What makes your perfect trip?

What type of adventure?

Tanzania boasts some of the most impressive safari destinations in the world. Northern Tanzania includes the Serengeti National Park, the famous setting for the Great Migration, which attracts the highest concentration of predators anywhere in Africa. No Tanzania tour is complete without a few nights at a safari lodge on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater - one of Africa’s most iconic and dramatic locations. It is a bowl of wildlife delight where all manner of animals and birdlife congregate. And don’t forget lesser known but equally important wildlife reserves such as Lake Manyara and Tarangire for the perfect Tanzania safari vacation. Just off Tanzania’s coast lies the exotic island of Zanzibar, with a rich and interesting history and crisp, white sand beaches.

Entry Requirements

IMPORTANT - As some of our Tanzania tours might also include other countries, please ensure you also check the requirements for each country, as they might differ to those for Tanzania.

Passports
Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay. You will require 3 blank pages in your passport in order to enter Tanzania. If you are entering via another African country it is advised to ensure you have at least 6 blank pages in your passport as some countries may require 2 clean, consecutive pages for each transit in each direction. Please also be sure to fill out the "Emergency Next of Kin" section in your passport

Visas
For travels to Tanzania a visa is required, which should be obtained in advance from the respective Tanzanian High Commission or by E-Visa. Single entry visit visas are available on arrival at all ports of entry, but multi-entry visas are not. If you plan to get a visa on arrival, make sure you have the correct amount of cash (US dollars) as change may not be available. US, Canadian, British citizens may enter Tanzania for up to 90 days for tourist purposes. The current rate for a single entry visa is USD $50. You will need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket.

N.B. Please note, visa and entry requirements, regulations and restrictions can vary on a regular basis. Please ensure you check in good time prior to traveling the current requirements applicable to you.

Consular Information
There are a number of major international embassies located in Dar es Salaam, including those for the US and UK, Canada and Australia. Please check with your relevant government for the relevant contact details.

Health, insurance and special requirements

Travel Insurance
It is company policy that all passengers must have valid travel insurance prior to travelling, to include but not limited to health insurance and cancellation insurance. It is vital that ALL members of the travelling party are fully insured for the dates of travel. All pre-existing medical conditions must be declared to the insurer and the correct cover must be taken in regard to the specific type of holiday you are taking. The details of your insurance must be advised to The Big Safari Company at least 6 weeks before your departure date. Please make sure to write down important information from your insurance policy, such as the company’s 24hr emergency telephone number (including dial code from abroad) and your policy number and take these with you on tour.

General Health
Please talk to your doctor or travel health clinic in person at least eight weeks before you travel, where a health professional can provide you with the necessary health information for your personal needs. The provision of health care in Tanzania is unreliable and medical facilities are very limited, therefore there is always a risk involved. If clients require special medication, they must ensure that they have this with them and also keep a back-up supply if the medication is necessary for survival. Please be aware that it might be a long way from the camps to any commercial medical facility.

Additionally, please make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.Wearing sunscreen, drinking plenty of water, washing your hands properly before eating and avoiding insect bites should keep you healthy on tour. We recommend you carry a simple travellers’ first-aid kit containing any basic items that you feel may be required, including remedies for minor stomach complaints, but please note, whilst in the Reserves, doctors and medical supplies are few and far between.

Passengers with Disabilities or Reduced Mobility
Please check our Activity Levels description page to see if this level is suitable to you or contact us if you require further information on the activities involved in the tour. If you or any member of your party has any medical problem or disability which may affect your holiday, please provide us with full details before we confirm your booking, or as soon as possible at the time they occur, so that we can try to advise on the suitability of your chosen arrangements. Please note, we may require you to produce a doctor’s certificate certifying that you are fit to participate in the tour.

Medical Conditions and Personal Medication
Please advise us prior to travel if you have any medical conditions requiring special attention during your trip. If you have a specific medical condition, it is wise to carry the relevant doctor’s prescription with you. As above, medication if often in short supply in Tanzania, so please ensure you take sufficient supplies with you. Important:

  • Pack a sufficient supply of any medications you are taking, copies of the prescriptions and the telephone/fax numbers of your doctor.
  • Please note, some countries require that prescription drugs be carried in their original container, with the label clearly visible. In the event of you losing your medication, a qualified pharmacist should be able to source a replacement.
  • Due to the remote location of many camps and lodges, electricity is supplied by generator during daytime and shut off at night. Camps therefore usually do not provide 24 hours electricity. If you have a medical condition (i.e. sleep apnoea), which requires 24-hour electricity, please notify us well in advance so that necessary arrangements can be made and if necessary, your itinerary altered to suit.

