Frequently Asked Questions

If you are coming from North America or Europe, we recommend flying KLM to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). If you are coming from Australasia, Emirates has the best deals and fly into Nairobi and Dar es Salaam daily. Kilimanjaro Airport is a one hour drive from Arusha while Dar es Salaam and Nairobi are a one hour flight or several hour bus ride from Arusha. If planning a visit to Zanzibar or Pemba during your Tanzanian holiday, consider flying into Dar es Salaam and then flying to Kilimanjaro for your safari and climb.

Maasai Wanderings books East Africa internal travel, including flights, bus rides and shuttles. Your tickets will be kept in the office for you or mailed to you, depending on your first destination. For international flights, please contact MW and we will provide you with contact information for our travel agent in South Africa and Australia – who will look after you.

All airport taxes are now included with most flights, both domestically and internationally.

Charter companies like Regional Air, Flightlink, Coastal Aviation and commercial airlines like Precision Air are the best way to get to Zanzibar. There are many daily flights departing from mid-morning to early evening and MW can help you book any of those to fit in with your itinerary.

Kenya is a popular subject for writers! However compared to the wealth of information available on some other Africa countries, only a limited number of books have been written about the wider aspects of life and travel in Tanzania. Here is a small selection of recommended titles on both countries to provide background information or to get you in the mood before you leave. For more choice visit a good book shop.

General Guidebooks

Kenya Insight Guide, ed. M Amin (Apa)
Kenya, a visitor's guide, A Curtis (Evans)
Glossy, travel brochure-type books, with colour photos throughout, providing good background information. Kenya - the Rough Guide (Rough Guides)
Kenya (Lonely Planet)
Less glossy, more practical guide aimed mainly at independent travellers.
Tanzania, Zanzibar & Pemba - (Lonely Planet)

Mountain Guidebooks

Guide to Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro, Iain Allen (MCK, Kenya). Africa's two highest mountains, mainly for mountaineers and technical climbers. Good background details.
East Africa International Mountain Guide, Andrew Wielochowski (West Col). Technical climbing and mountaineering routes on the crags, ice, snow and big walls.

Fabulous Novels (to set the scene!

Far Horizon (a thriller set on an overland tour truck through Africa), Zambezi (about a father's quest to find out the truth behind his daughter's disappearance in Africa. Zambezi includes scenes in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar), African Sky (and historical murder mystery set on a WWII pilot training base), Safari (a contemporary thriller dealing with big game hunting and poaching in Zimbabwe, and among the mountain gorillas of the Virunga Mountains), Silent Predator (a thriller about the disappearance of a high ranking politician, set in South Africa and Mozambique), and Ivory (a modern day pirate romp based around the exploits of a not-too-evil band of pirates off the coast of Africa, and the controversial plans to reintroduce elephant culling in South Africa).
Website is www.tonypark.net - all the books are published by Pan Macmillan.
You can buy the books online from www.booktopia.com.au in Australia. (a few of the foreign editions may also be on Amazon, as some of the books have been translated into Dutch, German, Italian).

