Tanzania’s climate is tropical but highs and lows vary regionally based on altitude. In the highlands, low temperatures range between 50° F during the cold season and 68° F during the hot season. The rest of the country has temperatures rarely falling below 68° F. The hottest months are November to February with high temps ranging from the high 70s to the high 80s while the coldest time of year is May through August with high temps in the high 50s to high 60s. Keep in mind that the weather may vary considerably throughout your safari, or even throughout the day, so plan on clothing that can be layered if it’s cool, or removed if it’s warm.
The accommodations in your itinerary have been selected based on your preferences, with careful attention to comfort, quality, cleanliness, and safety. When and where needed, rooms will have mosquito nets. Electricity, hot water, and flush toilets are usual amenities (see below for more information about electricity); visit the websites for your accommodations for specific information about amenities and features (links to sites are included in your itinerary).
Depending on your particular itinerary, you may encounter a wide variety of toilets, from the “western” sit-down style to the squat style. Either may either flush or be built over a long drop. Carry a mini-pack or two of tissues with you; facilities are sometimes not stocked. Also, consider a small bottle of hand sanitizer.
Bottled water will be provided in the vehicle and usually provided in the hotel rooms. It can also be purchased at the hotels. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to ensure proper hydration, especially after long international flights. Do not drink tap water or use it for brushing teeth. Bottled soda is common and okay to drink. Coffee and tea are also fine.
Foods served at hotels, camps, and lodges are prepared safely and hygienically. Fresh fruit, chicken, beef, eggs, pasta, and vegetables are common. Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions or food preferences (gluten-free, vegetarian, etc.) so we can alert your accommodations in advance.
An increasing number of hotels, lodges, and camps are offering Wi-Fi service, but it is not guaranteed. Please ask about availability at the specific accommodations in your itinerary if you are concerned about having regular access throughout your trip. Check with your home cell service provider about the costs of using your phone overseas. With Wi-Fi being more common the best way to stay in touch with friends and family back home is through a messaging app such as Messenger or Whatsapp.
Tanzania electricity uses 230V with either a round, two-pin or square, three-pin plug (more common). So, if you are planning on taking something that needs electricity you will likely need an adapter and possibly a converter, depending on your electronics. Due to limited power sources, it is not uncommon for electricity to be off for 2-3 hours at a time, although many hotels may have back-up generators. Lodges and tented camps in the parks will use generator and/or solar power and may not provide electricity through the night. Consider packing a small flashlight.
Most of your costs are already covered in your safari package (see your itinerary for specific information). You will, however, want to have some cash for beverages, souvenirs, tips, and snacks, perhaps about $30-50 per day, depending on your shopping and drinking habits. To help you in planning, here are the average costs of a few common purchases made by travelers:
Soda or bottled water: $2 per bottle
Beer or wine $5-7 per glass or bottle
Cocktails $5-7 per drink
Laundry service at lodge or hotel $1-3 per item, depending on the item
Lunches not included in your safari package $5-15 per person, plus drinks
Dinners not included in your safari package $15-20 per person, plus drinks
In most cases, you will have the option to pay for things using local currency or US Dollars. Any US Dollars you bring should be in good condition—no tears or blemishes, dated 2009 or newer.
ATMs are plentiful in Arusha and the easiest way to access local currency—call your bank prior to the trip to let them know you will be using a foreign ATM. You may also exchange U.S. dollars for local currency at a local bank, but limited banking hours make this an inconvenient option.
Traveler’s checks are not accepted in many places in Tanzania, and credit cards are rarely accepted except at high-end hotels and shops. Your connecting airports will accept major credit cards.
Tanzania’s currency is the Tanzanian Shilling, which is divided into 100 cents. Coins come in 50, 100, 200 and 500 shilling units; paper notes come in 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 shilling units. The exchange rate changes daily so check online just prior to your trip to get an idea of the current rate. You may consider creating a little “cheat sheet” such as the example below to carry with you to help with quickly calculating the exchange rate when shopping.
Exchange Rate: 2,300 Tanzanian Shillings to 1 U.S. Dollar
Souvenirs that many people purchase include locally grown tea and coffee, traditional fabrics, beads and jewelry, and carvings. All of these things and more are readily available at a wide range of price points. Make sure you allow packing space to bring home whatever you purchase. Bartering is common in Tanzanian culture and can be a friendly and fun way to interact with locals, if you are comfortable trying. Your guide can assist you with bartering or, if you prefer, direct you to shops with fixed pricing.
Tipping is a great way to get money directly into the hands of local workers, and express gratitude for a job well done. It’s difficult to provide exact tipping suggestions because it is a very personal choice. Consider these amounts below as suggested ranges and adjust your tipping according to the level of service you receive—higher for excellent service; lower (or in some cases, nothing, for poor service). Guides prefer to be tipped in U.S. Dollars; other tipping is better done in Tanzanian Shillings.
Safari tips are usually given at the end of the safari. Multiple guests should pool their tip money to give to the guide at the same time. If you are on a full-service camping safari, consider tipping your safari chef a similar amount as your guide since they work together as a team.
1 guest: $15-30 per day
2 guests: $12-25 per person per day
3 guests: $11-18 per person per day
4 guests: $10-16 per person per day
5 guests: $9-14 per person per day
6 guests: $8-12 per person per day
7 guests: $8-12 per person per day
MOUNTAIN GUIDES AND CREW Click here for a tipping guide for mountain climbing guides and crew.
Activity Guide (cultural tour, canoeing, walking safari, etc.): $10-20 for group
Central Tip Box at Lodges: $5 per person per day
Restaurants (other than at lodges, which would be included in the central tip box): about 5-10% of the total bill
You may also wish to give a small gift to your guide or others you have formed a relationship with during your stay. This is certainly appreciated by the receiver, but a gift should not replace a tip.
We strongly discourage randomly distributing pens, candy, trinkets, or money to children you encounter as this brings unintended negative effects over the long-term by encouraging begging. In extreme cases, it can endanger children because they will approach safari cars hoping for a treat or gift even if the cars are in motion.
It is possible to organize in advance an opportunity for you to visit and contribute supplies and toys to a school in need. We suggest you budget some additional money to bring with you and purchase the items locally, which will help boost the local economy and save you any potential hassle with customs at the airport.
Your safety is our top priority. With common sense and proper precautions, traveling in Tanzania is very safe. Americans traveling to a foreign country are encouraged to register with the State Department at https://step.state.gov/step/ so that the American Embassy is aware of your presence and can better assist you should there be any type of natural disaster, terrorism, or civil unrest occurring.
Be sure to pack an adequate supply of any prescription medication you require as it could be very difficult or impossible to replace here in Tanzania. Also, bring any essential over-the-counter medications. It is best to pack these things in your carry-on luggage in their original packaging. We suggest that you share with us any medications or health considerations you have during your briefing before starting your safari. This is entirely your option and we will respect your privacy, but should you fall ill or be injured during your time in Tanzania we will be better prepared to assist you if we have that information in advance.
Malaria is a risk in Tanzania so speak with your physician or preferably a travel clinic about malaria prophylaxis, such as Malarone or Larium. The best defense against malaria, though, is to prevent mosquito bites all together so bring a good quality insect repellant and at least one outfit with long sleeves and pants for wearing outside after dark. Should you become ill after you return home from your Tanzania trip, be sure to let your physician know that you have been traveling abroad in a developing country and share the specific locations included in your itinerary. This will alert your physician to consider other possibilities for the illness he or she may not have otherwise thought about.