Tanzania Safari FAQs

tanzania safari faqs

Where is Tanzania Located?
Tanzania is located in East Africa between longitude, 29 degrees and 41 degrees east and latitude 1 degree and 12 degrees south. Tanzania borders Kenya to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the south, and is the largest country in East Africa (943,000 sq km), comprising both the mainland and the Zanzibar Archipelago.
A large central plateau makes up most of the mainland (at between 900m and 1800m) and the mountain ranges of the Eastern Arc and the Southern and Northern Highlands cut across the country to form part of the Great Rift Valley.
Tanzania is a land of geographical extremes having the highest peak Mount Kilimanjaro, the lowest point Lake Tanganyika, and the largest Lake Victoria, on the continent.

What is the climate in Tanzania?
As Tanzania lies just south of the equator, there is little seasonal variation in temperature, but it is slightly cooler in June/July and warmer in January and February. There is much more variation between the coastal and low lying regions and the high plains and mountainous regions.

There are two rainy seasons – the long rains during late March and late May and the short rains in November. The rest months are categorized as dry season. In practice the rainfall pattern is neither regular nor predictable.
The Great Northern Parks lie at an altitude of 5,000 to 19.340 feet, Kilimanjaro being the highest to have a pleasant climate with warm days and cooler evenings year round.

Between June and October, temperatures range from around 10°C in the northern highlands to about 23°C on the coast. On the plains and the lower-altitude game reserves, the temperatures from June to October are warm and mild. On the coast, these months are some of the most pleasant to visit, with balmy, sunny weather much of the day and cooling ocean breezes at night. From December to March, the days are hot and sunny with often no even a cloud in the sky. Temperatures range from the mid-twenties to the low thirties throughout the country while visitors flock to the parks and beaches to escape the dreariness of late winter in colder climes.

What about time in Tanzania?
3 hrs + GMT

Will I be able to use foreign currency?
The local unit of currency in Tanzania is Tanzanian Shilling (TSh) which is convertible freely for US Dollar, Euro and other currencies within Tanzania. There are several places in Tanzania you can exchange your money/traveler’s cheques but it is advisable that you exchange your money only in hotels, banks, bureau de change and your tour operator to avoid inconveniences and being coned
It is illegal to export more than a small amount of Tanzanian Shilling. Many items or services are priced and paid for in US Dollar, so do not convert more funds into the local currency than you may need for incidental expenses.

Is Tanzania a safe country?
Tanzania is one of the safest countries to travel in. Tanzanians are kind and generous people and are eager to help visitors get the most out of their stay. Tanzania is a true example of tolerance and cooperation in our modern world, with an evidenced multicultural diversity that has co-existed for centuries and has a lot to offer the world by its example.
However, as in all countries in the world, a little common sense goes a long way and rational precautions should still be taken, such as locking valuables in the hotel safe, which frees your mind to soak up the natural beauty and incredible insights.

When is the best time of year to climb?
Although you can trek Kilimanjaro anytime of year, June through October and December through March are the better times. Other months fall in the rainy season, which makes for a less pleasant trip.

Is there snow on Kilimanjaro?
Yes. Ice and snow can be found year-round on the mountain’s upper reaches. There are massive glaciers, ice fields, and towering walls of ice that blaze in the equatorial sun. While the glaciers have recently receded, probably due to global warming, they remain, for now, an overpowering and unforgettable sight.

Can children trek the mountain?
Our minimum age is twelve as part of a family group, including one parent.

