Travel Guide to Tanzania, Destination planning.
Tanzania travel guide for a first time traveler to Africa. Boasting, Tanzania has large wildlife populations still roaming in the wilderness of the African plains on the Serengeti. As well as the southern parks of the Selous, Mikumi, Ruaha, Rufiji conservation areas. Wildlife viewing, has remained undisturbed through chaotic political instability that has affected most of the African nations from the 1960s. This is one of the remaining places in Africa where you are able to experience peaceful unrivaled wildlife safari experiences. See the plains game in their natural habitat in Tanzania in custom built vehicles or walking safaris.
Tanzania’s National parks and game reserves include the Serengeti Game reserve, the migrations are observed as they cross into Kenya. Wildebeest return to calve in the rainy seasons, meanwhile, the Ngorongoro Crater animals live in an extinct Caldera base. Mount Kilimanjaro, attracts climbers and novice hikers into the snowy peaks along the Equator. Mahale Mountains and the Gombe stream host populations of primates in the forest margins of Lake Tanganyika. After a week or so after the safari, visitors enjoy white sands and culture at the Beaches of Zanzibar. Alternatively, some deep sea diving on the Islands of Mafia or Pemba.
Flights into Tanzania
Most flights servicing Tanzania are from Europe, United States of America, Canada, Australia and the far east. These connect through European cities and fly either into Kilimanjaro International Airport or Dar Es Salaam. Out of USA flying on a national carrier, Canada, South America or from the far East into Europe. Then would connect to Tanzania by any of the following flights: British Airways through London, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Other flights are Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Airlines through Istanbul, Swiss Air from Zurich or Qatar Air through Doha;
For regional flights out of South Africa, direct flights from Johannesburg using south African Airways and Air Tanzania. You are welcome to check details at the time of planning.
The airports that serve Tanzania’s arriving guests are the following;
* The Kilimanjaro International Airport which is approximately one hour from Arusha town.
* Dar es Salaam International Airport close to the City and alongside the Indian Ocean, just minutes for a transfer.
* Though not as frequently used, Mwanza airport serves as a regional airport, serving areas near the western Serengeti park.
* Lastly, Zanzibar Airport is used by the travelers who are headed to the Beach or to stone town.
Travel documentation passports or Visas
A valid visa is required by a traveler to Tanzania. The visa to Tanzania costs US$50 for a single entry and are obtainable at the point of entry into Tanzania. However, the following nationals do not require a visa to enter into Tanzania; Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Hong Kong and Kenya. Also, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
It is a requirement from arriving Tanzania safari guests to have cholera and yellow fever vaccination international certificates. This is a requirement for traveling in East Africa which falls in a yellow fever zone. You may also consider taking shots against polio, hepatitis, typhoid and any other shots recommended by the home Health authority. Travelers on a trip to Tanzania, are also required to take anti malaria medication before traveling to Tanzania. This builds the Malaria resistance for the time one is on their African Safari.
Otherwise, in case of medical emergencies, clients are required to take Travel/medical insurance. This covers medical, as well as evacuation services in case of falling ill while on safari. Our outfit would be happy to assist with transporting to the local medical care facilities.
Climate of Tanzania
The climate in Tanzania varies with the seasons based on two rain seasons and two dry seasons. These are: From January till the end of February, Tanzania experiences a short dry spell with variable temperatures. Ranging between 10 degrees Celsius or 50 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 29 degrees Celsius or 84 degrees Fahrenheit. From then, the rains come down in most of Tanzania, bringing about the short rains. In the southern Tanzanian parts of the Serengeti, rain attracts the child birth giving wildebeest during these months. Temperatures fall as low as 09 degrees Celsius and 48 degrees Fahrenheit. This would be the off season, and prices generally drop based on the low occupancy at the safari lodges. Some tented camps usually close during these months.
The high season brings some much needed Favorite sunny conditions for game viewing of the safari animals. The temperatures are averagely between 21 – 30 degrees Celsius or 75 degrees Fahrenheit on some days. Evenings and early morning are too chilly, warm clothing is recommended for morning safaris in the parks. Due to the global warming phenomenon, prediction the climate and weather with precision isn’t 100%. This includes the movement of the wildebeest and rain forecasts.
What to take
A good camera to take wildlife pictures and a spare one to take pictures of the landscapes. Another for backup in case of malfunction should be considered. We recommended a good SLR camera with a good 600mm lens, Image stabilizer, good wide angle lens. Enough disk storage for your photos. Also, a bean/rice bag for taking pictures off your open topped safari vehicle. A good pair of binoculars to spot birds and distant wildlife should be considered. A Video camera to take back the experiences of your safari in Tanzania.
