Travel Guide Tanzania.

Tanzania boasts some of the most impressive National Parks and game reserves in all of Africa. The plains and savannahs of the Serengeti National Park are considered the premier spot on the continent to see wildlife roam unheeded across vast plains. Nearby, within the steep walls of the Ngorongoro Crater lies one of the most densely concentrated populations of African animals on earth. These include wildebeest, gazelle, zebra, lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant and even the elusive white rhino. Not to be forgotten, the Selous Game Reserve is larger than Switzerland, and is wild, remote and virtually untouched by any human presence save for a handful of safari camps in the north. Other parks like Ruaha will appeal to those who want to experience magnificent game watching well off the popular tourist trail of the northern circuit parks and reserves, while, for those with a penchant to get off the beaten track, the parks in the extreme west of the country, Gombe Stream and Mahale, offer the unique opportunity to track chimpanzees in their natural habitat.

With its pearly-white beaches, Tanzania has 804km (503 miles) of sublime coastline and some magnificent islands offshore. Known as the Swahili Coast, it was a favoured stop on ancient trading routes between the Indian sub-continent and the Middle East. Spices, jewels and slaves once passed through, bringing with them a melange of cultural riches that remain today. The colourful language of Swahili (referred to as Kiswahili) was born here, and features words not only of African origin, but ones from as far away as Indonesia and China. The ruins of once sophisticated cities with their old mosques, Arabian-style houses and coral palaces still remain, while places like Stone Town on Zanzibar and Bagamoyo on the mainland are still today living testaments to the Swahili coastal tradition that has gone on for thousands of years.

A mountain that needs no introduction is Mt Kilimanjaro, snow-capped and standing as Africa's tallest mountain at 5,895m (19,341ft). Open for climbing to those with energy and time on their hands, the week-long ascent and watching the sunrise over Uhuru Peak is one of Africa's most challenging achievements. Tanzania is home to over 120 different ethnic groups and takes pride in its multicultural heritage. The tall, red-robed Masai are the best known of Tanzania's people and are easily visited as

Best times to visit are:

June to August: This is the tail-end of the long rainy season and the weather is at its best at this time of year -- bearable during the day and cool in the evening. However, this is not necessarily the best time of year for safaris, as water is plentiful in the parks and animals are not forced to congregate in a few locations to rehydrate, as they do in the middle of the dry season right after Christmas.

January to February: This is the best time to visit the Serengeti. It is usually at this time that huge herds of wildebeest, zebra and buffalo migrate to better grazing areas. You could observe some of the 1.5 million wildebeest that inhabit the Serengeti undertake their epic journey. Be advised this is most likely the hottest time of year in Tanzania, when even the locals complain about the heat. You've been warned!

No visa is required for stays of less than 3 months for citizens of Namibia, Romania, Rwanda, Hong Kong, Malaysia and all commonwealth member states (except the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Nigeria, India & South Africa). A Tourist Visa costs back US$50 or US$100 for a three-month single entry and a three-month double entry visa, respectively. The visa can be obtained upon landing in Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Mwanza and ports of entry. Be advised that the wait can be especially long if your flight arrives at the same time with other international flights. Visas are valid for the duration from the date of issuance. However, obtaining a visa before arrival is highly recommended. Holders of a US passport can only obtain a US$100 multiple-entry visa. US travellers departing from the U.S. can pay US$20 for a rush service, which takes three working days. The website of Tanzania Embassy in the U.S. gives the current requirements . Visas may also be obtained from any of Tanzania's diplomatic mission abroad.

What to do

Safari While you are in Tanzania you may organize your safari to Serengeti and other National parks at an affordable price. If there's one trip that will change your perspective on life, it's an African safari. Contact some of the tour operators for Safari Details.

Cultural Tours

Touring Tanzania for culture is interestingly great as it encompasses more than 150+ ethnic groups. There is plenty of traditional food, cultural practices (such as hunting with bushmen, bee keeping, traditional medicine) that one enjoys within the boundaries. You will also get to visit a number of locations that normally people would be completely unaware of. If you happen to be a person who loves to explore the world and meet new people in order to gain knowledge about different customs, a cultural tour is definitely the best type of vacation for you.The services are not expensive and can turn out to be cheaper than expected provided you get the right information on where to stay, best tour companies and just knowledge of what you want. This way, it will save you time and costs as well.

There are loads of National Parks for those wanting to watch Tanzania's wildlife. You can gain entry for around $100 US and benefit from a tour (and perhaps a night's accommodation). The better parks, though packed with tourists, are found in the north of the country. Ruaha National Park is the best in the south (locals actually say this is the best park, especially if you want to see wild animals as opposed to semi-tame ones in the northern parks). Don't just be sucked into the tourist circuit in the north; the south offers great parks and towns (base yourself out of Iringa), and you will feel less of a tourist and more of a guest if you travel this way.
Scuba diving in and around Pemba and Zanzibar is another good experience.

You can also visit numerous historical Slave Trade sites, which could make for an interesting, if a little depressing, excursion.

Beaches:

Did you know that Tanzania has some of the best, most unspoiled beaches in the world? They are stunning, with their white sand, palm trees, and cool Indian Ocean water!

Kayak the beautiful coastal waters .

Tanzania has two of the best Stone Age sites in the world: Isimila Gorge (near Iringa) and the earliest known examples of human art among the rock paintings, near Kolo, north of Dodoma -- some of which are reckoned to be around 30,000 years old.

Kilimanjaro is one of Tanzania's main attractions. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. Many visitors come to Tanzania to summit this great mountain. The main peak is estimated to be 5895m high making it a real challenge for mountaineers.

