If this is your first time on safari or in Tanzania, you probably have lots of questions. To get you started we have collected a list of frequently asked ones.
You don't need to be smartly dressed on safari. The most important thing is to be comfortably and practically dressed. Safari colors - green, khaki, brown or grey are really useful, because white, red and other bright colors might scare away the wildlife! Some ladies may want to consider packing a sports bra as the roads are bumpy. Open sandals or other comfortable shoes may be useful to wear in the car when it is hot. Check the packing list.
Please bring some warm clothes! It gets really cold in some places because of the high altitude, especially in June, July and August. Of course it can also get very hot! It is probably best if you dress in layers, that way you won't be chilly in the morning, and as the day gets hotter, you can just take off your layers and stay cool in the lighter clothes you're wearing beneath.
Be sure to bring special and personal prescriptions and medications. Please let us know of medical conditions that may require special attention on safari. Malaria is not to be taken lightly. All travellers should visit either their personal physician or a travel health clinic about 3 months before departure. Ask your doctor about vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis. Bring mosquito repellent (also good for Teztze flies). We recommend Deet. Also make sure you have jabs for Tetanus, Diptheria, Typhoid, Polio and Yellow Fever before you come.
Is there internet access?
You can access at one of the many Internet cafe's that you will find in Arusha, Dar Es Salaam and most larger Tanzanian cities and places where tourists travel, like hotels and lodges.
What about electrical current and plugs?
240 volts is the voltage in Tanzania and you will need a UK plug. You can buy a converter plug that will make your appliance fit locally.
No, if you go on a private safari with Wayo Africa, you won't have to share the car with anyone. You and your partner / friends / family will have your own vehicle and driver guide. This allows you to explore at your own pace rather than being tied in with a group schedule. It is not advisable to travel after dark, and the national park regulations need to be adhered to. But if you want to stop and look at the giraffe for half an hour, or you decide you've had enough for the day and want to go back to the lodge and rest, you can do so.
When you book a safari, you get what you pay for. Even if you choose to do your safari relatively low budget, it will probably cost a lot more than your average holiday. First of all, Tanzania is an expensive destination. If you pay that much for a flight just to go to Africa, then the safari should also be worth it. Africa can be unpredictable at times, and that is why it is extremely important to go with a reputable tour operator.
The logistics involved in traveling to remote wilderness areas are costly. Picture the experience of eating a fully-catered, 4 course meal beneath an starry African sky in the Serengeti. Then imagine what it takes to organize something like this in the middle of nowhere! Tanzania is a huge country, and traveling around from one remote park to the next is also a big cost factor.
Tanzania would probably not be able to protect and maintain its national parks without the revenue from entry fees paid by visitors. Tanzania is one of the few countries that actually makes an effort to extend and increase its protected areas, even though it already has some of the largest national parks in the world. This is challenging and important work.
Wayo Africa is more expensive than some other tour operators. Why pay more and forego the cheaper option? Simple. Because it's worth it! Having your own vehicle and guide makes all the difference because it gives you the chance to explore at your own pace. Staying in smaller, more unique lodges and camps gives you a much better bush experience. It's much more intimate and authentic than being at buffet lines or soulless hotel rooms. You've paid the big bucks to visit Tanzania, now you should enjoy it! Traveling from A to B in a comfortable and efficient way leaves you with enough energy to appreciate your surroundings, as apposed to being exhuasted by a safari that was pooryly planned with rickety, unsafe vehicles. With Wayo Africa, you know that your African adventure will be planned according to what you want out of your experience. You will also have the security of our attentive team should you need any assitance along the way.
When it comes to accommodation, we are picky or rather, selective. Accommodation is an important element of your safari. Being comfortable and relaxed enables you to have enjoy your experience because you are rested and well taken care of by our company. We carefully select the lodges and camps for our safaris according to high quality standards, and you can mix and match as you like, guided by our recommendations.