Why is the Marangu route called the “Coca Cola” route?  Is it really dirty and overcrowded?
There has been a lot of negative press about Marangu.  In our view, and we arrange treks on all the routes, it is very unfair.  This is the only route that uses huts rather than tents and many years ago there was a serious problem with overcrowding in the huts.  In those years the Machame route was much less frequented. But we think the main reason that operators (mostly from Arusha) – speak against the Marangu and boost the Machame is that the booking system for Marangu is demanding of operators’ time.  There is no booking system for Machame (nor the other camping routes).  You just show up at the Machame gate the first morning of the trek.  No one ever knows how many people will be on the trail until the gate closes for that day.  There is a daily quota of only about 70 climbers allowed to start on the Marangu route on any day (this is why booking is not always easy). There are many days in the season when there are many more climbers on the Machame route than on the Marangu. This is not in any way to denigrate the very beautiful Machame route.  But these are things to bear in mind when hearing the Marangu route described as the tourist, easy or Coca Cola route and the Machame as the scenic or the whisky route!  It is true that you will hear many people who have climbed Machame say that it is better than Marangu, and this is conveyed to many of the guide book writers.  But remember that the overwhelming majority of climbers only ever climb one route.  The chances are that the climbers who say this have never been on the Marangu route and are simply repeating what they have been told or have read.

How is the Marangu route different from the Machame route?
Physically, the Marangu and Machame routes are rather different.  The main force of Kibo’s volcanic activity occurred out towards the west (the Machame side) and so Machame is steeper – especially in the first day and a half – and more rugged than Marangu.  It is often considered more scenic because the views of Kibo are more impressive than from the south-east (the Marangu approach), but many consider the vegetation on day 2 of the Marangu route to be more attractive than anything seen on the western side.  As always with mountains, every route has its advantages and drawbacks.  The difficulty grading has Marangu as a 1, and Machame a 1+, so there’s not a great deal in it.

What is an anorak and what is a balaclava?
An anorak is a weatherproof jacket, such as Gore-tex and a balaclava is a woollen sock that fits over the head with slits for only the eyes and mouth.

What is the weather like?
Usually you will experience every season: summer, winter, spring, and fall, on Kilimanjaro. The trek begins in a warm tropical forest, and then ascends to a cool plateau alive with wildflowers. Higher still, the vegetation gets sparse and the air takes on an autumnal chill. Near the top you find snow, ice, and arctic cold. At the summit it can get as cold as 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Obviously, you need to bring a wide range of clothing.

What kind of gear do I need?
Good sturdy hiking boots. Winter and summer clothing. A frameless pack, sleeping bag, water bottle and personal items. (We provide a complete packing list well before you depart.) You do not need any technical climbing equipment.

How much fitness and climbing skill do I need?
Kilimanjaro is a strenuous adventure, but you don’t have to be an elite athlete. Anyone in good health, with a reasonable degree of physical conditioning and a determined attitude can make it to the top. No climbing skills are required. Even the most challenging portions are still a hike (a steep hike, but a hike nonetheless.) No ropes or technical gear are involved. It is recommended that you be able to jog for five miles or for 10,000 meters without difficulty. It is a good idea to have followed a regular routine of aerobic exercise at least four to six months before the trek. Determination is the critical factor.

If there is a problem on the mountain what are the rescue procedures?
The national park operates a rescue service, and the ranger stations at the huts and campsites around the mountain are linked to each other and to the park headquarters by radio. In the vast majority of emergency cases, the problem is altitude related and the solution is immediate descent to a lower altitude. Our mountain crew are all experienced at dealing with such cases and can bring climbers down to safe altitudes very quickly and without park assistance if it is not immediately available.

Since I am a single climber, I hope you won’t send me home for wanting to share a room and tent with someone else on a group climb, will you?
No, we won’t send you home my friend.

  • As a matter of fact, we pair same-sex single trekkers to share a double room before and after the climb. During the hike a three-person tent will be shared by 2 climbers.
  • If you happen to prefer a single room and a single tent, you’ll have to pay for a single supplement which should be discussed and put in place during the booking time.

Are Trekking Poles Important on Kilimanjaro?     
Trekking poles provide tremendous help when hiking Kilimanjaro.  We recommend that our clients bring or rent trekking poles for their climb.
The poles provide an additional contact point to the ground which increases your stability, especially when going downhill in rough conditions.  In addition, they transfer some of your hiking weight to your arms.  This lets your arms, shoulders and back help out your legs during those long hikes and reduces fatigue in your legs.

