Safari Tips - JJM Tours and Safari to Serengeti/Ngorongoro Crater/Zanzibar

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Safari Tips

Location
Tanzania is located in East Africa between longitude, 29 degrees and 41 degrees east and latitude 1 degree and 12 degrees south. Tanzania borders Kenya to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the south, and is the largest country in East Africa (943,000 sq km), comprising both the mainland and the Zanzibar Archipelago.
 
A large central plateau makes up most of the mainland (at between 900m and 1800m) and the mountain ranges of the Eastern Arc and the Southern and Northern Highlands cut across the country to form part of the Great Rift Valley.
 
A land of geographical extremes, Tanzania has the highest peak - Mount Kilimanjaro, the lowest point - the lakebed of Lake Tanganyika, and the largest lake - Lake Victoria, on the continent.
 
Official languages

Kiswahili and English
 
Documentation

A valid passport and visa are required for all visiting Tanzania. Nowadays, it has been make possible to obtain a visa at any entry point of country. It costs US$50. However, we still advise that these arrangements be done well before your arrival.
 
Money

 
The Tanzania currency unit is called the Tanzanian Shilling. It is available in both coins and notes/bills. There are Bureau De Change in various parts of Arusha and Dar es Salaam where you can get a better rate. Although the American dollar is largely acceptable, it is advisable to pay for drinks and other services in local currency. The black market has generally disappeared after the introduction of a liberalized economy in the region. The use of Credit Cards is still very minimal and subject to additional charge. Also, don't expect to find many cash machines!
 
Weather and Climate

Because Tanzania lies below the equator, the coolest months occur during the northern hemisphere's summer, and all-year round the weather remains pleasant and comfortable. Between June to October, temperatures range from around 10°C in the northern highlands to about 23°C on the coast. On the plains and the lower-altitude game reserves, the temperatures from June to October are warm and mild. On the coast, these months are some of the most pleasant to visit, with balmy, sunny weather much of the day and cooling ocean breezes at night.

From December to March, the days are hot and sunny with often not a cloud in the sky. Temperatures range from the mid-twenties to the low thirties throughout the country while visitors flock to the parks and beaches to escape the dreariness of late winter in colder climes. Clear sunny days are the norm in the northern highlands and the heat of mid-day is tempered by the golden light in late afternoon and the especially striking sunsets. In the game parks and central plains, the beautiful weather provides perfect opportunities for unhampered game viewing, and clear night skies offer perfect opportunities for star-gazing and romantic evenings in the bush. On the shores of the Swahili Coast, the Indian Ocean reaches its highest temperatures and is ideal for swimming at any time of day or night.
 
Tanzania's equatorial climate brings two seasons of rain each year: the masika, or long rains that fall from mid-March to the end of May, and the mvuli, or short rains, that come intermittently throughout November and parts of December, and sometimes stretch into early January. During the long rains, heavy showers fall in the early mornings but usually clear up by mid-day, with the weather often remaining clear and sunny until late afternoon. By evening, impressive cloud formations build, breaking sometime after dark and the rain often continues throughout the night. During the short rains, light showers in the mornings and late afternoons are punctuated by stretches of clear weather and beautiful rays of sunlight. The beginning of both rainy seasons is marked by a change in the winds which historically, marked the time for trading boats to set off on expeditions across the Indian Ocean or return to their native lands
 
Health

It is recommended that one takes anti-malaria tabs before coming to Tanzania. It is advised that one consults a physician for a prescription on this treatment well in advance of your departure. There are hospitals in the big cities of Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Moshi, and Mwanza. With a small membership fee, the Flying Doctors services are rendered just in case of an emergency while anywhere within the National Parks. These doctors will do an evacuation by flying someone directly to Nairobi for further medical treatment.
 
Luggage

Due to the limited space and ability to take everything on the go, there is normally a luggage limit. For the international airlines, the limit is 20kg per person. For the Local flights, the limit is 10kg per person. Our safari vehicles also have limited space. Therefore, the smaller the baggage, the more comfortable it is. Besides bags, one is normally allowed to take with them a camera, and a small backpack. It's best to avoid bringing hard luggage unless you are carrying sensitive camera equipment.
 
Clothing

It is advised that you wear clothing that breathes easily. For example, a pair of trousers (jeans), pars of shorts, cotton clothes, or similar are recommended. T-shirts or light cotton shirts, a sweater/jacket, two pairs of light shoes, including . Light boots. A swim suit for those going to the beaches. In the highland areas with an altitude of over 1500meters, lie Ngorongoro Crater, Mount Kilimanjaro, etc, temperatures can be considerably cold, reaching 5 degrees centigrade at night. For this it is important that one takes some warm clothing if going on safari to these areas. By following these guidelines normally one does his/her safari comfortably with no fears of excess luggage that could be left behind in instances if taking a local flight within the National Parks.
 
Transport

our safaris are normally done in 4x4 safari vehicles. Transfers are through our own private Toyota LandCruizer or Land Rover.
 
Airlines

To begin safaris in Northern Tanzania, most visitors are advised to book with Airlines whose Arrivals & Departures are at KILIMANJARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (JRO) which is 45 minutes drive from Arusha town. See International Airlines such as AIR TANZANIA, KLM Royal Dutch with daily Flights out of Amsterdam into Kilimanjaro and Dar es Salaam, GULF AIR, KENYA AIRWAYS, ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES and Emirates. It is also possible to get flights arriving to Nairobi (Kenya) from where we can make arrangements to pick you up and transfer to Arusha, the starting point of your Tanzania Safari.

Getting there

 
By air

Tanzania has three international airports: Das es Salaam International Airport ( which handles most international flights), Kilimanjaro International Airport and Zanzibar International Airport.
 
Dar es Salaam International Airport

Located 15km southwest of  Dar es Salaam and takes approximately 25 minutes to reach by car from city center. Airport facilities include a duty- free shop, car hire, post office, banking and bureau de change, a bar and restaurant.
 
International airlines: Air India, Air Malawi, Air Mozambique, Air Tanzania, Air Zimbabwe, British Airways, Emirates, Ethiopian Airways, Kenya Airways, KLM, Precision Air, South African Airways and Swiss Air.
 
Kilimanjaro International Airport

Rise about 40 km from Arusha and take approximately one hour to reach by car. Facilities include curio shop, a post office, bureau de change,  a bar and restaurant, shuttle bus services to/fro airport run regularly from both Arusha and Moshi.
 
International Airlines:

Air Kenya, Ethiopian Airways, KLM, Precision Air, Swis Air, Emirate Airlines and British Airways
 
Zanzibar International Airport

Located approximately 7 km from the center  of  Stone Town and takes approximately 15 to reach by car. Facilities include a restaurant, bureau de change and curio shop.
 
International Airlines:

Air Tanzania, Kenya Airways, Precision Air and South African Airways.
 
By Road

From the North: A paved road connect the Kenyan capital, Nairobi and Arusha city (Tanzania main tourist portal) through  Namanga border.
 
A number of shuttle buses, leaving twice daily between the two cities, also follow this route. The trip takes approximately 4 - 6 hours.
 
From the South, the roads from Malawi enters Tanzania at Karonga before continuing onwards to Mbeya. There are no viable bus services along this route. It is possible to cross the border from Uganda at the Mtukula border post, but transport options are equally limited.
 
Internal road connect Arusha and Dar es salaam to major towns around the country. Buses services from economy classes to luxuriant classes are availbale dailly from 5.00am to 10.00am in the morning East Africa Time (+3 GMT)
    
Zanzibar Island

Lying off Tanzania's coast, the Zanzibar Archipelago consists of over 50 islands, most of which have a long history and a rich cultural mix. The best known island here is Zanzibar (or 'Unguja Island', as it is more properly known). It is an integral part of Tanzania - even though it often seems separate, and this website treats it separately!
 
