africa, tanzania, safari

TANZANIA

THE LAND OF UNFORGETABLE

06° 22′ 09″ S, 34° 53′ 20″ E

TANZANIA IN A NUTSHELL…

Tanzania’s history is a tapestry of challenges and victories, spanning human settlement, the era of colonialism, and the journey to independence. Known as one of Africa’s most diverse nations, Tanzania boasts over 158 local languages. Swahili is the widely spoken national language, while English serves as the official language for education, administration, and business.

The country’s natural wonders include breathtaking landscapes, historical and archaeological sites, wildlife-packed nature reserves, and pristine beaches. Standing tall at 5,895m (19,341 ft), Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, has captivated explorers with its snow-capped summit for years.

With an 804km-long coastline, Tanzania is surrounded by the enchanting islands of Zanzibar, Pemba, and Mafia, each offering a blend of natural, cultural, historical, and archaeological marvels. Positioned below the equator, Tanzania enjoys pleasant weather year-round. The equatorial climate brings two annual rainy seasons: the masika (long rains) from mid-March to late May, and the mvuli (short rains) intermittently throughout November and parts of December, sometimes extending into early January.


16:35GMT +3

local time

Dodoma

capital city

957,087

area in km²

Swahili

main language(s)

Our local team

We look forward to welcoming you to our beautiful country... Karibu!
  • Mt Meru
  • Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Summit of Kilimanjaro
  • Cheetah and air baloon in Serengeti National Park
  • Jambiani beach in Zanzibar

Practical information

00:32:25
Language(s)
Swahili
Currency
Tanzanian Shilling
Time zone
GMT +3

Tanzanian history and culture

The roots of Tanzania’s history are deeply embedded in its various tribes, which have traversed the land for centuries. Around 5000 BC, the initial inhabitants emerged, believed to be the Sandawe hunters in northern Tanzania. Their advanced lifestyle for the time became evident, and by 1000 BC, agricultural practices were introduced by the Cushitic people from Ethiopia. The expansive Bantu tribe started dominating smaller tribes around 500 BC. Simultaneously, Nilotic pastoralists arrived from southern Sudan, dividing into groups like the Maasai, Arusha, Samburu, and Baraguyu. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Nilo-Saharan Maasai migrated south, claiming the Rift Valley and showcasing Nilotic cultural influences in their stamina, striking red hair, circumcision practices, and language.


While the Maasai dominated northern savannah plains, Zanzibar, off the western coast, was under Arabian and Persian rule. Their cultural fusion with East African Bantus eventually birthed Swahili. In the 1500s, the Portuguese took control of the Tanzanian coast, transforming Zanzibar into a hub for the slave trade. The 17th and 18th centuries witnessed its peak, and by the late 1800s, Germany claimed the mainland. It wasn’t until the British gained control after WWI that the slave trade ended. The British named the region Tanganyika, facing opposition from the TANU (Tanganyika African National Union) independence party, ultimately leading to independence in 1961. In 1964, they merged with Zanzibar, forming the United Republic of Tanzania. Presently, Tanzanian culture is predominantly Swahili, although traditional tribal lifestyles persist, notably among the Maasai in rural areas. 

Time Zone

The time zone in Tanzania is GMT + 3

Languages

Swahili

The official language in Tanzania is Swahili but English is also widely spoken in towns and cities. 

Useful Phrases

  • Jambo - Hello
  • Karibu - Welcome
  • Habari? - How are you?
  • Nzuri - Fine
  • Pole Pole - Slowly, Slowly
  • Tafadhali - Please
  • Samahani - Sorry
  • Asante (sana) - Thank you (very much) 
  • Maji - Water
  • Kwaheri - Goodbye

Currency

Tanzanian Shilling

The Tanzanian Shilling is a restricted currency, and acquiring it in advance isn’t feasible. It’s recommended to travel with US Dollars as they are widely accepted. Ensure that US bills are recent (no more than 10 years old), in good condition, and not torn. If you wish to have local currency for small purchases like snacks or drinks at your hotel or during your journey, we can guide you to an ATM or bank. An additional currency exchange is available in the Baggage Collection area of the airport.

