lion-cubs-Selous

Lion cubs – Selous

Safari FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions 

We understand that travelling to Africa is different from other destinations. It is expected that you will have many questions that will help inform you and ease your mind. The list of Frequently Asked Questions below are some of the more common questions that guests normally ask. From a great Safari Packing List to luggage limits, we hope Safari FAQ will provide you will helpful information to assist in preparation for your trip.

What should I bring and is there a suggested Safari Packing List?

For an easy to print version of our Safari Packing List, click on this link and print it for easy reference.

Main bag: we recommend a duffel bag or a soft-sided wheelie bag (No hard suitcases) (note: on internal flights, baggage allowance is 15 Kg per passenger)

Carry-on shoulder bag: Important documents (i.e. passport, vaccination certificates, etc.), medications, camera, binoculars, change of clothing, photocopies of all important documents should be in the carry-on bag.

What should I bring and is there a suggested safari packing list?

For an easy to print version of our safari packing list, click on this link and print it for easy reference.

Main bag: we recommend a duffel bag or a soft-sided wheelie bag (No hard suitcases) (note: on internal flights, baggage allowance is 15 Kg per passenger).

Carry-on shoulder bag: Important documents (i.e. passport, vaccination certificates, etc.), medications, camera, binoculars, change of clothing, photocopies of all important documents should be in the carry-on bag.

No formal clothes are needed – we recommend that you keep your luggage to the basics for your Tanzanian holiday. Whilst on safari bright and contrasting colours (black & white) are NOT advised. Try and ensure your clothes are of a neutral colour such khaki, beige or green. Dark colours are not a good idea especially if you are going to be out in the sun, as they absorb the heat. Tsetse flies love colours like blue or black.

A suggested clothing list is attached for your African travel information. Safari clothes and packing should focus on casual, practical items. There is no need for high fashion, expensive jewelry, purses/handbags or bright colours. Laundry services are readily available and it is important to remember that there are luggage weight restrictions.

Here is the essential safari packing list (click on link)

 

Why is Tanzania the best country in Africa to choose for a safari, vacation or holiday? Tanzania remains a place of great escapes. It is a politically stable, captivating nation of extraordinary eco-diversity – from misty forest to the great plains of the Serengeti; from Kilimanjaro to Ngorongoro Crater to Zanzibar’s magnificent sandy beaches. It is a country of fascinating peoples such as the Maasai herdsmen, of spectacular and abundant wildlife in many different eco-systems. Here are some of the many reasons to choose Tanzania for your trip to Africa:

  • Sights: Tanzania is loaded with superlatives – Tanzania has most famous National park in the world (Serengeti), the highest mountain in Africa (Kilimanjaro), the largest and deepest lakes in Africa(Victoria and Tanganyika), and the largest Game Reserve in Africa (Selous).
  • Wildlife: Almost 25% of the country is designated as protected for wildlife. The only country that allocates a greater area to conservation is Costa Rica. An estimated 20% of Africa’s large mammals, including all of the Big Five are in Tanzania. All of the cats are well-represented plus more rare carnivores such as wild dogs. There are also over 1100 bird species. Primates can also be viewed including wild chimpanzees, baboon species, and vervet monkeys.
  • The Migration: Tanzania is the best country to witness something that words can’t truly describe – the migration. Imagine viewing a million wildebeest… each one driven by the same ancient rhythm, fulfilling its instinctive role in the inescapable cycle of life: from a frenzied crossing of the Mara River in the North of the Serengeti in August/September to a two month bout of birthing in February/March in the South replenishing the species in a brief population explosion that produces more than 8,000 calves daily before the 1,000 km (600 mile) pilgrimage begins again. Much of the migration cycle takes place in Tanzania.
  • Political Stability and Infrastructure: Tanzania has not suffered from the political instability or ethnic conflicts that have scarred its neighbours. Its crime rate is far lower than many other countries in Africa. It also has very good infrastructure in terms of airports, roads, accommodations, etc.
  • Eco-Diversity: From the largest crater in the world filled with wildlife (Ngorongoro) to snow-capped peaks of Kilimanjaro waiting for you to climb to the dry savannah of Tarangire, there is an unrivalled diversity of habitats with an average five-day safari in the Northern Parks encountering fifteen separate, recognisable eco-systems.
  • Tourism: Tanzania has the largest tracts of land dedicated to conservation in the world but has the least number of visitors of the major five safari destinations.
  • Climate: Tanzania has a dry and temperate climate. Despite its proximity to the equator, temperatures rarely reach the summer highs of Europe, Australia or North America. The Northern Safari Circuit (Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire, Lake Manyara) in Tanzania has the perfect climate; warm to hot dry days and cool evenings.
  • Commitment to Conservation: In addition to the huge tracts of land given over to the National Parks and Game Reserves, the Tanzanian government also spends a higher percentage of its revenue on conservation than any government in the “developed world”.
  • People: The 120 tribes of Tanzania, from the Maasai of the North to the Swahili of the coast, united in one country, one language and one people. People are generally warm, friendly, and happy to see you.
Ngorongoro-crater-wildebeest-herd

