Safari Vacation Travel Tips

Travel Tips

1Fitness & Health
It is recommended that one takes anti-malaria tabs before coming to Tanzania. It is advised that one consults a physician for a prescription on this treatment well in advance of your departure. There are hospitals in the big cities of Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Moshi, and Mwanza. With a small membership fee, the Flying Doctors services are rendered just in case of an emergency while anywhere within the Tanzania. These doctors will do an evacuation by flying someone directly to Nairobi for further medical treatment. Although as a trip participant, you are a member of the Flying Doctor Society, which provides emergency medical care to travelers, you should also be aware that medical services or facilities may not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physician or adequate medications.
2 Money
The Tanzania currency unit is called the Tanzanian Shilling. It is available in both coins and notes/bills. There are Bureau De Changes in major towns where you can get a better rate. Although the American dollar is largely acceptable, it is advisable to pay for drinks and other services in local currency. The black market has generally disappeared after the introduction of a liberalized economy in the region. The use of credit cards is available in big hotels and town and still very minimal out of towns. Also, don't expect to find many cash machines outside the major towns.
3 Climate
Basically, we can talk two different climatic areas: that is the coast and an upcountry. Most of our safaris are conducted in the high plains and mountains of the Great Rift. Here the temperatures are quite comfortable year round and the humidity is much lower than in the lowlands or on the coast. At the coast, tropical climate is experienced throughout the year, very warm and humid. The temperatures range between 27 & 32 degrees centigrade and humidity is over 75%. There are two rainy seasons: the short rains from October to December and the long rains from March to May. Upcountry, the altitude largely affects the climate. The diurnal temperatures range between 23 & 27 degrees Centigrade. During the night it is quite cold, especially in the highland areas. Sometimes it goes to minus zero to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
4 Luggage
Due to the limited space and ability to take everything on the go, there is normally a luggage limit. For the international airlines, the limit is 20kg per person. For the local flights, the limit is 10kg per person. Our safari vehicles also have limited space. Therefore, the smaller the baggage, the more comfortable it is. Besides bags, one is normally allowed to take a camera and a small backpack. It's best to avoid bringing hard luggage unless you are carrying sensitive camera equipment.
5Clothing
It is advised that you wear clothing that breathes easily. For example, a pair of trousers (jeans), pairs of shorts, cotton clothes, or similar are recommended. T-shirts or light cotton shirts, sweater/jacket, pairs of light shoes, and light boots are recommended as well. A swimsuit for those going to the beaches is needed. In the highland areas with an altitude of over 1500 meters, like Ngorongoro Crater, Mount Kilimanjaro, etc, temperatures can be quite cold, reaching 5 degrees centigrade at night or lower in Kilimanjaro. For this it is important that one takes some warm clothing if going on safari to these areas. By following these guidelines, one normally does his/her safari comfortably with no fears of excess luggage that might be left behind if taking a local flight within the National Parks.
6 Transport
Our safaris are normally done in 4x4 safari vehicles. Transfers are through our own private minibus, or with leased 25-seat coaches.
7Photography
Normal camera equipment is allowed in without any problem. When one takes a picture of the local people, they normally will feel offended, so it is important to ask permission before doing so. In particular the Maasai people can get quite upset at this offense, so be sensitive to their cultural values only take photos when it is clear that is acceptable for you to do so. It may require some negotiations and a payment to allow photos to be taken. Work closely with your driver-guides and trust his judgment.
8Electricity
The electric current is normally 220-240 volts. Generally all the hotels and lodges will have sockets that will enable you to use your electric shaver or recharge your camera batteries. It is recommended that you also bring a universal adapter to avoid problems.
9Water & Food
Food is very good in both lodges and our mobile camping safaris. A variety of soft drinks, beer, wine and spirits are available. During the safari the accommodation is normally on a full board basis except for drinks, which one has to pay for it directly.
10Meals in the Camp
Delicious 3-course meals cooked in open air are served in a spacious mess tent. Selection of salads carefully washed with boiled water (and served with vinegar dressing), soup, meat, fish and vegetable, pasta or rice, fresh fruits and cakes for dessert are part of our menus. A selection of local beers is available as well as mineral water and soft drinks. It's suggested that clients bring their favorite hard alcoholic beverage or purchase in Arusha before beginning the safari.
11Shopping
One stands to buy very good souvenirs whose prices depend on the quality of a given item and on the ability of the buyer to bargain. Wooden carvings, precious gemstones, and a variety of handcrafts are all available. Buying can be done in both Tanzania shillings and the US dollar.
12 Security
In cites is particularly advisable to take some precautions (as it is in major cities around the world). Please avoid walking alone in the dark and in crowded areas. Don't invite the opportunistic pickpocket (keep your valuables inconspicuous and well-guarded). Use common sense. Apart from the cities, you have little reasons to be concerned about safety.
13Tipping
Tipping is regarded as a normal and essential part of the safari for any good service rendered (e.g. with waiters, guides, camping staff, porters, etc). This is not different from the American and European style.