sunset in Tanzania

Hunting in Tanzania: Licenses, Laws, Weapons, Travel Information

by Peter Ruddle

The previous blog about hunting in Tanzania told you about the areas of the country where you can hunt, the animals that inhabit Tanzania, and general information about hunting there. Now let’s discuss hunting laws and regulations, requirements to firearms, trophy export and import issues, as well as other activities that a tourist can enjoy in Tanzania.

When traveling to a foreign country to hunt, you should always make sure that you are aware of and comply with the most important legalities in the country you are visiting.

Hunting Licenses

License applications must be prearranged with your outfitter and submitted timeously before you hunt starts. Your outfitter will request all the relevant information from you before submitting the application. 

The available species you may hunt during your stay depends on the length of your safari stay. There are three license options, a 10, 16 or 21-day license. In some instances, outfitters will offer shorter hunts that still require licenses as specified by government. For example you may hunt a buffalo on a 7-day hunt but you will need to buy a 10-day license.   

All hunts are accompanied by a government game scout to ensure no hunting laws are infringed and to validate your license, record what was taken or wounded and lost. Once the hunt is completed you will be required to sign the license. Once cleared by the local game authority, the trophies may be removed from the area and allows for a trophy export certificate, ensuring that all trophy fees and trophy handling has been paid.       

Trophy fees as well as other government fees are charged in addition to the license fees. Hunting in Tanzania is not inexpensive but these safaris are known as one of the world’s most desired hunting experiences.

Firearms and Ammunition

Several different airlines travel to Africa, some of which have banned the transportation of firearms on their flights. Before booking your ticket you need to ensure that your carrier will permit the transportation of firearms on your flight. You must familiarize yourself with the latest laws and regulations for hunters traveling with firearms and ammunition as each airline and country has different regulations. 

Application for a temporary firearm import permit for Tanzania must be prearranged by your outfitter. Your outfitter will notify you of what costs are involved in this process. You will need to provide a notarised copy of the photo and signature pages of your passport, proof of ownership of the weapons (copies of gun licenses/permits, or, for US citizens, U S Customs form 4457). 

Three firearms per hunter and 200 rounds per rifle may be imported. Hunting licenses must be obtained prior to your safari and will only be processed once the firearm import permit has been issued.

Learn more about traveling to Africa with firearms:

Minimum Equipment Required for Rifle Hunting 

The minimum calibre for hunting dangerous game and thick-skinned animals is a .375H&H Magnum. The minimum rifle size for all other species is .240 calibre. Hunting licenses will only be issued to hunters in possession of the appropriate required calibre rifles. 

Bowhunting 

There are no restrictions regarding draw weights and arrow weights. However, common sense and these South African regulations can serve as a guideline: 

  • Big Animals (Elephant, hippo & buffalo)
    Bow Kinetic Energy – 80 ft/lbs
    Arrow Weight – 700 grains
  • Medium Animals (Kudu, eland, hartebeest, wildebeest, zebra, sable, waterbuck, etc.)
    Bow Kinetic Energy – 70 ft/lbs
    Arrow Weight – 550 grains
  • Small Animals (Warthog, nyala, impala, duiker, steenbok, etc.)
    Bow Kinetic Energy – 40 ft/lbs
    Arrow Weight – 400 grains

Hunting in Tanzania is the most expensive on the continent and bowhunting licenses and government fees are twice as expensive as rifle hunting licenses. Dangerous game (leopard and lion) and thick-skinned animals (elephant, hippo & buffalo) may not be hunted with a bow. No import permits are required for the importation of bows into the country. 

Trophy Export and Import Restrictions

Tanzania is a signatory to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and CITES I and II enhancement permits for the importation of specific species are required by signatory countries to the CITES agreements. Unfortunately, the EU and Australia do not always follow suit, so check with your outfitter if any of the species you would like to hunt need a CITES I or CITES II permit.  

