Tanzania FAQ - MEDLIFE
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Frequently Asked Questions

Travel Tips

  1. What are the visa requirements for traveling to Tanzania?
  2. Is it necessary to get vaccinated before traveling to Tanzania, and if so, which vaccines are recommended?
  3. Are there any cultural norms or customs that travelers should be aware of before visiting Tanzania?
  4. What are the transportation options available for getting around Tanzania, especially for traveling between cities and national parks?
  5. Are there any specific safety precautions or health concerns travelers should be aware of while visiting Tanzania?

When To Go

  1. What is the best time of year to visit Tanzania?
  2. Are there specific months to avoid due to weather conditions or crowded tourist attractions?
  3. What are the temperature variations throughout the year in different regions of Tanzania?

Readings

  1. What are some recommended books or guides for learning about Tanzanian culture and history before traveling?
  2. Can you recommend any documentaries or films that showcase Tanzania's natural beauty, wildlife, and cultural diversity?
  3. Are there any resources or readings available for learning basic Swahili phrases and language essentials before traveling to Tanzania?

Money

  1. What currency is used in Tanzania, and can I use US dollars or credit cards?
  2. Where can I exchange money in Tanzania, and what are the recommended places for the best exchange rates?
  3. Are there any fees or taxes that travelers should be aware of when using credit cards or exchanging currency?
  4. Can I bargain or negotiate prices in Tanzania, especially in local markets and when purchasing souvenirs?
  5. What is the tipping etiquette in Tanzania, and are gratuities included in restaurant bills or tour packages?

History

  1. What are the major historical events that shaped Tanzania's development as a nation?
  2. What role did Tanzania play in the struggle for independence in East Africa?
  3. How has Tanzania's history influenced its current political, social, and economic landscape?

Getting Around

  1. What are the transportation options available for getting around Tanzania, including cities and rural areas?
  2. Can you provide insights into the safety and reliability of taxis and ridesharing services in Tanzania?
  3. What are the typical costs associated with different modes of transportation in Tanzania?

Facts

  1. What is the population of Tanzania, and how does it compare to other countries in East Africa?
  2. Can you provide insights into Tanzania's geographic location and its neighboring countries?
  3. What are the official languages spoken in Tanzania, and how widely are they used?
  4. What are some of Tanzania's most iconic landmarks and natural wonders?

Environment

  1. How can travelers support environmental conservation efforts during their visit to Tanzania?
  2. Can you provide insights into the migration patterns of iconic animals like wildebeests and zebras in Tanzania?

Attractions

  1. What are the must-visit attractions in Tanzania beyond its national parks and wildlife reserves?
  2. What are the best places to experience Tanzania's rich cultural heritage, including music, dance, and local cuisine?
  3. Can you suggest any day trips or excursions I can do in tanzania?

Culture

  1. What are some traditional customs and rituals practiced by Tanzanian ethnic groups?
  2. What role does storytelling play in Tanzanian culture, and are there any famous folk tales or legends?
  3. Can you provide recommendations for experiencing Tanzanian cuisine, including local dishes and street food specialties?

Packing List

  1. What are some packing essentials for visiting Tanzania?
  2. Do I need a power adapter?

Cancellation Policy

  1. What is MEDLIFE's cancellation policy for Service Learning Trips to Tanzania?

Cancellation Policy

  1. What is the SLT cancellation policy?

Travel Tips

  1. What are the visa requirements for traveling to Tanzania?

    Most travelers need a visa to enter Tanzania. You can obtain one upon arrival at the airport or apply in advance through the Tanzanian embassy. Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure date.

     

  2. Are there any cultural norms or customs that travelers should be aware of before visiting Tanzania?

    Before visiting Tanzania, it’s important to respect local customs. Greetings are significant; a handshake is common, but always use the right hand. Dress modestly, especially in rural areas and around religious sites. Avoid public displays of affection. Lastly, ask permission before taking photos of people.

     

  3. What are the transportation options available for getting around Tanzania, especially for traveling between cities and national parks?

    In Tanzania, transportation options vary. For intercity travel, buses and minibusses (dala-dalas) are common and affordable. Taxis and car rentals offer flexibility. Domestic flights are available for longer distances, ideal for reaching national parks like Serengeti and Kilimanjaro.

