Blessed with Africa's highest Mountain; Mount Kilimanjaro, vast wilderness plains of the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Ruaha and a beautiful coastline on the Indian Ocean. Tanzania is probably the best destination to visit in Africa!
Not only is the country one of the safest for travel, the people are friendly, culture rich and the scenery spectacular!
The name Tanzania conjures up images of wildebeest stampeding across vast Savannah, rain forests teeming with monkeys and bird life, and great plains brimming with legions of game all set under the snow covered peaks of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest at 5895m. All of these natural wonders and more are on offer in this exceptionally diverse African nation.
Visitors typically visit Tanzania to partake in at least one of the four well known Tanzanian tourist experiences: a relaxing seaside vacation on the picturesque island paradise of Zanzibar, an underwater tour of some of the world’s most renowned dive sites around the gorgeous Spice Islands, a safari adventure in some of Africa’s most impressive game reserves, or a hiking excursion around Mount Kilimanjaro National Park. Whichever of these incredible holidays you choose, you will undoubtedly be welcomed by some fabulously friendly and peaceful inhabitants who, despite being divided into 120 different ethnic groups and cultures, live in harmony with one another and provide some of the most wonderfully exotic local cuisine you could imagine.
With all of this diversity on offer, the most difficult part of your Tanzanian holiday experience is likely to be deciding where to go!
Any foreigner seeking to enter the United Republic of Tanzania is subject to the following entry requirements:
- A passport or Travel Document which is valid for not less than six months;
- A valid entry Visa (where applicable*) from any Tanzania Embassy abroad, via the e-visa services or on arrival at an entry point
* Certain nationals are exempt for a visa in Tanzania and others may not be able to obtain a visa on arrival. It is strongly recommended you check your travel documents and requirements before confirming any tour. The latest requirements can be found: http://immigration.go.tz/index.php/en/services/visa-information
Banking and Currency
In Tanzania, the unit of currency is the Tanzanian Shilling (TZS), which is divided into 100 Cents. Notes are issued in denominations of 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, and 10000 Shillings. Coins are issued in denominations of 50, 100 and 200 Shillings.
TZS can only be obtained inside of Tanzania.
Banks are open from 9:00am to 3:00pm Monday to Friday. Many banks are equipped with 24 hour ATM machines.
Where credit card facilities are available, 3-5% surcharges can be incurred. Major foreign currencies - particularly USD $ - is accepted in Tanzania and are convertible at banks and bureau de changes in the main towns and tourist areas. If bringing cash in USD $, please make sure bank notes are in good condition, with no cuts or damage and are not older than 2006. Most banks offer better exchange rates for US $ 100 / US $ 50 bank notes compared to US $ 20 / US $ 10 or US $ 5 bank notes.
We can offer digital / electronic payments via your email (Visa, Mastercard, PayPal) while you are on your tour in Tanzania if cash or card machines are not available or convenient. This will incur a 4% surcharge.
Travelers cheques are not widely accepted.
Travel, Transport and Getting Around
If you are visiting a number of parks and reserves in Tanzania, you can either drive or fly between them. Main roads in recent years have been improved and are generally tarmac however roads in most of the wilderness areas are in poor condition, unmarked, and self-driving is not recommended. Operators will supply you with a driver who doubles as an informal guide; alternatively, you can arrange to fly to your destination and utilize a car and driver supplied by the lodgings.
Local domestic operators run semi-regular services, mostly via Dar es Salaam (DAR), Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO) or Zanzibar (ZNZ); all three of which are international airports which are ideal for all main towns and other destinations in East Africa and beyond. All national parks and some of the top-end luxury lodges have airstrips and local domestic operators (Coastal, Auric, Flightlink etc.) operate between these and the main airports on the mainland and the islands of Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia.
Locally within towns and cities Taxis and public transport in the way of buses, dala-dalas, and, in some places, bicycles or tuk-tuks are available. Coaches between major cities and towns are regular which can also connect to Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya. The safety of public vehicles should be checked and only reputable operators should be used.
Driving is on the left hand side of the road.
Health and Medical Information
General fitness: trekking the highest mountain in Africa should not be underestimated when taking your health and fitness into consideration. If you are physically and mentally fit, your chances of reaching to the roof top of Africa are increased. We would consider hiking up Kilimanjaro to be a high risk adventure, due to the high altitudes and physical exertion required.
Medical check: consult your family doctor / local GP / physician at least 3 to 4 months before your travel to Tanzania of the activities you will be participating during your tour, including the high altitude trek and any vaccinations and medication you may require. Your medical check-up may give you an indication of whether you are fit for the adventure.
Medication & first aid: ensure that you carry all your medication and a first aid kit for your travel.
Vaccinations: as requirements are constantly changing we highly recommend you to consult your doctor before travelling with which vaccinations are recommended. Yellow fever may be required if travelling from endemic countries (check with your consultant for the requirements at the time of travel).
Malaria & Insect Protection: Please consult with your doctor the ways in which you should prevent Malaria, you may be required to take prescribed medication before, during and after your trip. You are likely to be exposed to malaria carrying Mosquitoes in Tanzania:
- in altitudes below 1800m
- during the evening and nights
- throughout the year
- in areas where there is dirty water
We would highly recommend you to protect yourself from Mosquitoes and other insects by:
- taking anti-malarial medication
- applying insect repellent
- wearing clothing that covers majority of your body e.g. long sleeves, long pants, hats, shoes etc.
