Why choose Tanzania
There are many extraordinary places in the world, but Africa will always be something special. It is less developed than most places on earth and has some of the most unspoiled, spectacular and unique wilderness you can imagine. For that reason, many people feel it is like traveling to a completely different world.
Why compromise when you can have it all in one vacation?
When people find a travel destination, they most often have to choose what kind of vacation they would like to have, because they can't have it all. Beach vacation, cultural experience, activities or exploration of nature and wildlife are often alternatives you have to choose between. Some like an active vacation and some prefer a calm and relaxing “get away”. In Tanzania you don't have to choose!
There are many things that in our eyes makes Tanzania the most complete travel destination in Africa. The climate is comfortable and warm throughout the whole year, as is the temperature in the Indian Ocean. It's a safe country to travel to, without any disturbance or political unrest.
What makes it truly unique is the possibility to combine the ultimate safari with white, sandy beaches and crystal clear water. Or you could try hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro if you're up for challenging yourself, and want to undertake the worlds largest freestanding mountain. Tanzania has something to offer travellers of all ages, and offers a wide range of travel experiences, suited for all budgets – even for the most demanding travellers can be satisfied!
Africa has many fantastic destinations that is worth visiting, but Tanzania is different in a sense that it is complete in every way. If we look past the fact that the climate is warm and it offers ocean swimming temperatures all year around, the welcoming people and a highly affordable destination makes it a truly one-of-a-kind country of natural wonders.
With a fantastic coastline and exotic islands with white sandy beaches and turquoise water, it is the ideal location for all sorts of water-activities. Especially diving, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins or whale shark safari as well as deep-sea fishing and kiting. Apart from providing some of the most fantastic beaches in Africa and the ultimate relaxing holiday, it can be combined with a trek to the world’s tallest free standing mountain and the highest mountain in Africa – Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895 m.a.s.l.).
If that feels out of reach (although ascendable for most), there are several other great and scenic trekking opportunities like Mt. Meru, Ol Doinyo Lengai, Udzungwa Forest, Usambare Mountains and the Crater Highlands, to mention some.
Ever wanted to visit Lake Tanganyika, the place where Sir Henry Stanley greeted Dr. Livingstone with the immortalized line; “Dr. Livingstone I presume”? The lake is not only the deepest lake in Africa but also have the most incredible wildlife surrounding it, both below and above water level.
But the main attraction, and what Tanzania is really famous for, is the endless safari possibilities. The safari you can experience in Tanzania is probably the most varied and best safari in the whole world. From famous locations like Serengeti and The Ngorongoro Crater to more secluded and remote places like Ruaha and Selous Game Reserve. The latter is the largest game reserve in the world (54 600 km2), which makes it larger than Switzerland, Denmark and Belgium for comparison.
We are here to show you the best of Africa, adapted to your budget and 100% customized for you
Tanzania can offer 16 national parks, not including game reserves and other natural recreational sites. Most of them are accessible by both 4x4 vehicles and airplane (for those who want the excitement of flying in a small plane “out in the middle of nowhere”).
A few years back, a safari in Africa was seen as something for the few who could afford it, or for those who had saved for a small eternity. More flights and greater competition between airlines, combined with more sensible prices from locally operated companies, have now made it possible to create trips to fit all budgets!
Still being the trip of a lifetime, we experience more and more people coming back for a second or third time, simply because there is so much to see and so much to discover. Tanzania is place you will absolutely fall in love with!
Facts about Tanzania
Tanzania is a land of spectacular beauty and one of the largest countries in Africa. It lies on the east coast of Africa, just south of the Equator. It borders to Kenya and Uganda in the north. To the west - Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Zambia, and Malawi and Mozambique to the south.
It covers an area of 945,000 sq. km, the size of Denmark, France, the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland, and the United Kingdom combined. It also incorporates several offshore islands, including Unguja (Zanzibar), Pemba and Mafia Island.
Tanzania comprises coastal lowland, volcanic highlands, the Great Rift Valley and Africa's highest peak – Mount Kilimanjaro. Tanzania is the only country in the world, which has allocated at least 25 percent of its total area to wildlife national parks and protected areas.