Are there restaurants on the mountain? If no, where will I eat?
There are zero restaurants on Kilimanjaro.

  • However, I can promise you that in your whole climb, we’re going to save you with breakfast, lunch, dinner as well as drinking water.
  • I would advise you to specify in advance if you are vegetarian or have other specific dietary requirements and we will do our very best to cater for them.

I would like to shower at least once during the climb
No, we don’t shower in the mountain
But I will tell you what to do, while we will provide you wash bins with soap for you to have your hands and face washed, you can as well use wet wipes to towel off yourself.

Group climb and Private climb are just the same things, I hope I am right.

No, you couldn’t be more wrong my friend!

  • When you use a group climb, you will do your climb as a part of up to 10 hikers who have booked their treks with us separately. The most important to know about a group climb is that all group climbs are scheduled for set dates and routes.
  • On the other hand, a private climb gives you an opportunity to climb with the people you booked with. These may be friends, family, work colleagues, fellow students, etc. Dates will be scheduled to suit your timetable while you’ll choose your preferred route yourself (ves)
  • For the private trekkers, there is no maximum number and the most important thing is that service on the mountain is exactly the same for both groups and private climbers.

Can I use ATM to draw money?
Today, there are a number of ATM machines around and banks are widely expanding the service. However, it may be not very reliable to expect a certain ATM as sometimes they are not working especially when you are in remoter area. In cities there is a good number of ATM machines and here is where you should draw your money before starting your safari. Be careful as in some small towns you may find there are no ATM machines so get well prepared with enough cash as needed before you move. Note that when drawing money from ATM machines you will get the money in Tanzanian Shilling and not otherwise.

What is the electricity rating?
The power supply is at the UK/European standard voltage of 220/240, and most of power sockets are the U.K. square pin type. If you want to use U.S. appliances you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug converter. Power supply is also subject to cuts and voltage fluctuation. On safari most lodges’ power supplies are from generators and these are often turned off during parts of the day and night to reduce noise and fuel consumption. On Safari, you will be able to charge your batteries/cameras/cellphones in our vehicles equipped with Inverters for that purpose. In beach hotels you will be able to charge your batteries easily but it may be difficult on mountain trek.

What About Health?
There are mosquitoes in Tanzania so travelers should be well prepared. You will need to bring repellent for mosquitoes and other insects. In coastal area and in the area around Rift valley you will encounter possibly a lot of mosquitoes. Make sure you take Malaria prevention tablets  (malarone is recommended) before and during your travel to Tanzania, contact your home physician/travel clinic for professional advice some days prior to start your journey to Africa. It is also recommended that you vaccinations against hepatitis A, polio and typhoid. Refer to your local health authorities to finalize your immunization recommendations and requirements. 

How can I travel to Tanzania?
British Airways fly direct to Dar es Salaam from Heathrow, three times weekly.  KLM fly from Zurich to Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro and Swiss Air from Zurich to Dar es Salaam. Air India flies to Dar es Salaam via Mumbai, Emirates flies via Dubai and Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa. Check with your local travel agent for other airlines that operate to Tanzania via Europe and the Middle East. Regional carriers into Tanzania include Air Tanzania, Kenya Airways, Precision Air and South African Airways. Domestic carriers include Air Tanzania and Coastal Aviation. Precision Air, Regional Air Services and ZanAir link the major cities, tourist attractions and game parks in Tanzania. Air Tanzania, Precision Air, Coastal Aviation and ZanAir fly between the mainland and Zanzibar. International flights serve Dar es Salaam International Airport (DAR) recently named “Julius Nyerere International Airport” which is eight miles from Dar es Salaam city centre and Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), just 31 miles from the main town center of Arusha.  Zanzibar Kisuani Airport (ZNZ) is just five miles from Kisauni.
We can help you book or hire regional/local flights and charters in Tanzania. We advise you to book for your International flights.