Not forgetting a flashlight and spare batteries for your equipment. Good sunshades and a brimmed hat will be very helpful in the African sun, while the sunscreen will protect your skin from the sun’s rays while in the field. Bug spray and lip balm should also make it easier for you in these high temperatures on the African holiday in the bush.
Funds for extras while on safari take care of additional or optional drinks at the lodge or safari camps. The major lodges take credit card at a surcharge and you may also be able to draw some money off your credit card at the banks in the major towns or at the local banks. When possible, carry some foreign currency used to pay for extras and tips on your tour. It is actually advisable to carry a little more cash just in case the rates of exchange are bad in the remote areas on the safari tour.
Baggage allowance and advice
There is a limit on how much luggage to carry on International flights, as well as domestic flights through East Africa. It is with this limit that we advise travelers to travel as light as possible. Before the tour, store the extra luggage at the Hotel in Arusha while out on your safari in Tanzania.
Language of the local Tanzanians
The most used language for communication in Tanzania is Swahili. However, please note that our English speaking guides will be able to teach you some basic swahili to communicate, should you wish.
Money used in Tanzania
* Tanzania shillings are the national currency units which easily exchange for dollars, pound sterling, euro or other international currency. Guests can exchange Tanzanian shillings at the Forex bureau or airport before departure. Payments by credit or debit cards attract surcharges which may explain the poor rates of exchange should you find a willing establishment that takes this form of payment.
What to expect on a Tanzania safari
A day on safari in Tanzania starts with an early breakfast, and transfer to either a wildlife viewing area which may be quite a bit of a drive. At times, you start the morning safari before breakfast for better wildlife experiences, but after a couple of days, the body adjusts. Please do feel free to communicate your desires to your safari guide to adjust the program for your comfort.
Transit times between the parks may be longer due to several factors and it is advisable that during your trip planning, you consider spending, at least 2 nights at each location to maximize the safari experience, as well as take time to relax after some game viewing. Wildlife is wild in Africa, please follow your guide’s instructions in regards to how you approach an African safari wildlife. The animals have a right of way and you may try to keep a distance in case your guide determines that this would endanger your lives or the lives of the animals.
What to wear
For an African safari in Tanzania, we recommend cotton clothing based on earth colors. Safari clothing from your travel store will provide long breathable cotton pants, shirts, safari jacket for photography as well as carrying a bandana to protect against dust and also to help on chilly days. Avoid wearing dark colors, these attract tsetse flies and may be an inconvenience at game viewing in tsetse infested areas.
The chilly mornings and evenings, a fleece jacket with a hood is a good idea. For the ladies, shorts on the safari are appropriate due to the humidity and the high temperatures, when going out in the public places away from the tourist areas, it is advisable to cover up for reasons of different cultures. Case in point is for Zanzibar where the religious faiths determine a different dress code for women at public places.If in doubt, you are welcome to contact your guide or immediate point of contact.
A wide brimmed hat protects you from the mid afternoon sun rays and helps with the glare. You may also be able to spend time in the swimming pool after the morning safari, which means, consider a swimsuit for your packing list.
Warm gear for the Mountain climbs include thermal vests, socks, underwear, waterproof trekking shoes, snow goggles, balaclava,snow mittens or snow gloves, good waterproof rain jacket, lightweight poncho and a heavy duty fleece.
Tipping on a Tanzania Safari
A tip for your Tanzania safari guide or hotel room attendant may not be obligatory, however you can use a guideline of USD20-40 per day for exceptional service or a 10% off your restaurant meal for the waiters. A tip box at the lodges or private safari camps exists for a collective staff tip.
Travel or Medical Insurance
Please consider an appropriate Insurance policy for Travel to Africa when traveling. This should be able to cover for missed flights, medical cover, force of nature, lost baggage, personal injury or accidents.
Please consult your guide in regards prohibited places before taking pictures on your fist or last night of your safari in Tanzania. For your information, pictures of military installations, personnel, local airports police personnel, head of state motorcade, statehouse and related features.
Please take special care to keep your belongings safe by leaving your belongings at the hotel security deposit section. If possible, keep your jewellery at your hotel and all your valuables kept safe in your room. Only carry valuables as you move into busy towns and trading centers and have all your safari vehicle windows locked at all times. Should you intend to stay out longer in town either enjoying the nightlife,your security is more important to us and we recommend you only visit more security conscious establishments. Avoid walking through dark alleys or deserted streets and always take a marked cab when returning to your overnight accommodation.