Archives February 16, 2021

Best Time to Visit Tanzania

The best time to visit Tanzania is during the Dry season, from late June to October, when wildlife viewing is generally at its best. The wildebeest migration in the Serengeti is usually during June and July and the time to see the wildebeest calving is late January to February. The southern and western circuit parks are best visited during the Dry season (June to October), unlike the more popular northern circuit parks that can be visited year-round.

Dry Season (June – October)

  • June and July are the best months to see the wildebeest migration
  • August to September is the best time to see the wildebeest river crossings in northern Serengeti
  • Animals are easier to spot since they concentrate around waterholes and rivers
  • There are fewer mosquitoes because there is little to no rain
  • Skies are clear and most days are sunny
  • Mornings and nights get cold; it’s recommended to bring warm clothing

Wet Season (November to May)

  • January-February is the time to see the calving in the southern Serengeti, and an excellent time to see predator action
  • The scenery is green and beautiful; it’s low season, meaning lower rates and less crowded parks
  • Although wildlife is easier to spot in the Dry season, you’ll still see plenty, especially in the northern circuit parks
  • Migratory birds are present, and bird watching is at its best
  • Except for March, April and May, rains are mostly short afternoon showers and seldom interfere on your trip
  • March to May is the peak of the Wet season
  • Wildlife viewing in Tarangire, Katavi, Selous and Ruaha is better during the Dry season.

Top 10 Unmissable Things to Do in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Whether you’re looking for somewhere to relax after climbing Kilimanjaro or just want to hang out in an island paradise, Zanzibar Island has a lot to offer!

This island is located off the Eastern coast of Africa and it has a rich history as a trading outpost and a colony, meaning there are many more things to do in Zanzibar besides just hitting the beach.

1. CHECK OUT STONE TOWN

People have been living on the island for over 20,000 years, but Stone Town is the central point of Zanzibar. Because of its location off the coast and its sheltered harbor, Stone Town turned from a fishing village into a trading center. The island also was governed by many colonial rulers, from Portugal to Oman to Great Britain, until it became independent in 1963.

As a trading center, the island has plenty of cultural influences from colonizers and traders from India and Arab countries.  Slavery also affected the island as it was used as a port to send slaves abroad while hundreds of slaves also worked on plantations on the island.

It’s a mix of African, Arabic, and colonial styles all packed into one city. Because of all the unique influences, Stone Town has actually declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000!

The best way to get a feel for this city is to wander around the narrow maze of streets. You’ll definitely get lost, but that’s half the fun!

You’ll also probably be able to tell quickly that a lot of things haven’t been properly maintained since the colonial era. The older facades of the buildings are part of what gives Stone Town its the unique charm!

Stone Town itself is fairly small with a population of just 16,000 residents living inside the city in 2016. The town’s economy is now primarily based on tourism and it is one of the most prominent tourist attractions in Tanzania.

FUN FACT: Stone Town is actually one part of Zanzibar City. The other area of the city is called Ng’ambo, which is more modern. Stone Town is the more historical section. So if you see the two names used interchangeably, it’s because Stone Town is part of Zanzibar City!

Things to do in Stone Town

Besides just wandering around the streets, there are lots of things to do in Stone Town. This is the perfect city to really get a better understanding of Zanzibar people and culture.

Here are a few things I recommend checking out in Stone Town:

TAKE A GUIDED WALKING TOUR

 

Most hotels offer guided day tours around the city and I definitely recommend doing the tour with a guide. All the tourists you’ll see walking around are led by guides. You will learn so much more information with a guide and it’s not that expensive either! I definitely recommend it – you won’t regret it! Your guide can also tell you about the dark past of the island.

ADMIRE STONE TOWN’S INTRICATE DOORS

The fascinating architecture of the buildings starts with their doors! As you wander through the streets, make sure you look around at the beautiful, carved doors that are a special feature of the city.

The designs and carvings of the doors tell about the residents who lived there. You can also tell whether the doors are Swahili, Indian, or Arab based on the shape and design!

SEE THE BIRTHPLACE OF FREDDIE MERCURY

If you love Queen, don’t miss out on the chance to see where Freddie Mercury was born – it is located right in the city center, so you won’t miss it! (Or just search Freddie Mercury’s birthplace on Google Maps). Some people say this might not be the real house (because his father moved several times when Freddie was young), but it’s still a great opportunity to learn a little more about the background and upbringing of this amazing singer!

