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African Safari Frequently Asked Questions

Which Airport Should I Fly To?

Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) is approximately 60km (60 min) from Arusha city center. Kilimanjaro International Airport is the closest International Airport to Arusha.

Arusha Municipal Airport (ARK) is on the outskirts of Arusha but only operates domestic flights (Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Serengeti).

Other options include flying to Dar es Salaam and then catching a domestic flight to Kilimanjaro or Arusha. You can also fly to Nairobi (Kenya).  International flights to this destination are often cheaper.  You can then fly from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro or take a bus from Nairobi Airport to Arusha (approximately 7 hours).

How Can I Pay For My Safari?

We ask for a 25% deposit in order to secure the booking.  The final balance is due 6 weeks before departure. Payment can be made in a variety of ways:

  • Bank Transfer (most banks charge for this service)
  • Credit/debit card (this incurs an additional 3.5% surcharge) using our  secure online payment portal from (https://dpogroup.com/)
 
Is My Card Payment Secure?

Yes, your payment is secure. They use the latest payment security standards including encryption of your data. DPO complies with the highest standards in payment security, holding a PCI-DSS Level 1 certification, and is GDPR ready.

What Vaccinations Do I Need?

You will require vaccinations for your trip. All travellers should visit either their personal physician or a travel health clinic about 3 months before departure. Ask your doctor about vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis. The following vaccinations are normally recommended for Tanzania: Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Rabies, Yellow Fever, Malaria (prophylaxis)

How Do I Get A Visa?

Please check with the relevant Embassy in your country for up to date visa and passport information. Make sure your passport is not going to expire within six months of your trip (i.e. if your trip is in September make sure your passport is valid until at least March of the following year) and that it has at least 3 clear pages.

You can obtain your visa online https://eservices.immigration.go.tz/visa/, or at the point of entry (border / airport).
The time taken to clear immigration is roughly the same, regardless of whether you already have your visa. The cost of most tourist visas is U$D 50 per person and U$D 100 for American citizens, to be paid in cash.

What Currency Should I Bring?

We would recommend bringing U$D (United States Dollars) with you and withdrawing Tanzanian Shillings once you arrive. There are many ATMs in Arusha. Most places that you will visit accept U$D but it is always a good idea to have some local currency.  Please note:  Tanzania does not accept U$D printed before 2009 (this information is printed on the front of the note).

What Is The Weather Like In Tanzania?

The weather varies greatly, depending on where you are.  Whatever time of year you come, please bring some warm clothes! It gets really cold in some places because of the high altitude, especially in June, July and August. It can also get very hot. We advise dressing in layers.  Typically, the long rains are March, April and May.  The short rains are in November / early December.

What Should I Pack? Luggage:

Choose a duffel bag or soft-sided bag.  Ideally, the fabric should be hardy and waterproof and the bag should be lockable. Put anything that is of any value in a separate day pack such as a backpack. Anything of real sentimental or monetary value should ideally be left at home.

Clothes:

Pack for hot days and cool nights. Tanzania can be hot and dusty by day but it is often cool and crisp by night.  Layers are ideal for safari days. Pack clothing that is able to keep you cool but protect you from the sun and biting insects. Choose mid-tone colours and avoid white or bright colours that may distract the animals and dark colours like black and blue as these can attract tsetse flies. The best colours are the safari classics: olive, green and khaki. For evenings at lodges you can stay in your casual gear as even the luxury lodges do not expect smart wear out in the bush. Check the temperature before you travel to make sure you have clothing that is warm enough for the season.  It is always a good idea to bring a waterproof coat, whatever the season.

Shoes:

As you want to be careful not to over pack, you need to think carefully about what shoes to take. As long as you are not going on a safari that requires a lot of walking, you will be fine with some light hiking boots and some sports sandals (sandals are also great for walking around the camp at night). You may also like to take flip flops for the showers.

Should I Bring A First Aid Kit?

Yes.We recommend bringing a basic First Aid Kit. This is a suggested list of supplies: Sun Screen, Antihistamine cream & tablets, Nurofen or equivalent painkiller, Eye-drops, Anti-diarrheic treatment, A couple of bandages, Medication for personal allergies/asthma etc., Insect repellent containing Deet, Rehydration sachets / vitamin tablets, Assorted plasters

Is It Dangerous To Go On Safari?

Many people worry about wild animals on safari. Your Guide will make sure that you always keep a safe distance. If the animal feels safe, it is extremely unlikely that it will attack you. If an animal feels threatened, however, the situation can become dangerous. You should never shout or disturb the animals with loud noises. Do not try to approach or touch them, and do not throw any objects at them. This may sound like the most obvious advice, but many accidents happen because people behave in the wrong way. Many people also worry that an animal may come and attack them at night, especially if they are sleeping in a tent. This fear is understandable, but it is also unfounded. Again, an animal is most likely to attack when provoked. You are over a hundred times more likely to be injured or killed in a car accident on your way to work. Even though you may hear a lion or a hyena somewhere in the distance, they most certainly will not try to chew their way into your tent, unless you are keeping a big piece of ham next to your bed. Keeping open and loose food stuff in the tent is not recommended and most likely it will attract monkeys.

