Duma Explorer, adventures in Tanzania!

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    Travel tips

    Making the most of your special journey

    Electricity, Phone, and Internet

Tanzania uses 220V and if you are bringing 110V appliances you will need an adapter as well as the proper plug configuration. Most Tanzanian outlets accommodate three prong UK style plugs. 


    Most calls in Tanzania are made using mobile phones. Calls outside Tanzania cost around USD 0.50 per minute. There is limited cell phone coverage in the national parks. 


    The Internet can be accessed from any city in Tanzania. The connections are relatively fast and cheap ($1.00 per hour), and there are many internet cafes. You will not have access to internet while on Kilimanjaro although you can get cell phone reception in some areas. WIFI is available at some safari lodges. 



    Luggage and Clothing

    We recommend bringing soft-bags to Tanzania. Domestic flights departing from the national parks allow only 15kg of baggage per person and the bag must be soft and relatively compact. Roller duffels are okay. For Kilimanjaro, please bring a large backpack or duffel (no wheels) in which to pack your gear for the porter to carry. We put all bags inside larger rainproof bags so it is not necessary to buy a large backpack - a duffel is perfectly fine. 


    We recommend bringing clothing that is easy to hand wash and air dry. Most camps and lodges in Tanzania hand-wash and then line-dry clothing. Although the sun is hot, and even heavy items dry quickly, it is important to pack clothes that can withstand sometimes rough hand washing. We recommend washing clothes when you have at least two consecutive nights in one location.


    Useful readings

    Bradt Guide Tanzania, by Philip Briggs 

    Type of book: Guidebook 

    Published: 2009
    598 Pages
    A compact, detailed overview of Tanzania and its islands, history, wildlife and major attractions. This book also includes maps, town plans, and lots of practical travel information.


    Serengeti, Natural Order on the African Plain, by Mitsuaki Iwago
    Type of book: Natural History
    Published: 1996
    280 Pages
    Consisting of about 300 photographs, this book presents one year on the African plain. Iwago's photographs capture the essence of a sometimes brutal, sometimes idyllic, always fascinating life. (From Library Journal)


    West with the Night, by Beryl Markham
    Type of book: Biography/Memoir
    Published: 1983
    294 Pages
    With the skill of someone who has filled long nights with stories, Markham recounts her adventures--discoveries, rescues, and narrow escapes, the glint of an airplane abandoned in the desert, the look of a lion about to pounce ... Much more than a pilot's memoir, West With the Night is a wise, funny, and inspiring exploration of a life well lived.  (From The Nation)


    The Safari Companion, A Guide to Watching African Mammals, by Richard Estes
    Type of book: Field Guide
    Published: 1999
    459 pages
    Anyone who goes on safari will want to make room in his or her suitcase for this treasure. Estes, who is affiliated with Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institute as a research associate, spent over eight years doing fieldwork in Africa and over 17 years. His admirable qualifications as an expert on the social ecology of African mammals are reflected in the text, which describes approximately 86 species of African mammals. Introductory chapters give practical advice on how to observe animals, including tips on using binoculars and photographic equipment. (From Library Journal)


    Tanzania Travel Map (Globetrotter Travel Map)
    This user-friendly travel map has been specifically designed for visitors as a practical and informative guide to Tanzania. More than just a map, it includes detailed street plans of major towns and large-scale projections of popular tourist destinations. This map contains regional climate charts, full color photographs, concise place names index and much more. (From the Back Cover)


    The Scramble for Africa, by Thomas Pakenham
    Type of book: History
    Published: 1992
    800 Pages
    In his excellent study of the Boer War, Pakenham demonstrated his ability to handle a great mass of material and a complicated subject in a fashion that produces a readable, highly credible account. Here he turns those same skills to good effect in the infinitely more complex issue of the European exploitation of Africa, which followed close on the heels of eloration of the so-called "dark continent's" interior. The result is a sweeping narrative, refreshingly old fashioned in its appreciation of the fact that imperialism did have some virtues, which offers as good an introduction to the "scramble" as has ever been written. (From Library Journal)


    Exploration of Africa, From Cairo to the Cape, by Ann Hugon
    Type of book: Exploration
    Published: 1993
    173 Pages
    This book chronicles the 19th-century exploration of Africa with contemporary paintings and prints, brief chapters on the expeditions, and a very useful chronology. Livingstone, Burton and others speak for themselves in a series of journal excerpts.


