Questions often asked about our holidays.
What is the best time of year to climb Kilimanjaro?
You can climb any month of the year. At lower elevations, April, May and November are quite wet while March and June are transition months. August and September are the coldest and driest months. January, February, July, August and September are all popular climbing months.
I want to see the migration..how can I
See our handy map detailing where the animals are meant to be, Maps and illustrations showing the path of the migrating herds should be used as a general guide and a good way to choose the location of your hotel, camp or lodge.
However, as with anything in nature, the actual day to day pattern is unpredictable. Wildebeest are remarkably unpredictable!
I want to go on safari…what now
First of all, you can take a look at our special offer safaris here on our website. These trips offer the convenience of a set itinerary and a fixed price, but with fixed departure dates. These are cheapest as you share the vehicle with other guests.
We also organize private safaris. That means that only you and your travel partner(s) will be on the tour. This gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of stopping, finding your favorite animals, taking photographs, planning your day to day schedule etc.
Alternatively, you can start from scratch and work with us to develop a totally customized itinerary and schedule. We are enthusiastically open to side trips, detours, special needs and special plans.
Feel free to email us, and again, take a look at our special offers if you need any inspiration, ideas on pricing etc.
What’s not included in your quote?
• International flight
• Other activities – other than those mentioned per itinerary
• Meals which are not listed
• Cold drinks
• Gratuities for cook and safari guide
• Personal expenses
• Items of personal nature (towel, binoculars etc.)
• Personal trekking equipment (trekking shoes, walking sticks, head torch etc.)
• Laundry service
• Cost of medical insurance
What do we eat if we do not stay at lodges?
All aspects of your safari are taken care of and that’s why one of our safari cooks accompanies you if camping and he will cook you three filling meals: there is a nice English breakfast, a hot lunch or a lunch box (this depends if you are on a game drive for a full day or if you would like to come back to the camp for your hot lunch). Then there is a delicious warm dinner with soup of the day, main dish and some fruits, pudding or fruit salad as a dessert. The cook does not accompany you on your game drive; instead staying back at the campsite. His job of course is cooking, but he is also security for your luggage and all the camping equipment. This means you don’t have to worry about anything during your game-drive; you just relax, feel free and comfortable.
I have bad memories of camping..will it be ok?
Our double tents are quite roomy, a far cry from the tents we used to use as youngsters.You are able to stand in all our tents, so once you are inside, you have no problem changing clothes and there is even space to put your entire luggage in. The sleeping section of the tent is made of mosquito gauze, to protect you from mosquitoes and other crawling creatures. There is a camp bed inside the tent with a sponge mattress on top and we’ll give you a blanket to keep you warm at night. If you prefer a sleeping bag, we do rent for a small fee (because of the complicated washing process), only 2 Euro per night. In the camps we will provide you with a camping table and camping chairs, so it really is a comfortable way of enjoying the peace and serenity of the African bush.
Will my mobile work on safari?
There is mobile or cellular coverage in many areas of the national parks and conservation areas but reception may be inconsistent and network signals weak and in the remote areas of the Northern and Western Serengeti there are no signals, however, many of the lodges and camps will have a telephone or email access on the premises (for a fee) to communicate with friends and family back at home.
Is it dangerous being near animals
Always follow the instruction of your safari guide. Many of the wildlife may seem harmless and almost tame, especially those that have been habituated to safari vehicles in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater but they are wild animals and potentially extremely dangerous.
Most of the safari lodges and camps are not fenced and wildlife move freely about. Please follow all safety instructions provided by the lodge or camp regarding moving to and from your room/tent after dark. If you have young children, do not let them out of your sight or wander alone under any circumstances.
You are responsible for your own safety, if you are unsure of anything, please do not hesitate to ask your safari guide or lodge/camp staff.
When is the best time to go on safari in Tanzania?
Our itineraries are tailored to seasonal game movement patterns so wildlife viewing is excellent year round. So the best time to go on safari is really dependent on your interests, places you wish to visit and activities that you may want to do.
