When you arrive at Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO) there will be three stages to your arrival.
(1) Immigration: If you are obtaining your visa upon arrival, fill out the visa card provided in the lobby of the airport, and proceed to the windows for processing. USA residents need to pay with a $100 bill newer than 2009.
You can obtain your visa online ahead of time, if desired, but the line for online visas is not always faster than on arrival visas.
The best rate is obtained at the bank window (Bureau de Change), in Arusha or Zanzibar. The exchange rates are posted outside. The exchange rate is approximately US$1 = 2300 Tanzanian Shilling The best rate is for new-version (2006 or newer) $100 USD bills. Bills smaller than $50 USD get a lower exchange rate, and older bills (2006 or older) may not be accepted at any shop. Hotels will exchange currency for you, but the banks have the best rates.
The largest Tanzanian bills are 10,000 and this is approximately $4.50. When you change money, they will probably give the vast majority as 10,000 bills and it would be wise to ask for some smaller bills such as 1000s ($.50) and 5000s ($2.30).
You can pay for most items in either TZS (Tanzanian Shilling) or USD, but usually the best rate will be given if you purchase those items in shillings. If you don’t want to get local money, most places will take USD, but then it is best to bring lots of small USD bills, especially for tipping.
Major credit cards (Visa and MasterCard) are accepted at most (westernized) outlets in Tanzania such as large banks, large supermarkets and larger establishments. Local trade is primarily by physical cash. Please note paying through credit card may attract a 3.5%-5% credit card surcharge, depending on the supplier. MasterCard and Visa are accepted to withdraw money, but some ATM machines do not have the ability to accept both.
Alcoholic drinks with meals, laundry, meals above the standard lodging meal, and other personal expenses are not included in your package. Here is a list of expenses so that you can better budget your incidental costs. The average cost of Beer, Wine and Mixed
Drinks (House Brands): $5-7 per drink. Lunch (Arusha, Zanzibar):$10-20per person (without drinks) – Dinner (Arusha, Zanzibar): $15-25 per person (without drinks).
Gratuity for your guide is not included in the price of the trip. In 2023 the average tip for guides was approximately $12-22 per person per day. But you should tip whatever makes you feel comfortable and whatever makes sense to you.
Often the co-driver on the safari is given a tip as well, but a smaller amount. If the co-guide is not given an individual tip, the primary guide will share part of his safari tip with the co-guide.
Safari Guide tips are preferred in USD and usually given at the end of the safari.
When you are packing your clothing, pack as little as possible. The climate in Tanzania is moderate to warm throughout the year. You should pack both long and short pants, light cotton clothing, warm clothing such as some light sweaters and trousers for the evenings and night and a fleece, scarf, swimming suit. Pack a quick drying washcloth, as they often do not provide wash clothes. If you like to hand-wash your clothes, look for fabrics that will dry out overnight.
Footwear: Bring supportive and comfortable shoes along with sandals/slippers.
Laundry: Most lodges offer laundry service, $1-3 per item of clothing (price varies based on item) Prices are reasonable, but dryers are seldom available (so clothing will take longer to dry during the rainy season). Laundry service is not available in the Serengeti.
We suggest clothing in muted earth tones because they don’t show dirt easily, coordinate well, and don’t distract animals. Very bright colors have traditionally been used to keep animals away (that’s why many tribal peoples wear bright clothing) but some species are color-blind, so if you prefer bright clothing it won’t scare off all the animals.
Avoid white clothing because white is a danger signal for some species. Avoid wearing all black or all blue clothing-these colors attract tsetse flies. This is a matter of comfort, not a health concern. Tsetse flies bite, and the bite can itch like a mosquito bite, but they are not disease carriers in the places we travel. The flies tend to be more active in the dry season or when the sun is out, and less of a problem during the rainy seasons of March-May; and short rains of November-December. Insect repellent with DEET is good to minimize the flies biting you, especially around your ankles while in the vehicle. 3
Dress on safari is functional and casual, while being neat and presentable in the lodges. In local communities, and to some extent in the lodges, your dress should be modest and conservative. Travelers to Zanzibar should consider the Muslim culture that predominates on the island; modest dress is appreciated
Other Essential Items:
-Daily essentials: Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. Most lodges do not provide a washcloth, so you may wish to pack one.
