Tanzania Travel Tips
Best Time for Tanzania: The question of when is the best time to visit Tanzania is a question that we are often asked and, in a nutshell, every season has its highs and lows. In this article, however, we have endeavoured to sum up what you should expect at each time of the year as well as giving you a few of the best accommodation and location tips based on our many years of travelling out to this fantastic country. The best time to visit Tanzania is during late June through October, when the country is at its driest. Of course, different people want different things from their time in this breath-taking East African country, which can make other seasons optimal as well. Some are hoping for optimum game viewing in the world-renowned reserves of the Northern Circuit, while others want good weather for a relaxing break at the beach. Weather is also a critical factor in being able to summit Mount Kilimanjaro or Mount Meru; while many visitors want to be in the right place at the right time to witness the annual Great Migration.
Tanzania’s tropical climate is relatively constant all year due to the country’s proximity to the equator. Daytime temperatures usually range from 25°C to 32°C with early mornings and evenings feeling noticeably cooler. It is important to note that regional variation and altitude will also come in to play. If you have a particular preference of what wildlife you want to see, you may want to think carefully about which parks you visit and at what time of year you travel. We are experts in creating Tanzania safari experiences and we often get asked the same questions from people planning their adventures.
In summary, the best time to go to Tanzania is:
- December to February sees the birth of new zebra and wildebeest so you may have the opportunity to see these young take their first few steps!
- Certain parks in Tanzania also have a short dry period in January and February between the short rains of November/December and the long rains of March to May.
- June to October can be a busier time of year due to the Great Migration, however, this is also the best time to see much of the wildlife gathering around remaining waterholes due to the low rainfall throughout the winter.
- Some parks such as the Serengeti will become crowded during migration season whereas others remain fairly quiet all year round.
Tanzania Weather Climate: The weather in Tanzania, situated within the tropic of Capricorn, varies little in its temperature range throughout the year sticking to an average of around 30 degrees Celsius during the day and dropping to a comfortable 15 at night. The main variation to the impact of the temperature is both the humidity and the annual rains. The main rains in the country arrive around the beginning of April and run through until the end of June, traditionally. We talk about where to head to in this period below but, needless to say, it is worth considering a raincoat as the downpours are full and often! The second, slightly less strong, rainy period, is from the beginning of November (around 2 weeks later on Zanzibar) to the middle of December, roughly speaking. The humidity in Tanzania varies throughout the year with the driest and hottest period in the country starting in mid-June and running through to the end of October. This (as discussed below) is known as the “dry period” and is a reliable time to head out to Tanzania as it offers good game viewing along with a comfortable climate. From November until the main rains in April, the humidity starts to climb in the country with the most humid (and, arguably, most uncomfortable) period in January and February. There are, of course, exceptions to this that are mentioned below.
Tanzania Health: As diverse as its wildlife, Tanzania unfortunately has a diversity of health issues too. Don’t get taken down by illness or injury while traveling. Here’s the information you need to stay safe and healthy. Medical services in Tanzania are limited and depending on your illness or injury, you may need to be medically evacuated to a major city for a higher level of treatment. We recommending carrying a travel first aid kit which contains the basics plus extras such as bandages, anti malarials, anti-gastro tablets etc. that way you can start to treat any potential health issue before seeking medical assistance.
Bring any medications you may need with you along with a doctor’s letter outlining what they are for to save wasting your holiday time finding them while traveling. Pharmacies in major cities tend to have good supplies but can have medications with short and past expiry dates or the quality is not to western standards so check you before buy.
