Passport and Visa
Foreigners seeking to enter the United Republic of Tanzania should be in possession of a valid passport. The passport is to be presented to the Immigration Control Officer at any entry point: border station, airport, harbor. The passport must be presented along with one of the following: A valid visa, A resident permit, A pass . A Tanzanian visa is generally valid for 6 months from date of issuance and allows a maximum stay of 3 months at the discretion of the Tanzanian Consulate. The Embassy of Tanzania issues single, double, and multiple entry visas. Most nationalities can get a visa valid for 3 months, on arrival at the border for a fee of US$50 to US$200. Nationals of the following countries do not need a visa; Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, Brunei, Cyprus, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malaysia, Malawi, Malta, Maldives, Mauritius, Namibia, Nauru, Sao Tome & Principe Island, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Island, Swaziland, Tuvalu, Tonga, Uganda, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe. The following nationalities cannot get a visa on arrival. Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Gambia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey and Yemen.
There are many flights from Europe. Most people fly into Dar es Salaam, but there are also international flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport and to Zanzibar. Airlines serving Tanzania include, Air Tanzania, Alliance, an associate of South Africa Airlines, Aeroflot, Air Zimbabwe, Air India, Air France, British Airways, Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Gulf Air, Kenya Airways, KLM, Royal Swazi, Swissair and AeroZambia. The national carrier, Air Tanzania, serves all internal routes, and has daily flights to Zanzibar. Privately operated light aircraft companies provide services between the mainland and the offshore islands of Pemba and Unguja (Zanzibar).
It is strongly advised to take out travel insurance which should cover baggage as well as personal accident and medical insurance and specifically covering your Kilimanjaro expedition.
Boasting the highest point in Africa, Mt Kilimanjaro (5,895m) and the lowest, Lake Tanganyika (642m below sea level), Tanzania has amazing biodiversity. There are four distinct climatic zones: tropical coastal plains, arid central plateau, humid lake regions and temperate highlands. The country also has one of the highest concentrations of African wildlife.
Seasons and 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 drop to below freezing. Late March – late May is traditionally the long rainy season and is considered the “winter period” in Tanzania. June – late October is the dry season. June, July and August can be very cold on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater. Mnemba Island is lovely at this time of year, the evenings are cool (not cold) and the daytime can be hot. Late October – mid December is when the short rains occur. These are usually in the form of daily thunderstorms. The Ngorongoro Crater rim has a wonderful climate at this time of year. The Serengeti and Lake Manyara are quite warm and Mnemba is 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.
Tanzania’s economy relies heavily on agriculture, which accounts for nearly half of the GDP and employs 80% of the workforce. Tourism is growing in importance and ranks as the second highest foreign exchange earner after agriculture. Mineral production (gold, diamonds, and tanzanite) has grown significantly in the last decade. It represents Tanzania’s biggest source of economic growth, provides over 3% of the GDP and accounts for half of Tanzania’s exports.Accounting for less than 10% of GDP, Tanzania’s industrial sector is one of the smallest in Africa. Despite enthusiastic privatisation during the 1990s and annual GDP growth of between 5 and 7%, the Tanzanian economy remains weak.
Major foreign currencies – particularly US$ – and travellers cheques are accepted and are convertible at banks and bureaux de changes in the main towns and tourist areas. Credit cards are not widely accepted and carry poor exchange rates. Some banks in Arusha, Dar es Salaam and Moshi offer ATM facilities against international credit cards, but ATMs are not available elsewhere. Visitors may be expected to pay in foreign currency for game parks. Don’t change money in the street.
The Sandawe language includes click sounds as consonants and is also tonal. Totally unrelated to other languages around them, it is difficult to learn. The language is related to the languages of the Bushmen (San) and Hottentots (Khoi) of southern Africa and is classified as a Khoisan language. It is consisdered to constitute a separate branch of the Khoisan famliy of languages. The Hadzapi, also in northern Tanzania, are the only other aboriginal people in Eastern Africa still speaking a Khoisan language. Their language is also so different that it likewise constitutes aseparate branch of Khoisan.
1 Jan New Year’s Day.
12 Jan Zanzibar Revolution Day.
26 Feb Birth of the Prophet.
2 Apr Good Friday.
5 Apr Easter Monday.
26 Apr Union Day.
1 May International Labor Day.
7 Jul Saba Saba (Industry’s Day).
8 Aug Nane Nane (Farmer’s Day).
11 Aug Eid al-Fitr (Ramadan).
14 Oct Nyerere Day.
17 Nov Eid al-Adha.
9 Dec Independence and Republic Day.
25 Dec Christmas Day.
26 Dec Boxing Day.
When to Visit
Tanzania’s varied geography produces a variety of climatic conditions. The central plateau is dry and arid with hot days and cool nights, while the northwestern highlands are cool and temperate. June to September is the coolest season. The “long rains” are from March to May, while the “short rains” fall between October and December. The hottest months are between October and February. On the coast, it rains in November and December and from March to May. The coastal strip and the islands of Zanzibar and Mafia have a hot and humid tropical climate, tempered by sea breezes.
What to Wear and What to Bring
Generally, casual comfortable clothing is suitable throughout 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/shirts for game drives, 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 at Kleins and Grumeti which have a pool, A hat, sunglasses and sunscreen, Comfortable walking 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 wear dresses that cover their shoulders and knees. This does not apply on Mnemba Island.
Country code: 255. In some rural areas, international calls must go through the operator. There are many public call boxes in post offices and main towns. Mobile Telephone Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is limited to main urban areas. Local providers, including Zain (Celtel), Vodacom, Tigo and Zantel, offer low-cost SIM cards with local numbers and reasonably priced pay-as-you-go services. E-mail can be accessed in Internet cafes in main urban areas, which are affordable and efficient. Those in more remote towns that rely on satellite access are a little more expensive.
If you are visiting a number of parks and reserves in Tanzania, you can either drive or fly between them. Roads in most of the wilderness areas are in poor condition and unmarked, and self-driving is not recommended. Operators will supply you with a driver who doubles as an informal guide; alternatively, you can arrange to fly to your destination and utilize a car and driver supplied by the lodgings. Elsewhere in Tanzania, towns and cities are linked by a steady stream of buses and dala-dalas (minibuses), and in the cities, there is public transport in the way of buses, dala-dalas, taxis, and, in some places, bicycles or tuk-tuks.
Tipping in Tanzania is not expected, but certainly appreciated. If you feel that the quality of service you have received is good, then it is now customary to leave a tip to show your appreciation to those who have served or guided you.
Safety and Health
Travellers are advised to get a vaccination against hepatitis A, typhoid, yellow fever and polio. Those arriving from an infected country are required to hold a yellow fever vaccination certificate. There is a risk of malaria all year and outbreaks of Rift Valley Fever occur; travellers should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Sleeping sickness is a risk in the game parks, including the Serengeti, and visitors should avoid bites by tsetse flies. The AIDS epidemic is serious in the country with about 8% of the population infected with the HIV virus. Cholera outbreaks are common throughout the country and visitors are advised to avoid tap water. Food prepared by roadside vendors should be avoided. Street crime is a problem in Dar-es-Salaam where travellers should be cautious. Deserted beaches and footpaths should be avoided. Road accidents and armed robberies are on the rise. Visitors should not carry valuables with them.
Tanzania is another East African country blessed with a particularly rich and varied birdlife – in fact, it would be fair to say that with a bird count of well over 1 000 and with a sophisticated tourism industry and reasonable infrastructure, Tanzania offers one of the best bird watching experiences in the world.