Tanzania is a country located in East African and probably best known for two of the world’s most landmark natural sites – the Serengeti and Mount Kilimanjaro. The vast plains of the famous Serengeti National Park are home to safari’s “big five” game animals - elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhino, whereas you will find Africa’s highest mountain in the Kilimanjaro National Park. the country’s expansive landscapes offer visitors much to explore and discover, from local tribes, fascinating cultures, wild animals and breath-taking clear night skies.
Your passport should be valid for at least six months on the date of entry into Tanzania and must have at least one blank page for entry stamps. Please be sure to fill out the "Emergency Next of Kin" section in your passport
A visa is required to enter Tanzania. A large number of countries can now apply for visas using Tanzania’s online eVisa application system via this website https://eservices.immigration.go.tz/visa/ Visa issuing takes 10 days, so please apply in good time before travel. Confirmation of your visa must be brought with you to present to the immigration services on arrival in Tanzania.
US Citizens – You must acquire a Multiple Entry Visa to enter Tanzania. This permits multiple entries into the country and is valid for 12 months from issue for tourist purposes, with each stay a maximum of 90 days. The cost is currently $100 USD.
Canadian, Australian and most European citizens - You must acquire a Single Entry Visa to enter Tanzania. This permits one entry into the country and is valid for 3 months from issue for tourist purposes. The cost is currently $50 USD.
Visa issuance does not grant automatic access to Tanzania and is at the discretion of immigration officials on arrival. Some countries may be able to apply for a visa upon arrival in Tanzania. All other nationalities must check the visa entry requirements before your departure. You need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket.
• Consular Information
There are a number of major international embassies located in Dar es Salaam, the former capital, including those for the US, Canada and UK. However, embassies for other countries, including Australia and New Zealand are located in Nairobi or other African cities, offering coverage to Tanzania. Please check with your relevant government for the relevant contact details.
N.B. Please note, visa and entry requirements, regulations and restrictions can vary on a regular basis. Please ensure you check in good time prior to travel the current requirements applicable to you.
HEALTH, INSURANCE AND SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS
• Travel Insurance
It is company policy that all passengers must have valid travel insurance prior to travelling, to include but not limited to health insurance and cancellation insurance. It is vital that ALL members of the travelling party are fully insured for the dates of travel. All pre-existing medical conditions must be declared to the insurer and the correct cover must be taken in regard to the specific type of holiday you are taking. Please ensure your insurance is suitable for the climb – many policies have restrictions on altitude and walking holidays.
The details of your insurance must be advised to The Big Journey Company at least 6 weeks before your departure date. Please make sure to write down important information from your insurance policy, such as the company’s 24hr emergency telephone number (including dial code from abroad) and your policy number and take these with you on tour.
• General Health
Please talk to your doctor or travel health clinic in person at least eight weeks before you travel, where a health professional can provide you with the necessary health information for your personal needs. Healthcare is poor outside of the main cities, so please ensure you have adequate health travel insurance. Mount Kilimanjaro is located at a high altitude above sea level. You may wish to speak to your doctor about how this may affect any existing medical conditions. You might also want to discuss precautions available to you to avoid the inconveniences that altitude causes to some people. The tour also includes a lot of trekking. It is not suitable for those with mobility problems and requires a high level of fitness. Malaria and Yellow Fever are present in Tanzania, please discuss with your doctor whether you reuqire vaccination or medicaitons against these diseases.Wearing sunscreen, drinking plenty of water, washing your hands properly before eating and avoiding insect bites should keep you healthy on tour. We recommend you carry a simple travellers’ first-aid kit containing any basic items that you feel may be required, including remedies for minor stomach complaints. If you do need to see a doctor during the tour, please speak to your Big Journey Company tour escort.
• Passengers with Disabilities or Reduced Mobility
The Kilimanjaro Adventure is a Physically Demanding tour. It is not suitable if you have limited mobility. It is not suitable if you use a CPAP machine. Please check our Activity Levels description page to see if this level is suitable to you or contact us if you require further information on the activities involved in the tour.
If you or any member of your party has any medical problem or disability which may affect your holiday, please provide us with full details before we confirm your booking, or as soon as possible at the time they occur, so that we can try to advise on the suitability of your chosen arrangements. Please note, we may require you to produce a doctor’s certificate certifying that you are fit to participate in the tour.
• Medical Conditions and Personal Medication
Please advise us prior to travel if you have any medical conditions requiring special attention during your trip. If you have a specific medical condition, it is wise to carry the relevant doctor’s prescription with you. Important:
- Pack a sufficient supply of any medications you are taking, copies of the prescriptions and the telephone/fax numbers of your doctor.
- Please note, some countries require that prescription drugs be carried in their original container, with the label clearly visible. In the event of you losing your medication, a qualified pharmacist should be able to source a replacement.
