The basic unit of currency in Tanzania is the Shilling (TZS). Bills come in denominations of 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10,000 Shillings Note. We highly recommend you travel with US Dollars, don’t exchange into the local currency to avoid getting confused as all tourist related destinations do accept US Dollars. US banknotes with the series date before the year 2008 will be declined in East Africa, Kindly make sure all your dollars bills that you bring along with you are post year 2008.
MasterCard and Visa are mostly acceptable cards in the major towns, you can withdraw money from ATM machines using the same cards and it will be dispensed in Tanzanian Shillings rather than dollars. (Amex can be useful though not as MasterCard and Visa). ATMs sometimes will give you money and at better rates than from the bureau de changes
Many banks operate from (8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday, they include National Bank of Commerce, Azania bank, Commercial Bank of Africa, Barclays, Standard Chartered, NIC etc
Most hotels, lodges, camps, shopping malls will accept credit cards. Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted than other cards. Banks will advance local currency against your credit card if need be.
You can exchange any foreign currency at any authorized banks and bureau de change. There are many bureaus in East Africa, Just enquire from your guide for any assistance. However we do recommend you stick to your US dollars, they are universally accepted in all the destinations you will be visiting. If you are bringing cash, U.S. dollars should be “big head” dollars dated 2009 or later. Larger denomination notes (the 50s or 100s) give you a better exchange rate than 20s or below.
Currency Import regulations:
Residents of Tanzania, Kenya or Uganda may import local currency (Tanzanian Shilling-TZS) up to the amount exported. Non-residents are prohibited from importing local currency. Residents and non-residents may import foreign currencies without restrictions.
Currency Export regulations:
Residents of Tanzania, Kenya or Uganda may export local currency (Tanzanian Shilling-TZS) up to TZS 1,000.-. Non-residents are prohibited from exporting local currency. Residents and non-residents may export foreign currencies without restrictions.