FAQs

Questions About Traveling to Tanzania

What is expected regarding tipping? Is it mandatory?

  • Tipping your crew for trekking or safari has become customary in Tanzania, but is completely optional. If you are happy with your Boma Africa experience and your crew has made your time in Africa memorable giving a tip is appropriate.
  • On Kilimanjaro and trekking, a tip of 10- 15% of the total price paid for your expedition is standard, which is then split between all crew members. At the end of your climb, you can give your tip to your guide, expedition leader, or office staff. You can tell us how to split the total between crew members, or you can leave that up to the crew to decide as a group.
  • On a lodge safari, you can tip your safari guide, 8-10% of the cost of safari.
  • It is standard to tip more for camping safaris as your crew, guide and cook, have more work to do! Tipping 10% for the crew to share is the usual.
  • If you are unhappy with your crew, don’t feel the need to tip generously, and please be in touch with Boma Africa’s administration.

Expedition Equal Payment Plan

  • Boma Africa offers our clients the option to include their tip with their payment. Many clients prefer this because it avoids worrying about how much to tip, and when, and they don’t have to pack cash around while on their expedition.
  • The equal payment plan is beneficial for your crew because they can count on getting the same payment for every expedition. This of course makes it easier for individuals to create budgets, save money, and plan for the future and their families.
  • This also ensures that tips are divided equally and fairly among crew. You may have read in tour books that cash tips sometimes go astray when handed to one crew member to distribute.
  • If you choose to add your gratuity to your booking payment, Boma Africa will add the following percentages to your total.
Kilimanjaro + Trekking: 12.5% of total
Lodge Safari: 8% of total
Camping Safari: 10% of total

Should I bring some gifts to hand out while I am in Tanzania?

Certainly all gifts and donations are appreciated and loved by their recipients! While any presents are awesome, we would like to gently encourage you to gift responsibly! Don’t forget, you can purchase gifts here in Tanzania, which gives a store owner here some business, and stimulates the economy!

  • School supplies: notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, and uniforms
  • Books : easy reading level for children, or learning resources such as textbooks
  • Learning games
  • Hygienic products: soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste
  • Shoes
  • Sponsorships
  • Microloans
  • Skills training

Is it ok to take pictures? When isn’t it ok?

Tanzanians may not like it when you take their picture. Feel free to take pictures of scenery such as the streets, mountains, markets, etc. Of course people will be within these pictures, but as long as your intention was not to take a picture of just the people, it’s ok. Some Tanzanians don’t mind their picture being taken; some might even ask you to take their photo!

If someone does express that they don’t want their picture taken, we suggest you respect their wishes, and skip that particular picture. Some individuals will accept or even proposition payment in exchange for taking their picture, this is fine as long as both you and the subject agree on the deal! Tsh 500 or 1000 is a usual amount. Most Tanzanians like to see the picture after it’s taken. If your camera is digital, whether it’s a picture of a friend, a stranger, or a model, remember to show them!


Do I need a visa to travel to Tanzania?

Yes, for most nationalities you need a visa to travel in Tanzania. There are some African and Asian travelers that will not need a visa.

If you are coming on holidays, you will need a tourist visa. Tourist visas can be paid for and issued at the airport upon arrival, or in most countries you can order them in advance. Below is a link to the Tanzania Tourist Board visa information page.
http://www.tanzaniatouristboard.com/plan-your-trip/visas/

If you are coming to volunteer in Tanzania, you will need a Class C Residence Permit. Usually volunteers apply and are granted these at the immigration office following their arrival in Tanzania. Below is the link to the government of Tanzania’s Residence Permit Information page.
http://www.tanzania.go.tz//howdoi/howdoi_detail/113

Fees for visas and residence permits vary depending on nationality. We recommend you check the specifications for your country carefully.


What vaccinations and medications do I need?

Boma Africa recommends that you consult your medical caregiver before traveling to Tanzania. Below is a link to the Lonely Planet which in turn has links to trusted travel advisors where you can find information regarding vaccinations, medications such as anti-malaria, yellow fever, and first-aid kits.
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/tanzania/practical-information/health


How can I withdraw money?

In Tanzania most everything is paid by Tanzanian shillings (Tsh). There are many “Bureau de Change” in town that offer the daily rate. Exchange offices in hotels are likely to charge a higher rate. Most visitors to Tanzania can find at least one ATM that they can withdraw Tanzanian shillings from.

Tourist bills, such as safari, large hotels, Kilimanjaro, etc. must be paid in USD. Some banks can provide USD up to a limit of 800$ per day on credit cards. It is possible to cash traveler’s cheques at Impala Hotel, but you often lose a fair bit of money in the exchange. Impala hotel can give you large sums of USD or Tsh, from your credit card at a very high rate. The easiest way to pay your tour company is to pay in advance via bank wire, credit card, Paypal or bank transfer. You can also bring USD in cash with you to avoid the complications of running around town and losing money for exchanging funds. However, be careful when traveling large sums of cash.

