Tanzania is one of the best travel destinations in not just East Africa but the whole world. The country is blessed by nature and you can go on wonderful safaris and watch wildlife in their natural habitat or you can climb the highest peak in Africa, or you can enjoy the wonderful beaches of Zanzibar or indeed the totally unspoiled beauty and nature of quiet Mafia Island. Traveling from one place to another used to be difficult earlier but nowadays you have many air operators and you can easily travel to many domestic locations. Let us understand some more about air travel in Tanzania:
Most travellers to Tanzania land in Dar es Salaam before proceeding to their destinations. The other main airports are Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar International airports. These are international airports. You can find ATM’s, food courts, shops, lounges etc in these airports. The choice of which airport to use usually depends on your itinerary (eg: Kilimanjaro is used by travellers starting safari in the Northern Circuit; Zanzibar International by those having a beach holiday first and then possibly moving to land safari). Dar es Salaam International is the biggest and busiest, with most of the long-haul flights terminating / departing.
There are many domestic airports like Arusha, Dodoma, Mwanza airport, Pemba airport etc. These airports do not have all the facilities that you expect in an international airport. You may find ATM’s in some airports but not all of them. Most of these local airports have café’s and lounges to relax.
Almost all flights into the Northern Circuit (Serengeti, Manyara, Ngorongoro) depart from Arusha airport.
If travelling locally from Dar es Salaam, be sure to tell your driver, as he will then ensure you’re taken to the correct terminal.
In Tanzania in the safari circuit and in a few islands in the Zanzibar archipelago you will find airstrips where many air operators land their planes. These airstrips are usually bare, and you will not find any facility there. It is never a good idea to think you’ll find a hotel waiting to be booked when landing in these remote areas. Always ensure you have your accommodation booked in advance.
There are many medium and small sized airlines that operate in Tanzania. A few years ago, you did not have many airlines but now there are a lot of airlines and this has really helped tourists as their travel time becomes a lot less, more schedules to choose from, as well as more competitive pricing.
Fares are very competitive as there is a lot of demand plus there is good competition in this field. However, during peak safari season you will find that the fares are a lot high then it usually is. If you travel in the off-season, you will find fares that are cheaper.
You can charter airplanes to your destinations. Especially when travelling in groups, charter is efficient and takes your preferred departure times into account. There are many tour operators who have links with charter airplanes and they will take you to your destination. These charter planes usually land in obscure airstrips and your tour operator will arrange transport from the airstrip to reach your hotel or camp. This transport is usually operated by your booked lodge / hotel.