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Tanzania...

Your gateway to Safari, Treking & superb Scuba Diving.

Introduction to Tanzania

Tanzania is probably the most peaceful country in what can be at times a very turbulent continent. With 120 ethnic groups this is quite some feat and it shows through the very genuine warmth you receive from everyday Tanzanians.

The country holds many wonders with the 'Jewels in the Crown' being Mt Kilimanjaro, the highest point of Africa, the great plains of the Serengeti, home of the worlds largest migration of animals and the 'Spice Island' of Zanzibar with its powder white beaches and sinister link with the slave trade.

Diving here is established but there are still huge swathes of the southern coast that still have not been explored. There cannot be a better place to enjoy a relaxing diving holiday even the liveaboards have hammocks ! Don't be surprised if you come up with more air than you went down with!

Our Tanzania Holidays

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Safaris

View Tanzania Safaris.

Hotels & Resorts

Tanzania Resorts overview, Pole Pole resort.

Tanzania - our rough guide

History

Probably its most famous contribution to history is the famous phrase 'Dr Livingstone, I presume' spoken by Sir Henry Morton Stanley on the shore of Lake Tanganyika. The history of Tanzania itself is mirrored by that of Kenya until the 'Scramble for Africa' by European powers at the end of the 19th Century. Mainland Tanganyika was colonised by the Germans and the Zanzibar Archipelago came under the British. The whole came under British rule after World War One until Tanganyika gained independence in 1961. Zanzibar followed two years later and the current day United Republic of Tanzania was formed.

Geography

It is worth mentioning the many topographical features that make up Tanzania's unique landscape. The cause is the Great Rift Valley which starts at the Red Sea and runs south to Zimbabwe. This fault line is part of Lake Tanganyika, the second deepest freshwater lake in the world, which has its own marine eco-system and the dormant volcanoes of Ngorongoro Crater and Kilimanjaro.

Diving

Most of Tanzania's renowned dive sites are off the islands of Pemba, Zanzibar and Mafia. On each the leeward side always offers the best visibility due to its sheltered position.

  • Pemba's vertical undersea cliffs are exposed to strong currents and consequently attract large numbers of fish and their natural predators. Hammerheads are often seen on the East side of the island. Best months for diving are from October to March although the Whale Shark tends to be in the summer months.
  • Zanzibar has much more of a sandy shelf and is more suited to the less experienced diver. Can be dived year round although the best months are October and November.
  • Mafia being at the estuary of a river is swarming with marine life but must be avoiding during the raining season when visibility is affected, best months are from October to March. The water temperature ranges throughout the year between 24-27C so only a thin wetsuit is required.

Underwater Photography

 

Highlights

  • Safari: Ngorongoro Crater (Modern day Noah's Ark), Serengeti (Great African Plains).
  • Mount Kilimanjaro.
  • Zanzibar: Beach, History, Culture.
  • Gombe Stream National Park: Chimpanzee Sanctuary.
  • Olduvai Gorge: Where the fossilised remains of Homo hablis were found.
  • Pemba & Mafia Channel.

Climate & Weather

The coastal areas are hot and humid with an average day time temperature of 30C. Sea breezes make the climate very pleasant from June to September. The central plateau experiences hot days and cool nights. The hilly country between the coast and the northern highlands has a pleasant climate from January to September with temperatures averaging around 20C. Temperatures very around Kilimanjaro according to the season registering a low 15C during May-August rising to 22C during December to March. For the whole country the hootest months are from October to February. The main, long rainy season is from mid-March to late May.

General Information

  • People: The population of 26 million are mainly represented by Africans, while the Zanzibar Archipelago is from Arabian, Shirazi and Comoran descent.
  • Religion: Faith is divided quite evenly between Islam, Christianity and traditional believers.
  • Language: There are 120 tribal tongues with many from the Bantu family of languages. Most people communicate through Swahili although English is also the official language.
  • Visas: British Tourists must obtain a visa. This can be bought in advance from the Tanzanian High Commission at 43 Hertford Street, London, W1Y 7DB Tel No 0207 499 8951 costing £38. They can also be obtained on arrival at Dar Es Salaam and Kilimanjaro international airports and the border crossing with Kenya at Namanga.
  • Health: Water is safe for cleaning teeth but bottled water is strongly recommended for drinking. There are numerous recommendations of immunisation that include Cholera, Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Polio and of course anti malaria tablets. As always please refer to your local G.P for the current situation. Modern medical facilities are available in Dar Es Salaam and other major cities. However chemists are limited so the advise is to bring medicines that you may need.
  • Time: GMT + 3 hours.
  • Electricity: 230 Volts, 3 pin square plugs.
  • Clothing: Light weight cottons preferably brown, beige or khaki so not to alarm the animals if on safari. Warmer clothes are needed for those inland for the cool evenings. Also for the evening wear clothes that cover as much of the body as possible to avoid mosquito bites. Men & women should not wear revealing clothes along the coastal region whilst outside your hotel in respect of the local culture. A hat is advisable to avoid sun stroke and if climbing thermals, a rain jacket, good socks and worn in sturdy boots are essential.
  • Currency: The Tanzanian shilling Tsh = 100 cents. Denominations are Tsh1000, Tsh500, Tsh100, Tsh20, Tsh10. Coins are Tsh20, Tsh5, Tsh1 and 50, 20, 10 & 5 Cents. Local banks deal with foreign currencies and travellers. Banking hours are Monday - Friday 08.30-15.00 and Saturday 08.30-12.30. Please note banks on the Zanzibar Archipelago are not open on Fridays. Credit cards are not widely accepted and so please arrange a mixture of cash and travellers cheques.
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