The United Republic of Tanzania is an East African country bordering the Indian Ocean. Its neighbours are Kenya and Uganda, to the north, Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the west, and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the south. The country includes the island of Zanzibar. Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest point in Africa.
The name “Tanzania” is derived from the names of the two states, Tanganyika and Zanzibar that united in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which later the same year was renamed the United Republic of Tanzania. The population of Tanzania comprises 120 ethnic groups, and 80% of the population is rural.
The oﬃcial language is Kiswahili although many people may only speak their tribal language. English is not as widely spoken or understood as in neighbouring Kenya although in the areas frequented by tourists, it is becoming more common.
Tanzania is a mixture of religious aﬃliations and traditional belief, however the coastal areas and Zanzibar are predominantly Muslim. It’s not appropriate to wear very revealing clothing in public places and homosexuality is against the law in many African countries including Tanzania.
Tanzania has a tropical climate. In the northern and coastal areas (which include Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire, Manyara and the Serengeti, Dar es Salaam and the islands), rainfall tends to occur in two seasons: the short rains between late October – December and the long rains between March – May. These areas experience a cool, dry winter between June – August when temperatures can fall to 10°C (50°F) at night (or much lower if you’re up Mt Meru or Kilimanjaro) but during the day, the sun can still be hot. During the hottest months of November – February, temperatures can climb to around 25– 31 °C or 77–87.8 °F.
In the southern, south-west, central and western parts (Katavi, Mahale, Ruaha & Selous), the rainy season occurs between December and April, when temperatures are also at their warmest, reaching around 32 °C (89.6 °F) and often accompanied by high humidity.
Tanzania is GMT + 3hours. We don’t have daylight saving time, and since we’re quite close to the equator, there is not a great variance in hours of daylight during the year.
The local currency is the Tanzania Shilling. In hotels, bills can normally be paid in US$, Sterling or Euro but in shops, restaurants and for other purchases, you’ll need to change money. Forex can be changed at most banks and bureaus in major towns. ATMs are available in Dar es Salaam and Arusha, and most major towns, but once out on safari, you won’t have access to either banks or ATMs, so change suﬃcient funds beforehand. Credit cards are normally acceptable in the bigger hotels but in the smaller lodges or hotels, there are often no facilities.
Tanzania works on 240volt mains power with a 3 square-prong plug. In many remote camps and lodges, there may not be mains power in each tent or room, but there are normally facilities to charge cameras and laptops. Many remote camps will not be able to cater for hairdryers as they rely on solar power or small generators to charge battery banks and these systems can’t handle the load.
There are a number of cell phone networks in Tanzania, the most common being Vodacom and Airtel. Distribution is patchy across the country so you may not always be able to connect. In some camps, WiFi or internet access in the Manager’s oﬃce is available but is not guaranteed.
Speeds can be slow so don’t bank on being able to upload videos or images at every stop. Roaming charges can be very high so check with your provider before you leave home so you are prepared.
HEALTH INSURANCE AND FLYING DOCTOR
We strongly recommend that you take out a comprehensive travel and health insurance before travelling, not least to cover yourself in the event of cancellation charges should your plans change.
Many of the areas where we operate are extremely remote and it is imperative that, in the unfortunate cases of medical emergency, you’ll reach a well-equipped hospital fast and with expert care en route.
Please be sure to contact your local GP or travel clinic well in advance of travel to obtain professional medical advice and discuss up to date vaccination requirements for the areas you are visiting.
According to the latest health ministry advice, Tanzania is mapped as a low-risk country because no Yellow Fever virus has been isolated in the country. However, favourable ecological conditions and the fact that Tanzania is within close proximity of Yellow Fever endemic countries (which include Kenya, Uganda and DRC) pose potential risk for Yellow Fever if the virus is introduced to the country.
