How to plan a trip to Tanzania
The fun part of traveling for me is the planning and research process for any place, not only you get to know new things before you visit the place, it always gives you a tiny glimpse of how the trip might go. When my husband and I set Tanzania as our honeymoon destination, we decided to combine beach and animal safari to our holiday. Initially, I was a bit overwhelmed with all the options available in terms of National Parks, camping, travel agents, island etc. But luckily a friend of mine, who is a Tanzanian helped me plan my vacation in the best possible way.
Deciding on the Safari location and activities was a little difficult for me as Tanzania has a number of National Parks, each unique in its own way. The country is divided into Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western circuits and consists of a cluster of National Parks within the circuit (You can read more about Tanzanian circuits and safaris here). I opted for the Northern circuit as the Serengeti National Park featured high on my bucket list.
I would suggest that the safari to be planned via a local travel company as this reduces the hassle of transportation, accommodation, food and guided game drives. We booked our safari trip with Easy Travels and I totally recommend them as they made the best possible safari arrangements for us. Easy Travel on learning our requirement, helped us plan a 4 day all-inclusive (transportation, Guide, accommodation and food) package that took us to Lake Manyara, Serengeti National Park, and Ngorongoro Crater.
The safari packages vary based on location, duration, type of accommodation and yes, the time of year. Migration season (June-July) is one of the best time of the year to visit Serengeti National Park as one can witness millions of Wildebeests, Zebras, antelopes and many other animals migrate between Serengeti and Maasai Mara National Park (Kenya) looking for fresh pastures and water.
One can camp in the middle of the Savannahs or enjoy 7-star luxury, Tanzania safari offers a variety of choices to all its travelers. I would say one must do at least a three-day safari tour as it involves a lot of traveling. It will also give you ample of time to sight the wild animals and enjoy the beauty of the Tanzanian wilderness.
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Although Tanzania is not a Yellow Fever endemic country, it is highly advisable to get the vaccination prior to your travel. The Immigration sometimes asks for Yellow fever vaccination certificate upon arrival in the country. In India, Yellow Fever vaccines are available in any of the Airport Health Organization located in a number of cities, 10 days prior to your journey.
Tanzania has visa upon arrival for citizens of several countries including India. I wasn’t very sure about the fact initially, so I applied for my Tanzanian visa from the Tanzania High Commission, New Delhi. The upside of having a visa was that I could skip the long Visa on Arrival line as I landed in Tanzania. You can check for visa requirement for Indian citizens here.
Tanzanian Shilling is the currency of Tanzania, however, $US are also accepted in a majority of the places. However, do bear in mind that Dollar notes that are printed before 2006 are not accepted in the country.
While on a safari, it is best to carry clothes of lighter shade and cotton blend fabrics as it gets quite hot during the day. The nights are cooler and sometimes chilly during the winters, so one might also need light jackets. I am not sure if there is any real issue regarding ladies dress code, but in some of the conservative Muslim dominant areas like the Old Town of Zanzibar, it is advised to cover your shoulders, arms and legs as it is frowned upon.
- It is advisable not to wear expensive jewelry or display large sums of cash in crowded market areas to avoid getting mugged
- Do remember to carry sunscreen to protect your skin from harsh sun rays and always have a sun hat or cotton scarf in handy.
- Uber service is available in Dar Es Salaam (capital of Tanzania), so one can commute easily within the city. Local taxi service is easily available everywhere, but do make sure to fix the price for the journey before starting the ride.
- There are daily flights available from Dar Es Salaam and Arusha to the Zanzibar Islands. One can also take ferries between the mainland and Zanzibar, which I suggest is one of the best ways to travel as you can thoroughly enjoy the Sea during the journey.
- I found majority of Tanzania locals helpful and kind in nature, but it is best to stay alert while shopping to avoid being duped.
- Carry emergency cash along with you, as cards are not accepted everywhere.
- As Tanzania has a lot of beautiful beaches, do remember to pack your beachwear along.
I hope the above tips make your Tanzania vacation planning a little more easier. Have you been to Tanzania before? If so do share your thoughts on the post or recommend tips if I have mentioned it above.