Pre-Departure Safari information

IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO OBTAIN THE NECESSARY VISAS FOR YOUR TRIP

The information provided here is for EU and US citizens – for other nationalities please contact your nearest High Commission. This information is correct at the time of writing and is subject to change.

SEYCHELLES AND KENYA

EU and US citizens can obtain visas for Seychelles and Kenya on arrival in each country, however, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your departure from Africa and must have at least 2 unused consecutive blank pages per country to be visited. In any event, passengers with tight onward connections (e.g. flying between Kilimanjaro and Wilson, or connecting to the Selous or Ruaha) are strongly advised to obtain their visas in advance of travel as the queues on arrival can be lengthy and the flights will not wait.

APPLYING FOR YOUR TANZANIA VISA

There are three ways for you to apply for your tourist visa. While two of these have been around for a while, there is a new online form you can use. We’ll go over the traditional ways first.

MAIL-IN APPLICATION

For those who live everywhere else, you’ll find it’s more convenient to apply for your visa online. Simply go to the Tanzanian Embassy’s Visa Information page. This is where you’ll find the visa application. Download, print, and fill out the application. Don’t forget to sign at the bottom! Once you’ve filled out the application, you’ll need to mail it to the same Embassy we mentioned above for processing. Their address is 1232 22nd St. NW, Washington D.C 20037. There are a few items you’ll need to send along with the application including:

  • Your current passport
  • Self-addressed stamped envelope
  • Two color passport-sized headshot photos (size 2inx2in)
  • Proof of travel (copy of airline tickets, itinerary tour, etc.)
  • Make sure your current passport will remain current at least six months after you arrive in Tanzania. You’ll also need to ensure you send enough postage so they can return your passport. It’s a good idea to add a tracking number to be safe.

    There are some requirements for the photographs you send as well. First, they can’t be more than 3 months old. They must be printed in high-quality photo paper and have an all white background.

    Make sure you center your face and refrain from smiling. Exclude any eyeglasses or other headgear unless for religious purposes.

    If there are any minors (under 18 years of age) traveling without parents/guardians, they’ll need to provide parental authorization from someone who isn’t accompanying them on the trip.

    IN PERSON

    If you live in Washington D.C. you can apply for it in person at the Embassy of the United Republic of Tanzania. While you don’t need an appointment to apply in-person, we don’t expect you to travel to D.C. if you don’t already live there. You’ll still need to provide the above information if you’re applying in-person, so make sure you don’t leave anything at home.

    ELECTRONIC VISA SYSTEM

    The Tanzania government has recently introduced a new electronic Visa system which allows US citizens to apply for a tourist visa online. This saves many people both time and money! Begin by visiting the Immigration E-service visa application website. From here you can choose to start a new application, continue an application, or check you’re visa status. You’ll want to apply for a new visa. The webpage will redirect you to a new page where you can begin to create an application ID. You’ll need to enter basic information such as an email address, a security question, and an answer to your security question. Once you’ve entered this information, click “start new application”. From here, fill out all the required information. Don’t forget to attach specific documents, too.

    Application Fees

    No matter how you decide to apply for your Tanzania tourist visa, you’ll need to pay an application fee. For US citizens, this will cost you approximately $100. Depending on how you pay for your application, you might owe extra fees for certain forms of payments. While you can pay with money orders, company or organization checks, and credit or debit cards, you can’t pay with cash or personal checks. You’ll need to download and fill out a credit card authorization form if you choose to pay by debit or credit card. Make sure to enclose this with your application form if you’re sending it by mail.

    Application Processing

    Once you complete your application, it becomes a waiting game. Although your application won’t get processed instantaneously, it should only take about five business days. Keep in mind, some applications may take longer. If your trip to Tanzania is spontaneous and you need a quickly processed application, you can pay an extra to expedite it. This should only take about three business days. There is another option for next-day processing, but you can expect to pay extra costs for this as well. Don’t forget to wait for the return of your passport if you applied via mail. This can also take a few days or up to a few weeks. If you opted for a tracking number, you’ll be able to track its whereabouts until it arrives home.

    Other Important Steps

    While you wait for Tanzania tourist visa application to process there are a few other things you can do to prepare for your abroad trip. Some countries suggest getting certain vaccinations before traveling to and leaving the country. When traveling to Tanzania it’s a good idea to get a Yellow Fever vaccination.

