3. Planning Stages
8. On Safari
How far in advance do I need to book?
There is no cut off. However, flights into Kenya and Tanzania are limited and we find that there can be problems getting seats on British Airways or KLM if you try to schedule less than two months ahead of time. Peak seasons also book up as far as nine months ahead of time. Mid/late December and early January is a busy time in both Kenya and Tanzania. Outside of peak seasons, you should have no trouble booking if you schedule your safari at least six to eight months in advance.
However, if you are looking to book a last-minute safari, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, and we will always be happy to see what we can do for you!
Booking terms and conditions
Bookings shall be confirmed in writing (E-mail , fax, or via post).
Bookings shall be considered confirmed only when the booking is accompanied by a deposit valued at 30% of the tour price, thereof receipt has been acknowledged by our bank. The remaining 70% must be paid 4 weeks before the tour begins. Please see the payment section below to see which payment methods and currencies we accept.
Cancellations and Refunds
Any cancellation of a reservation must be in writing, either by e-mail or fax, and shall only be effective upon its receipt and acknowledgment.
The following fees apply for cancellations:
No refunds are given for the following:
Any amendment by the client of a once confirmed itinerary (change of dates, hotel) will be charged at a reasonable amount, but at least 10% of the tour price.
Non-residents of Tanzania are required by law to pay in foreign convertible currencies. Payment for any extraneous details may be done in traveler’s cheques or cash. We do not encourage using credit card payments at present since we had some problems with frauds in the past. We do not consider it safe at present and do therefore, prefer payment by bank transfer. But if you wish, you can pay by credit card with a surcharge of 10 %. Pls let us know in case so that we can inform you about the procedure.
We cannot be held responsible for road and airstrip conditions, which may make travel impossible at times. Any changes to the initial itinerary are subject to the conditions and rates outlined above, concerning any access matters or weather conditions.
The company and its owner, director, management staff and employees shall not be held responsible for any injury or death to persons on tour, nor for loss or damage to personal property, how ever they may be caused.
The company draws your attention to the fact that there are certain inherent risks present when on Safari, or when engaging in any strenuous physical activity. It is your sole responsibility to obtain appropriate medical advice as to medication, immunization, and whether or not you are fit enough to undertake the trip, prior to departure. The company shall not be liable for illness, injury or death sustained whilst visiting the properties owned and managed by the company.
“Force Majeure “ means, in relation to the company, any circumstances beyond the control of the company (including and without limitation, acts of God, explosions, floods, tempests, fires, accidents, war or threat of war, sabotage, insurrection, civil disturbance or requisition, sickness, quarantine, government intervention, weather conditions or other outwards occurrences)
If the company is affected by force majeure it shall forthwith notify you of the nature and extent thereof. The company shall not be deemed to be in breach of these items and conditions or otherwise be liable to you, by reason of delay in performance, or by non-performance, of any of its obligations hereunder to the extent that any such delay or non-performance is due to any force majeure.
If the company is affected by force majeure it shall be entitled to, and may at its sole and absolute discretion, vary or cancel any reservations or cancel any reservation or arrangement in relation to the visits. Payment of any refund by the company to you as result of the non-performance of any company shall use its reasonable endeavors to reimburse you where possible. However, the company shall be entitled to deduct from any refund recoverable to the reasonable actual and potential costs to the company of the force majeure.
Terms and Conditions
These are the terms and conditions governing the relationship between the company and you, to the total exclusion of any other terms and conditions. No alterations to the terms and condition may be made by any of the company’s employees, authorized representative or agents, unless in writing by an authorized officer of the company. All decisions and matters subject to the company’s discretion shall be made by an authorized officer of the company. The Company reserves the right to employ sub-contractors for all or part of the services.
If you have any cause of complaints while traveling, you must immediately bring it to the attention of the company’s representative or agent who will attempt to resolve the situation.
2. Getting to Tanzania
What are the best international flights to book?
Main points of entry are Kilimanjaro (international airport serving Arusha), Dar Es Salaam and Zanzibar. If flying into Nairobi, road and air transfers to Arusha are also possible. Please ask us for more info on the best international flights for your itinerary.