I Want To Bring My Children On Safari, What Age Is Suitable?

Officially, you can bring children of any age on safari. That said, we would not normally recommend safaris for children under the age of 5. There will be some long hours in the vehicle and constant animal sightings are not guaranteed. It can be hot and dusty and the roads may be bumpy, which is tiring even for adults. Sometimes, the best idea is to remain in one and the same spot for an hour or more, waiting quietly in the car until the cheetah goes hunting, or until the wildebeest cross the river.

What Kind Of Accommodation Can I Expect?

Accommodation on Mid-range(comfort) & Luxury(exclusive) and Premium safaris is lodges and/or tented camps.  Accommodation on Budget camping safaris is tents on the ground in public campsites.

Lodges

Are full service facilities with private rooms or cottages with private bathroom and have restaurants and lounges. Some have swimming pools. Many lodges are architecturally stunning made with local materials and inspired by local designs and the environment. Some lodges can accommodate up to 200 guests.

Tented Camps

On a basic camping safari guests sleep in private tents in designated campsites in or near national parks. Our safari crew sets up the camp and prepares all the meals. Washroom facilities are basic and are shared with other guests.

What Type Of Food?

At the camps and tented lodges, chefs prepare fresh soups, breads, entrees and desserts daily, in most lodges, meals are served buffet-style. The food is often prepared with Western palates in mind (some local dishes are included). On a camping safari, you will have your own private Chef who will prepare all your meals. Your Chef will be able to cater for different tastes e.g. Western, Local, or a mixture.

Is It Better To Stay Inside Or Outside Ngorongoro Conservation Area NCAA)?

Accommodation inside NCA is limited and is significantly more expensive than staying outside.  Many of the hotels and lodges are on the Crater rim and have spectacular views. Please note that you will be also able to experience this view from one of the view-points, so you will not miss out on this if you stay outside.

Will There Be Access To Wi-Fi?

Most lodges and tented camps have Wi-Fi.Most public camp-sites do not have Wi-Fi.  In all places, the signal strength is variable and is often weak. It is possible to buy a SIM card with data that can be used (in Arusha). If you want to use it in your phone, you will need to make sure it is unlocked. There are Vodacom and Airtel shops in Arusha that will be able to help / advise with this.

Will I Be Able To Charge My Devices In The Safari Vehicle?

All our safari vehicles have power / charging points.  Please bring travel adaptors to ensure they are suitable for your appliances / devices. The vehicles and most accommodation in Tanzania uses UK sockets.

What Safari Vehicles Do You Use?

Our Safari vehicles are Toyota Landcruiser 4x4s (with pop-up roofs).  The vehicles are serviced and maintained to a very high standard before, during and after every safari.  The age of the vehicles in our fleet varies but most were built between 2008 and 2013.

What Happens If We Break Down?

If your vehicle does break down and it cannot be fixed on the road, we will request a rescue jeep which will come for you so that you can continue your safari with minimum impact.  Whilst every effort is made to prevent this from happening, the driving is rough and the vehicles do take quite a pounding!

Is It Possible To Do A Walking Safari?

Yes, in Ngorongoro Conservation Area.  Please ask your Safari Consultant for more information. If you book a Lion King Safari, this is the only place you will be able to do a walking safari. Specialist Tour Operators offer walking safaris in other National Parks e.g. The Serengeti.

Is It Possible To Do A Night Game Drive?

It is possible to do a night game drives in Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Parks. Please ask your Safari Consultant for more information.

Can I Visit A Masai Village?

It is possible to visit one of several Maasai villages during your safari. However, these villages are close to the main roads and whilst you will meet many Maasai, have a tour around their village and have an opportunity to learn about their culture, some clients have fed back that the experience felt a little uncomfortable. It costs $50 per vehicle and during the visit, you will be encouraged to buy some of their jewellery / craft (this is by no means compulsory). It is inevitable that over time, the experience has become less authentic and we are in the process of sourcing alternative options for our clients. You are very welcome to visit, but we wanted to be open and transparent about the kind of experience you can currently expect.

Do I Need To Tip?

There is a well-established culture of tipping in Tanzania,

If you feel you have received good service, a typical tip is 

  •  US$20-25 per guest per day for a private guide
  • US$10-15 per guest per day for a safari chef
  • US$5-10 per guest per day for a crew
  • US$ 5 per city transfer

Tipping in accommodation is also discretionary.  Most accommodations will have a tip box in Reception.  We would recommend putting something in at the end of your stay, rather than giving individuals money.  Depending on the level of service, we recommend $5-10 per day (for a group of 2).