  • Internal scheduled and charter aircraft flights have a baggage limit of 15kgs per person - including hand luggage. These regulations are rigorously enforced so please limit your luggage to the appropriate weight. Please also take your luggage in soft-sided bags without wheels or rigid handles - ie kit bags or similar rather than rigid suitcases. Please note that the international airlines do lose or mislay hold luggage depressingly frequently, and we strongly suggest that you take any essential items (such as a change of clothes/malaria tablets/medicines, etc) with you in hand luggage.

    The good news is that all safari lodges and camps offer a (usually complimentary) laundry service so you don’t need to take too many clothes with you. Underwear is usually not accepted, although washing powder is often provided in your room/tent. Bear in mind that this is the African bush so the service will be fairly basic - your items won’t be neatly ironed or packed in tissue paper, and you might prefer not to submit anything in any way delicate!

    On safari casual and comfortable dress is appropriate. Days are often hot, and early mornings and evenings are often cold, especially at the Ngorongoro Crater and in Ruaha due to the altitude. Several lightweight layers plus a warm fleece and jacket work well so you can adapt to changing conditions as the day goes on. Long-sleeved shirts can also be useful to protect you from both the sun and mosquitoes. Neutral colors are best - khaki, green, beige – not white (which won’t stay white for long!), nor camouflage which is associated with the military and might inadvertently provoke a negative reaction.

    Most lodges do not have a formal dress code and there is absolutely no need to change for dinner, although some people like to freshen up a little after the evening game drive. Baraza on Zanzibar, the one exception to the general rule, requires long trousers for gentlemen at dinner.

    CLOTHES

  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Long trousers
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Sweater or fleece
  • Warm jacket
  • Light raincoat
  • Socks & underwear
  • Pyjamas
  • Swimsuit
  • Comfortable sturdy walking shoes
  • Sandals or flip-flops to wear around camp
  • Gloves for cold mornings
  • Thick gardening gloves if gorilla trekking (to grasp sharp foliage)
  • Sunglasses
  • Wide-brimmed hat
  • Waterproof bags for anything wet or dusty
  • A sarong / kikoy / shawl is often very useful We are happy to recommend The Safari Store for good-quality safari clothing and equipment. Our clients get a 5% discount, by quoting Shrike at checkout.

    TOILETRIES

  • Sunblock
  • Insect repellent
  • Lip balm
  • Antihistamine cream for insect bites & stings
  • First aid kit including Imodium and rehydration salts
  • Tissues
  • Malaria tablets (see your doctor before you travel for up-to-date advice)
  • Motion sickness tablets if required
  • Personal toiletries and medication

    GENERAL

  • Binoculars
  • Camera plus lenses/filters etc, batteries, charger, memory cards (these are not readily available in East Africa so take more than you think you need). We recommend a minimum zoom of 300mm for keen photographers.
  • Batteries and chargers for electronics
  • Travel adaptor for non-UK visitors (Tanzania uses UK-style 3 pin plugs)
  • Flashlight
  • Local guidebooks and wildlife/birdlife guides
  • Credit and ATM cards (check that your bank has international ATM locations to avoid high fees, and tell them where you’ll be traveling before you leave)
  • Cash - US dollars - for camps that don’t accept credit cards, and some in small denominations for gratuities
  • Mobile/ cellphone and charger

    DOCUMENTATION

  • Passport and photocopies
  • Air tickets and vouchers
  • Itinerary and travel/accommodation vouchers
  • Travel insurance documentation
  • Yellow Fever Inoculation certificate – if traveling to Zambia or East Africa, you need to have a yellow fever inoculation (no less than 10 days prior to travel) and will need to have a certificate/card as proof when entering the country.
  • We recommend a tip of US$15 per guest per day for a driver/guide while on safari. We also recommend a general tip of of $10 per guest per day at safari lodges / camps, and $5 per guest per day at beach hotels / resorts, to be shared amongst the general staff.
    It is absolutely imperative, and a condition of booking with us, that all travelers have full travel insurance including medical repatriation. We are not permitted to sell insurance or recommend an insurer, however many of our European clients use TAGIS (tel 0845 345 3456) or Campbell Irvine (020 7937 6981), and many of our American clients use Travel Guard from AIG (tel 1 800 826 4919). There are of course many other excellent insurers and we recommend that you shop around to find the policy that best fits your requirements.