 

ADMIRE THE OLD FORT

This is exactly what the name says it is! Take a look around a unique piece of history and check out The Old Fort. This is an old fortification built by the Omani Arabs in 1699.  It is also one of the oldest buildings in town.

A more recent addition to the fort is an open-air amphitheater where you can watch local shows or other events. You can ask at the tourist information desk at the fort if there are any upcoming events that could fit into your Zanzibar travel plans.

VISIT THE HOUSE OF WONDERS

This was unfortunately closed for renovation while I was there, but I’ll definitely be visiting on my next trip to Zanzibar!

This is the tallest and largest building in town and was originally a palace facing the town’s central square. The building is now home to the National Museum of History and Culture.

LEARN ABOUT THE SLAVE TRADE AT THE SLAVE MUSEUM

As I mentioned before, the island has a dark past. This market was the last functioning slave market in the world and it only closed in 1873.  Although this might seem like a bit of a downer, it’s an important part of the history of the region.

Thousands of Africans were brought to the island as slaves to work on plantations. Slave traders also used the island as a base camp before sending slaves on the long journey to the East to be sold in Persia, Arabia, the Ottoman Empire, and Egypt.

At the Slave Museum, you can tour chambers where they kept slaves before they were sold.

We went down to see the “rooms” where slaves were kept – a 12 by 12-foot basement with one tiny window near the ceiling. They kept over 30 people in these types of rooms. Although this happened hundreds of years ago it still gave me shivers as I stood there!

You might need a pick-me-up after, but it’ll help you understand more about the island and its people.

The museum is open every day from 8 am to 6 pm. There is a $5 USD entrance fee and you can expect to spend about an hour in the museum.

VISIT ONE OF THE ROOFTOP RESTAURANTS

After a long day of taking in the sites and the culture, I recommend finding a rooftop restaurant for dinner and a drink as the sunsets.

  • I recommend The Tea House Restaurant. It’s a great place to see the sunset, but make sure to make a reservation in advance! The restaurant gets busy with other tourists who want to enjoy the view as well.
  • Another option is The Beach House Restaurant, which has an amazing outdoor balcony overlooking the water. The food is a mix of Italian, French, and Mediterranean and it’s delicious!
  • You can also check out 6 Degrees South, which is perfect for a romantic dinner looking out at the ocean.

WANDER AROUND DARAJANI MARKET

While you’re there, why not wander around the main bazaar in town? You’ll definitely get a taste for life in Zanzibar – and a whiff as well! I found the market to be a really authentic experience.

There is an indoor section of the market, but also a lot of pop-up vendors on the surrounding streets.  You’ll be able to experience a lot of traditional Zanzibar food and ingredients, as well as admire clothes, shoes, and traditional hats.

NOTE: Be prepared for the smell since part of this market is a fish market!

FORODHANI GARDENS

Although I wouldn’t call these actual “gardens,” this is the central square of Stone Town.  It has lots of trees and is a hotspot for locals and tourists alike.  I recommend going after sunset and enjoying the street food market. To get the full experience, look around for the stands that have the longest lines of locals and try some authentic Zanzibar dishes here (this means the food is good!).

PRO TIP: Locals recommend avoiding the seafood here though – it’s not always fresh!

PRO TIP 2: As a central spot for tourists, be careful of people trying to overcharge you or pretending to be waiters. Some tourists have had issues with “waiters” trying to charge them ridiculously high prices!

DRINK COFFEE AT JAWS CORNER

It might take you a while to find it as it’s among the narrow streets, but Jaws Corner is a small plaza. You can stop by and try the Arabic-style local coffee. Just be prepared – it’s definitely not like a cup of coffee with cream and sugar like you might be used to! It’s typically served black and bitter, and it is VERY strong.

DO SOME SHOPPING

There are so many little boutique stores all over Stone Town. There’s a bunch on Ginzenga Street, Kenyatta Road, and Changa Bazaar Street. You’ll also be sure to see some great stores for souvenirs as you’re wandering around.

I wasn’t planning on buying anything, but I loved the jewelry so much, I bought myself a pair of earrings! There are excellent places there where you can get some Zanzibar souvenirs to bring home!

NOTE: Zanzibar is a predominantly Muslim island. As a female traveler visiting Stone Town, you might want to dress conservatively.