GETTING THERE.

There are frequent direct and indirect flights to Tanzania by numerous international airlines. Air Tanzania, the national carrier, is presently not operating, so currently the principle Tanzanian airline is Precision Air (PRF) (www.precisionairtz.com). The national airline of Kenya, Kenya Airways (KQ) (www.kenya-airways.com), also serves Tanzania. Airline fare prices to Tanzania stay pretty consistent around the year.

Flight times:

From London to Dar es Salaam is 10 hours. There are no direct flights from the US and most travellers go via Europe.

Departure tax:

The international departure tax is US$50 but this is included in the price of an airline ticket.

Airport guides

Dar es Salaam Julius Nyerere International Airport

Airport Code: DAR. Location: Dar es Salaam Julius Nyerere International Airport is situated 12km (8 miles) southwest of Dar es... Money: There are banks, ATMs and a bureau de change at the airport. Read more
Other airports in Tanzania
Kilimanjaro International Airport

Airport Code: JRO. Location: The airport is 50km (31 miles) from Arusha (journey time - 1 hour). Website: http://www.kilimanjaroairport.co.tz. Public transport description: Shuttle bus services are provided by Air Tanzania to their offices in Arusha and Moshi or taxis are available.
Mwanza Airport

Airport Code: MWZ. Location: The airport is 10km (6.2 miles) from Mwanza (journey time 25 minutes). Website: http://www.taa.go.tz. Public transport description: Public minibuses and taxis are available at the airport.
Zanzibar International Airport

Airport Code: ZNZ. Location: The airport is 4km (2.5 miles) from Stone Town (journey time 15 minutes). Website: http://www.zanzibar-airport.com. Public transport description: Public minibuses and taxis are available for the short distance to Stone Town.

Passports:

A passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry to Tanzania is required by all nationals referred to in the chart above.

Visas:

Visas for Tanzania are required by all nationals referred to in the chart above, except:

1. Nationals of Cyprus and Romania, who do not require a visa.

You can obtain single-entry and transit visas on arrival at the port of entry into Tanzania. Passport photos are not required; all other requirements must be in place. However, multiple-entry business visas cannot be issued at the point of entry and you must obtain these in advance through Tanzania’s embassies. For more information about visas, visit the website for the Immigration Services Department (www.immigration.go.tz).


Visa Note:
Nationals not referred to in the chart are advised to contact the embassy or high commission to check visa requirements for Tanzania.

While still part of Tanzania, Zanzibar and the other islands are administered autonomously; they have their own immigration procedures and you will be asked to show your passport on entry and exit.

Types and cost:

Single-entry tourist visa: US$50 on arrival (the exception is US citizens for whom a single-entry visa is US$100) or £40 in advance.

Multiple-entry business visa: £80 (six months) or £100 (12 months).
Validity:

Single-entry tourist visa: up to three months from the date of issue. You can re-enter Tanzania on the same visa (providing it is still valid) if coming into Tanzania for a second time from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda or Burundi.

Multiple-entry business visa: up to two months per visit within a six- or 12-month period.

Transit:

Transit visas are available for those travelling through Tanzania to other destinations within a 14-day period. An onward ticket or tour itinerary/confirmation and sufficient funds for transit are required.

Application to:

You can obtain visas from the embassy or high commission before you travel. You can also obtain them at any point of entry (airports and land borders) on arrival. This is a much easier option but you will need to pay for them in cash in US Dollars. Ensure that you have sufficient blank pages in your passport (the minimum for entry into Tanzania is two).

Temporary residence:

Residence permits are granted to foreign nationals if they are employed by a Tanzanian company, or working long-term as missionaries or volunteers. You must apply for these through the Immigration Services Department (www.immigration.go.tz).

Health:

Before leaving home, visit the doctor or a travel clinic for advice on vaccinations, malaria prophylactics and general advice. Basic traveller vaccinations recommended include yellow fever, tetanus, typhoid and hepatitis A. It is vital to take out comprehensive travel medical insurance, and it is essential that is should include repatriation to your home country in the event of an emergency. There are a wide variety of policies to choose from, so shop around. If you are going to be active in Tanzania (mountain climbing or scuba-diving for example), ensure the policy has adequate provision.

There are some good private hospitals in Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Stone Town on Zanzibar, but facilities are rudimentary outside of these and medicines are often unavailable. All treatment must be paid for in advance. Tanzania’s emergency telephone number (ambulance, fire and police) is 111. The best private hospital in the country is the Aga Khan Hospital, Ocean Road, Dar es Salaam, (tel: (022) 211 5151; www.agakhanhospitals.org). However, for cases of extreme emergencies or surgery, visitors with adequate health insurance will be transferred to a private hospital in Nairobi, Kenya which has the best medical facilities in East Africa.

Malaria: The risk of contracting malaria is prevalent throughout Tanzania and prophylactics should be taken (take expert advice before you leave home). Symptoms can start as something resembling a severe attack of flu. If you develop any symptoms even after several weeks after your return home, seek medical advice. Travellers should take precautions against mosquito bites – cover-up at dusk and use insect repellent. Almost all hotels in Tanzania have air-conditioning and/or fans which help ward off mosquitoes and most tourist-class hotels have mosquito nets over the beds.

Altitude sickness: This can strike from about 3,000m (9,800ft) and is caused by lack of oxygen and should be a consideration for anyone climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. Symptoms include heart pounding, shortness of breath and dizziness. The best way of preventing it is a relatively slow ascent - some time spent walking at medium altitude, getting fit and acclimatizing is helpful. To decrease the symptoms, an immediate descent is necessary.

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