    YELLOW FEVER

    All travelers arriving into Tanzania, Kenya, and Mozambique from any Yellow Fever infected country (such as Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, etc) must carry a valid Yellow Fever certificate which you will be asked to show on arrival even if you have just transited through the airport of an infected country. Entry may be denied if you do not have the necessary certificate. You do NOT need a Yellow Fever certificate if arriving from Europe or the US, or if you are flying into Zanzibar from mainland Tanzania (or vice versa). However, since these rules are subject to change overnight, and also to misinterpretation from overzealous immigration officials, we strongly recommend that you travel with a Yellow Fever certificate or exemption certificate. Please also note that the Yellow Fever vaccination only becomes effective 10 days after vaccination.

    MALARIA

    Malaria is endemic throughout East Africa. Seek the advice of your doctor before you travel as to which prophylactics are currently recommended. If you feel unwell and feverish at any time while traveling or within a year of your return, seek medical advice as soon as possible and tell your doctor that you have been in a malarial zone.

    STOMACH UPSETS

    It is not unusual to suffer a mild stomach upset in the first few days of your trip due to a change in the food and water. You may wish to carry some Imodium and rehydration salts with you in case of this eventuality.

    OTHER

    It is normally recommended that travelers to East Africa should be inoculated against typhoid and hepatitis. Consult your doctor before you travel about these and any other recommended inoculations. The BA Travel Clinic (020 7439 9584) or Trailfinders (020 7938 3999) can also advise.

    PERSONAL MEDICATION

    Remember to take with you sufficient supplies of any personal medications to last the duration of your trip. It is also a good idea to carry a copy of your doctor’s prescription in the event of any issues arising at customs. Essential medications are best carried in hand luggage in case hold luggage should go astray.

    For keen photographers, we advise a minimum zoom of 300mm, a 70-300mm lens is recommended. Binoculars are also very useful on safari, especially for keen birders; a specification of 10 x 40 would be ideal. It is possible to rent a pair from The Safari Store.

    The mains electricity supply is 240 volts, 50 cycles, and uses UK-style plugs. On safari, many lodges and tented camps operate their own generators which offer intermittent electricity. Short power cuts may be expected – rather than being a cause of frustration this should be seen as part of the charm of the safari experience! We recommend taking a small flashlight. It is possible to charge cameras, phones, and tablets in all camps at some point during your stay. Hairdryers requiring extra power cannot be used in some camps and lodges.

    Please note that ALL internal flights within Africa will stop off at (sometimes several) different airstrips on the way to your final destination. The exact route is decided by the airline the night before.
    Swahili is the first language for most Tanzanians, although English is very widely spoken and is the other official language of Tanzania. There is absolutely no need for visitors to speak any Swahili, however any effort you make to say a few words in the local language will be greeted with great delight.
  • Jambo Hello
  • Habari ya asubuhi Good morning / how are you this morning
  • Habari ya mchana Good afternoon / how are you this afternoon
  • Habari ya jioni Good evening (or late afternoon) / how are you this evening
  • (In response) Mzuri! Fine / good!
  • Na wewe? And you?
  • Tafadhali Please
  • Asante Thank you
  • Karibu Welcome
  • Sana Very much (e.g. Asante sana – thank you very much)
  • Ndiyo Yes
  • Hapana No
  • Chakula kizuri Good food
  • Lala Salaama Sleep well
  • Simba Lion
  • Tembo Elephant
  • Mamba Crocodile
  • Twiga Giraffe
  • Swala Impala
  • Tanzania’s official currency is the Tanzania Shilling. However US dollars are widely used and all your prices and payments will be in dollars, thus there is no need to take Shillings. Please be aware that US dollar notes dated before 2006 are not usually accepted because of the risk of counterfeiting. Credit cards are widely accepted, however a large surcharge is often added. Some camps do not accept cards and you will need to settle your drinks bill in cash. You may also wish to take sufficient dollars in low denominations for gratuities.
    While Tanzania is broadly Christian, much of the swahili coast is Muslim and it is important to respect all cultural differences. Swimwear is appropriate at all beach resorts and at your hotel / lodge pool, but not in town. Topless sunbathing is prohibited. Throughout the country, permission should be requested before taking photographs of local people. Although most safari lodges offer a laundry service, this often excludes underwear.
    Flights departing Zanzibar are subject to a departure tax of $46 per person for international flights and around $15 per person for internal flights. Flights from Kigali are subject to a departure tax of $40. These amounts must be paid locally in cash. All other taxes within Tanzania are prepaid.
    In East Africa, Rwanda led the way in enforcing a ban on plastics. In 2017, Kenya passed a law imposing hefty fines on offenders, and South Sudan recently followed suit. Burundi adopted a ban in 2018 followed by Tanzania in 1st of June, 2019.