Ngorongoro Crater wildebeest

leopard-on-the-lookout-Serengeti

Leopard on the lookout

When is the best time to travel to Tanzania for a safari?

We’re often asked When is the best time to go to Tanzania? The answer is often complex and depends on many things including your interests, exactly where you want to visit and why you’re travelling. While there is a broad guide to the climate of Tanzania, remember that this comes from historical records and experience, not from a crystal ball. Weather patterns across Africa are becoming increasingly unpredictable, probably due to global warming; we’re seeing downpours in the middle of deserts and damaging droughts when rains should be falling. Lying just south of the equator, Tanzania is huge and its sheer size means that the climate varies considerably within it. Generally, the main rainy season called the “long rains” occurs in March, April and May. Afternoon tropical downpours are the norm – which are heavier and more predictable along the coast and on the Zanzibar. The humidity is high and daily temperatures reach the low-mid 30°s.

The “long dry season” occurs from June through October. During this time, rainfall is unusual, even on Zanzibar. Temperatures vary hugely with altitude and location, but it’s usually a fine, clear sky and sunny weather – it’s a great time to visit Tanzania.

During November and December there’s another rainy season: the “short rains”. These are much lighter than the main rains and less reliable. They also bring new life and water to the Serengeti, causing a burst of grass growth and sparking the migration southwards. If it has rained during the short rains, then it normally dries up for a few months, January and February, which is Tanzania’s “short dry season”, before starting to rain again in earnest in March. 

When is the best time to safari to see the great wildebeest migration on the Serengeti?

Many travellers visit Tanzania to see the Serengeti’s great wildebeest migration. Linked to the rainfall, this stunning migration of tens of thousands of wildebeest – accompanied by zebra, gazelle, eland and impala – takes place throughout the year, and follows a fairly predictable pattern, as the wildebeest are constantly seeking fresh grazing and water. Having said that, the wildebeest migration happens all year – the migration can be found during any given month; you just need to know where to look! The question should really be about the ‘best places’ to see them during a given time of the year – and when visiting them is most enjoyable. While we can’t control the weather, generally speaking, the best time to travel to Tanzania is mid December to March (the migration birthing cycle) and June to October.

Maasai-village-weclomes-ngorongoro-highlands

Maasai village Ngorongoro Highlands

When is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro?

If you wish to climb Kilimanjaro, the two best times are January to March and August to October. Tanzania has 2 rainy seasons – short rains in October-November and long rains from mid March to end of May. It is best to avoid climbing Kilimanjaro during the rainy seasons.

What can I expect regarding safari accommodations?