Prior to travel, please consult your doctor to discuss the destinations you are visiting, the latest immunisation information and requirements as well as advice according to your unique medical needs.
There are currently no specific certificate requirements under International Health Regulations however please take note of the information below.
- Yellow Fever Certificate. There is a low chance of Yellow Fever in Tanzania. Depending on areas you are visiting or have previously travelled to, you may need a Yellow Fever Vaccination certificate to show you have received said vaccination prior to travel. Check whether you need a Yellow Fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
- Malaria: This mosquito-borne disease is prevalent throughout the year in Tanzania, but not above 1,800m, so please consult a healthcare professional about a suitable prophylactic. The old adage ‘prevention is the best cure’ also holds true. Use repellent and cover up at dawn and dusk when the mosquitoes are most active by wearing long trousers, long-sleeved shirts, shoes and socks, if possible. If you develop a bad headache, have aching joints, and recurring fevers and chills after your trip, advise your doctor that you have been in a malarial area. Malaria symptoms can sometimes be confused with flu symptoms.
Travellers should be up to date with routine vaccination courses and boosters as recommended. These vaccinations include for example measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and diphtheria-tetanus-polio vaccine. Vaccinations for Tetanus, Hepatitis A and B, Polio, Typhoid, Cholera, Meningococcal Disease, Tuberculosis, Rabies and Malaria may be recommended depending on the tour you are taking and your medical history. For further information, please see: wwnc.cdc.gov/travel/countries
You should follow the advice of the National Travel Health Network and Centre and discuss your travel plans with your healthcare provider, particularly if you're pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Any feverish illness during or after returning from travel must be reported to a doctor immediately
• Travelling with CPAP or other Medical Machines
Please inform The Big Journey Company that you are travelling with such a device as early as possible, and well before you travel. This is especially important in places where there may be issues with power supply, such as on safari or smaller cruise ships. Also,
- Check that you have the correct electrical and voltage adapters for the country and accommodation you are visiting;
- Check with your airline that they allow your device to be carried as additional hand luggage and ensure that your device is easily accessible and properly labelled as medical machinery;
- Always carry a letter from your medical practitioner prescribing its use for you;
- Ensure you have details of your machine separately in case of the need to secure repairs/replacements whilst you are travelling;
- Check with your medical practitioner about the use of tap or bottled water in the event that distilled water cannot be sourced in the country you are travelling to.
Please note, if you require distilled or ionised water, you must inform The Big Journey Company of this at least two weeks ahead of travel, so we are able to make preparations with our ground agents. There will be an additional charge for this.
The Kilimanjaro Adventure is not suitable for those who need to use a CPAP machine.
• Special Dietary Requirements
Please let us know in good time prior to travel if you have any special dietary requirements (e.g., vegetarian, vegan, diabetic, gluten-free, etc.). We will make every effort to accommodate your request with the resources available to us.
• What to Pack and Wear
Mount Kilimanjaro Tour – please see the additional tour information section below
• Luggage Allowances
International airlines are often strict about the size and weight of checked in baggage and carry-on luggage. Prior to your departure, please contact your airline or visit their website for specific luggage requirements, as size and weight limitations may vary according to the airline and destination.
Tanzania has over 100 languages spoken across the country. Swahili is probably the most spoken of them, and followed by English, the language of commerce in the country.
The time zone in Tanzania is GMT+3, 3 hours ahead of London GMT.
Tanzania is a large country, stretching from the coast across plain to the highest point in Africa and its climate varies considerably. The main rainy season is from March to May, where you will find tropical downpours in the afternoon, with high humidity and temperatures in the mid 30°Cs. The dry season stretches from June to October. Temperatures vary depending on the region, and altitude, but days are usually clear and sunny. In November and December, the rains return, but lighter than the main rainy season, before drying slightly in January and February.
On the Mount Kilimanjaro trek, you can expect conditions ranging from equatorial to arctic. The trek begins in a tropical forest, with average temperatures between 25-30⁰C, before ascending through various terrains and weather zones to arrive at the permanently snow-capped summit. Expect rainfalls and sub-zero temperatures on your trek.
In Tanzania, the standard voltage is 230V and the frequency is 50Hz. Two types of plug are used - Type G (UK style three square pins) and Type D (three round pins, used in India and some African countries) and you will need a plug adaptor and/or converter depending on which electrical appliances you bring with you. Please note, when walking, access to electricity will be limited – pre-charged or solar powered power bars are useful for your electronic devices.
MOBILES & INTERNET COMMUNICATION
Tanzania has a good communications infrastructure in the city. A number of cellphone/mobile phone providers offer national coverage and there are landline phone networks. In populated urban areas, there should be good mobile signal but as we head into rural areas, signal may fluctuate and may be non-existent as we climb. Internet and Wi-Fi are easily accessible in most urban areas and most hotels and restaurants provide WIFI. Please check data roaming charges for Tanzania with your service provider before leaving home as these can quickly become very expensive.