The total protected area is equivalent to the size of the Federal Republic of Germany and Belgium combined.
The economy is still suffering from slow growth and a shortage of foreign exchange, agriculture in particular, from poor availability of credit and equipment. However coffee, cotton, sisal, tea and diamonds are in rich supply and Zanzibar is the world's third largest producer of cloves.
State reforms have cut inflation and the budget deficit, bringing a rise in inward investment and a return to positive growth.
Tanzania is in the bottom 10% of the world’s economies in relation to per capita income.
The GDP (PPP) is 1,715 $, (nominal) 703 $. The economy is dependent on agriculture and tourism. 80% of the countries workforce is employed in agriculture. The local currency is Tanzanian shilling (TZS), however USD are also widely used.
Tanzania gained independence from Britain in the 1960’s and the first democratic elections since the 1970’s were held in 1995. Former President Julius Nyerere's philosophy of Ujamaa (African Socialism) guided Tanzania's development for 21 years until he retired in 1980.
His successor, Ali Hassan Mwinyi, oversaw a relaxation of these policies and moved the country towards its first multiparty elections. Then Benjamin Mkapa, a former journalist took over as the third President of Tanzania (1999-2005). The non-acceptance by some Zanzibaris of their union with Tanganyika is still a problem and separatism is a growing force.
Tanzania is a presidential constitutional republic and the current President is John Pumbe Magufuli, who took office in November 2015.
According to the 2016 estimates by the United Nations, the population was almost 56 million people. Most people live on the Northern border and on the east coast. Approximately 70% of the population is rural, and Dar es Salaam is the biggest city with close to 4,7 million inhabitants.
There are more than 120 different ethnic groups of which Sukuma, Nyamwezi, Chagga and Haya have more than 1 million members. Both Sukuma and Nyamwezi are so called Bantu, which is used as a general label for 300-600 ethnic groups in Africa who speak Bantu languages, in which Swahili is the largest. You also have Niolotic people which includes the Luo and more famous nomadic Maasai.
Religion & Language
More than 93% of Tanzanians say that religion is very important in their lives. Although hard to measure exactly, recent surveys have indicated that Tanzania is predominantly a Christian country (60%). Divided in 50/50 Catholic and Protestants. A large Muslim minority (35%) is divided in 41% Sunni, 15% Shia, 20% Ahmadiyya and 20% “just Muslim").
Muslims are generally concentrated in coastal areas and in Zanzibar (where close to 99 % of the population is Muslim).
While Swahili and English are the official Tanzanian Languages, over 100 different languages are spoken in Tanzania, making it the most lingually diverse country in eastern Africa. Today, about 10% of Tanzanians speak Swahili as a first language, and up to 90% speak it as a second language. Thus; most Tanzanians speak both Swahili and a local language.
Major attractions in short
Tanzania is one of the richest destinations in the world when it comes to natural attractions. 16 national parks comprise a combined area of more than 42,000 km2! And that is not included game reserves and other protected areas which sum up to over 60,000 km2. Tanzania has one of the largest population of game in the world and its diversity, reliability and visibility are extraordinarily unique.
"The Roof of Africa" is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, and the highest peak on the African continent. Kilimanjaro with its three volcanic cones, Kibo, Wawenzi and Shira stands 5,895 meters (19,342 feet) above sea level at the Uhuru Peak. The mountain is ascendable for most, and a very popular attraction many have on their "bucket list". You can read more about the routes and mountain here.
The Great Migration
The annual migration of wildebeest- and zebra herds in northern Tanzania is one of the world's most spectacular wildlife events. When six million hooves pound the open plains of Serengeti and stomps through rivers, you can witness a truly amazing sight. An image than you will carry with you for the rest of your life for sure. Read more about Serengeti and The Great Migration here.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and often referred to "the eigth natural wonder of the world”. It is located in the Crater Highlands a few hours west of Arusha in the northern part of Tanzania. The Ngorongoro crater is a large volcanic caldera, it covers close to 8,300 km2 (3,200 sq.mi) of land and is the habitat for more than 25 000 large animals. Read more about The Ngorongoro Crater here.