Background Reading

Many hundreds of books have been written about all aspects of life and travel in East Africa. Here is a small selection of recommended titles to provide background information or to get you in the mood before you leave.
No Man's Land, George Monbiot (Macmillan) Highly recommended. A recent(ish) investigative journey through Kenya and Tanzania providing much deeper background insights than the usual safari based accounts and travelogues. Perfect reading for the flight but disturbing in parts.
North of South, Shiva Naipaul (Penguin) Travel narrative through E. Africa with sharply observed insights - very funny.
The Tree Where Man Was Born, Peter Matthiesson (Pan).Walking combined with philosophy, producing sharp but gentle observations about the peoples and landscapes in the remoter parts of Kenya and northern Tanzania.
Mount Kenya, John Reader (Elm Tree) A personal account of a walk on Mount Kenya, from the farmland and foothills, through the forest and moor land, to the peak area and finally to the summit of Nelion. Excellent colour photos throughout capture Mount Kenya in all its moods. Hardback.
Snowcaps on the Equator, C Ward, I Allen & G Boy (Bodley Head) Excellent colour photos (with accompanying essays) of Africa's dramatic and mysterious equatorial peaks, including Mount Kenya, Mount Elgon and some of Kenya's northern ranges. Hardback.
No Picnic on Mount Kenya, Felice Benuzzi (Kimber) Gripping and inspiring account of three Italian prisoners of war attempting to reach the summit of Mount Kenya in the 1940s.
Going Down River Road, Meja Mwangi (Heinemann, African Writers). Modern, urban novel by a Kenyan writer. Facing Mount Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta (Heinemann, African Writers) Culture, attitudes and history of Kikuyu people by the man who became first president of Kenya.
Kilimanjaro, John Reader (Elm Tree). A personal account of a walk up Mount Kilimanjaro, from the farmland and foothills, through the forest and moor land, to the high glaciers and finally to the summit of Uhuru. Plenty of background information about early exploration and mountaineering, natural history and glaciation. Excellent colour photos throughout capture Kilimanjaro in all its moods.
Scramble for Africa, Thomas Pakenham (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) superb history of the colonising period. Africa, Sandford J Ungar (Touchstone). Excellent potted history of each country. Concentrates on relatively recent events of each country as they emerged from colonization to independence.
Origins Reconsidered, Richard Leakey and R Lewin. Tracing the evolutionary history of modern humans' emergence from East Africa.

Wildlife Guides

Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa, J Williams (Collins) This is the one I've used for ages and it's been great, but I'm going to change it soon – see www.africanbirdclub.org/countries/Africa/books.html Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa, Dorst and Dandelot (Collins). Two guides widely acknowledged to be the most comprehensive and authoritative of their kind.
Island Africa, The Evolution of Africa's Rare Animals and Plants, Jonathan Kingdon.
Portraits of the Wild, Behaviour studies of East African Mammals, Cynthia Moss.
Safari Companion, A Guide to Watching African Mammals, Richard D. Estes

Maps

Kenya (Lonely Planet) Travel Atlas. Good details of Kenya and relevant parts of Northern Tanzania.
Kenya Tourist Map (Macmillan)
Kenya Map (Nelles Verlag). Both maps show the whole country, with acceptable accuracy.
Mount Kenya, A Map and Guide (EWP / West Col) Best for detail and routes.
Mount Kenya (Ordnance Survey World maps). A nice looking map, but scale of the main peaks is insufficient to show any detail required.
Kilimanjaro, Map and Guide (EWP / West Col). Recently drawn, detailed map of Kilimanjaro. Useful information for walkers and climbers on history, vegetation etc.
Kilimanjaro (Ordnance Survey World Maps) Reprint of beautifully drawn map originally surveyed in 1965, with new information for tourists and walkers overprinted, although scale of main peaks area is insufficient to show detail required. With notes on routes, geology, weather, etc.
Nairobi has several good book shops stocking a wide selection of guidebooks, European and African fiction, souvenir issues and glossy coffee-table books.
Compiled by Chris Morris (Into Africa UK)

We have three trips that are regular scheduled group departures. These trips leave with a minimum of two people and a maximum of twelve people per departure.

  1. Tanzania Explorer – budget wildlife & culture - departures every Sunday throughout the season
  2. Wildlife Wonders - mid-range wildlife & culture – departures every second Sunday throughout the season
  3. Kilimanjaro 7 day Machame Trek – departures every Sunday throughout the season

Single supplements do apply to guarantee a single room.

For the best wildlife viewing, visit Tanzania during the dry seasons of November/December to February, and July to September. To avoid the crowds, visit in May, June or November.

The driest month to climb Kilimanjaro is September. However, it is also one of the coldest and busiest. Because Kilimanjaro is such a large mountain, it has its own weather pattern and it often rains on Kilimanjaro when it is not raining elsewhere. You should prepare for rain and have your rain gear with you at all times while on the mountain.

