Tanzania General Information
African dream adventure Safaris welcomes you to Tanzania, the land of unique cultures and immense Wildlife inside untamed environments overlooked by highest peak the Mount Kilimanjaro-The highest free-standing mountain in the world and the golden endless beaches of Zanzibar. We would like to introduce you to some basic facts and figures below of our beloved country.
Language: Swahili (Kiswahili) is our official language and is spoken throughout Tanzania. You will also find that many people speak some English. 120 Tribal languages are also spoken around the country but we are all connected to one language Kiswahili.
Local Time: GMT + 3
Daylight: Sunrise around 6:15-30am and sunset at 6:45-50pm. 12 hours of daylight year round.
Electricity: 230 volts Ac, 50 hz. You might want to bring your own adapter to be sure. A lot of areas visited will electricity or using generator powered electricity, and not so newly introduced Solar power system depending on where you will be and what time.
Airports: We have about three international airports and a lot small ones including Airstrips inside and on the outskirts of many National parks. Major international Airport are Dar es Salaam (DIA), Kilimanjaro (JRO) and Zanzibar.
Regional and domestic charter services to major national parks and game reserves are available on request including private small chartered plane.
Currency: Tanzanian shilling is widely used and major currency. It is advisable to carry American dollars, its also advisable to carry your credit cards especially those of big companies like VISA, Master Cards, American Express and many other but you will be getting local currency(TSHS) when withdrawing from ATM. Money changers also accept the major convertible currencies including the Euro, British pound and yen. Travelerís cheques are exchangeable in larger towns in Bureau de Change shops and Banks. Major credit cards are accepted in larger hotels and widely used and for using ATM machines around big towns and cities.
Visas: Visas are required for all, except citizens of the Commonwealth, Scandinavian countries and the Republic of Ireland. You must obtain a visa in advance from any Tanzania Embassy. Most tourists obtain their Visas at the point of entry(Airports, Borders and Ports around the country) Cost is around $50 US, every client should have a valid passport with at least 6 months ahead of expire dates.
Climate: The climate is tropical on the coast, the islands and in Selous game reserve. It is temperate in the other parks and mostly sunny during the day and can be quite cool at night and during the rainy season especially in highland places like the Ngorongoro crater and Kilimanjaro. October to mid-march is the hottest period and mostly dry and good time to visit and from June to September, the coolest with few showers during the night or day sometimes depends on where you will be. There is light rainfall in November and the rainy season is from mid March to late May and sometime early June. Ocean temperature is between 24 and 28 c. In highlands areas the temperature is between 14 and 26 c. And in areas like Mt. Kilimanjaro it can get to freezing point after reaching 3000m/9900ft above sea level.
Health: It depends on where you are coming from but in some countries you will be required to have a Yellow fever vaccination and will most likely be asked to show an international immunization certificate as proof. Visitors from Western Europe, USA, or CANADA will not likely need this.
Visitors are advised to contact your doctor or local travel clinic several weeks before departure as you may need to get other vaccinations or prescription of some medication to use while on trip, that can take several weeks to become effective. You should ask about malaria prophylaxis and start taking the medication two weeks before you depart and for several weeks after returning home, most medication can be found in Tanzania pharmacy by local under licensed brands, but you are highly advised to bring your own to avoid confusion. Please try medications prior to travel as some can have nasty side effects.
Some inoculations can take a bit of time to get depending on current demand so itís best to start working on this a few months before you leave.
Typhoid, Polio, Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Yellow Fever are all strongly recommended.
Personal insurance is recommended with comprehensive travel insurance - a policy that will provide you with medical care and then fly you home in an emergency.
Your local bookstore and library will have more extensive information on staying healthy in Tanzania and it is well worth your time to be informed before you come, please take some time off and visit Tanzania website and get more information about the country.
Clothing: If your trips take to the Northern circuit national parks and other attractions there then during the day, light clothing, sturdy shoes and a jacket are recommended as well as sun hats and sunscreen above 30 factor. At night, casual wear with a light cardigan or pull over or fleece as it may sometimes gets very chilly in these areas (for altitudes between 1500 m in Arusha and 2400 m in Ngorongoro). On the coast summer wear as its mostly sunny and high humidity in places like Zanzibar and Dar-es-salaam. For Mount Kilimanjaro and other treks, check our special page about Kilimanjaro and you will get a lot of info and overview of weather and what to wear in those areas. Bring: sunscreen, lotions, sunglasses as sometimes the African sun can deceptive and very harsh, mosquito cream, personal water bottle and binoculars.
Safety: Like any other country, theft and muggings do happen in Tanzania, especially at bus stations and busy markets places where pickpockets congregate. It is best to leave valuable jewellery at home or at a hotel safe, carry your spending money in your front pocket and the bulk of your cash in a hidden money belt. Do not flash large amounts of money or wear a "fanny pack". Avoid overnight busses and trains without a company of your guide or local host. Do not walk at night, even in a group - it is more expensive to take a cab, but good insurance. Do not change money with people on the street, they are con men and will not give you a better rate than the bureau of change, no matter what they say do it at recognized place and make sure you get a receipt. Exercise common sense whenever meeting people or mingling with new people as some of them will try to be your friends just to rip you off later, with little or extra caution and you should have a great times in the country.
Danger from wild animals is minimal on safari as most creatures avoid direct contact with humans unless threatened and some are already used to vehicles. Respect the advice of your guide/leader who is experienced with the environment and has your best interests and safety at heart. Believe it or not, the most dangerous animal you are likely to encounter in Tanzania is the mosquito and especially in the coastal regions!
