Travel to Tanzania
Through years of experience traveling in Tanzania, Aardvark Expeditions Limited has collected useful tips for you that are given below. Keep these tips in mind as you prepare for your trip to this beautiful country.
You can book your flight depending on where your safari brings you, arrival and departure may be different. We can give you a fitting travel advice based on your trip. There is not only a difference in destination airport but also in airlines. The airlines that are utilized most by our guests are: KLM, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines. There is a quality and price difference between the different airlines. Aardvark Expeditions Limited is delighted to arrange all transfers for you between arrival and departure.
Every “foreigner” is expected to have a valid visa to entry the country unless the country of origin has a treaty with Tanzania under which the visa is not required. Kindly note that your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your date of departure from Tanzania and it must have at least two blank pages.
There are several ways of obtaining a visa:
- Through the Embassy/Consulate of the United Republic of Tanzania.
- At the immigration service at the arrival airport in Tanzania or Kenya. Please make sure that if you travel via Kenya you also obtain a so-called transit visa in Kenya, while you buy a travel visa once arrived at the Tanzanian airport or the border of Tanzania. The costs of a visa is USD $50 per person, with the exception of US citizens whom pay USD $100 for a single entry visa (to be paid in cash). It is advisable to double check the price before you leave.
We advise you to take a travel and cancellation insurance during your stay in Tanzania, which covers Africa. If you are planning to climb the Kilimanjaro or Mount Meru, you should check with your travel insurance company if it covers mountain climbing or if you need an extra package for this. If you are planning to dive, we also recommend to check if you need an additional insurance.
When traveling to Tanzania we advise you to contact your doctor or travel advice center for information, prevention and vaccination, because this depends on where you are planning to go to. Additionally, in Tanzania it may be dusty. If you are allergic to pollen and dust, you wisely take medication.
When arriving in Tanzania it is advisable to plan a day for resting, to ensure that you can get used to the new environment. Change of food and high altitude can cause diarrhea, headaches and/or loss of appetite. Be aware of the intense sunrays in Africa. If possible wear a hat or cap, keep drinking enough water and use if necessary some extra salt. Drinking ice-cold beverages is not recommended, because your stomach and intestines can be surtaxed. It is absolutely not recommended to drink water out of the faucet in Tanzania, only drink mineral water from sealed bottles.
If you are going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or Mount Meru with Aardvark Expeditions Limited we do twice a day, or more often if necessary, a medical check-up. Your guides during the climb are medically trained in altitude sickness and we always take oxygen on to the mountain.
Swahili and English are the official languages of Tanzania. Most of the people working in the tourism industry are fluent in English and very often they speak another foreign language.
Aardvark Expeditions Limited does not have any luggage restrictions, however airlines companies do. Please remember that if you have a domestic flight, it is important to check the limitations for this company as well, since these often vary from international flights. Also check out our safari packing list to help you pack smart and light.
It is important to keep your camera and other equipment dust free and in cool places, to ensure a longer lifespan of the equipment. We offer the possibility to recharge your batteries in our safari car and often it is also possible to charge them at your hotel/lodge. If you would like to take a picture of the local people, please first ask for permission. It is not permitted to take pictures of formal people/objects, such as police officers, military, barracks, airports or national flags. If in doubt, do not do it, it is not worth the trouble.
It is common to tip in Tanzania. In small and simple restaurants and bars, a tip is not necessarily expected (though appreciated). In touristic areas it is common to tip bellmen, maids, taxi drivers or bus drivers an amount of about USD $1, 1 Euro or 1,000 Tsh. A tip like this is also given to people on the streets that are helping out. In more luxurious restaurants, you can include a tip of about 5-10% of the bill. The guideline for tipping for your private safari guide/driver is USD $25-30 per safari car per day. Tipping for climbing crew will be provided with the proposal for your climbing tour.
Tanzania is a safe, stable and friendly country. In large cities and busy areas, such as markets and bus stations, it is advised to keep your eyes on your belongings. Please leave valuable jewelry at home. In the evenings don’t walk in the streets, but rather take a private taxi.
In the parks it is not dangerous if you take the following points into consideration:
- Always listen to the advice your guide gives you.
- Do not get out of the vehicle when you are in a park, without the permission of the guide.
- Follow the rules that are set by accommodations or tented camps.
- Do not go for a walk at night on your own.
- During hikes, walking and canoe safaris you should stick to the rules that have been explained during the briefing.
