These notes contain important information. We advise you to read them and to have a copy available to you throughout your trip. You should also read our full terms and conditions available on our website. Which override the information below in the event of inconsistency?
Instructions for joining your trip
Please note that, if you are arriving at either Arusha or Kilimanjaro International Airport, then airport transfers to and from those airports are Not included in your trip price (you can book with us on requet). If you are arriving at Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi (Kenya), however, then the cost of the airport transfer from there to Arusha is not included, nor is the transfer back there at the end of your stay. You can of course book your airport transfers from Jomo Kenyatta Airport with Backpackers Safaris, by informing us of your flight arrival time and making the appropriate payment in addition to your trip price. Two daily public shuttles operate from Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi, one leaving at 08.00 and the other at 14.00 hours at a cost of $25 per person for a single ticket. Each takes approximately 6 to 7 hours to reach Arusha. Whichever airport you arrive at, we strongly advise that when you approach the driver (who will be waiting outside the baggage reclaim area) that you ask him who he has come to collect, rather than giving him your name. Our driver will display your name on an Backpackers Safaris signboard. These procedures ensure that you are picked up by the correct driver, rather than by some of the airport taxi drivers who are looking for business.
Complications on arrival
It is very rare that our travellers experience problems on arrival, but it is very important that should any difficulties be encountered, you follow the advice given below.
- if you are unable, for any reason, to start your trip as scheduled, you must as soon as possible contact the Backpackers Office office to advise them of this. (Tel: +255 754 031701 )
- if you have booked an airport transfer with Easy Travel but on arrival at your airport are unable to identify the representative of your pre-booked airport transfer company within 30 minutes of clearing customs/immigration, you should contact Backpackers Safaris (Tel: +255 754 031701) to advise us of this.
- If you have booked your own airport transfer independently (i.e. not through Backpackers Safaris), and your driver cannot be found, you should first contact the transfer company to try and resolve the issue. Note that in the event of any dispute, Backpackers Safaris will unfortunately not be responsible for any failure by an independently-booked airport transfer. You will be responsible for joining the trip at the scheduled time.
End of Trip Instructions
As any delays to flights are outside our control, we regret that Backpackers Safaris cannot be responsible for the consequences of such delays, nor for any additional expense incurred as a result.
Solo Travelers on Group Trips
Our group trips are based on shared accommodation and solo travelers booking onto group trips will share twin rooms/tents with a fellow traveler of the same gender throughout the trip. Some of our independent trips are designed differently and single travelers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
My Own Room
If you prefer not to share accommodation with a fellow traveler, you can book a single room for the duration of the trip and pay the appropriate single room supplement.
Children on Safari
We welcome children aged three years and older on our safaris but must stress that they remain the parents’ responsibility at all times. Our hotels, lodges and tented camps are unable to provide child-minding or babysitting services.
Make sure that you have a valid passport whose expiry date is sufficient for you to be allowed to enter Tanzania. (Usually the expiry date must be at least six months from the date of travel, for tourists, and longer for business travelers.) With the exception of those travelling from certain African countries (and a few other countries), all visitors to Tanzania must have a valid visa. It is the responsibility of travelers to arrange this. Visas are best arranged in advance
Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in Tanzania, albeit usually with a 5% surcharge, but note that American Express and Diners’ Club cards are not accepted. In certain places, such as Masai villages, cash will be the only acceptable method of payment for souvenirs etc. Travelers should not rely on travelers’ cheques, as these are not accepted in Tanzania.
US Dollars are always the best currency to carry and it is important that the banknotes you bring have been printed after the year 2006, as older notes are often not accepted.
Spending Money During Your Trip
Each traveler has different spending habits and therefore different cash requirements when on safari, to cover items such as drinks and souvenirs. You should bring the necessary amount of cash in US Dollars to cover your expected needs. Don’t forget to budget an amount in cash to cover tips (see ‘Tipping,’ below.)
Tipping is of course discretionary but is an expected part of the way in which business is done in Tanzania. It counts as an expression of gratitude to those who – hopefully – have made your experience an unforgettable one and enables you to directly reward those people. Our passengers come from all around the world, with different cultural attitudes to tipping, but a tip is of great significance here in Tanzania and will be hugely appreciated by the recipient. We know that the act of giving of a tip can be a bit awkward and we would suggest that the best way to remove this ‘awkwardness’ is for each group member to put their tip anonymously into an envelope and for the envelopes to be presented by the group to the staff member.