     

  4. Are there any specific safety precautions or health concerns travelers should be aware of while visiting Tanzania?

    While visiting Tanzania, travelers should take precautions against malaria by using mosquito repellent and sleeping under mosquito nets. Be cautious of food and water hygiene to prevent gastrointestinal illnesses. Ensure you have travel insurance and stay updated on safety advisories, particularly in remote areas.

     

When To Go

  1. What is the best time of year to visit Tanzania?

    The best time to visit Tanzania depends on your preferences. For wildlife safaris, the dry season (June to October) offers optimal game viewing as animals gather around water sources. The wildebeest migration in Serengeti and Ngorongoro occurs from December to July. Climbing Kilimanjaro is best during the dry seasons (January to March and June to October) for clearer skies and stable weather conditions.

     

  2. Are there specific months to avoid due to weather conditions or crowded tourist attractions?

    It’s wise to avoid Tanzania’s rainy seasons, typically from March to May and November to December, due to muddy roads, limited wildlife visibility, and potential flight disruptions. Additionally, December and January can be crowded with tourists, especially during the holiday season, leading to higher prices and limited availability of accommodations and tours.

     

  3. What are the temperature variations throughout the year in different regions of Tanzania?

    Tanzania’s temperature varies by region and season. Coastal areas like Dar es Salaam experience hot and humid conditions year-round, with temperatures averaging around 25-30°C (77-86°F). Inland regions, including Arusha and Kilimanjaro, have milder temperatures, with highs ranging from 20-25°C (68-77°F). The highlands, such as Ngorongoro and the Southern Highlands, can be cooler, with temperatures dropping to 10-15°C (50-59°F) at night.

     

Readings

  1. Can you recommend any documentaries or films that showcase Tanzania's natural beauty, wildlife, and cultural diversity?

    “Serengheti” by National Geographic showcases Tanzania’s wildlife, while “The Last Lions” portrays the struggle for survival in the African savanna. For cultural diversity, “Tanzania: A Journey Within” offers a personal exploration of the country’s people and landscapes.

     

  2. Are there any resources or readings available for learning basic Swahili phrases and language essentials before traveling to Tanzania?

    “Swahili Phrasebook” by Lonely Planet provides essential phrases for travelers. Online resources like Duolingo and Memrise offer interactive Swahili courses. Additionally, “Swahili for Beginners” by J.F. Safari is a comprehensive guide for learning the language.

     

Money

  1. What currency is used in Tanzania, and can I use US dollars or credit cards?

    The official currency of Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling (TZS). While US dollars are widely accepted in tourist areas, it’s advisable to carry local currency for transactions. Major credit cards are accepted in hotels, upscale restaurants, and some shops, but cash is preferred in smaller establishments and markets.

     

  2. Are there any fees or taxes that travelers should be aware of when using credit cards or exchanging currency?

    When using credit cards in Tanzania, travelers may encounter foreign transaction fees imposed by their issuing banks. Additionally, some merchants may apply a surcharge for credit card payments. When exchanging currency, be mindful of potential service charges or commissions levied by banks or exchange bureaus. It’s advisable to inquire about any fees beforehand to avoid surprises.

     

  3. Can I bargain or negotiate prices in Tanzania, especially in local markets and when purchasing souvenirs?

    Yes, bargaining is common in Tanzania, especially in local markets and when purchasing souvenirs. Vendors often quote higher prices initially, expecting negotiation. Approach bargaining with respect and a friendly demeanor. Start by offering a lower price and be prepared to compromise until both parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement. Enjoy the cultural experience of haggling while respecting the seller’s livelihood.

     

  4. What is the tipping etiquette in Tanzania, and are gratuities included in restaurant bills or tour packages?

    In Tanzania, tipping is appreciated but not always expected. In restaurants, a service charge may be included in the bill, but it’s common to leave an additional 5-10% if service was exceptional. For tour guides, drivers, and hotel staff, tipping is customary, with amounts varying based on the level of service and your satisfaction. Always check if gratuities are included in tour packages to avoid double tipping.