If you are relying on a credit or debit card for emergencyfunds, make sure you tell your card issuer that you will be using it abroad, oryou may find that it won't work when you really need it.


Keep in mind that not all hotels may accept card payments, so using an ATM could be necessary to access funds.

USD
TZS

Electrical outlets

Tanzania has two types of electrical sockets: type G, identical to those in the UK (with 3 square pins), and type D, an old UK style (with 3 round pins), both operating at 220v, similar to the UK. You should be fine using UK plugs, but for added assurance, you can opt for a worldwide adaptor. The type D socket is commonly used in India, so any adapter suitable for India will fit perfectly.  

best time to visit

The short answeris to either go between May and October, or December and March.

For an optimal experience, plan your trip to Tanzania between May and October or December and March. Tanzania experiences a prolonged monsoon season in April and May, as well as a shorter one in November, marked by a higher chance of daily rain. Beyond these periods, the weather tends to be predominantly dry and clear.

Most Kilimanjaro climbers prefer dry conditions, so expect more climbers during these popular periods. To avoid the crowds, consider selecting our Lemosho route.

Safety and Security

Your safety is our foremost concern at Summit Seekers.


We recommend regularly consulting your government's travel advisory website and seeking additional information from the World Health Organisation. Please refer to your respective government’s travel advisory website:

Lost or delayed luggage

Our procedure for lost or delayed luggage is as follows:

  • Establish what items are missing and a contingency plan for each critical item
  • If it reaches 6pm on the evening before starting the climb and your luggage has not arrived we recommend buying and/or hiring items immediately as a precaution
  • We will arrange for the hire of sleeping bags for you - to be paid locally
  • We will provide wet weather gear, t-shirts and fleeces out of our own stock. All gear must be returned to the Lead Guide at the end of the climb.  A nominal charge for cleaning items will be made of US$10 per item, payable locally
  • We will take you to a shop where you can buy toiletry items, e.g. toothbrush
  • Any luggage that arrives after you have started your climb will be brought up the mountain to you by a porter


We will do everything we can to help if your luggage is lost or delayed but all additional out of pocket costs have to be paid locally and should be charged back to the airline or your insurers. This includes the cost of taxis for shopping, repeat trips to the airport to collect bags and transporting your bag to you on the mountain.

What to wear

Although in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania people are used to tourists, Tanzania is predominantly a conservative country and it is always a goodidea to be respectful of the local customs. We would advise all traveller, both male and female, to keep their knees, shoulders and stomachs covered while out inpublic to avoid any unwanted attention.  You need to balance thisconservative style of dress with the excessive heat that you may experience in Tanzania. A long sleeved maxi dress will keep you covered while providing someairflow to keep you cool. Long sleeve breezy button up shirts, harem trousersor jeans are also good options. Make sure clothes aren't tight fitting, you will find the local women will all be wearing skirts. If you really want to dress like a local then buy a kanga – a colourfully printed wrap.


Summit of Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro Geography

Kilimanjaro is what is known as a strato-volcano. This basically means it is one very big ash pile built up over the course of many eruptions. Fortunately it is now dormant. The last major eruption was about 360,000 years ago. Kilimanjaro has 2.2 square kilometres (0.85 sq mi) of glacial ice but is losing it quickly. The glaciers have shrunk 82% since 1912 and declined 33% since 1989. It might be ice free within 20 years. 

As you climb Kilimanjaro you pass through 5 distinct climate and vegetation zones. On the Lower Slopes between 2,600 feet and 5,900 feet, the climate is tropical. The Rain Forest zone between 5,900 and 9,200 feet receives the highest amount of rainfall, up to 78 inches per year. The moisture results in a belt of dense tropical rain forest. The moorland zone is between 9,200 feet and 13,100 feet. This is covered with heather and bright flowers. Between 13,100 and 16,400 feet there is a semi-desert region that receives less than 10 inches of rain annually. Only plants such as moss or lichens can survive here. The summit zone above 16,400 feet is an icy wasteland, baked by fierce sunshine during the day and frozen at night. The thin air here contains half as much oxygen as at sea level.