As a guideline, you should consider tipping at the follow levels:
- Driver guide: $25 US per day, per group
- Mountain guide: $25 US per day, per group
- Local guide (for example, for a village tour): $10 US per group, per tour
- Safari Chef: $10 US per day, per group
- Kilimanjaro Chef: $10 US per day, per group
- Supply driver: $10 US per day, per group
- Mountain Porter: $8 US per porter, per day on mountain
For hotels/lodges/tented camps, please do not tip individual staff members, but instead use the ‘Tip Box’ which you should find at the reception of your accommodation. For guidance, you should consider tipping between $5-7 US per day, per guest, at each accommodation.
All travelers taking trips with us must have valid travel insurance, without exception, and no-one will be permitted to join any of our trips until we have had sight of your insurance certificate and taken note of the details. Please ensure that all members of your party are covered by insurance and that it includes medical cover and adequate cover for emergency rescue and repatriation. We would also recommend that your policy covers trip cancellation, personal liability, curtailment and loss of luggage/personal effects. If your travel insurance has been arranged in conjunction with your credit card provider, we will require proof of purchase of the cover. Please contact your bank/credit card provider for details of the participating insurer, together with the level of cover provided and the emergency (24-hour) contact telephone number.
Flying Doctor Insurance
Backpackers Safaris can arrange ‘Flying Doctor Insurance’ should you require it. Flying Doctor insurance covers the provision of light aircraft with qualified doctors, able to evacuate patients from remote locations to hospital. However, this is not a substitute for your travel insurance and is only available in conjunction with that insurance. If you wish to take out this additional insurance, please let us know. Backpackers Safaris will need a copy of your passport, plus full details of your travel insurance company, including your policy number and their 24-hour contact telephone number. Bookings for ‘Flying Doctor Insurance’ should be made at the time of booking your trip.
Our advice is that you should consult with your doctor or travel clinic well in advance, (and as a minimum, at least one month) before your departure. This is because some inoculations/medications must be taken well before your trip.
Safety and Security
Safety advice is issued by most national governments and updated regularly and we would suggest that all travellers check the appropriate website for updates both prior to booking, and again prior to traveling. (Traveling to countries against your own government’s advice can adversely affect the validity of certain travel insurance policies.) Backpackers Safaris strongly advises all travellers to use a money belt or neck wallet for the safekeeping of cash, passport, airline tickets and any other valuables. Please leave other valuables, such as jewelry, at home. Most accommodations provide safety deposit boxes, an excellent way of storing your valuables. We also advise you to keep a photocopy of your passport, separate from your actual passport, when you travel.
Backpackers Safaris reserves the right to make changes to, or even cancel, any part of the planned trip if in their opinion safety and security concerns deem this necessary. Your driver-guide will accompany you throughout your safari and it is important that you always follow his instructions, in the interests of safety.
If you spend time in Arusha, you will find that most Tanzanians are friendly and helpful, but as in most cities in any part of the world, you should exercise caution. Carrying expensive cameras or jewelry or waving large amounts of cash around, is always a bad idea and will invariably attract unwanted attention. Be aware of people approaching you and trying to befriend you: often these people are con-men and you should be polite but firm in saying no to them. We would strongly advise using taxis after dark for trips to restaurants or other nighttime trips and would urge you to keep to the main streets during the daytime. We also advise that you travel in small groups, wherever possible. In the unlikely event that you find yourself in an area where a political protest or demonstration is taking place, we would advise you to leave the area immediately, as these can turn violent or provoke counter-demonstrations or reaction from the police.
Please note that you should use your own judgment when choosing activities or excursions which do not form part of the trip you have booked with Backpackers Safaris. We can offer you assistance in choosing how to spend your free time, but neither Backpackers Safaris nor any of its representatives can provide any guarantee about the safety or suitability of any activities or excursions, nor about the operators who organize these.
As in all countries, taking photos of police stations, border crossings, immigration controls, army barracks, military personnel or checkpoints, airports or political demonstrations is never a good idea, often illegal, and very likely to land you in trouble with the authorities.