Vaccinations
Prior to travel, please consult your doctor to discuss the destinations you are visiting, the latest immunisation information and requirements as well as advice according to your unique medical needs. Please also take note of the information below:

  • Malaria: Tanzania is located in a malaria risk area and therefore appropriate prophylactic precautions must be taken. It is essential that you consult a specialist as to which measures are suitable for you. The malaria risk depends on the region and the season, so that no universal recommendation can or may be given. Please inform yourself in detail and in advance. The old adage ‘prevention is the best cure’ also holds true. Use repellent and cover up at dawn and dusk when the mosquitoes are most active by wearing long trousers, long-sleeved shirts, shoes and socks, if possible. If you develop a bad headache, have aching joints, and recurring fevers and chills after your trip, advise your doctor that you have been in a malarial area. Malaria symptoms can sometimes be confused with flu symptoms. All accommodations, which are located in malaria risk areas, are equipped with mosquito nets.
  • Yellow Fever Certificate: Depending on the area you are visiting, or areas you have previously travelled to, you may need a Yellow Fever Vaccination certificate to show you have received said vaccination prior to travel. Check whether you need a Yellow Fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

Travellers should be up to date with routine vaccination courses and boosters as recommended. These vaccinations include for example measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and diphtheria-tetanus-polio vaccine. Vaccinations for Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Polio, Typhoid and Yellow Fever, Hepatitis B; Meningococcal Meningitis; Rabies and Cholera may be recommended depending on the tour you are taking and your medical history. For further information, please see: wwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations
You should follow the advice of the National Travel Health Network and Centre and discuss your travel plans with your healthcare provider, particularly if you're pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Any feverish illness during or after returning from travel must be reported to a doctor immediately.

Travelling with CPAP or other Medical Machines
Please inform The Big Safari Company that you are travelling with such a device as early as possible, and well before you travel. This is especially important in places where there may be issues with power supply, Also,

  • Check that you have the correct electrical and voltage adapters for the country and accommodation you are visiting;
  • Check with your airline that they allow your device to be carried as additional hand luggage and ensure that your device is easily accessible and properly labelled as medical machinery;
  • Always carry a letter from your medical practitioner prescribing its use for you;
  • Ensure you have details of your machine separately in case of the need to secure repairs/replacements whilst you are travelling;
  • Check with your medical practitioner about the use of tap or bottled water in the event that distilled water cannot be sourced in the country you are travelling to.
  • Please note, if you require distilled or ionised water, you must inform The Big Safari Company of this at least two weeks ahead of travel, so we are able to make preparations with our ground agents. There will be an additional charge for this.

Special Dietary Requirements
Please let us know in good time prior to travel if you have any special dietary requirements (e.g., vegetarian, vegan, diabetic, gluten-free, etc.). We will make every effort to accommodate your request with the resources available to us.

Luggage

What to Pack and Wear
The weather in Tanzania will be variable. You will need clothes for hot weather as well as a warm, waterproof jacket and some layers, as it may be cooler in the evening. For the safaris it’s wise to pack khaki-coloured clothing as it blends better into the bush. In the day time on safari, generally shorts or lightweight trousers, t-shirts, hat, sunblock etc. as it is generally fairly warm (25-35 degrees C). Avoid wearing blue & dark colours in areas where you may find tsetse flies, as they are often attracted to these colours. We suggest you take something warm e.g. tracksuit, fleece or sweater for the mountainous areas. It is at a higher altitude and will therefore be cooler in the evenings. Long trousers and long sleeved shirts are also recommended for general evening use to assist in the prevention of mosquito bites and also as it’s generally cooler than during the day. Pack light and remember the basic essentials. We would also recommend a good pair of lightweight binoculars. Insect repellent and sunscreen are also essential items. Don't forget your camera, with charger/spare batteries and memory cards.

Please note: There is a strict ban on the use of polythene bags (plastic bags) throughout Tanzania.

Luggage Allowances
International airlines are often strict about the size and weight of checked in baggage and carry-on luggage. Prior to your departure, please contact your airline or visit their website for specific luggage requirements, as size and weight limitations may vary according to the airline and destination.

Domestic flights luggage allowance - If you are travelling on a light aircraft within Tanzania, then the luggage restriction is dependent on combined client and luggage weights and varies from plane to plane and routing. A MAXIMUM of 15kg per person in soft bags is usually allowed and this is strictly adhered to for safety reasons. Hand luggage may also form part of this total 15 kg allowance. Please double check your personal allowance upon confirmation of itinerary and aircraft.

Porterage
Luggage handling is not included in our Tanzania tours. It may be available at the hotel for a local charge.

Laundry
Laundry is possible at most establishments in Tanzania at an additional cost. Mostly it is done by hand and dried naturally outside and so this requires at least 1-2 days depending upon the location and weather. Please check upon arrival at each lodge to ensure you are not caught short with wet washing.

