Frequently asked questions

What to bring / pack / purchase for my safari?

Insurance :

Prior to booking your safari you will need to have proof of insurance. We can recommend insurance carriers for US clients should you need to purchase this.

Money:

The currency of Tanzania is the Tanzanian shilling (TZS). There is no restriction on the importation of foreign currency; however the import or the export of Tanzania shillings is prohibited. You will be able to change foreign exchange at the bank at the airport and also at any other banks in the major towns. The currency of preference is the US dollar (USD). We recommend you change enough money for smaller personal expenses such as shopping, meals and drinks in town restaurants and keep the rest in USD. Most tips, gifts, drinks, etc. can be paid for in dollars.

Credit cards are accepted at larger, upscale hotels and some restaurants.

You can check current exchange rates here http://www.xe.com/ucc/.

Camera(s) :


Safaris offer an unparalleled opportunity for scenic and wildlife photography and cameras are strongly recommended. Most animal activity occurs during crepuscular hours (dusk and dawn) which provide excellent photography lighting. You may witness a kill or see a lioness introducing her cubs to the pride for the first time and you’ll probably want to have a camera handy for this breathtaking moment! An SLR camera with a telephoto lens is advisable, and while 200mm is adequate, anything from 300mm and higher is recommended for good detailed shots. Tripods are also advisable for larger lenses (300mm and greater). For night drives, you may even wish to bring a night vision camcorder or camera.
Don’t forget to bring your battery charger or spare batteries and adapter for all non UK plugs. The image of lioness with her cubs was taken with a 300mm lens.

Clothing and miscellaneous items:

Light, neutral-colored clothing is generally advised. Bright colors aren’t recommended on game drives and dark colored clothing, particularly dark blues and black, tends to attract the diurnal (active during the day) tsetse flies more than light colors. It will get warm (or even hot!) during the day (low 30 C or high 80s F) and depending on time of year or your location, evenings can get downright chilly.
Safari dress code is casual and comfortable and modest. You may wish to bring something slightly nicer for dinners at the lodge but it should still be light weight and easy to pack. Unless you will be dining with the president of Tanzania, there’s absolutely no need to pack formal clothing!
A suggested packing list would be:

  • 2 – 3 pairs of lightweight pants / trousers (cotton is recommended)
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 2-3 long sleeved shirts
  • 2-3 short sleeved or sleeveless shirts
  • Warm sweater or fleece
  • Undergarments and socks (cotton is recommended)
  • Swimming suit
  • Cap or scarf for head and/or neck
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen – we recommend a minimum SPF25
  • Toiletries – shampoo, conditioner, tooth paste, tooth brush, dental floss, hair brush or comb, body and face lotion, razor, eye drops, lip balm, tissues.

We cannot stress it enough – less is more! You’ll most likely be taking a charter flight or two while on safari. Charter flights have a weight limit of 15 kgs (33 lbs) per person – including hand luggage – so keep it light. Please do not bring hard sided suitcases. Soft sided suitcases or duffle bags are perfect for a safari. 

Staying healthy

  • Stay hydrated. HM Safaris provides you with ample bottled water for your safari. You will also have bottled water for your room/tent. Parts of Tanzania are arid and the sun gets very intense during the day. One of the best ways to help adjust to the new time zone and climate is to ensure you’re drinking enough water.
  • What about when Mother Nature calls? Our drivers know and anticipate that you’ll need to take breaks. Just give them a bit of notice and they can find a safe, isolated place where you can exit the vehicle. The best place is behind the vehicle. You won’t need to go off the road and you can hide behind the spare tire!
  • Only drink bottled water. Most of the time this will be easy to remember, and in all restaurants, etc. you will only be served bottled water. However, don’t forget to use it when brushing teeth and to try not to open your mouth in the shower.
  • Stay shaded. Tanzania is located only a few degrees south of the Equator, and during the day you’ll notice the intensity of the African sun. A brimmed hat, sunglasses and sun block are essential in keeping the sun off you during the prime hours. Keeping limbs covered during this time of day is also advisable, especially if you burn easily.
  • Stay bite-free. When it comes to biting insects, the two main culprits are mosquitoes and tsetse flies. Mosquitoes carry the risk of malaria, so in addition to taking malaria tablets, it’s wise to ensure you keep yourself covered when they are most active – once the sun goes down.
  • Thetsetse fly is not present in all areas of Tanzania, but in areas where it is present, your first encounter with it won’t take long! Tsetse flies are diurnal (active during daylight). Dark colors do attract them more than light colors, but you will inevitably get bitten a few times if you’re in an area where they are present. Tsetse flies do carry trypanosomes and some can cause trypanosomiasis - otherwise known as sleeping sickness. However, it is rare for it to be transmitted to human and most cases are of animal sleeping sickness. The bite feels similar to that of a horsefly. Often times you’ll see the fly land on you and if you’re quick, you’ll get a chance to get them before they get you! 

Electronics

  • Tanzania uses the United Kingdom three pronged plug and 220V. Most chargers have converters so you will only need an adapter if you are travelling from a country that does not use the UK plug. It is not uncommon for hotels and camps to turn off the electricity during the day as most of them are using generators. Hours of electricity will be posted and you can charge all camera/phone/laptop batteries then.
  • For cell/mobile phones frequency, all public operators use GSM 900/1800 MHz. Many phones are quad band, which covers all the main frequencies and will work in Tanzania. There is good reception in most of the towns and at some of the hotels. Your driver will also be able to tell you where you can get good reception.

Vaccinations / Prophylactics

  • Visitors should have an International Certificate of Vaccination against Yellow Fever. These must be issued at least 10 days before departure.
  • A Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended
  • Where applicable, a booster for Tetanus-Diphtheria is also recommended. Please check with your local physician / GP for your medical records.
  • Anti-malaria tablets are recommended to be taken a few days prior to arrival, during your stay and for a period after returning. Malaria is one of the largest health risks to visitors, and locals, and we strongly recommend all guests take the full, prescribed dosage of medication. It also helps to keep your arms and legs covered, particularly at dusk and dawn, and to use DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) based mosquito repellent.
  • If you suffer from sensitive digestion you might wish to bring upset stomach medication such as Immodium or Kaopectate. Changes in food, water, etc. can cause minor upsets in some people and most over the counter medications are normally adequate.

Getting there and back?

We will be collecting you from the Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), which is a small, manageable airport that has many connections from neighboring international airports including Nairobi (NBO) and Dar es Salaam (DAR). The only major carrier to fly directly into KIA is KLM / Northwestern airlines. For our guests flying in from Europe and North America, you will most likely need to fly via Amsterdam if taking KLM. Another option is to fly into Nairobi (NBO) and catch a connecting flight to JRO. Many major airlines fly into Nairobi. Some are: British Airways, Kenya Airways, Qatar Airways and Virgin Atlantic. Precision Air and Kenya Airways offer flights from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro and the flight time from Nairobi to JRO is just under an hour. It is also possible to fly into Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and catch a connecting flight to JRO. Flight time between Dar es Salaam and JRO is around 75 minutes. It is also possible to come via South Africa.

There are three main domestic airlines inTanzania:

Coastal Aviation - which flies along the eastern coast of Tanzania. Many flights to Zanzibar and southeastern Tanzania are with Coastal Aviation.
Precision Air - offers several flights from DAR and NBO
Regional Air - We use them for most of the flights from Arusha into the Serengeti.

We can help arrange layovers and hotels for late arrivals and we can also advise you on the best connecting flights to take once you’ve booked your main flight into Africa.

We can also arrange transportation to and from the airport and layover hotels to ensure a stress-free journey from the moment you land in Africa.

Departure taxes: in most cases the departure tax is already factored into the price of your ticket. Zanzibar airport does impose a departure tax which varies according to flight destination.

Visas and passports?

Most non-Tanzanian citizens are required to have a Visa for entry into Tanzania. While it is advisable to obtain the visa at your local embassy prior to arrival in Tanzania, it is possible to purchase them at most major points of entry to the United Republic of Tanzania: principally Namanga, Tunduma, Sirari, Horohoro, Kigoma port, Dar es Salaam International Airport, Kilimanjaro International Airport, Zanzibar Harbour and Zanzibar Airport. Many people come to Tanzania via Nairobi, Kenya, in which case two visas will need to be purchased, one for Kenya and one for Tanzania. It is not difficult to purchase your visa at the Tanzanian airport and the price of the visa will not be higher if it is purchased there. However, during peak travel times queues/lines are likely to be long, so please consider which option is best for your needs.

Visas are valid 90 days from date of issue and passports must have six months remaining before expiration. More information on the various types of Tanzanian visas can be found here.

Exemptions: Citizens of Commonwealth countries are not required to obtain visas unless they are citizens of the United Kingdom, Canada, Nigeria, or India.