Tanzania offers a tremendous range of accommodation to choose from. From safari lodges, tented camps, mobile luxury camps, these accommodations will provide you with comfort and all amenities. Flying camps with dome tents, meals prepared under the African sky for adventurous travellers. We are happy to discuss your preferred style of accommodation and help you choose the ones that suit your taste.

tented camp serengeti boutique safari

Tented camp bedroom Serengeti

How is my money sent to Tanzania for the tour payment protected?

Boutique Safari Ltd. is incorporated, insured and licenced in Tanzania. Your deposit and payments are held in an independent account, as a guarantee that your money is protected with us.

Do I need to use a travel agent to book an African safari?

This is a personal preference and it depends a lot on your service needs for a personal local travel advisor. Travel agents offer “cradle to grave” travel services that are extremely helpful when planning a trip to Africa. Further, many people are comforted by the service and relationship that an agent provides. For example, a travel agent can book your international airline tickets, help you purchase your travel insurance package, and assist with any issues that arise throughout the trip planning and during your trip. Equally important, travel agencies can protect your money – they are bonded and provide great risk management protection.

Further, if you are travelling with a group, the services of a travel agency are even more helpful and important. Many agencies put together tours for groups and you may be able to join such a group. The agency can make your tour planning seamless and respond to all your questions and concerns. They are local business partners who you can develop long-term relations with and who get to know you and what you expect when you travel. Thus, we find that most travellers to Tanzania use an agent to assist in the entire travel planning process.

However, there is no legal requirement for our guests to use a travel agency to book one of our safaris or holidays. We are happy to provide advice, assistance and professional services to help you choose the best itinerary that suits your needs. Our experienced staff can tailor-make tours and personalize them as much as you need. You can choose modest camping or luxury lodges and everything in between. If you are a very experience traveller or if you have been to Africa or Tanzania already, you may be very comfortable working with us directly. Again, we are happy to engage with you, your travel agent or both of you – whichever is your personal preference.

If you choose to use a travel agent, we have many years of experience working with them as your travel advisor and planner. We don’t provide international flight booking services or insurance. It is the responsibility of the client to ensure you have international flights that coordinate with your safari itinerary and purchase obligatory full insurance. Thus, you may decide that you want local experts to help you plan your trip. We do book domestic flights if you wish to include them in your Tanzanian safari. We are happy to discuss and arrange domestic flights with you.

Are there any specific requirements for passports and visas?

Male baboon in Lake Manyara

Male Baboon – Manyara

A valid passport is required for all travellers. It is the responsibility of the client to ensure that your passports are valid for travel to Tanzania, for at least 6 months after the date of termination of services, provided by Boutique Safari Ltd. The passport must also have at least 3 – 4 blank pages in it. It is also the responsibility of the client to ensure that you are in possession of valid visas for your African holiday, and that all necessary health certificates are in order. Boutique Safari Ltd. does not arrange visas, but will dispense verbal information received from a country’s consulate regarding visa and / or health requirements. This is a courtesy but not a service. Boutique Safari Ltd. will not be held responsible for any misinformation, errors and omissions with regard to Visa regulations and requirements as they change constantly and we will send you the last update at time of booking according to your home country. While Tanzanian visas can be obtained on arrival we highly recommend that you obtain your visa in advance to ensure you have all the required documents in order.

What about health precautions?

The best source of where to obtain information to assist you in understanding the appropriate health precautions to consider is the World Health Organization website. Here is an excellent link to help you.

Health and vaccinations The last thing you want to do is get sick on your trip. It is the responsibility of the client to ensure that you have taken all necessary and recommended health precautions. Requirements for vaccinations are different and change time to time. We recommend that you visit a local travel health specialist for more information.  For general information try this international travel health site. There are a few basic health matters that require care and attention if you plan to travel to Tanzania. Here are a few guidelines for you to address with your general practitioner or travel health expert. Please also check with your health department prior to departure for any changes in health regulations.

