TANZANIA IN GENERAL
Tanzania, the largest of the East African countries, is rich with history; the discovery of human bones older than 1.75 million years in the Olduvai Gorge earned it the name, “The Cradle of Mankind.” Rich in culture, Tanzanians are comprised of about 120 tribal groups and are a polite and gentle people; and rich in landscape beauty, thanks to the preservation of wildlife and over 23% of its land protected by National Parks and Game Reserves
Tanzania has been home, haven, and stopover to countless people of many different origins. Her history has been influenced by a procession of people from the original Bantu settlers from South and West Africa to the Arabs from Shiraz in Persia and the Oman, from the Portuguese to the Germans and the British.
Tanzania was still known as Tanganyika when she achieved her independence in 1961. When Zanzibar became independent in 1964, the two countries united as the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. In late 1964 they renamed their country the United Republic of Tanzania.
Tanzania offers some of the greatest wildlife viewing on earth amidst a dramatic setting of snowy peaks, volcanic craters and the Maasai steppe of endless plains. Unfenced and untamed, the animals roam free across the vast grasslands, and hordes of wildebeest and Zebra migrate annually followed by a host of predators. Few countries in the world can compare to Tanzania in natural beauty and cultural diversity. Tanzania offers an incredible array of wildlife and unique cultures in a spectacular setting.
The Northern safari circuit, which is the most popular area for first time visitors, includes: The snowcapped Mt. Kilimanjaro – the highest mountain in Africa; Arusha National Park of Momella lakes, Ngurdoto crater and Mount Meru; Tarangire National Parks famous for its dramatic baobab trees; Lake Manyara National Park with its tree climbing lions and flamingos and water birds at its lake shores; the incomparable Ngorongoro crater, a natural 20 km Amphitheatre; and the mighty Serengeti, teeming with 3.5 million animals and famous for its dramatic annual migration of wildebeest.
All of the National Parks and Reserves abound with plains animals, bird life, and local tribal history. Here you find elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards, buffalo, elands, oryx, impalas, hyenas, jackals, foxes, crocodiles, kudus, waterbucks, bush-bucks, dik diks, klipspringers, Grant & Thomson gazelles, topis, hartebeest, cheetahs, serval cats, spring hares and many other species. As for birdlife, Tanzania is a jewel for the ornithologist. Professionals and amateurs alike will find water birds, birds of prey, forest species, and plains species. Over 1040 species of birds have been sighted in Tanzania.
Tanzania is a land without winter. The hilly country in the North has a pleasant climate from June to September. The coast is generally hot and humid with an average temperature of 30 degrees Celsius. The main rainy season is from March to May, the hottest being from October to February. Temps at the summit of Kilimanjaro, range from -20 to -25C.
Although Tanzania has many local dialects, Swahili is the official language. English is Tanzania’s second official language and its commercial language. Most people you will come in contact with will be quite fluent in English. You may find it useful to buy a Swahili-English Phrase book on arrival.
PASSPORTS AND ONLINE VISAS
All visitors to Tanzania must have passports valid for travel to Tanzania as well as visas to enter Tanzania obtainable from our diplomatic representatives abroad.
You are required to fill in the online form, make payment, and submit your application online. Your form will be internally reviewed and processed.
Applicants will be notified through their e-mails whether their applications have been accepted or rejected. They may also TRACK their application statuses through the online system. Applicants may as well be required to visit the nearest Tanzanian Embassies or Consular Offices for interviews.
For online application, copy the link Source: Home | Immigration Department – Tanzania Immigration Department
Tanzania has re-introduced health desks at all ports of entry at Mainland Tanzania & Zanzibar. Please ensure you bring yellow fever vaccination certificates with you to show on entry, if requested.
Anti-malarial medication is recommended to be taken a few days prior to arrival, during your stay and a short period after returning. We would strongly recommend that you consult your G.P/family doctor/travel clinic for advice on the most appropriate anti-malarial medication and inoculations you may require.
