About Tanzania

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Tanzania:

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Quick Facts

Area:  364,898 sq mi
Capital City:  Dodoma
Government: Unitary presidential constitutional republic  
President: Jakaya Kikwete  Prime Minister:  Mizengo Pinda
Languages:  Swahili and English
Location:  Tanzania is mountainous in the northeast, where Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, is situated. To the north and west are the Great Lakes of, respectively, Lake Victoria (Africa’s largest lake) and Lake Tanganyika, to the southwest lies Lake Nyasa
Population size: 44,929,002  
Population density:  
119.9/sq mi
Telephone code:  +255
Time difference: GMT + 3 hours

Passports & Visa Requirements:

International visitors require a valid passport together with onward travel documents.

Please ensure that you have all the necessary visas prior to departure (unless available on entry).  Neither Trans Africa Safaris, their staff, their agents nor their operators can be held liable for any error.

The situation regarding blank Visa pages in passports changes regularly.

  • For your visit to Tanzania you require 3 blank VISA pages
  • Please note VISA pages are not pages that are headed “Endorsements” etc.
  • Passports must be valid for 6 months after your departure from Southern Africa.

Without the above you could be denied entry, or you could be denied boarding in your home country.

Banks/ Foreign Exchange:

Banks are open 08h30 to 12h30 Monday through Friday and 08h30 to 11h30 on Saturdays.  A few branches in the major towns are open until 16h00.  Banks and forex bureaux are available at the airport and in all main towns.

Credit Cards:

Credit cards, primarily Visa, are widely accepted; MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club less so. Not all hotels accept credit cards.  If they do they generally add on a fee of between 5% to 10%.  It is important guests carry back-up cash or travelers cheques.

Currency:

The Tanzanian unit of currency is the Tanzanian Shilling (TSh). Bills range from 1 shilling to 10,000 shillings.

What to take:

Generally, casual comfortable clothing is suitable through the year.  The most practical items to pack are:

  • Khaki, brown, white and beige colours
  • Light cotton tops and cotton trousers/shorts in summer
  • Long sleeved blouses/shirt for game drive, they will protect you from the sun and from mosquitoes
  • Safari trousers for evenings and cooler days
  • Fleece or sweater and a warm jacket for game drives (and at Ngorongoro Crater)
  • Swimwear is a must for the beach and for the camps which have pools (Kleins, Grumeti, Serengeti Serena and Lake Manyara Serena)
  • A hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Comfortable waling shoes
  • For climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and Meru, thermal underwear, light layers, sweater, warm jacket, good socks and sturdy boots
  • When visiting Zanzibar, it is important for women to dress modestly out of respect for Muslim cultural beliefs.  Men should not wear shorts on the main island, and women should war dresses that cover the shoulders and knees.  This does not apply to Mnemba Island

Customs Allowance:

1 litre of liquor; 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; and 250ml of perfume.

Duty Free:

A duty free allowance is affected on one litre of liquor; 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; and 250ml of perfume.

Electrical Current:

Electric Power is 230V running at 50Hz.

Health Considerations:

Visitors must produce a valid yellow fever certificate obtained no less than 10 days prior to travel if travelling to or from Tanzania.  Cholera certificates may be requested.  It is imperative that you obtain malaria prophylactics before entering Tanzania.  When purchasing these, please tell your doctor or pharmacist that you intend visiting Tanzania.  Precautionary measures that you can take to prevent contact with mosquitoes include:  insect repellant, cover up at sundown, sleep under a mosquito net and wear long sleeve clothing and long trousers in the evenings.

Metal Hips, Pins, Knee replacements, Pacemakers, etc.

Please be aware that if any guests travelling with us have had a knee or hip replacement (usually metal) or have pins, pacemakers etc, they may set off security alarms in airports which can prevent them from being allowed to board. Our recommendation is that they must travel with a doctor’s card/letter stating this information to show security officials to ensure there are no delays, especially at our regional airports.

Insurance:

It is essential adequate travel insurance is taken out at the time of confirming your booking.  This should cover any medical situation (such as hospitalization), as well as cancellation, curtailment of arrangements and your baggage.

Safety Tips:

Tanzanians are well known for their friendly, laid-back attitude. In most cases you will be humbled by their hospitality despite the fact that most people are a lot poorer than you. As you travel in the touristy areas, you will probably attract your fair share of souvenir hawkers and beggars. Remember that these are poor people who are trying to earn money to feed their families. If you are not interested then say so, but please remain polite.

  • Make a copy of your passport and keep it in your luggage.
  • Do not walk on your own at night in the major cities or on empty beaches especially in Pemba and Zanzibar.
  • Do not wear jewelry.
  • Wear a money belt that fits under your clothes.
  • Do not carry too much cash with you.
  • Do not carry a lot of camera equipment especially in the major cities.
  • Beware of thieves posing as police officers.

