Cost of living in Tanzania

Hi everybody,

It would be very useful to talk about the cost of living in Tanzania.

Don't forget to mention where in Tanzania you are living.

How much does it cost to live in Tanzania?

> accommodation prices

> public transportation fares (tube, bus etc ...)

> food prices(per month, how much does it cost you?)

> health prices (for those who need medical insurance)

> eduction prices (if you need to pay)

> energy prices (oil, electricity)

> common bills (Internet, television, telephone, mobile phone)

> prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant

> prices of a beer and or a coffee in a regular pub

> price of the cinema

Do not hesitate to add items to this list!

Thanks in advance for your participation!!

Hey I notice no one has written anything so here goes.
We live in Karatu near to Ngorongoro Crater in the Highlands.
a) Cost of accommodation - We pay US$150 per month for a 3 bedroom house.
b) By Bus to Arusha is about US$8 and by Peugeot US$4 one way
c) This si difficult but for us a family of 4 Mzungus eats for US$ 180 per month by buying in Arusha. In Karatu not the same variety or availability but much cheaper. A bunch of Bananas is US$1
d)Being used to living in 3rd World countries we can generally go into a chemist and ask for specific medicines. However we have also found visiting one of the charities like the Lutheran doctors we get expert advice for the price of a donation to the organisation.
e) We teach our kids at home over the Internet doing home schooling at about $200 per month for two.
f)Energy prices - Water approx US$10 - $15 per month. Electric is closer to the $40
g) Mobile phone about $10 per month, Internet $25, Satelite TV $30
h) Being a popular tourist area eating out is very expensive with most meals in the lodges about $25 per person in a local restaurant is under $7 per person.
i) Drinks At the lodges you will pay about $2.60 for a local beer and $2 for a Coca Cola. In town beer is about $1.20 and Coca Cola is $0.30
No Cinemas here.
Karatu is a very friendly place and apart from the Municipal water shortage we really do enjoy living here.
Downside is because it is a high popularity Tourist route everyone here is pre-occupied with Money. Everyone tries to charge exhorbitant prices and even the children ask for "Give me Dollar"
I hope this hepls someone to make up their mind . Tanzania is a nice place to live once you get used to it.

Hi Bwana2bob,

Thanks for the detailed reply!  Does anyone have an approximate idea of how much it would be sensible to budget in order to buy a secondhand 4 wheel drive car?

And what is the cost of petrol in Tanzania at the moment?

Thanks a lot,

Information about DAR ES SALAAM

1 USD = 1300 Tanzanian shillings
> accommodation prices
-Osterbay area (Posh area) 1500 to 5000 USD a month (Big villas ,bunglows etc)
-Upanga area (Most favorable residential area) 650 USD onwards for 1BHK/2BHK furnished house (Most of the houses has furniture attached but do not expect good condition)
- Central town - 800 Usd onwards for 1-2BHK houses
-Kariako area: 300 Usd onwards (You can have good houses but area is not secure)
Most of the owners ask for a year advance payment.

> public transportation fares (tube, bus etc ...)
600 Tsh for return to normal distance (Shared TAXI call DALA-DALA), 300 Tsh for one distance

> food prices(per month, how much does it cost you?)
300 Usd onwards for family of 4-5.

> health prices (for those who need medical insurance)
There are Health insurance companies here, AAR is welknown
Cost is around 500-600 USD a year for a person.
Dr. consultancy charges are 20-30 USD per visit
Hospital rooms in good hospitals are 40,90,150 USD
> eduction prices (if you need to pay)
International Schools are expensive - 400-500 USD a month fees
Indian schools -150-200 USD a month, there are CBSE school in Dar call Indian school of Dar es Salaam.
> energy prices (oil, electricity)
1 USD per ltr for Petrol, Electricity is Prepaid at most places average cost is 40-50 usd a month.

> common bills (Internet, television, telephone, mobile phone)
DsTv is 200 USD dish+decoder, monthly plans are 40,70,100 USD a month. For Indian EXPATS cable services in most of the area , 25 USD a month for 100 channels + installations (most of the house got connections), CTv has now selling Decoders for 100 USD.
Internet is very EXPENSIVE, most of the WiFi ISP installation costs 400 to 600 USD, monthly charges are 50 to 150 USD.
Cellphones SIM card are freely available & cost of Airtime per minute is 150 to 300 Tsh (Vodacom, Zantel, Zain, Tigo, BoL)

> prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant
Single person for Normal Indian meal is aroung 20-30 Usd
Family of 4 will cost 50-60 USD.