Late March through late May represents the period of long rains in Tanzania. This is usually not an ideal time to plan a safari because of the potential for sudden downpours. Directly after the long rains, however, is a wonderful time to visit Tanzania's national parks due to the abundance of wildflowers and vegetation. It is also a wonderful time to go on safari because the level of dust and the number of tourists is minimal. July through October is Tanzania's dry season and also the high season for tourism. This is the best time to view wildlife as grasses are virtually nonexistent. It is usually very dusty and can be cold at higher elevations such as Ngorongoro Crater. Tanzania's short rains occur from late October through mid December. This is a low season for tourism in Tanzania. December through March is Tanzania's "summer" and many tourists visit during late December and January for optimal game viewing.

Health insurance is not included in tour quotes. However, for an additional of US$20-70pp depending on age and duration of their trip, we can assist you to take out membership for the First Air Responder(FAR), which provides aero-medical evacuation services for up to 2000km from Nairobi Wilson Airport and for up to eight weeks in duration (depending on your itinerary with MW). Please 'click here' for more details. This membership allows for air rescue transportation to medical facilities in the event of an emergency. THIS DOES NOT REPLACE PERSONAL TRAVEL INSURANCE IN ANYWAY.

For current immunization recommendations and requirements for travel to Tanzania, please check the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) site.

We do offer deposit payments via Paypal, using credit cards online. We just need an email address to send an online invoice to, and you would receive a link to follow to make the payment. We can also accept some balance payments via credit cards – but Paypal will charge a service fee of 3.4% for that. However, we recommend bank transfers directly to our account for payments so that all treks and safaris are paid for six weeks advance as per booking terms. This reduces any risk you may have by travelling large amounts of cash.

Yes, we can arrange flights and hotels for Zanzibar. We can also arrange airport transfers directly with most hotels. We have a great selection for you and liaise directly with the owners who will look after you like we do!

Please read our Terms and Conditions page for details on our cancellation policy.

You can withdraw Tanzanian shillings using a Visa/MasterCard in Arusha, Moshi, Karatu, Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam. Most restaurants/hotels do not accept credit cards, and the ones that do usually charge a commission of at least 3-5%. Please call your credit card company before you leave for Tanzania to notify them of your travel plans. Some companies will put a block on your card if you try to use it at a Tanzanian ATM. There is a withdrawal limit of 400,000/- per transaction (approx US$280) at ATMs but you can withdraw several times according to your personal limit with your own bank. Plan ahead if you have something in particular that you need to pay for.

We recommend changing some money to shillings to pay for small items during your trip. Local stores and restaurants charge in shillings, and if you pay in dollars you will pay a higher rate. At souvenir stores in Arusha. US$100 and US$50 dollar noted attract a better exchange rate than US$20, US$10, US$5 and US$1 – however these smaller notes are handy sometimes for buying souvenirs enroute during safari.

We do not recommend bringing travelers cheques to Tanzania as banks require you to have the receipt of purchase as well as the cheque. We recommend bringing USD cash and using an ATM machine to withdraw shillings.

NO, not at all and Tanzania is very strict on this. Please travel with notes dated 2005 or newer if you want to use them anywhere in Tanzania. Prior to that year, Africa was hit with an epidemic of counterfeiting and people are extremely weary to accept older notes, and banks simply will not accept them at all.

MW matches the type of experience you desire with the most appropriate lodge arrangements. Available lodging ranges from private luxury tented lodges to adventure camping. There are both mid and high-end private lodges so we can accommodate any budget.

On a camping safari, guests and staff sleep in private tents in designated campsites in or near the national parks. Maasai Wanderings staff setup the camp and prepare all meals while you relax, read and eat snacks. MW camps consist of tents set up around tables and chairs. Whenever possible, Maasai Wanderings uses more remote campsites to make your camping experience more private.

We only offer random nights of basic camping or when trekking in the Ngorongoro crater highlands. There are very limited toilet and shower facilities in these areas, so be prepared. Maasai Wanderings provides camping equipment including tents, sleeping mattresses, tables and chairs. We also provide all cooking equipment for the safari. Please see our Personal Equipment Guide for items you should bring with you to Tanzania. All of Maasai Wanderings's equipment is less than two years old and has been highly rated by many of our past clients.

