Travelling to Tanzania
What budget do I need?
The price of a safari depends on a number of factors such as: the number of participants, the type of transport, the tourist season and the type of accommodation. Vehicle costs are shared between participants, and flying exclusively with charter planes will be more expensive than travelling with a 4x4 vehicle. High touristic season is July/August/Christmas which is more expensive than low season in April/May/November. And finally the type of accommodation ranges from camping, to luxury camps & lodges. There are options for all!
The Tanzanian government controls park entrance fees. These taxes are often very expensive and increase regularly. You can find the prices of these fees on the official TANAPA website. These taxes are an important element to take into account in your safari budget, and you can't avoid them. For example, the day tax in the Serengeti is $83 per person, per 24 hours.
The custom of tipping is deeply rooted in Tanzanian hospitality culture, and you will also need to factor this into your budget (around 20-25 dollars per day).
In Zanzibar, there are hotels in every possible category, from bed and breakfasts guesthouses to luxury villas with private pools.
Our agency, Corto Safaris, only offers tailor-made trips. We therefore adapt our proposals to your budget. It is important to give us an idea of your maximum budget when you request a quote. This way, our offer will be better adapted to your plans.
When should I travel?
Tanzania is divided into two very distinct climatic zones, with the high plateaux (over 1500m altitude) on one side boasting a temperate tropical climate, and the flat coast on the other, with its humid equatorial climate. Each season reveals a different and magnificent landscape. The weather can be very localised and different from place to place, but the trends below are general. The hottest period is January/February and the coolest is August.
June to October. The hottest months are December to February. Evenings can be cool. Bring one or two pullovers. If you travel at the start of the dry season, the landscapes will be magnificent and still green from the last rains. From August onwards, they become increasingly yellow and the waterholes for the animals become rarer, making them easier to observe because they are predictable.
The big rainy season generally lasts from April to May. The main concentration of rains takes place over two months. The rains come in the form of showers, mainly in the morning and evening, but they do not prevent you from going on safari. At this time of year, evenings can be cool in northern Tanzania. Make sure you bring one or two warm jumpers. The scenery is beautiful, you are alone in the parks and the prices are the lowest of the year.
The small rainy season starts at the end of October and lasts until mid-December. Photographers prefer this time of year, as there is the most light and, above all, fewer tourists. Prices are also very attractive at this time of year.
Can I travel with children?
Yes! Absolutely! The founders of Corto Safaris are the proud parents of 4 children whom have taken part in our expeditions since they were very young. We are used to taking families on trips all throughout the Northern Circuit.
We offer age-appropriate itineraries and family rooms specially designed to ensure your children's comfort and safety. Don't hesitate to ask us any questions you may have on this matter.
Children up to the age of 12 are generally entitled to a discount on accommodation. In the Tingitana range we offer, this discount is valid up to and including the age of 15. They are also entitled to a discount on national park entrance fees, up to and including the age of 15. Please let us know the age of your children so that we can give you an accurate quotation.
Preparing your trip
For American, Asian and European nationals, you will need a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of return + a Tanzanian tourist visa. The Tanzanian visa can be obtained before your trip online via the e-visa portal or on arrival provided it is paid for directly in US dollars. Bring 50 US dollars in cash, post-2009 denominations, to pay for the visa at the airport.
If you would like more information or to obtain a visa before your departure, reach out to the nearest Tanzanian Embassy in your country. You can find a list of all embassies here.
Minors will need their own passport, and therefore an individual visa to travel to Tanzania. From 15 January 2017, a minor travelling abroad unaccompanied by one of their legal guardian(s) will have to submit a form signed by one of them and a photocopy of an identity document from the guardian concerned. This also applies to children travelling with their grandparents.
Yellow fever vaccination is not compulsory for entry into Tanzania unless you have just spent more than 12 hours in a high-risk country (Kenya, Ethiopia, ....). Diphtheria, tetanus, polio, hepatitis A/B and typhoid vaccinations are recommended. Vaccination against rabies is also recommended.
Malaria is endemic in the country. Make sure you protect yourself against mosquito bites by using repellents, mosquito nets and clothing that covers your arms and legs. Treatment may also be considered.