For those going Mountain Trekking, we will assume you have received prior consent from your G.P & Dentist. Note if you have a cough, cold, or any respiratory illnesses, diabetes (or any illness due to irregular blood sugar levels) DO NOT attempt to trek these mountains, it can be dangerous and could prove fatal. If you do attempt it anyway (we need written approval from your GP), park regulations restrict you to trek above 3,000m. If you have any physical disabilities please let us know. Also note: You are NOT permitted to trek these mountains if you have any of the following; Cardiac problems, high/low blood pressure, pulmonary diseases as well as respiratory problems. Extensive reading on mountain/high altitude related & tropical diseases are highly recommended.
ELECTRICITY & APPLIANCES
Most Hotels/Lodges in Cities in Tanzania run on electricity with many having standby generators. However please note that many Tented Camps and Lodges when on safari in Tanzania run on generators which are run for just a few hours each day. These are often turned off after dinner and on again just before dawn. We recommend that you carry a flashlight and extra batteries for your video cameras, digital cameras & for any electrical appliances you may require on the trip.
The electrical voltage in Tanzania is 220V-240V; 50Hz.
A rectangular 3-square pin UK plug adapter is required to use electrical appliances including video cameras and digital cameras.
If you come from a country where voltage is 120V (or lower than 220V), Please take note of the following:
- Check to see the equipment you are carrying has a dual voltage power supply; we recommend you check that the input reads 100/120V – 240V.
- If this is not so, then you will need to bring a plug adapter, as well as a transformer/converter.
The currency in Tanzania is the Tanzania Shilling. The US Dollar, however, is most widely used. Foreign currency can be exchanged for local currency at the banks and bureau de changes. Changing money on the streets is prohibited and dangerous.
CASH: Older & torn notes are not readily accepted so we strongly recommend the newer series notes.
CREDIT CARDS: Although some hotels/curio shops accept Credit Cards. Credit Cards are not so widely used. In places that they can be used, surcharges of between 5-15% or more should be expected.
TRAVELERS CHEQUES: can sometimes be difficult to cash and in instances where credit cards may not be accepted, we recommend you bring enough US Dollar cash to cover all additional expenses you may incur.
ATM’s: Many major cities in Tanzania have ATM’s (that accept Master card and Visa). A pin code is required, and the cash withdrawal limit is about US$300 per day which you receive in local Tanzanian Shillings
Safari attire is casual and comfortable. The emphasis at most Lodges & Camps is on informal but comfortable wear. However at some lodges gentlemen are required to wear long trousers for the evening meals.
Topless sunbathing is not permitted and ladies should wear appropriate clothing in public places. (Too short shorts, too low fronted tops, etc. are considered disrespectful to the Tanzanian people).
A jacket will be found handy especially in the evenings & early mornings.
Cool light clothing for the day is best to wear on safari. A swim suit, a hat & pair of sunglasses will be found useful as will sunscreen and insect repellent.
Footwear should be low heeled and comfortable.
For Kilimanjaro treks, a separate checklist is available. Please contact us for further information
In Tanzania, food is of a very high standard. Avoid drinking water from the tap. Bottled water may be purchased locally before embarking on safari. It is also available at the game lodges.
As in all countries, security is basically a matter of common sense. Crime is not rare in big cities in Tanzania. Precautions must be taken.
We recommend you avoid walking in the streets after dark; avoid leaving valuables or large amounts of money in your hotel room or vehicle or carrying it with you.
Avoid wearing valuable chains, watches, earrings & cameras as well as freely swinging handbags that can be easily snatched. Beware of conman.
TELEPHONES, CELLPHONES, INTERNET
Majority of the Lodges and Tented camps in Tanzania have telephone service & internet. You may also access email in Arusha, Dar es Salaam or at an Internet café in Karatu, which lies between Manyara & Ngorongoro.