Ruaha NP & Selous GR
Ruaha is the largest National Park in Tanzania and the home of 10% of all lions remaining in Africa. Selous is Africas largest Game Reserve that offers a fantastic and varied safari experience, with game drive, walking- and river safari. These two areas are in our eyes the two gems of the authentic African wilderness, not yet fallen into the hands of mass tourism. Read more about them here.
Olduvai gorge (cradle of mankind) is where the skull of a humanoid believed to be 1.75 million years old was discovered. It is located in the north, almost by The Ngorongoro Crater. Laetoli, dated to the Plio-Pleistocene (3,7 million years ago) is famous for its hominin footprints preserved in volcanic ash. In more modern history, Zanzibar, Mafia & Kilwa can provide some pretty intriguing history lessons from 16th century until today.
Tanzanias different tribes and over 120 enthnic groups provides a fantastic opportunity for tourists to experience a very different way of living. The most famous Maasai people have a fascinating nomadic culture with their characteristic red blankets, distinctive hairstyles and colorful jewelry. In most areas you will have the opportunity to visit a local village and NGO (non-govenmental organization) projects .
Tanzania offers an underwater paradise for marine enthusiasts visiting Zanzibar (Unguja), Pemba or Mafia Island. There are many interesting reefs to discover, featuring shallow rocky areas that suddenly drop off into vertiginous crevasses. The islands offers some of the best beaches in Africa and possibly in the world! Perfect for diving, snorkeling or just enjoying the white beaches from above the surface! Read more about the islands here.
Climate and when to travel
All year around Tanzania enjoys a tropical climate due to its position just south of the Equator, and because of this they don't experience a real summer or winter. Some periods are of course better than others to enjoy safari, but beaches, Mount Kilimanjaro and many other attractions can be enjoyed throughout the whole year.
One of the great things about Tanzania is that it is warm year around, unlike other African destinations like South Africa. The yearly average temperature in the Indian Ocean is 27 degrees centigrade.
Seasons & areas
Tanzania basically has a dry and a wet season, but the wet season usually has a “break” during January and February. The coastal areas are hot and humid with an average daily temperature of 30 degrees centigrade. The central plateau is dry and arid with hot days and cool nights.
Low laying areas in the southern and western parks are also hot, but not as humid as the coastal areas. In the northwest highlands around Arusha and Ngorongoro, the climate is temperate and cooler between June and September.
The long rains are from March to May and the short rains fall between October and December. The hottest months are between October and February. Between June and October it is nice if you don't like it too hot!
January & February
From late December and throughout February (although unpredictable) the Southern parks (Mikumi, Selous, Ruaha and Udzungwa) can experience a rain-shower every now and then, but the climate is warm and it is a great time to visit! Ruaha is by far the driest of the Southern parks.
The Western areas (Gombe, Mahale and Katavi) could have more or less a continuous wet season, but usually not extensive rains like in April and May.
The coastal areas and the northern parks have less rain during this period.
March, April & May
By far the wettest months in Tanzania and the peak of the wet-season. Some camps in the Southern area close down during this time, since the roads can be washed away and most local airlines halt their schedules. Especially during April and May it could rain heavily almost every day.
This being said, the rain rarely continues throughout the whole day. If you choose to travel during this time, you would experience a lot less tourists and substantially lower prices. In March you could still enjoy a great safari in the south and beach holiday on the islands, but if you choose to travel during April & May and want safari – stick to the Northern parks.
June – October
This period is the defined as the dry-season. It is the “coldest” period with the least humidity and a great time to visit all parks and the coastal areas including the islands. You should experience very little rain during this period a part from a small shower here and there, and clear sky and sunny weather most days.
It could be cooler at night and in the mornings in this period, so pack warm clothing for evenings and morning game-drives (especially in the north, Ruaha and at higher altitudes). The afternoon temperature usually varies between 20°C/68°F and 30°C/86°F.
November & December
The period is defined as the “short rains”. This is usually a period of about 4 weeks that occurs between late October and mid-December, although the exact period is of course unpredictable. In the Northern parks it could even occur earlier in October. This being said, the rains will rarely interfere with your safari since you won’t experience long periods of rain.
If you choose to travel during this time, you would experience a lot less tourists, lower prices and a far better time to visit than during "the long rains" in March, April & May.