a) Malaria
: Most Tanzanian safari destinations do have occurrences of malaria, but by taking some common sense precautions, you can radically lower the chances of contracting malaria. Consequently, it is definitely worth taking preventative steps. Both chloroquine resistant and normal strains of malaria are prevalent in Africa. Malaria is transmitted by a very small percentage of female Anopheles mosquitoes. They are generally active in the early evening and throughout the night, usually when one is sleeping or sitting around campfires. Expert opinion differs regarding the best approach to malaria prophylactics. It is important to bear in mind that malaria may be contracted despite taking tablets, especially in areas where chloroquine resistance has been reported. Please remember that the best insurance against contracting malaria is to try to prevent being bitten, so use mosquito repellents liberally. Wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers/slacks in the evenings. You should spray your room prior going to dinner with an insecticide like Doom that will kill any mosquitoes that may have flown into your room. Mosquito coils are also effective. Malaria is not a serious problem if people are sensible and take basic precautions. Furthermore, if caught early on, the disease can be effectively dealt with.

b) Water
: It is very important that you drink plenty of water especially if you travel to Tanzania during the warmer months. Dehydration is possibly the single biggest cause of ill health on a safari. It is generally recommended that guests drink at least 2 to 3 litres of water per day to limit the effects of dehydration. This excludes tea, coffee and alcoholic beverages, which act as diuretics and actually contribute to dehydration. We highly recommend that you only drink bottled water and it is readily available. Further, if you are at high altitude (i.e. climbing Kilimanjaro or at the top of Ngorongoro Crater, it is even more important to hydrate. Review this link for more information about water safety and how to stay hydrated and the impact of altitude.

c) The sun and UV protection: Tanzania is on the equator and thus, the impact of the sun is very important to appreciate. Exposure to UV radiation, particularly UVB, can produce severe debilitating sunburn and sunstroke, particularly in light-skinned people. Sunburn, sun stroke and heat stroke are completely preventable but can ruin a holiday. It is essential to wear a hat, cover up and use sunblock daily. Here is a great link to help you ensure you avoid sun hazards.

d) Billharzia
: Billharzia is a disease, which is common in most large bodies of water in the southern half of Africa. Since we won’t recommend that you swim or drink water from rivers or lakes, it is highly unlikely you will contract bilharzia. Furthermore, it is easily diagnosed by a simple blood test and easily and effectively treated with biltracide.

e) Tsetse Flies: 
Tsetse flies are large day time feeding flies occurring in certain low lying and hot safaris areas such the Serengeti. They prefer shady conditions and are attracted to movement, carbon dioxide and lactic acid secretions. We advise that you wear light colored lightweight clothing on your Africa safari. Avoid deep blue and black (as tsetse are attracted to these colors) to lessen the chance of being bitten by these flies.

f) Yellow Fever
: Although rare, yellow fever has been reported in Tanzania. Fortunately, there is a vaccine to prevent contracting yellow fever. See this link for more information. You may require a yellow fever vaccine certificate to enter Tanzania. We recommend that you visit a local travel health specialist for more information.

Is there any risk of ebola in Tanzania? 

There has been a great deal of concern, controversy and fear throughout the world relating to the outbreak of Ebola in 3 countries in West Africa – Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. While we in no way wish to diminish the incredible hardships and human toll this terrible disease is wreaking on these countries, it is also important not to react without complete and accurate information about Ebola itself and the latest West African outbreak.

One of the most well-written and highly educative articles was recently published in the Washington Post. The article is written by, Adam Taylor, who writes about foreign affairs for The Washington Post. The link to the article is: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/11/03/map-the-africa-without-ebola/
Some of the most important points Mr. Taylor makes is that Ebola has been contained to a tiny part of the total African continent and that many proactive and preventative measures have been take by most African countries. This explains why the outbreak hasn’t spread to other African countries or has been contained. In fact, outside of the 3 impacted countries, the United States and Spain have had more cases or possible cases of Ebola than almost the entire remainder of the African continent – well over 30 countries.

