TRAVEL TO TANZANIA
It is not uncommon to have a few questions when it comes to planning a once-in-a-lifetime safari to Tanzania. Below you will find some helpful travel tips. And remember though Swahili is the native language, English is spoken almost everywhere and all of the Africa Nature Photography & Safari team are fluent in both, so feel free to ask anything, either before you arrive or during your time here, and we will endeavour to assist you.
Things to consider
The main airline that most people use when coming on safari is KLM and it has one flight in and out each day to Kilimanjaro International Airport from Amsterdam, Netherlands. So when you are looking at booking your flights keep in mind that it might take two days to get to Tanzania depending on where you are coming from and will most likely go through Amsterdam. If you need someone to help you on flight arrangement, we recommend to you.
Once you disembark the plane and walk across the tarmac to enter the airport terminal, you will either get in the line to get your Visa or line up for Immigration check, where you will present you passport, along with your Visa, to the agent for verification and you will have your picture taken and will be fingerprinted. You will then collect your luggage and head to a security point to have it scanned and walk thru a metal detector before heading outside the airport to meet up with your Africa Nature Photography & Safaris representative.
About the travel documents
If you don’t have a valid passport, start the process right away as this might take several weeks. If you already have your passport, ensure that it is valid for at least 6 months past the day of your scheduled return. A tourist visa is required when entering Tanzania. This can be obtained once you arrive in Tanzania, but we recommended that you obtain it before you arrive from the Tanzanian Embassy in your country; it will make your arrival process much smoother. For Tanzania Entry Visa apply online – https://eservices.immigration.go.tz/visa/
It is also advised that you make a copy of all travel documents and leave them with a family member or friend. This might include copies of passport, flight information, list of immunisation and medications, and any credit cards that you might bring with you.
You are allowed one suitcase, a camera bag and a small computer bag. Try and keep your one bag as small as possible, 16″ wide by 28″ high is recommended. Soft-sided duffle bag s are best, as they can better fit in the back of the safari vehicle and also in the underbelly of the bush plane (visit www.tombihn.com for suitable safari luggage, backpacks and other travel accessories). We do not recommend suitcases. Laundry services are available (for a reasonalbe fee), so you only need to pack clothes for four or five days. You will also want to bring a small day pack that you can take with you every day while out on safari that can hold passport, money, medication and toiletries. See ‘General Packing’ below for more information.
Currency & Credit Cards
The local currency in Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling, but the preferred method of payment is the US dollar with an issue date not earlier than 2006. Credit cards are not widely accepted here and where they (Visa & Mastercard only) are accepted please be prepared to pay an additional fee for using them. If you do choose to bring a credit card it is best to notify them of the dates and location of your trip before you leave your home country, so that it will not be refused.
It is not safe to drink the water from the tap in Tanzania. You should use bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth and to clean your toothbrush with. Some lodges/camps provide purified water in camp, please use it at your discretion. You can always take bottles of water from the vehicle.
Electricity is limited at some of the camps and lodges. If you have any medical equipment that requires electricity please let us know, so that we can find accommodations that will allow for such devices to be used when needed. Please also be aware that Tanzania uses 220 volt power and 3-flat prong plugs (British style). You will want to bring an adapter and possibly a power strip as well. A standard U.S. 110V power strip will fry, so please make sure that any power strip that you bring is compatible with 220V.
There are very few ‘bathrooms’ while out on safari. So you will need to try and plan ahead for any bathroom breaks, as you might need to wait a while until we are in a safe area to do so. This will usually mean swatting behind the vehicle or bush. When nature calls please inform the drive that you need to use the ‘Happy Bush’.
Ensure you are fit to travel
It is advised that you get a general health checkup from your doctor, along with a dental checkup from your dentist before you came, to reduce the possibility of any issues while on safari. Check with your current health insurance provider to see if the you are covered outside of your country. We do provide emergency evacuation with AMREF Flying Doctors, which will transport you to a Nairobi hospital. Any further medical expenses that are not covered under AMREF will be your responsibility. AMREF Membership Card is available to all our travelers and we will handle it to you on your arrival.
Vaccines & Medicines
Although there currently aren’t any required immunizations for travel to Tanzania, we recommend you visit your doctor and discuss which vaccines and medicines that you might need for your trip. Also, keep in mind that some vaccines rquire multiple shots and may need to be done over a course of time, so plan ahead. Another great course for vaccine information is the CDC website, and in addition we have compiled a list of vaccines for you to consider before your trip to Tanzania.
List of vaccines
- Routine vaccines
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Yellow Fever
Be Malaria aware
Know how to take your Malaria medication as there are different types. Some are daily and some are weekly. You must take them as prescribed by your doctor , usually the course will start before you leave home.
Bring you own
Ensure you bring enough of any other medications that you are taking and either a copy of the written prescription or a letter from your doctor certifying the need for you to take them just in case you are asked at customs. Bring any allergy medicine that you might need, such as EpiPen or antihistamine for any reaction that you might have. Please note that Tsetse fly bites can cause an allergic reaction or sever itching especially if you are sensitive to bug bites. Consult with your doctor prior to your departure about the best course of action, should you react to such a bite. Cortisone cream and/or Benadryl could be a great help if you are bitten, but please consult your doctor first.
