Answers to Common Questions

Here are a few common questions people ask about an African safari holiday and some travel tips.

Why should I book with Tanzania Voyages?

Put simply, we were born here, we live here and work here!

We are a small boutique, locally owned safari company specialising in tailor-made Tanzania and Kenya safaris. Our itineraries are like the zebra’s stripes, they have a completely unique design!

Our mission is to share the beauty of East Africa in general with you. We want you to experience the real wilderness of Africa because we know all the bush secrets.

We know the regions better because this is our homeland. We are truly passionate about what we do. All our trips are tailor-made with each client’s specific budget, preferences and travel style in mind.

We like to offer our clients an adventure, an experience that will remain with them forever. We are excited to help you plan your once in a lifetime trip to Africa.

What is a safari?

It is the dream vacation of a lifetime, combining adventure with total comfort.

In Africa you will feel a unique closeness with nature. Everyday is a new revelation as you visit East Africa’s most beautiful national parks, game reserves and mountains, seeing hundreds of rare birds and mammals from your chauffeured safari vehicle.

Relax in comfortable lodges and tented camps surrounded by scenic views.

Time takes on a new meaning as you learn to sit quietly listening to the sound of Africa. The balance of nature will no longer be empty words; you will see it daily in the drama of animals fighting for survival and co-existence.

What types of safari are there?

A huge number of different types of safaris have been developed at this point. In general, the best way to simplify is that all safaris can be categorised according to a few criteria.

Of course many safaris itineraries are a blend of these criteria using more than one type of accommodation and having different focuses through the itinerary and so on.

It also depends on your interests and desires and time of year you wish to visit. We will expound on each criteria to provide a clear understanding of the major options to assist in selecting what best fits your needs. In addition we may also customise your itinerary to combine an authentic African bush safari and Zanzibar beach holiday.

What is a game drive?

A game drive is the highlight of any African safari vacation.

An adventure that entails viewing wildlife in the comfort of our 4×4 safari land cruiser with a pop-up roof, a sure way to give you that classical safari feeling. Safari game drives are one of the most popular ways to see wildlife in East Africa .

When should I go on safari?

Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda are characterised by radical temperature changes. Tanzania and Kenya have short rain periods spreading from October through December and long rain seasons between March and May when prices are considerably low almost half of rest of the year.

During this time the green vegetation can be beautiful in pictures and the lack of dust can be refreshing. This is a very good time for those with tight budget to visit the prime destinations. Especially give consideration to the time very close to being 'in season' as nature doesn’t follow dates on a calendar!

Typically the off season or rain season in most year round destinations, rain is not a big problem of course there are exceptions and some years are worse than others. It can make some areas inaccessible and because of the rain, grasses grow higher and trees filled with leaves providing more cover for the wildlife and thus often more work to find them. The higher availability of water allows wildlife to disperse as opposed to dry season viewing when many animals may be tied to specific dwindling water source areas.

So when should I go on safari?

Go now! Don’t postpone going to Africa! Come over now!

All the year round is good for you. For animal lovers, the seasons certainly define the animal activities. It is important to know what to expect in the parks your safari will visit.

What is the great wildebeest migration?

The great wildebeest migration is the movement of vast numbers of the wildebeest, accompanied by large herds of zebra, and small numbers of gazelle, moving in a clockwise direction through the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya.

It is one of the most phenomenal natural wonders of the world. These movement is actually in an annual pattern which is fairly predictable. They are migrating throughout the year constantly searching for green pastures and water.

The migration is entirely dependent on the rainfall patterns each year. The wildebeest migration attracts thousand of nature enthusiasts from all over the world to witness this spectacular natural event.

How is a game drive planned during my safari?

This is your safari holiday, your adventure! Because this is privately guided African safari you will discuss with your professional guide how you want to spend your time on this vacation. If you would like to spend a full day game drive, you are definitely free and welcomed to do so.

Tanzania Voyages does not restrict your game drive mileage because our priority is our client’s satisfaction. While some days you may decide set out by sunrise, other days you can have a slower paced breakfast before starting your daily expedition.

Simply sit down with your guide to plan your day and meals the night before. Your guide will have plenty of suggestions, but of course the decision is yours.

What are the vaccination requirements?

Certain vaccinations may be required for travel to Africa. However you will need to have a yellow fever vaccination card. To be sure please consult your local travel clinic to obtain the latest health travel advisories.

