Good to know

I have always dreamt of a trip to Tanzania and a safari. Is it truly super expensive ?
Tanzania is a developing country, where a large part of the population lives below the poverty line. One of the main sources of income is tourism. Travelling to a developing country does not mean that it’s cheap, to the contrary ! Getting the necessary goods to make tourists comfortable costs much more there than in our developed regions.

It is very difficult to give a price range for safari since everything depends on the activities you want to do, the parks you want to visit, the standard of housing, what is important for you (or not) the season and availability.
We propose 4 different categories : 
  • “Back-packers” safari :  an adventure in tents (to assemble and dismount each day with your guide), clean and rudimentary local “guest houses” when possible (though not inside the parks), lodges and hotels with basic comfort. You will be accompanied by your driver-guide and a cook.

  • Mid-range safari where you will be lodged in “tented camps” (large semi-permanent tents), hotels and lodges rather comfortable.
  • Mid-range + where you will be lodged in “tented camp”, charming hotels and lodges truly comfortable “boutique” style.
  • Top range safari where luxurious establishments will welcome you. Yes, even in the middle of the savanna! In this category, you will also be able to avoid the long trip in 4×4 Jeep, take a small plane and fly to the Serengeti, experience a hot-air balloon flight over the park.

The island of Zanzibar offers rather luxurious accommodation; 4 * and 5 * hotels are prevalent in Zanzibar. However, we have found for you some charming accommodation at reasonable prices, clean, comfortable and charming. 

Once again, we personally know all the establishments that we offer.

Which vaccinations are needed ? What about health in Tanzania ?
Up to 6 weeks before your departure, it is important that you consult your doctor or a travel medicine center
The recommended vaccines are
  • hepatitis A
  • typhoid
  • a reminder against tetanus and poliomyelitis.

From Switzerland, it is also requested to produce a certificate of vaccination against yellow fever, valid for 10 years. As for me, nobody has ever asked for my certificate!

Malaria is endemic in Tanzania, so a preventive treatment is necessary, even if we will give you all the necessary indications so that you avoid getting bitten.

Tap water is only rarely drinkable; therefore, drink bottled water only!

In hotels, restaurants and lodges, the food is adapted to Europeans; outside of these places, do not eat salad with vegetables that you cannot wash or fruits that you cannot peel, unless you rinse them with mineral water before eating them.

If you feel like experiencing the local restaurants (which I highly recommend, it would be a shame to go so far without trying the local food and you may be nicely surprised !), always remind your driver-guide to inquire if you can safely consume the food served . Personnally and in order not to offend anyone, I say that Europeans have a stomach that is not used to their food, which amuses them!

Anyway, before you leave, I will provide you with a list of medications to take in your travel pharmacy.

As for me, I prefer to have everything I need and never use anything rather than the opposite!

What about safety ?
The numerous tribes that compose Tanzania live in harmony. Tanzanians are peaceful, making the country one of the most stable of the continent.

 

 

However, basic caution is necessary : avoid travelling with jewels, going out alone at night (you do not know the country), always follow your driver-guide’s recommendations, as he’s with you for your safety also. Do not carry large sums of money, be mindful when withdrawing cash at ATMs, do not leave any valuables in your hotel room.

We will give you every necessary recommendation when we prepare your trip !

How much money should i take, can i use my bank cards ?
Your trip will be mostly prepaid. Therefore, you will need money to settle what is not included in your package and that will be clearly explained before you start your travels.


In the North, you can pay with your credit card or bank card in most tourist establishments. In local makrets, shops and restaurants, you will only be able to pay in cash, either in Tanzanian Shillings, or in Euros or US Dollars. Several ATM machines are at your disposal to withdraw cash (Tanzanian Shillings) and will prevent you carrying a large sum with you. There are also many currency exchange offices in Arusha

In Zanzibar, you will not find any ATM machines anywhere other than in Stone Town. Make sure that you have enough cash with you to pay your activities directly. 

All necessary recommendations regarding money will also be provided prior to your departure

What is the climate in Tanzania ?
Tanzania is a vast country, nearly 23 times bigger than Switzerland ! The distance between the Ngorongoro crater (standing at 2’500 m heigh) and Zanzibar is around 1’000 km, roughly the same distance between Zurich and Barcelona. Therefore, the climate between the North and Zanzibar are very different.

Tanzania has two distinct climate zones :

  • Mainland (where Highlands culminate at 1’500 m) are under a moderate tropical climate
  • the coast and Zanzibar, under equatorial humid climate.

The higher you go, the lower the temperature. The lower you go, towards the Indian ocean, the wamer it gets !