-Shampoo, soap, and bug spray for the rooms are provided by the lodges during your trip. (Since the bug spray is for the room, we would recommend that you bring your own insect repellent for when out on safari.)
-Sunscreen, SPF 30 or stronger. You are at the equator, and days and nights are 12 hours each. Spare eyeglasses/contact lens; sunglasses with 100% UV block.
-Lightweight binoculars (one pair per person). Models 8 x 21 or 6 x 16 work well. Emmanuel will have a pair, and you can share with him, or I can likely loan you a pair to use.
-Flashlight or headlamp or cellphone light.
-Most lodges/camps will loan you an umbrella, but they are the large and heavy kind. Some former travelers are fine with using these “loaners” because it saved them room in their luggage; others strongly preferred their own folding umbrella because it was lighter. The rains tend to be outbursts and then stop.
-Moist towelettes or baby wipes, they can be used to freshen up. Packets of pocket-size tissues or small roll of toilet paper, and Anti-bacterial “water-free” hand cleanser (aka “hand sanitizer”).
Medications and Health:
For any up-to-date information on the latest health precaution and vaccination recommendations, please consult a travel or tropical medical institute or your personal doctor at least 6 weeks before the intended departure day.
Typhoid vaccination and Malaria prevention are the only two medicines you need for this trip. Yellow Fever vaccination is not needed.
Pack in your carry-on your own prescription medicines, in case of baggage delay.
Travel first aid kit: Band-Aids, headache and pain relief, laxatives and anti-diarrhea tablets, something for an upset stomach. Maybe a cold remedy, antibiotic cream, or allergy medication.
Optional: Motion sickness medicine if you are susceptible (the roads are very bumpy).
Optional: Medication for allergies or asthma, if you are susceptible (the roads are also dusty). 4
What type of travel insurance is recommended?
We recommend travel medical insurance. This insurance will keep you safe in case of any emergency. SquareMouth is a reasonable and reliable travel insurance.
There also are good medical clinics in the area that are attentive to foreigners. They will want to be paid in cash before you discharge. Ask for a receipt for future reimbursement if a travel insurance is purchased.
Water & Dehydration
We highly recommend drinking as much water as you can while on safari, a minimum of 1.5ltr per person per day. Because of changes in the weather, you may not feel thirsty or hardly know if you are dehydrating. Tiredness, nausea and dizziness and sometimes diarrhea may be symptoms or side effects of dehydration. There will be plenty of cold-water in your safari vehicle’s mini-fridge. Please drink up and keep yourself hydrated. You may wish to bring electrolyte packets if feeling dehydrated.
Stomach Problem on Safari
Some people may have stomach issues/diarrhea for the first 1-3 days of their safari. This has nothing to do with poor hygiene or bad food but rather different kinds of food ingredients/spices used to make food and you adjust to this. Sometimes this could also be one of the side effects of (any) malaria pills you take. If you accidentally have this stomach issue, we highly recommend drinking more water to stay hydrated and if it gets more serious you may take diarrhea pills as described by your physician.
Bush toilet implies going behind your safari vehicle to relieve yourself. While traveling from one destination to another you might need to use a bush toilet because there are no public toilets except inside the park on picnic sites. So, if you want to make use of the toilet, just tell your driver guide and he will stop the car somewhere safe and you can go behind the vehicle to finish your business.
A Word About Electricity:
When traveling overseas, there are a few differences to keep in mind about electricity. First, the voltage is usually different. Second, the plugs are type G, and the availability of power can vary. It is best to have a good battery pack charged and ready for times when electricity is not available
Tanzania is 230-240 volts. In the U.S. it is 110 volts. Most of the things a traveler will want to plug in, such as battery chargers, tablets or computers can run off both 110 and 220-240. But you should check the item or the owner’s guide first to confirm this before you plug it in. If you have something that needs 110 volts-like a shaver or a hairdryer-you can bring a transformer to change the current, but transformers can burn out and ruin your equipment
Plugs Plug adapters (type G) are used in Tanzania. Hotels and lodges may have an adapter that you may use. Emmanuel has a few adapters you may borrow. The adapters have the rectangular prongs, not the circular type D prongs used in Ethiopia.