For example, if you love elephants and would like to see large herds, we recommend visiting Tarangire National Park in the height of the dry season from July to September when massive herds congregate around the Tarangire River. If you are interested in climbing Kilimanjaro prior to going on safari, we’ll suggest you avoid travelling in April and May when the long rains will make trekking difficult. If you’d like to see the wildebeest migration spread out across the Serengeti plains, we’ll recommend you travel in the green season stretching from December to April. Whatever month you travel, we will build your itinerary to ensure you’re located in the right parks and the right regions for best wildlife viewing.
How do I select which Kilimanjaro route is right for me?
For more people we tend to recommend a route that sees most of the mountain – this is normally a once in the lifetime trip and so selecting a route that sees more of the mountain is an obvious choice. Hence the Machame route or the Lemosho routes are among the prettiest routes available. The mountain is generally quite busy on most routes and so choosing simply on the basis of how crowded a route is can be a bit of a misnomer. So, for those with less time we recommend the Machame 7 day trip (we have departures on the luxury specification or lightweight specification) and for those that want the ultimate trip then the 9 day Lemosho is the best route to be had. For those that are more interested in culture and wildlife we even have a Plains to Peak trip which is a Lemosho with 2 added nights in a private reserve in West Kilimanjaro – the ultimate Kilimanjaro trip. For those that are very fit and have experienced altitude before then the Umbwe route is great fun!
What about water and other drinks on safari?
As everyone drinks different amounts and things; we always stop at the supermarket at the start of your safari allowing you to stock up with exactly what you need.
I am looking to get some really good photos – how close will I get to the animals?
Some of our happiest travellers 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.
A beanbag is much more convenient than a tripod for steadying shots from your safari vehicle. All our safari vehicles have pop-up photographic roof hatches, and all windows can be opened so you can get eye-level shots, too.
It is cheaper for me to fly in and out of Nairobi. Can you make this work?
Yes, this can definitely work! We have many clients doing this. Just note that this works for certain trips better than others.
If you are planning a classic northern circuit safari, then it is fairly simple. There are twice-daily shuttles between Nairobi and Arusha (USD 35 per person per direction, 6-7 hours driving), and private buses which can be arranged at any time (USD 350 total per direction, 5-6 hours driving).
There are also flights on Precision Air/Kenya Airways (around USD 230-270 per person), Air Kenya (around USD 240 per person) and Fly540 (around USD 160 per person). Exact price is dependent on booking class at time of booking.
How far in advance should I book my safari?
We recommend booking as far in advance as possible to ensure your spot.
What about tipping at the lodge and camps?
When it comes to tipping at the safari lodges, camps and hotels in town, our recommended tipping guideline is as follows:
-1 to 2 USD (or equivalent of 1,500 to 3,000TSH) for the porters, who will be helping you with your luggage upon arrival at the tented camps & lodges
-10 to 20 USD (or equivalent or 15,000 to 30,000TSH) for each night stay.
ypically the safari accommodation will have a General Tipping Box ath the reception desk, where you can leave your tip at the end of your stay.
What about tipping the guide?
Our tipping guideline is 10 to 25 USD per client per day to the driver guide, though it is ultimately up to the clients’ discretion to decide what amount is apporpriate. For instance, for a 7 Days safari with two guests, the average tip that is given to our Driver guides are between 150 USD to 300 USD, or even higher, depending on the clients’ overall satisfaction with their driver guide & their safari experience.
When you have a personal cook for mobile camping, the tipping guideline is the same, which is also up to the client’s discretion.
Kilimanjaro Climbing Guide & Guests- Generally, you should budget between 10% and 15% of your total climb cost for tips. If you are traveling in a small group, you should contribute more per person to the tip kitty. We provide a list of your crew as well as jobs performed on the day you begin your climb. Please use this list to allocate tips. Tips are generally distributed at the last camp or hut on Kilimanjaro and Meru. We recommend giving each staff person their tip. If you are part of a large group, you may also call a few people at a time to distribute tips.
