Travel Preparation Tanzania
Application for the visa:
Your passport must be valid for at least an additional six months when you enter Tanzania. In addition to a passport you need a valid visa. As a citizen of the European Union, you can obtain your visa directly on entry at the airport or at the border crossing (valid for 90 days, price USD 50). Alternatively, you can apply for a visa in advance via the
Tanzanian embassy of your country.
Tanzanian Embassy in the United States:
Embassy of the United Republic of Tanzania in Washington, D.C.
1232 22nd St. NW Washington D.C 20037
Tanzanian Embassy in the United Kingdom:
High Commission of Tanzania, London
3 Stratford Place, London, W1C 1AS
Tanzanian Embassy in Germany:
Botschaft der Vereinigten Republik Tansania in Berlin
Eschenallee 11, 14050 Berlin (Charlottenburg)
Important: Children travelling to Tanzania with only one parent need a declaration of consent from the parent or guardian not travelling with the child.
Luggage and travel accessories:
We recommend to arrive only with soft suitcases, which are easier to transport and better to store in vehicles. Domestic flights (for example from Arusha to Zanzibar) often have a luggage limit of 15 kg per person due to the smaller aircraft types used. To protect your belongings on Safari from dust, humidity and water we recommend high quality suitcases and containers. Many lodges and tented camps offer a cleaning service for your clothes, but usually only for a minimum stay of two nights.
Incomplete packing list:
- Copy of your passport
- Belt wallet for money and papers
- Vaccination certificate
- Warm sweater, warm pants
- Memory cards, spare batteries, chargers
- Water shoes for beach holidays (protection from sharp corals and stones)
- Sun and moisturizing cream
- Moist cloths for hands and face
- Sunglasses and spare glasses or contact lenses
- Insect repellents
- First-aid kit
- Bags (no plastic bags!) for dirty laundry or to protect clothes from moisture
- Socket adapters (British standard)
We recommend our clients to have adequate travel insurance. The travel insurance should cover not only the medical costs, but also the damage or loss of luggage.
It is advisable to take out travel cancellation insurance. Please check with your insurance company and make sure that you are adequately covered.
Since the 1950s, the Flying Doctors Society has been conducting medical evacuations from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. This AMREF Flying Doctors service is the only ambulance in the air with its own doctors and pilots on standby around the clock. In an emergency, they will immediately take patients from the bush to the hospital in Nairobi. For a 14-day safari, this Flying Doctors insurance costs about 26€ per person for all trips to Kenya and Tanzania. This will ensure that you will be taken to the best hospital in the region in case of an emergency. Flying Doctors membership is voluntary and comes on top of your normal travel insurance. We recommend membership as you will receive faster and better help in an emergency. AMREF Flying Doctors offer the following insurance benefits, for example:
- Up to 14 days with 500km service area from Nairobi (approx. 26€ per person, sufficient for the national parks in the north)
- Up to two months with 500km service area from Nairobi (approx. 35€ per person, sufficient for the national parks in the north)
- Up to 14 days 1000km service area from Nairobi (approx. 40€ per person, Tanzania south parks)
- Up to two months 1000km service area from Nairobi (approx. 53€ per person, Tanzania south parks)
Website and booking: https://flydoc.org/
Health, first aid and vaccinations:
The quality of medical care in Tanzania leaves much to be desired, even though modern hospitals can be found in the larger cities. As we are not medical experts and the guidelines for vaccinations may change, we recommend that you consult your doctor or tropical institute at least four weeks before your arrival in Tanzania to get the latest information. Some detailed health insurance policies cover the costs of vaccinations. Make sure that all your vaccinations are recorded in your yellow vaccination card. Do not forget to bring your vaccination card with you on your trip. The customs officer may ask you to show your vaccination card. It also contains important information that you may need if you visit a doctor during your trip. Please remember to bring your own travel medicine for common ailments such as headaches and stomach problems. We also recommend that women take pads and tampons with them, as they are not available everywhere.
There are no strict dress code at lodges in Tanzania. Casual clothing is common on game drives, preferably cotton and in safari colours (khaki or olive green). We recommend that you do not wear dark colours (blue, black or red) during your safari, as these colours are more likely to attract flies and insects. Because of the mosquitoes it is advisable to wear long trousers after sunset. It is common to wear long trousers and a shirt or blouse for dinner. Also take a sweater or jacket for the early morning or cooler nights, especially for the Ngorongoro Highlands and when climbing mountains. Please remember light hiking boots should you have chosen to go on a walking safari. Some lodges have a pool, so don’t forget your swimwear! It is advisable to wear a headgear outdoors, especially during the lunch hours.
Climate in Tanzania:
Due to its proximity to the equator, there are no major seasonal differences in Tanzania. The weather is usually pleasant and mild. However, in the many higher areas it is noticeably cooler with a big gap between night and day temperatures. The coastal areas usually offer a much warmer and wetter climate. Temperatures there can rise above 35° C. Tanzania has two rainy seasons, a short one from mid October to the end of November and a long one from early April to the end of May. It is definitely possible to visit Tanzania during the rainy season. Most roads are still accessible, the national parks are all fresh and green, and there are fewer travellers and fewer vehicles. However, there is a risk of getting stuck on unpaved roads during heavy rain. This time is especially suitable for the adventurous.
Tap water in Tanzania is not suitable for drinking. Therefore you will always find a bottle of clean drinking water in your rooms and bottled drinking water is sold in the lodges. Make sure that you always drink enough water. The temperatures can lead to dehydration.
Food and drink:
At the lodges you will usually find an English breakfast with eggs, bacon, tomatoes, cereals and a selection of tropical fruits. Lunch usually consists of a hot meal and dinner usually consists of two or three courses. Please inform your safari cook or the lodges at check-in if you have any special dietary requirements. In the larger lodges lunch and dinner are served as a buffet. Local beers are delicious and most of the time you can choose between several wines from South Africa.
