All you need to know before going on vacation holiday in Tanzania...
Are safaris in Tanzania safe?
You bet they are. Tanzania is one of Africa’s most stable countries. You’ll be welcomed by its friendly people and always taken care of by the attentive staff. After full days of wildlife viewing, rest up at handpicked camps and lodges, which offer authentic African charm and modern-day conveniences.
What to wear on safari?
On safari, the casual and comfortable dress is appropriate. Days are often hot, and early mornings and evenings are often cold. Several lightweight layers plus a warm fleece and jacket work well so you can adapt to changing conditions as the day goes on. Long-sleeved shirts can also be useful to protect you from both the sun and mosquitoes. Neutral colors are best - khaki, green, beige – not white (which won’t stay white for long!), nor camouflage which is associated with the military and might inadvertently provoke a negative reaction. Most lodges do not have a formal dress code and there is absolutely no need to change for dinner, although most people like to freshen up a little after the evening game drive.
What is a typical day on safari like?
Life on safari has a rhythm of its own, largely dictated by the animals’ movements. Generally, the most rewarding times for game viewing is in the cooler early mornings and also late in the afternoons when the animals are at their most active.
A typical day on safari will vary depending on the camp you’re staying at, but will include early morning and late afternoon game drives, with time during the hottest part of the day to relax in camp.
How does the weather influence a safari?
While a safari holiday can be had at any time of year, it is worth noting that seasonality will impact the type of experience you’re likely to have as well as the cost of your safari.
During the dry season, the wildlife tends to congregate around the few remaining watering holes. Vegetation at this time is sparse making the animals easier to spot.
The wet season is abundant both in vegetation and wildlife, as this is the birthing season – which means predators come out in force to prey on vulnerable newborns.
What happens on a game drive?
Game drives are an integral part of any safari. You’ll head out into the wilderness with your trained and knowledgeable guide in one of our specialized vehicles. In our vehicles will always have no more than six guests in one vehicle, so everyone is guaranteed a window seat for the best view of the action. Our vehicles also have the added benefit of charging stations to ensure your gadgetry is never at a loss, and a cooler to ensure you’ll have a cold beverage or two along the way.
Private vehicles can be arranged in advance at an additional cost.
What is the accommodation like on Safari?
There are many different styles of accommodation available on safari, including a variety of ‘tented’ options. Whilst feeling comfortable and relaxed is hugely important on any holiday, we would also strongly point out that there are several other key elements to consider when assessing accommodation options. Value for money, location, views, size of camp (number of rooms), management style and camp atmosphere, food quality and dining arrangements (communal or individual), service levels, a variety of activities, quality of guiding, relaxation opportunities and game-viewing potential are all hugely important factors to consider. Your overall safari experience will be determined by a variety of factors, and not just comfort levels.
Everyone has different priorities, and you may decide to change them for different stages of your holiday, perhaps choosing to ‘mix and match’ the styles of accommodation you experience. However, in order to give you appropriate suggestions, we will need to have a general idea how adventurous you are happy to be, and what those personal priorities are.
What is the Great Migration?
First of all, it’s important to understand that the Great Migration is an ongoing event and doesn’t really ever end. Simply put, the Great Migration is a circular grazing path determined by the availability of food.
An incredible 1.4 million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebra start in the Serengeti in January where they give birth to their young. The grass is still short in this part of the Serengeti, making it safer for the newborns to stay protected from lurking predators.
As the rains end, the herds move west following the rivers on their way to the Masai Mara in Kenya. In the summer the herds all arrive into Kenya, crossing crocodile-infested rivers to get there. In the late fall and winter, the herds move back towards the Serengeti chasing the rainy season and the process begins again. Really it’s a yearlong search for food, water, and safety and there are many opportunities for safari-goers to witness the beauty and drama of the herds along the way.
What qualifications do the guides have?
The mountain guides have to attend certified courses that are offered by Tanzania National Parks before they get their Mountain Guide Licenses. A Porters Association also selects the porters; they will carry an identification card allowing them to carry your belongings, and assist you up the mountain.
Can we hire a sleeping bag with the thermal quality required for the trip? What about hiking gear?
A limited supply of equipment is available to rent directly from your Moshi hotel, however, the quality varies. Please let your guide know at the welcome meeting. Whenever possible you should endeavor to bring your own clothing and equipment. There are shops and locals offering these services to you as well. It is best to come outfitted but if necessary you can hire them at Moshi town.
Will the effects of the sun be stronger on the mountain?
Absolutely, so precautions are required. About 55% of the earth's protective atmosphere is below an altitude of 5000m. Far less ultraviolet light is being filtered out, making the sun's rays much more powerful, which could result in severe sun burning of the skin.
It is strongly recommended to use a 20+ sun protection cream at lower altitudes, and a total block cream above an altitude of 3000m. It is also important to wear dark sunglasses preferably with side panels above 4000m in the daytime and essential when walking through snow or ice. Snow blindness can be very painful and will require your eyes to be bandaged for at least 24 hours.
What is the coldest it is expected to be at the summit of Kilimanjaro?
Temperatures vary considerably with altitude and time of day. On the plains surrounding Kilimanjaro, the average temperature is about 30°C. At 3000m touches of frost can be encountered at night while daytime temperatures range from 5 to 15°C. Nighttime temperatures on the summit can be well below freezing especially with the strong winds at times.
What is altitude sickness and what are the symptoms?
During the trek, it is likely that all climbers will experience at least some form of mild altitude sickness. It is caused by the failure of the body to adapt quickly enough to the reduced level of oxygen in the air at an increased altitude. There are many different symptoms but the most common are headaches, light-headedness, nausea, loss of appetite, tingling in the toes and fingers, and a mild swell of ankles and fingers. These mild forms are not serious and will normally disappear within 48 hours. Please visit your physician for any preventative medications.
If the trek becomes too difficult for me can I turn around?
Yes, you can. If you are in any physical danger or suffer from altitude sickness the porters will be able to assist you down the mountain.
Is drinking water provided during the trek?
On the first day you will get mineral water and after that, water is provided on all routes. Water is taken from the mountain streams, boiled and treated to make safe to drink.
Can children climb Kilimanjaro?
The national park rules stipulate that the minimum age for climbing above 3000 meters is 10 years. This is because altitude sickness can affect children very quickly and dangerously.
How do I clean myself on the mountain?
Each climber receives a bowl of warm water and soap every morning and evening for washing. We recommend packing baby wipes for regular cleaning purposes on each day. And remember there will be a long hot shower waiting for you in the hotel when you get back!
What is a typical meal during the trek?
Food can be customized to your requests. A typical breakfast would have eggs (boiled or fried), porridge, fruit, bread, jam, honey, peanut butter, and tea, coffee, and chocolate powder. As for lunch, it is usually prepared at breakfast and carried with the trekker. The lunch would normally have a boiled egg, sandwiches, fruits and tea.
We also provide an afternoon tea with biscuits, peanuts, and popcorn after the trek. And, finally, dinner: Typically a dinner would include a soup starter, light pasta dish, and fruit or fruit pudding. Other examples of meals would be fish or beef stew, or chicken with vegetable sauce, cabbage and rice or pasta.
Which route should I take up to Kilimanjaro and why?
We strongly recommend Lemosho and Machame route. Those are the only routes that afford all climbers incredible views of the Kilimanjaro peak over their pre-acclimatization phase. It allows climbers to pass through 5 ecosystems, a system unique to Kilimanjaro. On route, the climbers will pass over the highest plateau in the world, the Shira plateau.