VISA AND OTHER PROCEDURES
Passport valid for six months is required and a visa can be obtained upon arrival in Tanzania. It costs around €50. If you pay in US dollars, it is better to have newer bills, preferably after 2006.
Yellow fever vaccine may be required for passengers from countries at risk of contagion or who have passed through those countries or their airports for more than 12 hours.
Prevention of malaria is also advised. Vaccination against typhus, hepatitis A, diphtheria, tetanus, polio and typhoid fever is also recommended. Before leaving, you should contact the Clínica de Medicina Tropical e do Viajante, Av. da Liberdade, 129, 7º dto, tel. +351 21 322 5622.
For more information on traveling health, see the Health Portal of the Ministry of Health and Tropical Medicine and Travelers Clinic. Tanzania-specific health and disease prevention advice also in FitForTravel (In English).
TRIP TO TANZANIA
Due to its distance and location, Tanzania is a destination that will always require you to fly with two or even more stopovers and pay a hefty price for the return flight, usually a minimum of €900.
Tanzania is not a type of destination that travelers usually choose to discover on their own. The country has vast natural areas full of wild animals and quality tourism that is quite expensive, especially when it involves entrances to parks and reserves, safaris and stays in lodges and resorts. Most visitors leave their countries already with "all or almost all-inclusive" programs that group flights, transfers, stays and safaris in these lodges.
Several airlines provide domestic connections within Tanzania. Among these are the Air Tanzania, Air Viva, Precision Air, Coastal Aviation, AuricAir, Zan Air and Regional Air. Domestic flights are often delayed but are not usually suspended. Their main destinations are: Dar-es-Salam, Moshi, Kilimanjaro, Mwanza, Arusha, and Karatu in the vicinity of Ngorongoro, Zanzibar and Pemba.
Tanzania is served by a rail network that links several major cities including Dar es Salam, Kigoma, Mwanza, Dodoma and Tabora. The service is reliable and, taking into account the three-class system by which it operates, inexpensive.
In the image of neighboring Kenya, Tanzania is not a country where one can take the discovery lightly on one's own especially without experience of sailing and driving in conditions that will always be demanding. Driving is on the left, which requires some getting used to. Traffic signs are not plentiful and are often ignored. Overtaking is too often made without visibility and with a high risk of collision. As if that wasn't enough, vehicles, pedestrians and animals are often used on any road.
In national parks, you will need the help of an experienced guide to guide you to and from the lodges. Otherwise, these roads will easily appear labyrinthine. During or just after the rainy season or heavy rains, any dirt road can turn into an impassable quagmire. That said, it's always best to hire the services of a local agency, or at least a 4 wheel drive vehicle as strong as possible and equipped with a professional driver/guide.
You can do this at the airports in Tanzania but also in Arusha for from €80 per day.
Even if the roads are generally bad, it is always a worthwhile way to explore the country if you can do without the best of comforts. First-class services connect Dar-es-Salam to Moshi and Arusha with air conditioning and superior quality than most buses that travel through Tanzania. Almost all depart from Ubungo station, 1 km west of the center of the capital.
In Dar-es-Salam and other regions and villages – the case of Zanzibar – smaller buses called dala dala they ensure shorter routes and admit passengers at departure points and along the route that rarely have marked stops. The rates are usually fixed and marked at the entrance of the vehicle.
The best time is from June to September when the weather is cooler and drier. It is easier to see animals as the vegetation is less dense and elevated and the animals cluster around the available water. During peak season prices are higher. Keep in mind, however, that from July to November, wildebeests – their migration is one of Tanzania's and Kenya's biggest attractions – are on their way to Masai Mara, the Kenyan park north of the Serengeti.
This is followed by the intermediate season from October to February, warmer months, especially from December to February. Quick rains irrigate the landscape and cool the environment.
March to May corresponds to the time of long rains when most parks are inaccessible and the sighting of animals is more difficult. Prices go down for almost everything.
The currency of Tanzania is the Tanzania Shilling (TZS). You will only find ATMs in Dar-es-Salam, in other major cities and in the biggest towns. Payments with credit cards are common in the country's most sophisticated lodges, resorts and hotels. The cost of living outside lodges and resorts, parks and reserves is quite affordable.
Complete programs for Tanzania with stay in lodges start at €2500 for 8 days of the tour, flight already included. If you choose to travel independently, you will find accommodation of all types and for all prices in Dar-es-Salam, Arusha, Zanzibar and other major cities. Choose hotels with a history and reputation – or from renowned international chains (eg Serena, Sarova, Sopa) – so as not to risk losing belongings or having other problems.
In national parks and reserves, camping is expensive – upwards of €20, 25 per night and that is without counting the very hefty entrance fees and rates charged by TANAPA (Tanzania National Parks) or equivalent institution.
Normally, meals are included in circuits/programs sold by travel agencies and operators. Meals apart from these packages, at the lodges, have significant costs at a minimum of €25 per person for lunch or dinner. Restaurants in the main cities and towns serve meals that are probably not so well-prepared, but for a much cheaper price, starting at €3.
Outside Dar-es-Salam, Arusha and other major cities, you will have access – via wifi or cable, but probably much slower than you want – to most of the country's most renowned lodges or to Internet cafes in the nearest villages. (in long-distance national parks and reserves) where navigation costs a maximum of 0.01€ per minute.
Alternatively if you have a smart phone, unlocked tablet or laptop can use a SIM card from Airtel, Sasatel, Tigo, Vodacom, Zan Tel to access through different tariffs. Do not, obviously using roaming since the costs are extremely high.