Most of our passengers arrive on KLM (to Kilimanjaro or Dar Es Salaam, via Amsterdam, from many points in Europe or from the United States), Ethiopian Airlines (to Kilimanjaro or Zanzibar, via Addis Abbaba, from certain point in Europe, mainly Frankfurt), British Airways (to Dar Es Salaam from many points in Europe via London Heathrow), Oman Air (on their new service to Zanzibar via Muscat), Emirates (to Dar Es Salaam via Dubai) and Swiss Air (to Dar Es Salaam via Zurich, from many points in Europe)
However, there are many combinations and options available, and you may wish to check with online booking services or with your travel agent.
Note that if booking flights online for a Kenya-Tanzania combination safari, be sure to choose the “multi-city” option, so you can check prices of flights into one airport, and out of another.
I think I will need connection flights – can you help me?
Yes, we can do so. Many of our clients have a safari beginning in Arusha, but are arriving into Dar Es Salaam, or even Nairobi. If you let us know your proposed schedule, we can advise you further. We will do everything we can to make your trip with us as seamless and stress-free as possible.
It is cheaper for me to fly in and out of Nairobi. Can you make this work?
Yes, this can definitely work! We have many clients doing this. Just note that this works for certain trips better than others.
If you are planning a classic northern circuit safari, then it is fairly simple. There are twice-daily shuttles between Nairobi and Arusha (USD 35 per person per direction, 6-7 hours driving), and private buses which can be arranged at any time (USD 350 total per direction, 5-6 hours driving).
There are also flights on Precision Air/Kenya Airways (around USD 230-270 per person), Air Kenya (around USD 240 per person) and Fly540 (around USD 160 per person). Exact price is dependent on booking class at time of booking.
If you are planning a Kenya-Tanzania combination trip, you can start your program from Nairobi, then make your way from Arusha back to Nairobi at the end of your program using one of the above mentioned transport methods.
If you need to get from Zanzibar to Nairobi at the end of your trip, flights are booked through Precision Air at around USD 350-370 per person (though can be up to around USD 400 when flights are very busy during peak season). Or, if booking through Fly540, flights can cost as little as USD 200. The flight you book depends very much on your international flight schedule.
3. Planning Stages
I am interested in a safari. What is my next step?
First of all, you can take a look at our proposed Camping Safari, Lodge Safari and Safari & Zanzibar packages, which can be found here on our website. These trips offer the convenience of a pre-set itinerary and a fixed price, but with flexible scheduling. Travel dates can be chosen by you.
We only organise private safaris. That means that only you and your travel partner(s) will be on the tour. There will be only you on the transfers, in the safari vehicle and on the tours. This gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of stopping, finding your favourite animals, taking photographs, planning your day to day schedule etc.
Alternatively, you can start from scratch and work with us to develop a totally customized itinerary and schedule. We are enthusiastically open to side trips, detours, special needs and special plans. Feel free to email us, and again, take a look at our proposed packages if you need any inspiration, ideas on pricing etc.
Once you have made initial contact with us, one of our representatives will be back in touch with you within 24 hours (maybe a little longer over weekends). That person will then remain your point of contact throughout the booking process – from your initial enquiry, to putting together and honing your ideal program, to booking, to after-safari customer care and feedback. This makes the whole process as simple and personal as possible.
What kind of vehicles do you use?
We use either regular or extended Landrover or Landcruiser vehicles, depending on the size of your party. All vehicles are 4WD, with plenty of space, and a pop-up photographic roof hatch. Windows can all be opened.
Note that none of our vehicles are air conditioned. Air conditioning simply does not work on safari – the drives in national parks are too rough and dusty, and the system does not work. In any case air conditioning is not necessary – the vast majority of the time you will have the large roof hatch open, spotting animals, and all the windows open to let cool air in. All vehicles feature the following:
Toyota Landcruiser extented
Toyota Landcruiser interior
What is the best time of year to visit Tanzania?
