[email protected]   |    +27 21 852 6911

Written by: Taher Nassrulla on 17 February 2016

Tanzanian Beers – A sip of refreshment

Tanzanian beers

Whether you are on safari in Tanzania enjoying a breath-taking sunset or sitting in a hammock on the beach in Zanzibar, it is always nice to replenish your thirst with a cold beer. Beer is important in Tanzania and it is consumed by millions every day. In fact, Tanzania ranks at number 6 in all of Africa in terms of beer consumption.


The country has two leading breweries, Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL) and Serengeti Breweries (SBL). TBL was founded in 1932, nationalised in 1976 and after 25 years of failed operations the company was bought by SABMiller who it still holds the majority of the shares today. Serengeti Breweries was founded in 1988 and is TBL’s closest competitors. Both these companies are vital to the Tanzanian economy.

So how many types of domestic beer brands are there in Tanzania? Eight!
Most beers come as 500ml bottles although cans are also sold. In local bars, beers cost around 2500 shillings ($1,25) and in lodges you can pay between $3-5 per bottle.

Tanzanians’ five favourites are:

1. Kilimanjaro Beer


TBL Alcohol volume 4.5% Premium Lager
A smooth nose, not too malty and not too strong. The flavour is crisp but light and it doesn’t have a strong after-taste. It is a great all-round light beer.

2. Serengeti Beer


SBL Alcohol volume 5.5% Premium Lager
It has a slightly crisp taste with a strong malty finish. Its flavour is definitely unique and different from the other beers.

3. Safari Lager


TBL Alcohol volume 5.5 % Pale Lager
A classic for many, this is one of the oldest beers on the market. Some find it to be very strong, the aroma varies from a hoppy note to a fruitier one. The after-taste can be quite bitter.

4. Ndovu Special Malt


TBL Alcohol volume 4.8% Pale Lager
It has a bitter yet aromatic nose, has a good full body and a nice after-taste.
Ndovu special malt is an excellent beer, however it is sold in 330ml bottles which means you pay more for less. This one is my favourite!

5. Tusker Beer


TBL Alcohol volume 4.2% Pale Lager
This beer is quite bland, with some sweet notes and a soft finish.

In Tanzania beer is usually drunk with the national classic, nyama choma – barbequed meat. A useful phrase to learn at home and use in Tanzania are: ‘naomba bia baridi’ – please can I get a cold beer.
Use this phrase to find out which one is your favourite.

Author: Taher Nassrulla

Born in East Africa, Taher was intrigued by the natural and geographical diversity of the African bush from a young age. After spending some time in Europe, he returned to Tanzania in 2004 to start a new chapter in his life. Since then he has been spending as much time as possible in the bush, learning. Taher speaks English, Kiswahili and German fluently and is a passionate photographer. Using the skills he has learnt over the years, he now takes tourists out on safari as a German-speaking tour leader and guide.

33 thoughts on “Tanzanian Beers – A sip of refreshment”

Leave a comment on this article
    • Kilimanjaro beer is the best, being my first day to taste it so it not possible transport to Malawi especially in Lilongwe

  • Dear Graz Smith,

    thank you for your interest in Tanzanian beers. we are afraid that Shipping and Import regulations are not only complicated but the process can be expensive. The best way would be to get in contact with someone travelling from Tanzania and ask if he/she is willing to bring a few Kilimanjaro beers in the suitcase.

    Last but not least Kilimanjaro beer is best enjoyed in the country for example as sundowner with views on Kilimanjaro.

    Karibu sana

  • Hi Vic,

    unfortunately not that we know of. We hope that other users come across this article and have more information on this.

    It might be a good idea to mention here that Tusker is originally a Kenyan beer. However it is still a nice, light East African beer. Maybe you can share here the location where the beer is found in the US!

  • I agree with you.. Kilimanjaro beer is best. and it’s among the top Tanzania’s beer brands. All in all, Safari Lager dominates them all. Although it’s taste can be quite bitter just like the Castle Lager but it’s one of the beer which has received international awards and recognition’s.

    Some countries also sale Tanzanian beers hope they enjoy them well. As for myself Kilimanjaro is my brand… Just like me and my friends have this saying… “If you cant climb the mountain Kilimanjaro, then drink it”

    • In the first ever Africa Beer competition that took place in Ghana Safari Lager was judged to be the best beer in Africa.

  • Jambo Ally,

    thank you very much for your contribution to this topic.

    As for Castle Lager it is very true it is widely available in Tanzania and brewed by Tanzania Breweries Ltd, but it’s brewed under license and orginally a beer from the South African Breweries (SABMiller) to which the credits of the International Award should be given. However Tanzanian beers are a class for itself and the country can be proud about a large diversity of beer products.

    • The beer i was referring to regarding the Awards and recognition is SAFARI LAGER and not Castle Lager. As i know very well that CASTLE LAGER is produced under license. Even TUSKER is also under license as it’s owned by the East African Breweries.

      But all in all, we should be proud of our beer brands as we have lots of them including BALIMI EXTRA LAGER which is most famous around the Lake zone region.

  • Hi Ally,

    thanks for sharing this Information with us. That are great news and appologies that this was misunderstood somehow.

    With all the different kind of beers in Tanzania seems to be a Safari of it’s own.

    • Dear Stacey,

      the best would be to travel to Tanzania and join a Safari, Trekking Tour or relax on the Beach on the shores and Tanzanian beers are widely for sale in bars, groceries and many supermarkets. This is the best way to taste the flavors of Tanzania.

      Karibu sana

  • Kilimanjaro is a great beer wow.

    Is Ndovu still available? Did not see it around during my latest visit to Tanzania.

    • Ndovy special malt available in most of supermarket in Tanzania,.. Especially in Walmart(game) in mlimani city shopping mall

      • It has been a while that I had Ndovu in Tanzania but I agree with Nicodemus and at the same location was able to find the Ndovu “Red malt” special edition once.

    • Dear Mimi Aikido,

      we can not answer this and we are not sure if it says that even on the label. Tanzanian regulations for labeling food/drinks are not the same as in other parts of the world. Unfortunately we don’t have it at hand to check for you.

  • will Kilimanjaro beer will ever come to the USA?
    will safari lager beer will ever come to the USA?
    will Serengeti beer will ever come to the USA?

    • Hello Johan,

      as far as we know and according to our experience we have not seen Tanzanian beer from draught. It might be available at some Pubs in cities like Dar Es Salaam or Arusha but definitely not in the country side. Beer towers become more popular in some scenes also in Tanzania though.

  • I was Tanzania for a safari recently and enjoyed your beer. Do you have any beer glasses available for me to buy? Thanks

    • Hello Jim,

      since it is not our nature of business, we are afraid but can’t help with that. Try writing to the breweries directly?

    • Hello Edbart,

      since it is not our nature of business, we afraid but can’t help with that. Try writing to the breweries directly?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *