Over the years we've compiled a ton of great information and resources to answer frequent safari questions and help enhance your trip. This section is updated often with new material as our guests make inquiries about traveling with us. Please feel free to browse the links below or download our comprehensive handbook as a guide to ensure you are fully prepared for your adventure in Tanzania.Download Handbook
Regarding the question of where to stay in Amsterdam, we highly recommend the Sheraton, which is inside the Amsterdam Airport. It's great because it's actually inside the terminal so you can walk there with your luggage (only about a 10-minute walk inside the terminal after you clear customs). Plus, it's a 5-minute walk from the train station, which has direct trains to Amsterdam Centre for all the shops and museums. This train ride is only about 20-minutes. Accordingly, as soon as you get off the plane you have an easy walk to the Sheraton to check in and relax. Then, you can take train to Amsterdam Centre and go see the sights. The best part is that the next morning when you leave you don't have to stress about getting to the airport because your hotel is actually inside the airport! See the link below for more information about the hotel.
Add an extra night upon arrival at Mount Meru Resort (a hotel in Arusha) to relax and recuperate before beginning your safari. Optional activities are available on this extra day or you may choose to simply relax and enjoy the property and facilities at this charming lodge.
Nikon Action 7 x 35 Ultra Wide View Binoculars are available for each person to use while on safari in Northern Tanzania. Your safari vehicle will be stocked with enough binoculars so that everyone will have their own pair. Binoculars are essential for game viewing. You need them to see small or distant animals clearly and they greatly increase your ability to observe behavior of larger animals. In addition, binoculars enable you to see much better in dim light. Binoculars between 7 and 12-power are suitable for game viewing. The higher the number, the greater the magnification will be. However, unless you have very steady hands, you may have trouble seeing clearly with a 10 or 12-power binoculars. Accordingly, we recommend 7 power binoculars for the average person. The second number on binoculars refers to the diameter of the larger, objective lens. The larger the objective lens, the more light is transmitted and the greater the relative brightness of the image. At the same time, though, the field of view becomes much smaller and the binoculars need to be much bigger. A good compromise is somewhere in the 30's. Putting both numbers together, we recommend a 7x35 or perhaps an 8x32.
For those seeking more powerful binoculars, we recommend that you purchase a pair of binoculars with image stabilization (IS). The more powerful the binoculars, the more vibrations are magnified and even a slight movement of your hands will shake the image. With higher magnification binoculars, the image shake may quickly become intolerable. However, image stabilized binoculars offer a solution to this problem and even powerful 12x binoculars become instantly sharp and steady once the 'IS' is initiated. Our personal favorite 'IS' binoculars are the Canon 10x30 IS Image Stabilized binocular and especially the Canon 12x36 IS Image Stabilized binocular. These binoculars are powerful enough to spot a leopard at 500 meters while at the same time remaining perfectly steady so that you can enjoy hours of wildlife watching. We find that www.binoculars.com seems to have the best prices on these Canon Image Stabilized binoculars.
There are two options for bathrooms while on game drives. Since you will be conducting a private safari with plenty of opportunities where there will be no other vehicles in sight, the easiest, safest and most private spot is directly behind the vehicle. At any time, your driver-guide can find a safe and private area and you may simply just exit the vehicle and walk to the rear. There are large double spare tires at the back of each vehicle blocking the view from anyone else within the vehicle. Alternatively, you may also use a bush bathroom away from the vehicle that your guide checks first and deems safe. Every vehicle does come equipped with a roll of toilet paper but it's a good idea to pack a few miniature travel type rolls. Please act in an eco-friendly manner and bring small bags with you to carry out any tissue paper. There are small scented bags you may purchase at most travel stores in the U.S.
The second option would be to plan each day with your driver-guide to make sure that you pass by a bathroom every hour or when needed. This can easily be accommodated as there are ranger stations, lodges, camps, museums, visitor centers, etc. spaced throughout the various areas of your safari and each has public bathroom facilities. You might want to bring a zip lock bag with a bar of soap as some places are sometimes missing soap.
Our driver-guides are extremely sympathetic to the bathroom dilemma and will bend over backwards to make sure you are completely comfortable and accommodated with your bathroom needs. Most folks are a bit shy at first but then quickly adapt and become comfortable with bush bathrooms. Others are more inclined towards proper facilities. Regardless of your personal preferences, please rest assured that your requirements will be completely accommodated by our courteous and professional guides.
Fire plays a number of important roles in any savannah ecosystem. In the Serengeti ecosystem, fire enhances the quality and productivity of the grasslands by removing mature, coarser grasses to make room for more palatable grasses that the Serengeti's great herds of grazers prefer. However, out of control fires that burn too hot can be damaging to critical and sensitive habitats. Accordingly, the Serengeti park authorities have implemented a comprehensive fire management plan that balances these opposing forces by initiating controlled burning at the beginning of the dry season to reduce the risk of larger wildlife fires at the end of the dry season. Throughout the dry season (June to October), smoke filled air along with dust may pose an annoyance or health risk for guests and especially those with asthma. We advise all guests travelling in the dry season to bring bandanas.
The majority of the famous wildlife parks of Northern Tanzania (situated just south of the equator) rest upon an elevated plateau creating a wonderfully temperate climate. Average highs are in the low 80s and average lows are in the 50s and 60s. The temperatures are very comfortable and there is little humidity due to the high elevation. The moderate climate creates a comfortable environment for wildlife viewing throughout the entire day. Even during mid-day it is rarely too hot for game viewing and many animals remain active. Wildlife viewing is a year round event due to the equatorial climate and there really is no preferred season in terms of weather though some individuals prefer the green season as it's not as dry or dusty. Full rainy days are rare and even during the green season (November to May), there is a greater proportion of sunshine and only brief and refreshing showers are the norm.
The Serengeti National Park ranges in altitude from about 5,000 - 6,000 feet while Tarangire and Lake Manyara (situated in the rift valley) are lower in elevation (approximately 3,500 feet) and a little warmer. On the other hand, the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater is situated at 7,500 - 8,000 feet and is significantly colder especially in the early morning. During the slightly warmer months from October to March, the average high is 84 degrees while the average low is 60 degrees in the Serengeti. During the slightly cooler months from April to September, expect an average high of 81 degrees and an average low of 55 degrees in the Serengeti. However, the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater can get significantly colder due to the high elevation and one needs a heavy sweater here year round. June, July and August are the coldest months and lows can sometimes drop into the 30s and 40s at the Ngorongoro Crater though daily high temperatures are unaffected. Make sure to bring a heavy sweater, gloves and warm hat during June, July and August for those early morning game drives in the Ngorongoro Crater.
There are two pronounced seasons in Tanzania including a green season from late November to early May and a dry season from mid May to mid November. In most regions of East Africa, rainfall is usually higher in November and December (the short rains) than in January and February (the short dry season) and then rain falls again in March, April and May (the long rains). However, this is not the case in Northern Tanzania and especially in the Serengeti National Park! The so-called 'short rains' and 'long rains' in Northern Tanzania are significantly less pronounced and rain tends to fall sporadically from mid November to late April or early May. It has been completely unpredictable during the last ten years as to which green season month or months receive the most rain. In any event, the sporadic rain showers do not hamper your ability to game drive and, in fact, only enhance wildlife viewing. There is an old adage in the Serengeti that 'rain means game' and this definitely rings true during the green season when the herds are on the vibrant green plains especially in March and April.
Please keep in mind that most guidebooks are not destination specific and their data is not representative of Northern Tanzania but rather East Africa as a whole, which can be very misleading due to the unique climatic and geographic features of Northern Tanzania (Ngorongoro Highlands, Lake Victoria, etc.).
Rainfall gauges in Northern Tanzania (specifically in the Serengeti where most people spend the majority of their safari), indicate that the rains typically start in mid to late November and continue to fall sporadically or irregularly until early May. Toward late April or the beginning of May, a northeasterly wind springs up, signaling the start of the long dry season. Please keep in mind that rain showers do not hinder your ability to game drive and few years are typical and the onset and severity of seasons vary widely.
The majority of the lodges and camps in Tanzania have a telephone on the premises that can be used if you need to communicate with someone from home. Additionally, many of the lodges have email access including the Arumeru, Serena, Sopa, Mbalageti, Mbuzi Mawe, Ndutu, Bilila, Wildlife and the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge properties. You may also access email at one of the high-speed Internet cafes in the small town of Karatu, which is between the Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara or in the city of Arusha. The Internet cafe in Karatu has four high-speed computers and is conveniently located on the main road (feel free to ask your driver-guide to stop there for a break from driving, a cold drink and a chance to access your yahoo, hotmail, etc. email account). A good idea is to create a free yahoo or hotmail account before you leave so you can keep in touch with family and friends via email while on your safari.
You will be provided with emergency contact information to give to your family and friends on how to contact you in the bush. In case of an emergency, a family member can contact our emergency mobile phone, which is carried by a member in Los Angeles 24 hours a day. We will then immediately relay the message to our Arusha office and they will contact your driver guide by long distance radio. We will also try telephoning the lodge or camp where you will be staying. Whether you are out game driving in the bush or residing at a lodge, we will be able to contact you in case of an emergency.
Every vehicle is equipped with a long distance radio. These radios are used for communication between other driver-guides for game reports and with our main operational office in Arusha. If there is any problem on safari, your driver-guide can immediately handle the situation as he is trained and has the experience to handle any problem. He also can use his long distance radio to communicate with our operational office in Arusha.
You will also be provided with our in-country emergency contact listing before your departure. This listing includes our office numbers in Arusha as well as several emergency mobile numbers that our senior staff in Arusha carry on them 24 hours a day. If you encounter a problem while in Africa when your driver-guide is not with you (i.e. on Zanzibar or in transit), the quickest solution would be to call one of these local numbers and you will be immediately assisted.
Africa Dream Safaris employs approximately 20 professional driver-guides with an average experience of 10 years. We have very high standards when it comes to hiring and retaining personnel, and can say without reservation that these individuals are quite simply the most knowledgeable, hard working and passionate guides in the industry. All of our guides are local Tanzanians, fluent in English, and most have advanced wildlife certificates from the Mweka Wildlife College - the oldest and most prestigious wildlife college in Africa. Course work includes wildlife ecology, conservation, field skills, identification, biology, and advanced tour guiding.
It may surprise some people that the secret to a great safari lies not in your specific itinerary, lodge selection or season of travel. On the contrary, the key to success lies in the skills, passion, hard work, and competency of your driver-guide. Our guides are the best of the best, and each one gives 100% on every safari ensuring that each client receives the finest safari experience. Our guides are all Serengeti Specialists and each one knows in detail the best wildlife viewing areas, secret spots off the beaten path, and migratory animal movements. To be fair and equitable to all of our outstanding guides, each guide is assigned on a strictly rotational basis.
Even in the green season, dusty conditions can be aggravating while out on game drives. The Serengeti Plains are especially prone to dusty conditions due to the shallow soil base and lack of long grass roots. During the dry season, dusty conditions are significantly worse. Please be prepared for dusty conditions and let us know in advance if you're especially sensitive to dust and we will adjust your itinerary accordingly to help minimize any negative impacts. All guests sensitive to dust are advised to bring bandanas.
Photography and video equipment may be especially prone to dusty conditions. It is a good idea to bring a bag that can be easily opened and completely sealed so you may store your equipment when not immediately needed. Bring a couple photo soft cloths to wipe dust from the lenses. Contact lens wearers may be especially sensitive. Please plan accordingly and bring an ample supply of lens lubricant.
There are only a handful of lodges and camps in Tanzania that offer self-contained family style accommodations suitable for families of 4 persons or more while most properties in Tanzania can only accommodate a maximum of 3 persons per room or tent. Please see further below for a list of specific properties with suitable family style accommodations for families of 4 persons or more.
At properties that can only accommodate a maximum of 3 persons per room or tent, it is our policy to book 2 x twin rooms for a family of 2 adults and 2 children where one parent can sleep with each child. Furthermore, we then put in a request for those 2 x twin rooms to be next to each other (i.e. adjacent). We do our best to communicate clearly and forcefully with the lodge managers so that they honor our adjacent room request but this is ultimately at the discretion of the lodge managers. Similarly for a family 2 adults and 3 children where no family style accommodations exist, it is our policy to book 1 x twin room and 1 x triple room where one parent can sleep in each room and we request the 2 x rooms to be adjacent. We always request adjacent rooms/tents (i.e. rooms next to each other) with each lodge on all family itineraries, but we cannot guaranty such requests as it is ultimately at the discretion of the lodge manager/owner.
Though family style (i.e. quad rooms) are limited in Tanzania, we may be able to design your program completely around family style accommodations if this is your #1 priority. Please contact your safari specialist to discuss all your options.
We do recommend that families bring walkie-talkies to stay in contact during the night as one is not allowed to leave the safety of their tent without being escorted at many properties. Again, please contact your safari specialist to discuss all your options. If it is critical that your family stay in family style lodges and camps for the duration of your safari, you may need to be flexible in your dates and itinerary as specific accommodations may be limited especially in the summertime and holiday periods.
Some properties that do have family style accommodations suitable for a family of 4pax or more include:
Most flights within East Africa including the flight from Arusha to the Serengeti have a baggage restriction of 33 pounds per person. Excess luggage is charged at $2 per pound if it can be accommodated on the flight. Please carry-on all valuables and do NOT check in any luggage containing items such as camera equipment, iPods, laptops, etc. to avoid theft. Please note that the flight to the Serengeti may make multiple stops before arriving at your destination airstrip depending upon the destinations of the other passengers. This can be an inconvenience. The pilot will know each guest's destination airstrip and he or she will make sure you disembark at the correct airstrip. The flights can be quite loud and you may wish to bring disposable ear plugs.
You will be briefed upon arrival as to the exact pick up time for your transfer to the Arusha Airstrip for your internal flight to the Serengeti. Pick up time from your hotel in Arusha will vary based upon the location of your hotel, current traffic conditions and flight departure time (usually 8.00am but it can vary by as much as 60-minutes). It is critical that you be ready and on time for this airport transfer as the morning Serengeti flights board and depart promptly.
Though we do our best to minimize driving distances by including a flight to the Serengeti, there are a few long drives that are unavoidable in our regular safari itineraries. Accordingly, you may wish to add additional flights between game drive locations. Some of the longer drives include those from the Central Serengeti lodges to the Ngorongoro Crater lodges and also the Ngorongoro Crater lodges to the Tarangire lodges. Please talk with your safari consultant if you are interested in adding additional flights to your itinerary to alleviate one or more of the longer drives.
Please be aware that the majority of time on safari is spent in a vehicle game driving and wildlife viewing. Please advise us well in advance of any potential problems with long duration game drives and we will plan your itinerary accordingly and alert your driver of the situation in order to minimize any negative impact. Our private safaris are completely flexible and if need be we can shorten game drives and transit times, add additional flights and eliminate areas of rough terrain from your itinerary.
