Frequent Asked Questions (FAQs)

Tanzania is one of the safest countries on the planet. Be sure to keep an eye on all of your personal belongings at all times. You can use the hotel safety deposit box to safeguard valuables; however, if you’re questioning whether or not to bring a certain item along, just leave it at home!

Visas are required. The good news is that they only cost $100 USD per person. Visas can be obtained upon your arrival, but we suggest that you buy them in advance. The requirements for a Visa are expansive and far-reaching, and you’ll need documentation such as a flight itinerary, a day-by-day tour schedule, and more.

Malaria is endemic, but it is also preventable. You must regularly apply insect repellent, cover up at sundown, and take anti-malaria prophylactics as advised by your doctor. Bring prescription medicines, spare glasses, contact lenses and solution, as well as sunscreen, a first aid kit, cream for bites/stings, and diarrhea remedy.

We strongly suggest soft-sided luggage while on safari. Most airlines allow up to 48-50 lbs. per checked bag, but policies vary depending on airline.

Credit cards are accepted at all lodges and most gift shops in Tanzania. However, in some locations in the bush, credit card machines may not be affected due to Wi-Fi issues. As a general note, USD and Euros are accepted and convertible at most banks, as well as various Bureau de Changes located in the main parts of town.

Drink only bottle water that’s provided in the TAT cruiser and from your lodge.  All fruits and salads from lodges are safe to consume. They are cleaned with clean water. Also, ice from lodge bars are safe to drink.

It is recommended to notify your bank before using a credit or debit card while traveling in order to prevent your bank from assuming that your card is being used fraudulently and shutting it off. By letting your bank know that you will be traveling, they can add a record to your account and share it with their fraud detection system, which can prevent transactions in unfamiliar locations from triggering a block on your card. This is done as a protective measure against identity theft.

 

It is important to understand the roaming rules and rates of your cell phone service provider before traveling internationally, as policies may vary based on carrier. It is recommended to confirm with your carrier that international roaming is activated and to ask about the rates for the specific countries you will be visiting. You should confirm that your mobile phone is compatible with the networks in the country you are visiting, as certain functions (such as text messaging or data usage) may not be available. Ask your carrier about options to track your usage in order to avoid unexpected charges on your bill. Charges for international roaming may not appear on your bill until the next billing cycle after your return.

 
Tanzania Adventure Tours recommends that you purchase a travel insurance plan to protect your investment against the unexpected. As with anything in life, it’s always smart to take preventative measures when you can. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay, and much more.
All adventurers should pack lightweight, washable, and neutrally colored clothing. Sun hats and sunglasses are recommended, as well as shorts while on safaris. Long sleeves and trousers are also ideal for preventing insect bites, while sweaters are great to have for chilly morning drives. On public beaches, women should bring a wrap or capris to cover their legs; however, normal swimwear is acceptable while at the hotel. Trust us, it’s always best to respect the local culture. If necessary, you can always buy clothes in Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, or Arusha. Read more on our General Packing List

June through October and mid-December through March, you can expect the weather to be hot and dry with cooler mornings and nights. Short rains can be expected November to mid-December with long rains in April and May; however, the seasons can vary each year. The coastal strip tends to be hot and humid year-round, while temperatures on Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru can drop to below freezing. Come prepared for a little bit of everything!

In Tanzania, when it rains, it pours. Storms typically last for about an hour, usually in the late afternoon. Essentially, during the rainy season it is cooler, cheaper and less crowded in the parks. The below info is also covered in our When To Go To Tanzania article.

Northern Circuit (Arusha, Lake Manyara, Mkomazi, Ngorongoro, Serengeti, Tarengire)

  • Jan/Feb/Mar — Periodic rains. Elevated costs. Busy; many lodges fully booked.
  • Apr/May — Rainy season. Lower costs. Slow, few travelers.
  • June — Rain ends. Average costs. Busy.
  • July/Aug — Dry season. Elevated costs. Busy; many lodges fully booked.
  • Sept — Dry season. Average costs. Slower, but still busy.
  • Nov — Short rains. Average costs. Slower, but still busy.
  • Dec — Rain ends. Peak holiday costs. Peak holiday season.

South (Mikumi, Ruaha, Selous, Undzungwa)

  • Jan-Apr — Rainy season. Reduced costs. Slow; many camps closed.
  • May — Rain ends. Average costs. Busy.
  • June-Dec —  Dry season. Elevated costs. Busy; many lodges fully booked.

West (Gombe, Katavi, Mahale)

  • Jan/Feb — Short dry season. Reduced costs. Second best time to visit.
  • Mar/Apr — Long rainy season. Costs reduced. Some camps closed.
  • May-Oct —  Dry season. Elevated costs. Peak season; best time to visit.
  • Nov — Short rains. Costs reduced. Fewer travelers.
  • Dec — Rain ends. Costs reduced. Fewer travelers.

Zanzibar

  • Jan/Feb/Mar — Tropical, hot, and humid. High season. Busy; many lodges fully booked.
  • Apr/May — Rainy season. Lower costs. Slow, few travelers.
  • June/July — Tropical, hot, and humid. High season. Busy; many lodges fully booked.
  • Aug/Sept — Tropical, hot, and humid. Peak season. Very busy; many lodges fully booked.
  • Oct/Nov — Short rains. Average costs. Slower, but still busy.
  • Dec — Rain ends. Peak holiday costs. Peak holiday season.

The best exchange rates are obtained at the various Bureaus de Changes around the country, especially in Arusha, Dar es Salaam, and Zanzibar. Typically, travelers will receive the best exchange rate for $100 USD bills issued in 2006 or later. Bills smaller than $50 USD will get a worse rate, and those issued before 2006 will most likely not be accepted. Hotels will exchange currency for you, but these are rarely the best rates you’ll find. Whatever you do, don’t attempt to exchange money on the street and always be conscious of your surroundings while exiting a bank, Bureau de Change, etc.

In many ways, African cultures are near-perfect opposites of Western cultures. When in a rural village, it is important to respect the local culture and people. Most of the Tanzanians you will encounter have had little exposure to foreigners. In all cases, communication is the best path to mutual understanding. If you should run into any problems, feel free to seek advice from your guide. To avoid any issues, we suggest learning a few basic phrases in Swahili beforehand, as it will help bridge the cultural gap.
  • Jambo – hello
  • kwa heri – goodbye
  • usiku — good night
  • nafurahi kukuona – nice to meet you
  • tutaonana — see you later
  • unakaribishwa — you are welcome
  • ta fadhali — please
  • asante – thank you
  • choo — toilet