Travel facts useful to know.
While we always strive to provide the best possible experience for our visitors when in-country, there are a number of issues you need to consider as part of your preparation. Check through the following information and get in touch if you have any further questions.
- What are the Tanzania entry requirements?
- Which international airport should I use?
- Do I need travel insurance?
- When is the best time to visit Tanzania?
- What do you advise regarding money?
- What should I do about tipping?
- How much traveling is there between wildlife parks
- What should I pack?
General travel facts information sections cover : Time, communication, Post Office, language, electric current and public holidays.
Tanzania entry requirements:
You will need a valid passport (with at least 2 clean pages and 6 months to expiry date) and an entry visa. You can apply for visas in advance from Tanzania embassies and high commissions located outside of Tanzania. You can also apply for visas on entry into Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro International Airports. For those traveling by road into Tanzania, visas are available at border entry gates (e.g. Namanga). Getting a visa takes time.
Payment for visas is in US dollars. Most visas cost US$60 but US citizens are currently charged US$100. Passports and Tanzanian visas are also required for entry into Zanzibar whether arriving on internal or international flights.
There is a list of nationalities provided by the Consulate that must apply for a visa in advance (this can take up to 3 months) – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia Sri-Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen. Please check for current list.
If you arrive into Tanzania from counties considered to be Yellow Fever ‘hot spots’ you may be asked to show a vaccination certificate on entry – Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, Somalia and Zambia have all been on the list of endemic countries. Check for current status. You may still be asked for a certificate by ‘mistake’.
Tanzania International airports:
Tanzania has four main airports accepting international flights. Kilimanjaro (40km from Arusha, 45km from Moshi. 45 minutes journey either way), Dar es Salaam (10km, 25 minutes from the city center) Zanzibar (7km, 15 minutes from Stone town) and Mwanza (serving the western regions).
Domestic carriers link international airports, major cities, tourist attractions and game parks. We can book domestic flights on request.
For Mt Kilimanjaro and the northern safari parks, consider Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). For Dar es Salaam, the southern safari parks and a flight hop to Zanzibar, consider Dar es Salaam International Airport or direct into Zanzibar.
Airport taxes and safety fees are usually included in flight ticketing. Please check.
International flights into Nairobi may be promoted as cheaper than flying directly into Tanzanian airports. However, you will need to add the cost of an onward journey into Tanzania and possibly Nairobi hotel nights (relating to international arrival and departure times).
Kilitreks & Safaris currently do not book international flights.
International insurance is essential. Kilitreks & Safaris will not accept tourists who do not have comprehensive travel and medical insurance, including repatriation in the event of serious illness or injury or some other extreme occurrence outside of your (and our) control. Check the policy for exclusions and ensure all activities you want to undertake are covered.
Being a wilderness destination medical infrastructure in major centers is remote from many locations visited. Emergency medical response is carried out by private medical specialists based locally.
Your international insurance should be combined with a scheme provided by a local medical evacuation operator in order to prevent delay in mobilizing effective local emergency response. Please consider including in your price quote. (Provided by AMREF Flying Doctor – emergency air rescue.)
Best time to visit:
The main tourist seasons tie in with rainfall patterns. There are two rainy seasons. Generally the long rains extend from March to May and the short rains fall (off and on) around November. The hottest months are from December to late February. The coolest months are between June and August. Weather patterns are however increasingly difficult to predict.
For climbing Kilimanjaro, temperatures fall below freezing at high altitude during the coolest months. During the wettest months the lower slopes can be muddy. However, if you are reasonably fit, with good equipment, you can climb at anytime.
The peak safari seasons usually extend from May to August (when the climate is comfortable – mild during the day and cool at night) and during the months of September and October (when it is more likely to be hot and dry).
On safari there is always something to discover, whatever time of year.
During the dry season migrating and resident animals and birds are attracted to the water holes. During the wet season, the wildlife is more widely dispersed. November is particularly good for spotting migrant birds.
The Serengeti migration is one of the seven natural wonders of Africa. The migration is a pattern of movement that changes year on year, depending on the rains and can not be predicted with accuracy.
The constantly moving herds cross crocodile infested rivers to reach fresh grazing in the Kenyan Maasai Mara. They start arriving in Kenya maybe around August, but by September grazing has already become scarce and the migration turns back towards the Serengeti. The herds spread out, reaching into Loliondo and Ngorongoro. From December to May the herds settle in Serengeti and western Ngorongoro. Calves born at this time increase the herds by an estimated half million. Predators gorge, but the surviving calves will be strong enough to join the migration on their next cycle.
