Tanzania Travel Guide Information
A great Tanzania travel guide information doesn’t replace the advice and assistance of an Africa safari expert but it does equip you to be an active and informed decision-maker in planning your safari. In this guide, we’ve focused on the tips and insights that will help you make the most of your time and money.
These notes contain important information. We advise you to read them and to have a copy available to you throughout your trip. You should also read our full terms and conditions available on our website.
Preparing for your Tanzania safari
We firmly believe that planning your safari of a lifetime can be just as much fun as going on the trip itself. But we also know it can be confusing and perhaps a little bit frustrating and that’s where we come in with our Tanzania travel guide information!
Where do our African safari starts from?
Our safaris start in either Moshi, Arusha or Dar es salaam, Tanzania with a 2-3 hour drive to one of the National parks. This is followed by a game drive in the park, where you can see the multitudes of wild animals of this part of Africa in their natural habitat. The most popular and well-known of the parks are Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire, Arusha and Lake Manyara. There also are a number of less-known, but no less fascinating parks, such as: Rubondo, Mkomazi, Saadani, etc. Tanzania safaris in the latter parks are organized individually. Game drives generally end around 5 in the evening. The group then drives to the lodge booked for that night.
What should I bring with me on safari?
We recommend comfortable light clothing for the day and something warmer for the evenings, which can be chilly in the northern highlands. Comfortable walking shoes are a must for those planning on walking in the parks (must be booked in advance). You will further need a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
Are there any age restrictions for those wishing to visit National parks?
There are no age restrictions for park visitors. That said, one should be prepared to spend a considerable amount of time in a vehicle. Game drives usually take most of the day, beginning in the morning and ending just before the park gates close at 6 PM, which could tax younger travelers. Therefore, we do not recommend taking children younger than 2 on safari. On the other hand, game drives can be tailored to suit any client’s personal preferences in terms of duration. There also are picnic spots, which give one an opportunity to stretch and enjoy the tranquility of the African bush.
How is a safari in Tanzania different from one in another country?
The joint of SafariBookings and National Geographic ratings for 2015 placed Tanzania first in the list of countries for African Safaris. There are two factors that make Tanzania exceptional: hunting is strictly prohibited in all the National parks, which makes for one of the highest densities of wildlife on the continent; high park fees keep the number of visitors relatively low, making for a more exclusive experience. Moreover, unlike other countries, where one often finds small family cars on the road. All safaris in Tanzania are conducted using off-road vehicles, which enhances the sense of being in the wild.
How to get there?
There are three international airports. Dar es Salaam is used by most international airlines, and is convenient for business travelers or those exploring the southern safari circuit. The mainland alternative is Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA), which lies midway between Moshi and Arusha and is well placed as a springboard for safaris to the Serengeti and other northern reserves. Some international flights land at Zanzibar.
Air Tanzania, British Airways, Gulf Air, KLM, Lufthansa and Swissair all fly to Tanzania from Europe, while African airlines servicing Tanzania include EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways and South African Airways.
Once in Tanzania, a good network of domestic flights connects Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, as well as other less visited towns. Private airlines also run scheduled flights connecting to most parts of the country, including Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Pemba, Mafia, Serengeti (Grumeti and Seronera), Ngorongoro, Lake Manyara, Mwanza, Rubondo Island, Kigoma, Selous, Ruaha, Katavi and Mahale.
Many tourists land at Nairobi (Kenya) and then fly on to Arusha with any of several regional operators. Several safe and affordable shuttle bus services connect the two cities via Namanga border post, departing at around 08.00 and 14.00 daily and taking four hours in either direction.
If you are arriving at either Arusha Airport or Kilimanjaro International Airport, then airport transfers to and from those airports are included in your trip if you have confirmed and paid for your transfer, we strongly suggest you to email your flight ticket to your Tour Agent / Tour Consultant so we can arrange your transfers accordingly. Our driver will display your name on a signboard. These procedures ensure that you are picked up by the correct driver, rather than by some of the airport taxi drivers who are looking for business.
Tanzania travel visa requirements
All travelers to Tanzania require a passport, valid for the duration of their tour in Tanzania. Entry points to Tanzania, currently offering visa services on entry are, the Dar Es Salaam Port and Airport, the Kilimanjaro International airport, the Namanga & Isebania entry posts on the road borders between Tanzania and Kenya and Zanzibar airport.
Most nationalities can obtain an entry visa upon arrival or arrange the visa before arrival at the cost US $ 50 per person (USA & Irish passport holders US $ 100 per person.) Please take note some nationalities can only arrange the visa before arrival to Tanzania, while some nationalities do not require a Tanzania travel visa. We strongly recommend checking regulations with your local Tanzanian Embassy, as the above are subject to change without notice. We also recommend getting the visa in advance if you have tight connecting flights after arrival to Tanzania.
