√ Passport & Visa

Entering Tanzania is relatively easy. With the exception of Hong Kong, Jamaica, Barbados, Malaysia, and roughly a dozen African nations, everybody entering Tanzania is required to have a tourist visa. Acquiring a visa for entry into Tanzania is an easy process, with visas available on arrival at major airports and major land crossings such as Namanga and Isebania.

There are one or two things you’ll need if applying for a visa on arrival. The first, and this is a requirement for everybody, is your passport with at least six months validity remaining. If you are planning to apply for a visa upon arrival, you will also need two free, adjacent pages remaining in your passport. The second, only needed if traveling by air from a country in which Yellow Fever is a problem, is proof of vaccination. This is usually a yellow book and can be obtained when you receive your Yellow Fever immunisation. The yellow-fever vaccination is no longer officially required, because Tanzania is not listed as a Yellow Fever endemic country. Nevertheless Zanzibar immigration officials and officials at land crossings may ask to see Yellow Fever vaccination certificates upon arrival. 

The cost of a single-entry visa upon arrival is $50 for non-US citizens, and $100 for US citizens. A double entry visa is more expensive ($70) but allows you to re-enter the country. This should be paid in USD. Other currencies are not accepted. Make sure you have crisp, clean, new notes to pay with at the border. Notes printed prior to 2006 will not be accepted at the border, or really anywhere in Tanzania.

If you will be leaving Tanzania and then re-entering, it is recommended to purchase a double entry visa as it will save you money in the long run. Single entry visas are valid for 3 months, whereas double entry visas are valid for up to 6 months. Bringing passport photographs of yourself is not required.

Alternatively, you can send your passport in advance to your local Tanzanian embassy to apply for the visa ahead of time. Last but not least, it is recommended to bring a healthy dose of patience – the lines can move slowly, and hold ups are common!


√ Health

Before you embark on a lifetime safari experience in Tanzania you will have to take few health precautions. The tropical environments favour growth of different bacteria, flora and fauna that most visitors are not accustomed to.

Malaria is the most feared disease to most of the visitors. Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before you travel to ask advice about anti-malaria tablets. Also you can buy mosquito sprays. Almost all the accommodations have mosquito nets fixed to your bed and the rooms are sprayed with mosquito repellents as well. We recommend wearing long sleeves and trousers after sunset. Malaria transmitting mosquitos only bite during the night, so it's likely you won't be exposed if all the precautions are taken care of.

Besides malaria, dengue fever is common as well in Tanzania. Dengue is transmitted by Aedes Aegypti, which is a day biting mosquito. It means this mosquito is most active during daylight, for approximately two hours after sunrise and several hours before sunset. There have also been cases of sleeping sickness occurring after bites from tsetse flies in the north, including the Serengeti. Other diseases, such as rift valley fever, occur mostly in rural areas where access to sanitation is limited.

Vaccinations that might be considered before you travel include typhoid, hepatitis A and B, meningitis, and tetanus. The yellow-fever vaccination is no longer officially required, because Tanzania is not listed as a Yellow Fever endemic country. Nevertheless Zanzibar immigration officials may ask to see Yellow Fever vaccination certificates or exemption certificates upon arrival from the Tanzania mainland. For more information, contact your doctor.

HIV is widespread in Africa, you should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS.

Medical facilities are limited, especially outside Dar es Salaam. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of medical treatment abroad, evacuation by air ambulance and repatriation.


√ Food & water

While on trip in Tanzania make sure that you drink bottled water. It's not safe to drink tap water in Africa. In fact, it is advisable to use tap water only for showering or washing your hands. To avoid health problems, use only bottled or filtered water for drinking and brushing your teeth. Bottled water is cheap and readily available in Tanzania, and all lodges and restaurants will have it available. Our safari vehicles always come stocked with plenty of bottled water to ensure you remain hydrated while on safari.

If you eat on the street, make sure the food is hot, avoid eating salads and drinking fresh juices. Chances are those things are not prepared in a hygienic way. Most standard and high-end restaurants prepare their food at required hygienic standards, so you shouldn't worry about eating anything there. But be advised that if you are not sure of what you ordered not to eat it. All the places you will eat during your organized safari meet the required standard for you to eat. We will also make sure that dietary requirements are taken care of during your trip.

Traditional Tanzanian food features plenty of meat (especially beef, chicken, and fish), rice, and vegetables. It’s simple, hearty food often accompanied by ugali, a flour and water based dough similar to polenta and eaten by hand. Vegetarians are also well catered for in Tanzania. With Tanzanian food so rich in vegetables, legumes, and rice, you’ll be able to find delicious vegetarian food without any trouble.


