About Tanzania

This page give information about Tanzania which lies between1-11 degrees south of equator in the eastern part of Africa bordering Kenya and Uganda on the north, Zaire, Rwanda and Burundi on the west, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique south. Tanzania covers a massive area of 938,671 sq km of which 936,062 sq km is Mainland and 2614 sq km is Zanzibar and Pemba Island. Inland water covers 53,000 sq km while wild life protected areas cover a total area of 247,537 sq km.

The country has probably Africa’s most scenic features in its vast plains and plateaus precipitous forested mountains with its great lakes and rivers. Though the plateaus and plains are quite different from typical monotonous type of the interior of much of Africa, are broken by steep side scarps, rift valleys and gorges caused by faulting of the earth crust and by numerous volcanic mountains.

With snow capped Kilimanjaro roofing Africa Victoria and Tanganyika Africa’s greatest lake’s bounding the country, Serengeti and Selous game reserve teeming with Africa’s largest herds of wild animals and with the world’s largest intact crater-Ngorongoro therefore Tanzania is no doubt Africa’s land of superlatives.

Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia embraced by the azure Indian Ocean are the country’s largest offshore tropical Islands. They have a generally subdued relief and Zanzibar only rises to just 91 MSL, Extensive coral growth occur around the island and are fringed by sweeping fantastic sandy beaches. The Indian Ocean bounds the entire eastern frontier of Tanzania Mainland and form an 800 km’s of palm fringed coastline.

Climate                                         

Tanzania climate is essentially of the equatorial type although there are considerable modifications caused by the varied topography latitudinal position. The Costal areas are hot and humid within an average temperature ranging from 22 c to 30 c , Weather along the cost is virtually dictated by the monsoon winds which blow north east the kaskazi from October to February and south east kusi for the rest of the year. Humid is high from December to march before the long rains while weather is superb from May to October.

In northern, western and southern highlands the climate is semi-temperate averaging 21 c in the hottest month of March and dropping below 15 c in June. Mbeya in the southern highlands, Arusha and Ngorongoro in the Northern mountains and Bukoba in the Northwest highlands are very cold from June to September which sometimes require an extra layer of heavy cloth.

People and Culture

Tanzania is a land of extreme African ethnic diversity and a sort of crossroad where Africans, Arabs, Asians and Europeans have met. Intermingled and assimilated in tribes, cultures, ideas, religions and societies the country has over 130 African tribes and their many foreign contacts over centuries though modern practices are being grafted on old customs and culture thus blending the best of noble traditions.

The language is Kiswahili which is generally spoken, and various tribal languages abound. Although English is used as a Business language it is widely spoken in the cities and many towns.

Among Tanzanians has certainly been influenced by many foreign intercourses but the traditional touch has not completely gone. There are some tribes which are still stick to their ancient way of life, The Watindiga on Lake Eyasy are still live on roots and hunting while the Barbaig people formerly known as Wamang’ati are exclusively pastoralist and live on meat and milk.

Rail & Bus

Tanzania has two rail lines Tazara line links Dar es Salaam with New Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia via Mbeya and Tunduma. The central line links Dar es Salaam with Kigoma and Mwanza via Morogoro, Dodoma and Tabora.

Express and ordinary buses operate along major long distance routes Express buses are slightly more expensive but are more comfortable Ordinary buses and dalla-dallas (minibuses) serve shorter routes.

Airports

Dar es Salaam International Airport

Kilimanjaro International Airport

Zanzibar International Airport

Air services become the significant form of internal transport for official and business travel Small/ Chartered planes fly to towns and to all airstrips in National Parks.

Road

The major roads are recently very good and tarmac though road conditions in reserves and national parks of Tanzania are extremely rough, during the rainy season many its roads are passable only by four-wheel drive vehicles. Any four-wheel drive vehicles for safaris usually have to be hired with a Guide driver and whilst in Tanzania driving is on the left side of the road.

Passports and Visas

Most visitors require visas with the exception of certain countries of the Commonwealth. It is advisable to obtain a visa in advance as certain airlines insist them prior to departure. Depending on nationality and country of origin, a visa may be obtained on arrival at Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro airports or at Namanga on the Tanzania / Kenya border Tanzanian visa is required even on a day visit.

Although requirements may vary and change so you are advised to contact your nearest Tanzanian embassy or your Travel Agent, Safari Operator before finalizing your travel arrangements.