In spite of the tough climate there are over 140 species of mammals living on Kilimanjaro. At least seven larger mammal species have been recorded above the tree line including tree hyrax, grey duiker, red duiker, eland, bushbuck, buffalo and elephants. Three primate species also live in the montane forests: blue monkeys, black and white colombus monkeys and bushbabies.

When to go?Seasons, Climate, Festivities

  • January to March

    Following the short rainy season, the initial months boast warm and dry weather. This period, away from the high season, offers a relatively serene atmosphere, making it one of our preferred times for Kilimanjaro climbs.
  • April to May

    The long rainy season in Tanzania normally occurs in April and May although it has become more unpredictable in recent years. If you don't mind the rain you can have the mountain pretty much to yourself. Due to the poor conditions we do not operate any open group climbs at this time. We can still arrange private climbs in the wet season but we only recommend the Rongai route as the northern side of the peak is a little more protected.
  • June to October

    From June to early November, Kilimanjaro experiences the driest months, reaching peak dryness from August to October. While this period draws significant climber traffic, the shoulder months of June and July, along with early November, offer a balanced compromise, considering those undeterred by occasional rain.
  • November to December

    The short rainy season emerges for 3-4 weeks in early November, featuring less persistent rain compared to the primary rainy season of April to May. Despite milder conditions, the mountain’s state remains challenging, dissuading many from attempting the climb during this time.

Temperatures and climate

Min/max temp (°C) / Average rainfall (mm)

  • Arusha

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
    Average tempC° min / max
    16° / 27°
    16° / 28°
    17° / 27°
    17° / 25°
    16° / 23°
    14° / 22°
    14° / 21°
    14° / 23°
    14° / 25°
    15° / 27°
    16° / 26°
    16° / 26°
    Average rainfall(mm)
    17
    13
    31
    39
    32
    13
    8
    4
    12
    36
    52
    25
  • Mount Kilimanjaro

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
    Average tempC° min / max
    14° / 24°
    14° / 25°
    15° / 25°
    15° / 23°
    14° / 22°
    12° / 22°
    10° / 22°
    11° / 22°
    12° / 24°
    14° / 24°
    15° / 23°
    14° / 23°
    Average rainfall(mm)
    153
    115
    138
    131
    44
    9
    3
    4
    5
    37
    109
    140

Holidays and festivities

  • Sauti za Busara Festival

    February
    This 4 day festival is visited by thousands of people from all over the world. Expect a wealth of fantastic local and international music as well as parades and carnivals all over the island of Zanzibar.
  • Swahili Fashion Week

    December
    Held in Dar es Salaam, this is the biggest fashion event in East Africa. Fashion designers from numerous African countries display their latest creations on the catwalk. There are pop up shops, award ceremonies and parties aplenty.
  • Nyama Choma Festival

    March
    Held in Arusha and Dar es Salaam this festival is a celebration of roasted meat. Nyama Choma recipes are passed down through the generations and this is an opportunity to sink your teeth into a whole lot of mouth-watering barbequed meat.
  • The Goat Races

    October
    Goat racing originated in Uganda but has now been embraced by Tanzania also. A charity event to designed to raise money for vulnerable children, anybody can sponsor a goat and place it in a race. There are quirky prizes for the winners.
  • Do US citizens need a visa for Tanzania?

    Having a visa is a requirement for US citizens visitingTanzania. You will have to apply for a visa before you plan on visitingTanzania, or apply for a tourist visa upon arrival.
  • Can you get a Tanzania visa on arrival?

    You can receive a Tanzania visa upon arrival from the entryport at the Tanzanian airport. While that is still a possibility, it is highlyrecommended to apply for a visa online ahead of time, either online or at aTanzanian embassy.
  • How long does a Tanzania visa take?