2. TAKE A BOAT TRIP AND ENJOY SNORKELING IN ZANZIBAR!

If you want to do a safari in Zanzibar, you can consider a sea adventure safari as well!  Safari Blue is a company that offers full-day tours where you can swim or snorkel. Leaving Stone Town, these tours are one of the best ways to experience snorkeling in Zanzibar. You might also get a chance to swim with dolphins!

Depending on which tour you choose, you will be taken to several different places, from a sandbar to a lagoon. You’ll also get a full buffet lunch, which is usually grilled right on the beach! You can also sail in one of the traditional Dhows (boats used by Arabs and Indians that have large triangular sails).

There are a bunch of companies that offer similar tours, but Safari Blue is the most well-known. It’s also the most expensive and, while you can find identical ones for much less, they might not be of the same quality.

If you’re looking for something more exclusive, you can book your own Dhow (at $450 USD for two people) or even charter a private yacht! There are plenty of other options to choose from as well, depending on your preferences and budget.

Also, be sure to book directly through the company, as some places charge you extra for the booking!

NOTE: You may have heard of dolphin tours in Zanzibar. These tours typically use the boats to scare the dolphins and prevent them from leaving an area so that tourists can swim with them. It’s dangerous and scary for the animals. Safari Blue doesn’t offer a specific “dolphin tour,” so you can see and swim with dolphins if they happen to be around where you are, but they don’t scare the animals or do anything unethical!

3. TRY SOME LOCAL DISHES – EXPERIENCE AUTHENTIC ZANZIBAR FOOD

 

You can get these local dishes anywhere on the island if you know where to go, but Stone Town might be the easiest place (and most authentic!) to try them.

For you foodies out there, there are also several food tours you can take, in case you don’t want to discover everything by yourself or if you are short on time. For example, the 3-hour “Taste of Zanzibar” guided tour will bring you to various local stalls and restaurants where you can try authentic flavors. You can also do a 2-hour Afternoon Food Expedition which includes a traditional lunch, as well as other samples.

If you want to go around the city and try some authentic food by yourself, here are some traditional dishes I can recommend:

Zanzibar pizza

You might be thinking that you’ve had pizza before, but not like this! This isn’t like any pizza you’ve ever seen. It’s more like a pancake or pupusa. The dough is folded up so that all the ingredients are inside and then it’s cooked on a hot metal pan. You can get these with chicken or beef, and they usually also include an egg, cheese, onion, bell peppers, and mayo. You can also get it with chili if you like spice! If you’re looking for a sweet treat, some vendors even make these with Nutella or mango and cheese.

Biryani and pilau

There are two rice dishes that are traditional on the island – biryani and pilau.

To make biryani, the rice is cooked separately from the meat and sauce. Once everything is finished, then everything is combined and it’s served with an amazing sauce.

Pilau is cooked all together with all the ingredients in the same pot, giving the rice an incredible flavor. You can get it either with your choice of meat or without any meat. I recommend that you try both and see which you like better!

Urojo Soup

This is a flour-based soup with mango and lemon flavors. It also usually has potatoes served three ways in it – cubed, fried mashed potatoes, and potato shavings- along with lots of spices and meat. With a slightly sour flavor and a lot of tangs, this soup is something you definitely have to try! It’s a lunchtime favorite of Zanzibar people.

Zanzibar tea

Zanzibar isn’t known as the “spice island” for nothing! When I came back from my hike to Kilimanjaro, I was feeling a bit under the weather. This tea was a really amazing blend of spices and helped me clear my throat!

Mishkaki (maybe with an octopus!)

Mishkaki is a meat kabob where the meat is marinated in spices and then grilled. These are common snack food and you can get them with any kind of meat you like.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try them with an octopus! The island is known for its “octopus hunters”, so octopus is a common addition to lots of dishes.

PRO TIP: Be careful where you get these, as some places reheat them after they’ve been sitting out. It’s best to watch them grill yours so you can see that it’s fresh.

Mandazi

Mandazi is a fried dough, a bit similar to a donut, but not as sweet. These are eaten alone or with dips and accompany a lot of dishes.

Learn to Cook Zanzibar Food

If you completely fall in love with the flavors of Zanzibar, you can take a cooking class and learn how to bring the food home with you! Most tours will take you out to the market to collect the ingredients and then show you how to prepare traditional Zanzibar food. You’ll end the day with a full belly and a lot of new knowledge! Some classes also include a spice tour so you can do both on the same day. Prices start at $41 USD a person.