The currency of Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling (TZS). The Tanzanian Shilling is a closed currency and can only be accessed in Tanzania, so you will have to exchange your money after arrival. Nevertheless, US Dollars $ are also widely accepted at higher-end establishments and for changing money, though notes must be in good condition and be issued after 2009 otherwise they will not be accepted.
Credit cards are widely accepted at mid-high range establishments, but less so at smaller shops and restaurants. It is advisable to carry money in cash with you as well. ATMs are widely available in cities, but not so in smaller villages and are often out of cash.
Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards however many places do not accept cards such as Diners Club or American Express. If you intend to use any of your debit or credit cards whilst away, please make sure that you contact your bank before you leave to inform them that you will be travelling in order not to cause any problems using your cards or whilst on the trip. Travellers cheques are no longer accepted in Tanzania.
Tanzania is a relatively inexpensive country for most western travellers to visit. However, as in all destinations, prices in tourist spots are higher than those for locals. In markets, you may be able to haggle on prices, but in most shops, prices are set. On the Kilimanjaro tour, due to the nature of the tour, most meals and tour elements are included in your package price.
• Bank Opening
Banks in Tanzania are usually open 8am – 1pm and then from 2-5pm Monday to Friday.
After feedback from previous guests, we offer a group tipping package for this tour. Look out for more information in your pre-tour emails.
Ugali, a thick staple made of cassava or maize flour, or both is the Tanzanian national dish. It varies in flavour and consistency depending on the flours used and is usually served with a sauce containing meat, fish, beans or greens. Rice and ndizi (cooked plantains) as well as meat kebabs and roasted meats are also staples of the local diet.
Some meals are included as part of your tour – please check your individual departure for the relevant meal inclusions.
It is not advisable to drink the tap water in Tanzania, nor that from any wells, streams or rivers unless it has been boiled or purified first. Bottled water can be bought at supermarkets, kiosks and many shops.
In Tanzania, you will find a number of things to purchase, predominantly local handicrafts – wood carvings, jewellery and colour fabrics.
• Opening Hours
In the cities and towns, most retail shops are open from 8.30am – midday and then from 2-6pm Monday–Friday, opening on Saturday mornings too, though may vary locally. Most shops are closed on Sundays, with the exception of certain grocery shops and souvenir shops.
• VAT/Tax Refund:
Some shops in Tanzania offer a VAT refund when leaving the country. Please ask the salesperson whether tax-free shopping applies to the shop in question.
SAFETY & SECURITY
In Tanzania, there’s a high risk of petty theft and pickpocketing, particularly in airports, in popular tourist attractions and on public transport, especially in Dar es Salaam. Please take sensible precautions to protect your belongings, particularly your passport, money and credit cards. For this reason, we advise you to take money and credit cards in belts, preferably do not carry a wallet. Hotels offer a safety box service and we suggest that you put your valuables, jewels (or preferably leave these at home), passports and airplane tickets in them. Be cautious when you carry handbags, cameras, and be extremely careful in crowded places. Muggings often happen at ATMs and it is advisable to be cautious when using them. Do not walk alone at night-time. There is a threat of terrorism. When in large crowds or major tourist destinations, you should remain vigilant and follow the advice of local authorities. If in doubt, ask your guide or at your accommodation for safety guidelines.
When trekking on Kilimanjaro, follow the instructions from the local guides. Make sure you are well prepared and equipped to cope with the terrain and low temperatures. The extreme altitude on Mount Kilimanjaro can cause altitude sickness.
Smoking is banned in most indoor public places, but there are usually designated outdoor areas where people can smoke.
Tanzania is almost equally split between Christians and Muslims, but there are no official figures since religion was removed from census questions in the 1960s.
Tanzania offers photo opportunities one after another. You will return with many photos that can never be repeated. Remember to pack your camera, along with the charger, spare batteries and a spare memory card!
SPECIFIC INFORMATION FOR THE MOUNT KILIMANJARO TOUR
The best preparation for trekking is… trekking! Get out for hikes in your home country. If you can manage some weekends away, walks in your local national park, low hills, high mountains, anywhere where you'll be on rough paths and doing some good ups and downs… it will all be good practice!
Get used to your personal equipment - feeling that your backpack fits snugly; enjoying the re-assuring strength of a familiar pair of hiking boots; knowing what layers work best for you; what little extras to carry in your pockets… all this will be invaluable!
What’s more, some additional fitness from running, swimming, the gym, yoga, spin classes, etc. is also a plus! A strong cardiovascular system is going to help you cope at altitude.
