Frequently Asked Questions – Tanzanian Safaris
What is the best time of the year to visit?
There is no one best time to visit Tanzania but there are two peak periods between January and March and again from July to August corresponding with the calving season for the wildebeest (January to March) and when the wildebeest are in the northern Serengeti crossing the Mara River (July to October). The heaviest rains fall in April and May and it can be difficult to get around the parks at times and some lodges are closed. That being said, anytime of year can be a great time to visit Tanzania and we would be more than happy to prepare a custom safari itinerary for you making sure you get the best experience possible.
When is the migration?
Contrary to what most people think, the migration is taking place all year. Depending on the month and weather patterns, the big herds of wildebeest, zebra and to a lesser extent gazelles can be found in different parts of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Zoom Photo Safaris has a presence on the ground in Tanzania so we are in the best position to plan an itinerary that takes into account the optimal places to be according to the time of year.
Will I need a visa and how much does it cost?
Please visit the United Republic of Tanzania website http://www.immigration.go.tz/ to see what the visa requirements, cost and application process are for your country.
How much money will I need to bring with me?
Most safaris are all inclusive with the only extra costs being for drinks, laundry, phone/internet, souvenirs and gratuities. There are numerous ATM machines that dispense Tanzanian Shillings only. Aside from Tanzanian Shillings you can also pay in $US cash at most places but be sure to only bring notes that are newer than the year 2006.
What sort of camera and binoculars will I need?
One of the most important items to have with you on safari is a good pair of binoculars with which to observe birds and animals. Good brands include Nikon, Canon and Bushnell and for those wishing to go really high end you can’t go past Leica and Swarovski optics in the 10 x 42 range.
Another important piece of equipment to have is a camera and like binoculars, you’ll want a lens that allows you to get up close to animals and birds. Again Canon and Nikon are great brands for your more traditional DSLR cameras while Sony, Fuji and Panasonic are great when it comes to more compact mirror-less varieties. You’ll want a focal length of at least 400mm and you might want to consider a wide-angle lens for landscapes.
Zoom Photo Safaris has a limited assortment of binoculars and camera equipment that you can borrow, subject to availability. We are also more than happy to give you up to date information and recommendations on specific equipment and accessories should you book a Safari with us.
What sort of food and drinks will be served in the camps?
Food on safari is generally set menus with a number of choices however specific requests can easily be catered for and you will be asked prior to your safari if you have any specific dietary requirements or preferences.
All meals are prepared from fresh, local ingredients and washed in bottled or filtered water. There will be a plentiful supply of clean drinking water available both in camp and in your vehicle whilst on game drives or transfers along with a wide variety of fresh juice, sodas, wine and spirits.
What sort of insurance will I need?
It is important that you organize travel and medical insurance prior to your departure from home. Additional medical evacuation insurance specific to Tanzania can also be arranged by Zoom Photo Safaris for around $30 per person and is highly recommended.
Will I need to take any medicine or have any vaccinations?
The only medication that it is strongly recommended that you take prior, during and a short time after your safari is Malaria prophylaxis. Please consult your doctor to see what they advice you to take – Zoom Photo Safaris recommends Malarone.
As far as vaccinations are concerned, none are compulsory but a number are strongly recommended including Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Hepatitis A & B and Tetanus. You might also want to consider Meningitis and rabies shots. For up to date information please consult the Tanzanian Government website or contact us here at Zoom Photo Safaris.
What clothes, toiletries and medication should I pack and what is my weight allowance?
A packing list will be sent to you specific to your safari prior to departure but it’s worth noting that when deciding how many clothes you should bring, laundry is readily available in all camps and lodges. As a general rule you won’t need any more than the following – 3 long sleeve shirts, 2 short sleeve shirts or t-shirts, 2 pairs of shorts (zip-off long pants work well as the temperature can vary throughout the day) 1 pair of long pants/jeans, 4 pairs of socks and underpants and a wide-rimmed hat.
As far as luggage allowance is concerned, there is often an internal flight on a small plane so it’s a good idea to keep your checked luggage to 30 pounds or less – it’s also a good idea to use soft, duffle type bags and not hard cases as there is often limited space in the safari vehicles.
Lastly, it’s important to keep all of your camera equipment, binoculars, important medication and any other valuables such as credit/debit cards, cash and your passport on your person in your carry-on bag. It’s also a good idea to pack a change of clothes on your way over and any essential toiletries in case your checked bags are delayed. A more comprehensive packing list of suggested medication and toiletries will be sent along with the clothing list prior to your departure.
Are gratuities expected and what should I pay?
Gratuities are not mandatory in Tanzania but they are appreciated. We suggest that you leave group tips in camps and lodges and don’t hand over money to individuals – there are usually boxes for this purpose and if not, you can hand cash in an envelope to the manager on departure. The only individual tips you might want to leave are for your guide and driver. A gratuity guideline will be sent to you specific to your itinerary and number of participants prior to departure.
Will there be Internet access on safari?
Many of the camps and lodges now have complimentary Wi-Fi however you should expect to go days without access particularly in the more remote tented camps.
What is the voltage in Tanzania and what plugs are used?
Electricity in Tanzania is based on the English system, which means it is supplied at 230 Volts & 50Hz. The plug sockets are 3-pin, square as in the UK but you needn’t worry about bringing more than one adapter, as Zoom Photo Safaris will provide you with a 4-socket universal power strip for the duration of your stay. You also needn’t worry about bringing a power converter as all camera battery chargers and computers run on 120 – 240 Volt range. Please do not bring hair dryers with you as they will not work in most camps – you will however be provided one in select lodges and hotels.