Useful information about a Safari
- ALFREDO (Italy)
- +39 393 721 9767
- JACKSON (Tanzania)
- +255 764 800 619
Welcome to Tanzania
Tanzania is a state in the great lakes region of eastern Africa, with a surface area of 945,080 Sq Km (364,897 Sq mi) and a population of about 36,300,000. It borders the Indian Ocean to the east, its currency is the tanzanian shelling and its official languages are Swahili and English. Most tanzanian people are of Christian or Islamic beliefs. It lies in the timezone of eastern Africa, 3 hours ahead of GMT/UTC (one hour ahead of Rome, two hours ahead of London, etc…)
Tanzania has a tropical climate mitigated by elevation and generally pleasant all year round. It is warmer and more humid along the ocean coast, with the monsoons causing the occurrence of two wet periods: from March to May, when it rains almost on a daily basis; from November to January, with lighter rainfalls and lower precipitation. Moving inland, the climate becomes increasingly cooler and the daily temperature range widens, with remarkable differences between highs and lows.
Best time to visit
When organizing your trip to Tanzania, it is advisable to take into account the following information:
High season, from June to September.
The climate is cool and dry, the hotels are generally fully booked and prices considerably high. This is the best time of year for spotting animals, because the vegetation is thinner than in other periods.
Mid season, from October to February.
The climate is hot during the day, but nights are cooler with low temperatures early in the morning or late in the evening. Rainfall is common from the end of October onwards. From mid-December to mid-January, the hotel rates are usually the same as in high season.
Low season, from March to May.
Occurrence of frequent rainfall, though rarely for the whole day. The vegetation is lush and a lot of hotels offer very competitive rates in this period.
Passport, entry visa and other documents
A passport is absolutely necessary, it must be valid for at least 6 months after the date of departure and contain two blank pages. It has to be applied for at police headquarters and is essential to the application for a visa.
The entry visa can be obtained in two ways:
- In advance, at the Embassy of Tanzania in those countries which have such a diplomatic representation. For its issue, the original passport with a remaining validity of 6 months past the date of arrival in the country and two blank pages is necessary, a recent passport type photo, the original application form duly filled out (to be obtained from the consulate or downloaded from the embassy website), a copy of the return ticket or the continuation of the journey, receipt of payment (50 $ to be paid online) for the visa fee. The visa so obtained will be valid for 3 months from its date of issue and will only allow a 90-day stay in the country.
- Upon arrival at the airport, before baggage claim, after filling out a form and paying a sum of 50$.
Vaccinations and health precautions
Currently, no compulsory vaccinations are required to visit Tanzania, however vaccination against yellow fever becomes obligatory if you're coming from, or have simply passed through endemic countries (Uganda, Kenya, etc.). Vaccination is not necessary for those travellers who have only passed through an african airport for a connection flight (except in endemic countries where, as just said, vaccination is absolutely necessary independently of the amount of time spent there).
As to malaria, hereunder is some advice to avoid getting the disease, which is caused by the bite of the anopheles mosquito.
- wear long trousers and long-sleeved shirts in neutral, bright colours;
- use repellents on clothes and all exposed parts of the body;
- spray mosquito repellent in the room;
- use mosquito nets in the room for protection during sleep;
- before departure, consider malaria prophylaxis by seeing a specialist in travel medicine. Side effects and strenght of the vaccine are to be carefully considered, since they may vary greatly from person to person. In this respect, refer to one's local public health unit for advice. Advisable, but not obligatory, are vaccinations against Hepatitis B and trivalent vaccine against polio, tetanus and diphteria.