Vaccinations for Tanzania:
The following vaccinations are recommended for travellers heading to Tanzania:
- Routine vaccinations: measles, mumps, rubella, polio, adult diphtheria and tetanus
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Rabies (If you are planning to interact with animals on your trip or participating in outdoor activities such as camping, hiking and other adventure travel activities)
Tanzania Visa: Now, it’s time to make sure that your paperwork is in order. Yes, we know it’s boring, but it is essential to get everything right so that your arrival in beautiful Tanzania is as smooth as possible. It’s so important please read on! Somewhere in Africa Expeditions are providing the information below to assist visitors in applying for their visas. We are always here to help! Nevertheless, we must stress that each visitor must apply for their visa well in advance of their proposed visit, comply with the correct procedures in their application and be in possession of a valid, appropriate visa when they arrive. The official website for applications is www.immigration.go.tz, which also provides contact numbers if applicants require further information or have any queries.
It is very important to take a note that the only official website to apply for Tanzania online visa is www.immigration.go.tz. The Tanzanian immigration does not recognize nor accept any other website or agent that claim to be Tanzania Visa application centre.
Tanzania Food: The cuisine of Tanzania relies mainly on grains, rice, spices and fruits, with meats like chicken and fish being reserved for special occasions. Dishes vary depending on where one visits. For example, the coast offers a great deal of seafood with many people saying the best seafood is on Zanzibar. Swahili style of food includes the use of spices and coconut milk, as well as rice, fish and prawn curries. Dar es Salaam is a cosmopolitan city and offers a variety of international cuisines. Hotels and lodges tend to serve western and international styled food.
Popular dishes include:
- Ugali: This dish involves white corn, cassava and millet or sorghum flour that is mixed with water and salt then boiled until it reaches a porridge-like consistency. Ugali is traditionally eaten with hands and is the most common dish in Tanzania.
- Pilau: This dish is similar to rice pilaf and is usually eaten as a communal dish. It consists of spiced rice, meat, chicken or fish, vegetables and nuts. Cinnamon is sometimes added making it a sweet dish.
- Chapatti: This is a warm flatbread similar to those found in the Middle East. It is made from flour, water, oil, salt and onions and is usually eaten with a stew or with ugali.
- Vitumbua: This is a fried sweet bread commonly served by street vendors. People tend to eat it as a snack between meals.
- Nayama: This dish consists of minced beef, garlic, coconut lime and tomatoes.
- Ndizi Kaanga: This is a popular dessert in Tanzania made from fried bananas or plantains, flavoured with brown sugar, lemon juice, nutmeg and butter. (Bananas and plantains are staples to the Tanzanian diet).
- Duckling Dar es Salaam: This is a Tanzanian delicacy, made from duckling cooked with tomatoes, red peppers and onions.
Tanzania Safari Tipping: Tourism is a key driver of the African economy accounting for 8.1% of the GDP with many people in the industry relying quite heavily on gratuity. Tipping is firmly entrenched in the tourism industry in Africa and you shouldn’t have to feel awkward about it at all. Gratuity contributes a substantial amount toward ensuring that those working behind the scenes to make your travels a success earn a liveable wage. But you should never feel obliged to leave a tip if the service you received was unprofessional or inadequate.
Your safari guide will be your go-to person while on a game drive in Africa and are essential to the success of your safari. They’re responsible for keeping you safe in the wild, point out the often near-hidden animals that you travelled all this way to see and are chock full of interesting information about the wildlife and region. It is customary to leave a USD10 tip per person per day for your safari guide and is usually given at the end of your safari. Tipping is customary on a safari in Tanzania. For those working in the service industry, including waiters, guides and trackers, tips can form a significant part of their income.
In Tanzania, you can summit a mountain and the next day dive in the Indian Ocean. Or, walk the footsteps of history in Ngorongoro Crater and can camp within the Serengeti. Even among its East African neighbours, there is no place like Tanzania. But don’t take our word for it, or even the proof of Tanzania’s esteemed awards: come and see for yourself!
With so many choices – all of which are amazing – how can one choose to spend a few weeks in Tanzania? The purpose of this guide is to help you determine which attractions best fit your specific interests, which parks to visit, and what to pack for your adventure in Tanzania. Remember: if the time is too short, you can always come back again!
