Frequently Asked Questions
Tanzania is home to the world famous Mt. Kilimanjaro
and Serengeti National Park and is recognized as Africa's Premier Wildlife
Safari destination. The wildlife of Tanzania is truly a treasure that
will leave a lifelong imprint on anyone who visits the country.
Tanzania is located just south of the equator
and is blessed with an enjoyable climate year round. The average temperature
during the day is around 85 degrees Fahrenheit with the nights cooling
down to the 50's in much of the
areas that we tour. Rainfall is more common
between April - June and again between November - December.
Swahili is the official language of Tanzania
but English is widely used through the tourism industry.
East African Expeditions provides a
four wheel drive vehicle and English speaking driver/guide for the entire
duration of your safari, including to and from the airport. Charter flights
are available to many of the lodges that we use, reducing the travel time
by vehicle. All of our safaris commence upon your arrival at the International
Airport in Arusha, Tanzania. You will be met at the airport by one of
our representatives who will assist you with customs, visas, luggage,
Yellow Fever vaccinations are required as
well as Malaria prevention medicines. Please consult your family doctor
for details on Health Certificates and recommended medical precautions.
A flying medical service is available is case of emergencies, equipped
with rescue equipment and a qualified doctor.
Passports and Visas:
The first thing you will need is a passport
valid for 6 months beyond your planned travel date. Visas will not be
issued otherwise. If you are landing in Nairobi, Kenya they now require
a visa (transit visa for $20 which can be purchased on arrival and departure)
and you can acquire a visa for entry into Tanzania at the border (Namanga)
or when you land (should you be arriving at Mt. Kilimanjaro). The current
fee is $50 US, correct change is useful there. If you are a US citizen
and want to acquire yours prior to travel, you can reach the Embassy of
the United Republic of Tanzania at: 2139 R Street N.W., Washington D.C.,
telephone (202) 939-6125 or 884-1080, Fax (202) 797-7408. And The Embassy
of The United Republic of Kenya: 2249 R Street N.W., Washington D.C.,
phone: (202) 387-6101 or fax: (202) 462-3829. Forms are also available
online in pdf format at each country's website. Keep in mind that this
can take up to six weeks and is best done via Federal Express.
There is also a service in Arlington, VA
that can handle it for a fee of approximately $25 plus the cost of the
1700 N. Moore St., Suite 310
Arlington, VA 22209
(703) 908-0330, 1(800) 556-9990, Fax: (703)
Visit your doctor or country health department.
Each country's health department has a list of recommended shots to take
prior to travel. Yellow fever is a mandatory vaccination. You will be
given an International Certificate of Vaccination approved by the World
Health Organization, with dates of innoculations. Make sure to attach
it or carry it with your passport. You must also get a prescription for
an anti-malaria drug. They are taken weekly, starting one week prior to
departure, each week while in Africa, and four weeks after your return.
There is a new daily drug Malarone, which has no side effects. They can
prescribe antibiotics to take with you should you be concerned about flu
or flu-like symptoms.
Most of the larger lodges/hotels where we'll
be staying have a nurse on staff or doctor on call. We suggest you subscribe
to the flying medical service (Flying Doctors) in case of emergency. Cost
for this service is an additional $25 per person.
There are some wonderful travel guides you
should investigate before your travel. Adventuring in East Africa by Allen
Bechky. Bradt Travel Guide: Tanzania, is very complete and will give you
a realistic view of what to expect and will thoroughly describe our destinations.
There are numerous others. Lonely Planet has an East Africa guide as well
as a Tanzania, Zanzibar & Pemba version. Also study maps of the area.
This will give you an excellent idea of our locations while in Tanzania.
Audubon's Bird Guide to Africa is another excellent choice. The bird watching
is outstanding, and most are ones you have never seen. I also recommend
reading The Tree Where Man Was Born by Peter Matthiessen, published by
Penguin Nature Classics. The descriptions of the tribes will give you
an excellent understanding of what you will find during your travels.
I can't stress enough the fact that you should
purchase and read A Rough Guide Phrasebook: Swahili. In
it you will find descriptions on customs, greeting other people, proper
etiquette and words to learn before your arrival in Tanzania. While most
people in Tanzania speak English, a proper greeting in Swahili goes a
very long way, Asante Sana! It is available from Amazon.com.
If you are unable to find this book, a good option would be Lonely
Planet's Swahili Phrasebook with two way dictionary.
Depending on what time of year you visit,
temperatures can range from the high 50's at night to 90 degrees Fahrenheit
during the hottest part of the day. The weather will be warmer in the
flat lands, valleys, and the Ngorongoro Crater, while it will be cooler
and more comfortable in the mountains. You will be given a temperature
forecast before your departure so you can pack accordingly.