Hereunder is some general information which can come in handy but by no means replace medical advice:
- always carry the necessary medicines in their original packages, in a double amount than needed in order to allow for losses of theft;
- If you carry needles of syringes, keep at hand the medical prescription of the drug you need so that you can prove necessity;
- If you suffer from heart disorders, it is advisable to carry a copy of your latest electrocardiogram (ECG) done before departure;
Always carry a small first-aid box containing:
- Paracetamol, aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs (Anvil) against fever, toothache and pain relievers;
- Antihistamines to treat allergies;
- Airsick, carsick and seasick pills;
- Large-spectrum antibiotics;
- Medication for diarrhoea;
- Anti-vomit medicine;
- Antispasmodic pills against abdominal pain;
- Antiacid pills for the treatment of heartburn and acid belching;
- Intestinal antibiotics;
- antihistamine cream to alleviate skin rash and itching from insect bites;
- digital thermometer;
- High-concentration KBR or DEET-based insect repellents (low-concentration ones for children);
- High protection solar creams;
- Sterile syringes;
As a general rule, hands should be washed frequently and only bottled water should be drunk, checking the integrity of the bottles first.
All our cars are fitted with a first-aid cabinet and the lodges we have selected have all western-like health and hygiene standards.
Our tours are covered by an insurance policy which guarantees first-aid treatment on-site and subsequent transportation of the injured person by air to the nearest hospital in Kenya (health standards are definitely higher than in Tanzania) and back to the lodge. This policy does NOT cover hospital charges in case of a stay, which can possibly be insured against by taking out an additional policy, whose costs may vary greatly according to the type of insurance coverage and the limit of liability offered.
Some insurance companies also offer policies covering the return trip to the country of origin of the tourist. In this respect, Primaland will assist guests in choosing the policy which best fits their needs.
Clothes and equipment
It is advisable to carry one's things in a medium-size bag and a smaller one: the former will be used for the bulky stuff, the latter for things one needs to have right at hand:
camera, additional batteries, adaptors, power chargers, hat, sunglasses, insect repellent, scarf, sweatshirt, anorak, documents, wet wipes and tissues. If possible, avoid using trolleys and hard cases because their size makes them not easily movable, in favour of the traditional knapsacks or their likes. The baggage should to be light and easy to handle so that it can be stowed in a car with no effort.
Avoid stuffing the baggage with unnecessary clothes, since most of the time will be spent riding drop top with the windows down, through parks and on dusty roads, exposed to wind blasts and dust clouds.
Temperature range on a daily basis can be very wide, with very low values at dawn or after sunset and a lot of heat during the central hours, although mitigated by elevation. It is advisable to wear several different layers for a quick adaptation to the temperature changes. Clothes should be neutral and light-coloured: olive green, beige, light brown, kaki, which reflect sunlight and easily harmonize with the background. Dark colours are to be avoided since they can draw insects. No clothes resembling military uniforms in any way must be worn. To sum up, clothes should be very sensible, we suggest you bring:
- Sweatshirt or pile for morning and evening hours;
- Anorak or (water-proof) rain jacket;
- Long trousers;
- T- shirts;
- Socks and underwear;
- Sandals or flip-flops;
- Comfortable shoes;
- Extra pair of prescription glasses (no contact lenses should be worn because of the dust).
Household items and personal hygiene ones:
- Shampoo and bubble bath, sometimes not available in lodges;
- Toothbrush and toothpaste;
- Comb or hairbrush;
- Moisturizing cream;
- Lip balm;
- Nail scissors;
- Razor blades and shaving foam;
- Hair dryer and hair straightener;
- Hair gel or wax;
- Wet wipes or antibacterial gel for hands and personal hygiene;
- Sun cream with a protection factor of 30 or more;
- Highly-effective DEET-based insect repellent (not suitable for children, not to be applied on injuries, cuts, abrasions or irritated skin);
- Adaptors for J-type electric plugs (3-prong, british);
- Battery charger, additional batteries, cables, micro sd cards, photo equipment, etc…;
- Electric torch / flashlight for nighttime walking among tents in the camps;
- Pen (always useful, you might need it to take notes or to get the visa at the airport)
- block notes;
- air-tight bags for dirty linen and underwear, damp or dusty clothes;
PS. The aforementioned list is not meant to "impose" on travellers what they should carry, but to avoid not being able to find those items in the lodge or in the local shops. Although a very hospitable place, we would like to remind you that sometimes there are remarkable differences between Tanzania and the western countries as to commercial brands or the availability of items which are normally found elsewhere.
Electrical current in Tanzania is supplied at a voltage of 230 V and a frequency of 50 Hz. Electric plugs are three-prong (one vertical and two flat ones) of the british type. We suggest you buy at least two adaptors. In some lodges and camps, electricity is provided by generators that are off at night, so it is essential you have additional batteries to operate electric and electronic appliances nighttime.
The International country code for Tanzania is +255. GSM coverage is widespread, but there are some zones where reception is none, especially in rural areas and in some parks in the huge savannah. Reception standards are generally quite high, comparable to western ones, but costs from foreign phones are really high!
Before leaving, we recommend you seek advice from your local phone provider or, alternatively and perhaps more easily, upon arrival go to the city with our guide and buy a 20/30$ prepaid phone card (it depends on the giga you have), which you can use for data and calls during your stay.
All our off-road vehicles equipped for the photo safaris have free wifi, same thing for the lodges: using phones won't be a major problem!
The main two airports are:
- The Kilimanjaro International Airport, in the north of the country, which lies in a perfect position for the tours to the northern destinations;
- The Julius Nyerere International Airport, in the capital city Dar es Salaam, for visitors headed to the southern parks.
There's also a small airport in Arusha, in the north, which connects the city with the two main airports.
The Zanzibar International Airport is only for flights to an from the Zanzibar archepelago.
In Tanzania, like in many other tourist countries, tipping is not a written rule but a customary habit. In fact, gratuities can be considered as a variable part of the staff's wages, gratification that urges them to do their best.
A. Photo safaris and excursions
It is customary, at the end of the photo safari, to leave a daily tip of about $ 5-10 to the guide, which usually equals 20-30 % of his/her daily wage and, in case of a trekking excursion, to both guides and the cook.
In small restaurants tipping is NOT customary. In the main tourist places, on the other hand, the bill is usually rounded up or a tip of 10/15% of the amount due is given.
Code of conduct
Tanzania is a safe country, but common sense suggests taking some precautions, as also recommended in the institutional websites of the various countries, which are worth reading.
In the present paragraph, far from expressing moral judgements, we'd like to suggest how to behave in light of the differences in terms of laws, culture and customary habits existing between Tanzania and other countries, especially in the western world, for an ideal stay without any risks or dangers. Here is some advice:
- Avoid going to isolated areas and deserted beaches;
- Women should not wear skimpy clothes, but a skirt or trousers with a long-sleeved shirt or jersey. It is better to have one's hair tied in a cap/hat or a headscarf;
- Always keep one's documents and money inside a zip-locked pocket;
- While held in traffic, pull up the car windows and don't leave bags or other valuables in plain sight;
- Don't take back with you seashells, corals, ivory or turtle carapaces since it is illegal!
- The owners of small memorabilia or handycraft shops, once told the customer the price of an item, are ready to start haggling, as if in a sort of show. This is not the custom in markets and other non-tourist places, where the price shown generally indicates the exact amount to pay, with very little room for bargaining;
- Always ask for permission before taking pictures at local people: they usually ask for some money to let one take snapshots at them;
- Never take photos at military areas or buildings, government offices or sensitive spots such as banks, post offices, airports, etc…;
- Smuggling and using drugs of any kind, even soft ones, is strictly prohibited and severely repressed by the armed forces, who can count on informers everywhere. Sentences for drug offences are very heavy and hotels are frequently inspected by the police for that matter;
- Homosexuality is considered a crime punished with hefty prison sentences of up to 30 years. Campaigns against homosexuality are conducted, so it is advisable to behave with caution and avoid showing one's sexual orientation, if not hetero.