Holidays: 2018

Date Weekday Holiday Name Holiday Type
Jan 1 Monday New Year’s Day Public Holiday
Jan 12 Friday Zanzibar Revolution Day Public Holiday
Mar 20 Tuesday March equinox Season
Mar 30 Friday Good Friday Public Holiday
Apr 1 Sunday Easter Sunday Observance
Apr 2 Monday Easter Monday Public Holiday
Apr 7 Saturday Karume Day Public Holiday
Apr 26 Thursday Union Day Public Holiday
May 1 Tuesday Worker’s Day Public Holiday
May 13 Sunday Mothers’ Day Observance
Jun 15 Friday Eid el Fitri Public Holiday
Jun 21 Thursday June Solstice Season
Jul 7 Saturday Saba Saba Public Holiday
Aug 8 Wednesday Peasants’ Day Public Holiday
Aug 22 Wednesday Eid el Hajj Public Holiday
Sep 23 Sunday September equinox Season
Oct 14 Sunday Mwalimu Nyerere Day Public Holiday
Nov 21 Wednesday Prophet’s Birthday Public Holiday
Dec 9 Sunday Republic Day Public Holiday
Dec 21 Friday December Solstice Season
Dec 24 Monday Christmas Eve Observance
Dec 25 Tuesday Christmas Day Public Holiday
Dec 26 Wednesday Boxing Day Public Holiday

Languages:

Swahili and English are the national and official languages of Tanzania.

Value Added Tax:

VAT is charged at a rate of 20%.  Certain goods purchased by non-resident foreign tourists do qualify for a VAT refund from a dedicated TRA (Tanzania Revenue Authority) office at international both airports as long as the overall spend is a minimum of 400,000 Tanzanian shillings (US$254). The original tax invoice, the VAT refund control sheet, client’s passport and the purchased item are required.

Interesting Reading:

  • Serengeti – Natural Order on the African Plain – Mitsuaki Iwago
  • The Tree Where Man Was Born – Peter Matthiessen
  • The Worlds of a Maasai Warrior – An Autobiography – Tepilit Ole Saitoti
  • The Shadow of Kilimanjaro – On Foot Across East Africa – Rick Ridgeway

Migration:

Tanzania offers excellent game viewing throughout the year, as not all animals migrate and are year round residents.

The migration traditionally follows the rains to take advantage of the new grasses on the plains of the Serengeti and Masai Mara.  There is no hard and fast rule as to where the animals will be and when.  Often the animals split into two groups as they move, resulting in one group moving on the western side and another group moving on the eastern side of the Serengeti finally meeting up at Ndutu or in the Mara.

Viewing of the migration cannot be guaranteed.  Theoretically, if traditional weather patterns occur annually, the following is a basic idea of how the migration moves throughout the year:

  • Late December/early January (Ndutu region Tanzania).  Traditionally this is hen the calves are born.  The migration remains sedentary until April when the calves are strong enough to start moving north
  • Early April/May/June (Serengeti Tanzania).  The migration begins moving North West following the “long rains” across the Serengeti plains towards the Western Corridor and the Grumeti River
  • June/July (Western Corridor Tanzania).  The migration crosses the Grumeti River and moves North East into the Northern Steppes of the Masai Mara
  • October/November and early December (Masai Mara, Kenya and Northern Tanzania, Serengeti).  As the short rains begin in northern Tanzania the migration begins to move South back into the Kleins/Lobo region of the Serengeti.  From here they follow the rains through to Seronera and end up at the Ndutu for the calving season.

Climate:

The climate is tropical on the coast, on the islands and in Selous.  It is temperate in the other parks.  Temperatures on Mount Kilimanjaro and Meru often drop to below freezing.

  • Late March – late May is traditionally the long rainy season (rain can be relatively heavy and continuous).  This period is considered the “winter period” in Tanzania.  Many of the camps in the Serengeti are closed over this period.  Ngorongoro Crater Lodge and the Singita Grumeti properties operate all year round.
  • June – late October is the dry season.  June, July and August can be very cold on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater.  Mnemba Island and Zanzibar Serena are lovely at this time of year, the evenings are cool (not cold) and the daytime is hot.
  • Late October – mid December is when the short rains occur.  These tend to be in the form of a daily thunderstorm.  The Ngorongoro Crater rim has a wonderful climate at this time of year.  The Serengeti and Lake Manyara are very warm and the Islands are very hot.
  • Mid December – March is summer weather.  It is dry and very warm until March.  Due to its altitude Ngorongoro Crater is much cooler than elsewhere
  • The best months to climb Mount Kilimanjaro are considered to be August – October and January – March
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