Friday, February 12, 2021



Packing for a trip to Africa can be an overwhelming task. Having in mind that it’s a whole different culture there may make you feel skeptical...about what kind of clothing is appropriate. I lived all my life in East Africa and this gives me a lovely perspective: that of a local. Therefore, the following are questions I would like to provide answers to:

  • What is the most appropriate clothing for Tanzania?

The most appropriate clothing when traveling to Tanzania is khaki trousers and a dress shirt or polo for men. For women, maxi dresses or loose fitting trousers with complimentary loose fitting tops are appropriate. In this article, the most appropriate clothings for men and women traveling to Tanzania in different situations will be broken down.

  • What do Tanzanians Wear?

Tanzanians are conservative and their dressing shows this. They are very religious, with the majority of the population practise either Christianity or Islam. Tanzanians believe modesty in dressing and this is reflected in their dressings.


  • What Tanzanian women wear

Most Tanzanian women are modest as they wear skirts or dresses that go below the knee with tops that do not expose their cleavages.

Although, people living in cities are more liberal about what they wear but the general rule is wearing clothes that do not expose too much.

  • What Tanzanian men wear

Tanzanian men wear pants and dress shirts. Jeans and T-shirts are the  common wears among younger people in towns. Shorts above the knee for men are frowned at, since they are considered as clothes worn by young boys.

  • What to wear as a female tourist in Tanzania

You definately do not want to err in public places in Tanzania. Avoid wearing clothes that expose your thighs or torso. This implies that you should avoid shorts and skirts above the knee. It also implies wearing tops that do not expose your shoulders or cleavage.

Loosely fitting pants and tops are a safe bet when you will be going into the Tanzanian streets and public markets. When visiting a religious building like a church or mosque, you will need to be very careful because there are stricter rules here. You wouldn't want to be kicked out for being inappropriately dressed.

If you are within your hotel room or inside your tour van, you can let loose and worry less since you will not be running into any local in this setting.


  • What to wear as a male tourist in Tanzania

Pants with a polo shirt is the best choice for a male tourist in Tanzania. Shorts are good if you are within the hotel or in your tour van. However, it would be inappropriate to wear shorts as men. This is because of the fact that being considered a boy in the African culture is one of the worst insults you can give to a person. For this reason, shorts are considered childish and therefore should be worn beneath the man's outfit.

  • What to wear to a Safari drive in Tanzania

You definately would want to avoid wearing colors that do not occur naturally, when you are out on safari. White, black, blue and other bright colors attract the attention of the animals and you might easily spook away the animals, if you go in close range with them.

You may also expose yourself to mortal danger by drawing the attention of more dangerous animals. Elephants and rhinos are deadly animals known to topple over trees and vehicles when they are upset.

In addition to this, dark colors like black and blue attract tsetse flies and expose you to a higher probability of being bitten.


  • How to dress in the evenings in Tanzania

Tanzania has a different weather and it will probably get cold in the evenings, if you will be going out. Wear a light jacket or sweater for these cold nights.

To protect yourself from mosquitoes, wear long-sleeved tops and pants that cover your ankles. These keep the mosquitoes from biting you much when you are outside in the evenings.

  • Are shorts appropriate in Tanzania?

The answer to this question depends on the length of the shorts and where you will be wearing them. Shorts that cut above the knees are inappropriate for both men and women when in public. The rules are stricter if you will be visiting a religious home or building.

Avoid wearing shorts when on busy Tanzanian streets and in markets as they will attract a lot of negative attention from the locals who are more reserved and traditional.

When in the hotel and traveling, shorts will be appropriate as there are no restrictions there. However, if you will be on a game drive, you may want to wear long pants to avoid tsetse fly bites. Khaki pants are the best option in this situation.

  • Are short skirts appropriate in Tanzania?

The answer to this solely depends on where you are. You will find a lot of urban women in Tanzania wearing short skirts because the urban areas and cities are more liberal than the villages.

Short dresses are not forbidden in Tanzania. They are not just widely accepted and wearing them may cause uproar in some areas in Tanzania. I would advise that you wear skirts that reach below the knee and are not too fitting.

  • What to wear to the beach in Tanzania

Tanzania does not accept topless swimming on its beaches and very exposed swimsuits may be frowned at by the locals.

Although, most places that have tourists in Tanzania are used to seeing people wearing exposed bathing suits. However, they generally still hold on to tradition and their culturally acceptable ways of dressing.

  • Do women need head covering in Tanzania?

For the Muslim women, head covering is common and you will see many women either in hijab or having a scarf covering their heads. Many women wear full Muslim covering and are more careful not to wear revealing clothing.

On the other hand, the Christian women does not regularly cover their heads. They only do so for functions or fashion.


As a tourist, you are not required to cover up your head when visiting the country as there is no prosecution for this. You may only be required to do some head coverings, if you will be visiting a mosque, otherwise there are no restrictions in the way of head covering.

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