Currently, there is virtually no risk of ebola in Tanzania. We encourage you to seek out current, scientifically based, well written information on the Ebola crisis so that you can ask us any questions you may have about any concerns related to Ebola in Tanzania or East Africa. We want to provide reassurances that we can and promise to keep both our website and clients fully informed regarding all important developments in the Ebola situation.
We pray for our brothers and sisters in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia and for any person who has come into contact with this disease and have hope this too shall pass.

Boutique-safari-group-meeting

Safari meeting

Do I need travel insurance?

It is compulsory that you take adequate travel insurance. There are many companies that provide full travel insurance packages. It is better to purchase your policy locally as this will cover you for repatriation back to your home country. Please contact your broker or your travel agent for details. We cannot be held liable for any losses or damages incurred during your African holiday.

Boutique Safari, its agents, operators, suppliers and its associates cannot be held responsible or liable for loss, damage, or theft of personal luggage and belongings, nor can they be held liable for personal injury, accident or illness. Please ensure that you have yourself and your belongings adequately insured before you depart for your Africa safari. These are the essential types of coverage you need: a) Health Insurance: 
It is critical to have full medical, emergency evacuation, and repatriation cover for the period of time you are away from your home country; b) Cancellation and Curtailment Insurance: 
You might have to cancel or curtail your Africa safari due to unforeseen circumstances. If you cancel a trip close to departure date for any reason you could lose all that the safari was going to cost you. Should you have to leave the safari early, we cannot refund you the portion of the Africa safari you do not complete. Depending on the reason for cancellation and curtailment, insurance may cover you for this eventuality. In such an event, we do try our utmost to get the various suppliers to waiver cancellation fees, but this is something that we cannot guarantee, as each African supplier will have different views on the issue; and c) Baggage Insurance
: It is advisable to take out insurance to cover you for damaged or lost baggage, especially if you are carrying expensive and valuable camera equipment. You should always carry such equipment as “carry-on” luggage. Do not put anything of value in your checked baggage! On some Africa safaris, you may travel in motorized boats. So have insurance and also bring waterproof bags for your cameras.

hippos-fighting-Serengeti

Fighting hippos – Serengeti

What about a single traveller and, in particular, a single woman travelling?

We have significant experience hosting single travellers. If you want a private safari for one person, this is no problem to organize. However, the cost will be significantly higher for a single person due to the fact that you aren’t sharing room costs, vehicle costs, guide fees, etc. If you would like to have us try to fit you in with another group of travellers, we are happy to facilitate this as well. This will certainly decrease your costs but will reduce your control and flexibility of your itinerary.

Single women are welcome and we have experience hosting both groups of women and single women. Recognizing that many women travel alone or in groups and that they have particular interests, concerns, and needs, we have created a “Women’s Safari Program“. No such program exists to our knowledge in East Africa and we think its time has come. Our Women’s Safari Program provides cradle to grave customized tour services designed for women guests. Our goal is to ensure that women are guided and inspired by local women in the tourism business. There are only a few of professional, licensed and well experienced women safari guides in Tanzania. Fortunately, they are our friends and they are delighted with the concept and excited to get involved. As much as possible, we will involve women in all aspects of the Women’s Safari Program.

We understand the concerns and issues that women travellers face and we take the utmost care to ensure your safety, security, and comfort.

What about tipping (gratuities)? Wages are generally low in Tanzania. While tipping (gratuities) is not compulsory it is a significant component of those who work in the tourism industry. Since many guests want to tip because you have received good service, we have enclosed a brief guideline to assist you. There are three general categories of staff members to tip whilst on safari Africa safari: your safari guide, the camp/lodge staff, and transfer guides.

1. Safari Guides
: If you have a professionally licenced safari guide who accompanies you each day of your tour, providing services throughout, we recommend $10.00 – $20.00 per day per guest. If you have a general tour guide for a single day tour, we recommend about U$ 5.00 – 10.00 per guest per day if the guide has done a good job.