Travel to Tanzania
Traveling from around the world there is only one "main road" to Tanzania, and that is by air!
Tanzania's main international airport is called Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam (DAR). The airport is relatively small with a modest array of services, including an internet connection, souvenir shops and ATM’s. Another airport frequently used, is Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). If you plan a safari in the northern part of Tanzania as well as climbing Kilimanjaro, this would be the best entry point.
Why we want you to book the flights yourself
Simply because it's cheaper for you! Many travel agencies add an unreasonable surcharge to handle this for you. Today almost anyone can use the internet and easily find the best deals themselves. Below we will try to assist you in booking your flight from where you depart. If you do have questions, please get in touch and we will assist you in any way we can – free of charge, of course! To our experience KLM, Turkish and Qatar provides the best options (at least from Europe).
Check out www.momondo.com to compare flights to Tanzania – we think it’s a great site!
- KLM: Connection from almost all countries via Amsterdam. Stops both at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and in Dar Es Salaam (DAR)
- Kenya Airways: Cooperating with KLM on their routes
- British Airways: Connections from almost all countries via London. Stops both at JRO and DAR
- Turkish Airlines: Connection from almost all countries via Istanbul. Stops both at JRO and DAR
- Qatar Airways: Connection from almost all countries via Doha. Stops both at JRO and DAR
- Air France: Connection from almost all countries via Paris. Stops both at JRO and DAR
- Emirates & SAS + Ethiopian are other options
- KLM: Connections via Amsterdam from LA, Austin, Miami, NY
- Kenya Airways: Cooperating with KLM on their route
- BA:Connections via London. Stops both at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and in Dar es Salaam (DAR)
- Turkish Airlines: Connection via Istanbul. Stops both at JRO and in DAR
- Qatar Airways: Connection via Doha. Stops both at JRO and in DAR
- Air France: Connection via Paris. Stops both at JRO and in DAR
From South America
- KLM: From Brazil. Connections via Amsterdam. Stops both in Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and in Dar Es Salaam (DAR)
- Kenya Airways: Cooperating with KLM on their routes
- Turkish Airlines: From Brazil. Connection via Istanbul. Stops both at JRO and in DAR
- Air France: From Brazil & Argentina. Connection via Istanbul. Stops both at JRO and in DAR
- Qatar Airways: From Brazil & Argentina. Connection via Doha. Stops both at JRO and in DAR
- KLM: Connections via Amsterdam. Stops both at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and in Dar Es Salaam (DAR)
- Kenya Airways: Cooperating with KLM on their routes
- Turkish Airlines: Connection via Istanbul. Stops both at JRO and DAR
- Qatar Airways: Connection via Doha. Stops both at JRO and DAR
- KLM: From Hong Kong. Destination Kilimanjaro and Dar es Salaam
- Air France: From Hong Kong
- Emirates: Very good service and experience
- Qatar Airways: Via Qatar and will give you some hours there
- Malaysia Airlines: Just changing schedules
- Ethiopian Airlines: Cheapest there is from Beijing
- KLM: From Sydney. Stops both at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and in Dar es Salaam (DAR)
- Turkish Airways: From Sydney. Stops both at JRO and in DAR
- South African Airlines
Travel in Tanzania
One of the great things about Tanzania is the possibility to incorporate very different activities within one day. In the morning you can have fantastic game drive, climb the hills in the Southern Highlands during mid-day and then end the day at some idyllic beach in the afternoon. Perhaps even discover the ruins of an ancient Swahili city-state later the same night. In most of our trips we use a combination of transportation by car and small airplanes which gives a fantastic experience from the air!
Unless you have arranged otherwise, all the transportation in Tanzania is included. The only exceptions being the excursions you book yourself that are not stated in the program/itinerary. Wherever you go in Tanzania people will offer you transportation. Be sure that you only go with a driver that either knows your name or Tanzania Explorer. We recommend arranging a taxi at your hotel/lodge if you wish to go to a local market etc. Each hotel/lodge has their own regular drivers, normally they will also offer to pick you up again at a certain time, if not; request a time to be picked up.