What about the tsetse flies when on safari?

When you are on safari, you may encounter the tsetse flies especially in Tarangire, south of Lake Manyara National Park and some regions of the Serengeti.

Tsetse flies are much larger than regular flies with a stinger and while most people have no adverse reaction to the bites, some may experience swelling and itchness. We recommend to bring a flies and insect repellent with DEET (above 50% DEET).

Tsetse flies are attracted to dark blue colours and black colours. Light natural colours such as khaki, brown, olive, beige and green are recommended and should be worn during the day. Tsetse flies are most active during the day and inactive during the night.

Are you required to have a visa?

A passport and visa are required when traveling to Tanzania and Kenya. Make sure you have the correct visa required for travel.

Please ensure your passport is valid for at least six months past your arrival date. Additionally, please make sure that you have a minimum 2 blank pages in your passport.

Visas are available at your local Tanzanian high commission, Embassy or at your arrival at all international airports and overland boarder entries.

Costs vary from country to country for example USA & Ireland $100 per person, other nationalities $50 per person. We strongly recommend checking regulations and for the most up to dates information with your home country's relevant embassy, as the above are subject to change without prior notice.

What are the roads inside the park like?

You will experience bumpy and rough roads when traveling throughout the safari region and during game drives. We advise to bring with you an additional back pillows if you have a back problem for an extra comfort.

While our vehicles are customised and equipped for rough roads, we still recommend our guests to always fasten their seat belts at all times except during game drive while standing to enjoy the game viewing through the popped-up roof.

Please also make sure that your cameras, binoculars and other electronic equipment are safely stored at all times in case of any damage due to bumpy roads.

What are the park's rules?

You will be briefed upon arrival at each lodge/camp as to the specific safety precautions. However, do not wander around on your own outside. Remember that there is a great deal of potentially dangerous wildlife in the area so please do not wander around on your own outside of your tent especially during the night.

If nature calls, tell your guide in advance so he can find a spot for you that is safe and private for 'checking the tyres'. You should not leave the vehicle whilst inside the park except with the instructions of the guide. In order to enjoy your trip, your guide will brief you the do’s and don’ts before starting your trip.

Do I need to worry about the food choices?

Dining on safari is a wonderful experience.

You should that know the foods on safari, even fresh salads are completely safe to eat. The lodges and camps you will be staying cater western-style cuisine. There are always an array of choices even for a vegetarians and for others with dietary restrictions.

The majority of our lodges and camps provide breakfast, lunch and dinner on a daily basis. We also advise to bring with you snacks such as protein bars, nuts and other non-perishable foods/snacks with you on the trip.

You will be provided with bottled water all the time during game drives and at the lodges/camps.

Can you accommodate our dietary requirements?

Generally speaking, most lodges/camps can accommodate almost all dietary requirements. Please speak to us when confirming your safari regarding your specific requirements.

Are drinks supplied in the safari vehicle?

Definitely. We provide unlimited beverages in our safari vehicle including bottled drinking water, other soft drinks and local beers upon client’s request, coffee and tea with some cookies.

All of our safari vehicles are equipped with a small-sized refrigerator to keep your drinks chilled for you to enjoy during your safari.

Is it easy to access ATMs on the trip?

All major cities and towns have ATMs, both at banks and malls.

We highly recommend that you bring smaller bills to cover expenses at local markets and tips for service providers.

Arrangements can be made to stop at the bank ATMs during your tour. Once the tour leaves for the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti, there are no ATMs or banks.

Do Tanzanian businesses accept credit cards for payment?

All the lodges on our trips and gift shops do accept credit cards. They usually accept Mastercard, Visa, Discover Card but most do not accept American Express.

We advise all our guests to take extra precautions when using their credit cards as they may be higher risk of the credit card numbers and fraudulent charges will be made.

Do we need to exchange money to Tanzanian shillings in advance?

Both US currency and Euros are accepted at lodges, camps and souvenir shops. The only time you may encounter local currency is at open-air markets and/or smaller vendors.

What about money and local currency?

The currency in Tanzania is Tanzanian shillings (TSH), although the US dollar is also a generally convenient and acceptable currency.

When using US dollars, please ensure that to bring newer than 2004 as older bills may not as readily accepted at some properties and bureau de changes due to counterfeiting problems. Also you should bring US dollars in both large and small denominations for your extra expenses like tipping, laundry, drinks and souvenirs.

