress in the official green camouflage uniforms. Travelers can be stopped by police, forced to change clothing, and fined.  It’s simply not worth the hassle.

Parts of the Tanzanian population are Muslim. Some places can be conservative, and men and women usually cover their knees in public. Traditionally women wear only skirts. However, tourists and foreigners often wear pants but should try not for them to be form-fitting. To be safe, avoid shorts and skirts above the knees. Also, avoid wearing tops that bare your shoulders or cleavage. A headdress may also be appropriate. And as always, please try to respect the culture.

Knowledge about Tanzanian culture is essential.  Visitors should always use their right hand for greetings as the left hand is associated with toilet activities.  Greeting only one person in a room is considered impolite, so acknowledge everyone in the room.  Males and females may eat in separate rooms even when related. Also, saying no to food being offered to you or smelling food is considered impolite.

Age is highly respected in Tanzania. Greeting an older person is sometimes accompanied by a bow.  Much respect is given to older tourists.  It’s common to see bargaining in shops and marketplaces, even to have prices increased for foreigners.  However, age can be advantageous when bargaining in shops and the market.

These are but a few little-known facts about Tanzania.  I encourage all travelers to research their destinations before travel.  Have you ever been surprised by cultural etiquette? I’d like to know.