Tanzania has a tropical climate but has regional variations due to topography. In the highlands, temperatures range between 10 and 20 °C (50 and 68 °F) during cold and hot seasons respectively.
The rest of the country has temperatures rarely falling lower than 20 °C. The hottest period extends between November and February (25–31 °C) while the coldest period occurs between May and August (15–20 °C).
Seasonal rainfall is driven mainly by the migration of the Intertropical Convergence Zone. It migrates southwards through Tanzania in October to December, reaching the south of the country in January and February, and returning northwards in March, April, and May. This causes the north and east of Tanzania to experience two distinct wet periods – the short rains (or “Vuli”) in October to December and the long rains (or “Masika”) from March to May – while the southern, western, and central parts of the country experience one wet season that continues October through to April or May.
The onset of the long rains averages 25 March and the cessation averages 21 May. A warmer-than-normal South Atlantic Ocean coupled with a cooler-than-normal Eastern Indian Ocean often causes the onset to be delayed.
Tanzania is GMT + 3hours. We don’t have daylight saving time, and since we’re quite close to the equator, there is not a great variance in hours of daylight during the year.
Tanzania works on 240 volt main power with a UK style 3 square-prong plug.
There are a number of cell phone networks in Tanzania, the most common being Vodacom and Airtel. Distribution is patchy across the country so you may not always be able to connect. Roaming charges can be very high so check with your provider before you leave home so you are prepared.
Health Insurance and Flying Doctor
We strongly recommend that you take out a comprehensive travel and health insurance before travelling, not least to cover yourself in the event of cancellation charges should your plans change.
Tanzanias national parks are remote and it is imperative that, in the unfortunate cases of medical emergency, you’ll reach a well-equipped hospital fast and with expert care en route. Many tour operators today do require you to take out travel insurance before allowing clients to travel and while most good policies will include medical evacuation cover (which incurs huge costs for anyone not covered), inevitably emergencies arise out of hours and delays whilst seeking authority from tour operators/international medical insurers (or even Flying Doctors themselves when they are dealing with patients who do not carry their cover) can mean the difference between life and death. AMREF cover is a nominal amount of just $10 per person per safari of up to 30 days and it offers vital assurance that we can mobilise help quickly if you need it.
Please be sure to contact your local doctor or travel clinic well in advance of travel to obtain professional medical advice and discuss up to date vaccination requirements for Tanzania.
According to the latest health ministry advice, Tanzania is mapped as a low risk country because no Yellow Fever virus has been isolated in the country. However, favourable ecological conditions and the fact that Tanzania is within close proximity of Yellow Fever endemic countries (which include Kenya, Uganda and DRC) pose potential risk for Yellow Fever if the virus is introduced to the country.
Therefore, to conform to International Health Regulations and to safeguard public health security in Tanzania, Yellow Fever vaccination is mandatory to travellers arriving from Yellow Fever endemic countries. This does not apply to travellers transiting through an endemic country, providing they do not leave the airport and the transit lasts under 12 hours and place of origin is not an endemic country.
Travellers arriving into Tanzania from an endemic country will be asked to show valid Yellow Fever certificates. We would always recommend discussing Yellow Fever vaccination requirements with your local travel clinic to ensure update and relevant information for Tanzania.
Malaria is prevalent in many parts of Tanzania and we advise you to consult your local travel clinic before you depart about taking prophylactics.
It’s also important to cover up in the evenings when the malaria-carrying Anopheles mosquito usually feeds.
The incubation period of malaria is 1-3 weeks and so if you experience any flu-like symptoms, headaches, aching joints and back or nausea and diarrhea, it is recommended that you get tested at the earliest opportunity and let the medical people know you’ve recently travelled to Africa.
Tsetse flies can transmit trypanosomiases (more commonly known as sleeping sickness) but more commonly are just a nuisance as their bite is sharp and they are resilient to repellent.
When in tsetse areas, avoid wearing dark colours especially blue or black. The repellent, Deet, seems to be quite effective, as does a tin of smoldering dry elephant dung! If you have a particularly bad reaction to the bites, take oral antihistamine tablets and apply the cream. Try hard not to scratch the bites which will result in an infection.
A valid passport with at least six months validity, as well as a valid visa for those not exempted. Single entry visas only can be applied for in advance from the Tanzanian embassy or purchased easily upon arrival at the immigration desk. Please have the correct money in US Dollar cash and be prepared for queues.
*Yellow Fever certificate is required if arriving from/via any endemic Yellow Fever country, unless in transit and not leaving the airport, in which case it is not required.
Please check with your international airline regarding their luggage policy as these vary. Once in Tanzania, there are strict limitations on luggage on internal flights, and pilots WILL leave bags behind rather than risk flying too heavy, in which case we will have to pass on costs incurred to reunite you with your luggage. The allowance is 15kg per person to be packed in SOFT BAGS (no hard-shell suitcases permitted). You can expect to carry an additional 5kg of hand luggage in addition to this. Any excess is charged at around $3 per kg but depends on available space on the plane so there are no guarantees.
What to Bring
Every safari, and every travellers needs are different so below is a list of things that we’ve found useful, from our experience of travelling in Africa. We’d be glad to answer any specific questions about the kit.
- Shorts, lightweight trousers, short & long sleeved shirts in neutral, bush colours. Sweater or fleece, light rain jacket.
- Swim suit/sarong
- Comfortable lightweight but sturdy walking shoes or boots, flip flops or sandals
- Sun hat and sun glasses
- High factor sun lotion
- Camera plus plenty of film/memory cards
- Charging equipment
The most common dietary requirements can be accommodated (vegetarianism, gluten or lactose free), and we will do our best to accommodate any requirement given sufficient notice.
You should only tip if you genuinely feel that the service you have received warrants it. Tips for camp staff are popped into the communal tip box at the mess and they are then distributed equally. We’re often asked for a guideline and while this depends very much on how you feel, we’d suggest around USD $10 per guest, per night. It is quite normal to tip your guide or ranger separately using the same guidelines (around USD $10 per person, per night). Equally it’s not unusual for families to pitch it slightly below this figure given they’re travelling as a group and these amounts can quickly add up. This is entirely discretionary, different cultures approach this issue in varying ways so please don’t feel pressured to contribute more than you’re comfortable with.
Tanzania is a safe country to travel in.
Tanzanians are warm-hearted and generous people and are eager to help visitors get the most out of their stay. Hotels are safe and have watchmen. Tanzania is a politically stable, multi-democratic country. However, as in all countries, a little common sense goes a long way and reasonable precautions should still be taken, such as locking valuables in the hotel safe and not walking alone at night.