A few points to consider when visiting Tanzania
Tanzania has two International Airports and many regional airports and bush airstrips. Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam is the best port of entry for the Southern and Western Circuits safari circuits. Kilimanjaro International Airport is the usual port of entry for the Northern Circuit. The roads of Tanzania are a mixture of well maintained tarred roads to bare tracks. Driving safaris are popular, especially for small groups of 4 to 6 family or friends travelling together, as it often works out cheaper than flying. The other advantage of a drive safari is that you have a private vehicle and the same guide throughout your safari. The disadvantage is that the distances between areas can be colossal and much of your time is spent travelling, whereas by air the distances are covered quite quickly and smoothly.
A visa is required each time you enter the United Republic of Tanzania. It is recommended to obtain your visa prior to travel, however visas are available at the entry ports of Dar es Salaam International Airport, Zanzibar International Airport, Kilimanjaro International Airport and Namanga Entry Point. Visas can be obtained from any Diplomatic or Consulate Mission of the United Republic of Tanzania.
Many areas of Tanzania are malaria prone but this does not mean a mosquito bite will result into malaria please check with your medical practitioner for the latest advice on precautions to take. Tsetse flies, often found in heavily wooded areas. They can be a nuisance as their bites can be painful. Mostly found in the woody and marsh areas. Especially in some areas around Serengeti and Selous game parks, a good guide will keep away from this areas.
As of 2016, a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is mandatory for ALL visitors coming to Tanzania. It is always prudent to take out travel and medical insurance before travelling to ensure that if there should be an unexpected problem, you are covered. Language
Another important fact to consider when visiting Tanzania is the language spoken. The official languages Swahili followed by English and most of the people that you meet on a safari can speak some English. Many safari guides can speak languages other than English which the basic form of communication. French, Spanish, Italian, German guides are the easily available on request.
Banking and Currency
In Tanzania, the unit of currency is the Tanzanian Shilling, which is divided into 100 Cents. Notes are issued in denominations of 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, and 10000 Shillings. Coins are issued in denominations of 50, 100 and 200 Shillings.
Banks are open from 9:00am to 3:00pm Monday to Friday. Many banks are equipped with 24 hour ATM machines.
Credit cards and travellers checks are not widely accepted in Tanzania. Where they are accepted can high service fees and poor exchange rates be expected. Major foreign currencies – particularly US $ – are accepted in Tanzania and are convertible at banks and bureau de changes in the main towns and tourist areas. If bringing cash in US $, please make sure bank notes are in good condition, with no cuts or damage and are not older than 2004. Most banks offer higher exchange rates for US $ 100 / US $ 50 bank notes compared to US $ 20 / US $ 10 or US $ 5 bank notes.
Travel, Transport and Getting Around
If you are visiting Tanzania, you should consider that there a number of parks and reserves in Tanzania, you can either drive or fly between them. Roads in most of the wilderness areas are in poor condition and unmarked, and self-driving is not recommended. Operators will supply you with a driver who doubles as an informal guide; alternatively, you can arrange to fly to your
destination and utilize a car and driver supplied by the lodgings. Elsewhere in when visiting Tanzania, towns and cities are linked by a steady stream of buses and dala-dalas (minibuses), and in the cities, there is public transport in the way of buses, dala-dalas, taxis, and, in some places, bicycles or tuk-tuks. Precision Air run regular services, mostly via Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro or Zanzibar, to all main towns and other destinations in East Africa and beyond. All national parks and some of the top-end luxury lodges have airstrips and other smaller airlines like coastal air, auric air operates between these and the main airports on the mainland and the islands of Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia. ZanAir has frequent connections between Zanzibar, Pemba and the mainland. Driving is on the left hand side of the road
Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice
Food and drink would probably be in your most of the time when visiting Tanzania and whether it is safe to eat. Most camps, lodges or hotels cater specifically to tourists and serve Western-style food, ranging in standard, but generally are excellent. Game lodges tend to offer a daily set menu with a limited selection, so it is advisable to have your tour operator specify in advance if you are a vegetarian or have other specific dietary requirements. First-time
visitors to Africa might take note that most game lodges in and around the national parks have isolated locations, and driving within the parks is neither permitted nor advisable after dark, so that there is no realistic alternative to eating at your lodge.
Tap water in Tanzania is generally not safe to drink, and most travellers try to stick to mineral water. Filtered and bottled water can be difficult to find you are travelling outside of main town and so it is advisable to stock up. Most camps, lodges and hotels have bottled water readily available.
Climate and Weather
Just south of the equator, Tanzania is huge and its sheer size means that the climate varies considerably within it. However, generally the main rainy season, or the long rains, lasts during about March, April and May. Afternoon tropical downpours are the norm – which are heavier and more predictable beside the coast and on the islands.
The humidity is high and daily temperatures reach the low-mid 30°s.
The long dry season lasts throughout June, July, August, September and October is when rainfall is unusual, even on the islands. Temperatures vary hugely with altitude and location, but it’s usually a fine, clear sky and sunny weather – it’s a great time to visit Tanzania. During November and December there’s another rainy season: the short rains. These are much lighter than the main rains and less reliable.
If it has rained during the short rains, then it normally dries up for a few months, January and February, which is Tanzania’s short dry season, before starting to rain again in earnest in March.
Clothing and Dress Recommendations
It never gets really cold in Tanzania so lightweight clothing, preferably cotton or linen, is recommended. While on a game viewing safari, avoid brightly coloured clothing, stick to whites, beiges, khakis and browns. There may be long days sitting in safari vehicles, so it is advisable to wear light comfortable clothing such as short sleeved shirts and
cotton/linen trousers or shorts. Denim will become too hot and extremely uncomfortable. Walking shoes and socks will be required. The evenings will be chilly, so long sleeved shirts and trousers should be worn. A sweater may be needed. These will also prevent you being bitten by insects. A hat should be worn at all times outside. The sun may sometimes not feel hot, but it can still easily burn, especially if it is cloudy and overcast.
If visiting Zanzibar or any coastal town dont forget to take a swimsuit, as it is invariably warm. Ladies are recommended to take cotton skirts, blouses and dresses. Sandals are a must for this environment! On the beaches and within the confines of hotels, normal swimwear is acceptable but nudity is not. As over a third of the population in Zanzibar is Muslim, it is therefore not etiquette for ladies to walk around in public displaying their legs and shoulders. Remember to dress modestly as short shorts, miniskirts, vests and tank tops will be frowned upon.
Electricity and Plug Standards
The electricity supply in Tanzania is 220/240 volts at 50Hz. Plugs are 3 point square (UK Type). Adapters are available at major airports.