> prices of a beer and or a coffee in a regular pub
1 USD for beer, coffee/tea is also 1 USD. You can have local drink call "KAVA", made from local coffee + water + some herbs is just for 100 Tsh

> price of the cinema
8000 Tsh (7 USD approx)

I recommend to have a EXPAT Contract with following (Otherwise it will very difficult to save anything):

Basic family medical,electricity + water charges, furnished house, paid leave, child schooling & company vehicle (TAXI fare are expensive here - minimum charge is 3000 Tsh (2 Usd approx)

I have worked in South Africa, DR Congo, Tanzania & Angola & my overall experience says "Africa is expensive for EXPAT living" so crack an offer with proper contract & conditions. Most of the employers here are not quite professional so verbal talks do not stand for anything specially once you arrived here.

HEllo Recently i have been offered a lecturer job in university of dodoma with 2,033,310 TZS ( Abt 1554 USD) taxable as per rules per month.They are also proiding me free accommodation of 4 rooms and free medicle facilities . So please tell me should i join or not and can i survive in this ammount i have wife and three kids of 3 and 1 year(twins).They are giving me fare for family.Please also tell me food expenses and also other related expenses and if i require vehicle what will be the cost of buying old or new medium car. Please reply me at earliest.Thanks
[email protected]

Hello to everyone

Pls let me know the living expenses in Dodoma recently i ahve been offered lecturership in University of DODOMA on 1554/- USD per month plus free medicle and house of 4 rooms.Pls te;; me should i join it or not and if join this amount is enough fo live there and save some .This salary is taxable too as per rules.And also let me know that if i want to buy a car how much it costs medium range and old or new.Pls give me an early reply.Thanks
[email protected]

Hello Everyone
Can anybody tell me about the company Quality Group Ltd.
I have heard it is a famous company and not cheaters in any way.Kindly if any one knows anything ,write your comments here to help each other.

udaynaik > could you please start a new discussion ? thanks

Hi MU...cld u please tell me the places whr most of the expats live in Dar..I am from Syd and planning to move thr soon..
Any other essential tips wld be highly appreciated.


I have been offered salary as mentioned below for Dar .

I am drawing INR 50, 000 in delhi at present.

Can you guide me about the cost of living expences at Dar.

·Salary bracket will be around 2000-2500 USD Net salary per month + Furnished family accommodation + Utility bills paid by the company + Transportation (Cab+Driver+Fuel) + VISA Processing + Travel (To and Fro)+ Child Education allowance + Medical reimbursement+ Taxation

Please suggest me is it a good offer for a couple.


Cost of Living ?
Prices given in U.S. dollars, but you would actually be purchasing things in Tanzania shillings.
Of course this can vary. The two most popular places to live in Tanzania is Dar and Arusha.Which makes them the most expensive places to live. I live just outside of Arusha, and from what I understand Dar is more expensive to live than Arusha. But I guess you expect that for city living vs. more rural living.

I can only give you estimates on where we live, which is more city living, but not as big as Dar.

Food- $600
Other than housing this is going to be one of your biggest expenses. Prices are high for anything shipped in. Which is a lot of things. For ex. pancake syrup may be $4 for a little bottle, or peanut butter $5 for a small jar. If you want a shampoo like Pantene you may pay $7 (USD). Good quality meat (other than what you find hanging in open air with flies, at the market) can be expensive.

You may wonder how a Tanzanian can live off of 100,000 tzs a month, but it is b/c they eat beans and rice every day. Or cornmeal mesh (called Ugali) and greens. We have learned to eat more like the Tanzanians and not have a meat product at every meal, sometimes only every other day or so. This helps cut our food budget down. We have cut ours down from $600 to around $400. I would start with $600 being your min. Also you will probably go out to eat more when your first move here until you get the hang of cooking, it can be different. Going out to eat cost almost as much as it would in the U.S. -Fam of 4. $25-35-45 per meal.
A lot of your meals you make from scratch. Which I had no clue how to do before moving here.