Head Guide: US $20 – US $25 per day per guide /Assistant Guide: US $13 – US $18 per day per guide
Cook: US $13 – US $18 per day per cook / Porter: US $8 – US $12 per day per porter
The recommended currency for tipping is in USD cash, and it is customary for the clients to tip at the end of their safari.
Please remember that all of our staff are paid and no one relies on tips as a substitute for wages. As with any tipping situation, if you enjoy your experience, give a generous tip; if you do not enjoy your experience, adjust the tip accordingly.
I’m traveling with young children – is a safari a suitable holiday?
Yes! Or at least it certainly can be. Once we see that there are children present on your trip, we will do all we can to make your program as child-friendly as possible.
We can select child-friendly accommodations – this could mean anything from having a great pool, to huge rooms sleeping up to 04 persons, to plenty of space for running round after a long day of game driving. We will plan a program which keeps transfer times to a minimum. We can recommend special activities such as boat trips, hiking and following hunting tracks with bushmen – all great ways to spend some time outside of the safari vehicle.
If travelling with very young kids, we can also provide car-seats for use inside the safari vehicle, and baby carriers
Do you offer balloon safaris?
Yes, we can include a hot air balloon safari into our programs. In Tanzania they are available at Serengeti (USD 499 per person), Ndutu (USD 499 per person) and Tarangire (USD 479 per person). In Kenya they can be done in Masai Mara (USD 490 per person).
Take-off time is at dawn, you will soar silently over the plains for an hour or so, watching the sun rise on a new African day, and land wherever the wind takes you, where a hot breakfast and a glass of champagne will be enjoyed in the bush.
Do I need any vaccinations or medications before coming to Tanzania?
Before you leave for Tanzania you should consult your physician, who will be able to give you the most up-to-date information. Our advice below can help to inform you before your trip but should not replace a consultation with your doctor. It is advised to take malaria prophylaxis – usually Doxycycline, Lariam or Malarone. All three are different – again, ask your doctor for more advice. If you arrive from or travel through a yellow fever endemic zone before arrival into Tanzania, then vaccination for Yellow Fever obligatory. The Yellow Fever Endemic Zone includes the following countries: Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote D’Ivore, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Niger, Chad, Central African Republic, Togo, Benin, Sao Tome and Principe, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, United Republic of Tanzania, Angola, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Somali, Sudan and Equatorial Guinea, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana and Bolivia. According to official regulations this is only needed if spending 12 hours or more in these countries (including the airports). But it has become common practice that health officers at Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar Airport ignore this official regulation and insist on being shown a proof of Yellow Fever Vaccination on arrival on Kenya Airways, Uganda Airways and Ethiopian Airlines, even if you have only been on a short transit. If you have a Yellow Fever Vaccination Card it is advisable to present it to the Health Officers on arrival. If you don’t have one, be prepared for some unfortunate discussions. In some rare cases arriving passengers have even been vaccinated in the airport. There are medical officers there, general hygiene is being obeyed and new sterile syringes are used, but still, it an unfortunate situation if it comes to it. There is something of a discrepancy between official government publications and common practise at the airports, but this is absolutely beyond our control as a tour operator. Other vaccinations like hepatitis and tetanus are recommended.
Can I store luggage with you to be picked up at a later point during my trip?
We have offices in Arusha, in the center of town, and in Zanzibar, a few minutes from the airport. If desired clients can leave luggage with us free of charge, to be picked up at a later point. The most common situation where clients do this is when climbing Kilimanjaro – they store their safari and/or beach gear with us in Arusha, and we bring it with us later when picking you up after the mountain climb. If you think you will have some excess luggage, or want to leave some things with us during certain parts of your program, please let us know, and we will advise you on the best solution logistically.
How much do drinks cost in lodges / tented camps?
Approximate prices of beverages (depending on hotel/location):
- Bottled water, 1.5 litre: USD 2-3
- Soft drinks: USD 2
- Local beers: USD 3-4
- Glass of wine: USD 4-5
- Bottle of wine: USD 20-30+
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 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).
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.