Therefore, to conform to International Health Regulations and to safeguard public health security in Tanzania, Yellow Fever vaccination is mandatory to travellers arriving from Yellow Fever endemic countries. This does not apply to travellers transiting through an endemic country, providing they do not leave the airport and the transit lasts under 12 hours and place of origin is not an endemic country.
Travellers arriving into Tanzania from an endemic country will be asked to show Yellow Fever certificates. Yellow fever certificates are now valid for life. We would always recommend discussing Yellow Fever vaccination requirements with your local travel clinic to ensure update and relevant information for the specific areas you are visiting.
Malaria is prevalent in many parts of Tanzania and we advise you to consult your GP before you depart about taking prophylactics. It’s also important to cover up in the evenings when the malaria-carrying Anopheles mosquito usually feeds. All the camps located in malaria areas that we use will provide mosquito nets and/ or insect-proof tents. It is advisable to bring some insect repellent with you, although it may be provided in the camps too. The incubation period of malaria is 1-3 weeks and so if you experience any flu-like symptoms, headaches, aching joints and back or nausea and diarrhea, it is recommended that you get tested at the earliest opportunity and let the medical people know you’ve recently travelled to Africa.
Tsetse flies can transmit trypanosomiases (more commonly known as sleeping sickness) but more commonly are just a nuisance as their bite is sharp and they are resilient to repellent. They occur in wooded areas in some parts of Tanzania and although much has been done to eradicate them, they also serve to keep certain areas pristine as they are a menace to cattle. When in tsetse areas, avoid wearing dark colours especially blue or black. The repellent, Deet, seems to be quite eﬀective, as does a tin of smoldering dry elephant dung! If you have a particularly bad reaction to the bites, take aural antihistamine tablets and apply the cream. Try hard not to scratch the bites which will result in an infection.
A valid passport with at least six months validity, as well as a valid visa for those not exempted. Single entry visas only can be applied for in advance from the Tanzanian embassy or purchased easily upon arrival at the immigration desk, although we would encourage you where possible to get your visa prior to arrival to save time at the airport. If getting on arrival please have the correct money in US Dollar cash and be prepared for queues
Please check with your international airline regarding their luggage policy as these vary. Once in Tanzania, there are strict limitations on luggage on internal flights, and pilots WILL leave bags behind rather than risk flying too heavy, in which case we will have to pass on costs incurred to reunite you with your luggage. The allowance is 15kg per person to be packed in SOFT BAGS (no hard-shell suitcases permitted). You can expect to carry an additional 5kg of hand luggage in addition to this. Any excess is charged at $3 per kg but depends on available space on the plane so there are no guarantees.
WHAT TO BRING
Every safari, and every travellers needs are diﬀerent so below is a list of things that are useful, from our experience of travelling in Africa. We’d be glad to answer any specific questions about kit.
- Shorts, lightweight trousers, short & long-sleeved shirts in neutral, bush colour Sweater or fleece, light rain jacket.
- Swim suit/sarong
- Comfortable lightweight but sturdy walking shoes or boots (especially in Mahale), flip flops or sandals (useful for hopping in and out of boats)
- Sun hat and sun glasses
- High factor sun lotion
- Camera plus plenty of film/memory
The island of Zanzibar and the beach resorts on the mainland are predominantly Muslim, so recognition of traditional courtesies is important. Unsuitable clothing such as swimwear or brief shorts, are not acceptable in town and villages away from the main tourist resorts.
