What to Wear
In general, tourists should wear modest or conservative attire, especially in Zanzibar, which is a conservative Muslim society. Western women should not wear clothing that reveals too much skin. 'Kangas', brightly-colored wrap-around cloth, are affordable, available throughout the country, and can serve as a discreet covering.
The Masai people, with their colorful clothing, are tempting targets for any tourist with a camera. However, they expect to be paid for it, and you should always ask before taking pictures.
It is common practice among Swahili-speakers to use 'shikamoo' (prounounced 'she ka moe' and literally meaning, 'I hold your feet') when greeting elders or superiors. The usual response from an elder will be 'marahaba'. In Zanzibar, the equivalent of 'shikamoo' is 'chei chei'. The traveler will get along very well when using these verbal expressions of respect. In addition, a title after the 'shikamoo' is also a useful indicator that you are not just a dumb tourist -- 'shikamoo bwana' for the gents, and, when addressing a female elder, 'shikamoo mama'.
Tanzanians will also comment if you are doing any work while they are not, with the phrase "pole na kazi". It literally means "I'm sorry you have to work". A simple "asante", or "thanks", will suffice in reply.
Many Tanzanian sellers are persistent and, ordinarily, a simple head shake, accompanied by "asante sana", should settle it. However, as a last resort, a firm "hapana", meaning "no", will do the trick. Tanzanians find the word "hapana" quite rude, so please don't use it casually -- only as a last resort. Whatever you plan to do, do not tell someone you will come back to buy from them later when you have no such intention; better to be honest and say 'no' than having to avoid someone for days. They somehow have a funny way of finding you when you promised to visit their stall or shop!
The most polite way to refuse something is to say "sihitaji" (pronounced see-hih-tah-jee)- "I don't need it".
- Subdued safari colours such as khaki, green, beige and neutral colours (dark blue and black clothing is not practical during game drives but can be worn at the lodges & camps)
- Shirts with long sleeves for a chilly evening and even in summer: as protection from the sun & mosquitoes
- Golfshirt/T shirts
- Shorts or light skirts
- (Safari) trousers for evenings and cooler days
- A fleece or thick sweater is recommended for early morning and evening game drives & for use at the Ngorongoro Crater
- Lightweight waterproof jacket
- Swim and beachwear (swimming is available at each of the Elewana Collection of lodges and camps).
- Comfortable walking shoes (running/tennis shoes are fine).
- Jackets or ties are not required nor any special dress code when dining in lodges & restaurants.
- We suggest that ladies do not wear shorts in cities, particularly in Muslim areas. The same applies for public areas on the island of Zanzibar.
- Swimwear is fine on the beach or around the pool, but not appropriate in town. Topless sunbathing is prohibited.
Medication & Toiletries
- Sun block with high SPF. Hat, moisturizer and lip-salve are all essentials.
- Personal toiletries – all our Elewana properties have their own range of complimentary shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion
- Malaria tablets if applicable - please seek advice from your physician or local travel clinic.
- Basic medical kit containing plasters, travel sickness tablets, anti-septic cream, anti-histamine cream, pain relieving tablets for headaches, indigestion tablets, eye drops, medication for upset stomachs, rehydrate sachets and after-sun moisturizer. If you have any allergies i.e. insect stings, or an asthma condition, please make sure you bring enough of your required medication with you.
- Strong insect repellent.
Personal Eye Wear
A good quality pair of sunglasses (tinted fashion glasses are not good in strong light)
If you wear contact lenses, bring enough solution & a pair of glasses in case your eyes get irritated.
Photographic & Optics Advice
- A good camera with zoom function. 300 mm lenses are adequate for wildlife photography.
- We recommend you bring plenty of memory cards/film and batteries.
- A dustproof bag ensures your camera is safe from the dust whilst on safari.
- A pair of binoculars will enhance your game viewing experience and although your guide will have pairs available to use, you may wish to bring your own.
- Please don’t forget to ask permission before taking a photograph of any East African resident. There could be a charge for this.
- A small flashlight - although flashlights are available at each of the Elewana Collection of lodges and camps.
East Africa has a generally comfortable tropical climate year-round, but there are significant regional variations. The coast & Zanzibar are warm & humid and can feel sticky throughout the rains. These rains throughout the region are ‘the long rains’ from March to May and ‘the short rains’ from October to December. Note that due to the altitude it can be very cold at night at the Ngorongoro Crater during June & July. The coolest months are from June to October and the warmest are from December to February.
The local currency in Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling and in Kenya - the Kenyan Shilling. You can either change money at a Bureau de Change or bank which you will find at the major airports & towns. ATMs are available there too but note that you can only draw Shillings.
US Dollars are widely accepted in sites frequented by tourists. We advise our guests to take spending money in the form of US Dollars cash, bring some small denominations too for tipping purposes. Note that USD bills must be newer than 2006. Credit cards are accepted at larger shops & restaurants but note that often a surcharge (approximately 5%) is levied. Note that Elewana does not apply this policy, there is no surcharge levied on any credit card payments.
