Frequently Asked Questions
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:
• Arusha-Tarangire: 1.5 to 2 hours
• Tarangire-Lake Manyara: 1 hour
• Lake Manyara-Ngorongoro: less than 1 hour to the conservation area gate (or as little as 20 minutes depending on where you stay)
• Ngorongoro-Serengeti: 3.5 to 4 hours (beginning of this drive is quite bumpy and dusty)
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 and a few private campsites that should be booked well in advance 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 travelers 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. For the money, a Tamron 150-600mm lens in near impossible to beat and renders professional level shots, regardless of who says otherwise. Check one out, or a SIGMA of the same rating.
A beanbag is much more convenient than a tripod for steadying shots from your safari vehicle, but we highly recommend a Manfrotto 243 Car Window Pod Kit with 234RC Swivel Tilt Head if you wish to shoot from the seated position next to a roll-down window. 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!
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.
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North America Phone: +1.303.718.7794 (North America business hours)
Tanzania Phone: +255765458184 (Tanzania business hours)
Moshi, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania