Informing yourself about what to expect and how to prepare for your trip to Tanzania is one of the best things you can do to make sure your journey is enjoyable and goes without a hitch. Here is the Tanzanian Tourist Board’s official information about everything you will need to equip yourself for your trip: bank information and details about how to change money, health precautions to take with extra information about malaria prevention and awareness, travel insurance, where to find hospitals and clinics, how to arrange your visas, and a brief overview of security. Once you know the basic facts, you will be well-informed and prepared for your stay in Tanzania, confident in every situation and ready for the lifetime trip experience.
1: You can book your flight depending on where your safari brings you, arrival and departure may be different. We can give you a fitting travel advice based on your trip. There is not only a difference in destination airport but also in airlines. The airlines that are utilized most by our guests are: KLM, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines. There is a quality and price difference between the different airlines. Jumbo Tours will arrange all the transfers for you from arrival to departure.
2: Visa requirements: Every “foreigner” is expected to have a valid visa to entry the country unless the country of origin has a treaty with Tanzania under which the visa is not required. Please note that your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your date of departure from Tanzania. There are several ways of obtaining a visa:
- Through the Embassy/Consulate of the United Republic of Tanzania.
- At the immigration service at the arrival airport in Tanzania.
Please make sure that if you travel via Kenya you also get a so-called transit visa in Kenya, and you get a travel visa once arrived at the Tanzanian airport or the border of Tanzania. You will have to pay cash in U$D (U$D 50. – October 2015), please check the price before you leave.
3: The currency of Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling (TZS). There are coins of 50, 100, 200 and 500 TZS and bank notes of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 TZS. The Foreign currencies, particularly Euros and US Dollars, are generally accepted and are convertible to Tanzanian Shillings (TZS) at banks and currency exchange offices. Please note that no dollar bills are accepted older than 2006. Credit cards are quite accepted in mid-range and accepted in high-end lodges. In the larger cities there are good ATM facilities. If you are planning to use your debit or credit card be sure to notify your bank you will be traveling abroad, because most banks will deactivate your card if you have not notified them.
4: Electricity in Tanzania is 220-240v. Power failures can occur; therefore bringing a flashlight is advisable. Most places will have a generator to keep the power going, however during the night hours these are often turned off. We advise you to take a universal adapter in order to be able to use your electrical appliances.
5: Swahili and English are the official languages of Tanzania. Most of the people working in the tourism industry are fluent in English and very often they speak another foreign language.
6: Jumbo Tours does not have any luggage restrictions, however airlines companies do. Please note, if you also have a domestic flight it is important to check the limitations for this company as well, since these limitations often vary from international flights.
7: It is important to keep you camera and other equipment dust free and in cool places, to ensure a longer lifespan of the equipment. We offer the possibility to recharge your batteries in our safari car, and it is also possible to charge them at your hotel/lodge. If you would like to take a picture of the local people, please ask for permission. It is not permitted to take pictures of formal people/objects, such as police officers, military, barracks, airports or national flags. If in doubt, do not do it, it is not worth the trouble.
Take Lots Of Photos; you may only see these places & meet these people once in your lifetime. Remember them forever with plenty of photos. Don’t worry about looking like a “tourist”. Are you traveling to look cool? No one cares. Great photos are the ultimate souvenir. They don’t cost anything, they’re easy to share with others, and they don’t take up space in your luggage. Just remember once you have your shot to get out from behind the lens and enjoy the view.
8: Climate: Tanzania is close to the equator; the climate at the coast of Tanzania and on the islands is a tropical climate and therefore the country is warm all year round. The temperature high and low difference normally is about 5 degrees. In the northern parks it is not as hot as in the south, generally the temperature lies between 23-32 degrees and this is very pleasant. There is a temperature difference between areas; such as on the Ngorongoro Crater rim it is always a bit cooler. Normally during the rainy season (form June – October) the temperatures are a bit lower. Temperatures on Mount Kilimanjaro (always covered in snow and ice) and Mount Meru are much lower and drop below zero. There are two rain seasons in Tanzania. The smaller rain season is from October to November and the bigger rain season from March to May.
