Quick Guide to Tanzania:
Tanzania, located in the east of the continent, just below the horn of Africa – it is known for its vast wilderness areas, the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro, and the wildlife adventure of the Serengeti National Park, which is home to the Big Five.
Yet off shore lies the tropical islands of Zanzibar, with Arabic influences, and a marine park home to whale sharks and coral reefs as well a Stone Town legacy bedazzled as the birthplace of Queen lead entertainer and singer Freddie Mercury.
Population: 56 million (2016)
Vaccination and key medical info: Travelers are advised to be immunized against Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, rabies, typhoid, boosters for tetanus, diphtheria and measles. A Yellow Fever certificate is required for all pandemic countries.
Language: Swahili and English
: Air Tanzania
Airport hub: Nyerere International Airport, Dar es salaam
:Abeid Amani Karume Int Airport, Zanzibar
:Kilimanjaro Int Airport, Kilimanjaro
Plugs: Yes. Tanzania uses plug type D and G. It has a 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
Country code: +255
The climate is tropical and coastal areas are hot and humid. The north-western highlands can be quite cool and temperate. There are two rainy seasons – specifically between October to December and then the longer rain season from March to June. The central parts of Tanzania are generally drier throughout the year.
Best Time to Visit:
Tanzania is famous for its wildlife, especially its part in the great wildebeest migration. The Dry season from late June to October is ideal – with the best chance of seeing the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti is during June and July and the time to see the wildebeest calving is late January to February.
Food to try when visiting:
Tanzanian cuisine is both spicy, with variations of bananas widely used. Tanzania grows at least 17 different types of bananas which is used for soup, stew, and chips.
Along the coastal regions of Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Bagamoyo, Zanzibar, and Pemba – you’ll find flavorful dishes, balance with the use of coconut milk.
However, across the mainland regions the foods take on a different and even more unique flavor. Traditional dishes include wali or rice, a type of maize porridge known as ugali, flat chapati breads and braided meats known as nyama as well as mshikaki. Vegetables such as bamia or okra), mchicha a kind of spinach and maharage or beans are widely cooked with.
Key phrases to know:
Don’t be surprised if you hear somebody shouting Mambo while walking along the streets of Stone Town – it’s a common slang greeting, said to be widely used across Eastern Africa. In fact the Kiswahili slang is said to be vastly different to the official language itself. However, here are a few choice phrases to get your through the basics.
Hujambo – Hello
Habari – Also Hello / Good Morning. Use this one when speaking with older people.
Nzuri – Beautiful / Good / Nice / I am fine.
What is your name – Jina lako nani
My name is – Jina langu ni
Shikamo – Meaning I hold your feet. it is used for older people.
Asante – Thank you
Pole pole – Slowly, slowly.
Chakula – Food
Ndiyo / Hapana – Yes and No respectively. It is suggested that Hapana is rude but as long as you don’t say it forcefully – you should be fine.
Hatari – Danger
Water – Maji
Taxi – Teksi
Hotel – Hoteli
Can I get a discount – Ninaweza kupata punguzo
Top attractions in Tanzania:
• Mount Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, is an icon in its own right. Many aspiring adventurers aim to summit the highest free-standing mountain in the world but this is not something to be taken lightly or to be done on your own.
Climbing Kilimanjaro provides detailed itineraries, route maps and itineraries tracking all the major routes, including “the Arrow Glacier, the Lemosho, Machame, Marangu, Mweka (only used for descending), the Rongai (Nalemoru), Shira (predominantly used for evacuation) and Umbwe routes.
• Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti National Park is unmatched when it comes to the annual migration of over 1.5 million white-bearded wildebeest and 250 000 zebra across the Serengeti ecosystem in the Mara and Simiyu regions. The area is also famous for its annual migration of and for its numerous Nile crocodile and honey badger.
• Zanzibar Beaches
Zanzibar is comprised of an archipelago of islands set off Tanzania. Two bigger islands (Pemba and Unguja) dominate the landscape with many smaller islands dotted around them. The biggest one of the lot, Unguja is generally what people refer to when they say they’ve been to Zanzibar and that’s where we went.
• Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Located in the northern part of the country, this is a long-extinct volcano crater that offers up spectacular wildlife experiences. Well-organizedgreat migration itineraries will see you journey across the Great Rift Valley and through the Crater Forest and over the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater.
• Pemba Island
A three-and-a-half hour flight from Johannesburg, allows you to enjoy pristine beaches and landscapes dotted with baobab trees – not to mention miles and miles of the azure Indian Ocean as far as the eyes can see.
• Stone Town
A drive through the city center, Stone Town, presents an unfortunate picture of dilapidated buildings aged aggressively over time but still rich with culture; and with local businesses offering paintings by local artists, traditional outfits, spices and the usual ‘tourist’ fare like t-shirts and sarongs.
Must-do things to add to your itinerary:
The Great Migration
If you grew up watching wildlife shows narrated by the legendary David Attenborough, chances are pretty good that you’re mildly obsessed with the Great East African wildebeest migration. Rolling on from year to year in what is perhaps the clearest example of the Great Circle of Life (said in Mufasa’s voice) at work, this incredible natural display contains all the elements of a good edge-of-the-seat drama: romance, new life, travel, enemies lurking in the shadows, death, survival and, finally, greener pastures for those who make it. Something not to be missed and the timing of your trip should certainly factor this in.
Diving is one of Zanzibar’s biggest attractions with mostly clear visibility and many coral reefs surrounding the island. A day tour with Safari Blue sets you up for a day of fun and you don’t need to be an expert to enjoy the marine-rich ocean either. Book and plan your tours ahead of time to be able to factor in the necessary costs.
Zanzibar was an important stop in the spice trade centuries ago. It’s still known as a spice island and boasts big exports of cloves. On these spice tours you’ll be able to see how different spices are grown – everything from vanilla to ginger. And nothing seems to look like I expected it to. You’ll also be able to buy spice at the end of the tour, albeit they are quite expensive.
Big tortoises are a thing, always hiding on these tropical islands. Giant Aldabra tortoises can be found on Prisoner’s Island, a 45-minute boat trip from Stone Town harbor. The island itself has a rich history (no prisoners actually lived there for one) and the tortoises are delightful. Expect some crowds here. Prison Island is also a popular spot for diving. It really has stunning blue waters and many tours offer diving opportunities as well.