- Richard D. Estes – The Safari Companion
- Richard D. Estes – The Behavioural Guide to African Mammals
- Terry Stevenson, John Fanshawe – Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa
- Collins Field Guide – Mammals of Africa
- Johnathan Kingdon – The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals Michael
- Blundell – Wild Flowers of East Africa
- Sasol – Birds of Prey of Africa
- Paul Joynson-Hicks – Tanzania – Portrait of a Nation
- Javed Jaﬀerji/Graham Mercer – Tanzania: African Eden
- Carlo Mari/Harvey Croze – The Serengeti’s Great Migration Mitsuaki
- Iwago – Serengeti: Natural Order on the African Plain Reinhard Kunkel– Ngorongoro
- Reinhard Kunkel – Elephants Peter Matthiessen – Sand Rivers
- Peter Matthiessen – African Trilogy
- Thomas Pakenham – Scramble for Africa
- David Read Waters of the Sanjan Charles Miller – Battle for the Bundu
- John Reader – Africa: Biography of a Continent
- Abdulrazak Gurnah – Paradise
- Abdulrazak Gurnah – By the Sea
The conservation of Africa’s wild places relies heavily on tourism, but it’s vital that we do our bit to ensure that we conduct ourselves responsibly, take only pictures and leave only footprints. Our guides are well trained and respectful of the environment and we ask you to respect the boundaries that they lay down in terms of appropriate behaviour while on safari. To ensure everyone’s enjoyment of these areas both on your safari, and for future guests, we’d ask that you follow these basic guidelines.
- Please do not monopolise the guide or the best seats; take turns in front and back on road trips and game drives.
- If you do feel that your experience is being unreasonably compromised by the people with whom you are sharing the vehicle (except when it’s your own family!), then please have a word with the guide who will assist wherever possible.
- Please be aware of other people’s viewing and photography field.
- Please be considerate of other people’s feelings about smoking and do not smoke in the vehicles.
PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT
- Please do not litter, even cigarette butts.
- Please do not collect bones, stones or plants, or shells and corals when you are at the beach – they are all mini eco-systems in their own right.
- Please do not buy bones, stones, feather displays, shells, corals or plants
ON GAME DRIVES, WALKS, BOATING AND FLY-CAMPING ACTIVITIES
- Please listen to your guide who is trained to work in the bush and understand the risks and best course of action in case of a problem
- Please do not interfere with animal behaviour
- No more than 4 vehicles around any animal at one time (please accept the decision of your guide to leave an animal if he feels it is becoming overcrowded)
- Please do not get too close to the animals, this may distress them
- Please do not get out of the vehicle without consulting your guide
- Please try to be as quiet as possible when viewing wildlife close up – your guide will turn oﬀ the vehicle’s engine whenever possible
- On boat trips, life jackets are provided for your safety but the onus is on you to wear them without being prompted
- In some places it is unsafe to swim in lakes or rivers. Please ensure you check with the managers or in-camp information before you do so.
- Please do not take photographs of the local people without asking permission first
- Please do not encourage trade or give personal items away to local people (begging is not a long-term solution and we feel it should not be encouraged)
- Please be aware that Tanzanian culture is largely very conservative and public displays of aﬀection are not appreciated.
- If you are spending any time in Stone Town on Zanzibar please do be sensitive to the muslim culture of the island and cover your shoulders and knees while in town and villages.
- If you have brought gifts to give to the local people, please give them to your camp manager for proper distribution
- Beware of anyone asking you for gifts or money; do not feel obligated to donate
- Please let us know if you are hassled
PHONES AND MUSIC
- One of the little luxuries that a safari oﬀers is the chance to escape the “outside world” and disconnect yourself for a few short days. However, phone signal is increasingly available even in the most remote areas. We feel that phones can be a menace on safari and that wherever possible, they should be turned oﬀ or at least silenced. We think you and the people around you will enjoy your experience more if you allow yourself the luxury of being in the moment.
- The sounds of the ‘bush’ are special, unique and memorable, we advise against music, but if you can’t do without, please use headphones and be considerate of your fellow travelers.
Plastic bottles produced for the tourism industry present a growing threat to our delicate environments and we are increasingly looking for ways to reduce our use of these. We’ve recently introduced a steel Nomad bottle, which you can refill from safe filtered bulk bottled water supplies in vehicles and camps. Dehydration can sneak up on you and spoil your trip, so do remember to try and drink 1.5-2ltrs of water a day in order to avoid it. Symptoms of dehydration can arrive in the form of headaches and nausea.