    It takes ten days for a Tanzania visa application to beprocessed. It will also take some extra time to receive approval for their visaupon making payments before you can start traveling to Tanzania.
  • Can I get an e-visa for Tanzania?

    It is possible to get an e-visa for Tanzania if you are required to have a visa. In order to receive an e-visa, you will be required to fill out an online form, make the proper payment(s), and submit your application online. You will have to wait at least ten days for your application to be processed and approved.
  • What shots do I need for Tanzania?

    Strongly Advised Vaccinations

    - Hepatitis A: This can be spread via contaminated food and water.
    - Tetanus: Tetanus is often present in the soil, and can contaminate open wounds easily. Tetanus vaccine should be used every ten years if travelling.
    - Typhoid: Typhoid can also be spread via contaminated food and water, and poor hygiene.
    - Diphtheria: This potentially fatal disease is spread mainly via spit, but occasionally through contact with cuts on the skin.
    - Yellow Fever: This can be contracted by being bitten by a contaminated mosquito. This vaccination is not essential if you are arriving directly in Tanzania. You do need it though if you plan to arrive through any country that is subject to yellow fever. Simply stopping over at an airport in an affected country should not require vaccination, but leaving the airport even briefly would make it necessary

    Sometimes Advised Vaccinations

    - Hepatitis B: This illness is spread via contact with blood or bodily fluids. It is many, many times more virulent than HIV/AIDS. Some 8% of the population of Tanzania are believed to carry the virus.
    - Rabies: Rabies is spread via contact between the saliva of any infected animal and an open wound (including bites, but also licking existing wounds). Rabies is fatal unless treated, and treatment of an unvaccinated rabies patient can be very difficult in many parts of Tanzania.
    - Tuberculosis: TB is generally contracted through inhaling airborne sputum.
    - Cholera: Cholera is spread via contaminated food and water, and poor hygiene.
    - Measles: This disease is spread through inhaling sputum.
  • Do you need a yellow fever vaccination for Tanzania?

    Those arriving in Tanzania from countries with a high risk of yellow fever arerequired to get a vaccination before arrival to Tanzania. This is to prevent anoutbreak and a national emergency.
  • Is Ebola in Tanzania?

    Officially, Tanzania has reported no cases of Ebola orsuspected Ebola but the WHO has been investigating various claims that thecountry has concealed potential Ebola cases.
  • Is Zika virus in Tanzania?

    The Zika virus has been found in Tanzania. Of 533 peopletested, 15.6% were positive with the virus.

Climbing Kilimanjaro

  • Do you need malaria tablets for Kilimanjaro?

    You will not run into malaria while on the mountain.However, you will be in territory that houses malaria before and after yourhike so you should be taking malaria tablets while you’re hiking as aprecaution.
  • How difficult is it to climb Kilimanjaro?

    We have a fantastic record of getting climbers to the summit successfully and safely. If you are a regular weekend walker with lots of determination we can get you to the top. That does not mean that it is not an incredibly tough challenge. The difficulties arise from a number of different factors. First you are walking every day for at least 6 days for an average of 7-8 hours a day. There is then one very long day of up to 18 hours. You need to be really determined to handle this.
  • How many days does it take to climb Kilimanjaro?

    The shortest route Kandoo runs as standard is 6 days. It is possible to climb over 5 days but the shorter climbs have a much lower success rate. Remember it is a long way to travel and a lot of money to spend to not reach the summit. We recommend that you take at least 7 days to give yourself a really good chance of reaching the summit safely. 
  • How fit do you need to be to climb Kilimanjaro?

    We have helped lots of novice trekkers summit Kilimanjaro safely. You need to be fit enough for "weekend walking" and able to do 5-7 hours on your feet for two days back to back. Besides being fit though you will need to look after yourself all the way and have bucket loads of determination. The best training to climb Kilimanjaro you can do is to get your boots on and cover as many miles as your can before your climb. If you follow this advice, most days will be pretty comfortable for you. However fit you are though, summit night is a very tough experience. You will be climbing for 8-10 hours and descending for 6 - 8 hours.
  • What is the success rate climbing Kilimanjaro?

    The success rate varies hugely by route and by operator. Success rates reported by the Park vary from below 50% on the shorter routes like Marangu up to 85-90% on 7 day and longer climbs. Our success rate on climbs of 7 days or longer is 97%. We get such a high success rate with great preparation, great guides and carefully managed itineraries. And of course clients with grit!
  • What training do you recommend to prepare for my climb?

    We always answer this question by saying you should try and get out and do as much hill-walking as you can. Nothing prepares your body better for climbing Kilimanjaro than some weekends doing long walks of 7-8 hours. Check out our Summit Seekers challenge.
  • What are the toilets like on Kilimanjaro?

    The public toilets on Kilimanjaro are horrible. Fortunately, we now provide private toilets on Kilimanjaro as standard on all climbs. This is a chemical toilet in a small tent. This is kept clean and hygienic by our crew. Lots better than the long drop public loos.
  • How well do you treat your crew? Are you a member of KPAP?

    We treat all our crew and guides really well. This is recognised by KPAP ( the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Program).
     

    KPAP does great work to ensure porters are treated fairly on the mountain. This is not just about wages, but food, clothing, tents and tipping policy. Sadly far too few Kilimanjaro operators are members of KPAP. We have been a leading member of KPAP since we started on Kilimanjaro. There is a KPAP porter on all our climbs to ensure that our treatment of porters always is up to high standards.
  • What is altitude sickness?

    Altitude sickness (often just called AMS) is caused by climbing to altitudes where the air pressure is much reduced. By the time you have reached the summit of Kilimanjaro air pressure is down to 49% of what it is at sea level. The first effect of this is that every lungful of air contains only half the amount of oxygen it would normally have. This make any physical exertion very hard work. Slowly, slowly is the key. The second and most dangerous effects of low pressures are on the parts of the body where fluid and air meet. The two most important are in the skull and lungs. With low air pressure fluid gets into the lungs and the gap between the brain and the skull. In the lungs this causes something like pneumonia, where your lungs fill with water. In the brain it causes bad headaches. Both of these can become so bad they will kill you. The good news is that we plan our ascents very carefully to minimise the risk of you getting AMS and we have well tested emergency plans on how to prevent altitude sickness.
  • What kit will I need?

    A well-equipped weekend hiker will have most of the essential kit you need. You can find a full list of required clothing and equipment on your trip dossier.
  • What is the difference between the Kilimanjaro routes?

    The differences between the routes can be looked at in different ways. First and most critical is how many days they take.
  • What will the food be like?

    The food our cooks prepare on Kilimanjaro is amazing. What they can create on a mountain is beyond belief and everybody raves about our food. This is really important as keeping yourself hydrated and ensuring you eat well is one of the most important factors in success. If you have special dietary requirements or are a vegetarian then just let us know when you book so that we can be sure to have a suitable menu planned.
  • What are your tents like?

    We use two types of tent on Mt Kilimanjaro. For sleeping we use top of the range Mountain Hardwear Trango 3 man tents. These are the same tents used by most expedition teams on Everest. They are very strong, have lots of space and are warm. Our mess tents are made for us by a supplier in Nepal who makes them for Himalayan expeditions. Good head-height, warm and extremely tough. Along with comfy camp chairs they make for a relaxing meal time.
  • What tips do you recommend?

    We are leading members of KPAP, the Kilimanjaro Porters protection group and comply fully with their recommendations about tips. Depending on the group size recommended tips are between $200-300 per person. These are simply recommendations: if for any reason you are not happy with the service provided you are not required to pay.
  • How will i wash during my climb?

    Every morning and evening you will be provided with a bowl of hot water for washing. As well as this we strongly recommend a good supply of baby wipes for cleaning hands during the day. Also when it gets very cold higher on the mountain you can get by with what we call a "pits and bits" wash for which a baby-wipe is perfect. Remember though that whatever you take up the mountain has to come down so you will need a waste bag to carry used wet wipes.
  • Is there an advantage to climbing Kilimanjaro on the full moon?

    This is really a matter of personal preferences. On a full moon there is lots more light and the route and path to the summit are much clearer. Some people prefer this, some prefer to get their head down and just keep plodding. Of course when there is a full moon there are almost no stars visible so if you want a great night sky give the full moon dates a miss.
  • Do you organise trips to climb kilimanjaro for charity?

    We arrange lots of climbing Kilimanjaro for charity. We do not however organise climbs where the cost of the trip is funded by donations as we only believe in self-funded charity challenges.
  • What do you do to support the local community?

    As one of the very few non-Tanzanian companies that actually operate its own climbs we are closely involved in many aspects of supporting the local community. This extends from promoting porter welfare, supporting a local children's charity to being active members of the Leave No Trace and Travellers Against Plastic organisations. Our own charity, the Kandoo Foundation has also funded a number of projects in Tanzania to benefit the community.
  • Can i climb without porters and guides?

    In a word, NO. The National Park Authority do not allow anyone on the mountain without qualified guides and they mandate strict minimum ratios of guides to clients which roughly work out as 1 guide for every 3 people. Porters are actually optional but unless you are super, super-fit and happy to alpine camp for 7 days living on dried food don't begin to think about it. We provide 3 porters per client to carry everything you need to have a comfortable enjoyable climb.
  • What vaccinations will I need?

    You will need to have a number of up to date vaccinations to visit Tanzania. You should always visit your GP and check exactly what you require. Also please note you will need to take an anti-malarial drug. Although there are no mosquitoes on the mountain itself, there is malaria in Moshi.
  • What happens if I need to descend?

    As a condition of our public liability insurance we run a fully integrated Safety Management System. This includes detailed procedures for emergency descent. Depending where you are on the mountain this may involve being carried by porters, being transported on a mobile stretcher, using a 4x4 or helicopter.

  • What travel insurance do you recommend?

    There a number of specialists who provide Kilimanjaro travel insurance. We particularly like Dogtag and World Nomad. Whoever you arrange insurance with, you must be sure it covers you to an altitude of 6000m.
  • Are there any age restrictions on climbers?

    Kilimanjaro Park Authority do not allow any climbers on the mountain younger than 12 years of age. There is no maximum - our oldest client who summited was 75. You should be aware though that we do not allow children younger than 16 to join an open group. This is primarily because we feel that for children under 16 we need to provide the more personalised care that is only available on a private trip. Also, we have sometimes had negative feedback from adults about having children on a climb with them.
  • What is the best way to get to Kilimanjaro?

    Kilimanjaro has its own international airport (JRO) which is about an hour's drive from the mountain itself. For flights to JRO there are an increasing number of good options. There are currently no direct flights available from countiries other than the Netherlands, the Middle East and Turkey. From Europe the best options are with KLM via Amsterdam or Turkish Airlines via Istanbul.
  • Where is mount Kilimanjaro?

    Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania and sits right on the Northern border with Kenya. The nearest airport is Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and the nearest town is Moshi.
  • Will i be able to get a mobile signal on Kilimanjaro?

    Yes most of the time but don't plan on 4G. And don't be surprised that when you drop into a valley there will be deadspots.
  • Which famous celebrities have climbed Kilimanjaro?

    One of the most publicised celebrity climbs of Kilimanjaro came in 2009 when a team of 9 celebrities attempted to conquer the roof of Africa for Comic Relief. The celebrities climbing were Alesha Dixon, Gary Barlow, Ben Shepard, Denise Van Outen, Cheryl Cole, Chris Moyles, Fearne Cotton, Kimberley Walsh and Ronan Keating. They took the 8 day Lemosho route and, amazingly, every single one of them summited! However, it was reported that nearly every climber suffered some form of altitude sickness along the way. The aim of the climb was to raise awareness and money for Malaria which is a huge killer in Tanzania. The team raised just shy of a million pounds.