Food allergies and/or dietary restrictions
Please advise us of any food allergies or dietary restrictions as soon as possible so that we can notify the camps and lodges. The chefs at each camp/lodge will do their best to meet your needs.
Please see suggested packing list for general ideas about what clothes to bring. But please note that camouflage clothing is reserved for Tanzanian police and army and is prohibited for tourist and non-government officials.Enough clothes to get you by for 4 or 5 days. (Laundry services are available at the lodges and camps, usually for a small fee.) Try to stick to the lighter colored, “bush colored” clothes. Try to avoid dark blue & black as tsetse flies are attracted to those colors. Also reds and oranges can be bother some of the animals. You will want cotton or breathable fabrics and include:
- Jacket that is lightweight and water-resistant
- Warm sweater or fleece, for early morning and evenings when the weather can be much cooler.
- Safari hat or something with a large brim to protect you from the sun.
- Scarf/Bandana, hair ties to keep hair from blowing in your face while on wildlife drive.
- Washable undergarments & socks
- Swimsuit (optional) – some camps and lodges have a swimming pool
- Shoes that are comfortable or sturdy walking shoes, but ones that can be removed quickly, as you will be standing on the seats some of the time and shoes are not allowed on the seat. Casual or sandals for around camp in the evenings.
Pack toiletries such as toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, lotion (try to avoid highly fragrant items) feminine hygiene items and anything else you might need. Bring a small back pack One that you can take out with you on game drives that will hold all of your personal items that you might need during the day. Any of the items listed below that you might need while out on drive.
For both mosquitoes & Tsetse flies (DEET is good for tsetse flies). If you are really sensitive to bites you might want to consider long sleeve shirts and pants as well as the following:
- Wipes or Wet Ones
- Hand sanitizer
- Chap stick
- First aid kit: which might include – band aids, itch cream, Neosporin, Imodium, etc.
- Tissues and/or toilet paper for use while out on game drive
- Binoculars for game view
- Small flashlight
- Electrical adapters – Tanzania uses UK three flat prong plug outlets.
- 220V multi-plug power strip if you will be bringing multiply electronic device that will need to be charged on a daily basis.
- Alarm clock – make sure that it is battery operated.
- Do not bring/wear fancy clothes or flashy jewelry
Photographer’s packing list
DSLR camera and backup/secondary camera if possible. This will allow you to have two different focal lengths ready at one time without having to change lenses. Also gives you a back up incase something goes wrong with your first camera. Lenses should include long zoom lens, with a maximum zoom of 400-500mm will do. Fixed lens will be okay, but zoom gives you more flexibility as the animals move in and out. Medium-wide angle zoom lens, something around the 24-105mm range, works well for landscape and capturing the animals in the natural environment. Also for getting pictures of the animals when they come close to the vehicle. Don’t forget spare batteries with extra charges, make sure that you have plenty to see you thru the day. And don’t forget to charge all of your batteries each night!
- Memory cards – a minimum of 64 GB of memory cards is recommended. Please keep in mind that it is not uncommon to take around 500, or more, images in a single day.
- UV or clear filter for each lens that you bring with you to protect the front elements from damage.
- Lens/filter cleaning kit – including brushes, clothes and lens pens
- Camera cleaner air blower
- Sensor cleaning gear
- Hood Loupe – for viewing images on the back of your camera in the bright sunlight
- Bean bags for stability (there are always some on our vehicles).
- auxiliary flash and better beamer flash
- Laptop or other device for downloading images each night
- Portable external hard drive to back up your images
- Memory card reader
- UDMI fast card reader is recommended for quicker downloads
Be aware Tanzania uses UK three flat prong plug outlets. 220V multi-plug power strip – so that you can charge all of your batteries and electronic devices at the same time. Make sure that it is a 220V power strip as the standard 110V U.S. power strip will fry with the 220V output.
Last but not least, gifts and tipping guide
School supplies are in great demand in Tanzania. You may wish to bring supplies with you and present to a local school while on your safari. There are schools in Arusha, as well as between Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater. Some items you may wish to consider bringing include pens, crayons, exercise books, composition/spiral books, small back packs, colouring books, coloured markers and world maps. Please note that our guests are increasingly being hassled to pay duty upon arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport on donated school supplies. Accordingly, we recommend distributing school supplies among your regular clothes and luggage to reduce the chance of being asked to pay duty. A better alternative is to bring a little extra cash and we can take you to a school supply shop in Arusha to purchase supplies and then help you with deliver them.
Tipping is just one way for guests to give back to the local people of Tanzania. It is true that tipping has become a customary and integral part of the safari industry, but it remains an excellent way to recognize one’s appreciation for excellent service. Many guests express a desire to understand ahead of time what amounts and methods are appropriate or customary. We will be happy to recommend tipping guidelines to you and your group.