Frequently Asked Questions
When is the best time to take a Safari in Tanzania?
The best wildlife viewing months in Tanzania are during the Dry season from late June to October. The best chance of seeing the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti is during June and July and the time to see the wildebeest calving is late January to February.
The southern and western circuit parks are best visited during the Dry season (June to October), unlike the more popular northern circuit parks that can be visited year-round. Tarangire is the only exception since its wildlife viewing is considerably better in the Dry season as well.
June to October
June and July are the best months to see the wildebeest migration
Animals are easier to spot since they concentrate around waterholes and rivers and there is less vegetation
There are fewer mosquitoes because there is little to no rain; skies are clear and most days are sunny
Even though most tourists visit during the Dry season, the parks still don’t feel crowded, except for the Seronera area in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater
November to May
Late January to February is the time to see the calving in the southern Serengeti, and an excellent time to see predator action
The scenery is green and beautiful; it’s low season, meaning lower rates and less crowded parks.
Although wildlife is easier to spot in the Dry season, you’ll still see plenty and most northern circuit parks offer good year-round wildlife viewing.
Migratory birds are present, and bird watching is at its best Except for March, April and May, rains are mostly short afternoon showers if that and seldom have a negative impact on your trip.
What do I wear on safari?
The best way to get close to the wildlife is to blend in with your surroundings as much as possible by going neutral. Wear greens, browns, and khakis so as to not attract unnecessary attention. For South Africa, khaki is the recommended colour.
Light-weight, breathable fabrics minimize noise when walking. Layers are a great way to pack light but stay warm. Temperatures can be cool on morning game drives, hot in the afternoon and cold at night. Layers allow you to remove clothing to make yourself comfortable as temperatures fluctuate.
Airy, long-sleeved shirts with a collar will keep the sun off your arms and neck.
Combat trousers are perfect with plenty of pockets to store your camera, sunscreen, and binoculars.
A light jacket or fleece is great for an extra layer of warmth in case you need it. Fleece is great because it dries quickly too.
Comfortable trainers are suitable for most safaris, even walking safaris. You can expect to be climbing in and out of the safari vehicle frequently and some light walking around the bush.
Hats are a fantastic way to protect your head and face from the sun in an open-top safari vehicle and they have the added benefit of reducing glare for better game viewing.
Sunglasses should be worn to block out harmful rays and polarized glasses will cut through the glare to make sure you don’t miss a thing.
Don’t forget to bring a swimsuit if your lodge has a pool.
For your evening meal, light colors are recommended so as to not attract mosquitoes. Linen trousers are the perfect way to look smart, stay cool, and prevent mosquito bites.
What NOT to Wear on Safari
Don’t bring bright-colored clothing or busy patterns. This will draw attention to you and scare off the wildlife.
Avoid camouflage clothing as some African countries reserve this pattern for military personnel only.
White colored clothing will quickly show dirt and dust, so try to go neutral instead.
Formal wear is not necessary as most lodges and camps have a relaxed dress code. Bring a smart, clean outfit to wear to dinner, but there is no need to go too formal.
Heavy hiking boots take up too much room in your suitcase and aren’t necessary for most safaris unless you have been told that your itinerary includes walking through the rainforest or harsh terrain.
Too much clothing! Pack light – most safari lodges offer laundry facilities. You can also save space with convertible clothing like zip off trousers that turn into shorts or a zip off fleece that turns into a gilet.
Will there be wildlife roaming freely within the parks and lodges?
It is important to never assume that any of the animals encountered on your game drive are tame. Though attacks by wild animals are unusual, nothing in the African wilderness is predictable. While you are staying in your safari lodges and camps, it is important to be especially cautious and aware of your surroundings as many of these areas are not fenced and contain wildlife roaming freely.
If you have children with you, keep them in sight and do not let them wander alone. At smaller tented lodges, you will always be escorted to and from your tent for dinner or during the night. Should you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to raise them to the staff or your guide.
What about tipping when on safari?
