Travel Information

When travelling to foreign destinations it is always respectful to dress modestly and we suggest the emphasis is on comfortable clothing. It is often warm on the plains and at lower altitudes but cold in the hilly and mountainous areas of Tanzania, for example the Ngorongoro Highlands or Mount Kilimanjaro.

Whilst on safari neutral coloured, loose fitting and relaxed clothing is the most appropriate. You might feel rather a ‘clichéd traveller’ but the reason most safari clothing is khaki or light brown is that tsetse flies are attracted to darker colours. Basically, loose light coloured clothing is best. We also suggest taking a fleece or jumper for early morning games drives and evenings around the camp fire. It can be surprisingly cool! Some safari vehicles will provide a blanket but it is best to be prepared for cool mornings as the wildlife wakes up around you. A perfect way to start the day!

The island of Zanzibar and the beach resorts on the mainland are predominantly Muslim, so recognition of traditional courtesies is important. Unsuitable clothing such as swimwear or brief shorts, are not acceptable in town and villages away from the main tourist resorts.

It is best to pack as light as possible, remembering that the charter flights (often in small aircraft) have a maximum baggage allowance of 15kg per person. Most hotels and lodges have laundry services, so an excessive amount of clothing should be unnecessary. Please note that most hotels, lodges and camps hand wash clothing.

Packing for your Mahale safari is like preparing for any safari destination; you’ll need comfortable clothes, swimwear, good shoes, and casual evening wear for open-air beach dinners. Below are a few suggestions and guidelines to use when packing.

  • Shorts, t-shirts, lightweight trousers, short & long sleeved shirts in neutral or bush colors, a jumper and/or fleece if you’re coming out in the cooler months of June, July and August. Also a light rain jacket can be useful.
  • Chimp trekking and walking in the forest can be quite strenuous, so good sturdy but lightweight walking boots/shoes are a must. You might often find yourself walking through nettles and buffalo beans (type of creeper) so we would suggest you wear long sleeved shirts and trousers for the walking. Day packs are also a good idea to carry water and other items with you.
  • Flipflops or sandals are perfect for walking around camp and on the beach.
  • As well as the chimps, there are of course all the water activities; snorkelling, boating, fishing, and swimming so don’t forget swimwear and sarongs.
  • Cameras are a must, and we’d definitely recommend bringing a good telephoto lens as often the chimps can be quite high up in the trees above your head (Please note you cannot use flash photography whilst in the forest, and if you’re using a print camera we’d suggest high-speed film).
  • Binoculars are great for the forest birdlife (if you’re lucky you might spot crowned eagles circling overhead).
  • Camps provide shampoo, conditioner and bio-degradable soap in the rooms, but please bring any other cosmetic or medical items that you might require.
  • You will find insect repellent in the rooms but if you have a preferred brand we’d recommend you bring it, as not all brands are available in Tanzania.
  • Don’t forget waterproof sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat.

Please limit baggage to two items per person and always use soft bags rather than suitcases. In specific cases i.e. for internal flights, luggage may be limited to 15kg per person. More information about luggage can be found in your journey essentials document post-booking.

The lodges and camps in Tanzania are some of the best in Africa but they do vary in terms of the facilities they offer. Generally lodging in towns is western style three to five star lodges, hotels or guesthouses. On safari it tends to be in lodges or tented camps of varying standards, occasionally without running water or electricity and some camps have short-drop, long-drop or self-composting toilets. Other lodging can be of the utmost luxury with very high standards of comfort. We do however always attempt to use environmentally friendly lodges who are committed to protecting the local environment and helping local communities.

Most of the safari lodges and camps we use in Tanzania are in prime wilderness areas where wild animals roam! At dusk some animals such as elephant, buffalo and hippo may come and graze near these camps. It is not unknown for the ‘Big Cats’ to wander through camps as well! Wild animals are dangerous and should not be approached on foot, unless accompanied by a guide. After dark camps and lodges will have night watchmen on duty to escort you to and from your tent or room. Once you have retired for the night please do not leave your tent/room and in the unlikely event that you need to summon assistance there will usually be a whistle beside your bed to alert the night watchman. It is also wise to keep your tent zipped up, as well as doors and window screens closed at all times after dark and also during the day when you are out.

