Tanzania has dedicated nearly a quarter of its land to game reserves and national parks and hence, tourism is its biggest draw, attracting nearly 800,000 visitors every year. Keeping this in mind, both government agencies and private entrepreneurs have pulled out all stops to make Tanzania a dream destination for visitors from the African continent as well as international tourists.
To make your holiday perfect, it’s important to keep some things in mind before and during your trip:
Accommodation: Whether you’re in a tented campsite or a luxury lodge, remember that unless you’ve chosen to live close to a big city, your location is basically miles away from urban facilities like the Internet, your cell-phone may not work and there’s no TV. Electricity in most camps and lodges is through generators, and lights-out is quite early. Bathroom facilities may not be what you’re used to and water conservation is practiced in most camps and lodges.
Climate: Tanzania enjoys temperate climate in the northern area and it gets hotter towards the south and the coast. Year-long sunshine is assured but there are two main rainy seasons: April-May (Long) and November-December (Short). Make sure you plan your vacation based on this and carry the appropriate clothing.
Great Migration: This is the annual event that most tourists flock to watch in Tanzania. Hence, make sure you book early if that’s what you want. November-March and June-July are the key periods when more than two million wildebeest, zebra and thousands of predators move across Serengeti. However, you can also watch the great elephant herds move to Tarangire River in July-October. So you can plan your vacation based on these time-lines.
Safety: ATM machines would of course be difficult to find on safari, but travelers’ checks and major credit cards are accepted. It is risky to change money on the street or through unauthorized people. Apart from maintaining safety precautions while on safari, like not stepping out of your vehicle, or going off-road, it is also important not to indulge in displays of excessive wealth, wear heavy jewelry, or leave your valuables unattended. Health-wise, always drink bottled water, make sure you’ve carried all your prescription medications with you and check about malaria prophylactics before you travel.
Culture: Generally, being respectful of the country’s traditions means that you don’t denigrate the local customs, make sure you dress appropriately, especially if you’re traveling to Zanzibar, check with your tour operator about giving gifts and tips and never photograph people without their permission. Social and religious beliefs among the Masai should be respected. Also don’t buy animal pelts, skins or body parts to take home. This is illegal.
So go ahead and have a dream vacation in Tanzania!