Tanzanian Shilling (TZS; symbol TSh). Notes are in denominations of TSh10,000, 5000, 2,000, 1,000 and 500. Coins are in denominations of TSh200, 100, 50, 20 and 10 but these are worth very little and are rarely used. In Kiswahili, it is shilingi and written prices are often denoted with the symbol /=; i.e. 100/= is the same as TSh100.
Most top-end hotels, safari lodges, airlines and tour operators accept Visa and MasterCard (American Express and Diners Club less so), though a commission of 2-5% is usually charged. Budget hotels and most restaurants and shops do not accept credit cards, and they are rarely accepted for payment outside the main tourist areas.
Cash easily can be withdrawn from ATMs using Visa or MasterCard. Any sizeable town has at least one bank with an ATM, and there are ATMs at the larger airports. ATMs generally only dispense notes in increments of TSh 10,000 and these larger notes are often hard for people to change – hoard smaller change whenever possible to pay for taxi fares, snacks, souvenirs and the like.
May be cashed in some banks (try Barclays) or bureaux de change in Tanzania's major cities and Zanzibar, but they are less common as they once used to be, attract a hefty commission and the process is time consuming. Additionally, some places may ask to see original purchase receipts for traveller's cheques. If you are nervous about travelling with lots of hard cash, bring enough to get you started then use ATMs to withdraw local currency off a credit card.
Mon-Fri 0830-1530; Sat 0830-1300. Bureaux de change have longer hours and in the cities and in Stone Town on Zanzibar are open on Sundays.
The import and export of local currency is prohibited. The import of foreign currency is unlimited, subject to declaration. The export of foreign currency is limited to the amount declared on arrival.
US dollars, Pound sterling and Euros may be changed at banks and bureaux de change. However, US dollars are the best currency to take to Tanzania as it is widely accepted alongside TSh to pay for hotel bills, souvenirs and flights, and is needed to purchase visas on arrival and pay for park entry fees. Bring newer notes – because of the prevalence of forgery, many places (including banks and bureaux de change) do not accept US dollar bills printed before 2005. Large dollar bills (such as US$50 and US$100) command a better exchange rate than smaller ones. Ensure bills are not torn or damaged.
Tanzania duty free
The following items may be imported into Tanzania by travellers over 18 without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco.
• 1 bottle of alcoholic beverages.
• 580ml of perfume.
Unlicensed firearms and ammunition.
Plants and plant products require a phytosanitary certificate.
The export of gold, diamonds and tanzanite unless bought from a licensed jeweller is prohibited. Exporting souvenirs made from wildlife skins (this includes reptiles), shells and coral is forbidden.