2. General Lodge/Camp Staff: 
It is important to be aware that a lodge has many staff working behind the scenes to make your stay memorable. Therefore, we don’t recommend that you only tip those who you obtain services from such as a server or a bar tender. In order to ensure everyone is tipped, we recommend about US$ 5.00 – $8.00 per guest per day. This should be placed in the communal tipping box to be distributed equally amongst all the staff at a later stage. Luggage porters should be tipped $1.00 – $2.00 per guest

3. Transfer guides: 
Transfer guides that drive you between hotels and airports can be tipped about US$ 2.00 – $5.00 per guest. However once again, tips are only to be paid at your discretion if you as the client feel the service provider deserves something extra. It is not compulsory.

Are there luggage limits for travelling in Tanzania on safari?

The check in luggage limits on the regional commercial flights is 20 kg pp (44 lbs per person) plus you are allowed 1 carry on bag. (South African Airways, KLM Airlines, British Airways, American Airlines, etc.) Unless otherwise specified, if your African safari itinerary involves any light aircraft transfers, there is a limit of 15 (32 lbs) per person. This 15 kg includes camera bag and equipment. Use this local from one of local flying safari companies for up to date luggage limit information. Please ensure the bag is a soft carry-all (instead of a rigid suitcase). Regarding luggage security: since airlines are experiencing high volumes of valuable items going missing out of passengers checked-in luggage, we request that the following items should not be included in your checked-in baggage: fragile items, money, jewelry, precious metals, negotiable documents, cameras, pocket computers, mobile phones and chronic medication. The airlines assume no special liability on such items. Please note this is industry practice and passengers will be advised to claim through their personal insurance if anything goes missing on their African holiday.

hyena-on-hunt

Hyena on hunt

 

What if my luggage goes missing?

Luggage that goes missing on scheduled flights is beyond the control of Boutique Safari Ltd., and often the airline concerned too. Usually it is the airport (and not the airline) that controls what happens to passengers’ luggage from when it is checked in until it is put on board the aircraft. We would like to suggest that you take the following precautionary action: Please pack a small bag with your essentials that can be carried with you as hand luggage, and pack a second bag containing non-essentials that can be loaded in the aircraft hold. If the second bag is lost, you will still have your essential items on hand to see you through the first couple of days while we try and recover your baggage.

Will I get my laundry done during my safari?

Laundry can be done at most camps and hotels. Some camps and certainly hotels charge a fee for this facility, but the luxury camps may provide this service for free.

Do I need to bring a torch/flashlight?

It is essential that you bring a small flashlight (torch) as you may encounter animals in camp at night. A head-lamp style flashlight is ideal You should also bring spare batteries as they are often unobtainable in these remote areas of Tanzania. Most safari camps supply a flashlight, but it is good to have your own as a backup as this is one of the best forms of safety.

Do you offer a luggage storage facility?

Yes, we do have a luggage storage service that we offer for guests at our office free of charge.

What sort of camera equipment should I bring on safari?

The choice of the correct camera equipment and film will determine the quality of your photographs on your African holiday. For good photography of birds and animals, a good SLR camera and telephoto lens is necessary. The minimum recommended size is 200 mm and a zoom lens can be extremely useful on safari. Consideration should be given before travelling with any lens bigger than 400 mm as most interesting shots are taken using hand held equipment.

What type of electricity can I expect in Tanzania?

In Tanzania, electricity current is 220-240 volts. You will be able to charge your camera batteries in the lodges or camps. Please note that some game lodges do not have electricity and run on generators. You will not find plug sockets in the rooms/tents at lodges. It is advisable to bring battery operated or conventional razors if visiting remote areas during the course of your African holiday. Most safari camps are situated in remote areas and have to generate our own electricity. They do so in a number of ways. Generally each camp has a generator, which runs for about 6 hours per day (3 hours in the morning and 3 in the afternoon when guests are out on activities). These generators then charge batteries located at each tented room which provide good 12v lights all night (if used sensibly). There are generally no 220v or 110v power points in camp. If you need to have your camera or video battery re-charged we can do so while you are out on an activity – please therefore bring a spare for use while the other is being charged. These systems are simple but perfectly functional. If you are expecting to use a hairdryer in your room, please think again. You are on the wrong Africa safari!

superb-starling-at lodge

Superb Starling on lodge sign

Can I bring my computer, laptop, i-pad, mobile phone, etc. on safari?

