It is never possible to know with 100% certainty what adventures you will experience when you travel. Sometimes everything goes exactly as you intended, sometimes the unexpected happens. We at Steven&Friends are doing everything we can to make your journey as safe and comfortable as possible. But some things are up to you, too. With the right attitude, good preparation, and a strong organisation behind you, you can rest assured that even the unexpected becomes part of your dream journey.
Having the right knowledge is the basis for a safe and smooth journey. Keep in mind that the quote from the tour operator you choose to book with contains important information—take the time to read it! You can also find more information on the tour operator’s website. Below you will find some travel tips and information about visas, insurance and other things that we especially want to highlight. Your experience and safety are important to us!
For most people, a safari tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and as such, it requires good planning and preparation. Everything needs to be considered, from the time of the visit to the vaccinations needed.
The exact cost of a safari varies depending on your individual choices when it comes to the type of accommodation, time for the visit, selected activities, etc.
In general, a safari tour costs a lot though, and that’s why you need to plan with your finances and start out in good time.
Steven&Friends offers a 30-minute phone call for personal advice at no extra cost when you book through us. Take the opportunity to get expert help with your questions and gain valuable knowledge. This creates peace of mind and helps you get the most out of your experience! Just enter your contact information here and we will get in touch.
You book your own international flights. Make sure to make your reservations well in advance to get a good price. Your airport of arrival is specified in your quote. For safari tours, it is usually Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). Your tour operator will help you to book your domestic flights.
Upon arrival in Tanzania, your local tour operator will meet you after the passport control with a nameplate. Avoid accepting help from anyone other than your tour operator, such as transporters of luggage.
Visitors to Tanzania must have a valid visa. You can apply and pay electronically via Tanzania’s official application form, which can be found at www.immigration.go.tz. Remember to submit your application well in advance, preferably 4 weeks before departure. For travellers travelling from Sweden, Tanzania’s embassy in Stockholm has more information on its website www.se.tzembassy.go.tz.
It is important that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after leaving Tanzania. This applies to all travellers. We recommend that you carry a copy of your passport with you.
It is very important that you have valid travel insurance, both for your own security and because this is required by many tour operators today. You can start by reviewing the travel insurance in your home insurance, and the terms of the travel insurance associated with your credit card. Contact your insurance company if you need to extend your protection. Be sure to bring proof of insurance and important numbers during your trip. Remember to look into this well in advance of your departure.
It is a good idea to contact a vaccination centre well in advance of your departure so that you can receive the vaccinations you may need. In addition to basic protection, vaccination against hepatitis and malaria prevention tablets are often required. If you have stopped over in another African country before arriving in Tanzania, you may need to show proof that you have been vaccinated against yellow fever. For those who want to climb Mount Kilimajaro: Although no specific climbing skills are required, the ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro is a tough challenge, requiring preparation and training. Take the time to read the information in your quote and on your chosen tour operator’s website and do what you can to be in good physical shape for the trip. That way, you increase the chances of not only coping with the hike, but getting the most out of it.
All meals during your safari (breakfast, lunch and dinner) are included in the price. Vegetarian options are always available. Special dietary requirements due to allergies or for other reasons can usually be accommodated but be sure to inform the tour operator you have chosen to book with well in advance of the trip. A certain amount of bottled water is also included (details can be found in your quote), but apart from that, you pay for your own drinks. Remember to drink a lot, 2 litres of water/day is a good benchmark. All travellers are advised to drink bottled water only. When you travel, there is always a risk of the stomach becoming upset. This is usually due to the change of environment and to eating in a way that you are not used to. Stomach problems can also be caused by bacteria and parasites, but if you wash hands carefully before every meal and avoid drinking tap water, this is quite unusual among safari travellers.
Tanzania’s currency is the Tanzanian Shilling (TZS), but USD is also accepted in many places and is easy to exchange for TZS if required. ATMs are available in major cities and at international airports. Many places accept card payments (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) but there is almost always an extra charge. Depending on how much you want to spend on drinks, souvenirs, etc., we recommend that you bring an appropriate amount of cash in USD in mixed denominations. Remember that banknotes must have been printed in 2006 or later, otherwise there is a risk that they will not be accepted. Please do not forget that the money should also cover tips, see more under the heading “Tipping”.