Visas and Passports
Most nationalities can obtain their Tanzanian visa upon arrival at a fee. Make sure you bring US Dollars in cash in US $20 and US $50 bills to pay for your visa. However, some Tanzanian Embassies recommend that you obtain your visa before arrival. When applying for your visa in your home country you might be asked for means of financial support, please fill in “Pre-arranged by UK/US (or any other country) Operator.” Occasionally there are long queues at Immigration upon arrival so obtaining a visa beforehand might speed up your entry into Tanzania. Note that obtaining the correct visa is every traveler’s own responsibility so we advise you strongly to check with your local Tanzania Embassy for the latest regulations before arriving in Tanzania.
Please note that your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your departure from Tanzania. You need at least 4 unused consecutive blank pages
We recommend making copies of all important travel documents. Should you lose a travel document, a copy will speed up the process of acquiring a replacement document. Leave one copy at home and put one copy in your main luggage.
Travelling to Zanzibar
When Zanzibar is your first entry point into Tanzania, you will have to either buy or show your Tanzanian visa upon arrival. If you are flying from mainland Tanzania to Zanzibar, you do not need another visa but you may have to show your passport upon arrival in Zanzibar.
Note that in the past every traveler had to pay USD 20 departure tax when flying out of Zanzibar International Airport. This is NO LONGER necessary, all departure taxes are now included in your ticket.
We advise against drinking water from the faucets whilst in Tanzania/Zanzibar. Mineral water is available in all shops & restaurants and in all the Elewana lodges and vehicles. We recommend that you use mineral water too for brushing teeth. Life on safari can be tiring from time to time. A different climate, different food & water could lead to dehydration. From the day you set foot in Africa we would suggest that you drink more water than you are used to.
The sun close to the equator is strong so please wear a hat & apply sunscreen frequently.
Yellow Fever Certificate
It is obligatory to show a Yellow Fever Certificate upon entering Tanzania/Zanzibar if you have come from a Yellow Fever infected area. If you are travelling direct to Tanzania without passing through such areas, it’s advisable but not obligatory to have a Yellow Fever vaccination. If you can not have the Yellow Fever Vaccination for medical reasons, ensure that you carry a signed letter from your medical practitioner with you upon entering the country. It is every traveller’s own responsibility to obtain the correct vaccinations which will allow you entry into Tanzania – please check with your local travel clinic or physician for up-to-date advice.
Please consult your physician or local travel clinic for an up-to-date list of required vaccinations for travelling to remote places in Tanzania.
Please check with your local travel clinic or physician what the latest requirements are for travelling in a malaria area. It’s best to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes which are at their most active during dusk and dawn. Cover up during those periods and apply mosquito repellent liberally. Do not forget your ankles.
If, despite taking recommended drugs, you feel unwell and feverish, seek medical advice.
Medical Evacuation insurance is included in all our Elewana safaris. Note that this insurance is not a complete Travel Insurance, it only covers medical evacuation in case of a medical emergency. It is a booking condition that all our guests have valid Travel Insurance, please check that you are covered for medical emergencies, curtailment of your trip due to unforeseen circumstances & loss of belongings. Ensure proper insurance for your camera/video equipment.
Electricity in Tanzania is 240 volts AC, 50 Hz. Plugs are UK Standard plugs (rectangular 3-pin). All Elewana properties have adaptors for your use in each room. Elewana Lodges run on either generator or solar power which allows for 24-hour electricity.
We often get asked ‘what should we tip?’ The simple answer is that you should tip as you wish, with no obligation whatsoever. What we do say is that tipping is very much welcomed and is normal here in Africa, and our staff very much appreciate any extra contributions. Once again we say that you should only tip as a reward for excellent service.
It is customary in Tanzania to tip 10% of your bill & 10% of the taxifare to taxi drivers. It is also the custom to tip local guides for excellent service.
- US$1 – Porterage
- US$1 – Housekeeping
- US$5-10 per person per day for general staff
- US$8-10 per person per day for guides
So if there are 3 of you travelling together, we would suggest tipping your guide between US$ 24-30 in total per day.
Each Elewana property has a ‘tipping box’ for a discrete contribution to your camp, lodge or hotel staff. Any staff member more deserving for excellent service may be tipped individually/separately and as for tipping your driver guide, we suggest that this is done separately.
Reconfirmation of Flights
Please give details of your flight leaving Tanzania to our Elewana Representative. Reconfirming flights on your behalf is part of our service.
Please note that all wild animals can be dangerous and you should not wander off on your own whilst on safari. After dark you will be escorted to your room, please do not walk alone. Always listen to your guide and follow instructions carefully. No animal is tame and must at all times be treated with respect and not approached unless with an authorized professional guide.
Kiswahili otherwise known as Swahili is the ‘lingua franca’ of East Africa, including Zanzibar. English is widely spoken in Tanzania, particularly in tourist centers, lodges and main cities.