Why should I visit Tanzania?
Top 5 reasons you should visit Tanzania:
• First and foremost – Experience the great Wildebeest migration
• Climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain.
• Visit the Masaai people group
• Experience Zanzibar with its culture and beaches
• Ngorongoro Crater
It is very difficult to select only 5 reasons why you should visit Tanzania as the country has so much to offer. I have however selected these 5, as the bulk of the 1.3 million tourists that visit Tanzania each year, cannot all be wrong. I however prefer more off-the-beaten-track destinations like Selous Game Reserve, Mahale National Park, Ruaha National Park, Mafia, Pemba and Mnemba islands and quite a few other little islands dotted around Zanzibar. There is something to suit everyone’s taste, but not always everyone’s budget.
What is the best time of the year to visit Tanzania?
The best time to visit Tanzania depends on why you are travelling to Tanzania. If you want the experience the great migration in the Serengeti, June and July are the best months to visit. If you want see the vast herds spread out over the green Serengeti plains, where they give birth to their young, January & February are the best months. The best time to visit the Ruaha National Park, Selous Game Reserve, Tarangire, Katavi and Mahale Mountains National Parks, the dry season (June to October) is the best month to travel.
As Tanzania is just below the equator, it does not experience the 4 normal seasons. Its year is made up of the short rains (November), long rains (March to May) and the dry seasons in between.
Which places should I include in my visit?
For the Safari enthusiasts, Tanzania has 16 national parks and 17 game reserves. About 40% of the country is protected in some way.
The National Parks include: Serengeti National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Tarangire National Park, Arusha National Park, Ngorongoro Crater & Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Ruaha National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, Katavi National Park, Mahale National Park, Saadani National Park and Rubondo National Park.
Game Reserves include the Selous, still quite untouched.
What is the best time to visit the Tanzanian National Parks?
How long should I visit Tanzania for?
For a short visit the Tanzania I would suggest two options:
1. A combination of Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti
2. A bush and beach combination of Zanzibar and the Selous
For a longer visit to Tanzania I suggest:
1. Lake Manyara National Park combine with Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti with perhaps and extension to Mahale National Park
2. A circuit of The Selous, Ruaha, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro & the Serengeti.
You can always add on a beach and cultural option after the safari trip to just relax.
What is the weather like in Tanzania?
Zanzibar and the coastal areas are hot and humid and average daily temperatures hover in the 30°C range. October to March is the hottest period. Sea breezes, however, temper the regions’ climate and June to September is coolest with temperatures falling to 25°C. In the Kilimanjaro area, temperatures vary from 15°C in May-August period to 22°C over December – March. As you head to the peaks of Kilimanjaro, temperatures can drop to below freezing, especially at night.
The climate is temperate in the northern national parks. The central plateau suffers a dry and arid climate with hot days and cool nights. The highlands in the south and northeast are cool and temperate. For the country as a whole, the hottest months are October to February. The long rains fall between March and May and the shorter wet season falls in November.
Do I need a visa to travel to Tanzania?
All visitors require a visa except citizens of some African and commonwealth countries. It is advisable to obtain visa’s in advance from Tanzania Embassies and High Commissions as some airlines may require it before allowing you to board. But you can also be issued with a visa on arrival at Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro international airports and at the Namanga Gate on the Kenya/Tanzania border. Passports must be valid for at least six months.
What are the health requirements for travel to Tanzania
Visitors entering Tanzania from yellow fever infected areas require a yellow fever international certificate of vaccination. This is required at least 10 days prior to travel. Exemptions are made for visitors arriving from non-endemic areas such as Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Visitors who travel via an infected region will be required to produce the certificate.
The north-western forest region is considered a high-risk area for yellow fever. Malaria is common in Tanzania. Visitors are strongly advised to take anti-malaria medication commencing two weeks before travel.
It is recommended to take vaccinations against hepatitis A, polio and typhoid. HIV-AIDS is prevalent in the country and I cannot emphasize enough the need for protective measures. Some freshwater lakes and rivers carry the risk of Bilharzia and you are advised not to swim in such areas. Though proof of vaccination is not required, cholera is a risk throughout the country and precautions are necessary. Modern hospitals and chemists are available in Dar es Salaam, Arusha, and other major urban centers.
More About Tanzania
Tanzania has more land devoted to national parks and game reserves than any other wildlife destination in the world. Everything from pristine coral reefs to the Crater Highlands, remote game reserves, and the famous national parks are protected by government law and placed in trust for future generations.
Almost everywhere you go you’ll find interesting wildlife and inspiring landscapes (over forty percent of the country is protected in some form or other) ranging from forest-covered volcanic peaks to dusty savanna populated by elephants, antelopes, lions, leopards, and cheetahs.
Tanzania is one of the four most naturally diverse nations on earth: it contains Africa’s second-largest number of bird species (around 1500), the continent’s biggest mammal population and three-quarters of East Africa’s plant species (over ten thousand). Add to this the country’s rich ethnic diversity, some superb hiking, and other activities like snorkeling and diving, and you have the makings of a holiday of a lifetime.
Masaai People Group
No the above is not the incorrect spelling. The British settlers adopted the incorrect spelling of the Masai, which means people speaking maa. Masai was the incorrect spelling of the British settlers and has remained in current use. The Maasai have always been special.
The picture of a fierce warrior with long hair wrapped in red cloth is the iconic look that we have come to associate with this people.
The Maasai live in large areas in Northern Tanzania and Southern Kenya. In Tanzania, Maasai are found in the Serengeti National Park and in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, where they live following ancient traditions passed down orally through centuries.
The Masaai live in huts built with wood, mud and dung; at the centre of the village there is always a fence (boma) where livestock is locked up at night, to avoid attacks by predators, such as lions and hyenas.
Even clothes and jewelry have remained unchanged over time, the red fabrics are used both by men and women; besides the Maasai wear numerous bling and jewels, that make them so recognizable, on wrists, ankles and neck. The jewelry is made using wire and coloured beads; the colours used have a specific meaning and help to identify the social status of the wearer.
Livestock are the centre of the Maasai culture and indeed represent the status and wealth of the family. They are semi-nomadic shepherds and they believe their one god, Enkai, gave them all the cattle on earth.
General Info & History
The United Republic of Tanzania is located in Eastern Africa between longitude 29 and 41 degrees East, Latitude 1o and 12 degrees South.
The United Republic of Tanzania was formed out of the union of two sovereign states namely Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Tanganyika became a sovereign state on 9th December 1961 and became a Republic the following year. Zanzibar became independent on 10th December 1963 and the People’s Republic of Zanzibar was established after the revolution of 12th January 1964. The two sovereign republics formed the United Republic of Tanzania on 26th April 1964. However, the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania is a unitary republic consisting of the Union Government and the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government.
Tanzania has a spectacular landscape of mainly three physiographic regions namely the Islands and the coastal plains to the east; the inland saucer-shaped plateau; and the highlands. The Great Rift Valley that runs from northeast of Africa through central Tanzania is another landmark that adds to the scenic view of the country. The country has the largest concentration of wild animals. It also has pristine sandy beaches and Africa’s highest and snow-capped mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Dar es Salaam is the commercial capital and major seaport for Tanzania Mainland and it serves neighboring land-locked countries of Malawi, Zambia, Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda, as well as Eastern DRC. Other seaports include Zanzibar, Tanga, and Mtwara. Because of its geographical and locational advantage, Dar es Salaam Port presents itself as the gateway into East and Central Africa. Furthermore, this renders Tanzania as a logical investment destination for investors.
The Year 2005 General Elections
Since attaining political independence in 1961, Tanzania has held without fail Presidential and Parliamentary Elections (general elections) after every 5 year period. Following results from the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections held on 14th December 2005, the 4th President of Tanzania, H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete was sworn into office on 21st December 2005 for a five-year term of office.