English is widely spoken in Tanzania, but a few basic words of Swahili is always greatly appreciated.
When to visit Tanzania?
We don’t think there is really bad time to visit Tanzania however, it merely depend on which part of Tanzania you would like to visit & your interest.
Our peak season is starting from mid December to February for Christmas & New year and this some how coincides with European winter. February can be good as it is the time of calving & nursing for Wildebeest Migration on the southern Serengeti at Ndutu area. Low season begins at middle March to May. Besides of May being still wet it can be the good time to watch the Wildebeest Migration when start moving to other areas of Serengeti & at this time there will be few tourist around. This is the time lodges & camps lowering their prices, so you can travel cheap.
June – August is our winter time with perfect weather (balanced weather) & it is the best time for Wildebeest Migration, they will be wondering around Serengeti plains before starting crossing Mara River on their way to Masai Mara in Kenya around middle of July to Nov. All in all Serengeti is still the best place to visit with or without the Migration of herds.
A good selection of accommodation, ranging from local budget guesthouses to world-class business and boutique hotels, is available in regularly visited urban centers such as Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Zanzibar, but hotels in less popular towns tend not to meet international standards. Accommodation in the game reserves and national parks is almost uniformly excellent, and range from large and impersonal but well-run ‘hotels in the bush’ with up to 100 rooms, to exclusive tented camps that usually consist of 6-20 accommodation units.
Relatively affordable camping facilities are available in most Tanzania National parks and Game reserves.
Tanzania travel security information
Tanzania is a generally safe country but don’t invite temptation. Keep your eyes on your belongings. Don’t walk in the towns or cities at night – take a taxi. Don’t carry cameras or large amounts of cash, beware of pickpockets and hawkers. Use hotel safety deposit boxes to safeguard valuables and obtain a receipt. Leave valuable jewelry at home.
Tipping in Tanzania
We recommend tipping your safari driver guide US $ 20 to US $ 30 per group per day. We also recommend tipping porters at hotels, lodges and drivers transferring you between the airport / hotel.
Tanzania Travel Insurance
All travelers taking trips with us must have valid travel insurance, without exception, and no-one will be permitted to join any of our trips until we have had sight of your insurance certiﬁcate and taken note of the details. Please ensure that all members of your party are covered by insurance and that it includes medical cover and adequate cover for emergency rescue and repatriation. We would also recommend that your policy cover trip cancellation, personal liability, curtailment and loss of luggage/personal effects. If your travel insurance has been arranged in conjunction with your credit card provider, we will require proof of purchase of the cover. Please contact your bank/credit card provider for details of the participating insurer, together with the level of cover provided and the emergency (24-hour) contact telephone number.
Children on safari in Tanzania
We welcome children aged three years and older on our safaris but must stress that they remain the parents’ responsibility at all times. Our hotels, lodges and tented camps are unable to provide child-minding or babysitting services.
Health in Tanzania
The main concern is malaria. All visitors should take prophylactic drugs. It’s also strongly recommended to cover up in the evening, wear repellent, and sleep under a net or burn a coil to reduce the risk of bites.
Tap water is suspect, but mineral water is widely available and reasonably priced
Tanzania Packing List
Carry at least one change of shirt and underwear for every day you will be on safari, as it can be tedious to organize laundry en route. Dusty conditions practically enforce a daily change of clothes, so it can be a good idea to set aside one or two shirts for evening use only.
Shorts and a tee-shirt are perfectly adequate daytime wear on safari, but long trousers and warmer clothing might be required at night, to protect against cold and against mosquitoes. Socks and underwear should be made from natural fabrics.
Anybody who intends to climb Kilimanjaro should seek specialist advice about clothing from their operator.
The predominantly Islamic inhabitants of the coast and offshore islands are used to tourists and are reasonably tolerant of Western dress codes. Nevertheless, it is still advisable to err on the side of modesty, especially in urban settings and inhabited areas.
Binoculars are essential to watch distant wildlife in the game reserves. For most purposes, 7×21 compact binoculars will be fine, but birdwatchers will find a 10x magnification more useful, and should definitely carry a good field guide.
If you wear contact lenses, bring all the fluids you need, possibly a pair of glasses as a fallback – many safari goers find the combination of sun, dust and dryness irritates their eyes.
Cash, travellers’ cheques, credit cards, passport and other important documentation are best carried in a money belt that can be hidden beneath your clothing. This should be made of cotton or another natural fabric, and the contents could be wrapped in plastic to protect it against sweat.