Airport Taxes included with flight fares?
An airport tax of US$50 is levied (this is not fixed), which may be included in the price of your air ticket. Note that this may change and should be confirmed while booking your flight.

Which is the best time for great migration?
Usually migration depend on weather condition although should be between the months of December to early March (you skip April and May due to heavy rains) and then migration safari continues from June thought August.  Calving which takes place in southern Serengeti is in February mostly but not predictable as depends on weather. If rains come late then even calving is postponed naturally.

Which Language is used in Tanzania?
The official language of Tanzania is Kiswahili, which is spoken by the majority of the population who also speak tribal languages (about 120). English is also spoken and understood by many especially in towns.

Can I Travel with children?
You can surely travel with children in Tanzania. Tanzanians love children and are especially helpful to mothers. However, canned baby foods, powdered milk and disposable nappies may not be available outside major towns. However, it is not appropriate to go on safari with babies as the roads are bumpy.

Is it ok to provide Gifts?
Don’t indiscriminately hand out pens, money and sweets like a wealthy Western Santa Claus along the way except at particular premises like schools etc as otherwise it may just encourage begging. As anywhere, gifts should be given as a true expression of friendship, thanks. There are Orphan centers and schools in need where you may provide gifts and children will very much appreciate. Please contact us if you want to know where these institutions are and what could be appropriate gifts.

Can I shop in Tanzania?
The tourist areas and hotels sell a wide range of souvenirs, jewellery and trinkets. Don’t be afraid to haggle at roadside curio stalls.

Can I drive in Tanzania?
Sure you can. In Tanzania we drive on the left. An international License is required. Plan long safaris carefully, ensuring your vehicle is road worthy with two spare tires, an operational jack and tool kit. Carry extra fuel, and water.

Can I hire a car?
Self-drive vehicles are available mainly for local running or tarmac use. 4×4 vehicles for safaris usually have to be hired with a driver but where necessary self-drive is also accepted at some point.

How do I have to Tip?
Not obligatory, but a tip for exceptional service will be appreciated. We suggest the following to be used as a guideline but not a rule as tipping depends on the discretion of each client.

Safari Staff
Driver/Guide: US $15 – US $20 per day per guide 
Chef: US $15 – US $20 per day per chef (adventure camping safari only) 
Kindly note: Our safari staff should be tipped equally.

Mountain Staff
Head Guide: US$15 – US$20 per day per guide 
Assistant Guide: US$10 – US$15 per day per guide 
Cook: US$10 – US$15 per day per cook 
Porter: US$5 – US$10 per day per porter

Tip amounts listed for safari and Kilimanjaro are per group, not per individual traveler. For instance, if four people are on safari, they should each contribute $5 if they want to tip their driver-guide 20 USD per day.

It is cheaper for me to fly in and out of Nairobi. Can you make this work?
Yes, this can definitely work! We have many clients doing this. Just note that this works for certain trips better than others.
If you are planning a northern circuit safari, then it is fairly simple. There are twice-daily shuttles between Nairobi and Arusha (USD 35 per person per direction, 6-7 hours driving), and private buses which can be arranged at any time (USD 390 total per direction, 5-6 hours driving).
There are also flights on Air Tanzania, Precision Air/Kenya Airways (around USD 230-270 per person), Air Kenya (around USD 240 per person) and Air Tanzania (around USD 160 – 100 per person). Exact price is dependent on booking class at time of booking.
If you are planning a Kenya-Tanzania combination trip, you can start your program from Nairobi, then make your way from Arusha back to Nairobi at the end of your program using one of the above mentioned transport methods.
If you need to get from Zanzibar to Nairobi at the end of your trip, flights are booked through Precision Air at around USD 350-370 per person (though can be up to around USD 400 when flights are very busy during peak season). Or, if booking through Air Tanzania, flights can cost as little as USD 120. The flight you book depends very much on your international flight schedule.

What kind of clothing do I need?
We recommend that you bring light casual clothes in neutral or muted colours (brighter colours can attract insects, and we urge you not to wear blue clothing as this is particularly attractive to certain insects!). We also urge you to bring sunglasses, sunscreen, hat with ties so it doesn’t blow off in the wind, and insect repellent if you go on safari. In the evenings it can get rather chilly, especially in the desert areas and in the months of May-August, so bring a warm sweater and a scarf. Certain 5-star hotels require a smart dress code for dinner, though most do not, and simply require you to be clean and fairly presentable!

Can you book airfares?
We can help book your international and local flights to Tanzania.  Contact us for flight information and prices.

Can I get a visa in Tanzania?
You can get a visa at major airports and at border crossings, but try to get one ahead of time to make your entry into the country as easy as possible. Apply for online VISA today.  Please contact us if there are any problems with your VISA application.

Do you customize a tour?
Yes, just let us know what’s in your mind and we will put all together for you!

Can we leave excess luggage behind while on safari or Kilimanjaro?
Extra luggage can be stored in a locked storage room at your Moshi hotel at no charge. Valuables should be left in a safe deposit box at your hotel in Moshi free of charge.

Will I have a chance to interact with the local people of Tanzania?
Feel free to interact with your safari guide and Kilimanjaro guides and porters! There are other unique ways to meet local people.

  • Visit the outdoor markets in Moshi and Arusha
  • Donate or volunteer to local school, orphanage, or non-profit in Tanzania, we can help you with the right place to volunteer; Visit a Maasai village; Visit the Bushman tribe at Lake Eyasi

I am a solo (single) traveler, how can I join your tour?
We can add solo travelers to a group. Kindly visit our Kilimanjaro Treks to Join page for existing group departures you can join.

Do you accommodate people with dietary restrictions?
Vegetarian and other special diets can be accommodated. Please let us know ahead of time. Protein options may be minimal on a vegetarian diet, so you may want to bring protein supplements.

How much money extra do I need?
Budget a minimum of $150 – 300/person for tips for Kilimanjaro; $30-50/day for expenses and tips on safari; and $20/day for other expenses in Moshi.

Do your Tanzania trips include any transfer for those arriving in Nairobi, Kenya?
No, but we can schedule transfer from Nairobi either by land or air for an additional charge.

What is there to do in Moshi?  Is it safe to walk around on my own?
It is safe to walk around the main area of town during the day with valuables well hidden, but it not advised to be walking around alone at night for your own safety. But this not only in Tanzania, but almost in many countries in Africa and Asia.

Can I get to Zanzibar after my safari/trek?  Can you arrange that?
We can book your flights to Zanzibar from Kilimanjaro and your Zanzibar hotels as well, simply send us an email to:info@enjoykili.co.tz

Can I use a credit card to pay for my trip?
We accept Visa, Mastercard & American Express via our Online Payment Gateway.

What happens if I need to cancel my trip?
— For Kilimanjaro climbs and camping safaris, you will get a full refund in case it happens that you have to cancel your Kilimanjaro booking for any reason, provided that we receive your cancellation email/phone call or WhatsApp message at least 48 hours prior to starting the climb/safari. Kindly send email to: info@enjoykili.co.tz 

–For Lodge Safaris in Tanzania and/or Kenya

  • 150 days and above before departure – No cancellation fees
  • 90 to 149 days before departure – 10% of the total tour price will be charged as cancellation fees
  • 45 to 89 days before departure – 20% of the total tour price will be charged as cancellation fees
  • 0 to 44 days before departure – 30% of the total tour price will be charged as cancellation fees

Kindly send your cancellation email to: info@enjoykili.co.tz

Do you cancel a trip, or charge more when other people in my group cancel?
We never cancel a confirmed trip, but you may have to pay more if your group falls below a certain group size.