    For those traveling with children:
    Facing the Lion: Growing up Maasai on the African Savannah, by Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton
    Published: 2005
    128 pages
    Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton gives American kids a firsthand look at growing up in Kenya as a member of a tribe of nomads whose livelihood centers on the raising and grazing of cattle. Readers share Lekuton's first encounter with a lion, the epitome of bravery in the warrior tradition. They follow his mischievous antics as a young Maasai cattle herder, coming-of-age initiation, boarding school escapades, soccer success, and journey to America for college. Lekuton's riveting text combines exotic details of nomadic life with the universal experience and emotions of a growing boy.


    Money issues

    Tipping - safari

    Gratuities in the Tanzanian tourism industry generally follow the North American system. Tourists are expected to tip their safari staff and staff working at most restaurants and hotels. The following information provides a guide to tipping while on safari. The information is a collection of tipping recommendations from guidebooks as well as our company’s experience with tipping in Tanzania. 

    Please remember that all Duma Explorer staff are paid and no one relies on tips as a substitute for wages. As with any tipping situation, if you enjoy your experience, give a generous tip. If you do not enjoy your experience, adjust the tip accordingly.

    Recommended Safari Staff Tips

    Driver/Guide: US $8 – US $25 per day per guide 

    Chef: US $8 – US $25 per day per chef (adventure camping safari only)?Duma Explorer safari staff should be tipped equally.

    ?Please note that the tip is per guide per day, not per traveler per day. For example, if you are in a group of four travelers that would like to tip the driver $20/day, each traveler would contribute $5/day to the tip kitty. The guide’s total tip at the end of a seven-day safari would be US $140. It is best to tip at the end of the safari.

    Hotels and Restaurants

    Tips are expected at high-end luxury hotels and lodges. While tips are also expected at moderately priced safari lodges, not all patrons tip. Tips are not expected at restaurants and hotels frequented by locals. Most tourist lodges and hotels will have tip boxes at the reception desk. You can tip hotel staff individually, place a tip for all hotel staff in the tip box, or do both. Tips can be made in local currency, USD, Euros, or Sterling. 


    Tipping – mountain 

    Tipping again generally follow the North American system, with tourists expected to tip at restaurants and hotels and while hiking Kilimanjaro. 

    Recommended Mountain Staff Tips

    Generally, you should budget between 10% and 15% of your total climb cost for tips. If you are traveling in a small group, you should contribute more per person to the tip kitty. We provide a list of your crew as well as jobs performed on the day you begin your climb. Please use this list to allocate tips. Tips are generally distributed at the last camp or hut on Kilimanjaro and Meru. We recommend giving each staff person their tip. If you are part of a large group, you may also call a few people at a time to distribute tips.

    Head Guide: US $15 – US $30 per day per guide

    Assistant Guide: US $10 – US $20 per day per guide 

    Cook: US $8 – US $12 per day per cook

    Porter: US $4 – US $10 per day per porter

    Some porters perform extra jobs such as toilet cleaner, camp crew and waiting. Please tip these porters a bit more than porters who do not have additional jobs.


    Please note that the tip amounts listed for safari and Kilimanjaro are per group, not per individual traveler. For instance, if four people are on safari, they should each contribute $5/day if they want to tip the driver $20/day.


    ATM and credit cards in Tanzania

    You can withdraw Tanzanian shillings using a Visa/MasterCard in Arusha. Upscale hotels and safari lodges generally accept credit cards but charge a commission to do so. Please call your credit card company before you leave for Tanzania to notify them of your travel plans. Some companies will put a block on your card if you try to use it at a Tanzanian ATM. Please note that you usually need to have a four digit PIN to use your ATM/credit card at a Tanzanian ATM.


    Paying in local or foreign currency

    We recommend changing some money to shillings for small purchases during your trip. Local stores and restaurants charge in shillings, and if you pay in dollars you will pay a higher rate. At souvenir stores in Arusha town, we recommend paying in shillings as the price is usually lower. Any shillings that you have leftover can be used to tip staff during your trip. Be sure to carry small notes in whatever currency you choose to use as sometimes it is difficult to get change on safari. 


