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BEST TIMES TO TRAVEL
Tanzania is a really big country. If you know the United States Geography, it’s been said that Tanzania is twice the size of California. It is a beautiful country with big regional variation and climate and it has two distinct rainy seasons. Most people ask what is the best time of year to go and that really depends on what you want your experience to be. We specialize in affordable luxury safaris that are tailor made just for you. Our goal is to work with you to put together the best fitting itinerary that best suits you or your group to make sure you have an incredible safari that is memorable in every way.
If you want to catch the great Serengeti migration, the best time to go to Tanzania for that is between November and August however it is tricky as animals do have a mind of their own and really it’s a game of chance. During November they normally move south through the Serengeti and spend Dec/Jan/Feb in an area between the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater. In March, they will start making their way through southern, then central and western Tanzania, before finally reaching the northern Serengeti by July/Aug. If this sounds interesting to you, it is like National Geographic upfront and personal and so worth the money spent!
If looking to book a safari for general game viewing of Tanzania’s fun, exotic beautiful wildlife either in the Serengeti or Tanzania's other parks, it is at its peak seasons during the June to October months which is our cooler season. Another great time to come is in December to February which is more during the dry season and during this time the animals may be easier to spot as they come to where there is water. Regardless, in reality there is no bad time to go on a safari.
If climbing Mount Kilimanjaro the best time to do so is either between June and October or December to March, while the best time to visit Tanzania's coast is really anytime apart from the long rains in April/May or the short rains in November.
Tanzania has a nice tropical climate however it does vary throughout the year due to several factors like the altitude, equator etc. Tanzania is quite close to the equator so we don’t really get the experience of a real winter and summer however we do have a dry and wet season. To the locals we have what is known as the “long rains” and they happen during April-May and we have the “short rains” and they are usually known to happen in November. In the other months of the year, we have perfect weather with wisps of clouds sporadically painted across the canvas of a beautiful blue African sky.
Our temperatures vary during certain times of the year such as in our winter months which are June-August and they will average around 60F-77F (16-25c) degrees during the day, while in the summer (December-February) the average temperature is around 86F-100F (30-38c). Also another thing that is good to know, the coastal areas will have a higher humidity so you will want to be prepared accordingly.
MEALS ON MT. KILIMANJARO CLIMBS
Meals are extremely good quality, using fresh and local produce. More often than not you find that your meals are filled with a variety of Western and local cuisine. We cater for any meal requirements so please inquire at the time of booking.
CURRENCY & ATM ACCESS
The main currency in Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling (Tsh). USD is widely accepted in tourist areas however it must be USD notes printed on/after 2003. Older notes printed before 2003 are not accepted in Tanzania or many other African countries.
In major towns you will have access to ATMs however they can be unreliable if requiring large amounts. Most ATMs will only allow a maximum withdrawal amount of 400,000Tsh per transaction. Multiple transactions are allowed and based on your own bank’s daily withdrawal limits. However these can add up large transaction fees.
If exploring and going strictly on safari, all passport holders are required to have a Tourist Visa for entering Tanzania. You can purchase a tourist visa upon arrival at the airport. For all U.S.A citizens, the cost is $100 USD which is a multiple entry visa good for 1 year. For all other countries the cost is $50 USD good for only one entry visit.
You can also get your visa in advance through a Tanzanian Consulate (please verify with your local Tanzanian consulate) but the easiest option is to get it upon arrival at the airport. All this information is current and if there are any changes at the time of your booking we will let you know ASAP.
Your passport must be valid for at least six months on the day you depart from your home country. In addition, your passport must contain at least four blank visa pages that are two sets of two opposing blank visa pages.
*Please also note that you need to have your passport and USD cash (notes printed on/after 2003) in order to be granted a visa at the airport. You cannot pay for your visa by credit card as they only take cash payments upon arrival.
Travel insurance is the traveler’s own responsibility. To cover yourself, we recommend that you take out travel insurance in your home country that will cover the following: loss, damage, theft of luggage, money and other valuables, medical expenses, et cetera. Consider also any additional coverage you may need, such as for extreme or high-risk sports (scuba diving, canoeing, mountain biking, et cetera). Mountain climbing requires a separate mountaineering insurance policy.
* Please note that Wild at Heart Safaris does not accept any liability whatsoever in connection with any such activities.
In Tanzania, the voltage is 230. For charging cameras, phones etc, you will need a British plug adaptor. Please also note that power outages are common in Tanzania therefore it’s worthwhile carrying a flashlight/torch with you.
If you visit your doctor before travelling to Africa, there are a range of vaccinations he/she may recommend based on current information. The Yellow Fever vaccination is required only if coming from a Yellow Fever infected country or passing through a Yellow Fever infected country in route and staying there for more than 12 hours. Other vaccinations that may be advisable but not a must are Hepatitis A/B, Tetanus, Typhoid and Cholera.
*Other diseases that occur in Tanzania are: abdominal typhus, hepatitis B, tuberculosis, rabies and meningococcal disease.
There is no vaccine available against malaria. If you are in Tanzania for a short time some Doctors will recommend the use of anti-malarial medication. Malaria is an infectious disease that is caused by a parasite. You get it from the bite of a mosquito that carries the parasite. These parasites multiply first in the liver cells and then in your red blood cells. While the symptoms may vary with each individual they usually include a gnawing headache, shaking chills accompanied by a fever, usually preceded by flu-like symptoms such as achy joints, achy body in general, possible lower back pain and or vomiting. To protect yourself against mosquito bites, you can spray yourself with insect repellent containing DEET and make sure to cover your body properly if you are outside after sunset.
At most local restaurants tipping is not culturally expected however if eating at more Western style restaurants it is expected and the current suggested rate is 10% of the total bill.
It is also customary to tip your guides/crew when on safari or climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. Suggested tipping amounts will be advised at the time of booking.
Population and Swahili
Tanzanian culture is amazing. The people are unique and known to be among the friendliest in East Africa. The Tanzanians are eager to help and are usually very polite. They love children and enjoy a friendly chat with tourists. You will find that they are very interested to know where you come from and will show interest in your life in general. Public displays of affection between men and women are considered inappropriate mainly with the older Nationals. When touring the country, you can speak English with your tour guide and with most people who work in the hotels and places of your accommodations. It will be highly appreciated and give you inroads with the locals if you can speak a little Swahili, so learning a few words before you arrive in the country is recommended and worth the effort.
Tanzania is one of the safest countries in East Africa however we do recommend that you request the services of a guide if you want to explore the country a bit more on your own such as in the city, local town or the market, whether during the day or in the evening. Guides know their way around and they know their own people and they speak the language which comes in handy when you want to buy souvenirs or other items of your interest. We also would like to stress that walking the streets alone at night is not recommended. On any tour, it is always wise to listen to your inner voice, your intuition and your guide. Theft does happen in Tanzania. It is therefore advisable to protect your valuables at all times by using common sense and taking extra precautions.
How to dress
The Tanzanian culture is full of people of various faiths and in view of religious beliefs the Tanzanian people always dress modestly. It is totally appropriate and fine to wear what you want to wear if you’re at your hotel/lodge or at the beach. While there is no exact dress code here, it is just good to be aware as to what the local dress is (especially with women).So if you mix with the locals it is appropriate to wear clothes that cover the body more modestly, especially shoulders and legs. This is a simple courtesy that shows respect for the Tanzanian people.