Tanzania Travel Tips
If you’re heading to Tanzania be sure to check out these Tanzania travel tips before you go to ensure the perfect African trip.
WHAT TRAVEL DOCUMENTS ARE NEEDED FOR ENTRY IN TANZANIA?
A passport and visa are required to travel to Tanzania for most citizens, including nationals from the United States of America, the United Kingdom and other European Union countries, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
The passport must be valid for 6 months after the intended length of stay.
Visas can be obtained prior to departure from the Tanzanian embassy or at points of entry into Tanzania, including;-
- Kilimanjaro International Airport
- Dar-es-Salaam International Airport
- Zanzibar International Airport
- Namanga Entry Point (Tanzania-Kenya border point)
The visa cost for US citizens is $100 and $50 for others. The visa must be paid for in USD only. No other currency or credit card is accepted. Obtaining a Visa at the Airport is a relatively simple process. When you arrive, as you enter the airport there will be two lines. The line on the right is for people purchasing a visa. The line straight ahead is for people who have a visa. To get your visa, fill out the visa application, show them your passport and pay the fee. You will stand in three lines in total to get through immigration control.
WHAT VACCINATIONS ARE REQUIRED IN TANZANIA?
There are recommended vaccinations for travel into Tanzania. However, there are no required vaccinations. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) recommends the following vaccinations and medications:
- Yellow Fever (required if entering Tanzania from an ‘infected area’)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
Additionally, the CDCP recommends routine vaccinations for measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) and polio, if you are not up to date.
You may also want to bring Diamox, an FDA approved prescription used to prevent and treat altitude sickness, and Cipro, a powerful anti-diarrhea medication. Consult with your healthcare professional or travel clinic.
It is prudent for every client to have a medical check-up to see whether he or she have any medical conditions that increase the risks of trekking at high altitude. The minimum age of participants of our climbs is 16 years old. All clients 65 years of age or older are required to bring a doctor’s certificate stating they are fit to climb Kilimanjaro.
DO I NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR TANZANIA?
Travel insurance is mandatory. Travel insurance provides you with coverage against unforeseen circumstances. Deposits are nonrefundable upon trip confirmation and balance payments are nonrefundable within 30 days of the trip start date. Therefore, having travel insurance is a smart and practical means to cover your trip even if it was not required.
Travel insurance may cover your trip costs if you have to cancel your trip due to the following situations:
- Flight delays or cancellations
- Injury, illness or other medical conditions
- A death in the family
- Loss of employment
Other items that are reimbursed by travel insurance:
- Lost or delayed luggage
- Traveling expenses
- Hospital costs
You must have a valid travel insurance policy in order to participate on our climbs. Travel insurance should cover high altitude trekking (not mountaineering) up to 6,000 meters, medical and repatriation costs, and trip cancellation. Furthermore, having travel insurance automatically qualifies you for AMREF’s Flying Doctors evacuation insurance, which is included in your trip. Without travel insurance, helicopter evacuation and medical treatment may be denied. Therefore it is very important that you acquire travel insurance.
DO I NEED TO EXCHANGE MONEY TO TANZANIAN SHILLINGS?
U.S. Dollars are accepted everywhere in Tanzania. Therefore it is not necessary to exchange into Tanzanian Shillings. However, if you plan to make many small purchases, you will get a better deal by using local currency because vendors will round up if you pay in dollars.
TIPPING IN TANZANIA
Tipping your Kilimanjaro and safari staff is customary, though not obligatory. These tipping guidelines are intended to assist you in determining a proper tip amount for your guides and porters. The total number of staff depends on how many climbers are at the party, which route and how many days you are on the mountain. We will communicate the number of staff to you before your trip so you can prepare the tips. Note that the figures below constitute an appropriate tip for good service. It is perfectly acceptable to give less or more than these figures.
TIPPING GUIDELINES FOR TREKKING TEAM
- Guide: $20-$30 per day
- Assistant Guides: $15-$20 per day
- Cook: $12-$15 per day
- Porters: $10-$8 per day
Most groups will discuss their tipping amounts collectively and gather all the money together into a pool. Then the group will decide how much to give each individual. You can do it by yourself if you prefer smaller parties. Tipping is done during a tipping ceremony on the last day of the climb. Tipping in U.S. Dollars in acceptable and smaller denomination bills are preferred as it is easier for the staff to divide.