The larger islands in the archipelago are highly fertile, with many agricultural resources. They're covered with small farms and everywhere the air is thick with the aroma spices - it's an exotic atmosphere. The beaches on these islands are often stunning: many are powdery white sand, shaded by palm trees. The sea is shallow and tropical, and the reefs are great for snorkelling and diving.

Stone Town

The heart of Zanzibar Town, Stone Town, is a labyrinth of narrow alleys complete with palaces, mosques, and tiny shops. Come here for a night or two to stay in a small hotel or converted merchant's house - and soak up the atmosphere.

East Coast Zanzibar

The east coast of Zanzibar is lined with long, powder-white beaches; it's very sow and relaxed. We've included here the best small resorts; all quite different! Or travel offshore to the magical Mnemba Island - for the ultimate private island getaway!

Northern Zanzibar

Two or three hours' drive from Stone Town, Nungwi has long been a magnet for visitors seeking their slice of paradise. Come for good diving and beaches, and a lively village atmosphere; there's a lot going on here!

Michamvi Peninsula

Zanzibar's southeast, the Michamvi Peninsula is very similar to the 'East Coast' - small lodges, and the odd larger hotel, on long, stunning, powder-white beaches and palm trees.

South-west Zanzibar

South of Stone Town, the Fumba Peninsula is one of the most relaxed and friendly corners of the island - and its very quiet, with few visitors. There are two beautiful lodges here - and offshore is an award-winning eco-resort on Chumbe.

Zanzibar day-trips

See here for day-trips that are possible from virtually anywhere o the island. Talk to us to integrate one or more of these into your time on Zanzibar.

Pemba Island

Although part of the archipelago, Pemba is a half-hour flight north-east of Zanzibar. It's a less developed island with a more traditional people, and one smart lodge.

Mafia Island  

Although not part of the Zanzibar Archipelago, the neighboring Mafia Archipelago deserves to be better-known - even if we are often glad that it isn't! Come for a handful of great-value tiny beach lodges, and great snorkeling and diving. They're not glitzy or glamorous - but they're good!
 
Dar es Salaam

Although Dodoma, in the middle of the country, is Tanzania's designated capital city, Dar es Salaam remains Tanzania's social and commercial heart, as the country's largest city and main port. Most travellers fly into and out of 'Dar', as it's always called. We'll often be able to arrange for you to connect straight through to your safari or beach lodge, but occasionally an overnight stop here is needed. Then visitors are often surprised how much they enjoy the place.

Dar isn't one of Africa's most beautiful cities; many parts of it are dusty and poor. Yet it's a vibrant and interesting corner of modern Africa. Colourfully clad people jostle with vehicles and bicycles in the streets, whilst street-stalls sell anything from wooden carvings to matching sets of luggage.
 
Whether you're visiting prior to a Tanzania safari, or en route back from a Mozambique beach retreat, the city has a handful of good international-style hotels, which include:
 
In the centre of town, the Moevenpick Royal Palm Hotel is probably the city's best hotel.
The Holiday Inn is also conveniently located in town, and with an outdoor pool is a pleasant stop over hotel.
About half an hour's drive from the airport, the Sea Cliff, is a reliable and pleasant hotel which stands right beside the ocean.
Meanwhile, for something much smaller and simpler, but near to a buzzy open-air square with a modern market and restaurants, head for the Slipway.
 
If you have a little longer in and around Dar, and can stay for two days, then think about spending a few days at one of the two lovely beach retreats in the Ras Kutani area.
 
Arusha

Located in the northern highlands of Tanzania, beneath the twin peaks of Mt. Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro, Arusha is the safari capital of the country. Guests embarking on the popular northern safari circuit all stop in the 'Geneva of Africa' to prepare for their journeys into the African bush. From is two-lane streets, the dramatic crater of Mt. Meru stands over the town like a majestic sentinel, it's crater strewn with thick clouds, it's slopes dark with verdant forest. Arusha's ideal location near the major national parks and it's highland setting make it a peaceful idyll of relaxation before the start of an exciting journey.
 