     

History

  1. What are the major historical events that shaped Tanzania's development as a nation?

    Tanzania’s history is marked by significant events that shaped its development as a nation. From early settlements by indigenous peoples to the arrival of Arab traders and the establishment of the Swahili Coast, Tanzania’s coastal regions were vital trade hubs. Colonial rule, first by the Germans and later the British, brought profound changes, including the development of plantations and infrastructure but also exploitation and resistance. The struggle for independence led by figures like Julius Nyerere culminated in Tanzania gaining sovereignty in 1961, followed by the merging of Tanganyika and Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanzania. Nyerere’s vision of socialism and African socialism, encapsulated in the Arusha Declaration, guided Tanzania’s early post-independence years. The nation’s commitment to non-alignment and Pan-Africanism solidified its place on the world stage. Economic challenges, including socialist policies and external pressures, led to shifts in governance and economic reforms in the late 20th century. Today, Tanzania continues to navigate its history while striving for economic development, political stability, and social progress.

     

  2. What role did Tanzania play in the struggle for independence in East Africa?

    Tanzania played a pivotal role in the struggle for independence in East Africa. Led by influential figures like Julius Nyerere, Tanzania’s independence movement inspired neighboring countries and contributed to the broader decolonization efforts across the region. Nyerere’s leadership and Tanzania’s commitment to Pan-Africanism fostered solidarity among African nations, shaping the course of history in East Africa.

     

  3. How has Tanzania's history influenced its current political, social, and economic landscape?

    Tanzania’s history deeply influences its present landscape. Julius Nyerere’s socialist policies, outlined in the Arusha Declaration, shaped the country’s political and economic trajectory post-independence. Today, Tanzania balances socialist principles with market-oriented reforms, aiming for economic growth while prioritizing social welfare. Socially, Tanzania’s diverse cultural heritage and history of Pan-Africanism contribute to its identity as a multicultural nation.

     

Getting Around

  1. What are the transportation options available for getting around Tanzania, including cities and rural areas?

    Transportation options in Tanzania vary. In cities like Dar es Salaam, taxis, dalla-dallas (minibuses), and bajajis (three-wheeled taxis) are common. Inter-city travel often relies on buses or private vehicles. In rural areas, transportation may involve walking, bicycles, or motorbikes, with fewer formal options available.

     

  2. Can you provide insights into the safety and reliability of taxis and ridesharing services in Tanzania?

    Taxis in Tanzania are generally safe, but it’s advisable to use licensed taxis from reputable companies or hotel stands to avoid scams. Negotiate fares beforehand or ensure meters are used. Ridesharing services like Uber and Bolt operate in major cities, offering convenient and reliable transportation options with upfront pricing.

     

  3. What are the typical costs associated with different modes of transportation in Tanzania?

    In Tanzania, taxi fares vary depending on distance and negotiation, but short trips in cities may cost around 5,000-10,000 TZS ($2-$4). Dalla-dalla fares are usually lower, ranging from 500-2,000 TZS ($0.20-$0.80) for short distances. Inter-city buses are affordable, with fares varying based on distance and class of service. Domestic flights between major cities can range from $50 to $200 or more, depending on the airline and booking timing.

     

Facts

  1. What is the population of Tanzania, and how does it compare to other countries in East Africa?

    Tanzania’s population is approximately 60 million, making it one of the most populous countries in East Africa. It ranks second in population size after Ethiopia and is followed closely by Kenya. With a diverse mix of ethnic groups and cultures, Tanzania boasts a rich tapestry of people and traditions.

     

  2. Can you provide insights into Tanzania's geographic location and its neighboring countries?

    Tanzania is situated in East Africa, bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. To the east lies the Indian Ocean, providing Tanzania with a coastline that stretches approximately 1,424 kilometers (885 miles). This strategic location grants Tanzania access to both land and sea trade routes, contributing to its economic significance in the region.

     

  3. What are the official languages spoken in Tanzania, and how widely are they used?

    Swahili and English are the official languages of Tanzania. Swahili, also known as Kiswahili, is widely spoken across the country and serves as the primary language of communication for most Tanzanians. English is used in government, education, and business, and proficiency varies among the population, with higher fluency in urban areas and among educated individuals.

     

  4. What are some of Tanzania's most iconic landmarks and natural wonders?

    Tanzania is renowned for its breathtaking natural wonders and iconic landmarks. Among the most notable are Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest peak, and the Serengeti National Park, famous for its spectacular wildlife migrations. Other iconic sites include the Ngorongoro Crater, Zanzibar’s historic Stone Town, and the pristine beaches of the Tanzanian coastline. These landmarks draw visitors from around the globe, showcasing Tanzania’s unparalleled beauty and diversity.