Although many of these lodges and camps are located in the middle of nowhere, they offer all the bush comforts you need, like comfortable beds with clean linens and warm blankets if the nights get chilly. You will certainly be able to have a hot shower and you will have a private bathroom. Toilets differ from place to place, some are flush toilets like you would have at home, and other camps use eco toilets.
At every camp or lodge, you will be given a tasty meal, and clean, safe drinking water, and there is usually a choice of several other beverages. The camp or lodge area is safe and staff will be there to ensure your comfort and security. Tea and coffee is readily available, and you can ask for a wake up call in the morning if you want to be served tea or coffee in your tent or room. Though it may be limited in some places, there is electricity to recharge camera batteries. Generally, you need to make a distinction between camps and lodges. Camps are very comfortable, but things like electricity or flush toilets may not be available everywhere.
High-end tented camps are exclusive - located in pristine areas, with excellent food and service and great attention to detail. Tented camps are not always permanent structures, they can move from one to the next location, depending on seasons, always following the migration, so you are likely to be in the midst of where the wildlife action is! Spacious, beautifully furnished tents with en-suite bathrooms and very comfortable beds with amazing thread counts this is not camping, it is luxury. Privacy and atmosphere in tented camps is excellent, they are usually very small no more than a dozen guests on average. And last but not least, it is not only the service and style that make for a very special experience, the environmental impact of a tented mobile camp is very limited, and not nearly as lasting or damaging as the impact of a permanent structure. Tented camps are an excellent option for this type of tourism as it is far more sustainable in terms of environmental impact.
As for lodges - the best possible safari experience is guaranteed if you are staying in small, exclusive places with a personal touch and an intimate atmosphere. We try to avoid the more anonymous, big chains of lodges. A lodge is like a small, boutique hotel with a touch of safari or a touch of Africa. Sometimes, an old farmhouse may have been converted into a lodge, for example.
For a good safari, you need several ingredients. A really good guide, a reliable vehicle, good accommodation and a well planned itinerary are the probably the most important elements.
A good guide is the most crucial person on your safari. Wayo Africa runs a guide training school and therefore we really know what skills a good guide should have! Our guides have no less than ten years of experience, they speak fluent English and they know the national parks and roads like their own shirt pocket. Your guide will make sure you travel safely and in good time without getting lost. He will also make your experience more profound by sharing his knowledge about the wildlife and culture.
Our vehicles are comfortable and well maintained. Good suspension, all the necessary equipment - these cars will get you through muddy patches and over rough roads. Getting stuck in the middle of nowhere because your car has broken down is very annoying, and therefore a good car is key. Our vehicles have a safari roof, which is a hatch in the roof, which can be opened for better viewing and better photographic opportunities.
Why is a good itinerary so important? If you want to travel to several different national parks and see different places and areas, you need to have a good itinerary which helps you to get the timing right. It is not fun to be on the road without break, rushing from one park to the next, never really stopping anywhere long enough. Instead, you need an itinerary that allows for enough time to be able appreciate every park you visit, and which helps to plan your travel logistics in such a way that you are not constantly, non-stop on the road, but have enough time to admire and relax.
We will take the time to get to know you and design a tailor made itinerary for you. We try to make sure that you get exactly the safari you want, and we take the time to answer your questions. Rather than imposing our ideas, we work together with you. The most important thing is for you to be able to make an informed decision. So how does this process work?
You may already have a rough idea of the places in Tanzania that you really want to see. Or perhaps you are not entirely sure yet. Just send us an email and let us know your initial starting ideas. Depending on your needs, we will then start by suggesting destinations that you could visit, or if you have already chosen destinations, we may advise you on how to best combine them.
We try to pay attention to the price range you choose and we try to build an itinerary around your preferences and interests. An individual itinerary is certainly preferable to being tied in with a group schedule, and it also allows for a certain amount of spontaneity and flexibility.
Just to give you an example: if you say that you would like a cultural experience, we can make suggestions for places to visit, and how that might best tie in with your overall itinerary. Or if you don't like flying in small planes because you get airsick, then we could try to design an itinerary where you travel mainly by car. If you tell us that you want a few days just to relax, then we can organize a few days on the beach for you.
Together with you, we will develop your itinerary by asking questions and communicating with you throughout the entire process of designing your safari. This way, you end up with a customized itinerary that is designed to suit your personal preference, and you can be sure that your safari moves at your own pace, and you are not forced to do things you are not interested in.
Have you ever considered what would happen if you were to break your leg in the middle of nowhere? We have. It would be a difficult situation. That is why we choose to ensure all of our guests with a Flying Doctors service called MEDIVAC, the most effective medical emergency response available in Tanzania. This service is NOT to replace any medical scheme you already have but to act as an immediate response to medical emergencies in Tanzania. There is a gap that insurances and even international evacuation companies don't always cover - transport from the scene of an accident to a hospital of international standards. With MEDIVAC insurance, a patient is stabilized and transported by the most swift and efficient means to the regional centre of medical excellence, using a medically equipped plane or vehicle. The cost for this insurance is a price worth paying and we include this insurance for every person going on safari with us.
Many people worry about wild animals on safari. This is what your guide is here for. He will make sure that you always keep a safe distance. If the animal feels safe, it is extremely unlikely that it will attack you. If an animal feels threatened, however, the situation can become dangerous. You should never shout or disturb the animals with loud noises. Do not try to approach or touch them, and do not throw any objects at them. This may sound like the most obvious advice, but many accidents happen because people behave in the wrong way. Many people also worry that an animal may come and attack them at night, especially if they are sleeping in a tent. This fear is understandable, but it is also unfounded. Again, an animal is most likely to attack when provoked. You are over a hundred times more likely to be injured or killed in a car accident on your way to work. Even though you may hear a lion or a hyena somewhere in the distance, they most certainly will not try to chew their way into your tent, unless you are keeping a big piece of ham next to your bed. Keeping open and loose food stuff in the tent is not recommended and most likely it will attract monkeys.
Viewing wildlife from the vehicle is one way of experiencing Africa. If you are a more active person, a Wayo Africa safari may be just the right thing for you. Walking, biking, canoeing and a variety of cultural excursions give you the opportunity to see Africa from a different perspective and get out of your car and stretch those legs for a few hours! Of course you are in no way obliged to take part in these activities just choose and pick whatever takes your fancy. Our activities are described in detail on this website.
A safari can be tiring. A few days on the beach is a great way to relax at the end of your trip. Tanzania has a beautiful coast to wash off the dust of your safari with a dip in the Indian Ocean and have a chill out time on the beach. We have been to Zanzibar ourselves various times and have selected some really nice places - laid back atmosphere, Zanzibar style, right on the beach, great food, the Indian Ocean is really all one could wish for. Parts of the island are very touristy but there are definitely very unspoilt parts left.
The cost of a tourist visa is US$50 per person and US$100 for American citizins, to be paid in cash. We recommend buying the visa upon arrival at the airport in Tanzania. It is very easy to buy the visa upon arrival, and it is not necessary to arrange everything beforehand. Buying a visa upon arrival does not take much time at all. Forms can be obtained at the airplane/airport/border upon arrival. All you need to do is fill out the form and pay the fee, and you will get a visa stamped in your passport. Please make sure you have all the necessary jabs. A Yellow Fever jab, for example, is one legal requirement for being allowed to enter the country. It is not necessary to bring any pictures to get your visa, but please be aware that your passport has to be valid for another 6 months after departing from Tanzania. Citizens of some countries may have to get the visa prior to departure. Make sure you check with your country's authorities in advance.
Make sure you bring some cash, but not too much. Do not carry amounts in your pocket that you would feel uncomfortable with at your local supermarket, and try to keep your money out of sight and safely tucked away. There are a some Barclays Bank branches where you can withdraw cash from the ATM, there are a few in Arusha, and another branch in Zanzibar (Stone Town). The official currency here is Tanzanian Shillings, however US dollars are widely accepted, though preferably not the old 2003 or 2006 notes. You can use your credit card in the large hotels and lodges (to pay for your drinks for example). You won't be able to use your card in remote places in the bush. There are many bureaus where you can exchange money in Arusha.
We can't guarantee that you will see the migration. We do have very profound knowledge of which area you should visit at which time of year in order to maximize your chances. However, weather patterns (which influence wildlife movements) are unpredictable, especially with the ongoing climate change. Tanzania has had some completely atypical rain patterns for example, and that can have an impact on wildlife movements. We do our utmost to ensure you have the best game viewing, but in the end, you need a bit of luck. The animals in national parks are wild, and there are no boundaries to restrict their movement. You may or may not see a leopard, or a cheetah, or the wildebeest. Your guide will certainly make a huge effort to provide you with excellent animal sightings, but there is never a guarantee.
Just about every lodge or camp provides mosquito nets in their rooms. Usually, a room attendant will prepare the bed (while you are having dinner) by folding down the mosquito net and spraying insect repellent. If you are worried about the mosquitoes in your room, you can always try and ask for insect spray. Many places located at high altitude have little mosquito activity during the night because temperatures can be very cool. Mosquitoes tend to be most active in the early evening, so wear repellent on your exposed skin, and protect yourself by wearing long sleeves, long pants and socks.
You know your child best. Can your son or daughter walk for several hours? Does he or she have enough stamina for a hike? Can your child swim or has he / she ever gone paddling or canoeing before? Is your child good at cycling and has he or she ever done any mountain biking? We do have some childrens' bikes, but it depends on how tall your daughter or son is. As a general rule, we do not recommend our activities for children under six years of age, but feel free to get in touch if you are in need of more information.
Going on safari is not suitable for children under six years of age, in our opinion. There will be some long hours in the car, and constant animal sightings are not guaranteed. It can be hot and dusty and the roads may be bumpy, which is tiring even for adults. If you are staying at an exclusive, small scale tented camp, you may find that the evening candle lit dinner is not exactly child friendly. Sometimes, the best idea is to remain in one and the same spot for an hour or more, waiting quietly in the car until the cheetah goes hunting, or until the wildebeest cross the river. Wildlife watching takes patience. If you want to bring your small children on safari, please get in touch with us so that we can help to design a child friendly itinerary.
Wayo Africa can indeed help you to plan a family safari. We have a lot of experience when it comes to family safaris, because our activities make a safari much more family friendly. Energetic teenagers or active children will probably enjoy their safari a lot more if they can get out of the car once in a while to go canoeing or biking or walking. We will design a private itinerary for you, and depending on the size of your family, we will ensure you have enough vehicles so that space is not cramped, and enough guides to ensure individual care and attention.
First of all, tipping is completely at your discretion. If the service is not good, you do not need to give a tip. Some camps or lodges have a staff tip box. At other camps and lodges, it may be appropriate to give the head waiter or the manager a lump sum. Generally speaking, you can tip the camp or lodge staff, usually giving a lump sum, and separately from that, you can tip your guide. It all depends on where you stay as tipping varies a bit at different camps or lodges, and it also depends on the details of your itinerary. When you book your safari, you will receive a comprehensive information package, including guidelines on giving tips. When we meet you for the safari briefing, we can also tell you more about this.
Generally speaking, a dietary restriction does not prevent you from going on safari. Please make sure that you inform us as early as possible! If your children prefer to eat pasta and tomato sauce for lunch, or if they want their dinner at 7 so they can go to bed early, let us know about it and we can try to accommodate these needs. Your guide will be with you throughout the entire safari and he can also assist you by speaking to the kitchen management, should this be necessary. If you are allergic to wheat, or dairy products, we will do our best to make arrangements with all the lodges or camps that you will be staying at. However, you need to understand that the logistics of running a lodge or camp in the middle of nowhere are complicated. If your dietary restriction is very complicated, it may not be possible to accommodate. Seaweed soup is generally not available in the middle of the Serengeti, for example, and if you need to have a yeast supplement with every meal, then it would be a good idea to bring your own with you.