TANZANIA

Wildebeest Migration

Trip Facts & Information

Reading Materials

General Travel Guide
BRIGGS, Phillip. Tanzania with Zanzibar, Pemba & Mafia, 6th: The Bradt Travel Guide. Bradt Travel Guides, 6th edition, 2009. 656 pages. Paperback, $17.81

Animals
KINGDON, Jonathan. The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. A & C Black Publishers Ltd, 2003. 496 pages. Paperback, $47.89

STEVENSON, Terry and John FANSHAWE. The Birds of East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. Princeton University Press, 2006 (2002). 287 color plates featuring 1,388 species. Illustrated by Brian Small, John Gale, and Norman Arlott. Distribution maps and concise species accounts opposite color plates describe appearance, status, range, habits, and voice. Includes information on habitats, protected areas, and conservation issues, with a map of important bird areas. 604 pp. Paperback. $25.04

Natural History
SHAH, Anup & Manoj. The Great Rift Valley of East Africa. Struik Publishers, 2008. 144 pages. Hardcover, $15.36

MORELL, Virginia. Ancestral Passions: The Leakey Family and the Quest for Humankind's Beginnings. Touchstone, 1996. 640 pages. Paperback, $27,36

Other Books of Interest
SMITH, Alexander McCall. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Anchor, Mti Edition, 2009. 272 pages, $7.99 (while based in Botswana, this is a delightful book series that offer a fun and light view of African life.)

HOFMANN, Corinne. The White Masai: My Exotic Tale of Love and Adventure. Harper Paperbacks, 2007. 320 pages, $10.83

Passports

A passport valid for six months beyond the date of entry to Tanzania is required. A passport is also needed in order to depart the U.S./Canada. If you currently do not have a passport or need to renew your passport, please apply as soon as possible. Typical application processing time is 4-6 weeks in the U.S. with an expedited service option of 2-3 weeks.

For more information on acquiring a U.S. passport, please go to the U.S. State Department website. For information on acquiring a Canadian passport, please visit Passport Canada.

Visas

A visa is required in order to travel in Tanzania. Visas are available at the country's port of entries, including international airports. The current fee for a 12-month multiple-entry tourist visa upon arrival in Tanzania is $100.00 USD. You may purchase your visa ahead of time at a passport/visa expeditor, which can be found online. However, it is probably more convenient and less expensive to purchase your visa at the Kilimanjaro International Airport upon arrival. Please bring a new $100 bill to purchase your visa.

Air Travel & Luggage

Ujuzi African Travel provides comprehensive travel options, including international, regional, and in-country flight reservations. International flights are available into/from Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, and Mwanza. The primary international carriers that serve U.S., Canadian, and European travelers with the most direct flights are KLM (Delta) and Ethiopian Airlines (United/Continental). International carriers allow 2 bags of 50 lbs each on their flights. However, it is strongly suggested that due to vehicle size and any regional or in-country flights you may take that you carry 1 soft-sided bag, weighing less than 45 lbs.

Regional airline carriers in the area include Precision, Kenya Airways, Fly 540. They serve the surrounding countries with direct and connecting flights. Most of these flights allow 45 lbs for checked luggage.

In-country carriers offering daily flights include Air Excel, Coastal Aviation, and Regional Air. They serve the larger airports and also the smaller air strips located in or near the national parks and public and private reserves The baggage limit for these carriers is 45 lbs for checked and carry-on baggage.

Currency & Spending Money

The Tanzania Shillings (TSH) is used throughout Tanzania, although US dollars are accepted everywhere, even with the local tribes and market. Depending on what you want to buy, it is suggested that you bring $500-1,000 with you ($100 of which will go to your visa). The rest can be used for souvenirs, alcohol, and tips. It is also suggested that you bring about $30-50 in singles for tips to baggage handlers and meal servers.

Tipping

Do not feel that 15% is mandatory. For hotel and restaurant staff, several dollars is sufficient per person per day. In locations where you'll be staying more than one night, leave tips at the end of your stay; it is not necessary to tip more than once. Driver/guides should be tipped at the end of your trip; use your discretion in this area, but base it on their performance. The "average" is approximately $5-10 per day (per person), less for children, is accepted as the benchmark, although more or less is acceptable based on the quality of service.

Many of the personnel who will serve you during your stay depend on tips as part of their living, so your tip will have a significant impact on their livelihood.

Security

Tanzania is an acceptably safe travel destination since democratic, local governments came into power. In Tanzania threats will not come from banditry or political instability, but rather from malaria, which can be prevented by following the simple steps below. In Tanzania, pick-pocketing and muggings can be a problem in Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam, and Arusha, and tourists are encouraged to be cautious at all times, practice common sense, and not to walk around at dusk or later. However, the numbers of these attacks are small and majority of tourists enjoy Tanzania in peace. Even though political instability in Tanzania is rare, Ujuzi African Travel errs on the side of caution and does not book trips to the country shortly before or after presidential elections.

Immunizations

Before visiting Tanzania, you will need to get vaccinations and medications for vaccine-preventable diseases and other diseases for which you might be at risk (Note: Your doctor or health-care provider will determine what you will need, depending on factors such as your health and immunization history, areas of the country you will be visiting, and planned activities).