Availability of Electricity
In the remote lodges, the generator that supplies electricity may operate during limited hours, and the supply cannot be guaranteed during overnight stays. It is best to bring two batteries for a camera or have a heavy duty power pack that is well charged. Emmanuel has a good power pack he can loan you if needed.
Zanzibar in particular has occasionally experienced difficulties in connecting to the mainland power grid. Although the system has been improved recently, there can be sporadic power outages and power surges on the island.
You may wish to unlock your phone / iPhone (if locked) before you leave for your safari and buy a SIM card as soon as you arrive. The local SIM card will enable you to communicate locally and internationally (make calls; send text messages, read emails, etc.). Although, most upscale lodges and hotels have Wi-Fi and allow you to use their Wi-Fi. Check your phone carrier before leaving home for their rules and charges.
Each morning, you will likely have a full breakfast including eggs, cereal, toast or bread with jam and butter, fresh or canned fruit. Most lunches in the lodges are buffet-style, and typically feature bread and cheese, potato and pasta salads, cold meats, sandwiches, fruit, and dessert. Lodge dinners are served at the dining table, and start with soup and bread. Entrees include tasty curries, stews, sautéed dishes based on chicken, fish, or meat, and vegetable side dishes. Even in camp, they serve delicious desserts, such as cakes and custards. You will not go hungry!
The food served in your tented camps is particularly good. The camp cooks are carefully trained, and many travelers are amazed at the quality of the food they produce in a simple camp kitchen. Most of your meals are from the familiar Western cuisines, but they mix this up with characteristic African foods: you can try dishes such as ugali, a maize meal dish, a meat and banana stew, braised kale, and fried green collards. Beverages such as tea and coffee are served at all meals, and included in the cost.
Plastic bag ban in Tanzania. Is this true?
Yes. In a continued and renewed effort of the Tanzanian government, all disposable plastic carrying bags (regardless of thickness) are banned from importation, exportation, manufacturing, sale and usage, effective June 1, 2019. There will be special collection points at the major airports to dispose of the plastic bags any tourist might have but we highly recommend you do not bring plastic bags with you in your (hand) luggage, even if they are originating from duty-free shops from other airports, as this may attract a hefty fine of $15 per bag. Zip lock bags, plastic wrapping for medication or foodstuffs requiring plastic containers or plastic are permitted.
These are items that other travelers have suggested might be useful, depending on your needs:
● Travel alarm, travel watch with alarm
● Basic sewing kit
● Hand wash laundry soap (TSA approved size), and maybe clothespins and thin rope to hang up your clothes.
● Eye drops, for the dusty roads on safari
● Hanging toiletry bag (with hook to hang on doorknob and pockets to organize items)
● Inflatable seat cushion for bumpy roads and off-road driving in safari vehicles. This may be more useful for someone who has a bad back or hip problems. In the past, some resourceful traveler’s have reused their inflatable neck cushion for this purpose.
● Books, phrase book, your own field guide
Learn About The Parks:
Tarangire National Park
Tarangire is Tanzania’s third-largest national park. With nine distinct vegetation zones ranging from grassland to woodland, from deep gully vegetation to scattered rocky hilltops, Tarangire offers a diverse geological landscape, as well as diverse wildlife-including the largest recorded concentration of breeding bird species in the world. Baobab trees dot the landscape, and the valley of the Tarangire River dominates the entire scene.The variety of wildlife here is excellent, from lion, cheetah, and buffalo to a wealth of birdlife. Elephants are plentiful here, traveling in large herds that are not often seen elsewhere in Africa.
Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara is green throughout the year because of its underground water sources. Its verdant color attracts hundreds of spectacular varieties of migratory and wetland birds flying overhead including Flamingos. Manyara’s natural habitat also includes large troops of baboons, velvet & blue monkeys, hippos, giraffes, zebras, buffalos,elephants, warthogs and many more.
Serengeti National Park
Serengeti, in fact, is the Maasai word that means “endless plain.” The vast expanse of the Serengeti, where the wildlife sightings are typically at their peak in the early mornings and late afternoons, when the temperature cools, is amazing.The multitude and diversity of wildlife species in this huge protected area are unrivaled anywhere on the planet.
Morning game drives are highly recommended especially in Serengeti. Animals are very active in the morning and so you will likely see and experience a lot between 6:30-8 am. In the morning, the bush is very quiet and the sun is rising…even without animals, it is just amazingly beautiful to be out there! Still, be prepared for one or two early morning rises and game drives.
The caldera of Ngorongoro marks the ancient walls of a collapsed volcano, which was probably once the size of Mount Kilimanjaro. Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest volcano caldera formed three million years ago and is considered one of Africa’s most remarkable geological sites.
The crater has a unique ecosystem that is inhabited by more than 25,000 resident animals. In the grass steppes and acacia forest you can encounter almost every animal species of the East African savanna, including the “Big Five” (rhino, elephant, Cape buffalo, lion, leopard)
The circular crater is some twelve miles across, with steep walls of more than 2,000 feet.The crater’s rim is 7,500 feet above sea level, the highest altitude reached on your trip. Because of a permanent supply of water and a precise balance of predator and prey, most of the wildlife remains here year-round. The forest areas are home to herds of bull elephant, including some large, old “tuskers.” There are several prides of lion, and many packs of hyena and jackal. If lucky, you may spot a bat-eared fox or a pair of cheetah. These predators stalk the numerous wildebeest, gazelle, and zebra. Here thrives a stable population of rhino, as well as herds of buffalo and groups of hippo. The birdlife is equally diverse, ranging from the scavenging vulture and bustard to the magnificent eagle and crested crane.
Travel Time & Distance
The itinerary describes approximate distance and time you will travel every day, kindly be advised the distance and time calculated does not include any stops or game drives while on safari. Also note that a 2-3 hrs drive from one destination to another might sound short, but it will seem longer especially on the dusty and bumpy roads. Despite the great scenery, traveling to an African bush can be quite exhausting, especially from Ngorongoro to the Serengeti. Saying that, you are getting into a real adventure and so your mind and body should be prepared for that. Relax and Enjoy!
Learn About Tanzania:
Tanzania at a Glance
Facts & Figures
● Area: 365,755 square miles
● Capital: Dodoma
● Languages: Swahili is the official language; English and tribal languages are also spoken.
● Ethnicity: Mainland African 99% (of which 95% are Bantu consisting of more than 130 tribes), other 1% (consisting of Asian, European, and Arab); Zanzibar-Arab, African, mixed Arab and African
● Location: Tanzania is bordered by Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya,
● Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia
● Geography: Mainland Tanzania’s landscape is flat and low along the coast. In the interior, a plateau at an average altitude of about 4,000 feet makes up most of the country, and isolated mountain groups rise in the northeast and southwest. ● Population: 51,045,882
● Religions: Mainland Christian 30%, Muslim 35%, indigenous beliefs 35%; Zanzibar-more than 99% Muslim
● Time Zone: Tanzania is on Eastern Africa Time, eight hours ahead of U.S. EST. When it is 6am in Washington D.C., it is 2pm in Dar es Salaam.
Tanzania is home to the Olduvai Gorge, the site where some of the earliest human remains on earth have been discovered. For hundreds of thousands of years, hunter-gatherer societies inhabited the area, though details about them are lost in the mists of time. More recently, the interior of the country has been occupied by pastoral and agricultural societies.
The cattle-herding Maasai are notable among these. They are known to have settled as far south as Dodoma by the early 19th century, and they live around Tanzania’s game parks to this day. In the past this tribe’s reputation as fierce warriors kept away neighboring tribes and Arab traders, and neither the slave trade nor tribal warfare had much impact in their territory. Today, many Maasai proudly continue their traditional way of life with few inroads from modern civilization, especially in the northern part of the country.