The name and number of your safari-driver will in most cases be stated in your “Welcome to Tanzania Letter.” If you have a “fly in - fly out” safari, you will be taken to the local airport for your flight out to the park, and then picked up at the park airstrip by a driver from the camp you are staying at.
If you have chosen a “round-trip-safari”, the driver that picks you up from the hotel will be with you the whole time. There will be a cooler with bottled water available in the car. Driving out to the reserves can take anywhere from 3-8 hours depending on which route you have chosen.
Safari includes a lot of driving, also between reserves and this is a part of the whole safari experience. If you are prepared for this, you will enjoy your experience even more. Since you are going out to remote areas, a good hint would be to get other beverages of your liking and even some snacks on the way out, since they might be hard to come by in the wild.
Most safari vehicles are custom built, so they don’t have any CD player etc. If you like music, be sure to bring your own. The roads are not the best, so be prepared for a bumpy ride. The seats however are comfortable and the drivers are very experienced. If you at some point feel uncomfortable with something, be sure to communicate with your driver. He is there for your comfort and safety!
At the end of the safari the driver will take you to your hotel, airport or ferry where you continue your journey. If you have any immediate questions, your driver should be able to help you.
Flying in Tanzania
Most of the aircrafts used in transportation out to the parks are anywhere from 4-12 seats aircrafts. This is one of the reasons why you should pack in soft-shell/duffel bags. They don’t have a lot of space for luggage, so bags are easier to fit in. There are 3 different airlines we use, and all of them have a 15 kg (33 lb) limit for luggage.
Your question would of course be; “how strict are they?”. Before we write our recommendation it is important to say that this is not our decision and we cannot control this in any way. You are personally responsible for this, although we would ofcourse assist you if luggage is left behind and needs to be transported to your new destination. This being said, it is usually not a problem unless you are severely overweight (25 kg total). If there are many free seats on the plane this will never be a problem. With a full airplane however, it could be.
They will in most cases weigh your luggage at the airport flying in to the reserves but not out from the reserves. In general, our recommendation is to pack reasonably light. Most hotels and lodges in Dar es Salaam, Arusha and on Zanzibar can provide laundry services.
Flying out to a park in these small aircrafts is an experience in itself. You get a incredible view as the smaller aircrafts fly closer to ground than the larger ones. And yes, they are all completely safe and up to standard!
Taking the ferry
Some of our travelers will use a ferry either on the way to Zanzibar or on the way back. This is a great experience and you get the opportunity to see both Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar from the seaside. First of all, all the ferries we use are high quality and safe. We always book customers in first class, which provides indoor seating in leather chairs with aircondition.
The dock in Dar es Salaam and in Stone Town on Zanzibar can be very chaotic, and queue culture is basically non-existing. So stay calm and don’t stress! There are many porters here that would like to carry your luggage but we recommend that you carry them yourself.
If you do decide to get help, make sure you agree on the price first (5000 TSh / 5 USD). If you don't agree on a price upfront, they could charge you up to 15-20 USD. Once at your destination, your luggage will be unloaded on to the dock for your pick-up unless you have carried them off yourself.
If you are on your way to Zanzibar, you could be required to fill out another visa-application card (no cost) and show your vaccine card, proving you have taken the yellow fever vaccine. If you fail to do so upon request, you would either have to take the vaccine there upon arrival or return back to the mainland.
If included in your itinerary (in most cases it is) there will be a driver waiting for you outside holding a sign with your name and a Tanzania Explorer logo/mark. They will all say they are “your driver” so be sure to check you have the right driver, he should already know your destination and name and don´t have to ask for it!
Traveling around on Zanzibar
We highly recommend exploring Zanzibar while being there. There is lots to see and many activities to attend. Prior to your departure we can send you a list of activities and attractions to visit.
With all activities arranged by us you will have a personal driver assigned by Tanzania Explorer. If you choose to do other excursions and explore the island, this person can also assist and arrange transport for you.
For safety reasons we do NOT recommend to take a random "taxi". Your hotel can also arrange trustworthy transportation. It might be a little more expensive – but you know you can trust the driver.
In some places you can also rent scooters and motorbikes. There are many different opinions about whether this is safe or not. If you do decide to rent, you must ensure that the scooters are insured and that you can easily get in contact with the rental place if anything should happen.