Of course; just let us know in advance so we can make necessary arrangements.

We provide 2 x 1L bottled water per person per day on safari, and unlimited drinking water on Kilimanjaro/Meru.

7 Days Safari Menu

Day 1

Picnic Lunch
Mango packet juice
Chicken and Cheese Sandwiches for non-vegetarian OR pancakes
Tomato or egg Sandwiches for vegetarian.
Deep fried cold Chicken (non-veg) or Vegetable cutlet for vegetarians
Boiled egg
Snacks: Potato crisp, Chocolate bar, Biscuits
1-2 Fruits in season
Dinner
Soup: Cream of mushroom soup
Main course: Bolognese sauce
Vegetable burger pattie for vegetarians
Accompanied with: cheese spaghetti, Onion fried snow peas and buttered carrot/peas
Dessert: Fruit cuts
Tea or Coffee.

Day 2

Breakfast
Assorted Fruit plate
Cereal with milk
Oat porridge.
Squash juice (pineapple flavor)
Plain omelet eggs, sausages and baked beans, Pancakes, breakfast potatoes and Toast.
Tea, coffee, chocolate
Lunch(served hot)
Soup: Brown onion soup
Main course: Breaded fish fillets for non-veg
And vegetable burger for vegetarians
Accompanied with: Buttered parsley potatoes. Kales and carrot fingers
Dessert: Fruit salad
Tea or coffee.
Dinner
Soup: Cream of leak onion soup
Main course: Stir fried beef in gravy for non-veg
And vegetable Spring rolls for vegetarians
Accompanied with: Roast potatoes, Buttered greens and onion fried spinach.
Dessert: Banana fritters in custard Tea and coffee.

Day 3

Breakfast
AssortedFruits plate
Squash juice (orange flavor)
Muesli natural cereal with milk
French toast, breakfast potato, Sausage, scrambled egg and Toast.
Tea, coffee, chocolate
Picnic Lunch
Apple packet Juice
Cheese/tomato and Ham sandwiches for non-veg
Cucumber and lettuce sandwich for vegetarians
Beef Burger for non-veg and Vegetable Burger for vegetarians
Scotch egg for non-veg and vegetable Samosa for vegetarian.
Snacks: Potato crisp, Chocolate bars, cake
1-2 Fruits in season
Dinner
Soup: Cream of tomato
Main course: Steak in pepper sauce for Non-veg and Brown beans stew for vegetarian
Accompanied with: Chapati, Risi bisi Rice, Aubergine in garlic sauce (egg plant), tossed cauliflower and onion fried French beans.
Dessert: English Triffle and banana fritters (both with custard)
Coffee or tea.

Day 4

Breakfast
Early morning coffee or tea with Madazi and biscuits
Full breakfast
Fresh Mango juice and Fruit platter
Muesli natural cereal with milk and millet porridge
Vegetable/cheese omelet, Ngwachi (sweet potatoes), baked beans, salami and toast
Tea coffee or drinking chocolate
Picnic lunch
Passion packet Juice
Cold boiled mutton and ham slices for non-veg
Carrot/pea & macaroni salad for all
Vegetable spring rolls for vegetarians
Snacks: Arrow Root Crisps, Buttered bans, Chocolate bars, Biscuits
1-2 Fruits in season
Dinner
Soup: Butternut cream soup
Main course: Onion fried chicken for non-veg
Vegetable pie for vegetarians
Accompanied with: mixed vegetable masala, green gram stew, mashed potato and onion fried kales and steamed cauliflower.
Dessert: Orange caramel and assorted fruit cuts.
Tea or coffee.

