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Climate of Tanzania

Tanzania's weather varies from humid and hot in low lying areas, such as Dar es Salaam, to hot during the day and cool at night in Arusha. There are no discernible seasons, such as winter and summer -- only the dry and wet seasons. Tanzania has two rainy seasons: The short rains from late-October to late-December, a.k.a. the Mango Rains, and the long rains from March to May.

During the dry season, temperatures can easily soar to above 35°C in Dar. You should seek shelter from the sun during the midday heat and use copious amounts of sunblock, SPF 30+.

Best times to visit are:

  • June to August: This is the tail-end of the long rainy season and the weather is at its best at this time of year -- bearable during the day and cool in the evening. However, this is not necessarily the best time of year for safaris, as water is plentiful in the parks and animals are not forced to congregate in a few locations to rehydrate, as they do in the middle of the dry season right after Christmas.
  • January to February: This is the best time to visit the Serengeti. It is usually at this time that huge herds of Wildebeest, Zebra and Buffalo migrate to better grazing areas. At this period you could observe some of the 1.5 million Wildebeest that inhabit the Serengeti undertake their epic journey. Be advised this is most likely the hottest time of year in Tanzania, when even the locals complain about the heat. You've been warned!

 

Currency

The currency of Tanzania is known as the Tanzanian Shilling (TSH, /=). There are 5 notes and 6 coins:

  • Notes - 10000 (Red); 5000 (Violet); 2000 (Brown); 1000 (Blue), and 500 (Green) denominations.
  • Coins - 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5 denominations.

Notes and coins vary in size and color. In descending size order, 10000 is the largest note, and 500 is the smallest.
1 Tanzanian shilling = 0.0335 Indian rupees as on 18 october 2012

 

 

Clothing

It never gets really cold in Tanzania so lightweight clothing, preferably cotton or linen, is recommended. While on a game viewing safari, avoid brightly coloured clothing, stick to whites, beiges, khakis and browns. There may be long days sitting in safari vehicles, so it is advisable to wear light comfortable clothing such as short sleeved shirts and cotton/linen trousers or shorts. Denim will become too hot and extremely uncomfortable. Walking shoes and socks will be required.

During the high season (June to September), the days will start off cool becoming warmer from mid morning. The evenings will be chilly, so long sleeved shirts and trousers should be worn. A sweater may be needed. These will also prevent you being bitten by insects. A hat should be worn at all times outside. The sun may sometimes not feel hot, but it can still easily burn, especially if it is cloudy and overcast.

For mountain hiking it is recommended to take thermal underwear, a rain jacket and sturdy hiking boots. Don't forget a heavy duty warm jacket as temperatures on the peaks reach well below zero.

If visiting Zanzibar or any coastal town don't forget to take a swimsuit, as it is invariably warm. Ladies are recommended to take cotton skirts, blouses and dresses. Sandals are a must for this environment! On the beaches and within the confines of hotels, normal swimwear is acceptable but nudity is not.

As over a third of the population in Tanzania is Muslim, it is therefore not etiquette for ladies to walk around in public displaying their legs and shoulders. Remember to dress modestly as short shorts, miniskirts, vests and tank tops will be frowned upon.

When packing, depending on the safari, remember, try to pack lightly even though laundry may not always be accessible and that chartered flights only allow approximately 10kgs of luggage.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What official 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 web sites.

You can obtain a visa at all airports in Tanzania as well as at the border crossings, but it is advised to get a visa beforehand.
As with all visa matters -- contact your local Tanzanian Embassy for the latest information

How safe is it to travel in 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/.

How safe is the water and food in Tanzania?
It is best to drink bottled water when travelling through Tanzania – numerous brands are widely available and served in all restaurants and lodges. Steer clear of ice, raw vegetables, and salads when eating at street restaurants. High-end lodges and restaurants will clean their produce in antiseptic solution, but to be on the safe side, fruit and vegetables should always be washed and peeled. Try to avoid eating in empty restaurants – the food may have been sitting out for some time – and order your meat well done. On the coast, seafood and fish are usually fresh, but make sure everything is well-cooked.

Typical food in Tanzania?
The food served in the safari camps/lodges varies, but is tasty and delicious. Gourmet cooks bake fresh breads, 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.

Time 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.

Tanzania’s International Dialling code?
The International Dialling Code for Tanzania is +255, followed by the applicable area codes (e.g. 22 for Dar es Salaam, or 27 for Arusha). Calling out from Tanzania, you dial 00 plus the relevant country code (44 for the UK, 1 for the USA).

What is the Tanzania currency?
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

How much spending money should I take on my Tanzanian Safari?
You will need very little spending money on most safaris as the majority of meals and activities are included in your package cost. Most people carry between $50 and $100 per person per day for all expenses. Bills may be settled by US cash, by travellers check, or by credit card (accepted at most lodges, camps, hotels).
Credit cards may be used in large towns at restaurants and shops with MasterCard and Visa being most accepted. However, use may be restricted in small towns and country areas and non-existent in small retail shops. We recommend bringing US dollars cash. Change USD$ at the airport or bank on your arrival into Tanzania. USD$ cash is acceptable in most tourist areas and can be used for tips.

Security

Tanzania is generally a sure country. Keep your property always close to you. Move at night not on foot through the towns - take a taxi. Do not carry around your camera open and don't carry big cash sums with yourselves, watch out for pickpockets. Use hotel safes for the keeping of your valuables and require a receipt. Leave all valuables and jewellery at home.

Language

Many locals, in particular in the tourist centres, speak English.
Nevertheless, a few lumps Swahili can help and are exceedingly estimated by the locals.
A few important words:
Pole pole: slowly
Asante: thank you
Caribou: please, welcome
Kwa heri: goodbye
Jambo or Habari: Hello
Answer to Habari: nzuri (gesprochen:nsuri)

Electricity

230 V; however, you should always expect with electricity failures as well as with too much or not enough power. Bring a universal adaptor or one an adaptor which is suitable for outlets in Great Britain, as well as a flashlight or forehead light.

Tips
The crew during your trip is trying to make your stay unforgettable in a good way. A tip for good service is very much appreciated and is not included in the travel prices.
Our recommendations are as follows (in each case per day, per group):
On safari:
Driver / guide: 15-20 US
Cook: 10-15 US
Kilimanjaro:
Main guide: 15-20 US
Assistant guide/ Cook: 10-15 US
Porters: 5-10 US
Meru:
Ranger: 15-20 US
Assistant guide/ Cook: 10-15 US
Porters: 5-10 US
On Zanzibar:
Driver for the transfer: 10 US

Assurance

We recommend a travel resignation assurance, as well as an assurance against the loss of luggage and valuables, as well as a health insurance.

Visa

With entry to Tanzania you are able on the border crossings (e.g., Namanga)
and airports (Kilimanjaro airport, Dar es Salaam) to purchase a tourist visa.
This costs currently for Germans, Austrians, Swiss, Dutchmen 50 US
per person and is valid for 3 months. Americans have to pay 100 US.
The passport must be valid after crossing the border another at least 6 months.

 

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