Money / ATMs / simcard
The local currency is Tanzanian Shilling (Tzs). Many hotels require payment in US$, in particular for accommodation, but also for food and drink and for tours. Taxis and car rentals are also paid in US$. You do need Tzs if you go shopping s or eat at local restaurants in Mbeya (recommended!) and for petrol if you rent a car. Tzs come in notes of 10,000, 5,000, 2,000 and 1,000 shillings. Coins used here are 500, 200, 100 and 50 Shilling.
The Government recently closed all exchange bureaus in Dar Ess Salaam and Arusha town. At present, one can only exchange money at the local banks, their new exchange bureau outlets and at the Post Office. Apparently new regulations for exchange bureaus are being formulated as well as a proper registration process.
The exchange bureaus inside the airport arrivals and departures halls are still open 24/7. Bring $100 and $50 notes for best rates. NB: latest news is that only US$ notes printed after 2013 will be exchanged! For an indication on current exchange rates check https://crdbbank.co.tz/exchange-rates/
The bigger hotels, restaurants and car rentals have credit card facilities. A surcharge of 5% is applicable. Be aware that at many places credit cards are not accepted.
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ATMs: You can only draw Tzs against your credit card or a card with a Visa or Mastercard logo. An ATM is at the airport parking lot, there are a few other ATMs in Mbeya Town. Most ATMs have a maximum payout of Tzs 400,000 per withdrawal. You can use your credit card multiple times until your daily withdrawal limit on your credit card is reached. You might have to visit different ATMs though.
The majority of ATMs are in Mbeya town and big Shopping Centers, these are the ONLY locations of ATMs in Dar Es Salaam town and other areas around the city (beware, they frequently run out of money especially on weekends!):
Petrol costs Tzs 1885 per liter for Super (August 2020) and is paid in Tzs. You can also pay in US$ but you’ll get a really bad exchange rate.
Simcard/internet: You can buy a simcard at the airport or in Mbeya town (cheaper). A Vodacom with 12 GB apparently costs US$ 20 at the airport. Vodacom has the best coverage on the Mbeya, but going outside consider Airtel or Halotel (Ask your in country contact for specific advice.
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