Tanzania’s air hub is Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam. Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), between Arusha and Moshi, also handles international flights, and is the best option for itineraries in Arusha and the northern safari circuit. It shouldn’t be confused with the smaller Arusha Airport (ARK), 8km west of Arusha, which handles some domestic flights. KLM, Ethiopian Airlines and Turkish Airlines have direct daily flights into JRO.
Almost everyone needs a visa, which costs between US$20 and US$100, depending on nationality, for a single-entry visa valid for up to three months. It’s best to get the visa in advance (and necessary if you want multiple entry), though visas are currently readily issued at Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro airports and at most border crossings (all nationalities US$50, US dollars cash only, single-entry only).
WHEN TO GO
Tanzania can be visited during all seasons. The weather is coolest and driest from late June to September, although in July and August, hotels and park lodges, especially in the north, are at their fullest. October and November are very pleasant, with fewer crowds and a slowly greening-up landscape as the short rains begin in many areas. From late December until February, temperatures are high, but not oppressive. Watch out for high-season hotel prices around the Christmas–New Year holidays, as well as during the July-August peak.
During the main rainy season (March to May), you can save substantially on accommodation costs, and enjoy landscapes that are green and full of life. However, some secondary roads may be impassable, and this is the time when many hotels close for a month or so, especially along the coast. Malaria risk, especially in coastal and low-lying areas, also tends to be higher at this time.
Tanzania’s currency is the Tanzanian shilling (Tsh). Prices can be high in Tanzania, and credit cards are not widely accepted, even at many upmarket hotels. If they are accepted, it’s often only with steep commissions, which means that you will need to rely more heavily on cash. ATM’s are widely available in cities. The best currency to bring is US dollars. $50 and $100 notes are changed at the best rate. All US dollar bills need to be 2009 or newer. Euros are easily changed as well.
Tanzania is in general a safe, hassle-free country. That said, you do need to take the usual precautions. Avoid isolated areas, especially stretches of beach, and in cities and tourist areas take a taxi at night. In tourist areas – especially Arusha, Moshi and Zanzibar – touts and flycatchers can be extremely aggressive. Take requests for donations from ‘refugees’, ‘students’ or others with a grain of salt. Contributions to humanitarian causes are best done through an established agency or project. Keep the side windows up in vehicles when stopped in traffic and keep your bags out of sight.
The following are recommended:
- • Hepatitis A
- • Polio
- • Typhoid
- • Tetanus
- • Diphtheria
- • Yellow Fever
TANZANIA YELLOW FEVER VACCINATION CERTIFICATES
All passengers en route to Tanzania, who have passed through an Endemic Yellow Fever zone(s) and have left the airport of that endemic country, will be required to show yellow fever certificates on their arrival in Tanzania. Otherwise they will require a vaccination at the entry point of arrival in Tanzania (vaccination fee USD 50.00).
We personally recommend you to get your Yellow Fever Certificate anyway, to be on the safe side, as it is valid for 10 years and you might be delayed in an endemic country for more than 12h if your flight get delayed and then you will need to provide it.
Please be aware that we had reports of Arusha airport abusive practices and if you get asked for your Yellow Fever Certificate and you don’t have it, argue that you were only transiting in Kenya or Ethiopia and did not leave the airport and therefore aren’t entitled to provide such certificate and will NOT purchase it at the airport.
We advise that you check with your nearest specialist travel clinic 4-6 weeks before departure to get up-to-date information. A specialist travel clinic should also be able to advise regarding any special vaccination requirements for your children.
International rules for carrying medicines vary. Some countries do not allow certain medicines to be imported, or require official documents, such as a doctor’s letter, to prove drugs have been prescribed by a doctor and obtained legally. It is sensible to contact the relevant embassy or high commission of your destination to check what their drug transportation rules are before you travel.
Malaria is a serious problem in East Africa. Talk to your doctor about how to prevent malaria while traveling. You may need to take prescription medicine before, during, and after your trip to prevent malaria, especially if you are visiting low-altitude areas.
