If this is your first trip to Tanzania or even if you have been here before, you may still have a few questions regarding the upcoming safari trip. Here, you will find our answers to some of the most common 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. US citizens also require a visa which can be purchased in advance or obtained on arrival. The visa cost is $50. If you are arriving from a country in which Yellow Fever is endemic (such as Kenya), you will require an immunization certificate or a health card.

What immunisations and health precautions should I take for Tanzania?

Consult your personal physician, travel health clinic or the Traveler’s Health section of the Center for Disease Control. This website is a good source of links to many other health and disease related websites. Generally, lower areas of Tanzania have malaria and a prophylaxis is recommended. Cholera, typhoid and hepatitis occur in some areas. Modern health care facilities are very limited. If you are coming from a yellow fever endemic area, you may be required to show proof of immunization. It is a good idea to be up to date on common vaccinations such as tetanus and hepatitis A & B and your physician may recommend others.

How safe is the food and water in Tanzania?

Bottled water is widely available. Most food in safari lodges, camps and tourist hotels in large cities is safe. To be on the safe side, fruit and vegetables should always be washed and peeled. Salads are generally best avoided. Water on Kilimanjaro is generally safe, though some hikers add additional purification.

How much spending money should I take, and in what form?

Unless you are a shopper, you aren’t likely to have many added expenses on our trips. We recommend bringing US dollars cash. Change $50 at the airport or border bank on arrival. US$ cash is acceptable in most tourist areas and can be used for tips. If you are on a two week trip, bring at least $400, including some in small bills. However, if you don’t shop much, you will not need it. Credit cards are accepted in some hotels. Traveler’s checks are much less versatile than cash.

What is the best time to visit Tanzania?

Safaris are great at any time of the year. April-May is the wettest time of the year, but the great herds of wildebeest and zebra are concentrated and highly visible on the Serengeti. November can be a bit damp, but this is also a great time to see animals and migrant birds. Months from July to October have a very pleasant weather. While many animals have traveled to Kenya, Ngorongoro, Tarangire and Lake Manyara are excellent for wildlife safaris. The temperature varies little through the year.

What international airlines and routes do you recommend for Tanzania?

KLM has almost daily service to Kilimanjaro airport. British Airways serves Nairobi daily. Ethiopian Air also serves Tanzania and Kenya.

How long does it take to fly to Tanzania?

The trip from the East Coast of the USA takes a total of about 15 hours flight time and usually involves a mid-morning airport transit in a European city.

How safe is Tanzania?

The areas most of our travelers visit are all very safe. Our 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/

What other expenses will I incur that are not included in my trip cost?

Visa fees, gratuities to guides, liquor, phone calls, souvenirs, and personal items. Most people have their departure tax included in their ticket. If arriving or departing via Nairobi, you may have additional visa, departure tax, transfer and overnight expenses.

What kind of luggage do you recommend for Tanzania?

Soft luggage that is durable, lockable and easily transported is preferable to hard suitcases. If you are on a lodge safari, suitcases are acceptable. We recommend each traveler travels with just one major piece of luggage, plus a day pack and a camera bag. Luggage may be carried on roof racks and be exposed to dust, heat and dampness. Kilimanjaro climbers should limit portered duffle to 15 kg plus personal back pack. On the Kilimanjaro climb, gear is transported in waterproof sacks.

How much should I tip my guides and staff in Tanzania?

Tip according to the quality of service provided. Expect tips for good service from $20 up to unlimited amount per person per day. If any of our clients wish to raise the tipping budget, it’s allowed to do so with no problem at all.

On safari, how many people per vehicle, and what kind of vehicles will we have?

There is a maximum of 4-6 people per vehicle depending on the vehicle type. All vehicles have full roof-to-sky openings over every seat, which can be opened or closed depending on the weather. Everyone will have a window seat. Most vehicles are Land Rovers or Land Cruisers, equipped with two-way radios and first-aid kits.

On safari, what are the differences between lodges, permanent tented camps, luxury mobile camping, and adventure camping?

A safari can combine different types of lodging and tenting.

Lodges range in standard, but always offer accommodation in permanent structures with included private facilities, lockable doors and usually electricity. Some are very luxurious and spacious with fine restaurants and lounges. Buffet or sit-down dining may be offered.

Permanent tented camps give the feeling of camping, but preserve the luxury and comfort of a lodge. You will sleep on beds, there may be electricity, western-style toilet, sink and shower at the rear of the tent, tables, chairs, mosquito nets and possibly even air conditioning.

Luxury mobile camping is typically fully catered and staffed accommodation in very spacious, but still portable tents with cots, chairs, all provided bed linens, multi-course meals, and the most comfortable shower, wash and toilet facilities that can be provided on a portable basis. You stay in a wilderness setting with very little compromise in creature comforts.

Adventure camping involves cozier tents with mattresses but not cots. You will use sleeping bags. There will still be a dining tent and a camp cook. Toilet and wash facilities may be shared. You may use private or public camp grounds.

Can Open Africa arrange private and custom trips in Tanzania?

Yes, call for details and itinerary suggestions. Tell us where and when you want to go, indicate the style you prefer, and we can help design a custom safari at a competitive price.

Can I take extra time before or after my scheduled trip to Tanzania?

Yes. We do not insist that you travel to or from Tanzania with a group or even on the airlines we can book.

Will I be able to do any hiking or walking while on safari in Tanzania?

Even if you don’t choose to climb Kilimanjaro, there are many options available from trekking Mt. Meru to an ethnological walk at Lake Manyara with a Masai guide. Walking is not permitted in most parks and the rule is strictly enforced. If you want to hike, it may be possible to do so by staying in accommodations at the periphery of the protected areas. Ask about specifically including hiking in your safari. Let us know your fitness level and we can direct you to appropriate hikes or walks.

Will I get the chance to see any Maasai or other tribal people while on safari?

Our Tanzania Culture and Wildlife itinerary includes visits to several tribes. It is also possible to add tribal cultural excursions to our other standard itineraries or to incorporate them in a custom trip. Let us know if you are interested in visiting any tribes during your trip.

How does a tribal visit work? Will I be able to take as many pictures as I want?

Some tribal communities offer special access for organized visits of tourists. You have a chance to talk with village officials and crafts people. The cost of photography is pre-paid. You learn about the local culture, traditions, arts, music and economy through a personally guided, direct experience of the community. It is the best way to understand how people in Tanzania really live.

Are hotel upgrades available?

Yes. If you tell us you are looking for luxury accommodations either throughout your trip or for a special day or two, we will do our best to include them in your itinerary. There are many possibilities, from permanent tented camps to small lodges. If you are planning on staying in luxurious accommodations, you may want us to adapt the itinerary to allow a more leisurely pace which would let you enjoy the amenities too.

Are more budget-oriented accommodation available?

If our trip cost is slightly more than what you’d prefer to spend, ask about budget accommodations. Budget accommodations in Tanzania are not as charming as some of the other options, but are still located within the parks. They also give you a bed and en suite bathroom facilities in your room.

I really like this lodge-based itinerary, but I am really interested in camping/getting close to nature

Let us know if you prefer camping to staying at lodges and we will do our best to accommodate you.

I’ve been to Tanzania before, and would like to do something more ‘off-the-beaten-path’. What do you suggest?

Tanzania is rich with possibilities. There are the Southern Parks – Selous, Mikumi, Ruaha – which are worth a visit. In the North, you may wish to venture all the way to Lake Victoria or spend some time near Lake Eyasi visiting the Wa-Hadzabe people. Consider ending your safari with a visit to Pemba, Zanzibar’s less visited neighbor.

I have a bad back (or other ailment)and I’m worried about traveling long distances over rough roads. Is a safari still a possibility for me?

Although every Tanzanian safari includes some driving on rough roads, it is possible to confine this primarily to game drives. Most of our itineraries could be modified to include flights and cut out some hours on the road. Let us know your health concerns when you are planning your trip and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.

What is most important in planning my trip to Tanzania?

The organization you choose to travel with. We have been arranging group and private safaris since 1981 and many of our guiding staff have been with us for more than a decade. We have direct connections to the people who will be your guides and we know the parks, reserves, camps and hotels from personal experience. We are in a great position to help you plan exactly the trip to match your dreams.

What language is spoken in Tanzania?

The national language in Tanzania is Swahili. English is widely used in the cities.

If I go on safari with Open Africa tours, can I volunteer somewhere too?

Yes, in fact we at Open Africa Tours encourage travelers to volunteer their time and experience at one of the many orphanages in Tanzania. Open Africa Tours is working with a few different orphanages and homes for street children. We can arrange for you to stay in comfortable lodgings and you can volunteer your time at a location of your choosing. Or, we can also fit you with a location that can use your help the most. Even if you do not want to take a safari and strictly do volunteer work, we can arrange that.

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