Language

Tanzania is a multilingual country with Swahili and English being its main languages.

Time Zone

The time zone in Tanzania is GMT+3, 3 hours ahead of London GMT. There is no daylight saving and no time-zone changes.

Weather

Tanzania is in the southern hemisphere, so it is summer there when it’s winter in Europe and North America. There are two rainy seasons in Tanzania: From March to May is the main rainy season and in October and November the small rainy season with on average less rainy days. The best time to discover Tanzania are therefore the dry months from December to March and from June to October. However, this is not always reliable, the rainy seasons can be delayed or even cease to occur. The coastal regions and islands generally offer a hot and tropical climate (25-35°C) with high humidity (70-85%) and warm nights. The central plateau including the cities of Arusha and Moshiat at an altitude of about 1,200 m, shows larger temperature fluctuations with very dry and warm days (up to 35°C) and rather cool nights. In the mountains like the Usambara Mountains and the Kilimanjaro region, the climate is moderate all year round with average temperatures around 22°C.

Electricity

In Tanzania, the standard voltage is 220-240V British Standard, generally through 3 pin square plugs. Some lodges and camps have power only at certain times of the day. In lodges/ camps utilising solar power systems, the amount of power available for charging often depends on how sunny the weather has been and how busy the lodge is with charging equipment, so whilst they will always try to assist, continuous charging cannot be guaranteed at all times to be available.

Mobiles & Internet Communication

Mobile phones are very popular as the service is often better than landlines. Please note: Large parts of the country are not covered by the mobile network, in towns and villages you can expect a certain coverage. In populated urban areas, there should be good mobile signal but as you head into rural areas, signal may fluctuate. Internet and Wi-Fi are accessible in most urban areas and most hotels. Pay-as-you-go airtime is recommended for tourists and sim cards can be purchased in shops, and supermarkets. Vodacom, Airtel and Tigo are the most common providers, of which Vodacom has the widest coverage in the country. Due to the newly introduced registration requirements for new SIM cards, a passport is required to purchase a SIM card for every network. Please also check data roaming charges for Tanzania with your service provider before leaving home as these can quickly become very expensive.

Money

Currency
The official currency of Tanzania is the Tanzanian shilling (TSh), which is divided into 100 cents. US Dollars cash is widely accepted and especially in the tourism sector it is usually possible to pay in USD. Please keep in mind to also carry some Tanzanian shillings with you for money on the road e.g. for drinks, curios, tips. Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards however many places do not accept cards such as Diners Club or American Express. Credit cards can be used at some lodges and hotels, but a transaction fee will be charged which can range up to 5- 8%. ATM machines are found in the cities but they will pay out local currency only. As they are not always reliable a backup of hard currency is recommended.

If you intend to use any of your debit or credit cards whilst away, please make sure that you contact your bank before you leave to inform them that you will be travelling in order not to cause any problems using your cards or whilst on the trip. Many businesses, including some medical providers, may not accept payment by credit or debit card. Please check on the up to date financial situation closer to travel.

Budget
Due to the often-good exchange rates for foreigners when travelling in Tanzania, prices can seem better than in other comparable countries. As each traveller’s spending habits are different, you should bring an amount with which you are comfortable.

Bank Opening
Banks in Tanzania are usually open 8am – 4pm Monday to Friday and 8am – 1pm on Saturdays.

Tipping
Tipping is not compulsory, but it is highly recommended if you have been satisfied with the service. Obviously at your discretion, but an indication of what is generally given per passenger travelling is as below. We recommend bringing small USD notes or change USD into local currency in order to easily split the smaller tip amounts. Normally you can give the tip directly to the host or the lodge manager, who will then distribute it to the staff. Many lodges also have a tip box that is shared among all employees. Guides and trackers should receive their tips separately, you can tip them personally.

Here are a few guidelines:

  • Lodge staff: US$10.00 - US$15.00 per guest/night
  • Driver/guide: US$10.00 - US$15.00 per guest/day
  • Activities: US$3 - US$5 per person

Food

Tanzanian cuisine is strongly characterized by the influences of its neighboring countries but also by Indian cuisine. Widely used ingredients are coconut, aromatic spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves, bananas and beans. Well-known dishes are Ugali, a thick polenta made out of white maize flour or wali (rice), which can be served as a side for everything: meat or vegetable stews, beans or greens. Fish is often offered at the coast and on the islands. You will find more international cuisines served in the big cities, alongside local dishes and some game meats too! Some meals are usually included in your tour – please check your individual departure for the relevant meal inclusions.