Visas cost US $10-60 depending on nationality and normally valid for three months, Six months valid Passport beyond the intended length of stay is required to obtain a Tanzanian visa, two passport photographs, proof of sufficient funds, two application forms and a detailed itinerary stating reason for visit. Sometimes, a copy of your airline tickets is asked.

Health Requirement

Visitors must produce a valid yellow fever certificate obtained no less than ten days prior to travel. It is imperative that you obtain malaria prophylactics before entering Tanzania. Precautionary measures to take to prevent contact with mosquitoes include: insect repellent, cover up at sundown, sleep under a mosquito net and wear long sleeve clothing and long trousers in the evenings. Immunization against cholera, polio, hepatitis A & B, typhoid and tetanus is recommended if traveling by road.

Hospital and Clinics

For minor aches and pains during your travels there are many hospitals and clinics around the country which will care for you and prescribe any medicine you may need. For emergency or out-patient cases, Dar es Salaam’s Aga Khan Hospital, Kilimanjaro Christians Hospital in Moshi and Seliani Lutheran Hospital in Arusha are both provides excellent care.

African Air Rescue (AAR) has clinics and out-patient care in both Arusha and Dar es Salaam, and smaller clinics offer consultations and laboratory services around the country.

Security

Tanzania is a safe country to travel in. Tanzanians are warm-hearted and generous people and are eager to help visitors get the most out of their stay. Tanzania is a true example of tolerance and cooperation in our modern world, with an evidenced multicultural diversity that has co-existed for centuries and has a lot to offer the world by its example.

As in all countries a little common sense goes a long way and reasonable precautions should still be taken, such as locking valuables in the hotel safe, which frees your mind to absorb the natural beauty and incredible sights that will stay with you forever.

What to take

Don’t forget the camera, camcorder and binoculars and take a torch for finding your way around camp at night. Stock up with replacement batteries for all these goods.Take sun glasses, hat, sun lotion, lip balm-and some insect repellent, it is better not to get stung even if your are taken anti-malaria tablets.It’s best to take any medicines required for the duration of the visit. A spare pair of glasses or contact lenses is also a good idea. Take plenty of film; it is difficult to obtain outside the main centers. While traveler’s cheques can be exchanged in cities and towns, banking facilities in remote areas are restricted, so take plenty of cash.

Travel weight

Some safaris charters Plains baggage limit is about 10-15 kilo maximum.

Language English is widely spoken but a few words of Swahili are always appreciated.

Currency

The unit of currency is Tanzania shilling which is divided into 100 cents, Visitors can take any amount of foreign currency no currency declaration is required, but import and export of Tanzanian currency is illegal. Most major currencies particularly US dollars, Sterling Pound, Euro and travelers cheques are accepted and are convertible at banks and bureau de change in the main towns and tourist areas, though some of the credit cards as Visa, Master card are accepted in many Large hotels in towns, DO NOT change money in the street how ever favorable the rates appears.

On Safari

Distances in Tanzania are vast, and travel by road can be tiring it is wise to spend more time in fewer parks which always allow you to see more that you won’t return home exhausted. Keep your distance from the animals and be quiet to avoid distressing them, always follow the instructions of your Guide or ranger whilst on a walking safari. Don’t leave your vehicle in the parks except in designated places, Keep to the recognized tracks to avoid damaging vegetation.

What to Wear

It never get really cold in Tanzania, lightweight clothing is normal in any case it is wise to carry one heavy jacket or sweater to avoid weather extremes which could be un expectantly creep especially if you are traveling to Arusha,Lushoto and Ngorongoro. On safari avoid brightly colored clothes as they may alarm the animals Browns and khaki are preferred, short sleeve shirts/blouses and shorts are ideal, but pack a sweater it can be chilly in the early morning and in the evening. Wear a hat to avoid sunstroke and don’t forget a swimsuit. Shoes should be sensible walking through the bush is not like strolling through Hyde park and for climbers to Mount Kilimanjaro or Mount Meru take thermal underwear, a rain trouser and jacket, good socks and sturdy boots, though there’s a list of mountain gears available ask for it on booking.

Shorts for women are acceptable but not too short Women should carry a wrap to cover their legs in towns or villages as revealing clothes can cause offence, especially in Zanzibar and other Muslims areas. On the beach and within the confines of beach hotels normal swim wear is acceptable but nudity certainly is not.