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Tanzania

Country info

Tanzania is Africa to the power of ten. Within its borders are Africa's highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro; Africa's biggest lake, Lake Victoria; Africa's longest and the world's second deepest lake, Lake Tanganyika; and the world's biggest concentration of wild animals and most spectacular mammal migration in the Serengeti.
Tanzania's highlights include the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater...
Tanzania lies on the Indian Ocean and incorporates the Zanzibar archipelago (the fertile, coral islands of Zanzibar and Pemba). The mainland consists of several clearly defined regions. The plains along the coast have lush, tropical vegetation; half the country is savannah and bush and other regions are semi-desert.
About 6% of mainland Tanzania is lakes, including Africa’s largest lake, Lake Victoria, in the north-west; Lake Tanganyika, the world’s longest lake, in the east and Lake Malawi in the south.
The main mountain ranges are found in the north-eastern, central and southern sections, with a volcanic belt in the centre of the country near the Ngorongoro Crater. Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, is found in the Eastern Arc range, in the north-east.

Travel info

Climate
SUMMER:October – March
WINTER: April – September
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 to late May is traditionally the long rainy season and is considered the winter period in Tanzania. June to 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 temperatures can be hot. Late October to 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 to March is summer weather. It is dry and very warm until March. Due to its altitude, Ngorongoro Crater is much cooler than elsewhere.

Clothing
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 windbreaker for game drives (and at Ngorongoro Crater)
Swimwear is a must for the beach and at Klein’s 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.

Visa

Most visitors require visas with the exception of certain countries of the Commonwealth. Zanzibar remains independent, although it is a part of the union of Tanzania:
British, Canadian and South African nationals require visas for Tanzania
Passports and a Tanzanian visa are required even on a day’s visit to Zanzibar
It is advisable to obtain a visa in advance of travel as certain airlines insist on them prior to departure. Depending on nationality and country of origin, a visa may be obtained on arrival at Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro airports, and at Namanga Gate on the Tanzania/Kenya border.
Visas cost US$10–60 depending on nationality and are usually valid for three months.
Requirements for obtaining a visa are:
a passport valid for six months beyond the intended length of stay
two passport photographs
two application forms and a detailed itinerary stating reason for visit
This is a guide only – please check with your nearest Tanzanian consulate for up-to-date information.

Car hire
Driving is on the left hand side and an International Driving Licence is required and before hiring a car, most establishment require that these are endorsed by the police. Self drive car hire is expensive but most companies offer car with driver.

Health
Visitors must produce a valid yellow fever certificate obtained no less than ten days prior to travel.
You will have to get malaria prophylactics before entering Tanzania. When purchasing these, tell your doctor or pharmacist that you intend visiting Tanzania. Precautionary measures to take to prevent contact with mosquitoes include: insect repellent, cover up at sundown, sleep under a mosquito net and wear long-sleeved clothing and long trousers in the evenings.
Immunisation against cholera, polio, hepatitis A & B, typhoid and tetanus is recommended if travelling by road. It is advisable to obtain medical insurance prior to travel. Emergency services and first aid is difficult to obtain outside major cities and tourist areas, so bring with you any medication which you may require.

Currency
The unit of currency is the Tanzanian shilling (Tsh). There is no limit on the amount of foreign currency that can be imported.
Notes are issued as TSh10 000, 5 000, 1 000, 500, 200 and 100. Coins are TSh100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1.
CREDIT CARDS
Visa and MasterCard are accepted by most top hotels and lodges around the country. In addition to credit cards, clients should bring US dollars cash and traveller’s cheques.

Commercial Banks
Banks and forex bureaux are available at the airport and in all main towns.
Banking hours:
Mon – Fri: 08:30 – 12:30
Sat: 08:30 – 13:30
A few branches in the major towns open until 16:30 on weekdays.
Foreign currency in cash or traveller’s cheques may be exchanged through authorised dealers, commercial banks and at Bureau de Change at the international airports, major towns and border posts.
Visitors are strongly advised against changing money on the black market. Some of the black marketers are undercover policemen, while others are likely to be con artists.

Language
The official language is Swahili (KiSwahili), which is generally spoken, and various local languages abound.
Swahili is the language the primary schools teach in. English is the second official language and the country’s commercial language as well as the main teaching language for all the scientific subjects in secondary schools and higher education institutions.
Arabic is widely spoken in the coastal areas, particularly in Zanzibar.

Accessoires
sun block, sunglasses, hat, insect repellent - essentials!
binoculars and a camera are a must
track suit - good for sleeping in during winter months
light, compact raincoat is a good idea for the summer
swimsuit and snorkelling and diving gear
towel, torch and sleeping bag for camping safaris (sleeping bags can be hired from most safari operators)
                                                       copyright: Paul Janssen