Seasons

The dry season : from May to october. The hottest months are from December to February : sun, blue skies, dried up landscape, thirsty animals.

The « long rain season» spans from mid-March to beginning of May, April being the wettest month (although given the size of the country, everything is relative !). Evenings can be rather fresh, even cold. On the rim of the Ngonrongoro crater (at 2’500 m), nights can be really cold and the thermometer can go below 10°C.

The « short rain season» lasts from beginning of November to mid-December. During these months, it only rains at certains times, which is not bad at all : wildlife is more active and visitors are more rare. Owing to the exceptional light, photo enthusiasts enjoy the humid season. Immense and yellow, and under charcol grey cloudy skies, the savanna turns to green after rain falls

Different regions and their climate characteristics 

Parks in Northern Tanzania : warm altitude climate, hot but never stifling. The Serengeti, Tarangire and Manyara are at an average altitude of 1’500 m. In January in Arusha, températures vary between 14°C (at night) and 28°C (during the day). January, February and March are the hottest months. April is the rainiest month and August the dryest.

Mont Kilimandjaro : snow falls in January and February, freezing nights in July and August.

Throughout the year Zanzibar is under equatorial climate and offers ideal holiday temperatures. The heat of the summer is often soothed by the ocean breeze. Hottest months are December, January and February, when the average temperature reaches 27°C.

Which is the best period to go to Tanzania ?
Vast question to which the answer is not easy…

It all dépends on what you want to do and see ! Should you want to witness an arid savanna landscape, avoid the long rains season ! Should you wish to see the green, blooming savanna, avoid the dry season !

During the short rains season, the great Serengeti migration is at its peak. However, great showers are not uncommon.

This being said as as we are not made of sugar, rain does not stop safari, to the contrary ! During the short rains season, showers rarely last long. Generally, in oder to feed and drink, herbivorous follow the rain falls. Carnivorous follow herbivorous ! Températures rarely exceed 25° during the day. Nights can be fresh, particulary at high altitude.

In my opinion, you should avoid the long rains season at all costs (between March and April), else you mind find yourselves grounded in your hotel room ! When it rains then, it really pours down !

How long should I plan for my trip ?
There again, it all depens on what you would like to do !

Should you want to go to the Serentegi (some 300km from the town of Arusha), you’ll need to plan for a 7 days safari at least. Distances are important, and more or less cahotic dirt tracks (which are an integral part of the safari adventure) are more plentiful than tarmac roads.

If you are interested in climing mount Kilmanjaro, you’ll need a week. Should you want to then carry on to a safari to the Serengeti, one more week.

Most poeple who travel to Tanzania plan for a two-weeks trip : approximately 10 days in safari and a few days in Zanzibar. Recently, some friends were there for 9 days : 6 days safari, 2 days in Zanzibar.

Nearly everything is possible, we just need to talk !

Which airlines fly to Tanzania and Zanzibar ?
From Geneva :

  •  Swiss International Airlines offers a direct flight to Dar es Salaam via Zurich (approximately 11 hours for both flights). To reach the North for your safari, you’ll then have to take an internal flight to either the international Airport of Kilimanjaro or the national airport of Arusha (approximately 1 hour flight). To go to Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam, you can choose between a short flight (approximately 30 mins) or the ferry (2.5 hrs).
  • KLM offers a flight via Amsteram to the international airport of Kilimanjaro (approximately 12 hours for both flights). To then go to Zanzibar, you’ll have to take an internal flight either Arusha – Zanzibar, or Kilimanjaro – Zanzibar and return (approx 1.5 hrs flight)

 

From Zurich :

  • Swiss international Airlines proposes a direct flight to Dar es Salaam. (9 hrs).To reach the North for your safari, you’ll then have to take an internal flight to either the international Airport of Kilimanjaro or the national airport of Arusha (approximately 1 hour flight). To go to Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam, you can choose between a short flight (approximately 30 mins) or the ferry (2.5 hrs).
  • KLM offers a flight via Amsterdam to the international Airport of Kilimanjaro (approximately 11 hrs flight), To then go to Zanzibar, you’ll have to take an internal flight either Arusha – Zanzibar, or Kilimanjaro – Zanzibar and return (approx 1.5 hrs flight)

 

Swiss International Airlines do not fly to Dar es Salaam on Thursdays. If you want to go to Zanzibar only, on top of the above flights, there are departures from Milan, with a layover in Dubai or Doha (minimum 14h travel).

This is a long journey… but a beautiful country that is well worth it !

What is the time difference with Switzerland ?
Time difference is minimal : + 1 hour during summer saving time, + 2 hours during winter saving time.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email