Over one thousand years ago, sea-borne traders established a strong Arab presence on Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coast, which includes the island of Zanzibar. Sultans of Oman ruled Zanzibar by the 18th century, and in 1832 Sultan Seyyid Said located his capital city there. Because of this history, Islam continues to be the dominant religion in Zanzibar today.
Rivalry among European colonial powers brought historic change to the area in the 19th century. Livingston and Stanley were among the first Englishmen to arrive in the interior, where Stanley’s famous “Dr. Livingston, I presume” was uttered at Ujiji on Lake Tanganyika. The British made Zanzibar their protectorate in 1890. On the mainland, however, Britain yielded to Germany after German explorer Carl Peters laid the groundwork for colonial exploitation of the country by the German East Africa Company. The two countries signed an agreement giving the Germans what was then known as Tanganyika, while Britain got Kenya and Uganda. World War I, during which Germany and Britain fought intense land and naval battles in Tanganyika, ended this arrangement. Following Germany’s defeat in Europe, Britain was put in charge of the League of Nations mandate for Tanganyika.
In the 20th century, the movement to end colonialism in Tanganyika took shape among farmers’ unions and cooperatives. Julius Nyerere led the political party that grew out of this movement, and became the country’s first president when it made a peaceful transition to independence in 1961.
The island of Zanzibar gained independence in 1963, in a transition that involved a bloody revolution during which the bulk of the Arab population was expelled. In 1964, Tanganyika, Zanzibar, and Pemba (another offshore island) joined to become the United Republic of Tanzania.
Tanzania’s leaders stood at the forefront of African liberation movements during the 1970s and the early 1980s. They allowed Mozambique nationalists to use Tanzanian territory for training and attack bases as they fought for independence from the Portuguese. In 1979, Tanzanian troops helped overthrow the regime of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. President Nyerere also played a key role in the negotiations for ending white rule in Zimbabwe. Although it maintained good relations with the West, Tanzania followed a strongly socialist path in the decades immediately following independence.
In November 1985, Nyerere retired and was succeeded in the presidency by Ali Hassan Mwinyi. Nyerere continued as the chairman of the Revolutionary Party of Tanzania until
August 1990. Tanzania began moving toward a multiparty system in the early 1990s; in 1992 a new constitutional rule allowed for the formation of other parties provided they were active in both Tanganyika (the mainland) and Zanzibar. The ruling was meant to address the growing concerns of the Zanzibari who felt that unification had relegated
the island to second-place status in comparison with the mainland. But when the first multi-party elections took place in 1995, there were sharp divisions between the island and the mainland; these divisions would crop up periodically throughout the following decades.
A key example of this divide occurred shortly after the highly contested 2000 general elections, which were won by a party with strong support on the mainland, the CCM. Not long after the election, the offices of the Zanzibar-based opposition party-the CUF were raided by the police and the CUF chairman was charged with unlawful assembly. Supporters took to the streets in protest, which sadly disintegrated into a violent clash with the police. Ultimately the heads of both parties joined together to restore calm, but the incident prompted many in Tanzania to call for a greater level of freedom for opposition parties.
The mainland for electricity, which is supplied by an underwater cable. In 2008 the cable’s connection In addition to political struggles, the residents of Zanzibar have also struggled with their dependence on failed, leaving the island without electricity for roughly one month. (Many in Zanzibar have backup generators for this very reason.) But these internal squabbles are relatively mild, especially compared to other African nations. In recent years the relative stability has helped Tanzania emerge as one of the anchors for the East African region, accepting refugees from the conflicts in Rwanda, hosting peace talks for Burundi, and forming an East African trade alliance with neighboring states like Kenya.
The etiquette of photographing most people in the countries on your itinerary is about the same as it would be on the streets of your hometown. Many Maasai people have particular concerns about photography. They know that professional photographers have profited from selling their images, and they will often ask for money in exchange for you taking their picture. Try to set a clear understanding when photographing Maasai people, even from a distance.