√ Money & costs

The Tanzanian currency is Tanzanian Shilling (TZS), but a lot of things are paid in US Dollars. Dollars are widely accepted, sometimes even preferred over local currency. Euros are acceptable but not as much as dollars. The only catch with US dollar bills is that banknotes have to be issued after 2006. In opposite case you will be refused at money exchange offices and will not be able to spend the money.

For local shopping and smaller expenses like tips and shopping on markets, Tanzanian shillings are a must have in your wallet. Prices in dollars are often quoted higher than in Tanzanian shillings, therefore it's good to exchange the dollars to TZS. The easiest and surest way to get both USD and TZS is to go to a bank stationed at your domestic airport. Usually there are ATMs for the USD and TZS can be bought at the bank. When you arrive in Tanzania you will need $50 immediately to get a visa and after the long travel you will already have some TZS at hand for the first nights of your safari.

The easiest way to access money while travelling in Tanzania is at ATMs, using a debit or credit card. Visa cards are generally more widely accepted than MasterCard or Maestro. Ideally, carrying a card of both varieties is the best way to ensure you can withdraw money. This approach is also recommended in case one card is lost or stolen. ATMs may sometimes be offline or empty, therefore it is good to always have a hidden sum of money on the side. ATMs are found in the cities, so before you leave to rural areas be sure to have enough cash. Credit cards can be used, but know that many hotels, lodges and camps will assess a fee for their use. This can be 5% or higher over what you're paying.

Since we can't walk around with pockets full of hundreds of dollars, try to calculate how much you're going to need on safari. Although most of your expenses are already covered, you might want to bring some cash. Beverages (except tea and coffee) are not included. Also you need to tip the staff of the lodges and camps you're staying. And maybe you see some beautiful gifts you want to bring home.

For those working in the service industry in Tanzania, including waiters, porters and housekeepers, tips can form a significant part of their income. However, there is a fine balance between tipping enough, and tipping too much. You may think that tipping too much couldn't cause problems, but excessive tips can throw out the balance of the local economy. Best practice is always to tip just once, and always at the end of your stay at each safari lodge or camp. The most common way is to use the ‘tip box’ that most camps offer.

A guideline for tipping the staff at accommodations: $5 per guest per day for the general staff.


√ Climate & weather (best time to visit)

Depending on what you would like to see, it's important to pick the right time of the year to go. Most safari reserves are seasonal, which means it's better to visit them at some times than others, and set itineraries don’t really account for this. If we know what you would like to see and experience, we can figure out the best places for you to go during the time of year you are going to visit East Africa.

Similar to all other places in the world, weather patterns across Africa are becoming increasingly unpredictable. There're downpours in the middle of deserts and damaging droughts when rains should be falling.
Just south of the equator, Tanzania is huge and its sheer size means that the climate varies considerably within it. However, generally the main rainy season, or the 'long rains', lasts during March, April and May. Afternoon tropical downpours are the norm, which are heavier and more predictable near the coast and on the islands. The humidity is high and daily temperatures reach the low-mid 30°C.
The long dry season lasts throughout June, July, August, September and October. That's when rainfall is unusual, even on the islands. Temperatures vary hugely with altitude and location, but it's usually a clear sky and sunny weather and a great time to visit Tanzania. During November and December there's another rainy season: the 'short rains'. These are much lighter than the main rains but also less reliable. If it has rained during the short rains, then it normally dries up for a few months. January and February, which is Tanzania's 'short dry season'.

Many travellers visit Tanzania to see the Serengeti's great wildebeest migration. Linked to the rainfall, this stunning migration of thousands of wildebeest (accompanied by zebra, gazelle, impala) takes place throughout the year, and follows a fairly predictable pattern, as the wildebeest are constantly seeking fresh grazing and water.

Having said that, the wildebeest migration happens all year. The migration can be found during any given month, you just need to know where to look! The question should really be about the 'best places' to see the impressive herds during a given time of the year and when visiting them is most enjoyable.


√ Language

Tanzania has two official languages: Swahili and English. Swahili, which has its origins in Zanzibar, is the most commonly spoken language in both Tanzania and Kenya. English is widely spoken, however you may wish to bring along a Swahili to English phrasebook to give you access to the basics. The locals are always appreciative if you know a little bit of Swahili.

Below you’ll find a few useful Swahili phrases to get you started:

√ Karibu: Welcome

√ Habari/Hujambo: Hello

√ Habari?/Habari yako?: How are you?

√ Nzuri: Good (standard reply to How are you?)

√ Samahani: Sorry

√ Asante: Thank you

√ Hapana: No

√ Ndio: Yes


√ Time

Tanzania is in the +3 GMT time zone. This means for most European countries during wintertime a time difference of two hours. During European summertime it's one hour later in Tanzania. The sun rises at approximately 6.00h in the morning and sets at around 18.15h in the evening.


If you have any further questions about one of these topics, please don’t hesitate to contact us. That’s what we’re here for!



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