We received an email from HOPAC about mailing packages to us when we are there. I thought it was helpful information & wanted to share for your future package sending purposes :)
“I know in some countries when people receive packages they have to pay to pick them up. Is that true in Tanzania? Is receiving packages discouraged?”
Yes, you may have to pay duty on the value of the contents of a package sent to you and these charges can be quite high. There does not seem to be any discernable way that the government decides what packages to charge duty on and what they do not. Here are the tips out of the HOPAC Teachers’ Guide to Living in Dar with a few of my comments inserted in ( ). Be sure to share these tips with those who might be sending you packages so that you don’t get a large box, for example, marked “expensive electronic equipment” with a value of $500 which will then cost you almost $500 to get from Customs! Something similar (but not QUITE that bad) happened this year to our primary art teacher!J
Use HOPAC’s address:
c/o Haven of Peace Academy
P.O. Box 70027
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
The Tanzanian mail system is not always reliable. You can expect mail to take as little as a week to 10 days get to you, or as long as six months or more. Some tips for your friends mailing you things:
- Never mail anything electronic or valuable.
- Be obscure/vague on the customs declaration form. For example, write “garments” instead of “clothes.” (I strongly suggest your family and friends be conservative when stating the value of the goods as that is what duty will be based on.)
- Don’t gift wrap things—the customs officials will just unwrap them.
- Never send anything by surface mail. In the States, the post office will tell you that surface mail only takes six weeks, but in reality it will take at least six months. Air mail really is your only option if you want to receive your package before you leave Tanzania!
- Mailing envelopes that can fit into a regular-sized postal box arrive faster and more reliably than boxes. (Stuff sent in the padded envelopes seem to be less likely to attract duty charges than boxes.)