If you are looking to enter Tanzania from Kenya then, in addition to taking a flight, you may also consider the option of entering by land. Nationals of most countries require a visa to enter Tanzania. The easiest option is to apply for a Tanzania eVisa. There are currently 158 countries that are eligible for this electronic visa for Tanzania including Australia, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The eVisa can be applied for rapidly and securely by filling out the user-friendly Tanzania eVisa application form, paying the fee by credit or debit card and then waiting just a few days or less to receive the visa at the email address that you provided.
Where to Cross from Kenya to Tanzania and What to Expect
By far the most popular and straightforward point at which to cross the border from Kenya to Tanzania is at the town of Namanga. Namanga lies on either side of the border, although it is mostly in Kenya. It is located approximately 180 km from the Kenyan capital Nairobi and 120 km from the town of Arusha in northern Tanzania. The crossing is often very busy but generally flows fairly smoothly.
There are various options for traveling from Nairobi to Namanga:
- There are shuttle buses to the border that pick up guests from many of the city’s main hotels.
- There is also a bus service to Namanga from Nairobi’s main bus station.
- For those looking to go by taxi, these can also be caught from the bus station. Most of the taxis are Peugeots.
The stretch of road between Nairobi and the border is of high quality.
Officials on both sides do not tend to search the vehicles or bags of those crossing the border. For those making the journey by shuttle, be prepared to have your bags checked. In both cases only unopened boxes of new goods tend to be searched and, where required, the import duty will then be charged.
These are the main steps that you will need to carry out at the border:
- Fill out the entry and exit cards for each country. These are usually provided by the shuttle bus companies for those who are traveling by this method.
- Fill in the visa form. This process can be time-consuming which is why it is recommended that you obtain an eVisa for Tanzania beforehand as then you will not be required to complete this step.
- Get in the queue to see the immigration officer. You will need to show your passport, which should be valid for at least 6 months, and your visa. In the case of those who have processed an eVisa, you will need to bring the printed copy which was sent to your inbox.
Things to Keep in Mind When Crossing the Kenya/Tanzania Land Border
As previously mentioned, crossing the border from Kenya to Tanzania is normally a straightforward and smooth experience, but travelers would do well to consider the following:
- There are numerous touts on the road to the border offering to change money and selling insurance. Some of them can be quite forceful. It is best to politely decline if you are not interested.
- If you have chosen not to get your hassle-free eVisa and instead to queue at the border then be sure to insist on a receipt for the visa from the immigration official as this may be later requested.
- There have been reports of Tanzanian police harassing Kenyan drivers. The Tanzanian authorities are aware of this problem and are working to find a solution, but a way to avoid this possibility is to opt to travel by shuttle or by bus.
Visiting Tanzania and Kenya in a single trip
Tanzania and Kenya are both very popular tourist destinations for those looking to enjoy some of the finest safari parks in Africa. As a result, many naturally seek to visit both neighboring countries during a single trip. Just as in the case of Tanzania, nationals of most countries including Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States will require a visa to visit Kenya. The easiest option to do so is the Kenya eVisa.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to get an electronic visa for both Kenya and Tanzania. There is an East African Tourist Visa (EATV), but Tanzania is not one of the countries which it covers (EATV is for Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda), it is expensive and it cannot be applied for online but requires a visit to an embassy or consulate.
The good news is that Kenya and Tanzania have come to an agreement whereby tourists who travel from one country to the other and then wish to return may do so using their single-entry eVisa and do not need to apply for a new visa for the return journey. This means that separate visas are required for Kenya and for Tanzania, but not for the return journey to the country you started out from.
Visiting Tanzania and Kenya is a wonderful experience that will allow you to enjoy wildlife, mountains, beaches and discover traditional tribal practices that have changed little over millennia.
Be sure to give yourself enough time to apply for your eVisa for Tanzania (and Kenya) and that you remember to print it off ready to show on arrival.