Day 5

Breakfast
Pineapple flavor squash
Assorted Fruit
Cereal and oat porridge
Mushroom on toast, fried egg, Bacon, Pancakes, Nduma (arrow roots) and toast.
Tea, Coffee or drinking chocolate
Lunch (served hot)
Soup: Mixed vegetable soup
Main course: Fish Ala Orly for non-veg
Cowpeas sauce for vegetarians
Accompanied with: Lyonnaisse potatoes, cooked mixed vegetables and spicy Githeri (mixed of soft corn, bean and peas),
Dessert: Banana in warm mocca sauce
Dinner
Soup: Cream of carrot soup
Main course: Beef zingara in coconut sauce for non veg
Or rice/green lentils for vegetarians
Accompanied with: Parsley Potatoes, Irio (mashed soft maize/beans/greens & potatoes), Fried French beans and steamed cabbage
Dessert: Glazed pineapple with honey sauce.

Day 6

Breakfast
Orange flavored squash
Fruit plate
Muesli natural cereal with milk and millet porridge
Scrambled egg on toast, Sausage, Sweet Potatoes, Arrow Roots Spring rolls
Tea, chocolate, or coffee
Picnic Lunch
Pineapple Juice
Cheese sandwiches for non-veg
And Egg /tomato and mixed vegetable sandwich for vegetarians
Chicken for non-veg and Vegetable pie for vegetarians.
Snacks: Potato crisps, cake, Chocolate bars, Biscuits
1-2 Fruits in season.
Dinner - African Night (if possible)
Vegetable soup
Grilled Goat, beef and chicken for non-vegetarians
And grilled banana and vegetable balls for vegetarians
Accompanied with: Brown bean sauce, Matoke (bananas and potato stew), ugali (maize meal bread), carrot peas sauce and sukuma wiki (kales).
Dessert: Fruit salads

Day 7

Breakfast
AssortedFruit plate
Cereal with milk
Oat porridge.
Squash juice (pineapple flavor)
Plain omelet or eggs, baked beans, Pancakes, breakfast potatoes and Toast.
Tea, coffee, chocolate

Staple foods found throughout Tanzania include ugali (maizemeal), chapati (thick naan-like bread), kachumbari (tomato, cucumber, bell pepper salad), nyama choma (barbecued meat- goat, chicken, beef) and mchicha (green vegetable stew). Dishes specific to Northern Tanzania include ndizi nyama (banana beef stew) and mahindi maharage (maize and bean stew). If you would like to try Tanzanian food, let us know prior to your climb or camping safari and we'll include some local dishes on your menu.

Be sure to wash your hands often with soap and avoid eating raw vegetables and fruits. Before meals, wash and dry your hands before touching your food. Do not eat food sold by street vendors. Wipe the mouth of soda and alcohol bottles before drinking and ensure that water bottles are sealed properly before purchasing. Also, eat fruit that can be peeled, such as bananas, unless it is fruit prepared by Maasai Wanderings. If you unsure of any food, ask our cooks and guides.

Maasai Wanderings uses 4WD Land Cruisers, Land Rovers and 4WD Hiaces on all safaris and all vehicles are owned and maintained by us. We have made our vehicles safari ready by including comfortable seats and an open roof that allows for better animal viewing. Each passenger is guaranteed a window seat.

Although the roads between cities and the national parks are generally well-maintained, the roads inside the national parks are rough and dusty, and hence, often muddy. During game drives, we drive slowly for a more comfortable drive.During the dry season you will get very dusty, so bring some moist cleansing cloths to clean up before meal times. The road from Arusha to Ngorongoro is now tarmac so the driving time to the park is approximately one and a half.

MW's cars are outfitted with inverters that allow you to charge your camera batteries or laptop right in the car.

You can find AAA-D batteries in Arusha including Energizer and Duracell brands in an emergency but batteries are probably cheaper in your home country, so you may want to bring them with you. It is difficult to find high quality batteries outside major cities.

  1. Small sand bag on which to rest your camera. The safari vehicles shake quite a bit and sometimes you may miss a great shot if you wait for the car to be turned off.
  2. Lightweight tripod or monopod.
  3. Small can of compressed air to clean the camera. Be sure to clean your camera every night as it is usually very dusty while on safari.