To have the most benefit, see a health-care provider who specializes in Travel Medicine (ask your regular practitioner who this is) at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for your vaccines to take effect, and to start taking medicine to prevent malaria, if you need it. Even if you have less than 4 weeks before you leave, you should still see a health-care provider for needed vaccines, anti-malaria drugs and other medications and information about how to protect yourself from illness and injury while traveling.

Please note that Tanzania requires proof of the yellow fever vaccine. Upon receiving this vaccine your health care practitioner should provide you with a "yellow card" that provides proof of immunization. Please carry this card in your passport.

For more information on immunizations you may need for Tanzania, please visit the Center for Disease Control.

Travel Insurance & Health

Optional insurance coverage is available for baggage, accident, and trip cancellation/interruption through Ujuzi African Travel. Please contact Ujuzi African Travel for a plan description and quote.

Before going abroad, learn what medical services your health insurance will cover overseas. If your health insurance policy provides coverage outside the United States, REMEMBER to carry both your insurance policy identity card as proof of such insurance and a claim form. Although many health insurance companies will pay "customary and reasonable" hospital costs abroad, very few will pay for your medical evacuation back to the United States.

Senior citizens may wish to contact the American Association of Retired Persons for information about foreign medical care coverage with Medicare supplement plans.

To facilitate identification in case of an accident, complete the information page on the inside of your passport providing the name, address, and telephone number of someone to be contacted in an emergency.

A traveler going abroad with any pre-existing medical problems should carry a letter from the attending physician, describing the medical condition and any prescription medications, including the generic name of prescribed drugs. Any medications being carried overseas should be left in their original containers and be clearly labeled.

Water and Drinks

Do not drink or use water from a faucet, including brushing your teeth. Bottled water will be provided in rooms and vehicles. Bottled water is available for purchase during meals, unless provided by the lodge. Soft drinks and fruit juices are widely available. Chai, a sweet tea where all ingredients are boiled together in a pot, is the most common local, hot beverage. Tanzania coffee may seem watery, even though it is a major cash crop. However, it is improving over time! For alcoholic beverages, try some of the local brews (Kilimanjaro or Safari) or South African wines.

Food

You can expect to eat close to 90% of your meals at or from lodges or hotels. Days that include game drives early morning or mid-day or transportation to and from destinations may include a packaged breakfast and/or lunch box. You can expect most Tanzanian accommodations to serve high-quality Western or Indian food. Vegetarians are often poorly catered to (with the exception of Indian restaurants), so please be sure to inform Ujuzi African Travel in advance about your dietary preference so we can make the appropriate accommodations. Be sure to try some local cuisine as well, which is based around a meat or chicken stew eaten with one of four staples: pilau, chapatti, or ugali. Ugali is a stiff maize porridge eaten throughout sub-Saharan African, chapatti is warm flat bread, similar to those in the Middle East, and pilau is a similar to a rice pilaf.

A Typical Day

After an early breakfast, you will leave for a morning game drive arriving back at the hotel or camp for lunch and an afternoon rest. You'll take a late afternoon game drive as well. The animals are moving 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!

Weather

Because of its location on the equator and elevation, Tanzania has the gift of vacation-weather year round. That said, due to the two rainy seasons a year, the best times to travel are December to late February and from June to October. Tanzania temperatures are a bit warmer during the dry season with averages at night in the upper 60s and mid-80s to low 90s during the day. Be prepared -- the temperature in February /March will be hot, including Zanzibar. Do plan to bring a couple of long-sleeved shirts and pants as early mornings can be chilly and so can overnights on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater.

Packing

A detailed packing list will be provided to you, based on your destinations, activities, and the time of year of your trip.

Electricity

The voltage used in Tanzania is 220-240 volts (U.S./Canada uses 110-120 volts), Plugs D & G. You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

Shopping

Most of the hotels have wonderful gift shops with 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 large 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 stores will do it for a fee. Another good place to shop is the international airport departure lounge on your way out. Prices are often lower than the hotel or roadside gift shops. Finally, consider scheduling a visit to a local market into your itinerary, or if there is time, request a stop at one along the way. A visit to a market is an excellent way to learn about the local culture!

Some favorite items are kangas (native wraparound skirts), mahogany and ebony woodcarvings, coffee, tea (chai), masks, beaded jewelry, baskets, sisal products and the like. Tanzanite is a local gemstone mined in Tanzania. It may be much more affordable than in the U. S. Please tell your guide you are interested in shopping for it, and he'll take you to a reputable dealer. If you plan to purchase Tanzanite, do your homework on what to look for before travel. Postcards and stamps for mailing are readily available in the gift shops.

Be aware that the local Maasai people sell handmade wares, especially at the villages. They also love to "negotiate" the price of any item. While there's haggling going on, remember that they're only trying to make a living, and love the bargaining process.

Language

There are more than 120 languages spoken in Tanzania and Tanzanians see themselves as having two "official" languages: English and Swahili. At most tourist destinations (airports, lodges, cultural centers) you will find proficient English being spoken. When visiting tribes, a translator/guide will be used for communication.

Communication with Your Country of Origin

Phone and internet communication is very unreliable in East Africa. Using your personal cell phone is an option, albeit an expensive one. Call your cell company and find out rates and any special plans that you may use, but in general you should plan to use it only for emergencies. Most lodges will have computers and internet to rent for your use.