We can honestly say that you can have a fantastic Tanzania safari at any time of year – really!
We have many happy clients travelling with us during the “long rains” of April and May, and the “short rains” of November. Don’t be put off travelling then. It certainly does not rain every day, often the rainfall is at night, and you can still see some amazing wildlife. Moreover, accommodations are cheaper, lodges are less full, and there are less other cars in the national parks.
It can get a little difficult if you want to travel to really remote areas during rainy season, however the roads between Arusha, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro and Serengeti are good and well maintained, and still very much passable even during the rains.
The rest of the year is generally dry, though June can also be a little wet.
The mass migration of wildebeest moves from Kenya into the Serengeti in December, January, February and March. This is a very popular time to travel to Tanzania, and can be a spectacular time to visit, with the herds generally attracting a lot of predators and some real wildlife drama!
Note that the river crossings of the wildebeest take place around July or August, however, this is notoriously difficult to predict. It is really just a matter of taking your chances, booking in advance and seeing if you get lucky enough to witness this sight in person!
July, August, September and October are usually very busy (particularly July and August due to school holidays). These months are all dry, mild and, as always, great for wildlife viewing!
What kind of weather can I expect on safari?
The climate of Tanzania is tropical, so warm and generally comfortable weather throughout the year is standard, with the coast experiencing higher levels of humidity than other areas.
Tanzania experiences two rainy seasons, the heavier one being between mid-March to May (the masika rains) and the other in November, December and sometimes January (the mvuli rains). As stated above, though, don’t let this put you off travelling at these times of year!
Of course, the mountainous and highland areas of the country are cooler, with temperatures sometimes dropping below 15°C at night during June and July. In this area, it can rain at any time of year (usually in the early mornings if at all).
The island of Zanzibar also receives hot weather all year round, with temperatures ranging from 22-34°C or more. Zanzibar also experiences a rainy season between April-May, when downpours can be quite long and heavy. However, even during the rainy season, there are many burst of sunshine and sunny afternoons, and even whole days.
Can I do a self-drive safari?
With our brand new program developed for those who feel more comfortable behind the wheel, yes you can!
Note that driving one of our safari vehicles requires prior experience in tough off-road driving in a large 4WD vehicle. All self-drive safaris are accompanied by one of our guides and we will not offer you a program without this service.
I’m traveling with young children – is a safari a suitable holiday?
Yes! Or at least it certainly can be. Once we see that there are children present on your trip, we will do all we can to make your program as child-friendly as possible.
We can select child-friendly accommodations – this could mean anything from having a great pool, to huge rooms sleeping up to 04 persons, to plenty of space for running round after a long day of game driving. We will plan a program which keeps transfer times to a minimum. We can recommend special activities such as boat trips, hiking and following hunting tracks with bushmen – all great ways to spend some time outside of the safari vehicle.
If travelling with very young kids, we can also provide car-seats for use inside the safari vehicle, and baby carriers.
What about elderly folk?
Of course! The whole family is welcome. Safaris can be as active or as relaxed as you want them to be – we can offer a slow-paced “armchair safari”, and action-packed active safari, and everything in between.
We can include accommodations more suitable for those who might not be so mobile. Just ask us!
What is the difference between basic camping, wilderness camping, tented camps and luxury mobile tented camping?
There are several different kinds of accommodations we use whilst on safari. Most are self explanatory, and details are given in your proposed itineraries. However, the differences between the kinds of camping can sometimes be confusing…
Do you offer balloon safaris?
Yes, we can include a hot air balloon safari into our programs. In Tanzania they are available at Serengeti (USD 499 per person), Ndutu (USD 499 per person) and Tarangire (USD 479 per person). In Kenya they can be done in Masai Mara (USD 490 per person).
Take-off time is at dawn, you will soar silently over the plains for an hour or so, watching the sun rise on a new African day, and land wherever the wind takes you, where a hot breakfast and a glass of champagne will be enjoyed in the bush.
Do you offer Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru climbs?
Yes, we do indeed. For more info on our mountain climbs, please see here.