Tanzania Safari Packing List:
- Underwear and a change of clothes.
- Snacks for long flights and layovers
- lip balm and a small tube of hand lotion
- Camera, batteries and all chargers.
- Comb or brush
- Itinerary for your safari/trip
- Passports and necessary Visas and proof of shots
- Extra zip lock bags and tissues
- A neck rest and small blanket.
- small container of Ibuprofen, melatonin and cold medicine/Benadryl
Main suitcase packing list:
- Light jacket
- raincoat that will fit over the light jacket
- 2 short sleeve t-shirts
- 2 long sleeve t-shirts (preferably button down that will fit over your t-shirts.
- 2 pair long pants
- 2 pair shorts
- one pair pajamas – lightweight
- Sun hat or visor
- 3 pair socks
- one pair sandals
- one pair sneakers or casual close toed shoes
- two sundresses (for females – especially if you are going to Zanzibar or another island after your safari)
- one nice button down and khakis (for men)
- bathing suit
- sunscreen and lip balm
- insect repellent
- Prescriptions meds.
- Benydryl or other allergy med.
- Bandaids, bug bite stick, pain reliever, extra saline, and eye drops.
- journal or notebook to log animal sightings
- small bag to hold stuff you m ight want to bring on game drives i.e camera, batteries, water, sunscreen
- extra ziplock bags
- Tide stick or Tide packets for quick cleaning on the fly
Tanzania Safari Cost: Tanzania is chosen as the world’s best safari country, but it is also an expensive country. Unfortunately we cannot change that. What we can do is give you a breakdown of the costs of a safari, so you get a better understanding.
The factors that make up for the total cost of a Tanzanian safari:
- Rent of safari vehicle & private guide
- Entrance fees for the national parks
The first two factors are fixed prices, unless you choose to share the safari vehicle with more people. The entrance fees for the national parks are expensive, for example the costs of driving with a safari jeep in the Ngorongoro Crater are $300 per day excl. $78, 50 per person. This makes a safari a costly journey. It is possible to save money on accommodation, depending the level of luxury/exclusiveness you choose.
The average costs for a safari are roughly starting from $520, – per person per day if you choose the Silver Class Hotels. Even if you go on safari with 4 people, the costs will be around $450 per person per day.
Tanzania Safari FAQs
What is the best time to travel?
Generally, though, dry season is the best time for game-viewing and this takes place at slightly different times in different parts of Africa. For East Africa, the dry season is generally from July through October, while in Southern Africa it is a little longer: April through October. Please keep in mind that these are the peak seasons, so it is essential that you book well in advance during these months.
What official documents do I need to travel to Tanzania?
A passport valid for at least six months after your date of entry is required on your trip. For those arriving from a country in which Yellow Fever is endemic (such as Kenya), immunization certificate or health card is necessary. A tourist visa to enter Tanzania is required for citizens of the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, and most countries in the EU. On Tanzanian Embassy web sites, various application details and forms can be found. For the latest information related to visa requirements contact your local Tanzanian Embassy.
How safe is it to travel to Tanzania?
On your Tanzania Safari Tours, you will receive a warm-hearted welcome from the generous people of Tanzania who are eager to help and assist visitors. If you are wondering what is The Best Safari in Tanzania – Try cultural tours to interact with the local tribes. Although Tanzania is safe, petty thefts are common in busy areas so responsible handling of your luggage and valuables and keeping them safely in your hotel rooms will save you from unnecessary disappointments. We suggest you hinder from wearing too much jewellery or carrying too much cash while on your safari.
How safe is the water and food in Tanzania?
When travelling through Tanzania it is best to drink bottled water. This is a usual Tanzania Safari Faq’s query that we come across. As numerous brands of bottled water are served in all restaurants and lodges you won’t fall short of them. In terms of food defer from ice, raw vegetables, and salads while eating at street restaurants. Hygiene is not an issue at high-end lodges and restaurants. You should also avoid eating in empty restaurants as the. And at the coast make sure your sea-food is properly cooked.