Safety & Security:
Although VERY RARE, it is possible.
As you travel, exercise the same caution and awareness that you would in a large American city. Carry a one-day supply of cash in your pocket. Carry most of your money, and your passport, in a travel pouch or money belt under your shirt. Replenish your pocket supply when you are in a safe and quiet place, or in our vehicle. Do not leave valuable items unattended in your room. Almost every lodge offers use of a hotel safe at the front desk. Be careful when taking photos from the vehicle in towns or city centers. It is not unheard of for thieves to reach inside the open window while you are distracted and grab cameras or purses. If you’re taking photos out of an open window in a crowded area, have someone else in the group watch over your valuables.
Other trip information
- Only US currency of 2009 and newer is accepted at many stores and banks. If you wish to exchange money at the bank, you receive a better exchange rate with $50 or $100 bills.
- If you are using a credit card, you must know the PIN number
- Wash clothes are not a common item in Tanzania. If you wish to use one, please bring a quick drying one.
- Immodium anti-diarrheal (Loperamide HCl)
- Wet Ones (wet wipes for hands)
- Hand sanitizer
- Sunscreen SPF 50
- Copy of passports (1 for traveling companion, 1 for friends or family in the US)
- US embassy information
- US embassy information
- Yellow Card (WHO International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis)
- Atovaquone-proguanil AKA Malarone (anti-malaria pills)
- Azithromycin (antibiotic)
- Pepto bismol
- Proof of COVID vaccination
- Electrolyte tablets
- Light-colored (not blue) insect-proof clothing (treat in advance with Permethrin 0.5%)
- Chapstick with SPF
- Register trip with the US Department of State
- 20% Picaridin insect repellent
First Aid Kit
- Hemostatic gauze
- Antibiotic ointment
- Butterfly bandages
- Skin glue
- Splinter forceps
- Antipyretic agents
- Antifungal creams
- Cough and cold remedies
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Blister pads
- Important to eat, hydrate, and move your legs on the airplane to prevent blood clots. Some people wear compression socks.
- Yellow Fever has not been reported in Tanzania in 40 years
- Wipe down surfaces on airplane with sanitizing wipes
- Avoid unpasteurized dairy products (carries risk of a few diseases)
- Eat food that is steaming hot. Packaged and baked goods are fine. Food with shells or peels that can be removed are fine. Avoid creamy desserts, cold sauces, leafy or undercooked vegetables, salad. Sorry Mom.
- Avoid tap water. Rinse toothbrushes in bottled water.
- Avoid ice unless made from bottled water.
- Avoid eating certain fish (amberjack, bonito, mackerel, mahi-mahi, tuna) due to risk of scombroid poisoning.
- Sleep under a permethrin-soaked bed net if not sleeping in a sealed, air-conditioned room. Check the bug net for holes.
- Immodium: treats the symptoms
- Azithromycin (antibiotic)
- Take 1 daily for 1-3 days to treat severe diarrhea
- Recommended to take right away. Diarrhea usually is sudden onset and severe.
- Take antibiotics at the first onset.
- Sunscreen SPF 50
- Ideally 30 minutes between sunscreen and insect repellent
- Insect repellent options
- 20-30% DEET
- Deep Woods Off
- 20% Picaridin (Sawyer brand is less stinky; picaridin in generally has less of a smell than DEET and does not dissolve plastics)
- Permethrin 0.5% (Sawyer brand) to treat clothing (lasts 6 weeks)
- Light-colored clothing (not blue)
- 20-30% DEET
- Atovaquone-proguanil AKA Malarone
- Generally, well tolerated
- Take 1 daily starting 1 day before entering malaria zone, daily through the trip, and 7 days after leaving. Best taken with food, but not with calcium or iron.
- Immediate medical attention is necessary for fever or influenza-like illness within 3 months after travel in malaria risk area
- Dusk to dawn be most vigilant about mosquitos
- Atovaquone-proguanil AKA Malarone
- If bitten by an animal, vigorously scrub the wound for 10 minutes with soap and water
- Seek medical attention within 24 hours