Tanzania's geography is one of the most varied and unique in the world; it contains Africa's highest point, Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895m), as well as lakes, mountains and many natural parks. The north-east of Tanzania is mountainous, and includes Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro, both of which are active volcanoes. West of these is Serengeti National Park, famous for its annual migration of millions of white bearded wildebeest, as well as its abundance of lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceroses, and buffalo. Close to the park lies Olduvai Gorge, where many of the oldest hominid fossils and artifacts have been found. Further west is Lake Victoria, on the Kenya–Uganda–Tanzania border. This is the largest lake in Africa and is traditionally named as the source of the Nile. The centre of Tanzania is a large plateau, with grasslands and national parks to the south, and arable land further north. The new capital, Dodoma, is located here, although much of the government is still located in Dar es Salaam. The eastern shore of Tanzania is hot and humid, and encompasses Tanzania's largest city and former capital, Dar es Salaam. Just north of Dar es Salaam lies the island of Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous territory of Tanzania which is famous for its spices.
Electric Supply and Plugs
Tanzania is powered by a 250V, 50 cycles, AC network. Those bringing electrical items from home may wish to invest in a power breaker: Tanzania`s electricity supply can be erratic on occasions, and power surges could seriously damage your electrical devices. Plugs and sockets vary in style, though by far the most common are the British three-square-pin or European two-round-pin style sockets.
The time in Tanzania is GMT + 3 hours.
The official language of Tanzania is Kiswahili, which is used for teaching in primary schools. The second language is English, and this is taught in all secondary schools and higher education. You will find that a lot of people speak English, so you will not have any problems buying souvenirs or ordering in restaurants etc.
The climate of Tanzania ranges from hot and humid on the coast, to a more temperate climate in the elevated centre of the country. Tanzania has two rainy seasons; a long heavy one from March to May, and a shorter, lighter one from November to December. We naturally avoid these months of unpredictable weather, since access to the mountain areas can become impossible at these times. The maximum daytime temperatures that we will encounter in Arusha will be around 25º - 28º C (77º – 82º F), dropping to 15º C (59º F) at night. Once we set off on trek, the temperatures will vary greatly depending on the altitude, with daytime temperatures at 3000 metres (10000ft) around 15º C (59º F). Higher up (above 4000 metres (13000ft) the temperatures will be no more than 10º C (50º F) during the day, although in the heat of the sun it will feel warmer than this. At night-time, the temperatures at our highest camps will fall well below freezing. Naturally, we have chosen departure dates which correspond with the best times to visit the mountains and plains of Tanzania.
The unit of currency in Tanzania is the Tanzanian shilling. For up to date exchange rates visit: www.xe.com
We recommend that your travel money should be carried in the form of cash. It is best to change your money at the airport on arrival. Sterling, Euros and US dollars are all readily exchanged for Tanzanian shillings, but Sterling and US dollars in small notes can also be used in emergencies where change facilities are not available. Credit cards can be used to purchase goods and pay for hotels and meals in some places. Though regulations may vary from time to time, there is no restriction on the amount of hard currency you can bring into Tanzania.
A valid passport is required with 6 months remaining validity at the time of travelling. All nationalities need a visa for entry into Tanzania. The easiest way to obtain your visa is on arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport. If you prefer to arrange your visa in advance this is possible and in this case you will need to contact the Tanzania Embassy in your home country. We will provide you with up to date information on visa fees and the application process with your booking confirmation.
You should attend your own GP and dentist for a check-up. Your GP will have access to the most up to date information on the required vaccinations for the country you are visiting. In general we recommend vaccinations against the following: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, & Hepatitis ‘A'. Malaria prophylaxis is also recommended. A very good online resource is the NHS travel website at fitfortravel.nhs.uk
Additional Sources of Information
East Africa. Lonely Planet.
Guide to Tanzania. Briggs.
Kilimanjaro – A Complete Trekker's Guide. Alexander Stewart. (Cicerone)
Explore Mount Kilimanjaro. (Rucksack Readers)
Trekking in East Africa. Else.
Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro. Climbing Guide.
East African Wildlife. Insight Guides
Birds of Kenya & Northern Tanzania. Christopher Helm
The Snows of Kilimanjaro. Ernest Hemingway (fiction)
Kilimanjaro. 1:100,000.The Ordnance Survey (UK). World Map Series.
Kilimanjaro - Map and Guide. Wielochowski
Tarangire National Park. 1:145,000. Maco
Lake Manyara N. Park. 1:100,000. Harms-Ic-Verlag
Ngorongoro Conservation Area. 1:210,000. Maco