Please note that the whilst certain lodges and camps in Tanzania do have telephones, quite a few especially in very remote area do not have telephones. Your safari guide will have a mobile phone with them at all times. An increasing number of guests have been bringing computer equipment and mobile phones along with them on safari. As most people come on safari to get away from the outside world, we feel that we must set some limitations to the use of these phones in our camps and on safari.

Therefore, the following restrictions will apply to the use of mobile phones: please don’t use phones in any of the common areas: dining room, bar/lounge area, in the safari vehicle or on game drives at any time; phones may not be used for any incoming calls when the ringing may disturb other guests and use should be restricted to the privacy of your room. Otherwise, the phones are to be switched off at all times. Computer equipment can be brought along but please note that Wi-Fi connections may not exist, particularly in remote areas. Further, the conditions of safari roads (bumps, dust, etc.) can be hard on computer equipment. Electricity power surges can occur and may damage your equipment. Many people download their photos from their cameras onto their laptops at night. This is a great idea provided you have brought all the equipment and there is electricity in the camp. We also see many guests sending out Tweets, Facebook, and other social media updates for their loved ones. This is great but not always possible if there is no Wi-Fi connection.

What is the best Currency to bring to use in Tanzania?

The Tanzanian Shilling is the local currency but USD in cash is commonly accepted throughout Tanzania. This is the preferred foreign currency. All lodges/hotels accept USD cash and some may also accept credit cards (although payment by card will attract a fee of 5%). Most will also provide currency exchange services. While the exchange rates at the hotels are usually a bit lower, they are still close to those of banks. We recommend that you use the lodges and avoid long line-ups and time waste that can occur at the banks. It is also more convenient and safe to exchange money at the lodges.

Note: there are no banks while we are on safari – the only places where you will find banks are the major cities such as Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Bagomoyo, and Stone Town. We usually advise clients not to change too much USD into Tanzanian Shillings. Normally, exchanging USD $50 – 100 should be enough.  Most lodges accept both credit cards and $US and most larger curio shops in Arusha also accept credit cards and USD. Travellers’ checks are less accepted and not recommended.

There are international banks in Zanzibar as well as Exchange Bureau’s, which our local tour representative in Zanzibar can assist you with. Most stores in Zanzibar accept credit cards and USD cash. However some smaller outlets do not As a side note, many guests find the local jewelry made of beads, carved wood, shells, etc. (or gold and silver in Zanzibar) very attractive and affordable. We encourage guests to buy locally produced items supporting the community and also ensuring they have a wonderful keepsake to take home.

Should I bring cash, credit cards, or travellers cheques?

cocktail-hour-on-Serengeti-safari

Safari cocktail hour!

Most places, even the safari camps in Tanzania, accept credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and Amex); however it is a good idea to carry some cash with you to pay for curios, bar accounts, gratuities etc. When travelling in Tanzania and, Zanzibar it is best to carry some cash in USD, but in small denominations. The reason being when paying for something with USD, you will receive change in the local currency, which you can then use whilst you are still there, but won’t be able to change back to USD once you have left Tanzania after your African holiday has ended. Travellers cheques are not advisable.

What are the driving conditions like on safari in Tanzania?

The highways are generally tarred and in good condition in Tanzania. However, in the national parks, the roads aren’t tarred and can be rough, dusty, and bumpy and occasionally you will travel “off road” where it is possible. Each park has different road conditions. So if you have back problems its best to advise us so that we can suggest an area that will ensure smoother safari road conditions.

What about wild animal interactions on safari?