4. TAKE A SPICE TOUR IN ZANZIBAR

Early settlers soon learned that the island was perfect for growing a variety of different spices. As a result, there are lots of spice farms on the island. You’ll also taste the spices in the food, of course!

One fun thing to do is to take a spice tour where you can visit a spice farm and learn about how they grow and process all the different spices.

I did a spice tour combined with a town tour of Stone Town. It was a long day (and it involved a bit of walking!) so you can consider doing them separately, but it’s up to you! Plus, this is also a great Zanzibar attraction if you’re traveling with kids.

The spice farms are free to visit, but the guides work for tips. You can also book a 3-hour tour for $36 USD a person if you want a private experience. If you’re short on time and want to see the town and a spice farm, the 6-hour Sultan Panorama Tour will show you everything you want to see in Stone Town – you’ll visit a spice farm, and you’ll get to see a local village!

NOTE: Please note that spice tours are a VERY touristy thing to do. The guides will start making your crowns out of palm trees or other accessories before you know it. If you’re not a fan of these kinds of things, you might be better offer to avoid these tours. On the other hand, if you don’t mind something touristy, you’ll actually get to learn a lot about spices! We got to see cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, and cloves.

5. VISIT JOZANI FOREST

 

These monkeys are black and white with red backs and you’ll be sure to see a few if you visit the forest. You’ll also see lots of birds and unique butterflies, too!

The park is open every day from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm. There is an entrance fee of $8 USD that includes a brief tour. Then you can wander around the mangrove boardwalk on your own. You can tip your guide if you like, but it’s not mandatory.

When I visited Zanzibar, we had just come back from an amazing safari, so we opted out of visiting Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park only because we didn’t think there was any chance it could compare to our epic safari adventure!

It’s best to hit the forest if you’re heading from Stone Town to Paje Beach (or the other way around). That way you can stop along the way and not make a detour for a quick visit.

NOTE: Tanzania is full of national parks. In fact, 45% of the country’s territory is a protected area! But there’s only one on the island so you really should visit it if you want the chance to see some unique Zanzibar wildlife!

 

6. TRY KITESURFING IN ZANZIBAR!

If you are searching for some adventurous things to do in Zanzibar – try kitesurfing! It’s one of the best spots in the world to do it!

Kitesurfing is a sport where you ride standing up on a small surfboard or kiteboard and let the wind drag you along while you hold onto a kite. This is a full-body sport

and you’ll definitely be feeling a bit sore the next day!

Page is considered to be the best place to kitesurf, but you can also take lessons at Nungwi beach or Jambiani beach. In fact, most tourist beaches offer kitesurfing lessons, so if you’re just starting out you can pretty much give it a go anywhere!

PRO TIP: The best time to go if you want to kitesurf is from January to February or June to September. If you’re there during this time, you might also get to see some expert kite surfers doing tricks and jumps!

There are plenty of different instructors and centers where you can learn to kitesurf, so shop around based on where you are and see what works for your timeframe and budget. One option is Kite Centre Zanzibar, which offers lessons for beginners (all equipment included) starting at around $330 USD per person.

NOTE: By the way, if you want to check out a place in Zanzibar to surf, most kitesurfing places also offer surfing as well.

7. HEAD TO THE NORTH OF THE ISLAND – NUNGWI BEACH

Most of you are probably already planning on hitting this popular beach and, if it’s not on your must-see list, it should be!  This is the island paradise you’re dreaming of – picture-perfect soft, white sand beaches and clear turquoise water.

NOTE: Zanzibar beaches that aren’t part of a hotel or resort aren’t really well taken care of and there tends to be a lot of garbage on them so don’t waste your time visiting them. Instead, go to the beaches that have some infrastructure. If there is at least one restaurant nearby, that’s a good indication that the beach around it is probably swimmable.

Kendwa beach is right around the corner (10 minutes by car) from Nungwi Beach. You should check it out too and, while you’re there, don’t forget to watch the amazing sunset!

8. EAT AT THE ROCK RESTAURANT ZANZIBAR

Zanzibar doesn’t have a ton of attractions in the typical sense of the word, but The Rock Zanzibar might just be one of them! It is something that you’ve probably already seen on postcards as well!