We do enjoy the fact that the food here is healthier than in the U.S. We eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetable, they are delicious and organic. :-)  You just have to rinse them in bleach water before hand b/c they use a lot of natural fertilizer :-)

Water-$10,  or the house you are in may have a well-
$20-40 a month for bottled water,

Note about the water.... where we live and I think all throughout TZ the water has a high amount of fluoride in it, so the water your drink your filter, boiling does not help with the fluoride content, *with kids it can cause black spots on their teeth, that is why you see Tanzanian with discolored teeth, not that they are rotten, but the minerals and fluoride in the water has changed them.
We use a water filter (that came from the states) that takes the fluoride/minerals out of the water, bottled water is safe, with low fluoride content, but it can get expensive. Even if you are boiling rice or vegetable, I use the filtered water cause the rice/veg soaks up the water. Adult expats don't usually do this, it doesn't really effect adults. But I am extra cautious with the kids. It can also effect a preg woman's baby as the baby is developing teeth in the mother.

Electricity- $200
We use a washer and dryer- a lot of people hang dry their clothes to save electricity, and we leave our hot water heater on, again some turn it off and on, (they usually have a power switch for them here) and we leave security lights on all night. And have fans going- we dont have central heat or air-
you will probably have an a/c unit (or want one) if you live somewhere like Dar or Moshi.  The a/c will draw more power- so take that into consideration.

Oven Gas- $40
We have a gas oven that we use a lot. With the freq power cuts, i would definitely recommend one or at least a side gas cooker (that you can get here)

Internet- $70/mo
The connection is pretty good, nothing like in the states, but pretty good, we even have wireless, which is nice.

Cable-? not sure we don't have.. we just watch a lot of movies. We have the option to get it, just chose not to.

Phone Minutes- $50

Cell phone and Skype
I have never seen anyone with a land line telephone, everyone just uses cell phones. You have to buy prepaid minutes and they go pretty fast. You can call directly back to the states with them, but as you mentioned people do use skype, but the connection can be unpredictable, some days you may have a good connection, very slow one or not one at all, but you rarely go more than a day without a connection. And with the power cuts it can get frustrating especially if you are an "internet" person. I would consider us internet people, as we are on there about everyday day, and it would be hard on us without it. If you plan to call "back home" a lot then add more to this. If you receive a phone call it doesn't cost you anything, only to make a phone calls.

Travel back home- $75

If you plan to travel "back home" after a year or so you might consider this in your budget as you know plane tickets for a family of 4 is expensive. We plan to go back every 1 1/2 yrs to 2 yrs.

Security- $100-150 per guard per month working 5-6 day a wk another part-time or on rotation with another

Something else that you might consider is security- Does the house provide security with it?, like a 24 hr or at least a Night time security guard, unless the house is in a very secure compound or with guard dogs, this is a Must. Beak-ins are becoming more often, and getting more violent, but if you have good trustworthy security, then this helps. Bars on all the doors and windows and locking everything up each night is one of those cultural things that I have just had to get use to.

House Help- $100
Pay for house help varies from person to person, including their bus fare or not, part time vs. full time, job duties, etc.

Fuel for generator- $40- 80 +
Depending on amount of power cuts and how much you want to run it

Power Cuts- these vary so much, the first year we were hear there were few, maybe a few hours a few times a month, but the second year we were hear that were 8-12 hrs a day every week. This lasted about 6 months during the dry season (somehow this effects power- water generations electricity or something like that) A power line was down recently and we didn't have power for almost 2 days until it got fixed. We ran the generator off and on. I think if it was just me and my husband we would just get use to not having the power as much, but when you have the kids, and there use to going to bed with a fan on, and having hot water for their bath, light to brush their teeth by etc. You tend to use the generator more. It gets really annoying some days, and other days you really don't pay attention to if the power is on or off.

Fuel For Car- $200  this can vary but keep in mind it is more expensive than the states)
- see transportation below

Car Insurance- $50 mo, We pay for the yr. but put this much aside to make sure we have it for the following yr.

Car Repairs $25-50 (just in case) If you have the money it is a good idea to set some aside each month for this- a set of new tires for our 1998 prado cost around $1,000 for a set of 4. If we get 1 1/2 yrs. or 2 yrs on a set we are Very pleased.

You have to be good at budgeting your money, most everything is paid in cash, which seems to make it go faster. And sometimes you pay for things months or a year in advance, so you have to set money aside each month.

Hope this has given you an idea of what it might cost to live in Tanzania.

Hello Bonnie TZ,

Thanks for the details on cost of living in Arusha. What about the average prices of renting a 3BR house in Arusha?


depends on Area & facility. starts from 600 USD...ending is difficult to predict!

I am srikanth from india i wish to know how much is the Cost of living in Tanzania. Can you say me in indian rupees,is it expensive to live there in tanzania and how are the people overthere.

How much money is required if i come with family of 4,i have been offered a lecturer job and they offered me 1700 USD.

please give me some guidence so that it will be helpful.

with regards,

Welcome to Srikanth,
There is a lot of information in this thread about the cost of living in Tanzania already :). Regarding the cost in Indian Rs, you could maybe convert the figures with a website like Oanda which gives the currencies for the whole world.
Hope this helps

Hi There Kafari,

Just saw your question about cost 3 BR in Arusha, did you get an answer or do you still need more info?

One thing that can affect cost of living is the area of town.

The Njiro area is the rich part of town, so any rentals there are going to higher, in Arusha downtown, they are cheaper, but security wise, it can be more dangerous. There is the Kisango area about 15 min. outside of Arusha town, but Lots of snakes, and more crime.

We live in an area called Ngaramtoni ya Juu (there is an Ngaramtoni ya chini) -two completely different sides of town. Anyways, we are in the most perfect spot to live. I would suggest this to anyone. We live at the bottom foothills of Mt. Meru. It is about 15-20 min from town. The pollution is less, traffic is somewhat less, peaceful neighborhood, it is like a secret spot that has "wazungu" expat type housing that a lot of people don't know about. The weather is cooler b/c it is higher in elevation, less snakes, and even less mosquitos. Our rent started out at $500 usd, and has increased to $600 b/c the owner does repairs and "upgrades" to the house every year, he is now asking $700 usd for it, and we would still pay it, because it is worth it. It has 3 bedrooms, 2 bath (no actually bath, just showers) :-) with an extra guest house in the back, 2 bedroom, 1 bath. We are actually going to be moving to a different part of TZ, for work related reason, this Jan., if anyone is interested... We have built a playground, fire pit, fish pond with goldfish,the landscape is beautiful, paved driveway, etc.

Hope this helps !


Hi all Expats

My name is Barry, i am a geologist and recently been offered a position at the Bulyanhulu mine, I will be residing in a mine village. I would be grateful for any advise relocating to the Shinyanga region. What will be the challenges for a family of four living in the North West of Tanzania.

Kind regards
Barry Naicker

Hello Barry Naicker, I invite you to take a look at the different threads of the forum, they may help!


I'm russian teacher. I have got a suggestion to work in Dodoma university. Who knows anything about the University, city, conditions?
waiting help

This is one fantastic blog, I must say. It gives a lot of insight into not just the cost of living but into living there in TZ as a whole. I am considering moving to TZ as I am offered a job in Arusha. Let me see how it works out.

You are welcome Arusha.I would suggest to you if you want an apartment to live we have very good one two ed rooms living and dining room.Two bath with shower.Very good security at USA RIVER nearby police station there are many wazungu and experts from outside the country around here .
The payments per month is 600USD.Dont hestate to contact me +255653301255. even if you want for short period we can sort out.thank you

Peter From Arusha.

Hello Macka1212,

Could you please post an advert in our housing section, housing in Tanzania.

Thank you :)

Macka1212 wrote:

...I would suggest to you if you want an apartment to live we have very good one two ed rooms living and dining room...

Hello Macka1212,

Thanks very much. Now, since nothing is clear about when I would be called to Arusha and whether my employer declines my request for a house, I can only tell you that I will keep this in mind.

Hi, i'm a physiotherapist from Spain. I've been offered for a job in Dar Es Salaam. The salary is 2000 USD net, just medical insurance included. Do u think it's enough to live there with guarantees? Thanks!!


How about telecom services in Tanzania.I am offered in one of the telecom company there.Presently i am Based out of Hyderabad-India.How about social security and taxation there



I need to know how much will it cost to rent a normal school bus or a simple bus (nothing fancy), to transport some school kids to a field trip in the Mafinga area.

I also need to know how much would a printer charge for a soft cover color printed book with about 80 pages. I would need between 450-500. I need the cheapest price available!
They can be printers from Dar es Salaam.

Thank you so much on ahead! :)

thank for registration

I want to know the cost of leaving in tanzania, including food, apartment, phone, transportation

Thank u somuch

Hi there- I am strongly considering an offer to work in Arusha in the new year and would like to know if this is realistic based on my offer. I will be earning a little over 1,050,000Tsh/month, and my organization will be paying my health insurance. Will this cover housing, food, and other living expenses? Thanks for your help!

Try this website for cost of living