Here is some information that will help you better understand and prepare your trip to Tanzania. So here is what you need to know to go to Tanzania:
One can find all kinds of possible accommodation, the most prevalent are lodges, in luxury tented camps and bivouacs. It is up to you to choose which one(s) will suit you best. We are here to accompany you and guide you in your choices.
Lodges in Tanzania:
These are permanent buildings. It is the most common type of accommodation in the country. They are equivalent to our hotels. There are several categories, but the most common ones are the 3 and 4 stars. All are perfectly integrated with the location and local vegetation. They are designed to offer a stay in a typical style of their region while responding to a high level of satisfaction. Their Interior decorations enchant travellers and plunge them into the heart of Africa. The rooms are furnished in a typical style from the country and offer all the expected comfort, both in terms of sanitary and bedding. Most have lush gardens to relax after a day spent in the savanna. You will also find bars and restaurant with magnificent scenery. These lodges very often have a swimming pool located within an exotic setting. The welcome is always warm.
Tanzania has managed to impose a high level of accommodation, which is an integral part of the wonderful memories you bring back.
The lodges in Tanzania are equally located in the towns, near the places of interest and inside the large parks, to be always closer to nature.
They offer sumptuous decor, high standard comfort, all in a spirit of exotic scenery that enchants every traveller.
The luxury tented camps:
Widely spread in the vicinity and inside the large parks, they are an alternative to lodges that allow you to benefit from an equivalent comfort, being closest to nature. Located in the middle of the savannah, these are often roaming camps moving according to where the animals are located so that the traveller is in the heart of the wildlife. It is surprising to note that in the wilderness, these establishments offer hot water, electricity and an equivalent or even better restaurants than the ones of a lodge. Spending one or two nights in a camp in the middle of nowhere is a unique experience that will allow you to listen to the lions at night, the laughter of the hyenas, and to live an extraordinary experience, safely, the camps being monitored 24 hours a day.
It is an unavoidable kind of accommodation in the great parks and more particularly in the Serengeti National Park. How to go around these unique moments that you will remember all your life and that will leave you unforgettable memories, which you will enjoy telling your loved ones. Close, very close to ‘Out of Africa’.
Making a trip to Tanzania and choosing bivouac accommodation is a philosophy in itself. Off the beaten track this is a real adventure favoured by the adventurers. It is about making a stay that brings back to the fundamental values, leaving behind you a daily comfort to focus on nature. What could be more exciting than putting your tent in the middle of the savannah, in the very heart of where the biggest animals of Africa live. Admittedly the nights can be short because they are propitious to an intense activity of the fauna. It is not unusual to hear the lions, to see elephants or herbivores passing a few meters from the bivouac, not forgetting the hyenas which may prevent you from sleeping a restful sleep but which will leave you unforgettable memories.
This kind of journey can be economical but it is not its primary purpose, it is above all to get closer to nature, especially in the parks, to live an unforgettable experience. And of course, it would be inconceivable to make a trip to Tanzania and having opted for accommodation in bivouac without a minimum of comfort, but all this is handled masterfully:
The tents are fit for two persons, equipped with mattresses and mosquito nets, adapted to the environment, they reflect the spirit of an extraordinary safari. The camping places have all the sanitary facilities and infrastructures allowing a comfortable stay and all this in the middle of a wild nature.
Of course, during a bivouac trip, in addition to the driver guide, you will benefit from a personal cook who ensures you every day a breakfast, a picnic lunch and an evening meal. When you stay in the middle of nowhere, in the depths of the savannah and you see what an itinerant cook can prepare in unimaginable conditions and when you taste his dishes, then respect is the only word.
The bivouac is an unusual experience; it is aimed at those who want to discover the country with a perfume of adventure because you never know what will happen during the night!
This is certainly the best way to live unusual moments in Tanzania, which is primarily aimed at those for whom adventure is a priority.
Far from clichés, something to do once in one’s lifetime, because it is a unique experience from which one comes back more mature and humble.