We advise you to make an appointment with your GP or a specialist for further information on this subject.
Given the current trend of COVID-19 worldwide, Corto Safaris strongly advises all travellers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 OR have an RT-PCR test.
The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania (URT) is updating its Travel Advisory No. 11 from 8 September 2022 to version No. 12 with effect from 12 January 2023 to reflect the following measures:
- "All travellers entering or transiting to the United Republic of Tanzania via land borders, seaports or airports are advised to be fully vaccinated in accordance with the COVID-19 priming protocol approved in their respective countries."
- "Travellers are not required to present a COVID-19 vaccination certificate or a negative RT-PCR certificate or to perform a rapid antigen test on arrival, unless otherwise specified."
- "On arrival in the United Republic of Tanzania, a thermal and physical examination will be carried out. Passengers showing symptoms during the examination will be immediately isolated and treated in accordance with health protocol."
- "For travellers departing from Tanzania who require an RT-PCR certificate, tests can be carried out at designated locations at a cost of TZS 115,000 (USD 50). Rapid antigen tests can be carried out for TZS 23,000 (USD 10)."
What to pack?
During your safari, the evenings and early mornings are cool, so a fleece jumper or woollen sweater is essential whatever the season.
Tanzania is very close to the equator, so sunburn is very likely if you don't take precautions! Be sure to pack some high protection sun cream! An insect repellent, an anti-diarrhoeal and a medicine to prevent motion sickness should also be in your first-aid kit.
Avoid wearing black and blue on safari, as these colours attract tsetse flies. Finally, don't forget your camera, sunglasses and a pair of binoculars!
For your comfort during the trip, we kindly ask to travel with bags that are not too large and flexible!
The US dollar and the Tanzanian Shilling (TSH) are the two currencies used and accepted in the United Republic of Tanzania.
The Tanzanian shilling is the unit of currency. You can change it in the banks in Arusha (pay attention to bank opening hours). We advise against withdrawing money from local ATMs, as they only dispense shillings and not dollars.
For US dollars, you must bring banknotes dated after 2009. Earlier banknotes will be refused or exchanged at a rate well below their value.
MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club and Visa are accepted in some large lodges, but not everywhere. Beware of bank charges when paying by card; in Tanzania they are substantial.
Traveller's cheques in US dollars can be exchanged at banks. The import and export of local and foreign currency is unlimited; amounts exceeding US$5,000 must be justified.
During the trip
How to dress?
On safari, light-weight clothing, shorts and t-shirts are no problem, but beware of the sun! It's very strong and can burn you easily.
On the coast and in the islands, the religion of Islam is predominant so try to avoid outfits that could be seen as an affront to the faith. Opt for long-sleeved clothing and trousers. On the beaches, avoid any form of nudism or skimpy attires.
We suggest you read the information on the website of your respective country's embassy so that you can adopt a few safety tips when travelling in Tanzania.
In any case, you should not leave the hotels where you are staying at night.
During your safari, it is strictly forbidden to walk outside your room at night. There are no barriers between you and the wild animals, you are in their territory.
During Ramadhan, avoid eating or drinking in public.
Homosexuality is a crime in Tanzania.
Drugs and narcotics are severely punished.
The following items may be imported into Tanzania without paying customs duty: 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250 g of tobacco, 1 litre of alcoholic beverages, 250 ml of perfume. It is strictly forbidden to take any animal trophies out of Tanzania: skins, bones, ivory, eggs, etc.
Filiming & Photography
You can photograph landscapes without limits! Please note that it is forbidden to photograph military areas and buildings, as well as officers in uniform.
When it comes to photographing people, the keyword here is consent. Do so sparingly and respectfully; try to put yourself in their shoes: how would you accept being photographed, how would you not like it?
The use of drones is absolutely forbidden. Their presence would completely disturb the wildlife.
Tanzania, like the rest of East Africa, is a country under Anglo-Saxon influence, and tipping has become a way of life here.
It is customary to tip at the various accommodation establishments where you will be staying. Most lodges and camps have tip boxes at reception where you can leave around US$10 if you are satisfied with the service. The money is then shared between all the staff. Of course, you are not obliged to leave a tip in all accommodation. Beware of staff members who will ask you to tip them directly!