Safari is something for everyone, even children! Most of the employees of the tour operators we work with have their own children and a long experience of working with families with children. Many operators also have safaris that are specially adapted for children, offering various activities. What should be kept in mind is that there are sometimes long distances to travel and periods of time with no immediate action. Think about what your child needs to cope with these moments, and pack a small bag with papers, pen and other things you want to have close at hand.
During the safari, you and your company will spend a large part of the day together with your guide. The guide is much more than just a driver. He has a long-term education and experience of the Tanzanian wilderness and of living in Tanzania. Take the opportunity to ask questions about the animals you see, but also about Tanzanian culture, history, nature conservation and other things that you are curious about.
Tipping is of course always voluntary, but in Tanzania it’s an integral part of the service sector, and a natural way to thank the people involved for an unforgettable experience. The tip is usually handed over on the last day of the safari, preferably in an envelope with money from the whole group. A reasonable amount for a safari guide is 10—12 USD per day and adult traveller. When climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the amount is usually higher. In lodges and hotels, there is often a box where you can leave tips that are later distributed among the staff. A benchmark here is $5—7 per day per traveller. In all cases, USD is the best currency to use. Please also read your chosen tour operator’s tip notes.
How much luggage you can bring depends on your chosen airline, as different companies have different rules. If you are going to travel with domestic flights, it is however important to keep in mind that the maximum weight allowed in these flights is often lower than for international flights. To avoid any issues here, you need to pack with care. You know best what you need while travelling, but here are a few things you might want to consider:
Camera. There will be plenty of opportunities to take photos animals and nature, and maybe even people (but then you have to ask for permission and use common sense and judgement). Choose a camera you’re familiar with, and if you have a telephoto lens, bring it. Don’t forget your charger, spare batteries, extra memory cards and cleaning cloths for the lens.
Adapter. Tanzania uses the same standard as the UK for electrical outlets and plugs.
Sunscreen. Not only is the sun in Tanzania much stronger than in our northern latitudes, but you will also spend all day outdoors in an open Jeep.
Flashlight or Headlight. In morning and evening hours, it is nice to have a flashlight or a headlight at hand when you are moving around outdoors. This applies especially to those who have chosen to stay in tents.
Travel Pharmacy. In hotels and lodges, you will normally have access to healthcare trained personnel and certain healthcare materials. Nevertheless, we recommend that you bring your own travel pharmacy with a first aid kit, wound and hand disinfection, mosquito repellents, patches, painkillers, anti-diarrhoeal medicines, fluid replacement, antimalarials and any other medications you may need. Remember to pack prescribed medicines in your hand luggage.
Binoculars. During your safari you will often get close enough to observe animals without the need for binoculars, but sometimes you may want to look at something a little further away.
Shoes. Unless you’re going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, you don’t need special hiking boots. Regular sneakers or any type of shoes that are comfortable for walking work just as well.
Clothing. You don’t really need a special safari outfit, but some things can be good to keep in mind. Natural colours such as beige, green and khaki blend well into the surroundings. In some areas there are tsetse flies, which are especially attracted to blue and black, so these colours are good to avoid. To protect yourself against mosquitoes and other biting insects, long sleeves and legs are recommended in the evenings. The days are warm, but mornings and evenings in an open Jeep can get pretty chilly, so don’t forget a light jacket. A shawl or sarong is also practical, it can be used as protection against cold, sun and dust.
Mobile Phone. The larger Telecom operators often have agreements with operators in Tanzania, so you can probably use your mobile phone with your regular number in cities and larger communities. However, most national parks are out of range. Your guide has a com radio to communicate with others if needed.
For more advanced adventures, such as climbing Mount Kilimajaro, it is possible to rent certain equipment. Check with your chosen tour operator before departure.
Some lodges offer laundry service at an additional cost (please check with your chosen accommodation for details). If you only stay for one night, however, it can be difficult to get the laundry to dry, so take the opportunity to wash when you stay a little longer in the same place.
Your quote includes the telephone number and other contact details of the tour operator you have chosen to book with. Save these to your phone and write them down on a piece of paper that you keep with your travel documents.
You can manage well with English all over Tanzania, but if you can say a few words in Swahili, it’s always appreciated.
Here’s a short glossary.
Mambo? —How is it? (How are things?)
Poa—Fine (It’s just fine.)
Hakuna matata—No worries
Asante sana—Thank you very much
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Steven&Friends offers 30 minutes of free personal telephone advice when you book through us.
Take the opportunity to get expert help with your questions and valuable knowledge before the trip. It creates security and helps you get the most out of your experience!