These are 4WD Toyota Land Cruiser or Land Rover Defender, specially designed for animal watching and photographic shooting. These vehicles fall into two categories, the short (4 seats at the rear) or the long (6 seats at the rear), the choice is based on the number of participants. All have a panoramic sunroof and spacious seating with vacuum pockets. They are also equipped with 230V electrical sockets for recharging batteries, binoculars and water bottles as well as a first-aid kit. Each car also has a High Frequency radio for use by the driver and the rangers, in order to guarantee maximum safety. Vehicles are also equipped with two spare wheels and have a technical check before each departure.
The drivers/guides all have a state degree. They are fluent in English and may speak other languages. They have many years of experience in the field of safaris.
They know their country and travel in the parks with disconcerting ease. They are exceptional drivers who drive on African tracks as we do on national roads. They master perfectly Tanzania’s history and are unbeatable on the fauna and flora. Their kindness and their love for their occupation are recognized by all. They entirely take care of the logistics so that the traveller is relieved from any of those constraints. They accompany you in the discovery of the local life, whether it is for visits of Massai villages, traditional markets or during walks in town. They are the essential actors of a safari, are constantly listening to you to allow you to make the most beautiful journey. You will be surprised by the emotion you feel at the time of saying goodbye. Most travellers keep in touch with their guide when they return to their native country just because they are an integral part of their stay and remain in the memories. In Tanzania, no guide, no safari.
The national language is Swahili but the vast majority of the population also speaks English, especially in the tourism sector. The tribes use their own dialect to communicate.
The local currency is the Tanzanian Shilling but the US dollar is a common currency in the country. There are exchange offices in all cities, they accept euro, dollars and traveller’s checks. It is also possible to withdraw money from distributors if you have a Visa Card or Master Card. It is strongly advised to go to Tanzania with US dollars and to change a part in local currency to make purchases in small businesses (drinks, souvenirs …).
In summer, the time in Tanzania is that of Western Europe (France, Spain, Germany, etc.) + 1hr, in winter it becomes + 2hr.
For example, in summer when it is noon in France, Spain, Germany it is 13:00 in Tanzania, in winter it is 14:00.
The time difference is therefore minimal with Europe and does not significantly affect the organism
There are only three asphalt roads around Arusha. The first part to the south leads to Dar es Salaam, the second to the west to Tarangire and the third to the north of the entrance to Ngorongoro. The rest are tracks more or less maintained, which means that as in many countries of Africa one speaks in travel time not in kilometres. For example, from the exit of the crater of the Ngorongoro to reach a lodge located near the Serengeti it takes about 3 hours of track. But the journey makes it possible to admire magnificent landscapes and to cross wild animals.
All accommodations feature Western cuisine of soups, grilled meats and chicken, steamed vegetables, rice and fresh fruit. It is always possible to taste traditional dishes or stop in one of the many small restaurants along the road to spend an unforgettable time with its guide, amongst the local population.
The voltage is 230 volts. The shape of the sockets is similar to that of Great Britain (different from continental Europe), so an adapter is needed for travellers from continental Europe. In most lodges or luxury tented camps, which use generators, the current is frequently cut from 22:30 to 06:00. Before you go to Tanzania, you should have torches or better headlamps that can be very useful to you.
On a safari prefer soft luggage to traditional suitcases, bags are much more practical to handle in vehicles especially if you need to retrieve something during a day of observation. Also bring a small backpack in which you will have everything you may need during the day (sunscreen, glasses, camera …).
What to bring with you?
Think safari: light long-sleeved shirts to protect you from sun and insects, soft pants with side pockets, hiking boots for the day and light sneakers for moments of rest. Do not forget a polar jacket since the evenings can be a bit fresh. A swimsuit will be useful during your stay to use in lodges with a swimming pool. A hat and sunglasses will complete the panoply essential for any trip in the savanna. For all your clothes prefer colours like khaki, dark green, grey, brown. Avoid bright colours and white. Also forget the blue colour because the tsetse flies are particularly attracted by this dominant.
Do not forget a pharmacy kit containing small plaster (cuts or others), analgesics (paracetamol or equivalent), sunscreen and mosquito repellents.
Think of your toiletries as well as a towel even if provided in all the lodges and hotels.
You can complete this equipment with a good pair of binocular type “Bushnell legend” or equivalent, because this tool is certainly the one you will use the most during a safari. This will allow you to observe unforgettable scenes in the parks.