Transit driving is a big turn-off for most people, and here at ADS we certainly don't like it! Nobody likes to waste their precious moments in Africa driving from point A to point B without anything interesting in between. The whole idea behind our "fly in, drive out" program is to minimize transit. Luckily, once you get to the Serengeti, most of the lodges are going to be logistically situated within an easy 1-2 hour drive from each other (if you were to drive straight without stopping that is). So there is some driving, but the vast majority of these drives are through the heart of the National Park so they are a "game drive", not just a "transit drive". (As a result, the drives themselves do take longer than they would have to, but that's only because you are stopping to enjoy all the animal viewing opportunities along the way!)
There are two exceptions with longer drives, that occur on our itineraries that need to be given careful consideration including 1) the drive between the Central Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater (approximately 4 hours), and 2) the drive between the Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Park (3 to 6 hours depending upon the lodges selected ). Most clients find these drives still quite doable, and also find the sights in between very interesting (villages, farmlands, etc.). However, past guests have expressed disappointment with regards to the length and poor road conditions on these two aforementioned longer drives. Please talk with your safari consultant if you are concerned about long drives. There are several changes we can make to your itinerary to help mitigate these two long drives including building in an additional flight between the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater, adding another flight between the Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Park and also inserting lodges in between some destinations. A great spot to insert a lodge is in the town of Karatu, which is strategically located about halfway between the Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire/Arusha. Again, please voice your concerns to your safari specialist and he or she can provide recommendations to help alleviate some of the longer drives.
Closed Research Areas: The national park authorities will from time to time and at their discretion deem certain areas as ecologically sensitive and place them off limits to tourist vehicles (only research vehicles will be allowed access). Please inquire with your driver-guide for the most current updates. He will have the latest information available and will be able to strategize with you and offer recommendations for game drives immediately around the periphery of the aforementioned areas.
School supplies are in great need in Tanzania. You may wish to bring school supplies with you and present to a local school while on your safari. There are schools between the Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara as well as in Arusha. Some items you may wish to consider bringing include pens, crayons, exercise books, composition/spiral books, small backpacks, coloring books, colored markers, chalk, chalk board and world maps (inflatable globes are always a big hit). Please note that our guests are increasingly being hassled to pay duty upon arrival at Kilimanjaro on donated school supplies. Accordingly, we recommend distributing school supplies among your regular clothes and luggage to reduce the chance of being asked to pay duty. A better alternative to bringing school supplies to Tanzania would be to bring a little extra cash and we can take you to a school supply shop in Arusha to purchase supplies and then assist you with delivering them.
Rather than giving out school supplies on an impromptu basis along the way, you might consider a making a more organized contribution to one of the schools we work with on a regular basis. One worthy school we are working with at the moment is School of St. Jude's. If you want to stop by the school and visit them in person to see the kids or deliver supplies, please let us know and we can set up a tour for you with one of the school administrators, as long as school is in session during that time.
If you want to lighten your load completely, one alternatively option would be to sponsor a child at St. Jude's or make a financial donation towards school supplies, which can help the school make curriculum specific purchases that you know will be used to their full potential. You can make a donation before your safari, while you are there, or after you get home as the school makes it very easy to do online: schoolofstjude.org/Donations/donate.html
Some individuals like to bring a small gift for their driver-guide. A good option for this would be a t-shirt or hat with a logo of your local sports team of any other item identifying with your hometown. If bringing a t-shirt, a large size is usually appropriate.However, we do believe the best gift you can give is simply bringing your excitement about your safari. Also, we suggest bringing three questions that you think will 'stump' your guide.
You will find that your driver guide quickly becomes your best friend in the bush and it is very natural to want to continue to communicate with him after your safari ends. As a safari outfitter, we have guidelines for maintaining communication so that the professionalism of our company remains intact. All communication should be sent to our main office in the US with the driver guide's name clearly in the "subject". We will forward all emails on your behalf and the driver guides will communicate back to you in the same way. This is very similar to the policies of other US companies making sure that employees maintain appropriate relationships with customers . While it might be appealing to write to a driver guide's private email, it is not permitted for a driver guide to provide their personal information and we want to be sure none of our staff are put in a compromising position. A driver guide will not ask for your private email and we hope that our clients will not ask the driver guide for this information either. Tanzanians are very friendly people and if asked for an email, they are often uncomfortable to say no, despite the company policy.
A common inquiry we receive from our returning guests is that they would like to send a care package to their guide to thank them for their wonderful experience. You may certainly send a package directly to our office at P.O. Box 2189, Arusha, Tanzania (just address it to the name of your guide). Please note that shipping from the U.S. to Tanzania via the USPS can take months and can sometimes be unreliable so we do suggest adding tracking to your shipment.
The short answer is "No". You can see The Great Migration by visiting Tanzania alone, but if you just go to Kenya without visiting Tanzania you may miss it! The long answer: If you look at a map, you can see that Tanzania borders Kenya, and that the Serengeti National Park butts up against the Northern border of Tanzania (aka Southern border of Kenya). The Maasai Mara is quite simply a small extension of the Northern Serengeti ecosystem, the part that lops over the Kenya border, and even though it is a large area, it is quite small in size compared to the vast Serengeti on the Tanzania side.
It's true that a (relatively) small portion of the Migration may spill over into Kenya's Maasai Mara during the dry season, August through September, but even during this time it is estimated at least 80% of the Migration is always on the Tanzania side. There is not a convenient way to cross the border from Tanzania to Kenya at the Mara, or vice versa. There is a gate "Sand River/Bologonja Gate" that links the Maasai Mara to the Serengeti, but this is NOT an official border crossing between the two countries.
It's no secret that the Maasai Mara has become overbuilt with many tourist lodges, and Tanzanian officials have been adamant about keeping the Sand River Gate closed "for environmental reasons", which basically means keeping all those crowds of Kenya tourists at bay. Not a particularly convenient policy for people wanting to visit both countries, but it has been an invaluable strategy in keeping the Northern Serengeti in its pristine condition. There is another border crossing at the "Isebania/Sirari Gate" several miles away, but the trip consists of hours and hours of unpleasant transfer driving that has not always been the safest route. Accordingly, as stated previously, you can see The Great Migration by visiting Tanzania alone, but if you just go to Kenya without visiting Tanzania you may miss it. But don't take our word for it. Per the latest research report in 2008, which was published in Serengeti III , Human Impacts on Ecosystem Dynamics:
The most convenient, efficient and safest point of entry into Tanzania is |*link=http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/amsterdam-layover*|Kilimanjaro Airport via Amsterdam|*link*| on the daily Delta / KLM Airlines flight. Kilimanjaro Airport, which is next to the small town of Arusha, is the origination point for all Northern Tanzania safaris. The only major airline serving Kilimanjaro is KLM Airlines, a code share partner of Delta. Delta / KLM flights can easily be booked directly at |*link=http://www.delta.com*|delta.com|*link*|. Airport codes for major East African cities are Kilimanjaro (JRO), Dar es Salaam (DAR), Nairobi (NBO), Entebbe (EBB) and Zanzibar (ZNZ).
KLM/ Delta offer daily flights from most major cities in the U.S. to Kilimanjaro International Airport. The flight consists of two segments. The first segment is from your departure city in the U.S. direct to Amsterdam. The second segment is from Amsterdam non-stop to Kilimanjaro. The daily flight from Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro arrives into Kilimanjaro in the late evening. Accordingly, we highly recommend Mount Meru Resort, which is located close to the airport, on your arrival night. Our signature fly in and drive back safaris begin early the following morning with a short flight to the Serengeti. On the outbound flight from Kilimanjaro to Amsterdam, the KLM flight departs late at night and we normally incorporate a day room at Mount Meru Resort to relax before your departing flight.
For planning purposes, if you were to depart the U.S. on a Monday, you would arrive Kilimanjaro on Tuesday night. On the contrary, a departure from Kilimanjaro on a Monday would yield a Tuesday afternoon arrival back in the U.S. You may wish to add a layover in Amsterdam for a night or two to help break up the long flight. If you do choose a layover in Amsterdam, it is recommended that you incorporate the layover at the beginning of your trip. Additionally, you may wish to add a 2nd night in the Arusha/Kilimanjaro area at the beginning of your trip to recuperate from the flight and before beginning your safari.
KLM operates 747-400s on its U.S. to Amsterdam routes. From Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro, KLM operates 767-200s, which are comfortable wide body aircraft. Flight time from the east coast to Amsterdam is about 7 hours while it is about 10 hours from the west coast. Flight time from Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro is about 8 hours. The return flight times are a little longer. Please note that there is a 45-minute stop over in Dar es Salaam on the return flight from Kilimanjaro to Amsterdam though you are not permitted to leave the aircraft.
For those individuals adding an extension to Zanzibar after a safari, it is more optimal to depart from Dar es Salaam (15-minute flight from Zanzibar) as opposed to Kilimanjaro (1-hour and 15-minute flight from Zanzibar). Additionally and as discussed above, the daily return KLM flight from Kilimanjaro stops in Dar es Salaam before continuing on to Amsterdam. In conclusion, for those adding a Zanzibar extension, we recommend a Kilimanjaro arrival and a Dar es Salaam departure. This routing is not considered an 'open jaw' ticket and can easily be arranged. For those individuals adding a Kenya or Uganda safari extension, we recommend a Kilimanjaro arrival with a Nairobi departure. Again, this is not considered an 'open jaw' ticket and can easily be arranged.
Some of the flight connections from the U.S. to Kilimanjaro on KLM Airlines may have significant layovers (2 - 6 hours) in the Amsterdam airport before the connecting flight. Accordingly, you may wish to consider this great little hotel inside the Amsterdam airport (no clearing immigration or security) that you can book by the hour (or overnight) - |*link=http://www.yotel.com*|Yotel Hotel|*link*|. The cost is about 65 Euros for 4 hours for a premium room and you get a cozy little cabin (air con, comfy bed, shower, toilet, sink, tv, wifi, pull out desk & room service).
Tanzania Visa fees are included in your safari price and are prepaid for all KLM arrivals into Kilimanjaro. Our dedicated Visa specialist will meet you in the customs area upon arrival into Kilimanjaro International Airport at about 8.00pm on the daily Delta/ KLM flight arrival. He will have your name posted on a sign and will issue your Tanzania Visas enabling you to avoid the long custom lines. Each person will simply need to provide a passport valid for at least six months past your arrival date. Please make sure you have at least 2 blank pages in your passport. You will be immediately transferred to Mount Meru Resort, which is only 30-minutes from the airport, for a late dinner and a good night's sleep. The next morning you will be transferred to the domestic airport for your short flight to the Serengeti to begin your safari. Upon arrival in the Serengeti, your driver-guide will welcome you to the most prolific wildlife viewing area in the world. Your expert guide will accompany you from this point forward until your departure from Kilimanjaro Airport at the conclusion of your safari. All Africa Dream Safaris are 100% escorted.
The non-stop KLM flight from Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro qualifies for the Yellow Fever Vaccination Exemption. All travelers flying this 'non-stop' KLM flight from the U.S./Europe to Tanzania do not transit through a Yellow Fever Infected Country are NOT required to have the Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate. Please see the health section for further information.
As discussed above, the most convenient and efficient way of getting to Tanzania is on the daily Delta / KLM flight directly into Kilimanjaro via Amsterdam. Again, the Kilimanjaro-Arusha area is the launching point for all Tanzania safaris. If a direct Kilimanjaro arrival on Delta / KLM is not possible, there are several good alternatives on British Airways, Swiss Air and Emirates Airlines. Each of these airlines has arrivals into Nairobi, Kenya and/or Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Besides our main Africa Dream Safaris office in Arusha, we have satellite offices in both Nairobi and Dar es Salaam to facilitate transfers, overnight layovers and connecting flights to Kilimanjaro to begin your safari. The flight time from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro is 50-minutes and the flight time from Dar es Salaam to Kilimanjaro is 1-hour and 15-minutes. Upon arrival into Nairobi or Dar es Salaam, we can provide connecting flights to Kilimanjaro. Depending on your specific flight schedule, an overnight may be required in Nairobi or Dar es Salaam before connecting onwards to Kilimanjaro. If this is the case, we can also arrange hotels and corresponding transfers in both Kenya and Tanzania.
Please note that we are able to issue visas at Nairobi Airport (Kenya Visas) and Kilimanjaro Airport (Tanzania Visas). We are unable to issue Tanzania visas at the Dar es Salaam airport. For those persons arriving into Dar es Salaam, you will need to obtain your own individual Tanzania Visas upon arrival at a cost of $100 per person. Simply fill out the short form upon arrival into Dar es Salaam.
Please note that all travelers flying to Tanzania via or in transit through a Yellow Fever Infected Country such as Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda are required to show proof of the Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate. For example, this would include those persons flying to Tanzania through Nairobi, Kenya on British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Swiss Air, Kenya Airways, Brussels Airlines, KLM and Emirates. Please see the health section for further information.
British Airways offers flights to both Nairobi (NBO) and Dar es Salaam (DAR) where you can connect to Kilimanjaro on a regional flight to begin your safari. There are 3 flights a week from the U.S. to Dar es Salaam and daily flights from the U.S. to Nairobi via London.
The British Airways Dar es Salaam flight arrives about 7.00am into Dar es Salaam. Upon arrival we can provide transfers to the domestic terminal and a Precision Air flight departing Dar es Salaam at 8.20am and arriving Kilimanjaro at 9.35am or a Coastal Aviation flight departing Dar es Salaam at 9.00am and arriving Arusha at 11.00am. Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro or Arusha, we can either fly you to the Serengeti (Coastal Aviation Arusha to Serengeti 12.30pm - 2.10pm) to immediately begin your safari or you may wish to spend the night in Kilimanjaro-Arusha before flying to the Serengeti the following morning. We highly recommend the latter. The return flight departs Dar es Salaam at about 8.35am and an overnight stay in Dar es Salaam is required the night before. The afternoon before your return flight we would fly you on Precision Air from Kilimanjaro to Dar es Salaam at 3.50pm to 5.40pm or Air Excel from Arusha to Dar es Salaam at 12.30pm to 2.35pm. We would then provide transfers and accommodations at the charming Royal Palm Hotel in Dar es Salaam. The following morning we would transfer you back to the Dar es Salaam Airport for your morning British Airways departure.
The British Airways daily Nairobi flight arrives about 9.00pm requiring an overnight in Nairobi. Upon arrival we can issue Kenya visas and provide transfers and hotel accommodations at the charming Palacina Hotel in Nairobi. The following morning we would transfer you back to the Nairobi airport for a 50-minute flight to Kilimanjaro on Precision Air at 8.00am to 8.50am or 10.00am to 10.50am. Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro, we would issue your Tanzania visas and fly you to the Serengeti to begin your safari. There are two flights from Arusha to the Serengeti that you could connect with including Coastal Aviation at 12.30pm to 2.10pm or Regional Air at 3.00pm to 4.05pm. The return flight departs Nairobi at about 11.00pm, which conveniently lines up with a Precision Air flight from Kilimanjaro to Nairobi at 7.40pm to 8.30pm. When routing through either Nairobi or Dar es Salaam, the beginning and ending of your safari itinerary will be adjusted accordingly to provide the most efficient logistics.