In Tanzania there is always something to see and do, whatever the time of year, but if you want to avoid the busy times, and higher accommodation prices, visit outside the main tourist seasons.
The local currency is the Tanzanian shilling, which is divided into 100 cents. US$ are recommended but GB£ and € are also accepted at bureau de change in major towns/cities. Credit cards are not widely accepted outside high end hotels and carry poor exchange rates. ATM machines are available in major towns/cities. It is not advisable to change money in the street.
You may not need large amounts of cash if all of your accommodation is pre-paid and your meals and activities have also been pre-paid.
We suggest taking a modest amount of small denomination US$ and use debit and credit cards when the service is available. Change some US$ into local currency. However, if you change a large amount of US$ into local currency you will be unlikely to change it back.
Be aware that US$ banknotes dated before 2006 may not be accepted due to the high levels of counterfeit currency in circulation.
Tanzania has a tipping culture. Tips are often a welcome boost to the family economy. Tourism in Tanzania has a seasonal aspect to it and therefore the money earned in ‘high season’ has to last. One of our clients commented;
“Although guidebooks mention tips, they don’t stress the reason for them. I now know that tips are not the icing on the cake, they are as important a part of the cake as flour, sugar and water” (Becky C. USA).
However, you should only be tipping for good service.
On the mountain: Before you tip, consider how efficiently your porters carried equipment, prepared the campsite or hut, the level and quality of extra services (e.g. water carriage and wood collection). The standard and timeliness of food from the chef and assistant. How informative was the guide and how efficiently did he run the team?
On safari: Consider the safety of the driving, the information given, the standard of car cleanliness and daily car maintenance, the time keeping and route planning.
It is always difficult to suggest an amount, but from experience we know our visitors appreciate some guidance. We suggest the following: Mountain guide(s) and safari driver/guide(s) – US$20 to $25 for each day of service, chef(s) US$15 to $18, mountain porters US$10 to $12 each porter for each day of service. Generally, for trekking each climber should consider a budget of around US$ 220 for tipping.
Accommodation: Tipping hotel and restaurant staff is at your discretion but as a guide, a service charge of 10% of the total bill is acceptable.
Traveling between the wildlife parks:
This depends on the safari program!
In northern Tanzania, Lake Manyara, Tarangire and Arusha National Parks are situated not too far from Arusha town (from 30 minutes up to three hours). Serengeti and Ngorongoro are more distant. To comfortably enjoy a safari that includes Serengeti National Park, you should consider a minimum of 4 days.
If the aim is to see as many wildlife areas as possible but you have limited time, you should consider flying into the safari locations. This will of course add to your costs.
For safaris in southern Tanzania we recommend flying into the parks.
Plan to spend as many days on safari as possible. A longer safari will allow time to stop and enjoy your wildlife viewing.
When we are finalizing your safari program we will work out the best routing to maximize your time within the parks, while reducing your travel time.
When we receive your booking, we will provide a comprehensive packing list.
For safari, climbing Kilimanjaro and domestic flight travel, please travel with a soft bag or rucksack (as your main piece of luggage) and bring a smaller soft bag e.g. hold-all or back-pack.
No hard suitcases please.
Some domestic flight carriers limit luggage to one 15k soft bag.
We can store your excess luggage safely and free of charge.
Time: GMT + 3 hours
Communication: Internal dial code +255. Outgoing dial code: 00 – United States, 000 – other countries. Connect to Tanzania mobile providers for international roaming.
Post office: International courier services and post restante are available in major towns and cities.
Language: The main language is Swahili but English is widely spoken in tourist areas, major towns and cities.
Electric current: Socket outlets are almost universally the three rectangular pin plugs of 230V/50Hz. Some good hotels/lodges provide adapters but visitors are advised to bring their own.
Public Holidays 2018:
Jan 1 – New Year; Jan 12 – Zanzibar Revolution; March 30 – Good Friday; April 2– Easter Monday; April 7 – Karume Day; April 26 – Union Day; May 1 – Labour Day; June 15/16 – Eid al-Fitr (Ramadan); July 7 – Industrial Day (Saba Saba); Aug 8 – Farmers Day (Nane Nane); Aug 21 – Eid al-Hajj; Oct 14 – Nyerere Day; Nov 20 – Prophet Mohamad’s Birthday; Dec 9 – Republic Day; Dec 25 – Christmas Day; Dec 26 – Boxing Day
Islamic holidays change yearly depending on the new moon.