Tips for a safari in Tanzania, What to think of when you travel in Tanzania

Language

English is widely spoken but a few words of Swahili can be useful and will be appreciated greatly by locals.

Money

Major foreign currencies - particularly US$ - and travellers cheques are accepted and are convertible at banks and bureaux de changes in the main towns and tourist areas. Credit cards are not widely accepted and carry poor exchange rates. Some banks in Arusha, Dar es Salaam and Moshi offer ATM facilities against international credit cards, but ATMs are not available elsewhere. Visitors may be expected to pay in foreign currency for game parks. Don't change money in the street.

Health

Yellow fever vaccination is no longer compulsory. Malaria is endemic but is preventable: use insect repellent, cover up at sundown, sleep under a mosquito net and take anti-malaria prophylactics as advised by your doctor. Bring prescription medicines, spare glasses, contact lenses and solution as well as sunscreen, a first aid kit, cream for bites/stings and diarrhoea remedy. Drink only boiled or bottled water, bottled or canned drinks, avoid ice cubes and salads. HIV/Aids is widespread, especially in the main tourist areas.

Climate

Generally dry and hot with cool nights/mornings June-October; short rains November to mid-December; long rains March-May but the seasons can vary. The coastal strip is hot and humid all year round. Temperatures on Mount Kilimanjaro and Meru drop to below freezing.

Clothes

Pack lightweight, washable clothes plus a sweater for early morning game drives, as well as a sun hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Long sleeves and trousers in light-coloured fabrics help discourage insect bites. You can buy clothes in Dar es Salaam and Arusha. Shorts for women are acceptable (but not too short!). Women should carry a wrap to cover legs in the villages and towns as revealing clothes can cause offence, especially in Zanzibar and Moslem areas. On the beach and within the confines of beach hotels normal swimwear is acceptable (but not nudity). For climbing on Kilimanjaro or Meru, take thermal underwear, light layers, sweater, rain jacket, good socks and sturdy boots.

On safari

Distances in Tanzania are vast, and travel by road can be wearing. Plan to spend more time in fewer parks. You'll see more and won't return home exhausted. Keep your distance from animals and be quiet to avoid distressing the wildlife. Follow instructions of rangers or guides. Don't leave your vehicle in the parks except in designated places. Keep to recognised tracks to avoid damaging vegetation.

 

How to travel

Do not take hard cover suitcases. A bag is more easy to stash in de Landcruiser that will be taking you from lodge to lodge. Your lodge can supply you with a lunch bag.

 

Daily routine

Be aware that in order to fully enjoy the wildlife you will have to get up early. On a safari your daily rhythm will be totally different from at home. But you will need very
little time to adjust. The reward of early rising is an spectacular sunrise and a
beautiful view at wildlife.

 

Guide and driver

To enter the parks you need to accompanied by a guide who also is your driver most of the time. Always follow the instructions of your guide. Never leave your vehicle unless the guide explicitly gives you permission.

 

Photography

Bring film (especially slide film) and batteries for your camera with you. Protect your cameras from dust and keep equipment and film cool. It is courteous to ask permission before photographing local people. If you intend to take a lot of people pictures, be sure to bring an instant camera with you so that you can leave a picture with the people you photograph.

Insurance

Take out travel insurance to cover loss of baggage or valuables, personal accident and medical expenses.

Tipping

Not obligatory, but a tip for exceptional service (max 10%) will be appreciated. $10 - $15 per day for driver or tour guide. An excessive tip can make it difficult for the next customer.

Time

GMT+ 3 hrs.

Electricity

230V, but power failures, surges and troughs are common. Bring a universal adaptor and a torch (flashlight) or headlamp.

Car hire

Self-drive vehicles are available mainly for local running or tarmac use. 4x4 vehicles for safaris usually have to be hired with a driver.

Driving

On the left. An international licence is required. Plan long safaris carefully, ensuring your vehicle is road worthy with two spare tyres, an operational jack and tool kit. Carry extra fuel, spares and water.

Travel with Childeren

Tanzanians love children and are especially helpful to mothers. However, canned baby foods, powdered milk and disposable nappies may not be available outside major towns.

Visas

Check current requirements with the nearest Tanzanian High Commission, embassy or consulate, or your travel agent. Visas, if required, can be bought on arrival at all international airports and overland borders.

Security

Tanzania is a generally safe country, but don't invite temptation. Keep an eye on your belongings. Don't walk in the towns or cities at night - take a taxi. Don't carry cameras or large amounts of cash; beware of pickpockets. Use hotel safety deposit boxes to safeguard valuables and obtain a receipt. Leave valuable jewellery at home.

Gifts

Don't indiscriminately hand out pens, money and sweets like a wealthy Western Santa Claus - it just encourages begging. As anywhere, gifts should be given as a true expression of friendship, appreciation or thanks.

Shopping

The tourist areas and hotels sell a wide range of souvenirs, jewellery and trinkets.
Don't be afraid to haggle at roadside curio stalls.

 

Mobile phone

In large parts of Tanzania there is a good coverage for cellphones. In all lodges and camps there are facilities to charge your phone, camera and Ipod.

 

Any additions?
Please mail your suggestion to:
tips@mail-tsc.com

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