You can find detailed information here Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
TRAVEL MEDICINE CHECKLIST
Following is a list of items to consider packing:
- • Acetaminophen (paracetamol) or aspirin
- • Acetazolamide (Diamox) for altitude sickness
- • Antibacterial ointment (eg Bactroban) for cuts and abrasions
- • Antibiotics eg ciprofloxacin (Ciproxin) or norfloxacin (Utinor)
- • Antidiarrhoeal drugs
- • Antihistamines (for hay fever and allergic reactions)
- • Anti-inflammatory drugs (eg ibuprofen)
- • Iodine tablets (for water purification)
- • Oral rehydration salts
Find out in advance if your insurance plan will make payments directly to providers or reimburse you later for overseas health expenditures. Most doctors in Tanzania expect payment in cash. It’s vital to ensure that your travel insurance will cover any emergency transport required to get you at least as far as Nairobi (Kenya), or – preferably – all the way home, by air and with a medical attendant if necessary.
Not obligatory, but a tip for exceptional service (max 10%) will be appreciated. We will be happy to provide you with guidelines for tipping drivers, tour guides, porters.
230V, but power failures, surges and troughs are common. Bring a universal adapter and a flashlight, headlamps tend to be the most practical.
TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN
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. We will do all we can to make your program as child-friendly as possible.
We use either regular or extended Landcruiser vehicles, depending on the size of your party. All vehicles are 4WD, with plenty of space, and a pop-up photographic roof hatch. Windows can all be opened. Note that none of our vehicles are air-conditioned. Air conditioning simply does not work on safari – the drives in national parks are too rough and dusty, and the system does not work. In any case air conditioning is not necessary – the vast majority of the time you will have the large roof hatch open, spotting animals, and all the windows open to let cool air in.
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.
You will have many opportunities to purchase souvenirs in Arusha and while on safari. In Arusha, the souvenir market with the best prices is located in the center of Arusha town approximately 500 meters southwest of the central post office/clock tower on Sinoni Road. You will have to bargain at this market; you should pay about 50% of the asking price. While on safari, we will visit the African Galleria, which is our favorite gift shop. It offers a great selection of African curios and a nicely curated selection of vintage and antique pieces. Here you’ll also have an opportunity to buy precious stones, including Tanzanite. http://africangalleriatz.net/
For your comfort we recommend you travel as light as possible. Please bring a soft duffel bag and not a hard case suitcase as soft sided luggage packs more easily into the safari vehicle, and a daypack large enough to carry what you need for the day including camera, water, etc.
We recommend that you bring light casual clothes in neutral or muted colors (brighter colors can attract insects, and we urge you not to wear blue, black and white clothing as this is particularly attractive to certain insects!). Remember to bring sunglasses, sunscreen, hat with ties so it doesn’t blow off in the wind, and insect repellent if you go on safari. In the evenings it can get rather chilly, especially in the months of May-September, so bring a warm sweater and a scarf.
Tanzania is a conservative country, women should consider carry a wrap to cover legs in the villages and towns as revealing clothes can cause offense, especially in Zanzibar and Muslim areas.
If climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro or Mt. Meru, please refer to the Kilimanjaro Packing List.
Items to consider for your trip
- • Sun Hat
- • Maps, guidebooks
- • Scarf (for dust and/or sun)
- • Batteries
- • Sunglasses
- • Binoculars
- • Journal/notebook, pencil and pen
- • Pocket knife
- • Electricity adapter
- • Energy bars and snacks
- • Headlamp or flashlight
- • Camera, mini ¬tripod
- • Mementos for guides and other travelers
- • Travel pillow
- • Wet wipes
- • Band-Aid
- • Sleeping bag liner
- • Surrong
- • Travel towel
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
If you have credit card insurance we will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank’s name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
A few travel insurance providers that we recommend: