Travel Select: Tanzania

Karibu!

Karibu means ‘welcome’ in Swahili, and you’re certainly going to feel at home when you arrive in Tanzania and get the opportunity to explore its national parks and meet its people.

masai children tanzania

Below you’ll find all of the information you’ll need to prepare for your upcoming trip to Tanzania. Of course, if you have any additional information you can email info@shadowsofafrica.com.

Language

Masai boys may have many responsibilities, but they are also every bit as mischievous and adventurous as children everywhere.

Tanzania has two official languages: Swahili and English. Swahili, which has its origins in Zanzibar, is the most commonly spoken language in both Tanzania and Kenya.

English is widely spoken, however you may wish to bring along a Swahili to English phrasebook to give you access to the basics. The locals are always appreciative if you know a little bit of Swahili!

Below you’ll find a few useful Swahili phrases to get you started.

Useful Swahili Phrases

  • ·         Karibu: Welcome.
  • ·         Habari/Hujambo: Hello.
  • ·         Habari?/Habari yako?: How are you?
  • ·         Nzuri: Good. Standard reply to how are you.
  • ·         Samahani: Sorry.
  • ·         Asante: Thank you.
  • ·         Chakula: Food.
  • ·         Rafiki: Friend.
  • ·         Hapana: No.
  • ·         Ndio: Yes.

Time

Tanzania is in the +3 GMT time zone. The sun rises at approximately 6.30 in the morning and sets at around 18.45 in the evening.

The locals also use what is known as Swahili Time, which is quite a bit different to the conventional way of keeping time as we know it. 1:00 in the morning is the first hour after the sunrise (approximately 7am) and 1:00 in the evening is the first hour after sunset (approximately 7pm).

That being said, most businesses will operate using the standard way of measuring time.

Food

africa luxury food tour

Tanzania’s tourism industry means that there is a great variety of high quality food available. Hotels and restaurants provide cuisine from all around the world as well as local cuisine, so you can immerse yourself fully with Tanzanian food or sample the comforts of home.

Traditional Tanzanian food features plenty of meat (especially beef, chicken, and fish), rice, and vegetables. It’s simple, hearty food often accompanied by ugali, a flour and water based dough similar to polenta and eaten by hand.

Tanzanian’s love seafood, and Zanzibar is a culinary paradise for those who love freshly caught fish, shrimp, and the like.

You’ll also notice the Indian and British influences on Tanzanian cuisine, with everything from spicy curries to old British staples such as fish & chips popular with locals and visitors alike. In larger cities you’ll encounter steak houses, burger joints, and stores selling cuisine from around the world.

Vegetarians are also well catered for in Tanzania. With fresh fruits such as mangoes, coconuts, and pineapples available in abundance. With Tanzanian food so rich in vegetables, legumes, and rice – you’ll be able to find delicious vegetarian food without any trouble.

For the most part, food in Tanzania is perfectly safe to eat. It would be advisable to avoid eating cold, pre-prepared foods.

Water

It is not safe to drink tap water in Tanzania. In fact, it is advisable to use tap water only for showering or washing your hands.

To avoid health problems, use only bottled or filtered water for drinking and brushing your teeth.

Bottled water is cheap and readily available in Tanzania, and all lodges and restaurants will have it available. Shadows of Africa’s safari vehicles always come stocked with plenty of bottled water to ensure you remain hydrated while on safari.

Money, Credit Cards, Traveller’s Cheques, and ATMs

Money, Credit Cards, Traveller’s Cheques, and ATMs visit africa

Currency

The official Tanzanian currency is the Tanzanian Shilling. They have coins for 50, 100, and 1000 shillings; and notes for 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, and 10,000 shillings.

The US Dollar is widely used, but may not be accepted in some establishments. It is also important to note that most businesses that do accept US currency will not do so if it is torn or wrinkled.

Notes must not be older than 2006, as local businesses will automatically reject these due to a past counterfeiting problem.

Banks & Currency Exchange

Currency can be exchanged at banks, currency exchange offices (which are plentiful in the city), and in most hotels. Hotels generally offer the least favourable exchange rates.

Banks in Tanzania are open from 9am until 3.30pm Monday to Friday, and from 9am until 11am on Saturdays.

Tax

The tax rate in Tanzania amounts to 16% for most products and services. There is no process for reclaiming this amount upon departing the country.

ATMs

ATMs that accept both Visa and MasterCard are available in most cities. You will be able to withdraw from your accounts in local (Tanzanian shillings) currency by entering your PIN. The daily withdrawal limit amounts to roughly $300 USD.

Be sure to alert your bank that you will be traveling to Africa. Many banks will deem transactions made out of your native country as suspicious, and may lock access to your accounts if you have not forewarned them.

Credit Card

International credit cards (especially Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Thomas Cook) are accepted in most stores, restaurants, hotels, camping sites, lodges, car rental companies, etc. Many smaller stores will not have EFTPOS facilities, so it is generally better to carry cash.

Credit cards typically attract a 5-15% tax.

Traveler’s Cheques

Traveler’s cheques are not accepted anywhere in Tanzania.

Visas & Passports

visa east africa

Entering Tanzania requires both a valid passport and a Tanzanian visa. While the information below is up to date at the time of writing, it is advisable to always check ahead to ensure visa processes or charges have not changed.

Who needs a visa?

With the exception of Hong Kong, Jamaica, Barbados, Malaysia, and roughly a dozen African nations; everybody entering Tanzania is required to have a tourist visa.

Passport

To enter Tanzania, you’ll also need a passport with at least six months validity remaining. If you are planning to apply for a visa upon arrival, you will also need two free, adjacent pages remaining in your passport.

How to obtain a visa

Visas are available upon arrival in Tanzania, whether you’re landing at the airport or are making a border crossing.

The cost of a visa upon arrival is $50 for non US citizens, and $100 for US citizens. This should be paid in USD. Other currencies are not accepted.

If you have any further questions about the visa process, please don’t hesitate to contact us. That’s what we’re here for!

Tipping

Tipping is customary in Tanzania, and is very much a part of the incomes of many people in the hospitality and tourism industry.

As a general rule of thumb, tipping for satisfactory service should be as follows:

  • ·         Safari and Kilimanjaro climbing guides: $$20 per person per day.
  • ·         Cooks, Porters, Caddies etc.: $15 per person per day.

Electricity and Electronic Devices

Tanzanian power outlets use 220-240V, 50Hz. If you are traveling from a country with a voltage less than 220V should check whether or not their electronic devices have a dual voltage power supply. If not, you may need to purchase a converter before leaving.

Generally speaking, most electronics (smart phones, digital cameras, tablets, and computers) work on a dual voltage basis. Electrical appliances such as razors and hair dryers do not..

Tanzania uses the 3 pin ‘British’ plug, which is comprised of three square/rectangular pegs. Travel adaptors can be purchased at airports and at most larger department stores.

When on safari, it is advisable to bring along items that run on batteries. While most hotels and our Shadows of Africa safari vehicles do have power outlets in which you can charge your devices, in campsites or lodges that run on generators, you may not have access to electricity to charge your appliances.

Safety

Tanzania is one of the safest countries in East Africa, but you never can be too careful when you’re on the road. While safari areas are generally very safe, the country is no stranger to criminal activity. Like any other country in the world, there is always some risk of theft.

It is advisable that you listen closely to your guide’s advice at all times, and that is especially true in some urban areas. Either leave your valuables (such as many, electronics, credit cards, and documentation) behind in your hotel room’s safe, or carry them with you in concealed inner pockets.

Don’t flaunt your valuables in public, as this may draw unwanted attention to you. Pickpockets are particularly active in heavily touristed areas, so it pays to be cautious when in cities and areas popular with tourists.

It is always a good idea to make copies of all of your important documents and keep them in your luggage.

 

Read the full article at ShadowsOfAfrica 

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