Pack as light as possible. Take lightweight, easily washable cotton clothes and a sweater since it can cool down in the evening. To protect yourself against the sun, we advise you to pack a hat or cap, sunglasses and sun creme. In many restaurants you are expected to be dressed casually. On the Islamic coast and Zanzibar, women must be covered (partly), so do not wear swimwear or very short shorts in the streets. Normally, people in Tanzania wear flip-flops or sandals. However if you are planning to walk long distances it is advisable to bring along hiking shoes or trainers.
Colors like blue and black should be avoided during game drives, since they attract tsetse flies and other insects. Tsetse flies like to linger around your feet and ankles. If you visit a park where the tsetse fly could potentially be active (like Serengeti National Park), it is recommended to tuck your long pants into your socks (not blue or black). Neutral colors like light brown, olive green and khaki are good for safari activities and are highly recommended.
A comprehensive overview of safari clothing to pack can be found in our Safari Packing List. If you are planning to climb the Kilimanjaro we will send you extra clothing advice attached to your itinerary.
The currency of Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling (Tsh). There are coins of 50, 100, 200 and 500 Tsh and bank notes of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 Tsh. Foreign currencies, particularly Euros and US Dollars, are generally accepted and are convertible to Tanzanian Shillings (Tsh) at banks and currency exchange offices. Please note that no dollar bills are accepted older than 2006. Credit cards can be used in most mid-range and luxury lodges. Larger towns offer ATM facilities and currency exchange offices. If you are planning to use your debit or credit card be sure to notify your bank you will be traveling abroad, because sometimes banks will deactivate your card if you have not notified them.
Electricity in Tanzania is 220-240V. Power failures can occur regularly; therefore bringing a flashlight is advisable. Most places will have a generator to ensure power when electricity fails. However, during the night hours these are often turned off. We advise you to take a universal adapter in order to be able to use your electrical appliances. All our safari vehicles offer charging possibilities for mobiles and cameras.
Tourist areas and hotels/lodges sell a wide range of souvenirs, jewelry and drinks. Be aware that Tanzania has an export ban on souvenirs made of protected animals and plant species. Do not be afraid to bargain, the sales man will never sell the product for a price that is too low. If necessary, your guide will be more than happy to help you negotiating a reasonable price.
Tanzania has a good cell phone coverage. Tanzanian prepaid sim card can be bought pretty much anywhere and makes calling to each other in Tanzania much cheaper. The international code for Tanzania is +255.
In general the internet connections in Tanzania are reasonable. Most lodges and hotels offer Wi-Fi. In larger towns you will find internet cafes.
The time zone in which Tanzania is located is GMD+3. Please be aware that Tanzania does not change the clock to winter or summer time. Besides, there is also a time called Swahili time, which can lead to confusion. If a time mentioned to you sounds strange, it is wise to ask if they are talking about Swahili time.
Tanzania is situated close to the equator and therefore offers a pleasant, tropical climate. Especially the northern parks are with a average temperature of 20 to 30 degrees very enjoyable. Keep in mind though that in some areas, like Karatu and the Ngorongoro Crater, it can be cooler and especially at nights temperatures can drop significantly.
The European summer is in Tanzania ‘winter’ time. It runs from June till September and also marks the dry season. From September temperatures slowly rise again. During spring time, in September-October, the jacaranda trees will bloom lush and you will find Arusha covered in a beautiful purple glow. From October to November the short rains appear, though you can experience passing rain showers every now and then up till March. By the end of March the big rainy season usually starts, lasting up till the end of May. Check also where and when to go to witness the Great Migration in the Serengeti at its best.
The Tanzanian coast and islands are generally more hot and humid than the northern part of the country. Temperatures at Mount Kilimanjaro, which is always covered in snow and ice, and Mount Meru are much lower and can easily drop below zero.
Due to the many murram roads and the challenging driving conditions, we do not recommend renting a car. Especially in the cities and larger towns, traffic can be busy and chaotic. In addition, your local safari guide can tell you much more about the nature and culture in this country, and knows where to look for the wild animals. In the cities it is advisable to take a (private) taxi. Agree on a price before you start your journey.
Tanzania has a number of domestic airlines. Precision Air and Coastal Air are the most well-known and often used by Aardvark Expeditions Limited.
Useful Travel Apps
Convert effortlessly prices and currencies so you know exactly how much you pay for your souvenir or other purchase. Free app for iOS and Android.
Learn the Swahili basics with this fun app and you will know how to greet and have a small talk with the people you meet during your safari! Free app for iOS and Android.
Make cheap phone calls around the world without using the internet. At the moment family and friends can be called for free if they are also using the app. Free app for iOS and Android.
Book easily flights on your phone while being advised on how to do it, when to do it and how to obtain the biggest savings. Free app for iOS and Android.
Always stay up to date about the latest weather forecast in your favorite destination. Free app for iOS and Android.