Travel Tips

Travel Tips

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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 are convertible at banks and bureau de changes in the main towns and tourist areas. Credit cards, particularly visa, are accepted at most up market lodges but not at more low-key enterprises. In large towns, several banks offer ATM facilities against international credit cards. National park fees for the main northern circuit parks (Serengeti, Tarangire, Manyara, Arusha, Kilimanjaro) are payable only by Master Card, visa Card or customized Tanapa cards sold at all branches of the Exim Bank. Other parks still accept payment in hard currency cash only.

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 diarrhea 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. (See Mt. Kilimanjaro section for altitude sickness advice.)

Climate

Generally dry and hot with cool rights/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-colored 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 are 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 wont return home exhausted. Keep your distance from animals and be quiet to avoid distressing the wildlife. Follow instructions of ranger or guides. Don’t leave your vehicle in the parks except in designated places. Keep to recognized tracks to avoid damaging vegetation.

Photography

If you still use, film, bring all you need with you. For digital photography, most lodges and tented camps now have facilities to charge camera batteries and the like. Protect your cameras from dust and keep equipment and film cool. It is courteous to ask permission before photographing local people.

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 appreciate. $10 -$15 per day for driver or tour guide. An excessive tip can make it difficult for the next customer.

Time

3 hrs + GMT.

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. 4 x 4 vehicles for safaris usually have to be hired with a driver.

Driving

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

Travel 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.

Visa

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 town or cities at night-take 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 sweet 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, jewelers and trinkets. Don’t be afraid to haggle at roadside curio stalls.

List of Things to Take on Safari

Travel essentials

  • Valid passport and Visa   
  • Photo copy of passport
  • Airline ticket
  • International health card with immunisations (yellow fever)
  • Travel insurance
  • Medical insurance
  • US$ cash / travellers cheques (checks) / credit card
  • Small lock to lock zippers together
  • Sleeping bag for adventure Camping
  • Small diary and pen
  • Clothing
  • Neutrally coloured clothing
  • 4 - 5 short sleeve t-shirts
  • 2 - 3 pairs of shorts
  • 2 sweaters or sweatshirts
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Hankies
  • 2 pairs of casual trousers
  • 2 long sleeve shirts
  • Lightweight rain jacket
  • Fleece jacket
  • Walking shoes
  • Lightweight shoes
  • Swimsuit
  • Warm sleeping outfit for camping safaris
  • Wide-brimmed hat
  • Accessories
  • Toilet kit (soap, tooth brush, toilet articles, handy wipes, etc. It's best to bring small trail size containers.)
  • Towel
  • Sun screen and lip protection (SPF 30)
  • Ziploc bags to protect camera, binoculars and other such things from dust
  • Money belt
  • Insect repellents spray
  • First aid
  • Aspirin
  • Imodium
  • Valoid
  • Painkillers
  • Bandages
  • Throat lozenges
  • Eye drops

Other accessories

  • Camera, lenses and extra film, where applicable (ASA 200 film recommended)
  • Binoculars
  • Pocket knife
  • Insect repellents
  • Reading and writing material
  • Snacks
  • Sweets
  • Nuts
  • Video camera
  • Video tapes (if applicable)
  • Battery packs
  • Tri-pod

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