National Park employees or local guides may also be paid on an occasional basis for escorting visitors, but in all cases this must be for a genuine service and not a compulsory salary.
It is also customary to tip your safari team at the end of your stay. This tip is important and should be factored into your budget.
Generally speaking, we recommend around USD 25 for your driver-guide, per day of safari. If you are on a camping/bivouac safari, you can leave around USD 15 for your cook per day of safari. Here again, there is no obligation and the amount is ultimately up to your satisfaction.
The amounts given are for guidance only and under no circumstances should you feel obliged to give them.
You can indulge in the delights of shopping in the curios shops. Bargaining is advisable, but in the fine boutiques that offer a guarantee of quality, the room for manoeuvre is limited. There are also opportunities outside the major towns, particularly in the curio shops of Masai country.
The quality of the work of East African craftsmen is undeniable, but don't be under any illusions about the supposed authenticity of the pieces on sale. Worse still, beware of street vendors offering you jewellery made from ivory or the body of a wild animal, such as bracelets made from so-called elephant hair. This trade is strictly forbidden in Tanzania and the risks of buying pure junk are extremely high.
If you like to bring back souvenirs from your travels, you'll have no trouble finding what you're looking for! The wood carvings are breathtaking, and jewellery made from semi-precious stones (especially malachite, tanzanite and tsavorite) is often very beautiful. Magnificent solitaire sets made of different stones are to be found everywhere. You can also take home some superb animal sculptures in soapstone and some very colourful and varied fabrics.
Eating out in Zanzibar
Your accommodation in Zanzibar will generally be in a bed & breakfast or half-board basis. You are free to choose to have lunch or dinner in your hotel restaurant or in nearby establishments.
Expect to pay an average of USD 25 per person.
Power current in Tanzania is between 220 and 230 volts, 50 Hz. Power cuts are fairly frequent. Sockets are in the UK style; they have three plugs, two flat horizontal and one vertical. We advise you to bring an adaptor for your electrical devices.
Please note! In the lodges, electricity is often supplied by a generator which as a general rule stops working after 10pm and starts up again around 6 or 7am. We advise you to bring a torch for your stay in case of emergency.
Postal services & telecomunications
You can buy stamps at post offices and at the reception desks of world-class hotels. A stamp for Europe costs around 600 TSH (€0.5). A letter takes around 10 days to arrive in Europe.
To call from abroad to Tanzania: 00 255 (phone number)
To call from Tanzania to abroad: 00 (country code)
The cost of an international call is very high. Check with your operator before you leave.
Tanzania follows East Africa Time (GMT+3).
+ 2 hours compared to France in winter, + 1 hour in summer.
+ 7 hours compared to Toronto Canada
- 5 hours compared to China
Swahili and English are the two official languages. Swahili is a language of Bantu origin, from the coastal region, with many words derived from Arabic. Other African languages of Nilotic and Khoisan origin are also spoken.
On Mt Kilimanjaro, nights can be cold, around -5/5°C, humid at an altitude of 3000m, and between -5 and -20°C on the night of the final ascent between 4600m and 5895m. The days are temperate, generally dry, except occasionally below 3000m.
Equipment you need
A -15°c to -25°c quality sleeping bag, either sarcophagus or side-zipped with a sewn-in sheet.
Fleece, down jacket, shirts, T-shirts (preferably 4-5 in microfibre, avoid cotton, which takes a long time to dry).
A high-mountain wind and rain jacket (Gortex or micropore).
A rain-waterproof poncho.
Jumpers, undershirts, warm trousers, Gortex tights or equivalent... don't hesitate: it's very cold up there!
Warm high-top mountain boots (-22°C).
A pair of trainers for the evenings at the camp.
Warm woollen socks, cotton socks, Gortex underwear.
Woolen hat or balaclava, hat, gloves (silk + mittens).
A hat or cap to protect you from the sun.
Sunglasses and sun cream.
One 2Lltr water bottle or two 1Ltr ones, or a 2Ltr camel bag, and a 1/4Ltr drinking bottle.
A pocket knife or opinel to be placed in your checked-in baggage for the flight.