Cuisine: Tanzania is blessed with different variety of food and vegetables. You'll find international cuisine in the hotels, restaurants and lodges. There are plenty of local available food you may try, just make sure you ask about the contents before you try anything or ask advise from your host/guide. On the coast, fish and lobsters with local dish such as biryanis and meat or fish curries. Specialties: spiced tea in the spice island of Zanzibar or coffee and "Halua", a sweet desert with almonds.
Its highly recommended to Drink or brush your teeth with only boiled or bottled water available in supermarkets and small shop venders spread around little towns and big cities.
Behavior: We encourage sustainable tourism by promoting and support protection of nature for future generation and it should be everyone conern. On safari, do not collect or buy bones, skins, horns, teeth, feathers or shells. And on the coast do not bring back coral, shells or starfish which play and important role in the fragile ecosystem.
Do not litter, pack it and pack it out. Its inadvisable to try to transport illegal material back to your country as it will sometime be confiscated at the Airport or border no matter what the street sellers tells you donít buy the above mentioned items. Tanzania is one the country thatís still keeps some rules on traditional well being of its people and mostly on family level, Be very careful and considerate when visiting remote areas. It may be well different from what is happening in towns and cities.The guides know the local habits and customs. It is always advisable to ask someone's permission before taking his/her photograph, especially Maasai with spears or small children on the sides of the road or people on their daily chores either in cities or small villages.
Shopping: Tanzania is blessed with a lot of talents and locally made products are available at good prices. Negotiation is expected and we donít advise you to barter excessively. On the mainland Tanzania, you can find batiks, tinga tinga paintings, objects in ebony, cutlery, jewelery, sculptures, furniture, basket ware, beaded Maasai necklaces, precious gems (gold, diamonds, tanzanites and other stones). In Zanzibar Islands, you can find textiles (wrap-around - kikoi for men and khanga for women), carved chests, perfumes, natural lotions and spices.
Public Transportation: Public Busses (Daladala) and taxis are available in most larger towns. Bus fares are low and taxi fares are negotiable depends on where you are going. Trains are cheap, slow and subject to delay and are only available in very few areas and widely used for long trips of two to three days. Do not rely on timetables, book in advance and be on time at the stations. 1st, 2nd and 3rd class compartments are available; 1st differs from 2nd only in the number of beds per compartment, 2 instead of 6. Third Class is said to be uncomfortable and risky. There is ferry service between Zanzibar and the mainland. More people rely on buses especially from one town to another as they are more reliable and can range from luxurious ones to cheap ones and less comfort.
Car Hire: Available in larger towns, offering a range of vehicles from small, two doors to 4 wheel vehicle drive. Most charge a daily rate plus mileage, insurance and petrol. You can also hire a driver. Payment is usually in foreign currency and sometime in local currency converted on that day exchange rate.
Religion: We have freedom of worship in Tanzania. Approximately 21% of the population adheres to traditional beliefs. 40% Christian, 35% Muslim and 2% Hindu. These are just approximates and it will depend on places you will be visiting, for example when you go Coastal areas you will more than 88% of the population are Muslim, when you look at the mainland and especially in highlands areas you will find 80% Christian in some towns or villages, most big cities are multi-ethnic and there is really no problem of ethnic violence in Tanzania.
Business Hours: Government offices are open 8:00am to 3:00pm Monday-Friday and 8:00am to 12:30 on Saturday. Shops are open, 8:30am to 5:00pm Monday-Saturday with a lunch break from 12:30-2:00pm every day. They are usually closed on Sunday, with some exceptions, especially in tourist areas can stay open during weekends and public holidays. Banking hours are 8:00am to 3:00pm Monday-Friday and 8:00am to 11:30 on Saturday. Businesses are closed on Public Holidays.
Holidays: Good Friday, Easter Monday, Christmas and Boxing day Idd-el-Fitr, Islamic New Year and the Prophet's birthday are all public holidays and are celebrated on different days each year. Other holidays include:
1 January - New Year's Day
12 January - Zanzibar Revolution Day
26 April - Union Day
1 May - International Labour Day
7 July - Public Holiday
8 August - Peasant's Day
9 December - Independence Day
25 December - Christmas Day
Tipping: In better hotels, tips are included in your bill. If you want to tip someone who has been especially helpful, 13% of the total bill is generous. Remember that too small a tip is an insult, while an overly generous tip makes it awkward for those who come after you. Be sure to tip your guide.
Medical Services: There has been a good development and investment in medical sector but still Medical services are for the most part, under developed and would not be considered adequate by Western standards. It is advisable to carry medical evacuation insurance and check with your insurance company before you leave home about availlabity and quality of the hospitals.
Chemists/Pharmacies: Medical supplies are fairly good in Tanzania and are available in local pharmacies around towns and cities, most of them have local version of the medicine (under licensed) we strongly advise you to bring all medicines you will need. An exception to this is malaria medication which is widely available and most likely cheaper than you will find it in the Western world.
Communications: This is one of sectors that have developed rapidly over the past five years as mobile phones are widely used, with good number of Tanzanians own a handset or two, Internet cafť are also widely available and used in big towns and hotels, The post is well organized but phone calls are expensive and lines are limited. Now itís possible to bring your own handset and you can use the local SIM card to contact with family and friends back home, MSG texting is widely used and its cheap in most networks although networks charges vary. Hotels add a hefty surcharge to international and local calls and the connections are often unreliable especially during busy hours.
We hope you have read all the above information carefully and if you still have questions, the Staff of African Dream Adventure Safaris are here to help you in any way.