Swimming, snorkeling and other water-based activities are always undertaken at your own risk.
You will spend a great deal of time with your highly-experienced driver-guide during your safari and for most visitors, the success of the safari is greatly enhanced by their interaction with him. At Backpackers Safaris, we believe that we have the best, most knowledgeable, most professional driver-guides in the business – and we are flattered that much of our travelers’ feedback reflects this opinion. Your driver-guide will ensure that you see as much wildlife as possible, assist in finding you the best photo-opportunities, drive you safely around the safari locations, be available to answer your every query and generally to help you with any difficulties you encounter. We encourage you to use your driver-guide as a ‘walking encyclopedia’: ask him not only about the wildlife, but also about Tanzanian culture, its customs and its people. He will be proud and delighted to share his knowledge with you!
Vehicles, Road Conditions and Journey Times
This is Africa and you are on safari; road conditions are sometimes not what you are used to and journeys take longer than they would in your home country. Not every road here is designed with tarmac and some can be rough. For example, Kilimanjaro Airport to Arusha, Arusha to Tarangire, Tarangire to Manyara and the road to Ngorongoro Gate are all on paved roads, but any time spent travelling in the Serengeti will be on rough roads. We can reassure you that our safari vehicles are custom-built, rigorously maintained and regularly serviced. If a vehicle cannot be repaired quickly on the spot, then a replacement vehicle is always made available.
What to Take: Luggage Allowance and Clothes
Given that being on safari involves being constantly on the move, we advise you to pack lightly and bring as little luggage as possible. Your luggage limit on safari with Backpackers Safaris is one soft rack case of no more than 20kg in weight, plus a daypack. Please make sure that your baggage is clearly labelled and that the label is firmly attached. The dimensions of your soft rack case should be no greater than 60cm x 30cm x 30cm. Within your allowance, please pack clothes suitable both for warm weather in daytime and also for cool evenings. (Game drives in the early morning can also be cool: a warm jacket is advisable.) Please note that different airlines have different luggage allowances and that these are usually strictly controlled. Passengers should ensure that they comply with the airline’s regulations on luggage allowances.
Storing Your Luggage
If you wish to leave some luggage behind before you go on your safari, you can leave it in storage with Backpackers safaris at our office, at no extra charge.
Some of our camps and lodges offer a laundry service, for an additional charge. Please note that, where you are arriving at your accommodation in the late afternoon and then leaving the following morning, it can be very difficult to have your laundry washed and dried before your departure. (Washing is by hand and drying relies on sunlight.) It will be best to plan to have your clothes washed at camps/hotels where you are staying for more than one night, to give the staff enough time to do your laundry. Bringing light, quick-drying clothes with you is advisable. Please always keep a list of all items you send to have laundered.
When you’re out on safari, all meals (breakfast, picnic-lunchbox and dinner) are included in your trip price and are provided by the relevant safari camp/hotel/safari lodge in which you are staying. During your safari, all meals are prepared using the best available local produce, allowing you to enjoy regional specialties at their best. Although all our accommodations cater for vegetarians, any other special dietary requirements can also usually be met but must be advised to us well in advance. Any bottled drinking water on the trip will be at guests’ own expense.
Visitors may wish to take a balloon safari and these are available at Ndutu, Serengeti and Tarangire. Prices vary and although the balloon safaris are not operated by Backpackers Safaris, we can book these for you.
As well as wildlife, any trip to Tanzania would be incomplete without encountering the Tanzanians themselves: warm, friendly, diverse people with a wealth of tradition which most of our visitors find truly fascinating. A visit to a Masai village is a highlight for some visitors, a great insight into these people’s culture, but inevitably some villagers see travelers as an opportunity to sell their wares. Some travelers find this annoying and it is advisable to skip the optional village trip if you are one of those irritated by this practice.
The Great Migration
The Great Migration is one of the world’s true natural wonders; for some travelers, it is a life-changing experience. Please note that the time of year determines whether and where the migration can be witnessed and for those travelers who wish to include a sight of this phenomenon in their safari trip, we recommend booking a ‘tailor-made’ safari, details of which are on our website. Using this facility and specifying that you want to see the Great Migration allows us to help you organize your trip accordingly. Please seek our advice on the best time to visit, before making your booking.