This is a unique restaurant that is off the coast of Pingwe, located on an actual rock. Depending on the tides, you may have to wade out into the water to reach the restaurant.

To get the full experience, the best time to go there is during the day for lunch. For dinner, it will usually be too dark to really see all the surroundings (and it gets dark quite early – around 6 pm).

NOTE: Because of its popularity, the restaurant has pre-set seating times. You must book in advance and arrive to eat either at 12pm or 2pm (for lunch).

The Rock Zanzibar prices are a bit higher than some other restaurants in the area because of how unique the dining experience is. Expect to pay at least $60 USD per person for a proper lunch.

9. VISIT PRISON ISLAND

This island is off the coast of Stone Town and is also known as Changuu island (don’t mix it up with Canggu in Bali!).  Although Prison Island in Zanzibar seems like an intimidating name (and like it might not be a fun day trip!), it’s a bit of a misnomer. There never actually was a prison on the island. They used the island to house rebellious slaves in the 1860s and as a place to quarantine people with yellow fever.

Nowadays, the island is a tourist destination because it is home to giant tortoises. It’s a peaceful sanctuary for this vulnerable species. Some people estimate some of the tortoises on the island are more than 150 years old!

To get to Prison Island, you have to take a 25-minute boat ride from Stone Town. Most hotels can help you book a tour or you can head to the beach and look around for someone advertising one. If you want a more in-depth tour with a chance to snorkel, you can book a private tour! If you want a tour that takes you to all the sights in Stone Town and Prison Island all in one day, consider this tour instead. That way, you’ll get to see a bit of everything that Stone Town and Prison Island have to offer!

The island is open every day from 9:00am to 4:15pm. You can plan to spend about 2-3 hours there during your visit (or longer, depending on the tour you’ve booked). The island does have a $4 USD entrance fee, which may be included with the cost of your tour (make sure to check or ask beforehand!)

10. TRY SNORKELING OR DIVING IN ZANZIBAR AT ONE OF THE ATOLLS

If you’re a fan of snorkeling or diving, there are some great places to do this in Zanzibar as well. Mnemba Atoll, located right off the north-east coast, is considered to be the best spot. You’ll see all sorts of colorful fish!

NOTE: Divers, remember – you should have at least a 24-hour rest between your dive and your flight (for your safety!).

If you’re near Mnemba (Kigomani or Matemwe beach village), you can hire a boat from someone right on the beach. This is the cheapest way to do it, but don’t expect luxury! These boats are not fancy and are about as simple as they come. Also, if you do it this way, don’t forget to bring your own snorkeling mask!

 

PRO TIP: If you are into photography, you might want a waterproof camera or a GoPro to record everything you see around you!

NOTE: Please do not touch the coral while diving or snorkeling. They are really sensitive and it takes years for them to regenerate if you disturb them. Treat the coral with respect. Remember, you are a guest there, so just look, don’t touch!

10 Safari Do’s and Don’ts

Both vehicles are full of travelers like you, and both are out for their morning game drive. But there’s one major difference between them.

You see the vehicle in front? That one is full of people who exude proper safari etiquette. They are responsible wildlife lovers whose actions represent a favorable approach to safari. The second Land Cruiser? Well, that one is full of folks whose behaviors prove less appropriate for safari.

Look: the road forks ahead and each vehicle chooses a road. Let’s follow them separately to better understand what to do and what not to do on safari, shall we?

 

Vehicle #1: Good Safari Etiquette

1. DO Be Courteous of Volume

A man in the backseat asks the driver: “Are acacia trees negatively affected when giraffes graze their upper canopy?” (Answer: acacias actually depend on large grazing herbivores – View Source). He doesn’t yell or take up all the driver’s attention. Instead, he lets others have the opportunity to ask questions. Being patient and punctual is important on safari, as time and space is both shared and limited.

 

 

 

2. DO Wear Natural Colors

Approaching the first vehicle we notice that everyone is wearing natural colored clothing—khaki, olive, brown. Wild animals can respond adversely to bright colors like reds and blacks, while bugs love blue. Also, having a scarf or jacket nearby is highly recommended, as all-day game drives can run the gamut of weather.

 

3. DO Learn Swahili Greetings

A woman in the Land Cruiser spots movement in the bush, and she politely asks the driver to slow down, thanking him in Swahili, “Asanti sana.” Tanzanians appreciate when you try their language out. A little bit goes a long way. Here are some essential phrases to try.

