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.
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, Four Seasons, 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.
For more detailed information about our expert drivers, visit our Driver Guides section.
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.
A 3 rectangular pin UK plug adapter (pictured below) is required to use electrical appliances including video cameras, digital cameras, battery chargers, etc.. Please note that Tanzania electrical sockets are identical to those found in the United Kingdom. The 3 rectangular pin UK plug adapter is placed onto your appliance plug so that it will fit into the 3 rectangular pin electrical sockets. You may wish to consider bringing along a multiple outlet device (a.k.a. 3-way splitter) to plug into the adapter, allowing charging of more than one battery or device at a time.
The electrical voltage in Tanzania is 220V while the electrical voltage in the United States is 120V. If you have a dual voltage appliance or a universal power supply capable of operating safely with either 120V or 220V, all you will need is the plug adapter mentioned above. Most newer laptops, digital cameras and video cameras come equipped with a dual voltage power supply. Check to make sure that the input reads 100V - 240V or 120V - 240V.
If you do not have a dual voltage power supply, then in addition to the plug adapter, you will need to purchase a transformer/converter.
Please be aware that many of the lodges in Tanzania do not operate their electricity generators 24 hours a day. Some lodges turn off their generators after dinner until just before dawn. Please inquire upon arrival at each lodge as policies differ widely. It is always a good idea to be prepared with one or two extra batteries for digital cameras, camcorders and laptops.
Guests can charge their camera or video batteries directly in the vehicle. There are sockets in every vehicle BUT an inverter as described below or something similar is required. This one below called the Enercell 350 watt power inverter can charge batteries and is rated high enough for a lap top. It also has a USB so it can charge iphones, ipods, etc. too. Enercell 350W High-Power Inverter with USB: radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3896267
*NOTE: To view a chart of amenities for the most commonly visited lodges, view the Lodge Amenties Checklist which outlines which accommodations supply hair dryers, internet and 24 hour electricity.
The following lodges have wifi: Four Seasons Lodge, Mountain Village Lodge, Arusha Coffee Lodge, Lake Duluti Lodge, Ngorongoro Manor and Mbuzi Mawe Tented Lodge. There is a also a high speed internet cafe in the town of Karatu, which is on the road between the Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara.
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.
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.
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, chalkboard 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.
The most convenient, efficient and safest point of entry into Tanzania is Kilimanjaro Airport via Amsterdam 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 delta.com. 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.
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:
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.
"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.
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 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.
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.
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: Private Safari Advantage
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.
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.
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: OFF Deep Woods Towelettes, Ben's Deet Single Use Wipe Enter 'enter T7085 in search window
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!
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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:
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:
After your passport is stamped with your visa, you will be escorted to the baggage claim area where you can claim any checked luggage, if applicable, before departing the airport. Our VIP arrival service should still allow you to be processed through Immigration before the overwhelming majority of passengers. However, given the new security measures in place at JRO, our recent guests have experienced a longer than usual wait. We hope this is a temporary issue while the airport staff transition to the new security procedures and we thank you in advance for your patience.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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): vimeo.com/52570352
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
P.O. Box 2189
+255 752 225 554