The Capital and administrative capital is Dodoma, however Dar es Salaam is the Commercial capital. Arusha and Mwanza are the two next biggest cities. Total population of 45 million. A land of geographical extremes on the African continent, 3 degrees south of the equator. With the highest peak, Kilimanjaro, the lowest point – the bed of Lake Tanganyika, as well as the largest lake, Lake Victoria, with a long coast line, incorporating the islands of Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia. Kiswahili and English are the Official Languages.
Getting to Outpost Lodge
The Outpost is in Arusha city, north central Tanzania and is the ‘safari capital’ of Tanzania, the springboard for Tanzania’s prolific and unparalleled wildlife and geographical areas. Arusha is reached easily by air and road, from anywhere in the world. By air into Kilimanjaro International airport (outside Arusha), or via Nairobi, Dar-es-Salaam, Zanzibar, Mombasa or Mwanza. Road networks come in from Nairobi, Mombasa, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanga and Mwanza. The railways, sadly are no longer an option. Shuttles and buses are available to and from all regional cities.
Payment accepted by The Outpost include cash and credit card – VISA and MASTERCARD. Travellers’ Cheques sadly are no longer acceptable, and need to be exchanged, personally with picture ID, at any bank.
Currency: Tanzanian Shilling (TSh) exchanged at around 1720Tsh to 1USD as of early 2015 (**note this exchange rate changes radically at times, a quick search on the internet will provide up to date rates). Most major credit cards are accepted, though Visa and MasterCard the most common. Most cities have ATM machines at banks and business centers, be aware that there are daily limits attached to withdrawals. TC’s in US Dollars/Euros are recommended only for changing directly at a bank, many businesses may not accept them. Credit cards in Tanzania are commissionable and a fee is normally attached (approx. 4-6%).
Banks, ATM’s and bureau de changes are available at airports and in all major centers.
Passport / Visa / Yellow Fever Vaccination
A valid passport with visa for those not exempted (US$50 per single entry). Single entry visas can be purchased upon arrival at port of entry. It would be prudent to have the correct money in US Dollar cash. Currently travelers arriving from ‘affected’ areas will need an up to date Yellow fever vaccination certificate. You may be ‘invited’ to pay for a vaccination at port of entry should you be without the correct up to date booklet – not recommended.
Airports and Airport Tax
Airports generally have normal facilities some including duty-free shops, car hire, post office, banking/bureau de change/ATM, and bar/restaurant.
Julius Nyerere International Airport, Dar es Salaam, is located 15kms SW of the city, (be aware that Dar’s daytime/evening traffic is ludicrous, so be sure to plan plenty of time, or miss the flight…). Just a few minutes by car further west is, Terminal 2, for smaller charter flights, which will take you to the parks, inland towns or along the coast as well as Zanzibar, Mafia, Tanga and Mtwara.
Kilimanjaro International Airport is located an hour east of Arusha (40 kms). Arusha does have another domestic/regional Airport which is located close on the western outskirts of Arusha city, most flights to parks and major Tz and regional centers use this airport.
Zanzibar International Airport is located 7kms (15 minutes) from the centre of Stone Town.
Tanzania is a democratic state, which works on a parliamentary system, presided over by the Prime Minister and the President (currently President Jakaya M Kikwete). Presidential and parliamentary elections are on a five year cycle. The CCM (Chama Cha Mapunduzi) party are presently in power, as they have been since the late President Nyerere presided over the first elections in the late 80′s. Tanzania is a safe and harmonious state, which includes the islands of Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia.
Tanzania’s climate is predominantly tropical, with the hottest months from October to February. The long rains are from mid-March to late May, and the short rains in November/December. The cooler months are from June to August, where the nights and early mornings can be cold especially in high-altitude areas where temperatures can fall to freezing. Coastal areas are generally warm-hot and humid with an average daytime temperature of around 29c. Sea breezes make the climate very pleasant from May to September.
Power and Communications
Tanzania uses 220 volts/AC50Hz. Sockets are generally UK style (3 pin square plugs). Tanzania telephone country code is 255. The outgoing international code is 001 for the United States, and 000.. for all other countries. Several cellular phone networks operate in Tanzania, working in all centers and main roads. Local sim cards/airtime is easily available. Internet, too, is widely available.
GMT + 3.
Swahili time is based on 12 day light and 12 night hours, meaning the 12 hr cycles begin at daybreak and sunset. The sun generally rises/sets at at 6am/6pm respectively, therefore, 7am the first daylight hour – 1am – and similarly daylight ends at 6pm, so 7pm is 1pm Swahili time.
People of Tanzania
Tanzania has more than 120 ethnic groups, mostly of Bantu origin and of these about twelve make up half the population of Tanzania, with the Sukuma (central north west) tribe being the largest. Other big tribes include – Maasai (northern plains), Chagga (Kilimanjaro), Makonde (Southern), Haya (North west), Hehe (Central south). A remarkable characteristic of Tanzania is that no single ethnic group dominates with regard to power or political influence. The current census of 2012 confirms a 45 million population spread unevenly throughout rural areas, higher densities close to the ocean or great lakes and highlands. About 2% of the population consists of Europeans, Asians and Arabs who dwell mainly in urban areas.
Health and Travel Insurance
Health requirements/vaccinations are subject to change at short notice, so visitors are advised to contact their nearest Tanzanian Embassy. However a Vaccination Certificate for Yellow Fever/Cholera is required for Visitors from countries with known infections. Certificates for Yellow Fever/Cholera. Malaria protection is essential and prophylactics highly recommended Hospitals are far from ‘first world’ however adequate. Drug stores are plentiful, but bring prescription drugs. Comprehensive travel insurance is advised, including medical cover and possibly trip cancellation cover and evacuation flight possibilities – which is locally available at reasonable cost (Flying Doctors and Knight Support).
What to Bring
Lightweight trousers/shorts and short/long sleeved shirts are adequate. Sweater or fleece for colder months. Swim suit or sarong for beachwear. Comfortable lightweight walking shoes or boots. Sun hat and glasses. High factor sun lotion. Camera plus memory cards (or film). Beach resorts are predominantly in Muslim areas, so recognition of traditional customs is important. Unsuitable clothing such as swimwear or brief shorts, are not acceptable away from the main tourist resorts in town and villages.
Tanzanians are a warm and friendly people, many of whom are trying to find their way in the modern day’s world. Tipping is enthusiastically received, however be sure not to be bullied into tipping, as can often be encountered. If you feel you got the service, do the right thing…!