"YOU HAVE TO GET LOST BEFORE YOU CAN BE FOUND."
Tips & Advice
Things to know and check when you book a holiday in Tanzania
Please take the time to read this
Welcome to our Tips & Advice Page, filled with the thing you need to know before going on safari.
Beware of Fly Catchers
Most people want the best holiday at the lowest price. This is not Asia or any other EU country. This is Africa. Save yourself the headache and a lot of time and disappointment, by using a Certified Tour Operator.
If you have no set arrangements and you have not done your homework i.e. investigate the points I mentioned on this page, you are more likely to encounter the Fly by night Tour operators or as we call them “Fly Catchers”.
To guide in the national parks all operators must operate under a Tourist Agents Licence (TALA). We are a fully-fledged registered Tour Operator, TALA License Number 01718, Tanzania Revenue Authority Number 115-007-688, Corporation Number 85381.
Fly Catchers do not have a TALA licence, mostly use inexperienced or unqualified guides, and their vehicles are most of the time poorly maintained and downright dangerous. Without the TALA licence, Tour Operator cannot book your accommodation.
These swindling Tour operators are starting to give our industry a bad name. They will most of the time offer you low prices for unbelievable packages. Unfortunately, more often than not, once you have already paid and you're starting your safari, you realise that it was too good to be true. The reason some of these prices are so low is that they did not include things like Park Fees, or fuel for the vehicle, or sometimes you booked upmarket accommodation and your guide takes you to a Hotel that he has on his itinerary and it is not at all what you booked.
And now it's too late. This Fly by night Tour Operator has your money, won't take your calls, makes poor excuses and then has the gall to call you a difficult customer.
Why is it so expensive to do a safari in Tanzania?
Let us be honest, Tanzania is an expensive destination and for most people, it is a once in a lifetime or special occasion holiday.
The answer to the "why"
Well first and foremost getting to East Africa is expensive, flights Visas, etc.
Park fees are very high and it increases yearly. Most of the parks have a Single Entrance Fee rule, which means each time you go into the park you have to pay.
Fees that have to be paid if you travel through a park to get to your destination.
Some areas outside the parks have a Community Fee that they charge for passing through their land, which is charged per person no matter what the age.
If you want to go to Ngorongoro Crater, you have the Crater Fees to pay. This fee is per vehicle, so for two people, it works out more expensive than it would for six people.
The roads that we travel on are very rough, and responsible Tour Companies have to send their vehicles in for maintenance after each safari.
The vehicles also consume a lot of fuel and our fuel prices are relatively high.
With this in mind, your cost per person per day is much higher the fewer people you have travelling in one vehicle.
Accommodation is not cheap, as the logistics of getting supplies are expensive. Most of the supplies are sourced from cities or villages outside of the parks. Here transit fees are also applicable.
Information to insist on when you make your bookings.
Is everything included?
Fuel for the vehicle.
Booking your accommodation
Insist on booking vouchers.
Proof of payment from the accommodation that you will be staying in, to ensure your reservation has been made and paid for.
Check that the room arrangements are correct
The sleeping arrangement can sometimes be very complicated for some Tour Companies or hotels to wrap their minds around.
Single = 1 bed 1 person in the room
Twin = 2 separate beds 2 people, not partners
Double = one big bed, 2 people sleeping in the same bed
Tripple = either 3 beds, 1 person each or 1 big bed for 2 people and 1 single bed for one person.
B&B = bed and breakfast
DBB = dinner, bed and breakfast
Half Board = dinner and breakfast or breakfast and lunch
Full Board = dinner, breakfast and lunch
Give as much information as possible to your Tour Operator if you have any dietary needs, especially if you have food allergies and accompany it with how severe the symptoms can be.
If you are vegetarian, what type of vegetarian are you, i.e. Vegan or will eat fish, chicken, eggs or dairy products, etc. If you are vegan, specify all the food items that you do not eat.
If you have any religious dietary restrictions, again specify all the food items that you do not eat.
If you have any religious dietary restrictions from a lesser-known religion i.e. the Jain religion, you need to send a detailed list of what food your religion allows and what is taboo.
Accommodations inside the parks are usually more costly but sometimes more practical from a logistics point of view, you could end up saving a bit.
Camping vs Tented Camp
Pitch tent camping is for the more adventurous travellers. Small tent in which you have to crawl in and out. Public facilities are sometimes clean, and a lot of times not. Hot showers and cold beers are a luxury, a lot of campsites are in remote areas, so electricity might not be available.
Comfort in these ranges from Basic, Mid Range to Luxury. Here you would have to ask your Tour company if the facilities are connected to the tent or if it's public.
Please make sure you print and take with you all your correspondence on these points, especially Booking Vouchers. Some of the bigger Hotel chains have a system where they overbook their properties. They take the booking and the money and send vouchers, but on the day of arrival, they let your tour company know that they're fully booked.
This is not your Tour Operator's mistake, but if you have a Booking Voucher in hand that your Tour Operator e-mailed to you, most Hotels will upgrade you at no extra charge.
Covid dealt a heavy blow to everyone in the hospitality industry, especially the staff of lodges, hotels, and guides. Most of these hard-working people undertook huge pay cuts and are still struggling to support their families.
If you enjoyed your accommodation, food, or your guide's experties and company, a small token of your appreciation will brighten up their day and keep them motivated during these tough times.