    Travelers checks

    We do not recommend bringing travelers checks to Tanzania as few banks accept them and the rate is lower than the rate for cash. We recommend bringing some USD cash and using an ATM/credit card to withdraw shillings. ATMs are available in all major Tanzanian cities.


    Old USD notes

    Your USD notes will need to be year 2002 or newer for mainland Tanzania and we recommend year 2006 or newer for Zanzibar.

    Getting to Tanzania

    By Plane

    If traveling from North America or Europe, we recommend flying KLM to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). Although KLM is more expensive than other airlines, it is the most direct way to get to Northern Tanzania. Other airlines that now fly to Kilimanjaro include Ethiopian, Swiss Air and Qatar Airways. Other airlines are planning to add Kilimanjaro to their flight plans so check with your travel agent or online for other options. 


    Those flying from Asia or Australia usually fly Emirates or Qatar to Kilimanjaro, Nairobi or Dar es Salaam.


    Most international carriers fly to Nairobi or Dar es Salaam for cheaper fares than airlines landing at Kilimanjaro. Nairobi is a 1-hour flight or 5-hour drive from Arusha/Kilimanjaro. Dar es Salaam is a 1.5-hour flight or 10-hour drive from Arusha. 


    Kilimanjaro Airport is a 1-hour drive from Arusha. If planning a visit to Zanzibar or other coastal destinations in Tanzania, consider flying roundtrip to Dar es Salaam and then flying to Arusha or Kilimanjaro Airports for your safari and climb. Precision Air flies many domestic routes (including Nairobi) and their flights can now be booked online at Precision Air.


    We can help

    Duma Explorer books East Africa travel including flights and shuttles between Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. Tickets will be e-mailed to you; or we will give you an e-ticket number with which to collect your tickets at the airport. We find that the cheapest fares for international flights are usually found online.

    Airport taxes are included in the price of most internal Tanzania flights. 


    Getting to Zanzibar

    If going to Zanzibar after your safari, we recommend flying from the Serengeti to Zanzibar. Although this flight is more expensive than the Arusha - Zanzibar flight, you avoid twelve hours of driving over rough terrain by flying directly from the Serengeti. It is also a great way to see this vast ecosystem from the air. If visiting Zanzibar after a Kilimanjaro trek, we recommend flying from either Arusha or Kilimanjaro Airports. Duma can arrange domestic flights.


    Flying to Nairobi or Dar es Salaam

    Flying to Nairobi is often less expensive than flying to either Kilimanjaro or Dar es Salaam. So if your trip includes Northern Tanzania only, you may save money flying into Nairobi. However, flights from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro are expensive and may not justify the cost savings. If your trip includes Zanzibar, consider flying into and out of Dar es Salaam. 


    Please note that travelers transiting through Kenya (Nairobi) or any other African country must now show proof of Yellow Fever vaccination when they arrive in Tanzania.


    Purchasing a Visa

    Most nationalities can purchase a tourist visa at the port of entry. If you plan to purchase Tanzanian visas at the airport or border, please bring USD 50/person (USD 100/person for US and Irish citizens). A short arrival form is completed when entering the country, but no passport photos or documentation other than your passport and Yellow Fever card are necessary to purchase a visa. 


    Please ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of entry. Also, you will need at least one blank page in your passport (the back page does not count). Please check with your local Tanzanian embassy to make sure you can obtain a visa on arrival.


    Traveling alone

    If you would like to travel solo, we post open trips on the itinerary page of our website. Group rates are applied to individuals who join open safaris.

    Health & Immunization

    Health Insurance and immunizations

    We provide Flying Doctors (AMREF) emergency evacuation insurance for our clients. You will be evacuated from Tanzania to Nairobi in case of emergency. You will need a separate insurance policy to cover medical costs once in Nairobi.


    For current immunization recommendations and requirements for travel to Tanzania, please check the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) site.


    Please refer to our Altitude Sickness information page for climbing Kilimanjaro and Meru.

    Safety - Political stability in Tanzania

    Tanzania is a parliamentary democracy and is considered one of Africa's most politically stable countries.


    Such stability is widely attributed to Tanzania's first president, Julius Nyerere, who united Tanzanians with a common language and national identity in the early 1960s.Although Nyerere's economic policies largely failed, a lasting peace among Tanzanians persists to this day, with only sporadic political demonstrations and violence occurring during election years.


    Tanzania held its fourth multi-party election in 2010 and the next election will be in 2015.