Credit cards are usually accepted in hotels and lodges, but sometimes expect possible network instability inside the parks. Lastly we do not recommend dependence on traveler’s checks, as they are not easy to use.

How much money should we take?

This will depend on your itinerary. While on safari your lodges/camps are in full board basis, which includes meals, game activities and park fees per itinerary. Hotels in cities and big towns are generally bed and breakfast only.

Things not included during your safari would be tipping, visas, departure taxes, souvenirs shopping, extra meals at hotels/restaurants, drinks and laundry.

Can I travel with a C-PAP breathing machine?

If you are traveling with a C-PAP breathing machine and/or portable oxygen concentrators devices, it is mandatory that you bring a rechargeable battery pack (equipped with a minimum runtime of 8 hours) that is of the universal voltage (120v-240v).

The majority of the lodges and camps you will be staying at do not run on 24 hour electricity, and turn off generators for the night until early in the morning.

While out on safari activities guests are advised to charge their C-PAP battery throughout the day so that they can be used overnight when power may not be available at their accommodations.

How about tipping and gratuities?

Tipping is always a difficult question to answer and our suggestions are a guideline only.

If you are pleased with service, you are more than welcome to tip your guide and the staff in the various camps and lodges. Obviously, tipping is an extra reward for an excellent service and is not compulsory.

You can of course tip whatever you feel comfortable with but, as a start, you can budget around $10-15 per person per day. For lodge and camp staff leave whatever you feel appropriate for the service you experience though before starting your safari we will give you a short safari briefing with tipping recommendation for your trip.

Can I use my cell phone whilst on safari?

Your cell phone provider will be able to assist you with the possibility of using your own cell phone while in Africa. However, obtaining international roaming services can be expensive. You will need to have your phone unlocked by your cell phone company in order to use it abroad.

In most major cities you will be able to purchase a SIM card and air time which may be exchanged for your normal SIM card if your phone has one.

Remember though, the reception/network coverage may not be possible to some areas in parks. Please advise your family/friends back home that you may not be reachable. Feel free to pass on our details to your family and friends should they need to contact you and we will find out the best way to get in touch with you.

Can I charge my gadgets? What type of plugs do I need?

Electricity is available at 220/240 volts AC 50 Hz. The primary socket type is British standard.

Adaptor plugs will be available in some lodges and camps but we advise that you bring at least one with you.

On safari, most of the camps are powered by generators or solar panels and these are often turned off during parts of the day and night to reduce noise and consumption.

What do I need to know about security?

Your possessions should be safe in the vehicle, however in very rare cases, theft can happen at hotels and lodges in towns.

Many properties will have a safe deposit box available and we highly recommend that you request to put cash, passports and other valuable items in here or to keep with you at all times. We advise that you don’t bring expensive jewellery or other unnecessary valuables on safari with you.

Is there wifi service available?

Many of the lodges and tented camps have a wifi service but it is important to note that while wifi is available, it more than likely not be at the same fast speeds that you may be used to. It will be sufficient for checking emails and keeping in touch with home.

Our safari vehicles also have a wifi on board but it depends on the reception/network.

How can I donate/contribute to the local society?

Don’t indiscriminately hand out pens, money and sweets to the kids like a wealthy western Santa Claus! It just encourages begging and making them vulnerable to abuse.

If you are interested in donating or supporting the local society for example in schools, orphanage centres, villages or conservation programs please let us know and we can arrange this for you.

What about payment information?

We require a 30% deposit to confirm an itinerary (this is what most properties require, so we simply use the same policy) and then the balance is at least 2 months prior to travel. If you are booking last minute (i.e.,within 2 months of your date of arrival) ,then full payment is required by us and the properties.

Can I still make changes once my itinerary is confirmed?

Depending on what the changes you would like to make are and when you are looking to make them ,our team will do our best to accommodate these changes.

Note, some of the properties may charge cancellation fees or change fees, but we will do our best to negotiate these down for you.

What type of baggage/luggage should I take?

Luggage should be kept to a minimum, especially if you are travelling via domestic light aircraft. In East Africa the limit is typically 15 kg per person.

This should be in soft bags as opposed to hard suit cases in order to fit in the baggage compartment on small aircraft. On road safaris the weight and size allowance is not as important but you should still try to bring as little as possible. The camps and lodges offer laundry services.

Have more questions? Get in touch with one of our safari experts.

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