The driving in Zanzibar can be pretty aggressive, with high speed even on the smallest roads, so please show utmost caution. It is also possible to take a “dala dala” which are Zanzibar’s local busses. They are very cheap, but could be time-consuming and very crowded (with anything from goods to domestic animals) onboard.
Whatever you decide to do; show common sense, and «healthy skepticism» with a smile!
Health and preparations
Passport & travel insurance
Please make sure your passport is valid at least six months after returning from Tanzania. For your own safety we also recommend to bring a photo-copy of your passport that you store somewhere else than your passport. It is vital to take out comprehensive travel medical insurance, and it is essential that it should include repatriation to your home country in the event of an emergency.
If you are going to be active in Tanzania (mountain climbing or scuba-diving for example), ensure the policy has adequate provision. For those of you who are climbing Kilimanjaro, make sure to inform your insurance company as some travel insurances specify which areas that are included in their different plans. They may also have a limit to what height you can ascend to, Kilimanjaro is 5,895 m.a.s.l.
You can acquire your visa prior to departure, from the local Tanzanian embassy/consulate in your country. If you decide to do this, it might be more practical than to stand in queue once you arrive, but please note that it might be both time-consuming (could take at least 4 weeks) and even more costly than to acquire it upon arrival, as we recommend.
For US residents the cost for single entry visa to Tanzania is 100 USD per person and for all others it is 50 US. This is paid cash together with the visa application form found in the arrival hall. Some airlines hand this out on the plane, and if this is the case we advise you to fill it out before you arrive. This could save you a lot of time at arrival. It is not uncommon to wait 30-45 minutes while your visa is being processed.
Vaccination & medication
When it comes to vaccines we recommend taking Hepatitis A, Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (the latter three are in one dose). Typhoid and Hepatitis B are recommended for longer travels (more than 3-4 weeks). To our experience you might get different advice when it comes to Yellow Fever, and you will find information about this no longer being required. This is not true when it comes to Zanzibar.
If you get checked on the entry to Zanzibar, you will have to prove that you have taken the Yellow Fever vaccine in order to enter the island. If you need more documentation about this, we will be more than happy to advise you. If you for some reason choose not to take this vaccine, and you are not granted permission to enter Zanzibar, Tanzania Explorer is not liable for any costs related to this.
When it comes to malaria we highly recommend prescription on Malarone or similar tablets. Please note that you might need to start taking the malaria tablets a few days before you travel and continue until one week after your return. Please confirm with your doctor/medical office. If you need advise on where to get your vaccines, you can ask your representative in Tanzania Explorer.
Some travellers also choose to take Dukoral or similar vaccine against cholera (severe diarrhea). Whether you choose to take this or not, we recommend Imodium for you medical travel-kit, incase of an upset stomach.
Electricity, outlets & charging
Like many other African nations, Tanzania has a big problem with sustainable energy and electricity. Many camps and lodges rely solely on generators and will not have power throughout the whole day or night to save energy. Many mid-range lodges don’t have electricity or running generators at night, so put on everything you need to charge once you return from your safari each day, and be aware of the times when the generators are on.
The electricity problem also apply to hotels and beach resorts, regardless of “how many stars” the hotel has. All hotels should have generators that will kick-in if the electricity is down, but it might take a few minutes before they are up and running. This is completely normal in Africa, and has little to do with the quality of the place you are staying at. So please enjoy a few moments in the dark every now and then, it’s a part of the experience!
Tanzania use 230 V and we recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit. For U.S. & Canadian residents (120 V) and adapter will be required in all cases. Europeans can in many cases use their current plugs, but bring a adapter to be sure. In the Tanzanian outlets there is a small “plastic tap” in a hole between the outlets. Use tweezers or similar and push this tap down and you will be able to insert the plug into the outlet (if you are not comfortable using a tweezer for this, use a stick or similar).
Money, currency & credit cards
We recommend everyone to bring some USD for the stay. They can be used at most tourist destinations and can also be exchanged into Tanzanian Shillings (hereafter TSh) at decent rates. It is also much easier to exchange USD back to your local currency once you return. TSh is the most used currency in Tanzania and we advise you to take out shillings once you arrive at the airport in Tanzania. Most countries will not exchange TSh back to your local currency, and if they do – be prepared for a lousy exchange-rate.