People from back home can contact you via the following:
Ruwa Adventure Emergency number (for emergencies only)
Ruwa Adventure Office phone lines
Our vehicles are equipped with HF radios, so we can relay message to you via the driver/guides radio or cell phone
Airtel/Vodacom is the major cell provider in Tanzania with good reception throughout Tanzania (incl. Moshi, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater, Manyara, certain parts of Serengeti; major towns in Tanzania, Zanzibar & Kenya). Currently, there is reception in the northern and western regions of the Serengeti.
For people requiring constant use of a phone while in Tanzania, you may wish to purchase a cell phone when in Tanzania. However please ensure you have at least half a day in Arusha before your safari to purchase one. A simple cell phone (i.e. Nokia or similar) costs anywhere between $55-$80 in Tanzania and you can buy ‘AIRTEL/VODACOM CARDS’ (which are prepaid minutes ranging from $5 to $50). This will allow you to make & receive international calls at quite reasonable rates.
PHOTOGRAPHY & IMAGING
Whilst on safari, you will be afforded with material to photograph that is unequalled on earth! In order to take advantage of these unrivalled opportunities, we advise you ideally to bring the following:
- 1 x SLR camera
- 1 x wide angle lens 14-28 mm
- 1 x medium zoom 35-105mm
- 1 x telephoto lens 300-600 mm and many rolls of film, of course!
- Sony Memory Stick
- Smart Card Media
- Sony I Link 4000
- Compact Flash
Film is easily available at most lodges although batteries are harder to get. For digital cameras, be sure to bring extra batteries, memory cards and charger with adaptor.
Please note: Do NOT take pictures of people without prior permission. Ask your driver for advice on this so that no one is offended.
The driver/guide has one pair in the vehicle. We recommend you bring yours as it is essential in game viewing.
You need them to see small or distant animals clearly and they greatly increase your ability to observe behavior of larger animals.
We recommend binoculars with the following power/magnification: 7×32, 7×35 or 8×32.
Tipping is customary on a Tanzanian Safari/Trek. Most of our safaris & treks are Private, i.e. small groups, couple of friends, families, honeymooners etc.
Below is a recommended guideline for tipping:
- Safari Driver/Guide: US$10 to $15 per vehicle per day
- Safari Cook: US$10 to $15 per vehicle per day
- Mountain Guide: US$10 per day per guide from group
- Mountain Cook: US$10-$12 per day per cook from group
- Assistant Mt. Guide: US$8 per day per asst guide from group
- Porters on Mountain: US$15-$20 per porter for duration from group
- Porters at Lodges: US$1-2
- Gratuity Box: These are found at most lodges. We recommend these as your tip is then distributed fairly amongst all the staff
We recommend that tipping is usually done at the end of the trip and given directly to the person it is meant for.
Whilst larger denomination bills are acceptable, we recommend you also bring some smaller denomination bills as sometimes change is not easily attainable.
SUPPORTING THE COMMUNITY
List of recommended items for gifts;
Most local schools are in dire need of school supplies. Note books, pens, crayons, book bags/small back packs, coloring books, picture-story books, chalk boards & chalk, study posters, are widely appreciated. (These can also be bought in Arusha)
Boarding schools: Mosquito nets, blankets, toothbrushes/paste, soap, are appreciated
Fun items: Soccer balls, hula hoops, Lego, always bring smiles from the young ones!
We insist that gifts be given direct to the children at the school (NOT at the roadside) as this will encourage the children to go to school.
Ruwa Adventures in conjunction with Maasai Children and Widow Support Initiative, assists many projects involving Women & Children. Please contact us direct through this email: firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive more information on this or if you would like to send in your donation.
SHOPPING FOR GIFTS/SOUVENIRS
There are many shopping opportunities when on safari;
Popular shopping items include: wooden African masks, wood carved animals; wooden African bowls, paintings, table cloths, Masaai beadwork, spears, drums, t-shirts, hats, coffee table books, African attire, Tribal musical instruments, local African gins & liquors, children’s African folk tale books, African Jewelry, Jewelry especially involving Tanzanite (a exquisite gemstone which is only found in Tanzania).