     

Environment

  1. How can travelers support environmental conservation efforts during their visit to Tanzania?

    Travelers can support environmental conservation in Tanzania by choosing eco-friendly accommodations, participating in responsible wildlife viewing tours, and minimizing waste by carrying reusable water bottles and bags. Supporting local conservation organizations through donations or volunteering also makes a positive impact. Additionally, respecting wildlife and natural habitats by following designated trails and guidelines ensures minimal disturbance to ecosystems.

     

  2. Can you provide insights into the migration patterns of iconic animals like wildebeests and zebras in Tanzania?

    The Great Migration, a natural spectacle in Tanzania’s Serengeti ecosystem, involves the annual movement of millions of wildebeests, zebras, and other herbivores in search of water and fresh grazing pastures. The migration typically occurs between Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and Kenya’s Maasai Mara Reserve, following a circular route driven by seasonal rains and vegetation cycles. This extraordinary phenomenon offers unparalleled opportunities for wildlife viewing and is a highlight of Tanzania’s safari experiences.

     

Attractions

  1. What are the must-visit attractions in Tanzania beyond its national parks and wildlife reserves?

    Beyond national parks, Tanzania offers diverse attractions. Zanzibar’s Stone Town enchants with its historic charm, while the Spice Islands allure with pristine beaches. Mount Kilimanjaro beckons adventurers, and the Ngorongoro Crater stuns with its natural beauty. Cultural experiences in Maasai villages and historical sites like Bagamoyo add depth to any itinerary.

     

  2. What are the best places to experience Tanzania's rich cultural heritage, including music, dance, and local cuisine?

    To experience Tanzania’s vibrant cultural heritage, visit local markets like Darajani in Stone Town, Zanzibar, for authentic cuisine and lively atmosphere. Attend traditional dance performances in cultural centers or explore Maasai villages for insight into indigenous customs. For music enthusiasts, live performances in venues across Dar es Salaam showcase Tanzania’s diverse musical traditions, from taarab to bongo flava.

     

  3. Can you suggest any day trips or excursions I can do in tanzania?

    Email us at [email protected] to discuss the details of adding extensions to your trip.

     

Culture

  1. What are some traditional customs and rituals practiced by Tanzanian ethnic groups?

    Tanzanian ethnic groups uphold rich customs and rituals. The Maasai, known for their distinctive attire and pastoral lifestyle, perform elaborate coming-of-age ceremonies like the Eunoto and Enkipaata. The Chagga people celebrate Kilimanjaro’s blessings with traditional dances like the “ngoma” and “chegge.” Additionally, the Sukuma hold “lukiga” rites to mark significant life events, emphasizing community bonds and ancestral reverence.

     

  2. What role does storytelling play in Tanzanian culture, and are there any famous folk tales or legends?

    Storytelling is integral to Tanzanian culture, passing down traditions, morals, and history through generations. Legends such as “The Origin of Fire” explain natural phenomena. These narratives celebrate cultural heritage and foster a sense of identity and belonging among Tanzanians.

     

  3. Can you provide recommendations for experiencing Tanzanian cuisine, including local dishes and street food specialties?

    Experience Tanzanian cuisine by sampling local delicacies like “ugali,” a staple made from maize flour, served with savory stews like “nyama choma” (grilled meat) or “mchuzi wa samaki” (fish curry). Don’t miss street food specialties like “mandazi” (sweet fried dough) and “vibibi” (coconut pancakes) for a taste of authentic Tanzanian flavors.

     

Packing List

  1. What are some packing essentials for visiting Tanzania?

    Some packing essential for Tanzania include important travel documents like your passport and visa, travel insurance, flight tickets, and money. Personal items like toiletries, medications, sunscreen, and insect repellent. And travel accessories like a comfortable backpack, and a water bottle. To see the full packing list, click here.

  2. Do I need a power adapter?

    Yes, Tanzania uses Type D and Type G electrical outlets, with a voltage of 230V and a frequency of 50Hz. It’s advisable to bring a universal power adapter to ensure compatibility with your devices.

Cancellation Policy

  1. What is MEDLIFE's cancellation policy for Service Learning Trips to Tanzania?

Cancellation Policy

  1. What is the SLT cancellation policy?

    You can find the full MEDLIFE cancellation policy here.