 

4. DO Pack Light

As the first vehicle stops to watch four cheetahs perch on a rock outcropping, peer in the back of the vehicle. Note that everyone’s luggage is compact and durable. Packing only the essentials for your safari, in durable bags, helps getting in and out of the vehicle, while making room for others.

5. DO Tip your Guides

In each bag, you’ll find some US dollars, meant to tip each guide after the safari is over. This is an industry-wide expectation. Easy Travel’s professional drivers will be with you nonstop throughout the journey, answering questions, giving cultural context, and providing one of the most memorable trips of your life. So tips are encouraged.

 

Vehicle #2: Not-So-Good Safari Etiquette

Now that we’ve seen what some good safari etiquette looks like, let’s check in on the second Land Cruiser and see what we might avoid while searching for that pride of lions.

 

6. DON’T Get Out of the Vehicle

As we pull up, someone is outside the second Land Cruiser, taking photos of an elephant in the distance. This is major safety concern and is not advisable until your experienced driver can find a safe place to do so. Easy Travel guides have decades of experience and will ensure that each passenger is safe and secure at all times.

 

7. DON’T Be Obnoxious

Inside the second vehicle, everyone talks loudly over each other. Be aware of others in your safari group. Make sure that your voice is considerate and not overbearing for you or the wildlife. (Note: many animals are extremely sensitive to sound. Did you know that elephants can hear storms from as far as 150 miles away? They can even hear through their feet!

 

8. DON’T Be on your iPhone

A young man sits in the front of the vehicle and flips through text messages, just as a Bateleur eagle flies overhead with its six-foot wingspan. Missed opportunity! Each safari offers but three to four days of game drives, and, believe me: they will go fast. So turn off your devices and turn on your focus towards wildlife.

 

9. DON’T Stop for Everything that Moves

This Land Cruiser starts and stops every mile because each traveler asks the driver to stop whenever they see a gazelle. Gazelles, though majestic, are everywhere, and your driver wants to show you all of what Tanzania has to offer.

Easy Travel guides know all the nooks and crannies of Tanzania and they are excited to show you them off. And this takes time.

 

10. DON’T Choose Inexperienced Safari Operators

Be sure and choose a safari provider that knows what they’re doing. Locally-owned and operated, with state-of-the-art, customized Land Cruisers and over 25 years of safari experience, Easy Travel knows the most exciting regions of each park and reserve in the country. So choose wisely, travel responsibly, and be ready for a life-changing experience.

 

Bottom Line?

Safari is all about celebrating the wild places. It’s about honoring the wonderful creatures that live there. So tread lightly, express genuine interest in Tanzanian culture, and choose an outfitter that’s both experienced and responsible. With these in mind, you’re bound to have a life-changing experience.

What to Wear on your Tanzania Safari

Planning what to wear and essentials to bring on your upcoming safari in Tanzania is not all that complicated. Everything you need is most likely in your closet already! Our clothing suggestions apply for all seasons on a Tanzania safari while different guidelines apply if your route is to the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro or heading down to the famous Zanzibar beach.

TANZANIA WEATHER

The best wildlife viewing months in Tanzania are during the Dry season from late June to October. The best chance of seeing the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti is during June and July and the time to see the wildebeest calving is late January to February. Tanzania’s main rainy season, or the ‘long rains’, last during about March, April, and May.

WHAT KINDS OF CLOTHES ARE RECOMMENDED FOR SAFARI?

Casual, comfortable and easy to wash clothes are recommended. The goal is to pack lightly as most lodges and camps will launder clothes for a small fee. Safaris are informal, and there is no need to dress up. Do plan to dress in layers so you can adjust to temperature changes as early morning game drives can be quite cold depending on the time of year while daytime temperatures can get quite warm. Stick to neutral or khaki colors and avoid wearing dark blue or black clothes as these colors tend to attract tsetse flies. Wide brimmed hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent are a necessity. After sunset, we recommend that you wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and socks and spray insect repellent to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

RECOMMENDED SAFARI CLOTHING TO BRING

  • T-shirts and tank tops
  • Long-sleeved shirts (for protection from sunburns)
  • Shorts
  • Light long pants or convertible long-short pants
  • Warm fleece pullover or jacket
  • One swimsuit
  • Cotton socks and underwear
  • Pajamas
  • One pair of comfortable walking shoes
  • One pair of sandals or flip-flops
  • Wide-brimmed hat
  • Bandana (for dust)
  • Heavy sweater, gloves, and toque if traveling in the cold season (June – August)

CLOTHING FOR ZANZIBAR

Please dress modestly when sightseeing in Stone Town or visiting anywhere outside of the beach resorts in Zanzibar. Women should not wear sleeveless or revealing tops and short skirts or thigh-high shorts (Capri trousers or at least knee-length shorts are fine). Men should wear shirts, pants or knee-length shorts.