TIPPING ON SAFARI IN TANZANIA
The general guideline for tipping during the safari is between $5-$10 per person per day for your driver. So for a 2 person 5-day safari, you tip to the driver can range from $50 to $100. If you have fewer people on the safari, you should tip at the high-end range of $10 per person per day. If you have 4 or more people on your safari, then you can tip at the lower range of $5 per person per day.
TIPPING TO ANOTHER PEOPLE
You will find that there will be people helping you various times during your trip.
For example, there may be a person at the airport helping you carry your baggage, at the lodge, someone will bring your bags from the lobby to your room, someone will bring your bags from your room to the lobby, and then from the lobby to the taxi. If you have 3 bags, it is not unusual for there to be 3 people, with each one carrying only one bag. You may end up tipping each person $1 USD.
WHERE DO THE TRIPS BEGIN IN TANZANIA?
Our trips begin in Arusha and Moshi Tanzania. Moshi is a town located on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro while Arusha is the town located nearest all northern Tanzania national parks.
Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO): The most convenient way to travel to Tanzania is to fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (Airport Code: JRO). We will pick you up from the airport and will take you to your hotel. Local contact numbers and details on how to meet up with our staff will be distributed upon booking.
Arusha Airport (ARK): Arusha has a small airport in the city. Therefore, flights into and out of this airport are very limited. If you are coming from a nearby country or Zanzibar this may be an option for you.
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO): Some clients choose to arrive in Nairobi, Kenya. From Nairobi, you can take a daily shuttle bus to Arusha for under 50 USD. The ride is about 4-5 hours. You will need to take the bus to Moshi which costs about 75 USD and is about 6-7 hours. We can as well arrange private transportation for you from Jomo Kenyatta Aiport to Arusha or Moshi for an extra cost.
The following airlines fly directly to Kilimanjaro airport:
KLM: Direct flights from Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro airport
Condor: Direct flights from Frankfurt to Kilimanjaro airport
Turkish Airlines: Direct flights from Istanbul to Kilimanjaro airport
Kenya Airways: Direct flights from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro airport
Precision Air: Direct flights from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro airport
Qatar Airlines: Direct flights from Doha to Kilimanjaro airport
Ethiopian Airlines: Direct flights from Addis Ababa to Kilimanjaro airport
RwandAir: Direct flights from Kigali to Kilimanjaro airport
If you are unable to find direct flights to Kilimanjaro airport, you can fly to Kilimanjaro airport via Dar Es Salaam or Nairobi (Kenya). Kilimanjaro is much closer to Nairobi than it is from Dar es Salaam. Nairobi receives a lot more air traffic than Kilimanjaro Airport, making for more competitive prices.
The following airlines offer domestic flights within Tanzania:
- Precision Air
- Air Tanzania
- Regional Air
- Zan Air
- Coastal Aviation
- Air Excel
SAFARI ACCOMMODATIONS IN TANZANIA
Accommodations on safari are usually a combination of lodges and permanent or mobile tented camps. “In the bush”, and miles from civilization, these luxury camp’s and lodges are all unique and in amazing settings. Lodge rooms have complete bathroom amenities as do most permanent tented camps. Mobile camps can have either private en-suite facilities or shared bathroom and shower tents. Unless you are in a major city, there will be no TV’s or phones with outside lines. Electric lights, running on generators, are generally lit for a few hours in the early morning and from dark until 10 or 11 PM.
FOOD ON SAFARI IN TANZANIA
The food on safari is delicious and ranges from simple to gourmet. You can expect lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and wonderful homemade soups. Chicken, lamb, beef or pork are usually served at lunch and dinner as well fish and vegetarian dishes. Breakfast is a buffet with lots of tropical fruits, hot and cold cereals, bacon, sausages, mushrooms, slices of bread and pastries and eggs to order. Lunch can be either buffet or served at the table and always starts with soup. Dinner is usually a 4 or 5-course sit-down affair, although there is no need to dress up. Often your safari guide will join you at meals as you recall your day’s events.
CLIMATE IN TANZANIA
Northern Tanzania enjoys one of the world’s most pleasant climates year round. With an elevation of 5000 ft. in Arusha and even higher atop the plateau of the Great Rift Valley. The daytime temperatures are normally in the high 70’s to mid 80’s and from the mid 50’s to low 60’s in the evenings and mornings. Southern and coastal Tanzania tend to get much warmer and can be very humid depending on the season. There are two rainy seasons but the sun shines throughout the year. Travel can sometimes be difficult during the long rainy season of April and May, but the short rains of November and December are fine for traveling, with short showers usually in the late evening.