Many gift shops at the lodges as well as large Curio Shops in and around Arusha, accept credit cards & can reliably ship items abroad. We do however, encourage you to buy direct from the markets as well – we would recommend the Masaai market in Arusha. Bargaining is required.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION
Insects are present in significant numbers in Tanzania depending on location and weather. The altitude & temperate climate of North Tanzania result in lesser insect concentration than in other parts of Tanzania.
Flies are a nuisance, especially near villages where cow dung is plentiful as well as when you near the Wildebeest migration, where herd droppings are plentiful.
Tsetse flies thrive mostly in thick bush & woodlands, their bites are painful and can sometimes cause an allergic reaction, with itchiness and swelling. (Fly Swats can be handy!!)
Mosquitoes, although present, are known to be not as active during the day as they are from dusk to dawn (mosquito repellant highly recommended)
We recommend that dark colored clothes are avoided and that when driving through insect infested areas, you wear light colored clothes, long sleeves, long pants, socks, (carry a swat) and make sure your windows are rolled all the way up.
DUST & ROAD CONDITIONS
Many roads in the parks are unpaved, dusty and bumpy. Dust affects people with allergies to dust and those wearing contact lenses. Bumpy roads often cause problems to people who have back problems and old injuries. (We will need to know well in advance if you do have problems that may be affected by drives on bumpy roads).
At Lodges & most Tented Camps, flush toilets are available. On camping safaris: Some toilets are flush type whilst others are pit latrines.
Please check to see first that it is safe before using. We recommend you have your own roll of toilet paper. Wet wipes are handy items to carry along as are miniature disinfectant spray bottles.
A 30% non-refundable deposit is required within 7 days of the date of our confirmation of booking made. The balance is due 60 days prior to arrival date. For trips booked that are under 60 days, which we consider, “last-minute”, 100% will be required within *5 days of the date of our confirmation. (* – Depending on how last minute the booking is, payment may be required even earlier).
At the time of reservations, please provide full names (as per passport), flight arrival & departure information, preferred rooming, any special dietary requirements, information on any physical disabilities one may have, occasion and special interests.
All cancellations must be received in writing.
Any cancellation or no-show is subject to cancellation charges as per the following schedule:
- from booking time to 60 days prior: 30% tour cost
- 59 – 45 days prior: 40% tour cost
- 44 – 35 days prior: 50% tour cost
- 14 – 7 days prior: 75% tour cost
- 6 days or less prior or no show: 100% tour cost
There are no refunds for unused portions of the program, and refunds will not be made to clients who do not complete the tour for any reason whatsoever.
Our quotations are always based on the total number of people in your party, if anyone cancels for whatever reason, the prices will change.
Amendments made to the itinerary once paid for may result in additional costs.
Notwithstanding above indicated cancellation policies, cancellation during PEAK Travel period such as Dec 20-Jan 6 attract a 100% cancellation costs should program be amended/cancelled within 45 days prior to first arrival date shown on the agreed program. This is because, during peak travel period, reservations are booked, confirmed and paid for based on real time availability at the time of making those reservations. Some camps/lodges/hotels have cancellation policies as far out as 60 days.
RESPONSIBILITY AND INSURANCE
It must be clearly understood that these are adventure safaris and there are certain dangers and risks which are inevitable. Whilst every care is taken for the safety and comfort of our clients, the company accepts no liability for all or any of the following:
- Damage or loss of property of any client, howsoever caused.
- Sickness, infection, injury or death of the clients, howsoever caused.
- Change of itinerary due to road and weather conditions.
- Damages, directly or indirectly, arising out of delays in departure or arrival including delays occasioned by the missing of road, rail, ship or aircraft connections.
It is therefore understood, on receiving a clients’ booking that necessary insurance covers against these and other risks have been taken care of by the client.
We request you to come with an extra copy of the cover so we can have this in our files, should anything go wrong when you are on safari.
BAGGAGE ON SAFARI
Baggage size must be reasonable.