A headlamp with batteries and a spare bulb. Especially for night ascents.
Belt or pouch for money and important papers, to be carried on your person at all times.
Toiletries, a quick drying towel.
Telescopic walking poles.
Personal pharmacy with: analgesic, eye drops, vitamin C, foot care kit, high-protection sun cream for face and lips, moisturiser, mosquito repellent, anti-diarrhoeal and painkillers, broad-spectrum antibiotic, ready-to-use disinfectant sachets, a box of adhesive dressings, an adhesive elastic bandage.
Hydrochlonazone to purify the water. Toilet paper and lighter to eliminate it, pens (for gifts).
Snacks such as dried fruit, energy bars, etc... and altitude sickness medication.
During the ascent, your bag will be wrapped in a waterproof overbag and be carried by a porter. It must not exceed 12kg, the bags are weighed by the rangers at the park entrance. You can leave a bag with us during the ascent, which we will return to you once you have finished the ascent. During the day's walk, you carry only your small backpack with your daily essentials.
3-person dome tents (for 2 people) + mattress and cover.
All cooking equipment, tables, chairs and a large tent for meals, expedition food using fresh local produce.
Hearty, hot meals in the morning, at lunchtime and in the evening.
The ascent of Mt Kilimanjaro is supervised by a specialised local team trained for this trek. We also provide a decompression chamber. A rescue organisation, managed by the parks company, exists if necessary which is included in the price. However, we strongly advise you to take out your own repatriation insurance.
If you feel out of breath, stop and take a rest, enjoy the scenery! Your heartbeat will return to normal and you will be able to continue. If it's more serious and accompanied by headaches, nausea, extreme fatigue or loss of appetite, go back down or stay where you are. In any case, your guide is there to help you, so don't hesitate to let him know if you have any problems... Above all, don't be afraid to fall behind, don't be afraid to stop, and adjust your breathing to your pace instead of trying to keep up with others who are better trained or fitter. Drink plenty of water (3.5 litres a day) and, above all, walk at your own pace to guarantee a successful ascent.
Our guides, assistants and porters are specially trained to keep a very close eye on you and to respond to the slightest suspicious sign; trust them and listen to their advice. Don't try to push yourself too hard if they ask you to stop for a moment. They are used to it and know exactly how to deal with any problems.
Photography & Video on Kili
Electronic devices (smartphones) can suffer in the cold and at high altitudes. We recommend you take digital/film cameras with enough memory cards & batteries for your trip.
Always ask for the person's consent before taking a photo of someone!
The price differences between the different operators of ascents in Tanzania are very often due to the treatment and remuneration of porters and guides during your trip. At Corto, we have long been at the forefront of our responsible tourism policy.
Salary of porters
While the average salary paid to porters by tourism companies in Tanzania is TSH 6220 per day, we pay them a salary of Tsh 10,000 per day, and pay them directly when they are taken down to Mweka by an official from our office. Each porter must show his porter's card and sign on the list when he receives his salary.
Tips for porters
Equipment of porters
Even if they are not permanent members of Corto's team, we have porters who are loyal to us! For each ascent, we send a list of porters which the mountain guides must follow; this procedure avoids the practice of porters having to pay the guide in order to be hired, which is unfortunately common. Porters are not allowed to start their ascent if they are not properly equipped for the mountain. It is the guide's responsibility to check this. For your information, the town of Moshi has a large second-hand market. This enables the porters to buy mountain clothing at very low prices, particularly to protect them from the cold. Additional information on the working conditions of our porters:
On each expedition, there will be between 3 and 5 porters per visitor (a smaller number for larger groups, as the cooking and camping equipment is more evenly distributed).
They receive 3 full meals a day.
They are authorised to carry a maximum of 20 kg each plus 2 kg for their own equipment.
They sleep in a tent adapted to the climate.
Promoting responsible tourism
Corto Safaris takes a responsible approach, respecting local populations and the environment.
Our teams are paid at the rates recommended by the park authorities.
Improving working conditions for our teams.
Passing on know-how.
Traveller information and awareness.
Training and prevention programmes are put in place during the low touristic season
English and French lessons
Seminairs on HIV