While in Tanzania, you must be careful when carrying money. Wear it in a money belt inside your clothing, or in an inside zipped pocket. Pick- pocketing is common, money, wallet, phones, and cameras carried in an open pocket, such as in trousers, can be easily stolen. If you have a large amount, you may store it in two different places, and always have some small bills and coins that are easy to access to pay your small bills.


How much spending money will I need when traveling to Tanzania?

This answer this really varies depending on each person. Most commonly people spend cash on tips for their crew, beverages, snacks and souvenirs.

Volunteers will be responsible for own lunch daily, and any other food or drinks not beyond what their hosts provide.

Lodge safaris do not include beverages.

Kilimanjaro treks include everything, though you might buy some small things such as water before departure, batteries, chocolate bars, etc.

You will need cash if you plan to tip your crew.

In Zanzibar lunches and dinners are not included.

Here is a list of the average costs of a few things in $US:

Soda $0.30
Beer $1.00
Bracelet $1.00
Local lunch $2.00
Fancy lunch / dinner $10.00
Public transport $0.10
Taxi $5.00
Chocolate bar $1.00
Mango $0.30
Large water $1.00

What clothes are appropriate?

Western clothing is common here, both for Tanzanians and for tourists.

Tanzanian women commonly wear long skirts with t-shirts or blouses, with a traditional “kanga” over top. Pants and tank tops are also appropriate for travellers and locals. The biggest cultural difference is that women in Tanzania do not show their thighs. Shorts and short skirts and dresses that are above the knee are not well received. Tanzania is still quite conservative, so avoiding provocative clothing not only shows respect for the culture, but also can avoid any unwanted attention from men.

Men usually wear long pants and t-shirts or dress shirts. They can also wear knee length shorts. Again, short shorts are not the norm.

Tanzanians take pride in their dress, and while poverty may affect their appearance, being clean and well-dressed is the culture in Tanzania.

Comfortable clothes are useful, but remember you may be going to a nice restaurant, out to a club or visiting businesses. We recommend you bring comfortable travelling clothes, but also some of the clothes you would be comfortable wearing at home, such as jeans, blouses, dresses, etc.

Sneakers, sandals, high heels: these are all common here. You will probably need a pair of comfortable sneakers and a comfortable pair of sandals, and maybe a pair of dressier sandals or shoes. You may need hiking boots, depending on your adventure!


Is it dangerous in Tanzania? What precautions should I take?

Tanzania is safe as long as you take the necessary precautions. As with traveling in almost every country, safe behaviour greatly reduces your chances of running into trouble. Be wise when carrying money, cameras, phones, and backpacks. Make sure they are zipped shut, some people even fasten their zip with a padlock.

Be careful of going places with strangers. Most Tanzanians are friendly and are happy to show you around in the hope of making a friend or a tip. Some however will have ulterior motives, so be picky.

DO NOT walk in the streets after dark. If you are with a Tanzanian guide, they may take you safely after dark, but even for locals, walking dark streets is dangerous. If you are out after dark, take a Tanzanian with you, and make sure you ride in a car or taxi. If you are staying for a few weeks, we recommend you find a taxi driver you trust (we can recommend) and continue to use him for every ride. You will develop a relationship, be safer, and probably save some money as a regular customer!


How do I wash my clothes in Tanzania?

Hotel and host families alike can arrange to have your clothes washed. One full load should cost 5000 Tsh or less. Tanzanians wash by hand and hang to dry, so it will take at least 1 full day or 2 if it rains. Culturally, you should wash your own socks and undergarments, and make sure you empty all your pockets carefully before sending out the wash! Don’t feel uncomfortable asking someone to do your wash, they will be happy to have a job for the day and to make a little money!


What airport do I book my flight to?

The best airport is Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA), which is situated about half way between Arusha and Moshi. Flights to Nairobi, Kenya are often tempting due to being a bit cheaper, but after you incur the costs of the shuttle, Kenyan visa, and possible overnight in Nairobi, flying straight to KIA usually comes out ahead.

If you do fly to Nairobi there is a comfortable daily shuttle to Arusha that takes approximately 8 hours.

The shuttle from Dar takes a full day on the bus, up to 12 hours. If you fly to either of these, we can have someone meet you and help you get onto the shuttle, and we will meet you at the bus station here in Arusha.


What language do people speak in Tanzania?

There are many tribes and many languages in Tanzania, but the most widely spoken is Swahili. English is also quite common, and you will find English speakers all around. Other languages such as French, Spanish, Italian, German, etc. are spoken by guides who have trained specially. If you need a guide that speaks your language, please email us, as Boma Africa guides speak a variety of languages.


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