Gay Guide

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Other Main Cities/Resorts

Mwanza, Dodoma, Tanga, Zanzibar

Scene and Culture

In Tanzanian homosexuality is illegal and there is no gay scene as such. However, the traditional view of homosexuality is that of one man playing the woman’s role in sexual intercourse known as a msenge. The msenge is usually expected to be younger and consents to be used by another man for money or because he is impotent. The other man (the basha) is assumed to sleep with women as well as men. There is more stigma attached to the role of msenge. Although, many men would in certain circumstances have sex with a msenge there is nonetheless a prevalent hostility to gays. There is a term for "lesbian": msagaji, literally, one who grinds. The verb for lesbian lovemaking, sagana, means "grind together". In Tanzania lesbians are even less visible than gay men Dar es Salaam being a large city has a gay network. Whilst there are no gay bars as such, there are places where gays tend to meet. There is no gay movement or organisation in Tanzania. On the coastal areas and offshore islands where there is more Arab influence people are more tolerant of homosexuality. In particular, the island of Zanzibar is much more gay friendly than the mainland. Having said that the government in Zanzibar in 2004 made homosexuality illegal claiming it to be an attempt to stem the acceptance of lesbians and gays. In 2003 a gay tour group from the United States had their arrival in Tanzania marked with a demonstration by over 300 anti-gay protestors. All in all probably Tanzania does not make the ideal gay tourist destination.

Gay Age of Consent


Lesbian Age of Consent

Not mentioned

Legal Notes

Section 154 to 157 of the Penal Code criminalize homosexual acts between men, with a penalty of up to 14 years' imprisonment. This law was inherited from Britsh colonial times. In practice the law is rarely enforced because of the difficulty of obtaining proof. In Zanzibar which is a semi autonomous region the law is different. In April 2004 the government passed a bill making homosexuality illegal. Gay men found guilty of "homosexual relations" will face up to 25 years in jail. Lesbian relationships will be punished by 7 years.


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The best time to visit Tanzania is during the drier months from May to October. However if you are planning on going on a safari to the Serengeti you might want to come during the rainy season and see the migrating heards.

Tanzania has a tropical equatorial climate modified by altitude. The north has two distinct wet seasons with the longest from March to May and the shortest from November to December while the rest of the country has one wet season from November to May. Around 50% of the country receives an annual precipitation of 760 mm with the maximum being 2,540 mm at Lake Nyasa and the minimum, 510 mm on the Central Plateau. The prevailing winds are the NE and SE trade winds. Average temperature ranges in Dar-es-Salaam are from 19c to 31c all year.

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