WHAT ARE SOME OTHER ITEMS TO PACK?

We strongly recommend that you carry-on all important items such as prescription medication, camera equipment, essential toiletries (please keep in mind many airlines have liquid restrictions) and one or two changes of clothes in case of checked luggage delays or loss.

PACK LIGHT! HERE ARE THE TOP THINGS TO BRING WITH YOU ON A SAFARI:

 

  • Passport
  • Plane tickets
  • Travel Insurance Policy & Emergency Contact Numbers
  • Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate (if applicable)
  • Safari itinerary
  • U.S. dollars in large and small denominations ($20, $50 & $100 bills should be issued after 2005)
  • Credit cards and ATM bank cards
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Small flashlight or headlamp
  • Insect/Mosquito repellent
  • Eye drops and extra contact lenses or spare glasses (if applicable)
  • Anti-bacterial hand sanitizer
  • Tissue paper and small travel towel (washrooms in Tanzania often don’t have toilet paper or paper towels)
  • Camera, extra memory cards, batteries, and charger, if applicable
  • UK plug adapter and transformer/voltage converter, if applicable
  • Ziplock bags for toiletries, camera equipment, snacks, etc.
  • Personal toiletries
  • Small first aid medical kit including Tylenol or ibuprofen, antimalarial pills, cold and allergy medicine, itch medication, band-aids, stomach ache remedy, antibiotic cream, diarrhea medicine, prescription antibiotic for travelers diarrhea (Ciprofloxacin) and any prescription medications.

On Safari Vehicle Etiquette

Most of your time on safari will be spent in the back of a safari vehicle which you will likely share with a number of other keen ‘safari-goers’. So, it is worth keeping a few basic rules of vehicle etiquette on safari in mind:

1. Be ready on time

Following proper vehicle etiquette on safari is important. So, always try to be ready to board your vehicle at the agreed time, having been to the toilet and with everything you will need for the day (cameras, binoculars, sunblock etc).

2. Be considerate (and courteous)

Be prepared to indulge the interests of others in your group.  They will hopefully do likewise for you. And don’t always rush for the ‘best’ seat. Be considerate of others. Remember to practice good vehicle etiquette on safari.

3. Talk in moderation

Try to avoid talking incessantly during game drives, as this can be very disruptive to the other guests and even off-putting for the guide!

4. No sudden movements

Avoid standing up or making any sudden movements when close to animals. This will likely startle them and they will either run off or take offence! You should also be careful not to ‘rock’ the vehicle (shuffling in your seat or unnecessary movements) when the other occupants are attempting to get that perfect photograph.

5. Be patient

There is no script on safari and it may be that you need to wait by a waterhole or stop to scan the horizon to find something of interest. Be patient (and vigilant) – the next great sighting is likely just around the corner.

6. Do not hog the guide

By all means take the opportunity to learn from your guide by asking questions…but be careful not to hog his/her attention at the expense of the other guests.

7. Be prepared

Do try to be self-sufficient in terms of binoculars, storage cards, warm clothing, sunblock, bottled water etc.

8. Talk quietly (rather than whisper)

This is important not only so that the other participants can enjoy the outdoor experience, but also so as not to disturb the wildlife. Do not whistle or bang on the vehicle to attract an animal’s attention. This is very poor form!

9. Advice for smokers

Don’t automatically assume that because you are in the great outdoors that your smoking habit will not bother the other passengers. Try to be considerate and request a ‘smoke’ break/stop – perhaps while the others are taking their ‘comfort’ break. And please DO NOT leave your cigarette ends stomped into the dirt. Put them in your pocket and dispose of them when you get back to camp.

10. Advice for families

If you are a family with small children, be aware that others in the vehicle may not think that little Johnny’s antics are very conducive to an enjoyable safari! Where possible, it is always advisable to arrange, or at least request, the sole use of a safari vehicle if you have a family with young children.

