Flights & Transfers in Tanzania
There are several ways to get to East Africa, depending on where you start, when you travel, and how much you want to pay:
Flying to Tanzania
There are flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport and Dar es Salaam International Airport, from most countries. Many of our safari goers find the following websites helpful:
Vayama - a relatively new flight search website with some unique features
Expedia - traditionally, one of the most comprehensive and user-friendly flight finders
We are often asked whether we are able to recommend a particular airline. In our experience KLM seems to be popular choice, with most flights being routed via Amsterdam.
Domestic Flights in East Africa
There are several reasons why it is sometimes necessary to arrange a short flight or overland transfer within East Africa, notably:
Visitors bound for northern Tanzania will often fly to either Nairobi in Kenya, or Dar es Salaam on the Tanzanian coast, to avoid the more expensive direct flights to Kilimanjaro that are usually listed in August and other busy times.
Often travellers will do a climb or safari, before transferring to Zanzibar, the island paradise, to enjoy the beaches there. In this case they will usually fly in to Kilimanjaro, and arrange a return flight from Kilimanjaro Airport to Zanzibar for after their climb or safari.
In our experience the simplest, fastest, and usually most cost effective means of finding these local and domestic flights is to use the website of Alternative Airlines.
Alternatively, those needing to watch their budgets more carefully, will need to consider an overland option.
Travelling Overland Within East Africa
Shuttle Bus or Private Transfer from Nairobi to Arusha
Probably the most popular method of travel between Nairobi and Arusha is to use one of the several available Shuttle Bus services that pick up travellers from Nairobi Airport and most hotels in Nairobi. The service varies in price from around USD 25 to some USD 50 per person, per direction of travel. Most of the transport is well maintained and adequate, but somewhat basic, with the rest stops en route becoming rather welcome after a couple of hours’ travelling. The roads between Nairobi and Arusha are generally of tolerable quality and maintenance, except for some short sections close to both Arusha and Nairobi, where there are several deep and slightly dangerous potholes. Because of this, we do not recommend completing this journey during hours of darkness, which is technically an option if your flight arrives into Nairobi after the last of the two daily Shuttle Bus departures at 1400. We are able to book these Shuttle Bus services and private vehicle transfers on your behalf. Private vehicles cost between USD 350 and USD 600, depending on the size of the vehicle and the time of travel.
The Shuttle Bus Service from Dar es Salaam to Arusha
There are similar bus services between Dar es Salaam and Arusha, but the road connecting these cities is much busier and therefore far more prone to accidents. The journey is also very long, around ten hours, and can sometimes even stretch to 12 hours, if there has been an accident on the road, as there is no dual carriageway for most of the journey. Of the services available the majority of our adventurers tend to use Scandinavia Express Services. Their website usually looks out of date and not particularly confidence inspiring, but it is nonetheless current and travellers are indeed able to make bookings through the site.
Using Small-Owner Public Transport in East Africa
There are many thousands of what the locals in Tanzania call dala dala, or in Kenya matatu. These can be found almost everywhere, passing at frequent intervals, and are Toyota minibuses that have been specially adapted to fit as many seats as possible inside, usually with very little leg room. Drivers strive to pack these vehicles as efficiently as sardine packers, so they should be considered neither comfortable nor safe, but are sometimes acceptable for short trips, provided you are not carrying valuable luggage or travelling far. The fares are, predictably, extremely cheap.