4. Included Services
What services are included / not included?
Since our Safaris are very diverse and range from hiking/mountain climbing, camping, luxury lodge safaris to beach holidays, you can find the included services in the respective itineraries (tab ‘included’).
5. Safari preparation
What kind of clothing do I need?
We recommend that you bring light casual clothes in neutral or muted colours (brighter colours can attract insects, and we urge you not to wear blue clothing as this is particularly attractive to certain insects!). We also urge you to bring sunglasses, sunscreen, hat with ties so it doesn’t blow off in the wind, and insect repellent if you go on safari. In the evenings it can get rather chilly, especially in the desert areas and in the months of May-August, so bring a warm sweater and a scarf. Certain 5-star hotels require a smart dress code for dinner, though most do not, and simply require you to be clean and fairly presentable!
What kind of shape do I need to be in?
Our programs are private, and so you get to choose the activity level of your safari. Traditional Land Rover safaris require little or no physical activity, with days spent exploring the terrain from the comfort of your vehicle. However, if you want to, you can add all kinds of active adventures to your safari, including hiking (soft or strenuous, long or short), boating trips, mountain treks, hunting walks etc. Just let us know your preferences! Our “Walking in Untouched Landscapes” program is quite active. This trip can include anything from 08 to 10 walking days. Each walking day involves 3 to 6 hours on foot, with a Land Rover shadowing the group so you can walk as much of that time as you want and ride the rest of the way. On these trips, you also spend some time in a traditional Land Rover safari, but these safaris are definitely for people who want to be more active.
Do I need any vaccinations or medications before coming to Tanzania?
Before you leave for Tanzania you should consult your physician, who will be able to give you the most up-to-date information. Our advice below can help to inform you before your trip but should not replace a consultation with your doctor. It is advised to take malaria prophylaxis – usually Doxycycline, Lariam or Malarone. All three are different – again, ask your doctor for more advice. If you arrive from or travel through a yellow fever endemic zone before arrival into Tanzania, then vaccination for Yellow Fever obligatory. The Yellow Fever Endemic Zone includes the following countries: Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote D’Ivore, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Niger, Chad, Central African Republic, Togo, Benin, Sao Tome and Principe, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, United Republic of Tanzania, Angola, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Somali, Sudan and Equatorial Guinea, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana and Bolivia. According to official regulations this is only needed if spending 12 hours or more in these countries (including the airports). But it has become common practice that health officers at Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar Airport ignore this official regulation and insist on being shown a proof of Yellow Fever Vaccination on arrival on Kenya Airways, Uganda Airways and Ethiopian Airlines, even if you have only been on a short transit. If you have a Yellow Fever Vaccination Card it is advisable to present it to the Health Officers on arrival. If you don’t have one, be prepared for some unfortunate discussions. In some rare cases arriving passengers have even been vaccinated in the airport. There are medical officers there, general hygiene is being obeyed and new sterile syringes are used, but still, it an unfortunate situation if it comes to it. There is something of a discrepancy between official government publications and common practise at the airports, but this is absolutely beyond our control as a tour operator. Other vaccinations like hepatitis and tetanus are recommended.
Do I need a visa to enter Tanzania?
Visitors from most countries require a visa in order to enter Tanzania. Most can purchase a visa at the point of entry. You need a passport valid at least half a year, one clear page in your passport, and (again, in most cases) USD 50 in cash. You do not need a photograph – your picture will be taken with a digital camera at the visa desk. It is usually a very quick and simple procedure, though queues can get quite long if your flight was very busy and/or there are several arrivals at the same time. Notable exceptions include but are not limited to: American and Irish citizens – need to pay USD 100, and must purchase a multiple entry visa (since September 2007) Pakistani citizens – need to pay USD 200 Nationalities requiring a referred visa – from Lebanon, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Somalia, Afghanistan, Senegal, Mali, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Ethiopia, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Morocco, Tunisia, Saud Arabia, Jordan, Srilanka, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Niger, Liberia. Citizens from these countries need to apply in advance through their Tanzanian embassy abroad Remember that if you intend to fly to Nairobi and then travel on to Tanzania, you will require a transit visa at USD 20 per person, or if re-entering Kenya afterwards, maybe a multiple entry visa to enter Kenya, even if it is only for a few hours. The visa for Kenya and Tanzania is also USD 50 per person for each country (except for American and Irish citizens, as above).