9: Time zone. The time zone in which Tanzania is located is GMT+3. Please be aware that Tanzania does not change the clock to winter or summer time. Besides this there is also a time called Swahili time, which can lead to confusion. If a time mentioned that does not sound right, it is wisely to ask if they are talking about Swahili time.
10: Safety and Security: Tanzanians are well known for their friendly, laid-back attitude. In most cases you will be humbled by their hospitality despite the fact that most people are a lot poorer than you. As you travel in the touristy areas, you will probably attract your fair share of souvenir hawkers and beggars. Remember that these are poor people who are trying to earn money to feed their families. If you aren’t interested then say so, but try and remain polite. Basic Safety Rules for Travelers to Tanzania
- Make a copy of your passport and keep it in your luggage.
- Don’t walk on your own at night in the major cities or on empty beaches especially in Pemba and Zanzibar.
- Don’t wear jewelry.
- Don’t carry too much cash with you.
- Wear a money belt that fits under your clothes.
- Don’t carry a lot of camera equipment especially in the major cities.
- Beware of thieves posing as police officers.
11: Safety/security: Tanzania is a safe, stable and friendly country. In large cities and busy areas such as markets and bus stations it is advised to keep your eye on your belongings. Please leave valuable jewelry at home. In the parks it is not dangerous if you take the following points in consideration:
- Always listen to the advice your guide gives you.
- Do not get out of the vehicle when you are in a park, without the permission of the guide.
- Follow the rules that are set by accommodations or tented camps.
- Do not go for a walk at night on your own.
- During hike, walking and canoe safaris you should stick to the rules that are given before starting these safaris by the guides
12: Clothing (For Safari)
Pack as light as possible. Take lightweight, easily washable cotton clothes and a sweater since it can cool down in the evening. To protect yourself against the sun we advise you to pack a sunhat or cap, sunglasses and sunscreen. Normally, people in Tanzania wear flip-flops or sandals. However if you are planning to walk long distances it is advisable to bring along hiking shoes or trainers. If you are planning to climb the Kilimanjaro we will send you extra clothing advice attached to your itinerary.
13: Smile & Say Hello. Having trouble interacting with locals? Do people seem unfriendly? Maybe it’s your body language. One of our best travel tips is to make eye contact and smile as you walk by. If they smile back, say hello in the local language too. This is a fast way to make new friends. Usually all it takes is for you to initiate contact and they’ll open up.
14: Stay in Touch. Remember to call your family & friends from time to time. Maybe surprise them and go old-school by sending a postcard (it’s in the mail, Mom!). Travel isn’t lonely, far from it. You constantly meet other people. But many of those relationships are fleeting. So maintaining a strong connection with the people who know you best is important.
15: Travel insurance. Precautions are a necessary part of staying healthy, and while you will of course make every effort to stay healthy and safe during your trip, it’s always wise to plan for emergencies. International travel insurance and emergency medical evacuation plans are available for purchase before you even leave home, so be sure to provide for yourself in the event of unforeseen circumstances. It is important to have a medical policy that will insure you while traveling, and cover any theft, loss or medical emergencies you may experience while away from home. Check your policy’s evacuation criteria and notify your travel agent of any necessary details.
16: Security. Tanzania is a safe country to travel in. Tanzanians are warm-hearted and generous people and they are eager to help visitors get the most out of their stay. Tanzania is a true example of tolerance and cooperation in our modern world, with an evidenced multicultural diversity that has co-existed for centuries and has a lot to offer the world by its example. As in all countries, a little common sense goes a long way and reasonable precautions should still be taken, such as locking valuables in the hotel safe, which frees your mind to absorb the natural beauty and incredible sights that will stay with you forever.
17: Hospitals and Clinics. For minor aches and pains during your travels, there are many hospitals and clinics around the country who will care for you and prescribe any medicine you may need. For emergency or out-patient cases, Dar es Salaam’s new Aga Khan Hospital provides excellent care, as does the Nairobi Hospital and the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi.
African Air Rescue (AAR) have clinics and out-patient care in both Arusha and Dar es Salaam, and smaller clinics offer consultations and laboratory services around the country. Major lodges may also have Doctors on-call to assist. In the event of a medical emergency, contact your country’s embassy or consulate for extra assistance.