Along the way:
One important thing to remember. If your flights
are delayed or cancelled, do not turn back, but take the next flight out.
The airlines will help you with rescheduling. We will await your arrival.
Please let Philip Masonda know you are delayed by calling his cell phone
at 255-744-480594. He will be your central contact while en route.
For the sake of emergencies, be sure to pack
a change of clothes in your carry-on along with toiletries and any other
items you deem necessary for delays or stopovers. Keep all valuables with
you in your carry-on or on your person.
10 to 14 days prior to departure, you will
receive your final details of travel and a list of hotels with dates of
when you'll be there, along with their phone numbers, fax numbers and
e-mail addresses if available. You should leave this information with
anyone who might need to contact you while you're away. You should also
bring a copy with you, just in case you are traveling alone and need this
information. Many of the hotels have offices in Arusha, and can contact
their respective hotels via mobile radio with messages. Our vehicles also
have a mobile radio for calling out in an emergency, as well as a satellite
telephone that accompanies each group. If you are a US citizen and concerned
about someone finding you, you might want to consider faxing your itinerary
and which group you are with to the United States consulate in Dar es
Salaam. Their fax numbers is +255-22-2662701.
When checking in for your initial flight,
feel confident in checking your locked luggage through to your final destination.
You are allowed two bags checked and one carry on. However, because of
the amount of travel in Safari vehicles, please keep your luggage allowance
to two pieces, your main suitcase and one carry-on. Large duffle bags
are strongly recommended, due to storage space in the vehicles. Also plan
to carry a backpack or daypack when you go out on game drives. In it you
can carry your camera and film, snacks, tissues and whatever else you
need for the day. Be sure to have all necessary prescriptions filled and
carried with you in your carry-on luggage. If you wear glasses, back-ups
should be in your carry-on as well.
What to pack:
Dress comfortably, but remember that the dress
in Tanzania (and Africa in general) is very conservative. Pack lightly
and in a "mix and match" variety. Clothing in colors such as
Khaki and olive green will serve you well, white is not recommended. 2
to 3 pair of slacks is sufficient. The "zip-off to shorts/cargo pants"
can save space in your luggage. Several short-sleeved shirts and long-sleeved
shirts should be of 100% cotton or nylon for quick drying. Tops with roll-up
sleeves are also recommended. For women, skirts can be a welcome addition
on the hottest days. As can jumpers coupled with a t-shirt. While you
don't need "dinner" clothing, it is refreshing to shower and
change clothing after a game drive and in preparation for dinner. Most
of the larger hotels have nice swimming pools so bring your suit if you
enjoy a relaxing swim. Women: even if you don't normally wear a bra, you
should consider wearing a bra as roads are rough in some areas.
Many of the hotels and lodges where we'll
be staying do have laundry service and it is very affordable. So consider
that as an alternative to bringing too many clothes.
One or two pair of closed-toe shoes (one of
which should be tennis shoes) are sufficient. Comfortable sandals such
as Teva or Merrell are recommended. There will be several opportunities
for hiking, so your tennis shoes can double as hiking boots. If you plan
to hike or have weak ankles, consider purchasing high top tennis shoes.
Other necessary items
include: a flashlight, heavy-duty ziplock
plastic bags, luggage locks, shoe bags, a small amount of liquid detergent
for hand washing delicate items, a small sewing kit for quick repairs,
bug repellent (the more Deet the better), a small tube of Neosporin antibacterial
ointment, and antibacterial hand sanitizer such as Purely in liquid form,
a small Swiss Army knife with scissors, nail clippers, a sun hat and sunscreen,
eye drops for dry eyes, washcloth (they are not provided at the hotels),
voltage converters for 230V, and plug converter for the United Kingdom.
This is, of course, only if you use a hair dryer, or have camera equipment
that needs recharging. Many of the hotels/lodges operate on generators
and turn them off at night - hence the need for the flashlight. If you
are not used to heat and humidity, bring several cotton bandanas. Nothing
cools you down quicker than a wet bandana wrapped around the neck.
There is an emergency first aid kit in the
Please be sure to bring plenty of film. Consider
3 to 4 rolls per day. While you may find film for sale in gift shops,
it's generally out of date and too expensive. You can always use leftover
film when you return. For safety sake, you should purchase x-ray protective
bags to carry your film in when going through security check points. Also
bring extra batteries for your camera; they are non-existent in Tanzania.
Because of the possible level of dust, you may want to consider a heavy-duty
plastic bag to keep your camera in when on game drives. You can cut a
window in it for the lens. A polarizing filter is also useful. Optional
items include inexpensive binoculars and a video camera. If you choose
to carry a video camera, remember that recharging the battery will require
a voltage converter.