Vaccination against yellow fever is mandatory and it is recommended to take precautions against the risk of malaria (medical prescription of Malarone or equivalent). Similarly, a change in diet and altitude can lead to unpleasant symptoms. Before leaving, consult your doctor who will give you all the advice to make a trip to East Africa in the best conditions.
Bring enough memory cards with you and at least 2 batteries. You can recharge them at night in the hotels or directly in the vehicles, the latter being equipped with sockets. Obviously, a long zoom (350mm or more) will be a plus but be aware that with normal lenses you will be able to make excellent images because you will approach as closely as possible the wild animals. Also consider protecting your equipment from dust and heat. Finally, do not take photos of the local population without their permission, always ask for their agreement through your guide.
If you are traveling to Zanzibar and especially to Stone Town, do not forget that it is a region of Muslim faith, so make sure you dress properly, avoid wearing too short clothes, especially for women. Obviously, this does not apply to lodges or beaches but only to the cities.
In Tanzania tips are an institution in the tourism industry. They are in no way mandatory and depend on your satisfaction level at the end of the trip. It is up to you to decide what the amount will be. Generally, these remunerations are made in dollars and are understood not by person but by group. We give as an example an average commonly practiced during a stay.
Driver-guide: between $10 and $20 per day
Cook (bivouac): between $5 and $10 per day
Lodges, tented camps: most of these establishments have, at the reception, a “tip box” which allows you to leave a tip for the whole staff. It is also a good idea to provide $1 coupons for your baggage porters.
Obviously, it is a local practice and not mandatory, but given the quality of the services offered, it will seem natural to you to adopt to this way of remuneration which will allow a category of the population to have access to a minimum correct life standard.
International and domestic flights
For most trips to Tanzania, the most convenient airport is Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), it is located near the city of Arusha. Several airlines serve it from Europe. KLM offers a daily flight arriving at 20:50. It is also possible to travel with Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airlines as well as with other companies, all depending on the place of departure.
For those traveling south or directly to Zanzibar the airport is then Dar es Salaam.
To book a flight to Tanzania, there are many internet flights comparison sites. It is however possible to delegate this task to a travel agency or ask us to deal with it, but be aware that in both cases you will be charged a commission fee that you can easily avoid by booking your own flight by yourself.
In addition, there is complete logistics within the country, which allows domestic flights to go directly to the parks or Zanzibar, allowing you to observe the nature in a different way and avoiding hours of road travel. We will be happy to reserve you a plane to go to the place of your safari where you will be meeting your guide.
Formalities to enter Tanzania
To enter the Tanzanian territory for a touristic trip some formalities are compulsory:
Your passport must be valid 6 months after your return date, this is imperative and there is no derogation.
For most of nationalities, the visa is available either at the Tanzanian embassy in your country or directly at your arrival at the airport, the current price is $50. Before landing you will be given two forms to be filled in the plane, including the one for obtaining the visa on site. The latter is valid for a duration of three months.
The vaccination against yellow fever is compulsory. When proceeding to injection you will be given an international notebook which you must present to the local authorities upon arrival.
In the travel journal that will be sent to you, you will find a testimonial from “Objectif Tanzania”, which may be asked you during a check by the authorities, as well as contact details of the embassy of your country in Tanzania (if relevant).
Do not forget to contact your insurance company to cover any cancellation, medical expenses or hospitalization as well as other personal risks. For information Mondial Assistance remains the leader in this market, offering packages at very affordable prices.
Objectif Tanzania is a member of Flying Doctors Services; more details can be found below.
Flying Doctors Air Ambulance Services
Flying Doctors is an organisation set up in 1957 that operates in East Africa, whether in health programs or through the Air Ambulance Service. It is a service that provides medical assistance and an urgent evacuation in the event of an emergency but also transfers between different medical centres. Patients can be repatriated to Europe for medical assistance. Flying Doctors operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with a fleet of medical aircraft that can be converted into an intensive care unit. This is a top-of-the-line service that can operate anywhere on Tanzanian territory, providing a rescue mission if needed. The guides are trained and have all the contact details to reach Flying Doctors if necessary. It is the assurance of a security no matter where you are.
Objectif Tanzania is a member of the Flying Doctors Service.