The most common dietary requirements can be accommodated (vegetarianism, gluten or lactose free), and we will do our best to accommodate any requirement given suﬃcient notice. Supplies often come from far away and without enough prior notice to pre-plan, we won’t be able to meet your requirements, so please do let us know as soon as possible.
From time to time, your luggage may not arrive with you. Inconvenient as this is, there are a couple of things that you can do. Make sure you take one or two changes of clothes and some basic toiletries in your hand luggage (including any medication you can’t do without) so that you can survive until your bags catch up. If you are heading to a remote area at the start of your safari, it may take 3-4 days for your luggage to reach you, although we’ll do all we can to get it to you as soon as possible. Report it immediately at the airport and then let us know so that we can help to follow up and reunite you with your things.
You should only tip if you genuinely feel that the service you have received warrants it. Tips for camp staﬀ are normally handed to the manager or popped into the communal tip box at the mess and they are then distributed equally at the end of the month. We’re often asked for a guideline and while this depends very much on how you feel, we’d suggest around US$10 per guest per day. It is quite normal to tip your guide or ranger separately using the same guidelines (around US$10 per person per day). Equally it’s not unusual for families to pitch it slightly below this figure given they’re travelling as a group and these amounts can quickly add up. This is entirely discretionary, diﬀerent cultures approach this issue in varying ways so please don’t feel pressured to contribute more than you’re comfortable with.
Please be careful when photographing public buildings, airports, bridges, the national flag and people in uniform. If you do not get permission then do not take a picture. If in doubt, don’t photograph it!
Please make sure permission has been sought before photographing local people, and their villages. They may charge for pictures to be taken. Please check with your guide.
No flash photography is allowed when viewing the chimps at Mahale.
INTERNATIONAL & DOMESTIC AIRPORTS
Dar es Salaam International Airport is located 15kms southwest of the city, and can take between 25 minutes and 2 hours by car as traﬃc can be heavy during rush hours.
Airport facilities include a duty-free shop, car hire, post oﬃce, banking and bureau de change, and a bar and restaurant.
Kilimanjaro International Airport is located 40kms from Arusha and takes approximately 1 hour to reach by car. Facilities include curio shops, a post oﬃce, and a bar.
Zanzibar International Airport is located 7kms from the centre of Stone Town, and takes approximately 15 minutes to reach by car. Facilities include a cafeteria and bureau de change.
Arusha Domestic Airport is located on the outskirts of Arusha town, an approximately 1hr45min drive from Kilimanjaro airport, depending on traﬃc. Facilities include a curio shop, and a snack bar.
We use a number of diﬀerent scheduled aviation companies for internal arrangements. Cessna Caravans are the most common light aircraft used, but for low volume flights, a smaller C206 might be used. Airstrips in the national parks and other remote areas are usually dirt and the pilots are experienced flying in these conditions. Scheduled flights may include a couple of stops at other strips between your embarkation and destination, and sometimes these are not known well ahead of time. It is important to note that travel times are estimates and can vary depending on the route taken. The pilot should inform you when you board your flight and keep you updated as you go along. You should be at the airstrip about an hour before your scheduled departure time
Laundry facilities are usually available in the camps and lodges throughout Tanzania. Some camps may include laundry in the rate while others may make a nominal charge. You should allow 24hrs for the return of laundry, weather dependent. Please note that in many remote areas, laundry facilities won’t be hi-tech and many may use charcoal irons as there is no electricity. We would therefore not advise that you send delicate items to the laundry in these camps and lodges, and accept that there is a certain risk in having anything laundered under such conditions, even though the greatest possible care will be taken. Please also be aware that most camps will ask that ladies wash their own underwear so will provide washing soap and a small line for hanging them to dry.
FEEDBACK & TRIPADVISOR
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