“It was so exiting watching thousands of wildebeest crossing the serengeti, it was an experience of its own, never seen such a thing before, just in Tanzania, just with Ipam Safaris.”
--- Colms Coleman---
CEO Ceba Company
For those going on their first safari and beach holidays in Tanzania there are always a concern about just what they should expect and how they should prepare. This is understandable; Tanzania is a very different place than the one you are coming from. What should you pack? What will the weather be like? What precautions should you take? How should you behave?
We hear all of these questions from those going on an African safari holiday to Tanzania as well as many others. All though we cannot give you definitive answers to all of your questions over the next few pages we hope we have answered and a lot of them and you can always feel free to contact us with anymore we might not have.
Visas and Passport
Typically Tanzanian tourist visas are valid for 6 months from the date of issue. So, while planning ahead for visas is a good thing, make sure the visa is still valid for the length of time you plan to travel in Tanzania. Application details and forms can be found on Tanzanian Embassy web sites. Tanzanian embassies issue single ($50) and double ($100) entry visas (handy if you're planning to cross over to Kenya or Malawi for a few days). They do not issue visas for more than two entries.You can obtain a visa at all airports in Tanzania as well as at the border crossings, but it is advised to get a visa ahead of time. Every traveler should also carry their passport at all times and the passports must be valid for 6 months from date of entry
Tourists from the following countries do not require a visa for entry to Tanzania:
For stay up to 90 days and nationals of;
There is now also a legal requirement that all visitors to Tanzania provide both biometric fingerprints and photographs on arrival and departure from the country so do be prepared to comply with that policy.
Entry requirements may change from time to time and should be checked with the High Commission of Tanzania for the latest requirements well in advance of your planned departure date.
“When on a Tanzania holiday travellers from the following countries should carry their visas with them at all times”
·Most countries in the EU
Health and Safety
If you are going on a Tanzania holiday the best thing to do is to contact your GP about eight weeks prior to you trip to discuss specific vaccination and other preventive medical treatments. There are no mandatory vaccinations for travelers from the UK but some may be advisable. Malaria is still common in Tanzania and so discusses the proper precautions with your health care provider as they best apply to you.
Those on African safari in Tanzania should be aware of the fact that outside Dar es Salaam medical facilities are quite limited, so making sure that you do have adequate travel health insurance that will not only cover immediate medical treatment but also possible repatriation is important. The national medical emergency telephone number in Tanzania is 112 and from a call to that number an ambulance may be dispatched in the case of a severe medical emergency.
The people of Tanzania are generally warm friendly and welcoming to tourists and the majority of those who visit the country enjoy a trouble free Tanzania holiday. As is the case in many parts of the world though the incidence of muggings, especially in more urban areas have increased so visitors need to exercise common sense to stay as safe as possible. As a general rule you should never walk by yourself, something that is especially true for females and if you are walking on the road walk towards the traffic whenever possible and carry bags facing away from the road at all times.
You should not make yourself an obvious target for pickpockets or others by carrying large sums of cash, wearing expensive jewellery or displaying a lot of cameras or electronics. If possible only use transportation arranged by your local accommodations staff and avoid unlicensed taxis. Licensed taxicab drivers in Tanzania carry official identification and licensing and you should always ask to see that before accepting the transport.
Driving can be difficult in Tanzania as the road conditions are often less than perfect so considerable care should be exercised if you chose to drive rather than using a local driver. The conditions in certain areas of the National Parks can be particularly hard to navigate for a first time visitor, so there you may be best leaving most of the driving to those who have traveled the roads before! if you are stopped while driving at any time ask to see official identification immediately as there have been cases where persons posing as police officers have collected 'fines' from unsuspecting tourists.
Weather and Seasons
As it contains both the lowest and the highest points in Africa the fact that the climate in Tanzania varies a great deal should be no surprise to those on holidays to Tanzania and Zanzibar. The beautiful coastline of Tanzania, including the exotic Zanzibar is almost always hot and a little humid while the higher elevations of the Central region can bring much cooler temperatures.
Between June and October, the average temperatures in Tanzania can range from about 68F (10C) in the northern most highlands to around 73F (23C) on the coast. From December to March, almost every day dawns warm and sunny and there is often not a single cloud to be seen in the sky.
Tanzania's proximity to the Equator famously brings two rainy seasons to the land every year. The long rains – known locally as the masika – fall from the middle of March until the end of May. The land then dries up again until the vuli – the short rains – begin to fall, intermittently most of the time, through November and December.
Money and Foreign Exchange
The official currency of Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling (Tshs) but the easiest form of currency to exchange in the country is actually the US dollar as the Shilling is a weaker, less stable currency and many merchants prefer to work with the stronger dollar. You should have a mixture of currency on hand though as many local merchants and smaller accommodations will still prefer you pay in Shillings and you may get a better price that way.
Those traveling on a Tanzania holiday will find that there are foreign exchange bureaus and banks in most of the larger towns and cities as well as at the airport. Banks tend to operate at very similar times to the banks back home – including being open on a Saturday – while most foreign exchange bureaus tend too have longer and more flexible hours.
Using Credit and Debit Cards
VISA and MasterCard debit and credit cards are accepted at most of the larger hotels, lodges and dining establishments in Tanzania and you can find ATM machines in most of the larger towns and cities.
Those on a Tanzania holiday should not rely solely on their credit and debit cards though, as outside the more urban areas of the country they are not widely accepted at all and you will need to have cash on hand to pay for most things. You should also keep small bills on hand for tipping purposes.
Airports in Tanzania
Most people heading to Tanzania on holiday will arrive at one of the two international airports in Tanzania – JK Nyerere International Airport in Dar-es-Salaam or the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) near Arusha. In addition domestic air service is available at the following major airports:
Small charter flights take off from many other destinations and your tour guides will advise you where those are if you are planning such a flight.