With palm tree lined beaches, icy cold Kilimanjaro beers, friendly welcoming locals (Karibu!) and the warm Indian Ocean – what could possibly be the trouble in Tanzania? Nothing much, but here are a few travel tips we picked up during our time there shooting the Travel Tanzania feature…
Show me the money ATMs are by far not a regular occurrence and often out of order. Cash is King and payment by credit card is only readily available in hotels and other tourist destinations. Local currency is in TZS Tanzanian Shillings with primarily hotels, airport transfers dealing in US$.
What’s App? A very handy travel APP to download onto your phone is the XE Currency converter. Easily and quickly convert between TZS, ZAR and US$ – no worries. Hakuna Matata.
The #411 Find out from your cellphone provider before departure regarding what roaming code you need to input and activate when traveling – depending on your needs, SMS roaming is the ticket for keeping costs affordable.
Every Man and his Donkey Driving in Dar and Zanzibar is not for the faint hearted. These busy pot-holed streets are filled with speeding boda bodas and dala dalas, pedestrians, cattle carts, cyclists, donkeys and street vendors. The locals calmly hoot to indicate their oncoming approach, and magically every man and his donkey finds their place on the strip of road. Our suggestion – get yourself a motorbike or scooter for your time there, or best option is to hire a local driver during your time there.
Police Ahead Never have we seen so many a traffic block – often armed with AK47 bearing policeman. Locals appear very nervous of following the rules and regulations on the street and evidently corruption and bribes are the norm. You want to be driving with someone who speaks the language and is streetwise.
Making waves If you are planning dips in the warm Indian Ocean, research where on the island you are staying and which are prime swimming beaches. In many areas, there is the coral reef stretching out metres from beach to swimmable depths. In these areas, for swimming you need to wade out some distance or get a boat beyond the reef.
Size matters Unguja Island, colloquially called Zanzibar is 85 kilometres long and 30 kilometres wide. Though the size sounds small, the time and expense it takes to travel the distances has great impact on your island travel plans. Hotel arranged transport and many taxis have exorbitant rates in US$. Talk to locals and arrange a driver who you can negotiate a much better rate with. We were fortunate to find Abbas from Abbas Zanzibar Special Tours +255 777 810 022
A picture is worth a thousand Tanzanian shillings Stopping to take a street side picture or two can evidently land you a hefty fine and/or a lot of trouble if you stop in the wrong places. Again, better to be with a driver who knows the what what and where where.
T.I.A Be aware when booking your flights, that local airlines seem not to stick to the tightest schedule. With arrivals and departures often running hours late, know not to book close connecting flights.
Compiled by Marushka Stipinovich