Located in East Africa and facing the Indian Ocean, Tanzania is home to the world- renowned Serengeti National Park and vast Selous Game Reserve. With 25% of its entire land protected through the National Parks and Reserve, Tanzania has the highest concentration of animals than anywhere else in the world, making it one of the world’s greatest safari destinations. Known for its rich culture, and diverse landscapes, the country boasts a wildlife population that is unparalleled on the African continent. The country’s game viewing experiences are widely regarded as the best in Africa.
In addition to Safaris, Tanzania boasts of Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru, the highest and fifth highest peaks respectively on the African Continent. Tanzania’s equatorial climate boasts of Lake Victoria, Tanganyika and Nyasa, which are the three largest fresh water bodies in Africa.
Then of course there is Zanzibar, the magical spice island on the Indian Ocean with incredible beaches, soft coral sands and the magic of historic stone town, which is said to be the only functioning ancient town in East Africa.
Made up of more than 120 ethnic groups, Tanzania is considered one of the most peaceful and safest countries in Africa. Tanzania peacefully gained its independence from the British in 1961 and never had any civil wars, coups or political unrests since then.
- Travel Tips and Customs Information (Tanzania Flag)
Official name – United Republic of Tanzania
Official Language – Swahili, English
Population – 36,232,000
Area – 945,090 m 2 (886,040 km) – This includes the islands of Zanzibar, Mafia & Pemba.
Time – GMT +3 hours
Currency – Tanzania shilling (TSh or TZS)- Foreign currency can be exchanged in local banks, bureau de changes or authorized dealers and hotels.
Head of Government – President Jakaya M. Kikwete
Electricity: 230 volts AC. Rectangular or round three-pin electrical plugs are used.
Climate: At 5,000 feet above sea level, weather in Tanzania is tropical and is generally comfortable year round with daytime temperatures ranging from 70F to 80F and about 60F in the evenings and mornings. Weather is coolest and driest from late June to September with National parks and lodges at their fullest in July and August. In the northwest highlands around Arusha and Ngorongoro, the climate is temperate and cooler between June and September. Temperatures on Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru drop to below freezing
Long rains are from late March to late May, considered as ‘winter’ period in Tanzania. June to late October is the dry season. 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.
Health: It is imperative to obtain a yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter Tanzania. Visitors are advised to take anti-malaria tablets before and while on safari.
Visitors must produce a valid yellow fever certificate obtained no less than ten days prior to travel.
It is also crucial that you obtain malaria prophylactics before entering Tanzania. When purchasing these, please tell your doctor or pharmacist that you intend visiting Tanzania. Immunization against cholera, polio, hepatitis A & B, typhoid and tetanus is recommended if travelling by road
Precautionary measures to take to prevent contact with mosquitoes include: insect repellent, cover up at sundown, sleep under a mosquito net and wear long sleeve clothing and long trousers in the evenings.
Medical services are available in Dar-es-Salaam and other main towns, but facilities and supplies are limited; visitors with particular requirements should take their own medicines. Comprehensive medical insurance is advised.
Important to note:
A yellow fever vaccination certificate has to be produced in order to enter Tanzania. Any passenger arriving without one will be obligated to get a vaccination at the airport at a fee of USD 50.00.
If you have medical reason or religious reason why you cannot take this inoculation – you must bring proof from your doctor. It will be up to border control to give final decision.
Tanzania is considered to be generally safe, but extra care should be taken in Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam. In the past there have been reports of muggings in game reserves. Although the government has stepped up security, it is better to be careful and to stay in close vicinity to other vehicles during your visit. Driving at night is not recommended.
Drink only boiled or bottled water, and bottled or canned drinks. If camping, bring your own drinking water and all other camping provisions.
Passport and Visa: All visitors to Tanzania are required to have a valid passport and visa with a return or round ticket. Visas can be obtained in Tanzania’s High Commission or at main entry ports (International airports, seaports and border posts).
Tipping is expected from porters, safari guides as well as hotel staff. There is no standard scale of tipping, so the amount lies at the discretion of the guest him/herself. Tipping can be in local currency or dollar amount. Hotel staff and safari guides prefer to be tipped in dollar amounts.
Best Time to go on safari in Tanzania
The best time to witness Great Annual Migration is probably February – March when the wildebeest and zebra have their young.The migration is best viewd in Tanzania’s northern national parks, notably the Serengeti and Ngorongoro ConservationAreas. Not only can you enjoy seeing baby animals, but the predators are at the highest number too. The migration usually moves out of the Serengeti area by the end of June and doesn’t return until December.
The annual long rains fall from late March to May in the north. This affects all of Tanzania National Parks, as the roads get washed out and animals tend to spread out, making game viewing less satisfying. June to November is Tanzania’s dry season and is the best time to visit all the parks, especially Tanzania’s Southern Parks.
If you want to track chimps in Western Tanzania, the best time to go is the dry season, June – November for better access to the parks. However the wet-season (December to April) makes it a little easier to find the chimps since they don’t have to roam too far to get water.
Best Time to Trek Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru
Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru are not far from one another, so the trekking seasons are basically the same. The best time to trek is January – March and September – October.