Our tipping guideline is 30 to 50 USD per client per day to the driver guide, though it is ultimately up to the clients’ discretion to decide what amount they are happy to give. It depends on the clients’ overall satisfaction with their driver guide & their safari experience.
When you have a personal cook for mobile camping, the tipping guideline is between 5 to 10 USD per person per day, which is also up to the client’s discretion.
The recommended currency for tipping is in USD cash, and it is customary for the clients to tip at the end of their safari.
What about bathrooms in the bush?
Throughout your safari, there are various areas with public bathroom facilities such as ranger stations, museums, visitor centers, camps, lodges and picnic sites. Since you will be on a private safari, there will be plenty of opportunities where no other vehicles are in sight. At any time, your driver-guide can find a safe and private area where you may simply exit to the rear of the vehicle. Two large spare tires at the back of the vehicle, blocking the view from anyone else within the vehicle.
What documents do I need to travel to Tanzania?
You will require a passport valid for at least six months after your date of entry. If you are arriving from a country in which Yellow Fever is endemic (such as Kenya), you will require an immunization certificate or health card.
Citizens of the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, and most countries in the EU, need a tourist visa to enter Tanzania. Application details and forms can be found on Tanzanian Embassy websites, however, in many cases, these can simply be bought at the airport upon arrival in Tanzania.
As with all visa matters — contact your local Tanzanian Embassy for the latest information.
Typical food in Tanzania
The food served in the safari camps/lodges varies, but is tasty and delicious. Gourmet cooks bake fresh bread, and produce soups, salads, and entrees that could easily grace tables at the top restaurants around the world. Meals are international in flavour with soups, salads, cold meats, pasta dishes, meat and fish dishes, and breads. Your day normally starts with tea and biscuits before your morning activity.
Returning to your lodge or camp late morning, brunch is enjoyed – cereals, fruit, bacon, eggs, sausage, and toast. Buffet lunches are typical with a warm dish such as stew served with salads, quiches and cold meats. Dinner consists of an appetizer followed by meat, fish and pasta dishes served with assorted vegetables and sauces. Dinner is followed by coffee/ tea, cheeses, and stunning desserts.
In Tanzania’s towns and villages, the food is usually simpler. Plain grilled meat, nyama choma, is very popular, and often served with sauce, rice, chips, or ugali (cornmeal). Indian cuisine is also wide spread. The locally brewed beer is good, including Serengeti, Safari, Kilimanjaro, mbege (homebrew from the Chagga people) and banana beer; imported beers (e.g. Tusker from Kenya) and wine are also excellent.
What is the time difference in Tanzania?
Tanzania is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+3). Tanzania does not operate daylight saving time, hence there’s no time difference between their summer and winter months.
What is the currency in Tanzania?
The official unit of currency is the Tanzanian shilling (TZS), divided into 100 cents. Notes are issued as TSh10,000; 5000; 1000; 500; 200 and 100. Coins are issued as TSh100; 50; 20; 10, 5 and 1.
The tourism industry prices everything in US Dollars and they are the preferred unit of currency. Major currencies can be exchanged in the larger towns. Foreign exchange bureaux in the main towns usually offer a better rate on traveller’s cheques than do the banks. ATMs are available in major cities only. Major lodges, some hotels and travel agents in urban areas accept credit cards, but these should not be relied on and can incur a 10% surcharge.See www.oando.com for the latest exchange rates.
Is it safe to travel to Tanzania?
Tanzania is a safe country to travel in, Tanzanians are warm-hearted and generous people and are eager to help and assist visitors. As in all countries, a little common sense goes a long way and reasonable precautions should still be taken, such as locking valuables in the hotel safe, do not carry a lot of camera equipment especially in the major cities, do not wear too much jewellery, do not carry large amounts of cash on your person etc.
Guides will monitor your safety in cities and in the game areas. From time to time generalized travel statements are issued concerning travel conditions in the area. For current Department of State announcements and Consular information see http://travel.state.gov/.
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