Gratuity and tips in Tanzania:
Tipping is not obligatory, but is common practice for services in Tanzania. Many people in Tanzania depend on tipping as it is the largest part of their income. Lodges usually have a box at the reception desk to tip the staff. You can tip our driver/guide at the end of the safari. A guideline for this is around $10 to $30 per group per day. Euros or dollars can be exchanged for local Tanzanian shillings in most banks.
Photos and videos:
Many people like to make beautiful nature shots during their trip. Make sure to take enough memory cards and batteries with you, as they are hardly or not at all offered for sale in Tanzania. We always recommend taking lens caps, cleaning cloths and a camera bag that is properly closed. A telephoto or zoom lens (e.g. 300 mm) is useful for photographing the animals. The batteries in your camera can be charged in most places. Note, however, that some lodges in the bush have a limited number of hours of electricity (generator). The use of drones of any kind is forbidden in Tanzania and is only possible with a special permit. A trip through East Africa means getting to know another culture and other people. You will probably want to take pictures or videos with you as a souvenir. Please show respect by not being too pushy and asking the people for permission.
Payments in Tanzania:
The national currency in Tanzania is the Tanzania Shilling, which is available in 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 Shilling banknotes and 50, 100, 200 and 500 Shilling coins. The Tanzania Shilling can only rarely be bought or exchanged outside of Tanzania. It is best to take euros or dollars in cash with you. American dollar notes must not be older than 2006. If they are older, they are usually not accepted in shops and banks. It is advisable to have some 1 dollar notes with you if you want to tip someone spontaneously. At Tanzania’s international airports you can usually exchange your euros or dollars for the local currency. In larger cities you will find cash machines that accept Visa and Mastercard. At the lodges you can pay with Euro, Dollar and credit card. Paying by credit card can sometimes cause problems due to poor internet connection, especially in smaller or mobile camps.
The term Safari (Kiswahili) simply means “journey”; nowadays the word is often used as a synonym for game drives. The most popular animals are the so-called Big Five: lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino. But in East Africa there are many other impressive animals and a variety of very colourful birds. Our guides are happy to share their extensive knowledge of the fauna and flora of Tanzania. Wild animals are most active at sunrise and sunset when they are looking for food. During the safari you will be driven in a 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser or Landrover Defender with a lifting roof. If you book a fly-only safari, the game drives will be done together with other guests of the lodge in a vehicle of the lodge. On a private Safari you and your guide can decide when and where you want to go on game drives. For example, if you prefer to relax in a lodge while you look out over the Savannah and enjoy a drink, this is easily possible. Even in the camps you can see the animals you would see during a game drive. On a group Safari you simply talk to your fellow travellers. To ensure that the whole trip goes well and safely, we ask you to observe the following rules:
- Always follow the rules and advice of your guide
- Never leave your vehicle in the bush without permission of the driver
- A maximum of five vehicles (or sometimes even less) are allowed per animal group. This means that your driver can decide to continue if too many vehicles have already gathered around some animals
- Be as quiet as possible when approaching animals. Do not make any large or unexpected movements and speak in a whisper, the driver will turn off the engine if you want to take a photo or stay in one place for a longer period of time
- Please collect your waste in your car and dispose of it at your lodge or campsite
- If you are bringing gifts for locals, talk to your guide first. He can help you divide them up fairly.
Your driver guide is probably the most important person for the success of your trip. If you want him to tell you more (or less) about the country, people and animals, you can always ask him. The drivers are trained and specially instructed. Every guest has his own needs and preferences. Make sure that you tell the guide your wishes so that he can take them into account. Drivers in the national parks have some unspoken rules and traditions. For example, they sometimes stop to greet the driver of another car, exchange interesting information and discuss hotspots for wildlife watching. So please be patient, this exchange of information will enhance your own Safari experience.
Taxis and transport:
You will have your own Safari car when you book a private trip, normally all transportation and transfers are included in your trip. However, if you still need a taxi, ask your hotel or lodge staff to call a reliable company. Public transport with local minibuses (Daladalas) is only recommended for very experienced Africa lovers.
There is a time difference of one hour between Tanzania and Berlin during summer time in Germany and a time difference of two hours during winter time in Germany (GMT +3).
Languages in Tanzania:
Tanzania has two main languages: English and Kiswahili; most tribes also have their own language. However, in most parts of the country you will find it difficult to communicate in English, as English is not widely spoken. Kiswahili is not only spoken in Tanzania, but also in Congo, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya and even northern Mozambique. Kiswahili has Arabic and Bantu influences and uses some English and German words (e.g. Shule for school).
Almost all lodges and camps in the national parks have a telephone. There are mobile phone networks in most places, but especially within the national parks only in some areas. The telephone area code for Tanzania is +255.
Security in Tanzania:
Tanzania is a safe country to travel in, one of the most peaceful and politically stable in Africa. However, in view of the absolutly enormous gap between rich and poor, we advise you to observe the following rules:
- Please never leave your passport, money or other valuables open in your room. Put them in a locker or hand them in at the reception, there are usually special safes for this purpose
- Never leave money, bags, cameras or jackets in the car, even for a short time
- Do not wear valuable jewellery in public. Simple necklaces, normal watches and wedding rings are no problem.
- Watch out for pickpockets and exercise special caution at night in cities
- Use only registered taxi companies
The electricity supply in hotels in Tanzania is 220-240 volts. This can fluctuate during the day. You will need a three-pin British plug adapter. If you do not have a British plug adapter, it is best to buy a universal adapter that you can use anywhere in the world. Please note that most lodges and camps do not have 24-hour power supply.