- closing all room windows (by late afternoon) unless there is a net / screen to prevent insects and mosquitoes entering
- using mosquito nets preferably impregnated with insect repellent, over your bed during overnights
- a mosquito coil only as a last resort which will fill the room with insecticide throughout the night, although this method is not pleasant.
Traveller’s Diarrhoea: is the most common travel-related ailment which is acquired by the intake of contaminated food and / or water. It is characterised by an increased frequency of unformed bowel movements, i.e. three or more loose stools in an 8 hour period or five or more loose stools in a 24 hour period which could be accompanied with urgency, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, bloating, fever or blood in the stool. In most cases traveller’s diarrhoea are mild where fluid intake and oral rehydration solution may be enough, and medication may not be necessary. Oral rehydration solution comes in sachets of powder which have to be mixed with treated or boiled water. They are generally available in pharmacies worldwide and it aims to restore the fluids and salts lost in diarrhoeal stool. In worst cases an anti-diarrhoeal drug such as Loperamide (Imodium) or Diphenoxylate (Lomotil) should be taken as needed to reduce the frequency of stools, however please seek advice from your doctor before travelling.
Tanzania is generally a safe country for tourists to travel. Recommendation is to stay within the tourist circuit and take caution out at late nights in towns and cities.
We always recommend you to seek advice from your guides and other support staff when leaving properties or exploring towns. Guides should communicate park rules to you at every destination which should be respected and followed for the safety and comfort of all.
For all our Kilimanjaro treks, 1 emergency oxygen cylinder is included for each group for everyone's safety and additional safety upgrades are available if you do not have high altitude experience.
Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice
Most camps, lodges or hotels cater specifically to tourists and serve Western-style food, ranging in standard, but generally are excellent with professional chefs. Game lodges tend to offer a daily set menu with a limited selection, so it is advisable to tell us in advance if you are a vegetarian or have other specific dietary requirements.
For mountain trekking and camping safaris, a well trained chef accompanies you with all cooking equipment and materials. We offer a guideline menu for our cooks to follow, and each has their own unique talents and skills and usually accommodate well for clients different needs. If you need anything special for camping based tours you can request this when booking.
First-time visitors to Africa might take note that most game lodges in and around the national parks have isolated locations, and driving within the parks is neither permitted nor advisable after dark, so that there is no realistic alternative to eating at your lodge.
Tap water in Tanzania is generally not safe to drink, and most travelers try to stick to mineral water. Filtered and bottled water can be difficult to find you are travelling outside of main town and so it is advisable to stock up. Most camps, lodges and hotels have bottled water readily available.
It is recommended to avid the following food:
- from street vendors
- that is not piping hot or cooked food that has been left out for a period of time
- under cooked or raw meat and fish
- fruits and vegetables that have not been washed, peeled and cooked
Avoid the following beverages:
- tap water that has not been boiled, filtered and treated
- non bottled drinks
- drinks with ice
- unpasteurized milk and any products made from it
Climate and Weather
Just south of the equator, Tanzania is huge and its sheer size means that the climate varies considerably within it. However, generally the main rainy season, or the 'long rains', lasts during about March, April and May. Afternoon tropical downpours are the norm – which are heavier and more predictable beside the coast and on the islands. The humidity is high and daily temperatures reach the low-mid 30°s.
The long dry season lasts throughout June, July, August, September and October is when rainfall is unusual, even on the islands. Temperatures vary hugely with altitude and location, but it's usually a fine, clear sky and sunny weather – it's a great time to visit Tanzania.
During November and December there's another rainy season: the 'short rains'. These are much lighter than the main rains and less reliable.
If it has rained during the short rains, then it normally dries up for a few months, January and February, which is Tanzania's 'short dry season', before starting to rain again in earnest in March..
Kilimanjaro can follow the above weather patterns and dry seasons (June to October, December to Feb) are some of the best times to climb. Weather on the mountain however can be very unpredictable and out of the norm. Preparations for all possibilities should be taken for any high altitude treks!
Clothing and Dress Recommendations
It never gets really cold in Tanzania so lightweight clothing, preferably cotton or linen, is recommended. While on a game viewing safari, avoid brightly coloured clothing, stick to whites, beige, khakis and browns. There may be long days sitting in safari vehicles, so it is advisable to wear light comfortable clothing such as short sleeved shirts and cotton/linen trousers or shorts. Denim will become too hot and extremely uncomfortable. Walking shoes and socks will be required.
The evenings will be chilly, so long sleeved shirts and trousers should be worn. A sweater may be needed. These will also prevent you being bitten by insects. A hat should be worn at all times outside. The sun may sometimes not feel hot, but it can still easily burn, especially if it is cloudy and overcast.
If visiting Zanzibar or any coastal town don't forget to take a swimsuit, as it is invariably warm. Ladies are recommended to take cotton skirts, blouses and dresses. Sandals are a must for this environment! On the beaches and within the confines of hotels, normal swimwear is acceptable but nudity is not.
As over a third of the population in Tanzania is Muslim, it is therefore not etiquette for ladies to walk around in public displaying their legs and shoulders. Remember to dress modestly as short shorts, miniskirts, vests and tank tops will be frowned upon.
Kilimanjaro and Meru require additional clothing and you should check the 'Climb check-list' for additional packing advice.
Electricity and Plug Standards
The electricity supply in Tanzania is 220/240 volts at 50Hz. Plugs are 3 point square (UK Type). Adapters are available at major airports and supermarkets.
Power can be unreliable at times and cut by the national supply. Major tourist hotels generally have back-up generators however you may experience some time without power.
Our safari vehicles include an power extension chord (200W max) to charge small electronic devices while on tour.