A Typical Day on the Trail
You will be walking between 5-6 hours most days. It will be at a very steady pace, so that your body has the optimum time to acclimatize and you will usually rest around every half an hour. Summit day however will involve considerably more walking. On this day, we begin our walk at midnight and will be walking until sunrise, around 5-6 hours later, to reach then summit. Afterwards, there is the walk back down again, around 2.5 - 3 hours walking, before continuing on to the final camp, arriving around 4 hours later.
At camp, in the morning and evening, you will have access to a sanitised hand pump toilet within a toilet tent. Long drops can be found along the route.
Typical food on the mountain will include the following meals;
- Breakfast: Coffee, Tea, Hot chocolate and Fruit juice; Porridge; Fruit; Scrambled eggs / omelette; Sausages; Toast; Honey and jam
- Lunch: Coffee, Tea; Sandwiches; Biscuits; Chocolate bars
- Dinner: Soup starter; Cooked meat or vegetarian meal (these include chicken/beef with rice, sliced carrots and green beans, mashed potatoes, and salads); Fruit; Fruit juice and variety of hot drinks
Porters will collect water from the streams. It is boiled before use, so can be used to fill your water canisters. You don’t need to use purification tablets, but it is recommended. You will be carrying a minimum of 2 litres of water a day, which will be provided each morning.
What to pack?
- Well worn-in lightweight hiking boots; Flip Flops for evenings at camp
- Thermal layering - leggings and top, essential for summit night and useful to sleep in; Lightweight, breathable long sleeve trekking shirt; Lightweight short sleeve breathable trekking shirt/t-shirt; Long-leg mid-weight trekking pants; Hiking socks; Warm Fleece for early mornings; Down jacket for evenings and summit night; Rain jacket
- Wool hat; buff; 2 pairs of Gloves, thick and thin, mittens are useful for summit night
- Sun hat/cap with neck protection; Sunglasses; Sunscreen factor 50+, there is often no shade from the sun; Chapstick with SPF
- Water purification tablets - enough for consuming a minimum of 3 litres of water a day; Water bottles - each day you will need to carry a minimum of 2-3 litres, a hydration bladder is also recommended
- Washing items: soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, personal toiletries; Quick dry towel
- Dry bags - useful for organising your bag and separating dirty/clean clothes; Re-sealable/zip lock bags to protect personal items
- First Aid Kit containing paracetamol, bites/burn cream, plasters, small bandage, antiseptic cream.
- Hand sanitiser; Baby wipes; Toilet paper - 1 roll
- Head torch with spare batteries for evenings at camp and required for summit night
- Day pack - 30L. Between 25-30 litres is advisable. It is useful for the bag to have a section for a water bladder
- Duffle bag - 95L or more. A soft bag is required for your belongings which the porters carry, max weight = 20kg
- Sleeping bag with a comfort rating of at least -10⁰C /14⁰F; Sleeping bag liner to add to the warmth of your bag
- Camera / Video Camera, with batteries, charger and memory cards
- Trekking energy bars/candy/gum
- Trekking poles - it is advisable to bring them if you usually use these for walking
- Books / Kindle
- Pre charged or solar powered power packs
Luggage handling is included in our Kilimanjaro tour with the limit of 2 bags (maximum 20kgs) per person. Laundry services may be available in some hotels on the tour, but once on the Kilimanjaro Trek, there are no laundry facilities whilst walking.
Please note, standard hotel check-in is around 3pm, so should you arrive earlier than this, your room may not be available upon arrival. For those arriving early morning, we will do everything we can to work with the hotel to get you an earlier check-in subject to availability.
TOUR HOTEL INFORMATION
Please check your tour paperwork for hotel information attaining to your tour departure.
OTHER COUNTRIES ON TOUR ITINERARY
For those continuing their stay in other African countries, please check the relevant Travel Tip pages for information on these countries.
FLYING & TRAVEL HINTS
• Photocopy the personal information pages of your passport; leave one copy at home with a friend or family member, and take a copy with you, but pack it separately from the passport itself.
• It is advisable to carry all your travel documentation as well as valuables and essential items in your hand luggage, such as camera, toiletries, reading material etc.
• Duty-Free shopping is always tempting, but please check the current Duty-Free limits applicable in the country of your destination.
• Longer flights can be made a little more enjoyable by wearing loose clothing and good, comfortable shoes. Walking in the aisles regularly, eating sensibly and drinking plenty of fluids (not alcohol) is also advised.
• Where possible, try to get some sleep during the flight and upon arrival at your destination, most people adjust better to the local time if they wait until the evening before sleeping – this should relieve some of the effects of jet lag.
If you have any other questions that we have not covered here; then please send us an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note, the above information is provided as a guideline only. Although every effort has been made to provide complete and accurate information, The Big Journey Company makes no warranties, express or implied, or representations as to the accuracy of content on this website. The Big Journey Company assumes no liability or responsibility for any error or omissions in the information contained in the website.
Updated December 2019