Travel Guide for Safaris in Tanzania
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Tanzania Safari Planning Travel Guide
- Plan your time carefully. If you want to see the wildebeest migration on a safari or enjoy the best beach time in Zanzibar, make sure your itinerary meets your travel needs.
- booking for high season: Reservations are made for popular safari destinations in Tanzania and campsites well located for wildebeest mobile hotspots. Often booked a year in advance.
- Activity Selection: Morning and Afternoon Safaris are standard safari activities, but excursions such as game night tours, guided bush walks and balloon safaris are only permitted in certain areas or campgrounds.
- Expect More Visitors During Peak Season: Tanzania’s heavyweight national parks, such as Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, and Tarangire, can attract large numbers of visitors in June-October. If you want to escape the crowds and enjoy some great games, consider visiting during the off-season or green season (around November-March).
- Maintain Privacy: If all you want is exclusivity, go to one of Tanzania’s private reserves. The accommodation is excellent, the game viewing is as good as the main park, and additional safari activities are sometimes offered (see number 3).
What to Consider in Tanzania Travel Guide?
Money and Expenses
The currency in Tanzania is the Tanzanian shilling, but our advice is to use only US dollars and cash: credit cards and traveler’s checks (although most establishments accept them) have a higher transaction fee. ATMs are found in major cities in Tanzania, but not in national parks or animal sanctuaries.
Note: US one-dollar bills printed before 2006 are not accepted in Tanzania.
It is common practice to advise hostel staff and drivers/guides to provide good service during a Tanzania safari, but first, check that the service charge has been added to the bill. Tips are always added to the price set by the operator and the amount will depend on the size of the group, the luxury of the safari, and whether you think you have done a great job. When traveling to major Tanzanian cities, restaurants, and bars that have no service charge usually tip 10%. Read the blog for step-by-step tips or ask a Deks Safaris & Tours Africa trekking expert for advice.
What to Pack?
When getting ready for a safari in Tanzania, light casual clothes are practical and neutral colors and warm jackets for night safaris are safe all year round. For more information on what to pack in Safari, see the Tanzania Travel Safari Guide.
When visiting Zanzibar, women in major cities are required to dress modestly to respect the beliefs of Islamic culture. Off-shoulder shirts, long skirts, and capri pants are generally a better choice than off-the-shoulder shirts and shorts. Beachwear and swimwear are available on the beach and in the resort.
In Tanzania, where Christianity and Islam predominate, religious beliefs are strong. Most Muslims live on the coast and in Zanzibar. Visitors should be aware of the conservative nature of these destinations, particularly Stone Town, and act accordingly. Tanzanians are known to be friendly and harmonious people, but it is wise to ask for permission before filming people.
Flights and Tours in Tanzania
Major international airports
Kilimanjaro International Airport, Tanzania’s second international airport, serves Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire, and Lake Manyara. However, you must travel to nearby Arusha Airport to take charter flights to these safari destinations. International flights often arrive at Kilimanjaro Airport late in the day, so you usually have to stay overnight in Arusha. Tanzania’s main airport, Dar es Salaam International Airport, is the gateway to the Indian Ocean coast and Zanzibar, Nierele (formerly Selous) National Park, and Luhur National Park.
Arusha Airport, the gateway to the Safari runway in northern Tanzania, is approximately 30 kilometers (18.5 miles) from Kilimanjaro International Airport. Did you know that you can book tours in Africa on Deks Safaris & Tours? Visit our flight page for more information and frequently asked questions.
Guided road transfers and game tours in Tanzania take place in enclosed SUVs with large windows and retractable roofs, while visitors to destinations such as Mahale can enjoy boat transfers across Lake Tanganyika.
Due to the extensive road network of most safari destinations, closed vehicles are common when traveling long distances between Tanzania’s airstrips, campsites, and lodges. Sealed SUVs usually have three rows of seats and come with a retractable sunroof that can be raised to watch matches or take photos.
Visa and Passport Requirements
Almost all visitors to Tanzania require a visa. You should contact the relevant issuing authority in good time (ideally a few months in advance) to review your Tanzania entry requirements and arrange the necessary permits and visas.
All customers entering Tanzania through Kilimanjaro International Airport are strongly advised to apply for a visa online at the Tanzania Immigration Bureau before arriving in Tanzania. Issuing an e-Visa can take 2-3 weeks.
Visitors to Tanzania must have a passport that is valid for 6 months from the date of their first trip.
History and Economy
The history of Tanzania is in many ways the history of humanity. Fossils found in the Olduvai Gorge, one of the world’s leading archaeological sites, indicate that Tanzania was inhabited by humans more than two million years ago. The Iron Age migration from West Africa was followed by European and Arab slave traders, missionaries, and carpenters, and in the mid-19th century, Zanzibar became the center of the East African slave trade. Colonized first by the Germans and then by the British, in 1961 it brought the peaceful independence of Tanganyika. With the addition of Zanzibar in 1964, the modern nation of Tanzania was born.
Rich in mineral resources and natural gas, Tanzania’s economy is dominated by agriculture, which employs 75% of the workforce and accounts for half of the country’s GDP. Tanzania’s main exports are gold, coffee, tea, and cotton. However, the tourism industry, whose importance is increasing year by year, is the country’s main source of foreign currency.
People and Culture
Some of Tanzania’s 120 ethnic groups make up the African population, including a significant number of Asians, Arabs, and Europeans. Despite this mixture of identities, Tanzania has long promoted a harmonious national culture. It is based on a subtle and strong social norm of courtesy and respect. English and Swahili are the official languages.
Scenery and Wildlife
Surrounded by the arms of the Great Rift Valley, Tanzania’s vast central plateau is surrounded by the five great African lakes to the west, mountains to the north (including Africa’s highest peak, Kilimanjaro), and the Indian Ocean to the east. Most of the country is covered with grasslands, vast forests, and savannas, but in the distance, there are large swaths of rainforest in the mountains.
Home to 20% of Africa’s large mammals, Tanzania is one of the most popular gaming destinations on the African continent. With over 25% of the land assigned to protection, many animal sanctuaries in Tanzania are among the largest animal sanctuaries in the world. Most visitors head to the north of Tanzania, where the most popular and accessible animal sanctuaries are located. In southern and central Tanzania, however, there are vast reserves of savannahs and rarely desirable rainforests that offer truly remote safaris.