We often get the question “how much should I bring?”. This will vary, depending on what’s included in your package, how many days of beach, safari, or mountain trekking you have and how much activities you intend to participate in. On safari, you will spend very little money. The only thing you would probably spend money on here are drinks in the camps and tipping (see the next chapter for information on tipping). During a mountain climb you would not require any money other than for tipping, which is normally in USD (but bring some for purchasing souvenirs at the gate where your trek ends).
The most money will probably be spent on your beach vacation. If you have a safari & beach vacation, most people would be well off with 800-1000 USD per week, if they intend to “dine well” and enjoy a lot of activities. You will be able to exchange USD to TSh at the airports, in the major cities and even at some hotels. If you choose to take out TSh from credit/debit cards (which we highly recommend), you can do this at the airports and in the major cities.
Please note that on Zanzibar, ATM’s are only available in the airport and in Stone Town. Cash is the preferred payment method in Tanzania. Although you may be able to pay with credit cards at major shopping centers and at some hotels, please be aware that most hotels add a 5-10% fee to the bill when using credit cards. This is due to high credit card surcharges in Africa, and it's not an attempt to squeeze more money out of you as a tourist. We encourage the use of cash for your own benefit and ensure you have both dollars and shillings available.
Avoid taking out large amounts of shillings that you get stuck with. 300-400 000 Tanzanian shilling (appr. 200-300 USD) would in most case cover the basics if you decide to take most of your cost in USD.
Note: Some people have restrictions on their credit cards with usage only permitted in certain regions. Make sure you have cleared Africa and Tanzania for usage before you leave your home country.
Tanzania is like most other African countries a “tipping country”, and many people actually live off and relies on their tip. As a general rule, if you feel that you got great service, give a solid tip. If you didn’t get the service you expected – don’t! It is important to send a signal that is based on how happy you actually are for their services.
Please note that most lodges and hotels that you stay at, would like you to give a tip at the end of the stay, not after each meal. They usually have a tip-box in the reception area. At the safari lodges a tip of 10 USD per day is considered a good tip. By the book, tipping would be approximately 15% on restaurant-bills.
While on safari, a tip of 15-20 USD per person per day would be considered good (10 if you are 4 or more in the car).
The tip to the guide/driver would be given at your final destination, before you part from your guide/driver the last day. In general, it is always nice to have some small tipping-money at hand (1 USD-bills or shillings available if you should need help with luggage etc. We encourage our guests to tip with their heart rather than “by the book”.
Luggage -how to pack
We recommend all travellers to pack in duffel bags rather than regular suitcases. This is more practical when going on safari and could be essential if you have domestic flights using smaller airplanes (domestic flights to safari destinations usually only allows one piece of 15 kg luggage). Suitcases can be hard to “drag around" in Africa, unless you only stay at a typical beach resort.
In case your luggage gets delayed or lost on the way to Tanzania, make sure that you have your valuables packed in your hand-luggage along with a change of clothes and other necessities and any medicines you rely on. When is comes to your carry-on, think of the purpose of the bag rather than what "looks good" while traveling. This will most likely be the piece that you bring out on your daily safari and what you would normally take to the beach and bring on excursions – so be practical.
Clothing -what to pack
Light tropical clothes are most suitable. Some warm clothing is needed in the higher altitude areas like Ngorongoro Crater, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Ruaha and Arusha, especially in the evenings and early in the morning.
Bring light and loose clothing and comfortable walking-shoes for safaris, and stick to earth tone colors. Caps or a wide-brimmed hat can also be good for protecting you face and neck from the sun. In the evening it can be "cooler" so bring light pants and a thin sweater. You are welcome to bring your mobile-phone on safari but put it on silent. Do not forget your camera and also binoculars can be handy to bring. A small flashlight (headlamp) can also be useful at night. Many places become very dark in the evenings so it's a very smart thing to bring a long. You are also advised to carry some insect repellents and sunscreen of course.
Note: We have preparation documents that sum up these chapters as well as detailed packing-lists for all our customers!