Water

Tap water in Tanzania is not safe to drink. Do not drink from streams, rivers and lakes and it is best to avoid drinking from pumps and wells – as animal presence can still contaminate supplies. Bottled water can be bought at hotels, supermarkets, kiosks and many shops.

Shopping

Tanzania offers lots for visitors to buy. You’ll find many an option for quality, well priced sculpture and handmade crafts from local artisans. Pick up original art pieces, handicrafts, souvenirs and jewellery.

Opening Hours
In the cities and towns, most retail shops are open from 8am-5pm Monday–Saturday.

Safety & Security

Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world and the gap between rich and poor is large. Generally, the people in Tanzania are extremely peace-loving, despise any kind of conflict and appreciate harmony. Nevertheless, many people are threatened by extreme poverty and struggle to survive. The crime rate is particularly high in the cities, including Dar es Salaam and Arusha. A large part of crime consists of direct or indirect robbery and pickpocketing, which is rarely planned and tends to happen spontaneously. Bag snatching and car jacking are also common, but in most cases the attacks are limited to material assets, and people are very rarely harmed.

Please take care of all your personal possessions at all times - do not tempt petty theft, pickpockets, by displaying large amounts of money, especially when near markets or in crowded spaces. Valuables, especially cash and credit cards should be kept on your person at all times. A "moon bag" or “body belt” is a useful item for storing cash and other valuable small items. When leaving the vehicle in towns, please ensure all the windows are shut and that you take your valuables and cameras with you for safe keeping. When at lodges / hotels we recommend you either keep your money and valuables with you or utilise the safe keeping facilities provided at the various establishments. After nightfall, one should not be on the road, especially not alone. Drivers should always be extremely careful - bad roads, inconsiderate drivers are unfortunately nothing unusual and muggings can also happen.

Ensure you carry identification, so that you can produce it if required to do so by the security force. As with many developing countries, theft and muggings are relatively common although most incidents are in cities, particularly in airports in popular tourist attractions and on public transport. When in large crowds or major tourist destinations, you should remain vigilant and follow the advice of local authorities. Most visits to game reserves are trouble-free. However, as you can imagine, with wildlife, there is always an inherent risk associated. Always follow park regulations and wardens’ advice.

Smoking

Smoking is banned in public places, but there are usually designated outdoor areas where people can smoke.

Religion

35-40% of Tanzanians are Christian, about 35% are Muslim, which are traditionally found along the coast.There are also small communities of Hindus and a minority of inhabitants that practice traditional religions.

Photography

Tanzania offers photo opportunities one after another. You will return with many photos that can never be repeated. Remember to pack your camera, along with the charger, spare batteries and a spare memory card! Do not photograph any government buildings, police or military posts. Ask permission before photographing local tribesmen.

Arrival in Tanzania 

Please note, standard hotel check-in is around 3pm, so should you arrive earlier than this, your room may not be available upon arrival. For those arriving early morning, we will do everything we can to work with the hotel to get you an earlier check-in subject to availability.

Hotel Information

Please check your tour paperwork for hotel information attaining to your tour departure.

Other countries on tour itinerary

If you are visiting additional countries, please also check the notes for the other destinations. Different entry requirements apply, and you may need a visa! For other countries, please check the relevant Travel Tip pages for information on these countries

Flying & Travel Hints

  • Photocopy the personal information pages of your passport; leave one copy at home with a friend or family member, and take a copy with you, but pack it separately from the passport itself.It is advisable to carry all your travel documentation as well as valuables and essential items in your hand luggage, such as camera, toiletries, reading material etc.
  • Duty-Free shopping is always tempting, but please check the current Duty-Free limits applicable in the country of your destination.
  • Longer flights can be made a little more enjoyable by wearing loose clothing and good, comfortable shoes. Walking in the aisles regularly, eating sensibly and drinking plenty of fluids (not alcohol) is also advised.
  • Where possible, try to get some sleep during the flight and upon arrival at your destination, most people adjust better to the local time if they wait until the evening before sleeping – this should relieve some of the effects of jet lag.

If you have any other questions that we have not covered here; then please send us an e-mail to: info@thebigsafaricompany.com

Please note, the above information is provided as a guideline only. Although every effort has been made to provide complete and accurate information, The Big Safari Company makes no warranties, express or implied, or representations as to the accuracy of content on this website. The Big Safari Company assumes no liability or responsibility for any error or omissions in the information contained in the website.

Updated August 2020

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Holiday tours are operated by The Big Safari Company - a subsidiary of The Big Journey Company Limited. Registered in England. Registered office: Marron Bank, Branthwaite, Cumbria, CA14 4SZ. Registered number: 6532140. The Big Journey Company Limited is a member of The Travel Trust Association member number U5675 and holds an Air Travel Organiser’s License number T7282.

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