Typical food in Tanzania?
The tasty and delicious Tanzania Food served in the safari camps/lodges are cooked by our professional cooks. You will get freshly baked bread, and produce soups and salads, apart from various lunch and dinner items when meat, fish or pasta dishes are served. The usual day begins with a cup of tea and biscuits. In your brunch, you will be served sausage, cereals, toast, fruits, eggs and bacon. Then the warm delicious buffet lunches are served with salads, quiches and cold meats. At dinner expect an appetizer followed by fish, meat and pasta dishes. The day ends with a stunning dessert, cheese or tea/coffee. As the Tanzanian crew work so hard, Tipping in Tanzania Safari is considered a customary tradition.
Do Camp Lodges have mosquito nets?
Most commonly in Tanzania Safari Faq’s we are asked if the camp lodges have mosquito nets. Depending on the individual locations, such as near open water, altitude, etc, you will receive various qualities of mosquito nets. These tightly sealed and zipped tight camps are made so to avoid the need for mosquito netting. While enjoying housekeeping services or dinner services, you will also receive a mosquito repellent spray service in most camps. Apart from this, for your safety, it is advised to bring trousers/slacks, DEET, sports/long-sleeved shirt and/or blouse and dress/skirt for ladies.
How long are the drives between lodges?
It takes around 5 to 8 hrs long drive between lodges however the duration may vary. You can reach some of the lodges after a 3 hr drive. Or you may also have to travel about 200 km and depending on the road condition, you will reach the necessary location. You will be game driving and participating in other activities en-route to your next lodge in many locations which means you may check into your next lodge at sunset.
What’s the appeal of Ruaha National Park?
For people looking for ‘off-the-beaten-track’, campfire and cultural experiences the Ruaha National Park is perfect. It is the largest National Park of Tanzania with an area of 20,300km2. With its spectacular river systems, pools and rocky kopjes near Ruaha centre, the activities seem too thrilling around the Ruaha River. With grasslands, swamps, and acacia woodland as other, Ruaha has a hot, dry climate, particularly between June-Nov. The hottest period is generally between Oct and Nov. The rains begin after this and the areas become swampy.
What can you do at Ngorongoro Crater?
Another intriguing Tanzania Safari Faq’s is about various activities in Ngorongoro Crater. As wildlife safaris are quite famous here and some of the archaeological and cultural tours here are unforgettable. Oldupai Gorge is another area of significance and is a most important archaeological excavation where some of the world’s most humanoid remains were discovered. Datoga people, Hadzabe people, and hunter-gatherers and pastoralists have inhabited this land for thousands of years. The Shifting Sands exist amongst the winding sandy tracks through the open grasslands and acacia trees.
What should I wear on safari in Tanzania?
In our well-articulated Safari Packing List Tanzania, we have mentioned the best and the most necessary items that you simply cannot miss on your safari. This includes which is usually a modest wear and light clothing, that is comfortable and of neutral colours. This is because the warm plains will not require long sleeve clothes except while sleeping at the camps and lodges. Good quality walking show is of great help on the safari. Pack sunhats, sunglasses and sunblock to stay protected from the sun.
What’s the best time for wildlife in Tanzania?
Are you wondering – What Is the Best Time of Year to Visit Tanzania? Well for wildlife viewing the Best Time to Visit Tanzania is throughout the years except for the period between March and May when its rain torrentially. In November and December once the ‘short rains’ fall stops the migration moves from Kenya’s Masai Mara down through the eastern side of Tanzania’s Serengeti. Consist of high levels of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus the nutrient-rich short-grass plains of Serengeti is vital nutrients and elements for the pregnant wildebeest and their new young ones are born. Between January and April, you will see a great number of wildebeests in Serengeti.