THE BEST TIME TO GO TANZANIA
The better times for a safari to Tanzania, are any months but April and early May, during the “big rains”. If you want to see the “great migration”, then November through March and June through July is excellent. This is when the herds are in the Serengeti. By August they have usually moved up into Kenya’s Maasai Mara, coming back down in early November. Patterns will fluctuate in most parks depending on the season and where the “food” is. For example in the dry season during July – October, large concentrations of up over 6,000 el.ephants, and a variety of other animals, migrate to Tarangire National Park to the banks of the Tarangire River.
BOTTLED AND ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES IN TANZANIA
Diet sodas are seldom available in Tanzania. Wine, beer, extra bottled water, sodas and alcoholic beverages are available at all camps and lodges and are usually not included in the trip price. Beer and sodas are inexpensive but premium spirits can be pricey so you may want to bring your favorite with you.
CLOTHING ON SAFARI IN TANZANIA
Comfortable, casual clothing that is lightweight and easy to care for is the best bet while on safari. It can be quite cool in the early mornings, so you’ll want to dress warmly in layers until the sun has a chance to warm up the air. “Kenya Convertibles”, khaki pants with zip-off legs, are perfect for cool early morning game drives that turn warm before you’re back in camp. Walking shorts, long pants, cotton shirts and tees are just right. For ladies, shorts are not generally accepted on streets in Africa. A cotton bush jacket or windbreaker will be useful along with a warm sweater or fleece jacket for the cool nights. And, a hat that ties on is a must. There is not a good deal of long walking or hiking on most safaris, so a comfortable pair of walking shoes or tennis shoes and a pair of sandals should be adequate. You will need a thorn-proof soles.
EXERCISE IN TANZANIA
Generally, there are no places to jog and there will not be much time for exercise, although we do try to include some walking where it is safe and legal. It is possible to do some walking and exercising within the lodge or campgrounds but because the wildlife is “wild” it is not safe to venture away from the grounds. Also, walking is not allowed in the national parks without permission and is usually escorted by an armed guard.
SHOPPING IN TANZANIA
If you don’t like to bargain, there are many nice shops and galleries in the main cities that carry nice crafts, including basketry, batiks, beadwork, masks and woodcarvings. Gift shops in hotels, safari lodges and some camps are also excellent places to buy quality souvenirs. If you like to bargain, you may want to explore the local markets. However – do not ship goods home! Shipping rates are not guaranteed and can be exorbitant. Plan to carry your purchases home or pay the surcharge from the airline.
WATER IN TANZANIA
To keep from getting dehydrated, you will need to drink plenty of fluids. Liter’s of bottled water is supplied daily in your room or tent and also in the vehicles for game-drives.
LANGUAGE IN TANZANIA
Kiswahili is the national language of Tanzania. While on safari you will pick up such phrases as Habari Gana (How are you?) and Twiga (Giraffe). However, English is official and widely spoken but do not expect everyone to speak English. However, all our guides are fluent.
CHILDREN ON SAFARI IN TANZANIA
Children are welcome in Tanzania, including mobile camps and most lodges. We will advise you of any restrictions should you wish to delight your children by bringing them on safari. Many families travel with children as young as 5 years old. On game drives if you have more than one child you may be required to have a separate vehicle.
ELECTRICITY IN TANZANIA
Tanzania’s past has left it with several different international standards of delivering power. Electricity is delivered at 220 Volts but varies on the connections, so be sure to bring a Universal Adapter. Also, if outlets are not available in your permanent tented camp, the main building or bar area will have outlets so you can recharge your camera. You can also bring a cigarette lighter adapter to charge your camera while traveling in your vehicle.
Tanzania, like most of the developing world, has many people who are in need. However, begging is not generally prevalent, though your safari vehicle may sometimes be surrounded by curious children. Tanzanian’s prefer that you not hand out money or sweets, as this encourages begging. However, like anywhere, gifts can be given as a true expression of friendship, appreciation or thanks. And trading T-shirts, hats, or offering magazines to locals not uncommon. Tourism brings needed money to the local economy and many of our ground operators work to support local schools and other improvement projects. Please contact us about how you can support these efforts by offering supplies, money and your expertise.
TRAVELING ON YOUR OWN
Tanzania is a vast and wild country with the regulated tourism industry. Unlike some areas of South America, South Africa and other wild places, tourists can not go it alone, as a 4×4 vehicle is usually needed, along with park permits, camp permits, lodging reservations, and dangers from wild animals.