On Safari: unless there are 2 Pax only in the vehicle, we will NOT take suitcases. (One backpack or soft-sided duffle bag per person of max. 20kgs is fine)
On our Treks (Kilimanjaro, Meru): we will NOT take suitcases. These make it very difficult & dangerous for porters to carry. We recommend one medium sized duffel-bag or back-pack per person (max. 15kgs). For Kilimanjaro especially, bags must be water-proof. A small day-pack will be found handy.
On internal flights: some internal airlines only permit one piece check in baggage of maximum weight of 15 kgs plus one carry-on luggage including camera, of maximum weight 5kgs. In instances where you have excess luggage weight, a fee may be imposed however, some aircraft, if full, will not accept excess weight for reasons of safety, So please be sure to pack light, store excess un-needed baggage at appropriate points so pick up is easily handled.
WHAT TO BRING
- Soft bag rather than a suitcase
- Casual, comfortable, lightweight cotton clothing is best (khaki, brown, green & beige colour)
- Our list of suitable items would include:
- Light cotton trousers or convertible pants
- Shirts/Blouses with long sleeves
- Light tops & T-shirts
- Jeans or safari trousers for evenings and cooler days
- Warm fleece, jacket or warm sweater
- Cotton socks & underwear
- A pair of flip-flops (or sandals)
- Comfortable walking shoes/boots
- Sun block, lip balm
- One Swimsuit
- Light, compact raincoat during the rainy months
- Camera, extra batteries, charger, and lots of film! Or memory cards (digital cameras)
- Personal toiletry requirements + hand towel
- Wet wipes, Kleenex
- Insect repellent
- Contact lenses solution, (note: Tanzania can be very dusty) & reading glasses
- A medical kit (Band-Aids, diahhorea medicine, antibiotic cream, tummy-ache medication, antihistamine cream, anti-allergy medication, anti malarials, etc.)
For mountain trekking checklist please visit the Mountain climbing page.
HOW TO GET TO TANZANIA
Kilimanjaro airport (JRO) is the international airport serving , Ethiopian Airlines, Air Kenya, Qatar Air, Emirates,Air Tanzania, Precision Air fly here.
Dar es Salaam International Airport serves Dar es Salaam BA, Emirates, Gulf Air, Swiss Air, Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines, KLM, Air Tanzania, Precision Air, Kenya Airways fly here
Domestic flight Connections form Dar es Salaam to Arusha or Zanzibar can be done from here.
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), serves Nairobi KLM, BA, Swiss Air, Egypt Air, Ethiopian airlines, Qatar, Emirates, Kenya Airways, Virgin Atlantic and many other airlines fly here.
One can connect with Precision Air, Air Kenya, Kenya airways to Kilimanjaro or Dar es salaam airport
WILSON AIRPORT, Nairobi Regional air & Air Kenya fly to JRO & to Arusha airport daily.
FROM NAIROBI TO ARUSHA BY SHUTTLE BUS
Shuttle buses from Nairobi to Arusha depart twice daily at: 08h00 and 14h00. Cost*: US$35per person (one way) and the approx. travel time is 5 – 6 hours.
Shuttle used by us: IMPALA Shuttle. Base: Silver springs hotel, Nairobi 7 Impala hotel, Arusha. We can book this for you. However, you need to call them to reconfirm your seats.
We can also arrange for the shuttle to pick you up at the JKIA airport or major town hotels or drop you there but you need to pre book this with us.
FROM NAIROBI TO ARUSHA BY PRIVATE VEHICLE TRANSFER
On request, we can arrange a PRIVATE road transfer from Nairobi to Arusha and/or vice versa. This involves vehicle changes at the border. Travel time is approx. 5hrs. However, if you are on a tight flight schedule, please allow an extra 2 hrs. incase of traffic jams
FROM DAR-ES-SALAAM to ARUSHA BY LUXURY BUS/COACH
Dar – Arusha or vice versa: departure is usually between 7-8am and takes approx. 8hrs, Fare cost approx. US$40pp
Ruwa Adventure will be happy to assist with any flight reservations you may require.