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Travelling to Mbeya and Visa Issues

Travelling to Mbeya and Visa Issues

How to get here/ Visa/ MbeyaAirport: 

 Getting to Mbeya from oversee – Three airports can be used: Nairobi, Dar Es Salaam, Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro:

There are no direct International flights to Mbeya, you will need first to land in these theree airports and then take another domestic flight, or a Bus, or hirer a vehicle, or take a TAX!

Flights to Dar Es Salaam – Non-stop flights from Kilimanjaro (JRO):

Dar Es Salaam  Airport (IATA: JNIA, ICAO: HTKJ), also known as Dar Es Salaam International Airport, is the third largest airport in Tanzania. It is an international airport and serves the area of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. Kilimanjaro Airport has non-stop passenger flights scheduled to 17 destinations in 7 countries.

At present, there are 8 domestic flights from Dar Es Slaam.

The longest flight from Dar Es SALAAM is a 4,288 mile (6,901 km) non-stop route to Amsterdam AMS. This direct flight takes around 8 hours and 25 minutes and is operated by KLM.

Airlines flying from and to Dar Es Salaam:

In total there are 14 airlines flying from and to Kilimanjaro. Most flights are operated by one of the following carriers:

Precision Air
Transport options in Mbeya
Air Tanzania
Rwanda Air
Ethiopian Airlines
KLM Airlines
Qatar Airways
Coastal Aviation
Regional Air Arusha

How to get to Mbeya by bus:

Ttraveling between Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Mbeya by bus is a long trip. In fact, it’s 812.1 kilometers . This trip can be done in 1 full day of travel. It is best to plan for 2 days just in case you experience delays.


The day before you travel, you’ll want to go to the Ubungo bus terminal in Dar es Salaam to buy your ticket. The bus station is a way out of town so you’ll need to take a taxi or an Uber there and back.

Once you are at the station, go into one of the offices and ask for a ticket to Mbeya, Tanzania. Several companies sell tickets to Mbeya so you may want to shop around a bit. I don’t remember the exact cost of the ticket but I think it was around $15. Unfortunately, taxi fare to and from the bus station will cost more than the ticket.

The bus leaves early in the morning from the Ubungo bus terminal and arrives in Mbeya after dark. We arrived at around 11:00 pm. You will have to stay the night in Mbeya as the bus station is closed when you arrive.



Dar Es Salaam International airport: Julius Nyerere International Airport is the largest airport in Tanzania. The airport is located 12km away from Dar es Salaam city. It was previously known as Dar es Salaam International Airport and in 2006, was renamed in the honour of Julius Nyerere, the first president of Tanzania. The airport is operated by Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TAA).

Immigration: Some airlines hand out forms on the plane to be completed. If not, you need to complete it in the arrivals hall. When you made it to the top of the queue at immigration,  your visa is processed and a photo of you as well as fingerprints are taken, this only takes a few minutes. After you got your luggage from the conveyor belts everything will be scanned. 

Please make sure you don’t have any plastic bags in your luggage, except zip block bags, since they are banned in Tanzania. In case you want to exchange money, you can do so while you wait for your luggage although you usually get better rates at the exchange bureau in Arusha town.

In order to avoid any stress at departure: check in well in advance, minimum is two hours before departure! After the initial queue to get into the departure hall, your luggage/bags are scanned. If the airport staff see anything suspicious on the scan they will ask for the suitcase to be opened and it will be thoroughly checked. Do not pack any aerosol sprays in your luggage, for example. They will be confiscated. Then you join the queue at the check-in counters. 

Fortunately, this hall nowadays has aircon. If needed, toilets are in departure hall, at the far left of the restaurant. Then you proceed to another hall, produce your boarding pass and passport and fill in the immigration forms. Toilets are at the end of that hall. Around the corner you find the immigration counters and thereafter your hand luggage is scanned again. Now you made it into the boarding hall, which has aircon. Here you find a duty free shop and some kiosks where you can do your last shopping. At the end of the hall  (walk around the corner) you find a small kiosk for snacks and coffee, fridges with cool drinks and water. There are also toilets in that section.




Since November 2018, an official tourist visa can be applied for online  This is the only official website. Please only use this website for your visa application! Other companies or agencies are far more expensive and I even heard of cases were applicants lost the money they paid.

NB: The new e-visa facility is still in its infancy. According to posts on Tripadvisor people still didn’t get their e-visa 2 weeks after applying and paying for it. Email queries are not replied to. It might be better for the time being to apply for your visa on arrival.

Visa exemptions for stays of less than 3 months: for a complete list of countries check above webpage, section “guidelines”

You can also get your visa for stays of up to 3 months on arrival at the Kilimanjaro International Airport*. They are equipped with cameras and laser fingerprint check. You need a valid passport and the completed visa form to apply for it.  The visa costs US$ 50 per person (adults and children), for US citizens US$ 100. Immigration is open day and night.

Payment for the visa is in cash or by credit card**. If you bring cash, they apparently only accept US$ 50 notes, new notes only (US$ notes 2013 or after). No other currencies are accepted, only US$!

**As per feedback received from tourists, sometimes the counter for the credit card payments is closed. And every other day, US$ cash is not accepted, only credit cards… Rather bring both, credit card and US$ cash, just in case.

Please make sure that your passport is still valid for 6 months from the date of departure from Mbeya!

*Some rumours are floating around that visa can only be applied for online and that the visa facility on arrival at the airport was closed. This is not true. The visa application facility on arrival is still open and there are no plans to close it!  (February 2020)

More MbeyaTravel Ideas:


Planning your trip? Whether you’re looking for things to do in Mbeya such as events and attractions, key traveller information to make your Mbeya visit run smoothly or are planning where to stay in Mwanza, you’ll find everything you need for your Mbeya holiday on Our Website. Mbeya City Travel guide has the information about latest events not to miss while you visit Mbeya – there’s always something going on, so don’t miss out on the latest exhibitions, shows and more on your trip to Mbeya.

Discover the best day trips from Mbeya or try one of the best tours in Mbeya and nearby regions. If you’re here as a family, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Mbeya with kids and find suitable accommodation such as Mbeya holiday apartments. Whether you’re looking for the best weekend breaks in Mwanza or planning a longer holiday in Tanzania, you can be sure you’ll find all the information you need. Talk to us for all your Kilimanjaro and Meru Climb, Safari and Beach time in Zanzibar! 

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