10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Tanzania

There truly is something to suit every kind of holidaymaker in Tanzania. From incredible game reserves teeming with wildlife to glorious beaches, luxurious accommodation and incredible culture and food. Here are just 10 reasons why you should think about spending your next holiday there.

1. The Great Migration

Africa is full of amazing wildlife experiences but one of the most spectacular to witness is the Great Migration. A once in a lifetime experience and on the bucket list of many a traveller to Africa, none can surpass this incredible spectacle: a million wildebeest crossing the plains of the Serengeti in search of fresh grass while braving predators and perilous river crossings.

2. Mount Kilimanjaro

Located in North Eastern Tanzania, Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and can be seen from far into Kenya. The mountain represents a powerful life force for the local Chagga people and all those who have made their lives around the mountain, providing rich volcanic soils for agriculture and an endless source of pure spring waters. 75,000 people climb Kilimanjaro every year so it is not the most untouched mountain, nor is it the most arduous, however it is still an awe inspiring sight to behold and highly recommended for anyone with even a vague interest in mountaineering.

3. Zanzibar

What better way to round off a safari adventure through Tanzania than to spend some time relaxing in Zanzibar on one of its beautiful white sand beaches. Known as the “Spice Island”, Zanzibar has brought visitors from other lands since time immemorial – Persians, Chinese, Arabs, Indians and many more have all sailed their vessels into Zanzibar’s harbour over the centuries, bent on trade and sometimes plunder. Make sure to visit Stone Town to explore its spice markets and superb Arabic architecture. If diving is more your thing then learn to dive at one of the many dive centres the local resorts boast – the waters around the island are very clear and host a huge diversity of marine life.

4. The Food

Tanzanian cuisine is a mix of traditional African food, with a strong Arabic/Indian influence, especially along the coast and in Zanzibar. Surrounded by the ocean, Zanzibar is renowned for its seafood with most hotels in the area offering a fantastic variety of fresh seafood menus. For the ultimate foodie experience, visit the Stone Town night food market. Offering a variety of delicious eats, this lively market is a must-see to experience the local people and culture.

5. Outstanding Accommodation Options

Tanzania provides visitors with a variety of choices when it comes to accommodation. For the ultimate luxury safari experience there is the Four Seasons Serengeti, for those looking for an authentic tented safari experience there are are camps like &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas and Selous Serena Camp and for honeymooners or couples, Zanzibar offers a plethora of luxury resorts such as Hideaway of Nungwi and Ras Kutani.

6. The Maasai People

The Maasai people of East Africa live in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania along the Great Rift Valley on semi-arid and arid lands. They’re well known for the special red cloth they wear which is called a Shuka and their highly energetic customs. They openly welcome visitors to the area to experience their culture and lifestyle first hand.

7. Wildlife and Birdlife

Tanzania has the largest concentration and diversity of animals in Africa and there are over 1000 bird species to spot in the country. Tanzania is home to some of the world’s most treasured national parks and game reserves including the Selous Game Reserve, which is the world’s largest game reserve and home  to more than 120,000 elephants, 160,000 buffalos and 2000 rhinos. Selous is also home to large concentrations of hippos, crocodiles and wild dogs.

8. The Ngorongoro Crater

A jewel in Tanzania’s crown is the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera and haven to a wondrous array of animal life which makes the crater a “must do” on any visit to Tanzania. The backdrop of the crater walls makes for some stunning photographic opportunities as you see the animals wander through the grasslands on the crater floor towards the lake.

9. The Western and Southern Safari Parks

Southern and western Tanzania are very often overlooked by travellers intent on visiting the more well known parks of the north, yet these regions are highly regarded among serious safari-goers. The southern parks of Selous and Ruaha offer seriously good wildlife, plus a wider choice of activities and much better value for money than can be found in Northern Tanzania. The remote western parks of Mahale and Katavi are expensive and more difficult to get to, however they do both offer a unique safari and African wilderness experience

10. Chimpanzees in Mahale National Park

The small and remote Mahale Mountains National Park is found in the very West of Tanzania and on the shoreline of Lake Tanganyika. Chimpanzee treks are the main draw card here and seeing them in their natural habitat is a truly magical experience. When you are with the chimps you will be able to observe their very human-like behaviour as the younger ones play in the trees and the adults observe and squabble amongst themselves.