Most lodges are able to offer laundry facilities but please note that the cost is not always included. Check with reception for current prices. Due to natural drying and variable climatic conditions your clothing might not always come back ‘bone dry’. As most laundry is hand washed please avoid handing in delicate clothing. Most lodges won’t wash underwear but will happily provide washing powder to use in your room.

Food varies from destination to destination. Please bear in mind that we try to use lodges/camps that use local produce which supports the local communities. Do not be afraid to try local produce it is part of the experience! We recommend that you only drink bottled water and all our vehicles in Tanzania will carry bottled water for your use.

International telephone communications are good from the major cities but more difficult from some remote areas. Mobile network coverage is reasonable throughout most of Tanzania and mobile phones are now the most reliable means of communication, though you may have to travel a short distance to reach an area of coverage. All drivers/guides will have mobile phones and/or radios for emergency use.
We are not able to provide contact details for individual hotels, lodges or camps, as many do not have the facilities to handle guest calls/communications. We will provide contact details for our ground agents, please see accompanying information.

Tanzania is three hours (+3) ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Sunrise is around 06:30 hours and sunset at about 19:00 hours. This varies slightly, depending on the location within Tanzania and the time of year.

Outside of the major towns electricity supplies in rural areas are provided by generators or solar cells. As such most lodges and camps are only able to provide lighting/power to guest rooms at set times in the morning and afternoon. Most lodges do not have in room electrical sockets but charging facilities will be available, so please ask at reception or your guide. Please bear in mind that solar power is weather dependent and at times insufficient sunshine may mean lighting is limited. When generators are running power will be available but in other instances alternative lighting is normally provided e.g. storm lanterns or torches. The electricity supply in Tanzania is 220 volts/AC50Hz. Plug sockets do vary and we advise visitors to take multi-adapters to cope with 3 square pin sockets (UK) and some places may use 2 round pin sockets (European).

The local currency in Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling (TZS or TSH). There are money changing facilities (forex bureaux & bank kiosks) available at all the international airports (Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro) and in all major towns. Banking hours are from Monday – Friday 0830 – 1430, Saturdays 0830 – 1330. In major towns some branches will be open until 16:00hrs. Please note all banks are closed on Sundays.

We recommend you change you money upon arrival, as it is more difficult to change money whilst on safari. There are ATM machines available in the major towns and the most widely accepted cards are Visa or MasterCard. All ATMs will only dispense Tanzanian Shillings.

As most meals, park fees, guiding fees etc are covered in the cost of your safari we generally recommend allowing approximately US$10-15 per person per day for spending money on drinks, souvenirs and crafts items. You may wish to take extra funds to make contributions or donations to organizations that we encourage clients to visit. Donations and contributions are entirely voluntary.

It is preferable to travel with cash rather than travelers cheques or credit cards (cards are useful as an emergency back–up), as often it is only possible to use these in main cities. Cash is easily exchanged in Tanzania. We recommend that you carry a mix of cash denominations, US Dollars (USD$) are easily exchanged and many places now accept Pounds sterling GBP£ and Euros EUR€. Never keep all of your cash in the same place, keep it in different pockets and split it up between different bags. If you are carrying USD$, please take bills dated 2006 or later as earlier dated bills can be very difficult to change and may not be accepted (as well as torn and dirty bills – the crisper the better!). You will get a better exchange rate for $50 or $100 USD$ bills. A number of low denomination USD$ bills are useful for tipping although some locals may prefer Tanzanian Shillings, as sometimes it’s difficult for them to change USD$.

Credit cards (Access, MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Euro card and Diners) are accepted in certain larger hotels and restaurants. The most widely accepted cards are Visa or MasterCard. Please note: Where credit cards are accepted, the payments will normally be recorded in US Dollars, regardless of the card’s default currency. Most shops will not accept payment other than cash, and card use is restricted to major banks and hotels. It is wiser not to expect to use one at all.

These are required by citizens of the European Union and the USA; other nationals should check with their local embassy. We recommend that all visas should be obtained before your departure and these can be obtained at Tanzanian missions overseas. Visas can be obtained upon arrival at the immigration desks at the international airports but this takes time as queues can be long and processing slow. A single entry visa to Tanzania costs US$50 and is valid for three months. Please have the correct money in US Dollar cash and be prepared for queues.