Most lodges have outlets so you will be able to recharge batteries. However, because the lodges are run on generators, the electrical current is not as strong as traditional electrical currents. Some lodges turn off their generators at midnight. Keep in mind Tanzania uses 240v electricity and you will need to bring necessary converters and plug adaptors. Try to take as few electrical powered tools as possible.

Most lodges have outlets so you will be able to recharge batteries. However, because the lodges are run on generators, the electrical current is not as strong as traditional electrical currents. Some lodges turn off their generators at midnight. Keep in mind Tanzania uses 240v electricity and you will need to bring necessary converters and plug adaptors. Try to take as few electrical powered tools as possible.

It really depends on the passion you have for photography. As a general guideline, plan on shooting three to four rolls with 24 exposures per day; this is adequate for most people. Remember also that animals often move just when you want to shoot and don't pose for you so you may waste some pictures.

Much of the time you will be in bright sunlight so ISO100 speed will give you the best quality. However, some of the best times to see animals is in the late afternoon or early morning and the light may be low. In this case, ISO 200 or ISO 400 would be better.

This will depend on the type of photography you do. If you are interested in vegetation, you may want a macro lens. For animals, because you will be photographing from a distance, you will definitely want a long lens, at minimum 300 mm and up to 500 mm if possible. A zoom lens will provide you with the best flexibility.

You will have many opportunities to purchase souvenirs in Arusha and while on safari. The souvenir market with the best prices is located in the center of Arusha town approximately 500 meters southwest of the central post office/clock tower on Sinoni Road. You will have to bargain at this market;you should pay about 50% of the asking price. There will also be many opportunities to purchase souvenirs while on safari. Most hotels have souvenir shops, and there are a couple of large souvenir shops along the way: Oldonyo Orok and Cultural Heritage (expensive). If you are interested in buying Tanzanite, please let us know so we can deliver you to certified gemologists who mine and wholesale Tanzanite (among other precious stones) – this will ensure good value and good quality. You will also be issued with a certificate.

During your safari, you'll be accompanied by a trained wildlife guide. All of our guides have at least five years of experience on safari and have taken several language and wildlife courses. If you choose an adventure camping safari, youll also travel with a MW chef, who will prepare all of your delicious meals while in the bush. As with any MW-arranged trip, we will only combine tourist groups at the clients request. You can expect a private vehicle with your very own Maasai Wanderings wildlife guide.

The Big Five were originally the animals most sought after by hunters. They were the fiercest animals, the animals that hunted the hunters. They include rhino, elephant, lion, leopard and cape buffalo and today are the animals that tourists most want to see when visiting Tanzania's national parks. You can see all five of these animals during a visit to Northern Tanzania.

The wildebeest migration is the annual movement of approx 1.2 million wildebeest and 600,000 zebra and 300,000 Thomason gazelle from Tanzania's Serengeti National Park to Kenya's Masai Mara. The migration offers excellent opportunities to view animal behavior, especially the predators! Although the migration is usually in the Serengeti from December through June and then again from August again, the rains in recent years have kept the wildebeest in the Serengeti longer than normal and the exact migratory paths and times are never an exact science.

The wildebeest migration is usually in the Serengeti from December through September. During the dry months of December, January and February, it is common to see the migration as a mass of several hundred thousand animals. During the long rains in March, April and May, the migration often splits up into several sub-groups and roams in different areas of the Serengeti following the fresh grasses. The migration remains in these smaller groups throughout much of the remaining season until it returns to the Kenya in October. Having said that – the global seasons are consistently changing, so contact us in advance to find out the latest updates.

A bush walk is a nature walk or walking safari inside or near a national park. We can tailor a bush walk to your interests. If you are a bird lover, we'll take you on a bird walk. If you want to be near big game on foot, we'll arrange a bush walk in a national park. (These walks require an armed guard.) If you're interested in Tanzanian culture, we'll arrange a cultural tour. A bush walk can be a leisurely stroll or strenuous hike and ranges in length from thirty minutes to six hours.

We have put together detailed guidelines for tipping in Tanzania. Please contact the office directly for further information.

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