The following trophy bans are currently in place for Tanzania:

  • USA: You will need to apply for an enhancement permit from the US Fish and Wildlife Department to import Elephant trophies or derivatives. 
  • EU: Elephant imports from Tanzania are likely to be refused by EU member states
  • Australia: Has banned the importation of Elephant and Lion trophy imports.  
antelopes on an anthill

Hunting Laws  

Listed below are some of the more important hunting laws you should be aware of when hunting in Tanzania:

  • The official hunting season is from 1 July till 31 December. This season has been extended until 31 March. 
  • The minimum safari duration (10, 16 or 21 days) and respective licenses are controlled by government.
  • You may only hunt animals for which a license has been issued in the name of the hunter.  
  • All trophy hunting may only take place during daylight hours, with a few exceptions. Half an hour before sunrise till half an hour after sunset is considered legal daylight hunting time.
  • No hunting at night is permitted with an artificial light. 
  • No animals may be hunted within 1km of a national park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, game sanctuary or an aerodrome.
  • The shooting of an animal from a vehicle is not permitted – the hunter is required to be more than 200 yards from the vehicle before firing at an animal. 
  • Hunting within 500m from any permanent water, pool, waterhole or salt-lick is not permitted except when hunting a Hippo, Crocodile, Sitatunga, Puku, Waterbuck, Otter or birds.
  • The hunting of any females is prohibited. If you do shoot a female by mistake, you will pay twice the regular trophy fee.  
  • Baiting for Lion and Leopard is permitted as long as the bait animal is on license.
  • Particular species minimum sizes must be adhered to, in order to avoid penalties of up to 3 x the trophy fee and possible confiscation of the trophy. No person may hunt:
    • An adult male Lion under the age of 6 years. 
    • An Elephant with tusks weighing less than 20kg (44 lb) per tusk or measuring less than 160 cm (63 inches) per tusk.
    • A Leopard of less than 130 cm (51 inches) from nose to base of tail.
    • A Crocodile of less than 300 cm (9.85 ft) from the nose to tip of tail.
  • The minimum permissible calibre is a .240 and .375 for dangerous animals. 
  • Only hunters over the age of 18 are permitted to hunt.
  • Observers wishing to hunt will need to upgrade to a hunting client with all relevant permits and licenses.  

For more information go to the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) website:  https://www.tawa.go.tz/

TRAVEL INFORMATION

The visa and health information should only be used as a guideline. When making your travel arrangements ensure that you get the latest information in this regard. Only $10,000 cash may be taken in and out of the country.  

Passports

All visitors to Tanzania need to present a valid passport on arrival. Your passport must be valid for at least six months from entry into the country and have a tourist visa if required. Passports must have at least two blank pages. 

Visas

US citizens, UK and many other foreign visitors require a visa. Visitors may now use the Tanzanian Electronic Visa Application System for this application process. Application guidelines and instructions are all on the visa application system. Your outfitter will also assist you with the process.

Health

Anyone considering travel should be aware that restrictions are subject to change at short notice, and all passengers should undertake proper research and carefully consider the necessity of their travel at this time. Visit your doctor at least a month before you travel. The following vaccinations, medicines and precautions are recommended: 

  • COVID-19: Registrations and regulations are reviewed and changed from time to time.
  • Cholera: The vaccination is only required when active cases are reported.
  • Hepatitis A & B: Recommended for unvaccinated travellers.
  • Malaria: Hunters are recommended to take prescription medicine to prevent malaria.
  • Rabies: If you are bitten by a dog or other strange behaving animal while in Tanzania, seek medical attention. Do not pet strange dogs.
  • Typhoid: Recommended for most travellers.
  • Diphtheria: Is a potential disease that may affect those who have not been immunised. 
  • Tetanus: No matter where you hunt, it is always recommended to keep your immunisation updated.  
  • Yellow Fever: Required if travelling from a country with a risk of YF virus transmission.

Insect repellents for biting flies, ticks and mosquitoes are provided in most camps. Your outfitter will also update you with the latest information regarding any changes in health requirement regulations.  