Other useful items include a torch, a penknife, a compact alarm clock and strong mosquito repellent.
The unit of currency is the Tanzanian shilling, divided into 100 cents. The exchange rate of around US$1 = Tsh 2,300 is reasonably stable, but like most African currencies the shilling has steadily devalued against hard currencies in recent years. Bills come in denominations of Tsh 10000, 5000, 1000, 500 and 200, and is often very difficult to find change for larger bills, so carry a spread of notes.
Most safari companies and tourist-class hotels quote rates in US dollars, and many will expect to be paid in hard currency. National park fees and port and airport taxes must be paid in hard currency, and are treated as foreign exchange transactions. Otherwise, restaurant or bar bills, goods bought at a market or shop, and most other casual purchases are best paid for in local currency – indeed, service providers geared towards the local economy seldom have the facility to accept foreign banknotes.
Foreign currency cash and travellers cheques can be changed into Tanzanian shillings at any bank or bureau de change (known locally as forex bureaux). Banking hours are 08.30-12.30 on weekdays, staying open until 15.00 in larger towns, and 08.30 to 11.30 on Saturdays. Most private forex bureaux stay open until 16.00 or later, but deal in cash only.
The legalisation of private forex bureaux has killed off the black market that previously thrived in Tanzania, and you can assume anybody offering to change money on the street is a con artist.
US dollar bills printed before 2006, particularly larger denominations such as US$100 and US$50, may be refused by banks and forex bureaux. Credit cards are widely accepted in at tourist-oriented shops and similar facilities in Arusha, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, as well as most game lodges and upper range hotels. They can also be used to draw cash directly from an ATM in Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Mwanza. Away from these few major centres and upmarket tourist lodges, cards are of limited use, and are best carried as a fallback than as a primary source of funds. Visa is the most widely accepted card by a long chalk, but MasterCard and American Express are also accepted at a limited number of outlets.
Wildlife photography will be very frustrating without a reasonably big lens, ideally 300mm or larger. Fixed fast lenses offer the best quality but are costly and cumbersome, so most people settle for a zoom, which allows you to play with composition without changing lenses. Tele-converters are a cheap and compact way to increase magnification, but incur a loss of quality.
A solid beanbag, which you can make yourself very cheaply, will help avoid blurred images when photographing wildlife from a vehicle. Another option is a clamp with a tripod head screwed on.
Plan ahead when it comes to charging digital camera batteries and storage devices. Most hotels/lodges have charging points, but it’s best to enquire in advance. When camping you might have to rely on charging from the car battery. Either way, make sure you have all the chargers, cables, converters with you, as well as sufficient memory space to store your photos.
Tanzanians generally find it unacceptable to be photographed without permission, and many people will expect a donation before they agree to be snapped. Don’t try to sneak photographs as you might get yourself into trouble, especially with the Maasai, who are very touchy about this.
In addition to Good Friday, Easter Monday, Idd-ul-Fitr, Islamic New Year and the Prophet’s Birthday, which fall on different dates every year, the following public holidays are taken in Tanzania:
- January 1 : New Year’s Day
- January 12 : Zanzibar Revolution Day
- February 5 : CCM Day
- April 26 : Union Day (anniversary of union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar
- May 1 : International Workers’ Day
- July 7 : Saba Saba (Peasants’) Day
- August 8 : Nane Nane (Farmers’) Day
- October 14 : Nyerere Memorial Day
- December 9 : Independence Day
- December 25 : Christmas Day
- December 26 : Boxing Day
Internet cafés are prolific in larger towns such as Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Arusha, Mwanza and Moshi, and browsing is faster and more affordable than in most African countries, though it may seem rather ponderous to Europeans used to ultra-fast broadband.
Internet access is not usually available in game reserves and national parks, and the few lodges that do offer browsing facilities or email services tend to charge very high rates. It will simplify matters greatly to warn people at home that you’ll be out of internet range whilst on safari.
International phone calls can be made at any place.
The satellite network for mobile phones is excellent in and around towns, but patchier in national parks and game reserves.
An alternative to paying the expensive international rates that apply to calls made from Tanzania on a non-Tanzanian mobile phone would be to buy a local SIM card and use the local pay-as-you-go service, which is very cheap for local and international calls and text messages.
How to Book Your African Safari Holiday?
Planning your safari is very exciting – there are so many bucket-list experiences to choose from and natural wonders to see, every kind of accommodation you can imagine and as many different settings, from mountains to beaches, rainforests to deserts.
Need Our Help?
Do not hesitate to contact us for any questions or information. We will be happy to serve you. Call or e-mail us.
Martial Adventure Safaris Limited, P.O Box 11579 , Arusha – Tanzania.
+255 786 412 722
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