The Tanzanian Shilling is the official currency of Tanzania with currency code TZS. A shilling is subdivided into 100 cents. In 1966, it replaced a long list of currencies that circulated in the East African region such as the German East African Rupee, the British East Africa Rupee, the British East Africa Florin, and the British East Africa Shilling. Although the shilling is the official currency, most large and high end establishments like hotels, restaurants, and wildlife parks will accept US dollars or British pounds.
Shilling coins come in denominations 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200. The 5, 10, and 20 shilling is made up of nickel clad steel and the 50, 100, and 200 coins are minted in brass. Banknotes in circulation are the 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10,000 shilling.
Newly released notes came out in January 2011 and were a bit smaller compared to their predecessors. The notes feature the politics, rich heritage, wildlife, and industry of Tanzania.
The new 500 note is green in color. It features the Coat of arms, Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume on the obverse. The reverse side displays a stick with a snake coiled around it, the central hall of the University of Dar es Salaam, students wearing gowns and caps for graduation, and a giraffe. The watermark shows Julius Kambarage Nyerere, the first president of Tanzania.
The 1,000 note is colored blue and features a Coat of arms, President Julius Kambarage Nyerere, and the Mwanza Harbor’s Bismarck Rock. The reverse side shows a coffee plant and the State House (Ikulu) with a flag in Dar Es Salaam. The watermark shows Julius Kambarage.
The 2,000 shilling note is colored brown and tan. The obverse features a Coat of arms and a lion. The reverse shows palm trees, the old Omani Arab Fort (Ngome Kongwe) in Zanzibar’s Stone Town, a carved block, and a Spark patch that is diamond-shaped and has a giraffe head. The watermark is Julius Kambarage Nyerere with electrotype 2000.
The 5,000 shillings is colored purple. The front features a Coat of arms, plant, and a black rhinoceros. The back shows mining machinery, cut rough diamonds, and a diamond-shaped Spark patch with giraffe head. Watermark is Julius Kambarage Nyerere with electrotype 5000.
The 10,000 shilling note is yellow and red. The front features a Coat of arms and elephant. The back shows flowers, the Bank of Tanzania in Dar es Salaam, and a Spark patch, diamond-shaped giraffe head. Watermark is Julius Kambarage Nyerere with electrotype 10000.
The new notes has security and anti-counterfeiting features such as Motion windowed security threads, Spark patches, and watermarks with electrotype denominations. The Tanzanian shilling is today valued at approximately 1 USD = 1,520 TZS.
The amount of the Shilling is unusually written in the form of x/y where x is the amount 1 shilling and up and y is the amount in cents. An equal sign or hyphen represents a zero amount. For instance, 50 cents is written as “=/50” or “-/50”, while 100 shillings is written as “100/=” or “100/-“.