Airports

The main international gateway used by hunters into Tanzania’s mainland is through two international airports, namely: Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) near Arusha. 

Scheduled domestic commercial flights are available to numerous airports. One of the most used is Mwanza Airport near the shores of Lake Victoria. Numerous asphalt, grass and gravel airstrips are dotted across the country. The most convenient, cost and time saving travel method to all the hunting concessions is via a charter flight.  

Tanzanian Hotels

For those requiring an overnight layover, there are an array of exceptional hotel options on offer. 

a tree in Tanzania

Places to Visit and Adventure Activities in Tanzania

When traveling in the country do not take photos of any military installations, police stations, airports, border crossings or similar buildings and always keep your passport with you. 

US travel advisories are issued from time to time. Hunters should ask their preferred outfitter for the latest updates regarding any restrictions or warnings related to their country of origin.

Some hunting clients, especially those travelling with family and partners use the opportunities to experience some of the local tourist destinations. Listed below are some of these popular destinations:

  • Serengeti National Park

One of the world’s most popular places to go on a safari and home to Africa’s most documented and photographed wildlife migration. Over one and a half million wildebeest migrate through the park on an annual basis. These insatiable herds are always on the move following the rains in search of greener pastures.    

  • Ngorongoro Crater

The world’s largest intact non-active volcanic crater, a large fertile depression teeming with wildlife, formed when the volcano erupted and collapsed. The crater houses the highest Lion density in the world, Black Rhino, Cheetah, Leopard and Spotted Hyenas are also regularly seen.  

  • Mount Kilimanjaro

Another inactive strato-volcano that looms above the surroundings. As the highest free-standing mountain in the world, and the tallest glacier covered peak in Tanzania and a popular place to visit, hike and climb. 

  • Mount Meru

The second highest mountain in Tanzania where you can hike along the craters whilst enjoying some breath taking views. 

  • Zanzibar

This is a semi-autonomous archipelago off the coast of Tanzania. The main island and a cluster of smaller islands, make this a beach lover’s paradise with its beautiful white sandy beaches. Historically it has a lot to offer, the Sultan’s Palace, mosques, traditional architecture including Stone Town, a melting pot of Swahili, Arab and Persian cultures.     

  • Lake Natron and Lake Manyara

Two birding hotspots with lots of flamingos. Lake Natron with its high pH levels, chemical makeup and high evaporation turn the water dark red in colour allowing for some great photographic opportunities.  

  • Mafia Island

A scuba diver and snorkeler’s paradise with over 400 species to be seen. It is also well known for deep-sea-fishing, especially big-game fish, like tuna and marlin.  

  • Mahale Mountains 

Looking for something different. Why not enjoy a close up encounter with chimpanzees in the misty forested mountains along the shoreline of Lake Tanganyika.  

Want more information: https://www.tanzaniatourism.go.tz/

Professional Hunting Association

Should you require more information about hunting in Tanzania or wish to get an association member’s reference, you can contact the following associations: 

Tanzanian Hunting Operators Association (TAHOA)

The primary purpose of TAHOA is to represent the tourist hunting companies that operate in Tanzania and act on their behalf and in the best interest of the sustainable management and utilization of Tanzania’s natural wildlife resources.

It is not compulsory as a Tanzanian Hunting Company or Professional Hunter to be a member of TAHOA and in fact membership, it is restricted to individuals who comply with our criteria for consideration before membership is granted. 

Aligning oneself with an organization like the TAHOA, with a strong legacy of maintaining industry integrity and standards provides agents with a standard to sell and guests a superior quality product to buy into.

​Simply put, individuals with an affiliation to TAHOA are automatically synonymous with ethical and responsible guiding standards and – more importantly – principles, in Africa.

​TAHOA is committed to ensuring and promoting ethical conduct by its members and by doing so they aim to preserve the wildlife and its natural habitat and secure the industry for current and future generations. More information can be found on the organization’s website https://www.tahoa.org/

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