Since 1985, Tanzania has followed a two-term limit for the Presidency. President Kikwete’s campaign slogan was “New Vigour, New Zeal, and New Speed: Promoting Better Life for all Tanzanians”. The majority of Tanzanians have been inspired by this and have rallied strongly behind the President. The country enjoys political stability and all former Presidents, Vice Presidents, and Prime Ministers live in Tanzania and are accorded respect. On 25th June 2006, President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete was elected Chairman of the ruling political party (CCM) by its General Congress.
Economic Policy Stance
The Government of Tanzania under the leadership of HE President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete (popularly referred to as JK) is committed to the pursuit of sound, consistent and predictable macroeconomic policies with low inflation. The policy stance is one of building on the foundations and successes of the 3rd Phase Government (November 1995 – December 2005) and scaling-up implementation and policy targeting more effectively and efficiently with “New Vigour, New Zeal, and New Speed”.
Promotion of good governance, adherence to the rule of law, promotion of private sector development and opening up new areas with high economic potential are some of the key issues of the 4th Phase Government. Expansion of investments, job creation, export expansion, value addition chains and scaling-up on human capital development are consequent and complementary actions within the policy stance.
One of the key areas of policy focus is the promotion of sustained and shared economic growth. The 4th Phase Government is committed to pursuing pro-investment and pro-growth policies. Moreover, the Government is committed to the promotion of public-private sector partnership and in this regard, the public and private sectors meet under the umbrella of the Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC), a forum of policy dialogue and consultation between the public and private sectors. Academia, research institutions, NGOs, CSOs, and others, are also engaged in dialogue via a number of other forums such as the Public Expenditure Review (PER) designed to promote wider participation in policy discussions.
Tanzania has a vibrant national consultative process that cements national unity and social cohesiveness, which ultimately contribute to promoting peace, security, and stability, attributes that are important for a conducive investment climate. With such attributes, coupled with its vast natural resources base, geographical and locational advantage, a large domestic market and a labor force, Tanzania is an ideal investment destination.
The local currency is the Tanzanian Shilling (Tsh). Visitors can take in any amount of foreign currency, subject to declaration. Taking out of foreign currency is limited to the amount declared upon arrival. Import and export of Tanzanian currency are however prohibited. Major currencies such as US dollars and now the Euro and traveler’s cheques can be converted at major hotels, banks and forex bureaus in the main towns and tourist areas.
In Tanzania plastic is not highly rated and credit cards are not widely accepted. And when accepted the exchange rate is unfavorable. But it is still a good idea to carry your credit cards, as the conversion rate will not matter in case of urgent need. If saying at one of the bigger hotels, however, your card will very likely be honored. Do not be tempted to change money in the streets however favorable the exchange rate may appear.
How can I travel around Tanzania?
All the major towns in Tanzania are connected by tarmac all-weather roads. But outside this network, quality deteriorates. You can enjoy speedy connections by bus or car to Arusha, Morogoro, Moshi, Lushoto, Tanga and Dar es Salaam. It is useful to find out first the quality of the roads and estimated travel time when traveling overland. Between Air Tanzania and Precision Air, you will access the main internal routes. Contact us for your reservation for scheduled services. Charter flights are available mainly from Arusha, Mwanza, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar to other parts of the country.
Rental cars are reliably available from Arusha, Dar es Salaam, and Zanzibar. Rail service is available to the main towns except for Arusha. Long haul bus service can connect you to the main towns in the country. It is advisable to find out beforehand if the quality of rail and long haul bus service is acceptable to you. For short haul travel, the popular way to get around is by means of dalla dalla (shared taxi).
Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. The economy depends heavily on agriculture, which accounts for more than 40% of GDP, provides 85% of exports, and employs 80% of the workforce. topography and climatic conditions, however, limit cultivated crops to only 4% of the land area. Industry traditionally featured the processing of agricultural products and light consumer goods.
The World Bank, the IMF, and bilateral donors have provided funds to rehabilitate Tanzania’s out-of-date economic infrastructure and to alleviate poverty. Long-term growth through 2005 featured a pickup in industrial production and a substantial increase in output of minerals led by gold. Recent banking reforms have helped increase private-sector growth and investment. Continued donor assistance and solid macroeconomic policies supported real GDP growth of nearly 7% in 2007.