Built by the Germans as a centre of colonial administration in the early 20th century, Arusha was a sleepy town with a garrison stationed at the old boma and a few shops around a grassy roundabout. From its backwater status amidst the farmlands and plantations of northern Tanzania, today Arusha is one of the country's most prosperous towns. The site for the United Nations Criminal Tribunal on the Rwandan genocide and the headquarters for the tripartite commission for East African Co-operation, Arusha is a major centre of Tanzanian diplomacy and international relations.
 
Photography

Normal camera equipment is allowed in without any problem. When one takes a picture of the people, they normally will feel offended. So it is extremely important to ask permission before doing so. In particular the Massai people can get quite upset at this offense, so please use your best judgment.
 
Electricity

The electric current is normally 220-240 volts. Generally all the hotels and lodges will have sockets that will enable one to use your electric shaver, or recharge your camera batteries. It is recommended that you also bring a universal adapter to avoid problems.
 
Telephones and Fax

In Dar es Salaam an Arusha it is easy to call directly to your home country or even send a fax. In the remote area s of the national parks, communication is done by radio.
 
Water & Food

Food is very good in both lodges and our mobile camping safaris. A better part of the hotels are mainly of a standard level, two or three star. We recommend that you always drink bottled water throughout your stay. A variety of soft drinks, beer, wine and sprits are available. During the safari the accommodation is normally on a Full Board basis except drinks which one has to pay for directly.
 
Meals in the Camp

Delicious 3 course meals cooked in open air are served in a spacious mess tent. Selection of salads carefully washed with boiled water (and served with vinegar dressing), soup, meat, fish and vegetable, pasta or rice, fresh fruits and cakes for dessert are part of our menus. A selection of local beers is available as well as mineral water and soft drinks. It's suggested that clients bring their favorite hard alcoholic beverage or purchase in Arusha before beginning the safari.
 
Shopping

One stands to buy very good souvenirs whose prices depend on the quality of a given item and on the ability of the buyer to bargain. Wooden carvings, single carvings, precious gemstones and a variety of handcrafts are all available. Buying can be done in both Tanzania shilling or the American Dollar.
 
Gemstones

Tanzania is the world's only source of tanzanite, precious stone found in the mines around Arusha. The stone comes in three different grades.
 
More than 500 millions of years ago, metamorphous slates, gneiss stone and quarzites shaped impressive flat insular mountains on the wide plains near Mount Kilimanjaro. In the core of these unusual rises the valuable crystals are stored. For a long time they remained hidden, until one day some Masaai herdsmen passing by noticed crystals sparkling in the sun and picked them up.
 
The deep blue of Tanzanite is magnificent, ranging from ultramarine to a light purplish blue. The most coveted colour is a blue which shows a purplish hue shimmering around it, which is extremely spectacular in sizes above ten carats.
 
Fakes abound, so if you're going to invest in one of Tanzania's largest exports, be sure to do it right. Don't buy from dealers on the street or anyone who looks suspect. Most licensed curios shops and dealers stock different grades, cuts, and colours of the popular gem and please be sure to follow export procedure.
 
Ensure that your tanzanite purchase is accompanied by a certificate from the tanzanite laboratory.
It is your assurance that your tanzanite is authentic and has been accurately graded by a Tanzanite foundation certified laboratory.
 
Security:

Although the security level is nowhere near that of western cities, it is advisable to take some precaution. This is mainly with the big cities. Please avoid walking in the dark alone. In the parks, hotels, beaches, basically anywhere out of the larger cities it is absolutely safe.
 
Tipping

Tipping is regarded as a normal and essential part of the safari for any good service rendered. This is not different from the American style. This is with waiters, guides camping staff, porters etc.

 
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