Most camps in Tanzanian national parks are unfenced, so listen to your camp staff and safari guides. They will provide safety instructions to follow. Don’t push any safety issues or break these rules – you will not be in any theme parks where the animals are tame. Don’t ever go strolling away from the camp or from your guide. Dangerous animals can and do wander through the camps. Many of the animals and reptiles you will see are potentially dangerous. Attacks by wild animals are rare. However, no African tour operator can guarantee that such incidents will not occur. Neither Boutique Safari Ltd, its agents, or any camps or operators, their staff members, associates, agents, nor their suppliers can be held liable for any injuries caused during an incident involving the behaviour of wild animals. Please make sure that you listen to and abide by the safety talks given by your guides or camp staff prior to your Africa safari. Don’t go wandering off on your own without a guide – even to your rooms; a guide must escort you to your room. After retiring to your rooms at night, don’t leave your rooms. If you are sensible, you should be safe.

cheetah-yawning-Serengeti

yawning Cheeta

What are game-viewing rules while on safari?

We take the protection of our culture, heritage, parks, and wild animals very seriously. These are our national treasures that we hope to share with the world for generations to come. Thus, we provide to our guests a “Safari and Tour Code of Ethics” which we hope will educate you and ensure that you enjoy a trip of a lifetime.

Observe the animals silently and with a minimum of disturbance to their natural activities. Loud talking on game drives can frighten the animals away. Don’t stand up when the vehicle is close to dangerous animals. Never attempt to attract an animal’s attention. Don’t imitate animal sounds, clap your hands, pound the vehicle or throw objects.
 Please respect your driver or guide’s judgment about our proximity to lions, cheetahs and leopards. Don’t insist that he take the vehicle closer so you can get a better photograph. A vehicle driven too close can hinder a hunt, or cause animals to abandon a hard-earned meal. Littering is illegal and waste tossed on the ground can choke or poison animals and birds and is unsightly.
-Never attempt to feed or approach any wild animal on foot. This is especially important near lodges or in campsites where animals may have become accustomed to human visitors. Never walk on your own. Always have a guide with you. Refrain from smoking on game drives. The dry African bush ignites very easily, and a flash fire can kill animals.

How can the currency exchange impact my safari tour budget?

Our tours are priced in $US. We will provide you with deposit and final payment dates so you can plan ahead. If you live in a country other than the United States, we recommend you keep an eye on currency exchange rates. If rates are negatively changing, don’t wait until the last minute before you exchange money into US dollars (which is also the recommended currency for use in Tanzania). Keep an eye on currency exchange rates and this will help avoid surprises. With some knowledge most travelers and planning ahead, you can avoid a poor exchange rate and keep your exchange expenses in line. Most out of the country vacations are planned well in advanced, and with an understanding of the currency exchange market, an averaging cost system can be used to exchange money.

The best approach is to exchange a little money on several different occasions, so if there are fluctuations in the market all the exchanges can be average to offset a poor exchange rate. The averaging system is especially important when the trip is for an extended period of time and there is more money involved. Trying to exchange money using inflated bank rates only exacerbates the problem. Banks charge a surcharge for the exchange plus there could be other hidden fees. Using a credit card could also result in additional expenses. Credit cards exchange money using their own exchange rate, which usually includes a profit for them. They also charge a surcharge on purchases that are made outside of the country. Once you understand how the currency exchange market works, it makes sense to average exchanges before you leave on the trip. Averaging reduces stress and saves money, especially when there is a lot of movement in the currency market.

What about crime in Tanzania?

Crime is a serious problem of certain areas in Africa, particularly the big cities. Fortunately, comparatively speaking, Tanzania is one of the safest countries in Africa. We have had no problems of this nature happen to any of our Africa safari clients. The hotels/lodges we suggest are in good areas and you are invariably out of the rough city centres. However we do urge guests to exercise the same common sense they would whilst in any other big city of the world, and not to openly display cash and valuables whilst out on the street.

Are National Park Fees included?

Park fees are generally included in the cost of your package, but this is specified in the included and excluded section of your confirmation.