Passport, Exchange, Time Zone, Electricity

To enter Tanzania you need a passport which is valid for not less than six months. The entry visa can be obtained on arrival at the airport.

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The local money is the Tanzanian shilling. Exchange rate used by the hotels is normally worst than the one used at the Bureau de Change, so it might be convenient to change some euro or dollar in shilling for tipping and for payment of extras. Credit cards are accepted but normally they charge a commission from 3 up to 10%.

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When in Europe there is the legal time the difference is one hour (1 hour more in   Tanzania).

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Voltage  230, Frequency 50 Hertz, electric plug type D and G.

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Health

Vaccination against yellow fever is required for travellers coming from Kenya and Ethiopia if they have spent in these countries more than 12 hours. Therefore if your flight has a stop over there show to the officers  your tickets proving that your transit has last less than 12 hours.

Nevertheless since this vaccination lasts for 10 years and since it normally does not produce any collateral effects you can consider the opportunity of getting it (in such case please make sure you get the vaccination at least 10 days before departure).

Tanzania and Zanzibar are country where malaria disease is endemic.

You can reduce the risk of malaria by prophylaxis treatment.

Please consult your personal doctor for further information.

Please note that prophylaxis is not a vaccination, therefore it is very important once you are there to avoid mosquito bites, using mosquito lotion and using mosquito net during sleeping. All lodges and hotels have mosquito nets.

From sunset prefer light colour dresses (mosquitoes likes dark colour), wear long  trousers and long sleeves shirts. Use of air-conditioning when available it is also useful , since cold temperatures immobilize mosquitoes. 

When back from your journey, if, within 3 months, high fever is occurring please seek immediately diagnosis at hospitals specialized in tropical disease.

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Language

The Official Languages are  Kiswahili and English.

Swahili is an Arabic word which refers to the Bantu, Shirazi Omani and Yemeni cultures mixed to the autochthon cultures.

The spoken language is the  Kiswahili, an hybrid Bantu language that was borrowed from Arabic, Hindi, Persian and Portuguese.

It is compose by 25% of Arabic words, 15 % of Hindi and Persian words and by some Portuguese words.

Most recently English words have also found their way into Kiswahili.

The Swahili is spoken in all East Africa  (Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya, Uganda) and in some parts of  Eastern Zaire and Burundi.

The purest  Kiswahili is spoken in Zanzibar.

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Weather and Clothing

Compared to Tanzania Zanzibar has a warmer and more humid climate.

The warmer and drier months are from october to march. Rains are abundant in april may and june, while March, November and December are short rains months.

In Northern Tanzania weather is never very hot, therefore you could need a cotton pullover in the evening, while at Ngorongoro rim (2300 mt di altitudine) in the night you can need a wool sweater.

During the day tshirts and shirts are fine. Use neutral color dresses since dark color are more attractive for mosquitoes and flies.

Do not forget sun glasses and hat, you will be at the equator!

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Photo Equipment

 

If you wish to take nice picture you need a good zoom, sometime animals can be a bit far for good shots.

On you 4x4 you will have a  set of binoculars, but if you have one I suggest to bring it with you.

Take with you films and batteries, you can probably find them at the lodges boutiques but they are quite expensive.

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The Tides

Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels (in a time interval of about six hours) caused by the combined effects of gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and rotation of the Earth.

The area of Zanzibar is subject to considerable tidal changes, that go up to 4,60 meters in some periods of the year. The whole coast is involved, but the perception we have changes depending on the different areas’ landform.

On the North side  the ocean bed drops sharply, so the change is less visible. On the East side the drop is gentle, so tidal changes become much more evident and produce mutations in the color of the water, from crystal to turquoise to emerald and blue.

During low tides you can observe along the costs  hermit crabs, color full tropical fishes, corals and starfish.

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Ethical Tourism and Poverty

Both Tanzania and Zanzibar are poor countries where some goods that you consider of common use are for them prohibitive, in such case temptation to steal can be high. Therefore I recommend to keep your valuables in safe box.

Do not leave your sun glasses, camera, smart phone or similar items unattended, it is possible that they would disappear (unfortunately it happens also in our country).

Do not feel such attitude as a lack of hospitality, the point is that if you keep such items unattended they will think that you do not care too much about them.

Zanzibar is a Muslim majority island, although Zanzibari people are traditionally tolerant we suggest you, mostly while you visit Stone Town, to avoid skimpy clothing, better a t-shirts than tank tops, better trousers or Bermuda shorts than miniskirts or mini shorts.

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