Swiss Air has several flights a week between the U.S. and East Africa via Zurich, Switzerland. The second leg of the flight departs Zurich in the morning and arrives Nairobi at about 6.30pm and then continues onwards to Dar es Salaam arriving at about 8.30pm. The return flight departs Dar es Salaam at about 9.30pm to Nairobi and then departs Nairobi at about 11.30pm arriving Zurich the following morning. When using Swiss Air, we recommend flying into Dar es Salaam and out of Nairobi. This is the less expensive option as you avoid Kenya visa requirements.
Upon your evening Swiss Air arrival into Dar es Salaam we can provide transfers and accommodations at the charming Royal Palm Hotel. The following morning we would transfer you back to the Dar es Salaam Airport for your Coastal Aviation flight departing Dar es Salaam at 9.00am and arriving Arusha at 11.00am. We can then fly you to the Serengeti to begin your safari on Coastal Aviation departing Arusha at 12.30pm and arriving Serengeti at 2.10pm. The return flight on Swiss Air departs Nairobi at about 11.30pm, which conveniently lines up with a Precision Air flight from Kilimanjaro to Nairobi at 7.40pm to 8.30pm.
Emirates Airlines has daily flights from New York (JFK) to Dar es Salaam or Nairobi via Dubai using the brand new A340-500 aircraft. Emirates Airlines consistently receives the highest ratings and awards for service and comfort. The economy seats are a little larger then most other airlines and each comes equipped with a personal entertainment system with video on demand. The flight consists of two non-stop segments with the first from JFK to Dubai and the second from Dubai to Dar es Salaam or Nairobi.
South African Airways offers daily flights from Johannesburg (JNB), South Africa to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. This is a good option for those individuals routing through South Africa for any number of reasons or for those adding a South African extension to Cape Town or Victoria Falls. The daily flight (approximately 4-hours in duration) departs Johannesburg at 9.50am and arrives Dar es Salaam at 2.20pm.
Upon arrival into Dar es Salaam, we can provide transfers to the domestic terminal and a Precision Air flight departing Dar es Salaam at 6.00pm and arriving Kilimanjaro at 7.15pm or an Air Excel flight departing Dar es Salaam at 4.20pm and arriving Arusha at 6.25pm. The return flight on SAA departs Dar es Salaam at 3.20pm and arrives Johannesburg at 6.05pm. To facilitate this return flight at the end of your safari, we would fly you on Precision Air departing Kilimanjaro at 9.15am and arriving Dar es Salaam at 10.30am or departing Kilimanjaro at 11.00am and arriving Dar es Salaam at 12.50pm via Zanzibar. An overnight at one of the lodges in the Arusha-Kilimanjaro area is required the night before.
The South African immigration authorities require that all travelers have two blank pages, clearly marked "VISA" and free of any other entry/exit stamps reserved in your passport for the exclusive use of South African Immigration stamps. Travelers who do not have the required two pages may be denied boarding at the point of departure from the United States. Clients traveling to both Kenya and South Africa require 4 blank pages.
Starting in 2013, Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways now offer non-stop flights on a regular basis from Istanbul and Doha to Kilimanjaro. There is also regular non-stop service between several major cities in the U.S. and Istanbul and Doha making Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways a great alternative to KLM Airlines especially considering these two airlines have significantly reduced fares and efficient flight routing/travel time.
Turkish Airlines has introduced non-stop flights to Istanbul from 4 cities now (Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C.). Once in Istanbul, it is a relatively quick 6-hour flight non-stop to Kilimanjaro. This makes flying to Tanzania from the U.S. on Turkish Airlines via Istanbul a great option. Some routes on Turkish Airlines may trigger an overnight layover in Istanbul, Turkey on the way back from Kilimanjaro. Many ADS returning guests have reported positive feedback on this forced layover as the sightseeing opportunities in Istanbul, one of the largest tourist destinations in the world, can be tremendous.
If you do find yourself with a flight itinerary that includes one night in Istanbul, you can either get your Turkey Visa in advanced by going online and obtaining a Turkey e-Visa with 3 easy steps (#1 apply online, #2 make payment via credit card and #3 download your e-visa) at: evisa.gov.tr/en. Make sure to keep the Visa in your passport and take with you for entry into Turkey. Alternatively, you can get your visa upon arrival at Istanbul Airport for a cost of $20 per person. Just join the visa line first, pay the $20 and get your visa affixed to your passport. Then, and only then should you proceed to the immigration line.
Lastly, you may wish to consider flying Comfort Class (i.e. Economy Plus) on Turkish Airlines on the transatlantic portion of the flight. Comfort Class has a better seat configuration with 2-3-2 and a more generous seat pitch (a measurement of legroom) of 46.0 and seat width of 19.5 (111 degrees recline) compared with the Economy seat configuration is 3-3-3 (seat pitch and width of 31 and 18, respectively). Note this only available on the Boeing 777 version 2 aircraft.
Since we are a ground operator in Tanzania, we do not book international flights. If you'd like some additional assistance with booking your flights, feel free to call Cathy King who is an airline booking agent. Cathy has helped many of our clients with airline bookings to Tanzania in the past, and she is familiar with the appropriate routings. She is based in North Carolina - Eastern Standard Time.
Cathy King (flight consolidator) Phone: 828-421-5000 Email: email@example.com You may also wish to book your flights directly online. Popular bookings sites are listed below. Please note that you can usually book your air tickets within 11 months of your travel dates.
Please make sure to confirm your international flight reservations prior to departure and obtain seat assignments (window, aisle, etc).
If a client initiates a last minute change to the safari itinerary including accommodations, flights, services, etc., the client is responsible for any additional expenses occurring as a result of that change; the same is true for changes occurring as the result of a flight delay or airline schedule change. It is usually impossible for Africa Dream Safaris (ADS) to get refunds for accommodations, flights and other services that have already been arranged and paid for, and then canceled with less than 60 days prior notice. These additional expenses are the responsibility of the client to pay for directly in Tanzania. We will, of course, endeavor our level best to minimize the costs of any changes.
Should you fail to join a safari, or join it after departure, or leave it prior to its completion, no safari fare refund will be made. Airfare may also be non refundable. There will be no refunds from ADS for any unused portions of the safari. The above policy applies to all travel arrangements made via ADS.
Furthermore, ADS is not responsible for any airline changes or costs incurred as a result of those changes, including airline schedules, fares, cancellations, over-bookings or damage to or loss of baggage and property. Any and all claims for any loss or injury suffered on any airline must be made directly with the airline involved. Air schedule changes may necessitate additional nights being added to your tour. Again, these schedule changes are beyond the control of ADS and any additional costs resulting from such changes are the responsibility of the client. ADS shall not be held liable for any delays or additional costs incurred as a result of airlines not running according to schedule.
Our published itineraries have been meticulously designed over a number of years using a variety of resources including scientific studies, first hand experiences and returning client feedback. To start with, we design each itinerary first and foremost around monthly concentrations of wildlife. Secondly, lodging options are recommended to maximize your game viewing opportunities as well as providing an optimal mixture of different styles of accommodations. Rest assured that when you book with Africa Dream Safaris you will receive the very finest wildlife viewing and lodging experience available.
All our itineraries are built upon a Fly In & Drive Back basis. This is the best way to conduct a safari in Tanzania as it maximizes your precious time and eliminates all redundancy. Each day offers something new and exciting, as you never retrace your tracks. It is also the most enjoyable and optimal way to explore Northern Tanzania. It is certainly an amazing way to kick off your adventure by first flying over this vast wilderness and then landing onto a small grassy airstrip in the world famous Serengeti!
You are at once introduced to your private driver guide and he will load your luggage into your private vehicle. Without further delay you are thrust into the heart of the wilderness on your first action packed game drive. It is likely that you will encounter many different animals, including some of the big cats, before lunch. Flying into the Serengeti forms a wonderful introduction to the spectacular parks of Tanzania, and is an extremely comfortable way to jump start your adventures. Additionally, transit time is greatly reduced giving you more quality time 'in the bush' for wildlife viewing, relaxing and other enjoyable activities that you wish to incorporate into your itinerary.
Our Fly In & Drive Back itineraries utilize different Serengeti airstrips to take advantage of seasonal wildlife concentrations:
December - April: Seronera Airstrip in the Central Serengeti
May - June: Grumeti Airstrip in the Western Serengeti
July - November: Lobo Airstrip in the Northern Serengeti
Each itinerary is designed with a minimum of four days in the Serengeti National Park. After all, the Serengeti is Africa's premier national park and offers the definitive safari experience. Two of these days are always based in the Central Serengeti around the Seronera River Valley. Several perennial rivers run through this valley enabling an abundance of resident animals to thrive year round including elephant, giraffe, gazelle, hippo and buffalo. The combination of location and resident prey attracts the largest and most diverse population of predators in Africa including lions, leopards and cheetahs.
In addition to the two days in the Central Serengeti viewing resident animals, each itinerary also incorporates two days in different regions of the Serengeti to view the migratory animals including the world famous Wildebeest Migration. These additional two days are shifted on a monthly basis as the migratory animals shift. We incorporate two days in the South Serengeti during the green season, North Serengeti during the dry season or West Serengeti during the transitional seasons. Migratory animals include wildebeest, zebra, eland, gazelle, cheetah, and hyena.
To summarize the above strategies regarding the Serengeti, each published itinerary optimizes your game viewing experience by incorporating two days in the Central Serengeti for viewing the resident animals and two days in either the North, South or West Serengeti (depending on the season) for optimum viewing of the migratory animals. Additional days in the spectacular Serengeti are always recommended as time and budget permit.
A two day visit to Ngorongoro Crater is always featured in every itinerary, as this unique place is truly one of the most fascinating wonders of the world. This section of the itinerary includes either two days on the rim of the Crater, or one day on the rim and one day in the nearby Crater Highlands. The end result is always two separate game drives into the Crater including our legendary early morning game drive - we pride ourselves on almost always being the first vehicle down into the Crater! The early morning is a magical time in the Crater - the amphitheater like stage is set with sunrise burning through the morning mist as animals frolic in the pale light. Enjoy a picnic breakfast at your leisure. There are certainly fewer crowds to distract you in the early morning, as most packaged tours wait to complete a leisurely breakfast back at the lodge before starting their game drive. Morning is also the best time to view the Crater's infamous Black Rhinos.
Lake Manyara is always included in every itinerary as its jungle-like ambience offers very different scenery compared to the rest of the parks, and it also presents a unique wildlife viewing experience. Lake Manyara is especially good for viewing elephants and primates, and its convenient location makes for an easy stopover enroute to either Tarangire or Arusha. Tarangire National Park is incorporated into our itineraries during the dry season or during the green season as time permits.
We highly recommend diversifying the types of accommodations throughout your safari by including smaller tented lodges, private mobile camps as well as a few larger hotel style properties. The smaller lodges do provide a more intimate, natural and authentic safari experience and can be much more rewarding. However, our specialty is providing private safaris customized to each individual's personal interests and our published itineraries represent general examples. Each itinerary may be completely customized. Please contact us and we can work with you to develop an itinerary that best meets your specific preferences and requirements.
Your custom tailored itinerary can be built from the ground up and include not only the most appropriate lodges, camps and regions but also each day's specific activities. Every detail of your entire trip can also be pre planned to the smallest detail based upon your specific likes and dislikes. These fine details are all reflected on your final day-by-day itinerary. Your driver-guide will have a copy of this itinerary and will execute each day as described, however he will remain flexible to adjust for last minute game reports as well as your requests and suggestions while 'in the bush'. This is the most optimal method as you will begin your adventure with the solid foundation of a fine-tuned plan, but at the same time you will retain the ability to adjust on the fly as you deem necessary.
The official language in Tanzania is Swahili but there are hundreds of other local dialects. English is the second official language and the country's commercial language. It is also the main teaching language used for all higher education institutions. You will find that the majority of the people that you come in contact with are fluent in English and have a surprisingly good command of the language. Some useful and fun Swahili words and phrases are as follows:
English / Swahili
Hello / Jambo
Response to Jambo / Jambo or SiJambo
How are you? / Habari?
Good / Nzuri
How's Things? (fun slang) / Mambo?
Good (fun reply to Mambo) / Poa
Have a good trip (safe journey) / Safari Njema
Thank You / Asante Sana
You're Welcome / Karibu Sana
Yes / Ndiyo
No / Hapana
OK / Sawa
No Problem / Hakuna Noma
Good Night / La La Salama
Tanzania's culture is a result of African, European, Arabic and Indian influences. The mainland population is comprised of over 100 tribal groups. The Tanzanians are friendly people (especially to foreigners). Politeness, respect and modesty are highly valued. Handshakes are very important and it is also kind if you learn a few basic Swahili greetings before you arrive. Immodest attire or tattered clothing and open anger are disrespectful to the Tanzanian people.
One of the key privileges you gain by choosing a private safari is flexibility in how you spend your time. Every day brings choices and one of the most important decisions you can make is whether to have breakfast and lunch at the lodge or rather a picnic box in the bush.
Early morning game drives at the first light of dawn are pure magic, and we strongly encourage you to partake in them! And there will likely be times you want to stay out on safari all day, either for an adventure game drive to a remote area of the park or to simply maximize each golden moment you are in "the bush". But even the most die-hard safari enthusiast still needs to eat! One way to get it all in without starving is to bring along a picnic *to go*. A picnic allows you to maximize your time wildlife viewing rather than delay your departure from the lodge or be forced to return to the lodge for a meal.
"Picnic boxes" (both breakfast and lunch boxes) are prepared on a daily basis by the kitchens at each respective lodge or camp on your itinerary. A typical breakfast box consists of a hard boiled egg, bacon or sausage, bread or pastries, juice and a banana or apple. A typical lunch box consists of a piece of chicken, bread, hard boiled egg, banana or apple, muffin, juice and bottle of water. These picnic boxes can be picked up from the kitchen before sunrise by your driver-guide.
Feedback from our returning clients suggests the quality of these picnic boxes is falling short of client expectations. Recent complaints include a lack of variety in the food choices, redundancy and over-cooked meats.Although we have committed substantial resources to lobby the various lodges and camps to improve the quality of their picnics, in the end we have little control over what food they prepare for the to-go boxes on a daily basis. We believe our efforts have been successful in working with some of smaller proprietors, though the larger lodges have proved more difficult to influence.
Although you can always choose a hot breakfast or hot lunch at the lodge, we still feel picnics are critical for maximizing the quality and quantity of your wildlife viewing experiences. Let's face it - a hot meal at the lodge will almost certainly result in a better culinary experience, but you can miss a lot with regards to wildlife viewing! So please keep that in mind when choosing breakfast or lunch (or both) at the lodge versus a picnic box to go.
With that being said, there are some days when it will be easier than others to return to the lodge for a hot meal should you desire to do so, and there is no reason you can't vary your decisions from day to day. Discuss the plan for each day's activities with your driver guide the night before so he can make appropriate arrangements. Your guide will certainly have suggestions, but the final decision about how to spend your time is ultimately up to you!
For those individuals who anticipate utilizing more picnic boxes, you may wish to consider bringing snacks (nutritional bars, turkey or beef jerky, dried fruit, granola, nuts, trail mix, etc.) to supplement your picnic boxes.
The "Maasai Village visit" is an optional activity we offer to enhance the cultural aspect of a client's safari. It is fairly easy to incorporate a visit to a Maasai village on a traditional wildlife safari, as there are several villages dotting the NCA landscape on the drive between the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater. However, based on recent feedback from returning clients, the Maasai village seems to be falling short of most visitors' expectations.
Although the villages we take our clients to are authentic, residents are beginning to get used to tourists stopping by. Tourists are often willing to pay money in exchange for Maasai jewelry and other wares. As a result, many of the Maasai residents have started soliciting our guests for such transactions. Although completely harmless and without foul intention, such solicitations can still make many guests feel uncomfortable. In an effort to mitigate our clients' exposure to such behavior, we have strived to take our clients further and further off the beaten path to more remote villages where the residents are less likely to solicit our guests. It was only a matter of time, however, before residents of the more remote villages started soliciting behaviors as well.
We will continue to offer a visit to a Maasai Village to all interested clients. However it is important that all guests' expectations are in line with reality before making the choice about how to best spend their time on safari. If you choose to incorporate a village visit, you can expect to see real Maasai residents in an authentic setting. You can expect to see how these unique people live, where they sleep, and maybe even see a school in session. However, you should also expect to be approached by at least some residents selling their wares. If this type of solicitation makes you uncomfortable, we recommend skipping the optional visit to a Maasai village. Please don't hesitate to discuss with your driver-guide if you have additional questions or concerns about the option of incorporating a Maasai Village visit into your safari.
The currency in Tanzania is the Tanzania Shilling though the U.S. dollar is the most convenient and readily acceptable currency. Visa and MasterCard are accepted at some lodges and larger shops. Travelers checks are difficult to cash and are not recommended but you may wish to bring for emergency purposes. It is recommended to bring enough US dollars plus an additional cushion amount to cover all additional expenses just to be on the safe side. Please make sure to bring crisp, new vintage bills as many shops, hotels and banks in Tanzania will not accept older bills due to counterfeiting problems.
The majority of the costs on your trip are included in your package. See your inclusions and exclusions section on the last page of your itinerary along with the tipping guidelines below for a gauge to determine the amount of money you will need to bring. You should bring U.S. dollars in both large and small denominations to pay for any additional expenses. Change for large denominations may be difficult. It is recommended that you bring approximately fifty one-dollar bills in a separate accessible envelope. Most of the extras on your safari including drinks ($1 - $3 per bottled water, soft drink, beer, wine or spirits where not included), laundry ($2 - $3 per item where not included), souvenirs (many under $5) and miscellaneous tips (see tipping section below) are individually under $5. Accordingly, carrying on you an envelope of one-dollar bills comes in handy. Please note that all drinks and laundry are included at Migration Camp, Private Luxury Camp, Kusini Camp, Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Swala Camp, Tarangire Treetops, Mnemba Island Lodge and The Palms Zanzibar. Bottled water at meals served from the lodge or camp is considered a bar item and not included at those lodges and camps that do not include all drinks.
Tipping is just one way for guests to "give back" to the local people of Tanzania. It's true that tipping has become a customary and integral part of the safari industry, but it remains an excellent way to recognize one's appreciation for excellent service. Many guests express a desire to understand ahead of time what amounts and methods are appropriate or customary, which is the reason for the suggested guidelines expressed here. Please see below for recommended tipping guidelines for your safari:
The biggest tip on your safari will most likely be to your driver guide. It is most appropriate to provide the tip to your driver-guide all in one lump sum amount during the last day of your safari. Large denomination bills ($50 or $100) are suitable for your driver-guide tip. Please make sure to bring crisp, new vintage bills as many shops, hotels and banks in Tanzania will not accept older bills due to counterfeiting problems.
The Meet and Greet Staff tip suggested above refers to ADS staff in Arusha, specifically the representative picking you up at the airport and transferring you to your arrival hotel; this person will also give you a "pre-safari briefing" and will ensure all your initial questions are answered. However, you do NOT need to tip the representative that meets you inside customs at the Kilimanjaro Airport to issue your Tanzania Visa.
At each lodge and camp there are gratuity boxes located in the reception area. We recommend using these gratuity boxes in lieu of providing a tip to the people that assist you directly (waiter, bartender, etc). By using the gratuity box, your tip is divided fairly among all the staff members including the ones behind the scenes such as the cooks, room attendants, housekeepers, security guards, etc. Providing a tip in each lodge's or camp's gratuity box is by no means mandatory but if you feel that you have received excellent service and are inclined to provide a tip, then a $10 per group per night tip would be sufficient. Please note that all Lemala Camp properties may have information sheets located inside your room which suggest tipping the Lemala staff $15 per person per day. These tipping guidelines are NOT applicable to guests on a private safari with ADS and are strictly intended for guests on a game package (group safari) basis. At most lodges and camps, someone will bring your luggage in from your vehicle to your room. You may wish to provide a $2 to $4 per group tip for this service. It is recommended that you bring one-dollar bills to cover tipping described above and various other inexpensive small items (souvenirs, incidentals, etc) as change is not readily available at most properties. Other discretionary tips include tipping your private butler at the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge or Mbalageti Presidential Suite (suggested at $10 to $20 per couple per stay).
Why aren't tips included in the price? Tipping may seem like an old fashioned tradition to some, but like other service oriented businesses (restaurants, etc.) it remains a cornerstone of the safari industry. Paying out tips ahead of time, even though it may be more convenient for guests who don't want to travel with cash, really robs tipping of its original purpose.
Why isn't wine and other alcoholic beverages included in the price for all lodges? How much should I expect to pay? All the lodges and camps are individually owned and operated, and we have little control over whether or not beverages are included in their rates. Nobody likes hidden costs so we can assure you we do try hard to make it very clear up front exactly what is included and excluded in each safari itinerary. Wine can typically be purchased from the various lodge restaurants or bar by the glass or by the bottle. Wine prices span a considerable range; premium wines are usually available as well as less expensive varieties and house wine. Other types of alcoholic beverages are available for purchase, including premium liqueurs, and you can basically expect to pay approximately the same as what you'd pay for the same type/brand at a typical bar or restaurant here in the US.
Why can't we pay for the balance of our safari with a credit card? We will accept a credit card for the deposits but we kindly ask you to pay the rest of the balance by check (personal check is fine). The main reason for this policy is simply costs. ADS is charged a hefty fee from Visa or MasterCard to process reward cards (i.e. mileage or points), which most of our clients utilize these days. These fees (totaling several thousand dollars for each of our larger groups) are quite substantial. We have chosen not to incorporate these excessive fees into our pricing so we can continue to provide our clients with the very finest safari experience while at the same time maintaining competitive rates. We hope this does not pose too big of an inconvenience for you in the end.
Can we use a credit card to make purchases while we are in Tanzania on safari? We encourage people to try and avoid using credit cards for small purchases, even at the lodges. It's not a matter of the shop or lodge's reputation, it's a matter of computer security in general in Africa. (Just an aside, many of the lodges and camps 'in the bush' are unable to take credit cards anyway).
The reason why we are giving this advice is because incidents have happened in the past where guests' credit card numbers were being used for other purchases in Africa after they got home. That being said, the incidents have been few and far between, just a handful of guests had a problem out of literally hundreds that had no problem. But it's good to be aware, at the very least. If you end up using your credit card, just keep an eye on your statement when you get home.
Considering I will be traveling with a fair amount of cash, do you have any advice about how to do this safely? Many guests express concern about carrying cash, which is understandable. On a trip like this it is somewhat necessary, but luckily it is easy to keep your cash safe by following a few tips and by practicing common sense. First of all, keep your money with you at all times. We recommend carrying your cash in a neck wallet or money belt, similar to those found at the following link: http://shop.eaglecreek.com/money-belts-and-neck-wallets/l/312 Luckily most animals aren't big on pick-pocketing, and since most of your time is going to be spent in wilderness areas without many people around, there is little occasion for concern there. But if you find yourself in a village, market, airport or other public place, simply practice common sense and don't flaunt your cash or valuables. While staying at the lodges or camps, don't leave your cash or valuables laying out in plain sight in the middle of your room while you are out on safari. Most local Tanzanians value their jobs too much to risk losing it for petty theft, but at the same time many of them are far from wealthy and are often using the money they make at their jobs to support the needs of family members back home. It's courteous to remember this and simply wise to not put the temptation out there for them. Many lodges or camps have security safes, or better yet just keep your money and valuables with you at all times.
Credit Card Warning: Due to recent occurrences of credit card fraud in Tanzania, we are advising all guests to take extra precautions regarding the use of their credit cards while in Tanzania. If you use your credit card in Tanzania (i.e. at a hotel or shop), there is a higher than normal risk that the credit card numbers will be stolen and fraudulent charges will be made. Accordingly, we believe that it is prudent to take the following precautions:
If you do plan to use a credit card in Tanzania, then please call your credit card company prior to departure and advise them of the following: A) your travel dates and locations for both your final destinations and locations of layovers/stopovers, B) authorize charges only within those travel dates and C) set a maximum transaction limit.
The below discussion in the following paragraphs assumes that you are somewhat serious about wildlife photography. Of course, many people are not and a simple point and shoot camera will suffice. You may indeed get more out of simply watching the animals than trying to photograph them. Having a camera and feeling that you must use it at every opportunity may seriously interfere with your enjoyment of the experience.
To take good, close up pictures of wild animals, you will need a telephoto lens. Regular fixed lens cameras and even many of the newer ones with smaller zoom lens will prove to be inadequate in many situations. If you have a 35mm single lens reflex camera (SLR), like most serious photographers, you will need a telephoto or zoom lens big enough to capture distant images and fill the frame with images of medium distances. A 300 mm lens at the minimum will accomplish this. Two different lenses should be adequate for your safari: a telephoto lens 300 mm or greater and a smaller lens that is standard on most cameras for landscape and portrait type pictures.
Using a telephoto lens is often the best way to capture the most compelling wildlife photos. If you have an SLR camera but purchasing a telephoto lens is not in your budget, or you think your safari might be the only time you'll ever need one, you might consider renting a lens instead. There are quite a few places offering lenses for rent, but one of our favorites is an online store called LensPro ToGo. The owner Paul Friedman is very helpful and friendly, and their prices are competitive. LensPro ToGo will FedEx you the lens to you almost anywhere in the United States, and they provide prepaid shipping labels and packaging so you can easily FedEx the lens back to them when you are done.
Lens Pro To Go
Carry twice as much film as you think you will use and extra batteries. If you are using a digital camera, make sure to bring extra batteries, compact flash/memory cards and your charger with the appropriate adapter. It would also be a good idea to bring along a laptop to download your pictures and clear your cards. Film is fairly common at lodges but camera batteries are harder to find. Many photo worthy moments will happen in lower light conditions such as the early morning and late afternoon. Low light conditions combined with the fact you might be using a telephoto lens, makes it a good idea to shoot with higher speed film such as 400 ISO.
The majority of the pictures you see on our website were taken with either a 300 mm telephoto lens or a 28-90 mm lens for landscapes and portraits on the Canon Digital Rebel SLR.
Please be aware that many of the lodges in Tanzania do not operate their electricity generators 24 hours a day. See the 'Electrical Appliances' section for further information.
You should not take pictures of people without asking your driver guide for his advice. Your driver guide knows a great deal about the various tribes and their customs and traditions. Please ask him to teach you about these matters.
For some great photo tips from our Safari Specialist Dawn, take a peek at this ADS Blog post she wrote offering our guests some insight into taking the best shots possible!
Also be sure to visit our Pinterest board that archives our top ADS guest wildlife shots:
Africa Dream Safaris offers only "private" safaris. *Most* safari companies out there do the pre-packaged "group tours" which is a completely different type of product and is organized in a completely different way. To facilitate a "group tour", typically a pre-planned itinerary is set up on specific calendar dates and a block of rooms are booked at specific lodges on those dates, and then various people can "sign up" to join others for that tour until the designated number of spaces are filled.
While out on safari with a "group tour", strangers are shuffled together and must go along with the group's decisions despite whatever individual interests they may have. Unfortunately this almost always leads to compromise and disappointment on what is already a highly emotionally charged trip for most people. In contrast, when designing a private safari, we customize the trip based on your schedule and preferences, with our expert guidance of course to make sure you don't miss anything, and while you are out on safari you have the freedom to explore your specific interests at your pace without adhering to the whims of others. Here at Africa Dream Safaris, we don't think anyone should have to compromise on a big trip like this one, and that's the reason we do only private safaris! For more advantages to a private safari, check out the following link:
Consequently, because we focus exclusively on the "private safari" experience, our infrastructure does not lend itself well to matching couples or singles up with each other. Of course if we happen to know about another couple or family who is looking to travel with others at the same time of year as another couple or family who is looking to join others, we are happy to put them in contact with each other. But this hardly ever happens, since the majority of people who contact our company are already looking for a private safari, and the small number of folks who may be open to traveling with others will most likely have different preferences and scheduling requirements.
Also, note that companies that do group tours often own their own lodges and will propose to "fly you" between their properties, but in most cases they are only doing that because there is no other way to get you from one of their lodges to another, since you wouldn't have your own private guide and vehicle. You'd be using different guides that are employed at the various camps on shared game drives with other guests. Be extra careful with safari companies that own their own properties too... often their first priority is to utilize their own properties, which aren't always all in the best locations for the time of year you are traveling.
East African Wildlife (Bradt Travel Guide) by Philip Briggs
The 'East African Wildlife' is the most practical and useful field guide available on the flora and fauna of East Africa. It is a must for every wildlife enthusiast embarking on a safari to Tanzania! This new visitor's guide provides a colorful overview of the region's variety of large mammals together with an insight into their habits and habitats. The book also provides an excellent introduction to the region's less heralded variety of 'small stuff' - including 1,500 bird species and butterflies. Accessible and beautifully illustrated, the guide will appeal both to the first-time visitor and to the serious naturalist seeking a compact volume to carry around. Our favorite aspect of this field guide is the fact that all photos were taken in East Africa and 'stock' photos or photos from other regions in Africa were not used.
Wildlife of East Africa by Martin B. Withers and David Hosiking
This handy little field guide is the perfect match for those mainly interested in animal identification and short descriptions on each species behavior and ecology. This is a compact and concise field guide with beautiful color photographs and descriptions identifying each animal. The 'Wildlife of East Africa' includes mammals, birds, plants and reptiles and focuses on East Africa making it extremely useful while out on safari in Tanzania, Kenya or Uganda. The color pictures and easy to read descriptions are extremely helpful in terms of identifying common animal species that are similar in appearance. For example, there are several species of regularly encountered antelopes that look similar to each other at first glance including the Grant's Gazelle, Thomson's Gazelle, Steenbok, Oribi, Reedbuck, Klipspringer, Duiker and Dik-Dik. Your safari guide will certainly be impressed as you call out each species with the use of this handy little field guide by your side.
The Safari Companion by Richard D. Estes
The 'Safari Companion' is the most comprehensive field guide on African mammals. A detailed analysis is provided on each mammal (excludes birds, reptiles and plants) that you will encounter on your safari. Black and white sketches and descriptions are provided for each animal as well as information on each particular animal's social / mating system, reproduction, communication and ecology. There is also a superb and fascinating discussion on each animal's behavior. A downside with this guide is the poor black and white sketches with regards to identifying common animals species. Another minor problem with the 'Safari Companion' is that it covers all of Africa and can be a bit complicated for first time visitor to East Africa.
Serengeti: Dynamics of an Ecosystem by A.R.E. Sinclair and M. Nortons-Griffiths
Serengeti II: Dynamics, Management and Conservation of an Ecosystem
The 'Serengeti' and 'Serengeti II' combine to form the authoritative literature on the Serengeti Ecosystem, which is the most famous, abundant and diverse ecosystem in all of Africa. Both are a product of over 40 years of research and a collaboration of dozens of field biologists and researchers who have spent their lives studying and documenting just about everything (from dung beetles to lions) that inhabits the Serengeti. The books are a collection of short essays including such topics as the wildebeest, zebra and gazelle migration, the Serengeti environment, plants and herbivory, herbivores and predation, predator demography and behavior and conservation and management. The 'Serengeti' and 'Serengeti II' are best purchased together and are highly recommended.
The Serengeti Lion by George B. Schaller
This legendary and groundbreaking book details George Schaller's observations and conclusions from his long-term study of the Serengeti lions from 1966 to 1969. Schaller's study was groundbreaking in that he was able to explain many aspects of lion society. However, the most important aspect of his study was that his findings proved that predators (mainly lion, hyena, leopard, cheetah and wild dog) did not limit the population sizes of their prey species. This may seem a minor conclusion but keep in mind that for decades park game wardens used to shoot predators, particularly wild dogs, as it was believed that they would decimate prey populations (wildebeest, zebra, gazelles, etc.) if not eradicated. We now know, as Schaller clearly showed in his study, that it is not necessary to regulate carnivores to ensure large populations of herbivores. Most herbivore populations are indeed limited by dry season forage and not carnivores.
The Serengeti lions that inhabit the area around Seronera have been continuously studied since 1966 when Schaller began his work. Though there have been significant changes to the Serengeti since the 1960's (most notably the increase in wildebeest and the disappearance of the disease Rinderpest), the research and conclusions remain valid and the book is still the authoritative literature on the Serengeti lion. You will find references to Schaller's work in just about every subsequent research study in the Serengeti. The pride structure, behavior and hunting tactics and much more are described in detail. Additionally, a few of the Serengeti's other predators are described in lesser detail including the Leopard, Cheetah, Hyena and the now locally extinct Wild Dog. 'The Serengeti Lion' is a must read for every lion fanatic.
Cheetahs of the Serengeti Plains by T.M. Caro
T.M. Caro documents nine years of research (1980 - 1989) in this book about the cheetahs that inhabit the Serengeti National Park. This Serengeti cheetah is notably different then the cheetahs that inhabit other parts of Africa in that the majority of the cheetahs found in the Serengeti are migratory. Most of the Serengeti cheetahs follow the Thomson's gazelle migration from the western and central woodlands in the dry season to the eastern and southern plains during the green season. This book describes in detail cheetah behavior, reproduction, range, hunting tactics and conservation. This is a superb book and reading it will greatly enhance your enjoyment of cheetah viewing.
The Spotted Hyena - A Study of Predation and Social Behavior by Hans Kruuk
Hans Kruuk lived in the Serengeti between 1964 and 1968 and spent 4- years studying spotted hyenas in the Serengeti National Park as well as the nearby Ngorongoro Crater. This was the first study ever conducted on hyenas and remains the most comprehensive and authoritative literature on hyenas. This is a wonderful book and the discussions about hunting behavior, clan society and mating rituals are captivating. Spotted hyenas are fascinating animals and completely misunderstood. Hans Kruuk's well-written book offers a glimpse into the hyena's mysterious life and his findings are enlightening.
Hyenas are capable hunters and in fact this study showed that they killed 70% of their food in the Serengeti and an astonishing 96% of their food in the Ngorongoro Crater. Hyenas are the most successful predator in the Serengeti and truly fascinating to watch if you know their behavior. They live in complex societies like lions called clans but the females are at the top and are actually larger then males and possess external genitalia. Most people tend to think of them as scavengers. Though they are well adapted to scavenging, they are more likely to kill their own food (even adult zebras) and lions actually scavenge more from hyenas then vice versus.
My Serengeti Years - Memoirs of an African Game Warden by Myles Turner
'My Serengeti Years' is arguable the best book ever written about the Serengeti. This is wonderful first hand account of the Serengeti from the unique perspective of an ex big game hunter turned stern conservationist. Myles' account of his 16 year tenure as chief game warden of the Serengeti is packed full of fascinating wildlife stories including close encounters with infuriated rhinos, fearless honey badgers and deadly poachers. It's hard to resist the pull of the Serengeti once you've finished 'My Serengeti Years' and you will undoubtedly be planning your Serengeti safari or returning for another one shortly thereafter.
Myles Turner was chief game warden of the Serengeti National Park from 1956 to 1972. Myles Turner took on his post just after the inception of the park. These early years were among the darkest and most uncertain days in the Serengeti's history. Poaching was widespread, unchecked and threatened the survival of the entire ecosystem. Due to Myles Turner's untiring and dedicated conservation and anti-poaching efforts, the great herds of Africa's finest wildlife sanctuary still roam free today. Norman Myers eloquently writes, 'Myles Turner epitomized Serengeti. Others visited it, he was part of it; others observed it, he knew it; others analyzed it, he comprehended it; others enjoyed it, he loved it.'
Serengeti Home by Kay Turner
'Serengeti Home' is another must read before, during or after your safari and is a great companion book to Myles Turner's 'My Serengeti Years'. Kay Turner lived in the Serengeti with her husband, Myles Turner, who was chief game warden for 16 years. Kay Turner's book details her adventures including raising her family in the Serengeti (chapter is charming titled 'Bush Babies'), humorous stories about her wild pets including 'Chuta' the bat-eared fox, 'Gussie' the grants gazelle and 'Prince and 'Pixie' the serval cats and wild adventures both living and going on safari in the Serengeti.
The chapter about camping in the Serengeti will undoubtedly have you excited for your private camp.
One eloquent passage reads 'After a long day out in the sun amongst the game, we would return to camp...then, stretching our feet towards the campfire with drinks in hand, we enjoyed seeing the sun sink slowly towards the horizon and the stars appear in the thousands, until it seemed there was no space in the sky for more. The sky at night felt close on those treeless plains, and it glowed with a soft and enveloping radiance that inspired a feeling of harmony with the universe. We were alone in that immense open country, and it seemed the stars displayed their brilliance solely for us. After an early supper, we would be lulled to sleep buy the rhythmic sound of the wildebeest bleating, interspersed by the off-key moan of a hyena or the plaintive cry of a stone curlew'.
Into Africa by Craig Packer
Craig Packer, professor in the Department of Ecology at the University of Minnesota and well-known field biologist, has been conducting research in Tanzania since 1972. He began his work studying chimpanzees and baboons at Gombe National Park with Jane Goodall. Later he became director of the Serengeti Lion Project and, following in the footsteps of George Schaller, continued and expanded the lion research in the Serengeti National Park.
In this outstanding book, Craig Packer provides a day-by-day account of his latest 52-day trip to Tanzania where he orients the new Serengeti lion researchers for their turn at cracking the many mysteries of lion behavior. Packer grapples with several unanswered questions on lion behavior and draws fascinating conclusions on the most interesting aspects of the lion pride society. The biggest mystery is why do lions form groups (prides) while all other cat species are solitary. The traditional belief was that lions came together for cooperative hunting. It was though that two or more lions would surely have more to eat if they hunted together and thus they formed prides. Craig Packer's lion study disproved this theory as he showed that solitary lions feed just as well as lions in a pride by measuring food intake of hundreds of lions over a 2-year study period. Furthermore, Packer deduces the actual cause of sociality among lions and it may surprise you. Read pages 90-100 to solve the mystery!
Serengeti Shall Not Die by Bernhard and Michael Grzimek (pronounced Jimkek)
Bernhard and Michael Grzimek (father and son) conducted a pioneering field survey of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area from 1957 to 1959. This was the first scientific study conducted in the Serengeti and the film they created entitled 'Serengeti Shall Not Die' created awareness for one of the world's most important wildlife areas and spurred a much needed conservation movement to help preserve the Serengeti. Sadly, Michael Grzimek was killed when his plane collided with a vulture above the Salei plains (between the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater) on October 1, 1959 towards the end of the filming. There is a stone marker and plaque paying tribute to Michael Grzimek on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater.
The Tree Where Man Was Born by Peter Matthiessen
'The Tree Where Man Was Born' is a superbly written journal by Peter Matthiessen describing his safari through East Africa including the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Lake Manyara. Matthiessen presents enlightening discussions about the history of East Africa as well as detailing his adventures on safari with George Schaller, Myles Turner and Iain Douglas-Hamilton. Especially interesting are his discussions and interactions with two fascinating cultures in Tanzania including the Maasai pastoralists and the Hadza hunter-gatherers.
Among the Elephants by Iain and Oria Douglas-Hamilton
'Among the Elephants' details the first long-term study of elephants in the wild. The study was conducted in Lake Manyara National Park, which contains the highest concentration of elephants in Africa. Iain and Oria Douglas-Hamilton spent several years living in Lake Manyara and gradually became accepted by many of Manyara's estimated 600 elephants. Elephant behavior and biology are discussed in detail along with Iain and Oria's adventures in Manyara as they become intertwined in the trials and tribulations of various resident elephant families. This pioneering field study is a must read for any elephant enthusiast and will greatly increase your enjoyment when elephant watching in Lake Manyara National Park.
The Penguin Atlas of African History by Colin McEvedy
'The Penguin Atlas of African History' provides an easy to read summary of Africa's fascinating history form the first appearance of Man to the development of modern African society. The book begins with the super-continent Pangaea some 175 million years ago and describes the formation of the African continent and its unique geological features including the Rift Valley. The book then discusses the development of hominids and the great apes on either side of the rift valley including the archaeological finds at Olduvai Gorge. The development of modern African history is also wonderfully detailed in a simple and clear format (not an easy achievement) including the exploration of Africa and the various kingdoms and empires. Finally, European colonialism of Africa is discussed as well as the subsequent independence for the various countries of Africa. With over fifty illustrative maps, this is a great little handbook and a quick and enlightening read.
Lions Share - The Story of a Serengeti Pride by Jeanette Hanby
'Lions Share' is a charming book written from the unique perspective of the members of a Serengeti lion pride. Jeanette Handy, a field biologist, worked for the Serengeti Lion Project with her husband David Bygott in the 1970s. They spent several years following and studying lions in the Serengeti National Park. One particular pride called the Sametu lion pride captivated their interest and this book is the story of the Sametu pride including how it came into existence and the struggles the individual lions endured protecting their territory and raising cubs. This is a wonderful book and an ADS favorite.
The Sametu Lion Pride (named after the Sametu Kopjes in the eastern Serengeti) is a powerful plains pride that somehow manages to squeeze out an existing on the harsh Serengeti Plains. Life is great in the green season when the wildebeest migration is in 'town' but during the dry season it is a daily struggle and the pride is forced to subsist on sparse plains game including warthog, gazelle and the occasional topi. Though the 'Lions Share' was written in the 1970s, the Sametu pride is still intact today and the great, great granddaughters of the lions written about in the book still rule the Sametu area. As of fall 2005, the Sametu pride consisted of six adult females, twelve cubs of various ages and three resident males. If you do read this book, have your driver-guide take you to the Sametu Kopjes (45-minute drive southeast from Seronera) and with a little luck you will spot some members of the Sametu Pride.
Swahili Phrase Book by Lonely Planet
Serengeti A Kingdom of Predators by George Schaller
Nomads of the Serengeti by Robyn Stewart
The Serengeti's Great Migration by Carlo Mari and Harvey Croze
The Great Migration by Jonathan Scott
African Odyssey by Anup and Manoj Shah
We All Went on Safari: A Counting Journey through Tanzania by Laurie Krebs
Serengeti - Information, Puzzles and Games by Jeannette Hanby and David Bygott
Africa - The Serengeti.
'Africa - The Serengeti' is a stunning IMAX wildlife documentary filmed in the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and Maasai Mara. The documentary, narrated by James Earl Jones, chronicles the Serengeti's great wildebeest migration and also beautifully captures the Ngorongoro Crater.
Superpride - A story of a large lion pride in the Central Serengeti filmed from May 2007 to July 2007.
The fear of bugs and insects is generally much greater than the reality of what you will encounter. However, tolerances differ widely from individual to individual. The temperate climate and high elevation of Tanzania's Northern Parks mean that insect concentrations are significantly less then other areas of Africa. Please be aware though that insects can be present in significant numbers depending upon your location and current weather patterns. This could pose to be an annoyance for some individuals.
Mosquitoes are present but they are generally not active during the day. The African Mosquito is most active from dusk to dawn. To combat mosquitoes in the evenings, we recommend bringing along something with at least 10% deet; whether you use a lotion or spray is simply a personal preference, but some find that lotions are easier to pack. There are any number of products on the market that all work great. One particular lotion called "Sawyer Premium Controlled Release Insect Repellent Lotion" seems to work very well and is available online at Amazon.com.
You might also consider some of these disposable towelettes that are now on the market - they seem to be really convenient to pack and use. Past clients have had good luck with them.
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A further option to consider is to spray your clothes (a couple nights before packing them) with a product called "Repel Permanone Clothing and Gear Insect Repellent." It is probably not necessary to do this, but then again we've had very few insect bites on safari, so we must be doing something right!
Flies can be more of a nuisance than mosquitoes, especially when you're near the wildebeest migration. Flies are attracted to animals and the droppings of herd animals, so you don't get one without the other. You will undoubtedly know when you have found the larger migratory wildebeest herds (100,000 plus!)
Tsetse flies are worse than the average fly and they are mainly found in the woodlands, and their bite does hurt. There is no insect repellent that is effective against the tsetse fly. The best protection is to wear long sleeves, pants and socks and to roll the windows up when you are driving through a tsetse fly infested area. Additionally, dark blue and black colors attract tsetse flies and it is recommended not to wear these colors when game driving in tsetse areas. Tsetse flies require the thick bush and woodlands to breed and survive. The open plains of the Southern and Eastern Serengeti as well as the Ngorongoro Crater and the southerly parts of the Central Serengeti are tsetse free. The highest concentrations of tsetse flies are found in Tarangire National Park and the Western Serengeti.
Please keep in mind that if it weren't for the tsetse fly, many of the parks and reserves in Tanzania would simply not exist in their current capacity. The tsetse fly is commonly referred to as the 'greatest conservationist in Africa'! The tsetse fly transmits a blood parasite that causes the 'sleeping sickness' in cattle but is very rarely transmitted to humans in East Africa. Wild animals are immune to this disease. The tsetse fly has inadvertently forced ranchers and their cattle out of areas like the Serengeti and Tarangire leaving these important refuges ecologically intact for use by their native and wild inhabitants.
It is sometimes hard to avoid being bitten by a tsetse fly. Long pants, long-sleeved shirts and socks thick enough to stop the tsetse fly from biting will help protect you. Many people have no adverse reactions but some individuals have an allergic reaction and the area around the bite mark swells and becomes itchy and irritated. Benadryl makes a product called the "Benadryl Itch Relief Stick". This handy little stick can relieve the itch of bites and is recommended.
Tsetse flies can transmit African sleeping sickness, a disease caused by a small parasite that is fatal if untreated. Fortunately, most tsetse flies are not infected with the parasite. Even though you might be unlikely to contract the disease while on safari, it is important to know about the remote possibility and to seek medical advice from your doctor. Per the WHO there are fewer than 100 new cases per year in the United Republic of Tanzania and in 2012 there were a total of 4 new cases reported. For more information, please visit the WHO at: who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs259/en/
Snakes are common throughout Africa but they are seldom encountered on safaris. There are a few python sightings reported in the trees that line Silale Swamp in Tarangire but that is the normal extent of snake sightings. The vast majority of tourists never see a snake while on safari.
Please be aware that game driving can be very bumpy and may pose a problem for some individuals including those with back problems. Please inform us well in advance if you have any conditions that may be adversely affected by bumpy roads and we will plan accordingly. The most comfortable seat is the passenger seat at the front of the vehicle next to the driver-guide. This seat offers the smoothest ride and is highly recommended (especially on longer game drives) for those individuals experiencing discomfort due to poor road conditions.
The roads to and from Arusha/Kilimajaro leading up to Tarangire, Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Gate were completed in 2004 and are completely paved. However, the tracks in the national parks and conservations areas are not paved. Many game drives (especially in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area) will be entirely off road/cross country. Game driving off road and on poor tracks, which are found in most areas, can be aggravating and exhausting for some individuals. This is compounded on longer game drives where you may be on rough roads for several hours at a time.
Please be aware that most lodges and camps in Tanzania do not operate 24-hour electricity as they rely on power from a diesel generator. Many lodges and camps turn off their generators in the late evening until just before dawn the following day. Additionally, given the frequent power outages in Tanzania, even those properties that do have full 24-hour electricity may not be able to have their power running overnight. The result may be that your tent or room is pitch black in the middle of the night. To avoid tripping or other accidents in the middle of the night (getting up to use the bathroom as an example), we recommend that all guests bring their own small flashlight and keep it readily accessible.
Please be aware that many lodges and camps in Tanzania do not have in-room phones but instead employ radios, whistles or other communication devices that should be used with regards to moving to and from your room and the main lodge area or in emergency situations. There will be a security briefing at most properties upon arrival, which will include using such communication devices. Always follow the safety instructions from the lodge or camp's staff with regards to moving to and from your tent.
Participation on a safari requires that you be in generally good health. All guests must understand that while a high level of fitness is not required, a measure of physical activity is involved in all African Safaris. It is essential that persons with any medical problems and/or related dietary restrictions make them known to us well before departure.
You must seek medical advice from your doctor or a travel clinic before you depart on your safari. It is important to plan ahead as you may need vaccinations. For detailed health information for travelers to Tanzania visit cdc.gov/travel/. Go to tab for 'Destinations' and scroll down to Tanzania.
Malaria is one of the greatest potential health risks in Tanzania and antimalarial drugs are recommended. The antimalarial drug named Malarone may be the best choice and it should be strongly considered as opposed to other types of antimalarial drugs - consult your doctor or travel clinic. Other antimalarial drugs include Larium and Doxycycline. For a detailed discussion on malaria and the different antimalarial drugs available, visit cdc.gov/malaria/travelers/.
Whether or not you are taking antimalarial drugs, it is important to protect yourself from mosquito bites from dusk till dawn. This is when the type of mosquito whose bite transmits malaria is active. Precautionary measures include using DEET based insect repellant, covering up before dusk and wearing long sleeved shirts, trousers, socks and shoes in the evenings. You should certainly cover up and use insect repellant before going to dinner each evening. Pay particular attention to your ankles and legs as mosquitoes, if present, tend to hover at ankle level. For more detailed information on how to protect yourself from mosquitoes please refer to the 'Safari Annoyances' section under the 'Insects' heading for some tips and recommendations.
Travelers should be informed that regardless of the methods employed (antimalarial pills, other protective measures, etc.), malaria still might be contracted. There is a higher risk of Malaria on Zanzibar and other low-lying regions in Tanzania. Malaria symptoms can develop as early as about a week after initial exposure in a malaria-infested area and as long as 1 year after departure from an area, after preventative medication has been completed. Travelers should understand that malaria can be treated effectively early in the course of the disease, but delay of therapy can have serious or even fatal consequences. Individuals who have symptoms of malaria should seek prompt evaluation as soon as possible.
TAll vaccinations (with the exception of the Yellow Fever Vaccination for some individuals as described below) are completely voluntary for entry into Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda or Zanzibar.
IMPORTANT: The Tanzania government has issued new rules (as of August 2012) that require some individuals to receive a Yellow Fever Vaccination for entry into Tanzania. You would get this certificate from the travel clinic where you received the Yellow Fever Vaccination.
Those individuals that are required to show proof of the Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate are as follows:
All travelers flying to Tanzania through a Yellow Fever Infected Country (such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda) that remain in transit for 12 hours or more and/or leave the immediate airport vicinity are required to show proof of the Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate upon arrival into Tanzania.
For example, this would include those persons flying to Tanzania through Nairobi, Kenya where by the traveler leaves the Nairobi airport and/or spends more than 12 hours in transit at the Nairobi Airport. For those clients affected, please make sure you have a Yellow Fever Vaccination Card to prove the vaccine was given. Please pack this certificate in your carry-on along with your passport.
Those individuals that are NOT required to have the Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate are:
All travelers flying 'non-stop' from the U.S./Europe/Asia/Middle East to Tanzania such as they do not transit through a Yellow Fever Infected Country. For example, this includes the KLM non-stop flight from Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro, the British Airways non-stop flight from London to Dar es Salaam and the Turkish Airlines non-stop flight from Istanbul to Kilimanjaro. Additionally, those travelers that have less than a 12-hour layover in a yellow fever infected country AND do not leave the airport are NOT required to have the Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate. For example, if you have a 4-hour layover in Nairobi en route to Kilimanjaro AND you do NOT leave the airport during your 4-hour layover, then you would NOT need to have the Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate.
We recommend that all clients, if possible, book the daily NWA / Delta / KLM flight from the U.S. to Kilimanjaro (via Amsterdam). It is the most convenient and efficient flight routing available and the non-stop segment from Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro qualifies for the Yellow Fever Vaccination Exemption. Vaccination recommendations to discuss with your doctor or travel clinic are as follows:
Infant, children and pregnant women require special consideration - consult your doctor. When you pack, make certain that you have all your medications in your carry-on luggage.
Below is a listing of healthy 'To Do's':
Stomach upsets are the most common traveler's complaint. They range from mild discomfort to diarrhea. The vast majorities are harmless and quickly pass. Some digestive upset is probably inevitable for most people. Simple things like a change of water, food or climate can all cause a minor bout of diarrhea. When diarrhea occurs, there are basically two things you can do, stop it with drugs or let it run its course. The most common over the counter drug is Imodium. Your doctor may prescribe another drug for bacterial diarrhea. Some doctors argue that diarrhea is nature's way of ridding the system of harmful poisons and therefore should not be stopped prematurely. You should consult your doctor on whether, and under what conditions you should take diarrhea medicine. Dehydration is the main danger with any diarrhea, as dehydration can occur quite quickly. Under all circumstances fluid replacement (at least equal to the volume being lost) is the most important thing to remember. Urine is the best guide to the adequacy of replacement - if you have small amounts of concentrated urine, you need to drink more. Drink plenty of water if you have diarrhea and stick to a bland diet as you recover.
Traveling with Type 1 and Type II diabetes is a common concern with many travelers. In general there is no reason why diabetics can't safely travel on safari! Here are a few travel tips to help ensure you have a successful safari experience.
Be sure to travel with a letter from your doctor stating which supplies you will be carrying (insulin, syringes, etc.) Having a copy of the actual prescription is a good idea too. Pack this, along with your prescription medication, in your carry-on luggage or keep it with your passport.
Bring hard candy or glucose tablets along in your carry-on luggage as well. Always carry some hard candy or glucose tablets with you on game drives, hot air ballooning, walking safaris or any other safari activities.
The meals you enjoy while on safari will probably be a lot like the food you are used to eating at home - salad, soup, chicken or beef or pork, fruit, etc. In fact, many people find it is easier to stay on a healthy diet while on safari then when they are at home! Eating in the restaurants at the lodges is fairly easy, as there are always lots of items to choose from. When you are out on safari during the day, some days you might bring a picnic lunch with you; be aware there are usually a lot of high-carb items like bread and fruit or fruit juice in the picnic boxes, but there are always other high-protein items too like hard boiled eggs and chicken. Just choose to eat the items that fit best within your diet regimen.
If you are insulin-dependent be sure to bring along more than one bottle of insulin. If you are on a pump, bring plenty of extra pump-supplies along with you including extra reservoirs and infusion sets (you can't buy them in Tanzania). Bring along some syringes as a back-up method to deliver your insulin in case your pump malfunctions. Always pack the insulin and back-up syringes in your carry-on. Bring along an extra battery for your pump. Don't forget your blood sugar testing meter and plenty of testing strips. Bring along an extra battery for your testing meter.
You'll want to protect your insulin from getting too warm in the African sun, but please be careful about the electric "cool boxes" inside some of the safari vehicles; they cannot be trusted for insulin storage because they sometimes drop below freezing. This is also true for some of the coolers and "refrigerators" (run on generator) used at the Private Luxury Camp. We recommend bringing along a Frio cooling packet to protect your insulin from getting too warm during the day. The Frio cooler is small, lightweight, and easy to use because it is activated by water and will keep your insulin cool for several hours. See the link below:
If you have any other questions or concerns don't hesitate to let your ADS travel consultant know. Once on safari you can just relax without stress because of all your careful pre-planning. Good luck, don't worry and have fun!
Drink plenty of bottled water while you are on safari and on the long international flight. Dehydration is one of the biggest causes of travel fatigue and jet lag. Most major airlines allow you to carry on your own fluids. You should not drink any other water (tap, etc.) other than bottled water. You should not even brush your teeth with water from the tap. There is unlimited bottled water stocked in your private vehicle for your consumption and there are usually several free bottles of water in your room at each lodge and camp. Additionally, bottled water is available at all the lodges and camps for purchase. Please note that ice cubes and fruits and vegetables at all of our recommended lodges and camps are prepared using purified water and are safe for consumption.
Guests bringing CPAP Breathing Machines and/or Portable Oxygen Concentrators devices on safari MUST bring a rechargeable battery pack that is universal voltage (120V - 240V) as most lodges and camps do NOT operate 24-hour electricity. Instead, many properties turn off their generators in the late evening until just before dawn the following day. Given the frequent power outages in Tanzania, even those properties that do have full 24-hour electricity may not be able to have their power running overnight.
Accordingly, a rechargeable battery pack equipped with a minimum run time of 8-hours is required for guests bringing CPAP breathing machines. Guests can then charge the CPAP battery during the day while out on safari activities to be used each overnight when the lodge or camp generators are turned off. Depending upon the level of necessity, guests may wish to bring two rechargeable batteries.
Please see below the link for an example of a CPAP rechargeable travel battery pack. Please make sure you have a compatible machine when selecting your specific battery pack. cpap.com/productpage-advanced.php?PNum=2299# keyproductinformation
Tanzania is a very safe, secure and tourist friendly country. Tanzania has enjoyed a remarkable period of stability and growth since independence back in 1961 and is one of the safest countries in Africa.
Tanzania has more than 132 distinct tribes that have lived in harmony for centuries. Tanzania has a founding philosophy from its first President, Julius Nyerere (a man who Nelson Mandela called his mentor and inspiration), which emphasized tolerance and the idea of a nation coming before any sense of tribal loyalty. His belief that "we are Tanzanians first and foremost", helped to create and encourage a national character of tribal, racial and religious tolerance. Tanzanians are very proud that they have never had a civil war and as they watch what happens in neighboring countries (Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and now Kenya), they are even more committed to the ideas of tolerance and peace. Nyerere insisted on a national language (Swahili) and insisted that the ruling power never show preference for their own tribal history. Power is shared most equitably in Tanzania and no one tribe is favored or has the majority of power.
There are currently no travel warnings issued on Tanzania by the U.S. State Department. Kenya currently has a travel warning issued and those travelers seeking to add a safari extension to Kenya are advised to read the warning at travel.state.gov. Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel to a certain country.
Though the risk of crime is minimal in Tanzania, some common sense precautions are recommended:
To be 100% safe, carry your wallet, money, traveler checks, etc. with you at all times. Do not leave these items in your room while out on game drives, eating at the lodge, etc.
Please be aware of your surroundings at all times. When on your safari, you will be in a new, unfamiliar and exciting place. You will likely be distracted, enthusiastic or tired enough to make mistakes and forget the little hazards around you. For example, watch your step when walking and avoid brushing up against thorny bushes and trees. Additionally, watch your fingers when the vehicle doors are being closed. Please be especially cautious when standing up game viewing in the open top vehicles. It is always dangerous to stand up in the vehicle while driving - please watch out for branches and other potential hazards. And don't assume any of the animals are tame.
Please be aware that our safaris may take you into close contact with wild animals. Attacks by wild animals are rare, but no safari into the African wilderness can guarantee that this will not occur. Please note that many safari lodges and camps are not fenced and that wildlife does move freely in and around these areas. Always follow the safety instructions from the lodge or camp's staff with regards to moving to and from your tent and while on game activities throughout your safari.
Please be especially cautious and informed when staying at a private camp or the smaller tented lodges. Please make sure that if you have small children with you, to not let them out of your sight or wander alone. There will be a security briefing at most tented lodges upon arrival but do not hesitate to voice your concerns to the staff or your guide. Many of the smaller tented lodges will escort you to and from your tent for dinner. Under no circumstances should you move to and from your tent/room during the night without being escorted. When staying at a private camp, you must not wander out of the campsite and you must always be escorted to and from your tent.
Clients often ask questions about the various planning phases of an African Safari. After all, this is a big trip, and there are some major steps involved in planning! So when do the major steps occur and in what sequence?
1) Initial Planning: Contact the friendly staff at Africa Dream Safaris! Our staff of expert consultants, based here in the US for your convenience, are well-traveled and happy to talk you through any questions you may have about getting started. We'll help you solidify your priorities for the trip, budget and time for travel. We'll develop a sample itinerary for you and, with your feedback, we'll customize it to your priorities, schedule and budget. This part may be the most fun step of all! With exception to when you depart for the trip, of course!
2) Safari booking: Once you have settled on a final itinerary and travel dates, the next step is to make it official! A $500 per person deposit is required to secure your safari reservations. All our safaris are individually customized, and lodging in these remote wilderness areas can and will sell out. So in order to guarantee securing your first choices in accommodations, the early planner has the advantage. Admittedly we do have much more flexibility than a large group package operator and we are often able to make last minute safaris work out too. We've had folks book their safari as close as 30 days out, while other folks book their safari over 2 years in advance. That being said, it seems the majority of folks book their safari 6-9 months ahead of time. As much advance notice as possible is always helpful for the holidays and other peak seasons such as summer when most families travel (July-Aug). Keep in mind, once you have finalized your desired safari itinerary with your consultant, it will take an additional 1 - 3 weeks to confirm all your reservations.
3) International Airfare: Most major airlines start selling tickets within 11 months of the proposed travel dates, and most people will book their plane tickets as soon as possible after their safari has been confirmed. Some people may ask, shouldn't I book my plane ticket first? Well, that's an option too. But keep in mind all of our safari packages are customized and can only be confirmed upon your booking. Once the airfare is purchased the travel dates are obviously set, and there is no shifting by a day or two to make the reservations at specific lodges work out. However, if a client's dates are already set for other reasons, and if they are flexible with regards to specific accommodations, many times clients will go ahead and purchase the airfare first. Especially if fares seem volatile or if they've snared a really good airfare deal. Then, if a specific lodge happens to be sold out on a certain date we'd just substitute in a different lodge or shift the order of the lodges to make it work out. As long as you are somewhat flexible, it always works out. Worth noting this is a long flight, so important to be as comfortable as possible. Do you prefer a window or aisle seat? Try to get your seats assigned at the time of booking your plane ticket. If it's not possible, find out when the earliest time is to get your seats assigned and mark that date on your calendar. It's a good idea to get your seats assigned as soon as they become available for the best selection.
4) Travel insurance: It's important to note that most travel insurance companies offer guests a more comprehensive policy (ie, coverage for pre-existing conditions) if the guests purchase their travel insurance within a 15 day window of the date they put down a deposit on the trip or purchase their airline ticket, whichever one comes first. Also, in order to qualify for some travel insurance policies, guests must purchase their insurance BEFORE making FINAL payment on the trip.
5) Passport: At the time you book your safari, be certain to obtain a passport or check your current passport and make sure the expiration date is at least 6 months beyond your travel date. Also, make sure you have at least 2 blank pages left in your passport for your Tanzania visa. If you are visiting other African countries on this trip, make sure your passport meets that specific country's requirements (for example, both Kenya and South Africa also require at least 2 blank pages for a visa, making for a total of 6 blank pages required for a trip that encompasses Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa). Unless you are willing to pay extra for expedited service, you may need several weeks to get your passport renewed.
1) Dr. Appointment and Vaccinations: Although many vaccinations are still considered effective as long as they obtained within 10 days of travel, but we recommend you don't wait till the last minute! For a complete discussion about Vaccinations and other health considerations, please review the information at the following link: Safari Health. Keep in mind your local family doctor may not be familiar with foreign travel, and may not stock some of these vaccinations should you choose to get them in which case we recommend also making an appointment with your local travel clinic. It's still a good idea to visit with your family doctor about your travel plans and make sure there aren't any concerns about vaccinations, conflicting medications or travel in general. If you are traveling with prescriptions, liquids or syringes, it is always a good idea to obtain a letter from your doctor showing his authorization that these items have been prescribed to you and are medically necessary.
2) Make any necessary arrangements for house/kid/pet-sitters. Some pet boarding facilities will book up months in advance for holidays! Don't be left high and dry at the last minute.
1) Safari balance is due no less than 90 days prior to travel.
2) Make sure your international airline seats are assigned.
3) Start to think about what to pack! If you need to do some shopping for luggage, safari cloths or camera equipment, now is a good time. You can see a comprehensive packing list and suggestions here: What to Bring and here What's in My Day Pack If you are renting camera equipment, go ahead and make your reservations. We highly recommend Lens Pro To Go for your camera and lens rental needs - not only are they are experts and can assist with recommendations, but they are also fast, friendly, competitively priced and they can ship equipment hassle-free almost anywhere in the US.
1) Pack! Now is the time to find out if you've forgotten anything.
2) Call your safari consultant with any last minute questions!
3) Give a list of Emergency Contact Numbers out to family and/or friends back home (an up to date list will be given to you by your safari consultant approximately 1-2 weeks prior to your departure). You may also wish to give someone you trust a set of keys for your home and a copy of your other important travel documents.
4) Schedule to stop your mail with your local post office.
1) Call the airlines to reconfirm your flight or check-in online
2) Safari Njema! Relax; you are well prepared. Hopefully you've enjoyed the *journey* to get you to this point. Now it's time to enjoy the adventure
ADS Company Cell Phone: Our number one priority at Africa Dream Safaris is for you to have a safe and enjoyable safari. If any problem arises while you are on safari we are here to provide you with immediate support and assistance. It might sound obvious, but before we can help you with any problem we need to know about it! To facilitate this communication we are lending you one of our ADS company cell phones. Please don't hesitate to use this phone to contact our staff in Arusha (you will be provided with contact numbers a couple weeks prior to your departure) if you encounter a problem while on safari such as with your accommodations, driver-guide, vehicle or need special assistance during your safari. The vast majority of any problems encountered while on safari can usually be fixed promptly with a simple phone call to any of our staff in Arusha.
Your cell phone is preloaded with approximately $10 to $20 in talk time, which is an ample amount of credit to call and receive several calls within Tanzania. You may also use the provided cell phone to make international calls to family and friends at home. Cost for outgoing international calls range from $2 to $4 per minute while incoming calls are free. Your driver-guide can assist you in purchasing additional talk time minutes as needed, which are sold at various locations throughout Tanzania including some lodges, ranger stations and visitor centers.
Some areas of the Serengeti do not have cell phone coverage including some areas of the North and West Serengeti. If you encounter problems with your cell phone or there is no cell phone coverage and you need to call one of our staff in Arusha for assistance, please feel free to use the lodge or camp phone instead and we will reimburse you for any associated costs. All lodges and camps (even the semi-permanent and mobile camps) have a phone at the main lodge that can be used by guests to call one of our staff in Arusha for assistance if your ADS cell phone is not working.
The core values of Africa Dream Safaris include uncompromising goals for exceptional customer service, ensuring our clients have an extraordinary safari experience, and most importantly, keeping our clients and employees safe. Please don't hesitate to let us know if there is something we can do to make your safari experience more enjoyable, and it is absolutely critical that we are immediately advised of any problems with your safari so that we have the opportunity to rectify them before you return back to Arusha. We strive to conclude each guest's safari experience with 100% customer satisfaction. This starts with you!
|Will my cell phone work in Tanzania? Guests need to check directly with their cell phone service provider to see if their personal cell phones will work in Tanzania. The ability to use a personal cell phone is a direct function of what coverage each guest's personal cell phone company can provide, and may also be influenced by the specific phone device. It's important to check before trying to use one's personal US cell phone in Tanzania because even though it may "work", one wouldn't want to be surprised later with some nasty roaming fees or other expensive international charges. As part of our standard procedure (as described previously), we lend all our clients a "local" Tanzanian company cell phone during their time in Tanzania so they have a way to contact our staff in the event of an emergency. However, keep in mind that coverage in some parts of the North and West Serengeti is sporadic. For guests needing more reliable service to make frequent business calls, as an example, we recommend renting a satellite phone (see below).
For those individuals that require the regular use of a phone while in Africa for business or other purposes, you may wish to either rent a satellite phone in the U.S. before departure or purchase a cell phone in Tanzania. An iridium satellite phone can be rented in the U.S. before your departure that you can use anywhere in Africa as long as you have a direct line of sight to the sky. A recommended satellite phone rental company is |*Link=http://www.mobal.com*|mobal.com|*Bold*|. Mobal Rental will mail you the satellite phone and all equipment (charger, batteries, plug adapter, instruction book, etc.) a few days prior to your departure and will include a return envelope for use when you return.
There are plenty of opportunities for shopping during the course of your safari. Some popular souvenir items in Tanzania include wooden animal carvings, postcards, African masks and picture frames, hand woven baskets, dining sets with tablecloths, local paintings, jewelry, safari books, and Maasai arts and crafts (beadwork, shields, spears, jewelry, etc.). Tsavorite and Tanzanite are two popular gemstones in East Africa. Tanzanite, a bluish gemstone, is mined only in Tanzania (next to Kilimanjaro Airport).
Most lodges and camps have gift shops and some accept credit card. There are also a myriad of shops and markets in and around Arusha. One shop that we recommend is called 'Cultural Heritage'. You can negotiate at most shops and roadside stands except Cultural Heritage and many lodge gift shops, which have fixed prices. Cultural Heritage accepts credit cards and they can reliably ship large items.
Some of the best deals and selections can actually be found at the airports including Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). There are several shops at JRO that you can peruse while waiting for your flight. Zanzibar also has great shopping opportunities and some good bargains. For unique items like tribal jewelry, small authentic carvings, etc., we recommend purchasing at one of the Maasai Villages you can visit in the Southern Serengeti / Ngorongoro Conservation Area or at the Esalali Women's Project in Karatu (between Lake Manyara and the Crater). Both places help the local economy including the Maasai and you can also help support the Women's Cooperative.
As discussed, you'll have some shopping opportunities during your safari, such as local crafts and jewelry from the Maasai Village or the various lodge gift shops that often contain some nice hand selected local items. You'll see some road side shops along the main road as you are driving from The Ngorongoro Crater to Arusha, near the town of Karatu; just ask your guide to help you find a reputable shop. But by far the most popular place to buy local crafts (wood carvings, masks, artifacts, jewelry, etc.) is at the Cultural Heritage Center in Arusha.
The prices at Cultural Heritage are reasonable, although probably not as cheap as the items you could find if you spent the day stopping at roadside shops, but the selection is out of this world. It makes a great 'one stop shop' place to purchase authentic souvenirs and has a HUGE selection! Sometimes they have local artists doing demonstrations too. You'll have the opportunity to stop by Cultural Heritage Center on your last day but since you'll have a few different activities competing for your attention that day, if you want to be sure and get some shopping in on your last day, please let your guide know early in the day that stopping here to get some shopping in is a priority for you!
The costs of souvenirs span a considerable range, you can buy a nice Maasai bracelet for $8-$10, or you may spend $20 or more for a more elaborate one. You can buy small and simple woodcarvings for a few dollars each, or you can spend hundreds of dollars on more elaborate wood carvings made of ebony wood (a very hard and beautiful indigenous type of wood that is difficult to splinter or break). Usually the more detail, time and skill involved, the higher the price tag. Then of course there is Tanzanite, a very beautiful gemstone that can only be found in Tanzania; the cost is a function of size, color and clarity, and prices can range from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars.
Please note that when you order items for shipping, the costs you pay are only for freight to the closest major international airport nearest your residence. When souvenir shopping in Tanzania, the best way to get any item home is to bring it back with you on the plane. Shipping large or fragile items home is not generally advised and will be at your own expense and risk.
Also, please note that we have had several recent complaints of carvings and other souvenir items being badly damaged during the shipping process (either through a carrier such as DHL or in checked luggage). This is obviously very disappointing, waiting weeks for an item to be delivered only to discover that the carving is broken beyond repair. We advise guests to pack any expensive or fragile souvenirs (such as wooden animal carvings) in your carry-on luggage or simply refrain from making expensive souvenir purchases.
Tanzania resides just south of the equator. The strong equatorial sun combined with the fact that you are at elevation can lead to sunburn and sun poisoning quickly. The vehicles have a convertible canvas top, which means that you will be completely exposed when game viewing. You may of course quickly close the canvas top as needed. The canvas top may also be rolled back half way in order to provide shade for the first set of seats and sun for the back seats. It is important that you wear a hat and apply sun block frequently to all exposed areas.
Tanzania is a very child friendly and makes a great safari destination for families. A safari to the African wilderness of Tanzania can be the single most rewarding family vacation experience. The educational opportunities and enriching activities are endless. The guides and lodge staff love children and they will receive lots of extra attention and careful looking after. However, special consideration must be given to safety when traveling with young children. Please note that many safari lodges and camps are not fenced and that wildlife does move freely in and around these areas. Under no circumstances should you let your child wander alone or out of your sight. When traveling with children it is important to follow the safety instructions of your guide and from the lodge and camp staff with regard to moving to and from your tent and while on wildlife game drives. You should not move to and from your tent/room during the night without being escorted. Some specific recommendations to make your family safari more rewarding are noted below:
Africa Dream Safaris is proud to offer the JUNIOR GAME RANGER CHALLENGE to all our young guests. This program is full of exciting games and activities designed to enhance your child's safari experience - inspiring and educating them along the way!
Africa Dream Safaris maintains a fleet of specially outfitted 4-wheel drive Stretched Land Cruisers providing for maximum flexibility, adventure, and wildlife viewing. Our spacious Stretched Land Cruisers are the most ideal safari vehicle and come equipped with a total of nine seats with seven of those seats in the back under the canvas top. All vehicles have a canvas convertible top, which can be rolled completely back so that you may view scenery and wildlife, unhindered by obstructions, while standing from any of the seats. There is nothing like the feeling of freedom you get when exploring the secluded wilderness, surrounded by expansive views of vast horizons, underneath the unobstructed dome of a brilliant blue sky.
We strongly believe that a convertible canvas top provides the best possible game viewing experience and is much more enjoyable than game viewing in a vehicle with a 'pop up top'. Pop up tops tend to inhibit your freedom and obstruct your views, especially with regards to some of the more spectacular sightings whether it be a leopard in a tree or a pride of lions resting on top of a kopje. Roof hatches also impede your comfort when game viewing as the narrow hatch restricts your movement. In contrast to these less favorable options, our canvas convertible tops allow you to view wildlife with the fewest imposed constraints and in the most open and raw format possible. Some additional reasons why we do NOT employ 'pop up tops' are noted below:
Please note that our convertible canvas tops do have one significant disadvantage in that you will be completely exposed when game viewing. Accordingly, it is critical that you wear a hat and apply sun block frequently to all exposed areas. You may roll back the canvas top half way in order to provide shade for the first set of seats and sun for the back seats. Please do not hesitate to ask your driver guide to roll the top back up partially if you require less sun.
Every vehicle is equipped with a long distance radio. These radios are used for communication between your vehicle and other driver-guides for game reports, as well as communication with our main operational office in Arusha. If there is any problem on safari, your driver-guide can immediately handle the situation as he is trained and has the expertise. He also can use his long distance radio to communicate with our operational office in Arusha or any ranger station for additional support.
Flat tires are fairly common when game driving the rough tracks in the national parks. Tire changes are handled quickly by your driver-guide with little inconvenience. Vehicle break-downs are extremely rare as our vehicles are rigorously maintained. However, in the unusual event of a vehicle breakdown, a replacement vehicle would be immediately sent and would likely arrive within 2 - 4 hours as support vehicles are always on stand by. With our excellent contingency planning and communication systems you'll never have to worry about being stranded (or even significantly inconvenienced) while on safari.
It may be difficult to hear your guide from the 3rd row of seats in the back of your safari vehicle. This is especially true for a group of 6 persons. Please note that additional vehicles may be booked at additional cost which would allow for fewer guests in each vehicle.
* Please note that our vehicles are NOT equipped with air conditioning. Additionally, the vast majority of lodges and camps do not have air conditioning. Many lodges and camps however do have fans in the rooms.
The Tanzanian Government has instituted new security procedures for passengers arriving into Kilimanjaro Airport including the issuance of a new visa application form with additional informational fields. Due to these new procedures we are requesting that you fill out the new visa application form in advance and bring it with you to Tanzania in order to help expedite the issuance of your visas. In order to ensure that your Tanzania Visas are issued correctly per the new security protocol, we kindly ask that you fill out the attached visa application form, which includes such personal information as name, passport details, nationality, address, occupation, etc. We apologize if some of this information has already been provided in duplicate on our reservation booking forms. However, due to the new strict security regulations and to avoid any errors, we have been asked to have our guests fill out this form directly, which will be submitted in its entirety to the Tanzania immigration department upon landing at Kilimanjaro (JRO) Airport. Please note the following links:
In addition, please HELP us continue to expedite your arrival by taking the following steps:
A passport and visa are required for U.S. citizens traveling to Tanzania and Kenya. Your passport should be valid for at least six months past your arrival date. Please make sure you have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.
Please note that all travelers flying to Tanzania via or in transit through a Yellow Fever Infected Country such as Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda are required to show proof of the Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate. For example, this would include those persons flying to Tanzania through Nairobi, Kenya on British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Swiss Air, Kenya Airways, Brussels Airlines, KLM and Emirates. Please see the health section for further information.
Africa Dream Safaris is proud to offer VIP Tanzania visa service to all of our clients arriving into Kilimanjaro Airport. All Tanzania visa fees are included in the price of our safaris and your Tanzania visa will be issued immediately upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport. Our dedicated visa specialist will meet you in the customs area upon arrival. He will have your name posted on a sign and will stamp your passport with your Tanzania Visa enabling you to avoid the long lines and confusion at customs. Each person will simply need to provide a valid passport and we will take care of everything else. Please make sure you have at least 2 blank pages in your passport. After your visa is issued, you will be escorted outside of customs and immediately transferred to your hotel.
We are unable to issue Tanzania visas at the Dar es Salaam airport. For those persons arriving into Dar es Salaam, you will need to obtain your own individual Tanzania Visas upon arrival at a cost of $100 per person. Simply fill out the short form upon arrival into Dar es Salaam.
Kenya visas may or may not be included in your safari price depending upon your safari itinerary. Besides our main Africa Dream Safaris office in Arusha, we have a satellite office in Nairobi to facilitate obtaining your Kenya visas with a similar process as our Tanzania VIP visa service described above. If you will be arriving into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) and will be leaving the airport for a layover, we can include Kenya visas in your safari price and obtain them for you upon arrival. Please make sure you have at least 2 blank pages in your passport. Alternatively, you may obtain your Kenya visa directly at the airport upon arrival by filling out a short form and paying US $50 per person. Lastly, you may obtain your Kenya visas prior to your departure by mailing your passport and required information to the Kenya Embassy in Washington D.C. (see discussion below).
For those individuals including a Maasai Mara safari extension, you are required to obtain your Kenya visa prior to departure by mailing your passport and required information to the Kenya Embassy. The Maasai Mara extension routes through Nairobi Wilson Airport and it is difficult to obtain your Kenya visa upon arrival at this specific Nairobi airport. Please contact us for instructions on how to obtain your Kenya visa prior to departure.
The Kenyan immigration authorities require that all travelers have two blank pages, clearly marked "VISA" and free of any other entry/exit stamps reserved in your passport for the exclusive use of Kenya Immigration stamps. Travelers who do not have the required two pages may be denied boarding at the point of departure from the United States. Clients traveling to both Kenya and South Africa require 4 blank pages.
Current immigration rules in Tanzania require that all travelers have at least 1 blank page, clearly marked "VISA" and free of any other entry/exit stamps reserved in your passport for the exclusive use of Tanzania Immigration stamps. However, we are concerned that in the future Tanzania Immigrations may adopt a minimum 2 blank page rule, which is currently being practiced in both Kenya and South Africa. Accordingly, we are recommending all travelers at this time to have 2 blank pages, clearly marked "VISA" in their passports when Tanzania is their sole destination.
Travelers who do not have the required blank pages may be denied boarding at the point of departure. Traveling to both Tanzania and Kenya may require 4 blank pages. If combining Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa, 6 total blank pages may be required, etc. Please note that the blank pages must clearly be marked "VISA". The blank pages may NOT be the "AMENDMENTS and ENDORSEMENTS' pages. In U.S. Passports, the amendment pages are typically pages 22 - 24 but check your own passport carefully to be sure.
Again, these "Amendments and Endorsements' pages do NOT count towards the minimum blank page requirements. Furthermore, travelers who do not have the required blank VISA pages may be denied boarding at your point of departure. We have had guests recently who were denied boarding a flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg, South Africa as they only had 1 blank Visa page and not the 2 blank Visa pages required for travel to South Africa. Guests did have several blank amendment pages (pages 22 - 24 in their specific passport) but these could NOT be counted towards the minimum blank page requirements.
If you do need to add more pages to your passport , you can just call to make an appointment at your closest passport office. Most of the time the passports can be dropped off in person, kept by officials for a short time while pages are added, and then the passports can be picked up again same day, usually just a few hours later. The web site below has lots of info and helps with new passports and other items as well. It has the number that you need to call and schedule your appointment. It also has the location of the passport offices. For more info, visit: http://travel.state.gov/
The secret is out with Northern Tanzania and most of the general public is now aware that this area offers the very finest wildlife viewing in all of Africa. Tourists from all over the world are flocking to the famous northern safari circuit to enjoy its beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife. Please note that high vehicle concentrations in many high use areas including the Central Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater may pose an inconvenience. To combat this potential problem, we highly recommend early morning game drives and adventure game drives to some of the more remote areas of the Serengeti, which can be even more rewarding. Please keep in mind that by departing at 6.00am each morning, you will have most areas all to yourself until about 10.00am when the package tours begin. Our expert guides know many secret spots and strategies to get you off the beaten path and avoid vehicle concentrations. The Serengeti, in particular, is a massive park and there are plenty of areas where you will likely encounter very few other vehicles. Make sure to communicate to your driver-guide your interest in adventure and exploring the more remote areas.
The days can vary quite a bit! We have suggestions for you each day, but flexibility is our middle name! The safari is your trip, it's all about you, and how you want to spend your time. So if you want to be on safari all day, that's fine! You are absolutely welcome to, we do offer this to you as an option since Africa Dream Safaris does not limit your mileage or how much time you'd like to be on safari. But on some days you may prefer to take it easy, do a game drive in the morning and come back to the lodge in the afternoon - that's also fine! You'll always come back to the lodge for dinner. Sit around the campfire under the stars and listen for lions roaring.
Meals are the only thing that require a little thought ahead of time. If you want to enjoy an early hot breakfast at the lodge, they can usually be arranged around 7am or even earlier at some if requested ahead of time. Or you can go out for an early morning game drive at say 6am, and then come back to the lodge for a hot breakfast mid morning maybe around 9am. Similar situation with lunch... if you want to come back to the lodge for a hot lunch you have the option to do it on most days. Your guide will have suggestions for you of course, but the final decision is always yours.
For example if the migration is thundering right through your camp, you might feel there is no need to leave the immediate area, which facilitates eating a hot lunch at the lodge. But if your guide knows about a den of tiny baby lion cubs that is a very special sighting but you have to drive for a long distance to get to their den, you will probably want to bring a picnic lunch to avoid having to turn around mid-way in your day and drive all the way back to the lodge. The options are endless, and you'll probably end up practicing many different scenarios at some point in the safari. Just sit down with your guide the night before to plan your day and your meals; he'll have suggestions for you but remember the final decision is yours!
Safaris are extremely informal vacations and the main goal is to pack lightly and smartly. Most lodges and camps will launder your clothes for free or a small fee ($2 - $3 per item) within 24-hours. Loose fitting, casual and comfortable clothing is recommended, as you will be spending the majority of your safari wildlife viewing in a vehicle. Be prepared for daily highs ranging from the mid 70's to the mid 80's and lows in the 50's and 60's except during the cold season (June, July and August) when the lows can drop down into the 40's. The rim of the Ngorongoro Crater can get significantly colder during the night and early mornings due to the high elevation (7,500 - 8,000 feet).
There is little or no opportunity for fashion while on safari though you may wish to bring a nice outfit for a special dinner. All the lodges allow casual clothing and traditional safari wear while dining. There is a large temperature range each day and it is recommended to wear layers enabling you to adjust to the varying temperatures. It can be quite cold on early morning game drives and long pants and a warm sweater are needed. In contrast, shorts and t-shirts can be worn on afternoon game drives as it can get hot during midday especially with the strong equatorial sun shining down in a convertible vehicle. It is important that you wear a wide brimmed hat and apply sun block frequently to all exposed areas.
Dark colors do tend to attract unwanted attention from certain insects. The tsetse fly (active only during the day) is attracted to dark colors (primarily dark blue) so these should be avoided when game driving. Tsetse areas including the woodlands of the West Serengeti, Tarangire and a few parts of the North Serengeti. The plains of the south and east Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and the southern areas of the Central Serengeti are tsetse fly free. It is recommended to wear long pants and shirts when game driving an area known for concentrations of tsetse flies. Lighter and more natural colors such as khaki, brown, beige, olive and green should be worn during the day. During the nights, the color of your clothing is irrelevant. From dusk to dawn, it is recommended that you protect yourself from mosquitoes by wearing pants, long sleeved shirts, socks and shoes plus insect repellent.
Please see below for a recommended African safari packing list:
The ideal time to go on safari will differ for every individual as much of it comes down to personal taste and specific interests. It completely depends on what you want to see and do. Wildlife concentrations are extremely seasonal and careful planning is required to provide you with best experience possible. Many of the animals do move vast distances each month but we will always tailor your itinerary to your specific month of travel to assure that you are located in the best area for wildlife viewing. Some factors that may influence your decision on when to go are as follows:
Based upon the above factors we can have an open and meaningful dialogue and provide you with some suggestions on the most optimal time. If you are limited to a specific travel time, we can always tailor your itinerary to meet your expectations and requirements regardless of the month of travel.
Wildlife viewing in Northern Tanzania is superb year round due to presence of large concentrations of resident animals. However, if you do have flexibility with your travel dates, the green season (late November to early May) can offer the overall best wildlife viewing.
There is an old adage in the Serengeti that 'rain means game' and this definitely rings true during the green season. The reason the green season is advantageous is that the famous wildebeest and zebra migration is concentrated in massive numbers on the open Southern and Eastern Serengeti Plains. This in turn attracts large numbers of predators including lion, cheetah, hyena and jackal. Additionally, the plains are a beautiful shade of bright green, dust levels are minimal, animals are in the open and easy to spot and you are permitted to off road drive on the open plains. It's a great season to get 'off the beaten path' and explore the remote corners of the parks. Please keep in mind that all green season months are not 'created' equal. Game viewing tends to be better towards the end of the green season (February, March and April) when the migration and all the large carnivores are at their highest densities.
The northward migration (early May to mid June) and the southward migration (October through November) are also optimal times for a safari and wildlife viewing. Game viewing can be tremendous when the migration is on the move during these two periods! During the northward migration in May, the great herds bottleneck at the Moru Kopjes attracting all the large carnivores. May is the time of the wildebeest rut and a synchronized mating pandemonium ensues as the migration comes together and marches off the plains. Male wildebeest madly dash about rounding up females and chasing off other males. After an 8.5-month gestation period, the synchronized calving takes place in early February. During the southward migration (October through November), the great herds stream through the woodlands and flood onto the plains as stunning thunderclouds form in anticipation of the approaching green season. It is an amazing spectacle to see hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle thundering southwards with lion, cheetah and spotted hyena in close pursuit.
The dry season (July to October) is also a great time for wildlife viewing. Massive herds of elephants congregate around the Tarangire River in Tarangire National Park while resident herbivores (impala, buffalo, gazelle and giraffe) flock to the Seronera River in the Central Serengeti.
The dry season is a great time for predators and especially good for viewing large prides of lions along the rivers. The migration is located in the remote woodlands of the Northern Serengeti and this is the time of the famous river crossings along the Mara River. Superb off the beaten path drives are available in the Serengeti during the dry season with the favorite being the Mara River adventure game drive.
Regardless of when you travel, one will always have superb game viewing in Northern Tanzania. Resident (non-migratory) animals including leopard, elephant, rhino, giraffe, hippo, resident lion prides and several species of non-migratory antelope are always abundant (particularly in the Central Serengeti). However, there are certain months and even weeks that may be preferable to you based upon your specific wildlife interests. Talk it over with your ADS specialist and decide upon the most optimal time for your safari.
This is a discussion of some general wildlife viewing recommendations that we think will provide you with an overall better game viewing experience in terms of quality and quantity of wildlife seen. A good start is your detailed day-by-day safari itinerary, which includes recommendations for duration and areas of game drives based upon the month you will be traveling. Your driver-guide will also provide daily suggestions for game drives and other activities based upon current wildlife concentrations and weather. However, please keep in mind that your private safari is completely flexible and you have the freedom each day to choose your activities and game drives including number, duration and areas of exploration.
The first thing to keep in mind is that the moderate climate in Tanzania creates a comfortable environment for wildlife viewing throughout the entire day. In many parts of Africa, animals are not active during the afternoon because of the excessive heat. This is not the case in Tanzania due to temperate climate and some of the most amazing sightings do happen in the afternoon. However, the overall best time for wildlife viewing is certainly in the early morning from 6.00am to 9.00am when many animals are most active. It is a magical feeling to be game driving during the still dawn as the sun breaks the horizon while a pride of lion stirs to go hunting or a family of elephants begins their daily migration for water and forage.
We highly recommend early morning game drives each day and especially in the Serengeti National Park and Crater. All lodges and camps can prepare breakfast boxes to go (versus breakfast at the lodge) so you can maximize wildlife viewing during these critical early morning hours. Your driver-guide will certainly recommend early morning game drives each day but feel free to decline if you would rather have a more leisurely morning. Additionally, some of the more adventurous may wish to embark on full day game drives to the most remote areas of the Serengeti which will require a lunch box as well.
ADS GUIDE REGGIE TALKS ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF EARLY MORNING GAME DRIVES: In this video, one of our most treasured guides talks about his 14 years of experience in the Tanzanian bush. He shares a story of a close encounter with a female lion and the thrill of early morning game drives. (recorded by an ADS Guest in the summer of 2012)
It is also important to be patient with wildlife viewing. Instead of racing off to each animal sighting, it can be more rewarding to find an animal that interests you and stick close for an hour or longer watching different behaviors and learning about the specific animal. Something exciting will just about always happen and ultimately, you will be pleasantly surprised. Most safaris eventually offer quality-viewing opportunities of all the major large and small mammals. Lastly, please communicate with your driver-guide your specific animal interests and what level of game drives fits your specific requirements. Your guide will bend over backwards to make sure that your expectations are met and exceeded.
Reach out to one of our safari specialists who are ready and eager to help answer any inquiries.
31244 Palos Verdes Dr. West, Suite 239
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
Hours: Daily 8AM - 8PM PST