Are there any luggage restrictions?
On domestic flights in Tanzania, the planes are often small and light, especially if travelling from or to national parks, or on the very short flights between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. The per person luggage allowance for checked baggage is 15kg per person (except on Precision Air when it is 20kg per person). In addition you are allowed one piece of hand luggage as usual. In reality, bags are usually not weighed – especially when flying from airstrips out in the bush. However, if you are very clearly over the luggage allowance, the carrier of course reserves the right to charge per excess kilo. The cost varies from carrier to carrier, but is usually somewhere around USD 3-5 per extra kilo. Whether the extra weight is actually charged or not depends on load that day, where you fly from, and the carrier you fly with. As far as we are concerned, we advise you to pack sensibly in rucksacks or soft-sided suitcases. This makes packing your luggage into the safari vehicle much easier.
Can I store luggage with you to be picked up at a later point during my trip?
We have offices in Arusha, just outside the center of town, and in Zanzibar, a few minutes from the airport. If desired clients can leave luggage with us free of charge, to be picked up at a later point. The most common situation where clients do this is when climbing Kilimanjaro – they store their safari and/or beach gear with us in Arusha, and we bring it with us later when picking you up after the mountain climb. If you think you will have some excess luggage, or want to leave some things with us during certain parts of your program, please let us know, and we will advise you on the best solution logistically.
6. What about Kenya?
We do offer safaris to Kenya, but most of our clients combine Kenya and Tanzania on our very popular 12-Day Kenya & Tanzania Safari program.
There are a few things to be aware of if you want to take this trip:
7. Extra Expenses
Do you have any tipping guidelines?
The traditional gratuity to safari guides, camp staff, mountain porters etc. is not included in the price of your tour but is completely discretionary. You should tip in accordance with the level of service you have received.
The following guidelines are generally accepted practice (per safari group, per member of staff): Safari guide(s) – USD 10-15 per day; Cook (on camping safaris) USD 7; tented camp, lodge or hotel staff – USD 3-5 per day, as a pooled tip to be shared among the housekeepers, waiters, bartenders, etc.
For porters and waiters at hotels and for taxi drivers in cities, the customary tip is approximately USD 1, and tipping in one dollar bills for porters and waiters is greatly appreciated. However, beware of unscrupulous people who try to exhort extra payment from unwary passengers just for shuffling their bags around. They are usually to be found at airport arrivals zones – anyone helping you at a safari lodge or tented camp will be a legitimate employee of that establishment.
How much do drinks cost in lodges / tented camps?
Approximate prices of beverages (depending on hotel/location):
8. On Safari
What are the driving times between destinations?
All our safaris are private and made in accordance with your wishes, and so this depends from program to program. However, some common journeys include:
Will I see the Great Migration? Can I follow it? What about the river crossing?
Of course wild animals move at their own will, and the wildebeest of the Great Migration move in accordance with the rains, which of course cannot be predicted (or only guessed to a certain extent).
You should be aware that the migration, whilst a wonder of the world and a spectacular sight for anyone lucky enough to witness it, is a much more static affair than many people realize. It is not possible to “follow” the herds, driving along with them, or even booking lodges, tented camps or campsites wherever they happen to be at any given moment. Of course all accommodation must be booked in advance and so this is not possible.
The famous river crossing is notoriously difficult to predict. It takes 1-2 weeks for the wildebeest to cross, and this can take place any time within a period of about 6-8 weeks. If it is very important to you to try, to maximize your chances of seeing this, we always advise to book for July, and stay as far north as possible in the Serengeti (where, at this time, only top-end luxury tented camps are located).
The most important thing to remember is that game viewing in Tanzania is truly excellent all year round. Even if you are not there for the migration there are resident herds all year round. Wildlife drama can, and does, take place all year round in Tanzania.