Under no circumstances are you to photograph
people without their permission. If you see someone you want to take a
photograph of, ask your guides to negotiate a price for you - the Masai
are especially touchy about obtaining money for their likeness.
Meals are almost always served buffet style.
Breakfasts are large English style meals and times will be posted at your
hotel. Lunch is generally at 1 or 2 pm and dinner begins at 7:30 pm. As
the saying goes, if you don't peel it or wash it yourself, do not eat
it! However, many of the hotels where we'll be staying not only boil their
water, they also filter it prior to cooking. You'll be apprised by your
guide at locations where you CAN eat the fresh fruit and salads. Let caution
be your guide.
Every hotel has a bar and Tanzania offers
some excellent beers - Mt. Kilimanjaro, Safari Lager, to name a few. There
is also a local "brew" called Konyagi or Local Gin, which is
actually a combination of gin and vodka. Mixed with tonic water, it's
Snacks are not provided and if you are used
to having them, please feel free to bring as many as you like. Cliff Bars
and Luna Bars are tasty and provide quick energy when needed. Lifesavers
and chewing gum are also handy for a dry, dusty mouth.
Do NOT drink or use water from a faucet. Drink
only bottled water, and that includes brushing your teeth. Hotels have
inexpensive 2 liter bottles of water available for sale. There will also
be water in the vehicles that you can carry with you to your rooms.
Most of the gift shops on the way have excellent
locally made items. If you see something you like and want, buy it. Chances
are it is only available there and you won't see it again. Also be aware
that larger items are hard to carry while out on safari and may get broken.
If you feel you have to have it, consider shipping it back to the US.
Most of the stores will ship them for a fee.
Some favorite items are kangas (native wraparound
skirts), mahogany and ebony wood carvings, coffee, tea, (chai), masks,
beaded jewelry, sisal products and the like. Tanzanite is a local gemstone
mined in Tanzania. It will be much more affordable here than in the USA.
Please tell your guide if you are interested in shopping for it and he
will take you to reputable dealers. Post cards and stamps for mailing
are readily available in the gift shops.
You might want to consider leaving American
Souvenirs there - paperback books, pens, pencils, bandanas and t-shirts
are welcome items. As is anything with a "Made in the USA" tag.
Carry your money in small denominations. The
newer and crisper the money looks, the better. I would recommend having
at least 50 - $1 bills for tipping and having correct change. Most facilities
seldom have change for denominations larger than $20. Keep your money
with you at all times. A money belt under your clothing is a convenient
choice. Never leave cash in hotel rooms.
You can bring travelers cheque's but I don't
recommend carrying many. You will not be in major cities that have change
bureaus. Hotels can change small denomination traveler's cheque, but the
better exchange rate comes with larger denominations. Credit cards are
accepted in most gift shops for purchases. Master Card and Visa are more
widely accepted than American Express. There are change bureaus in Arusha
at the beginning of your trip. Most places will accept American money,
but it is good to have American and Tanzanian money. A rule of thumb for
Tanzania money is 900 Tshs (Tanzanian shillings) per $1. If you want to
keep up with the exchange rate prior to your trip - it's posted daily at
Hotel personnel, drivers and guides have low
base salaries. They therefore count on tips for their living. While they
will not be upset over not getting a tip, you will find much better service
if you do. But also don't feel that 15% is mandatory for everyone. In
locations where you will be staying more than one night, leave tips at
the end of the stay. It is not necessary to tip more than once. Driver/Guide
should be tipped at the end of your trip. Use your discretion in this
area, but base it on their performance.
A typical day:
After an early breakfast, you will leave for
a morning game drive arriving back at the hotel for lunch and an afternoon
rest. You will take a late afternoon game drive as well. The animals are
moving in the early morning and late afternoon, snoozing and resting during
the hottest part of the day. If you are tired or want to stay behind to
swim or enjoy some time off, feel free to do so. And don't push yourself
too hard, this is also a vacation.
Travel protection is highly recommended. And
while some is very expensive, there are some reliable, affordable plans
available. Access America is backed by AAA and can be reached at 1-800-374-9886.
Some others to contact for pricing include: Travel Guard (1-800-826-4919),
Universal Travel Protection (1-800-695-0962), Travel Safe (1-888-885-7223),
and World Medical Plan Protection (1-800-601-5433). These numbers are
given based on travel agent's recommendations.
Most of the hotels have guards that carry
guns, and walk the perimeters of the properties both day and night. They
are there to protect you from straying animals. If they tell you NOT to
do something, please heed their warnings. Not doing so is at your own
Any changes in important information will
come with your final itinerary, emergency telephone list, and airline
ticket (if we are booking for you), or by telephone.