Will I see the Big Five?
Again, we cannot make any guarantees but you will have a good chance of seeing the Big 5 at any time of year in Tanzania (of course depending on the national parks you visit).
Elephant and buffalo can be found in Lake Manyara, Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Serengeti and Arusha National Parks.
Lion are found in Lake Manyara (very difficult to find), Tarangire, Ngorongoro and Serengeti.
Leopard are found in Tarangire, Ngorongoro and Serengeti.
Black Rhino are found in Serengeti (very, very, very difficult to find here) and Ngorongoro (probably this is your best bet for spotting a black rhino).
What can I expect to eat and drink on safari?
Food on safari is of a very high standard and you will find a good mix of African, European and international cuisine. Fresh vegetables, seafood and meats make it an exceptional culinary experience to travel here. Excellent South African wines are in all lodges, tented camps and hotels, and make an excellent addition to a filling meal after a tiring day out in the bush! There are also plenty of very refreshing local beers to try out, as well as imported ones.
Tap water is not drinkable in most areas, and only bottled water should be consumed. Many lodges will offer complimentary bottles of drinking water, and we supply plenty of bottled water in our safari cars to be consumed during the way.
What is the local currency?
Local currency in Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling. See www.xe.com for the latest exchange rates. Most of the time you can use US Dollars in Tanzania, particularly in tourist hotspots, large restaurants, hotels and lodges etc. However, we do advise having some local currency on you in case you want to buy a soda at a roadside café, a post card, or a souvenir from a curio shop. You can exchange money from British Pounds, Euro and US Dollars at bureau de change, either in international airports, or in major towns.
How is the electricity situation in Tanzania?
Tanzania uses 220 Volt, but you will need adapters. Most lodges and hotels have adapters available. Many accommodations out in the bush, particularly tented camps, rely on generators and solar power for electricity, and so you might not have the opportunity to charge electrical equipment from your room. In this case, you can bring your camera etc to the bar or restaurant, and charge during dinner.
On our Safari cars you can recharge your phone and cameras with the cigarette lighter. We also have small transformers in combination with the cigarette lighters (producing 220 Volt), please let us know in advance if you would need this.
On basic camping safaris, where you stay on public campsites, you will be able to charge cameras etc at power points in the camp, and in the safari vehicle when travelling. Again, let us know in advance if you wish to do this.
Note that for quite some months now, the main grid electricity in Tanzania has been a little unpredictable. However, the situation is improving, especially in Zanzibar.
Having said that, power cuts can happen. Most lodges and hotels have back-up generators for these instances, and it should not at all detract from your safari experience. Indeed, as stated above, most lodges and camps run on generators or solar power anyway, and so power cuts on safari should affect your trip minimally.
I am looking to get some really good photos – how close will I get to the animals?
Some of our happiest travellers are those that come without a camera, and simply spend their time enjoying what they see. However, most of our clients want a record of some of the fantastic sights they come across on safari.
You will get fairly close to a lot of the wildlife, however it is, of course, impossible to guarantee just how close. A good 35mm camera with a 75-300 zoom lens will help you get some great shots. Though it can get bright, you might want to be able to get some action shots and the higher speed film will be helpful. Some people also like to use 400 ASA for fast moving animals and evening shots. A flash will help for indoor or campfire shots in the evenings.
A beanbag is much more convenient than a tripod for steadying shots from your safari vehicle – we can provide beanbags to the serious photographers among you on request. All our safari vehicles have pop-up photographic roof hatches, and all windows can be opened so you can get eye-level shots, too.
Last but not least, since our programs are private, you can stop your vehicle whenever you want, for however long you want, taking photographs at leisure and without worrying about other passengers!
If you want to see some past client photos, check out our flickr or Facebook page:
You say gratuities for safari guides etc is not included in the price. Is tipping obligatory?
The traditional gratuity to safari guides, camp staff, mountain porters etc is not included in the price of your tour but is completely discretionary. You should tip in accordance with the level of service you have received.