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WINGS Birding Tours – Information

Tanzania: Kilimanjaro to the Serengeti

Tour Information

Note: The information presented below has been extracted from our formal General Information for this tour.  It covers topics we feel potential registrants may wish to consider before booking space.    The complete General Information for this tour will be sent to all tour registrants and of course supplemental information, if needed, is available from the WINGS office.

ENTERING TANZANIA: U.S. citizens should have a passport valid for at least six months after the date they expect to depart Tanzania and with at least one blank page for entry and exits stamps. A Tanzania tourist visa and an on-going air ticket are also required. The visa can be obtained on arrival in Tanzania but wait times can be long. 

A current yellow fever vacinnation is not required for entry into Tanzania unless you are coming directly from a country where yellow fever is known to be present. 

Travellers may obtain the latest information and details from the Embassy of The United Republic of Tanzania, 2139 R Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 939-6125, or online at www.tanzaniaembassy-us.org

Non-U.S. citizens should contact their nearest Tanzanian embassy or consulate. 

COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/tanzania.html, and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Tanzania at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/tz.html.

PACE OF THE TOUR:  There will be early starts on most days but some of these will be optional pre-breakfast excursions. Note, due to the distances we cover and the fact that we spend a lot of time in national parks, we spend a lot of time in the vehicles – see the section on Transport for more information. Our schedule in the National Parks and Game Reserves will vary with some days being broken into morning and afternoon drives, with a midday break, and others given over to spending all day in the field with packed lunches. Most walks on this tour are not very strenuous, although there will be walking on uneven ground when we are not confined to a Park. Much of the driving will be on unpaved roads but these are usually in good condition, providing there has not been a lot of rain. 

HEALTH: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all travelers be up to date on routine vaccinations. These include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. 

They further recommend that most travelers have protection against Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Please contact your doctor well in advance of your tour’s departure as some medications must be initiated weeks before the period of possible exposure. 

The most current information about travelers’ health recommendations can be found on the CDC’s  Travel Health website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/tanzania?s_cid=ncezid-dgmq-travel-single-001

Please be sure to contact your physician or health professional at least six weeks in advance of departure to complete your inoculation series, if any, and to review the latest malarial and other advisories. 

Malaria: The CDC currently recommends taking an anti-malarial drug when traveling in Tanzania. Since chloroquine-resistant malaria has been confirmed in Tanzania, atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone™), doxycycline or mefloquine (Lariam™) are the currently recommended prophylaxes. Please consult your physician/ 

Yellow Fever:  The CDC does not currently recommends getting a yellow fever vaccination.  Again, please consult your physician. 

Altitude:  The tour reaches an altitude of about 7500 feet on the rim of the Ngorogoro Crater. 

Smoking:  Smoking is prohibited in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a nonsmoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group. If any location where the group is gathered has a stricter policy than the WINGS policy, that stricter policy will prevail. 

Miscellaneous: Biting insects are not numerous although mosquitoes and ticks occur locally. We recommend using insect repellents with a high concentration of DEET. However, care must be taken to avoid getting the DEET repellents on optical equipment as DEET dissolves rubber and plastic and can damage coated lenses.

Water is generally safe to drink, biologically, but mild intestinal problems are not uncommon. We shall provide bottled water for all excursions, and will always have a supply on the bus when travelling. Lodges may provide flasks of purified water in the rooms; bottled water is readily available at the lodges. There will be some opportunities to purchase bottled water from supermarkets, etc., where it will be cheaper. Soda water, soft drinks and beer are ubiquitous and safe to drink. 

CLIMATE: Arusha, Serengeti, and Ngorogoro are relatively high and can be quite cold in the mornings.However for most of the tour we’ll experience warm to hot temperatures with strong sunlight. Around Lake Victoria will probably be the hottest and most humid place we visit. The tour is timed to take place just before the onset of the long rainy season when most birds will be in breeding plumage. It is possible that we might encounter the odd shower towards the end of the tour as the rainy season approaches. 

ACCOMMODATION: During the tour we’ll stay in a variety of comfortable lodges or tented camps where all other rooms have ensuite bathroom and toilet. Some of the lodges have swimming pools. 

Internet:   Poorly developed with (as far as we know) no certain connectivity during our tour.  Cell phone access is good almost everwhere.

 FOOD:  Food in Tanzania is of a high standard everywhere on the traditional tourist circuits. 

Food Allergies/Requirements: We cannot guarantee that all food allergies can be accommodated at every destination. Participants with significant food allergies or special dietary requirements should bring appropriate foods with them for those times when their needs cannot be met. Announced meal times are always approximate depending on how the day unfolds. Participants who need to eat according to a fixed schedule should bring supplemental food. Please contact the WINGS office if you have any questions.

TRANSPORTATION: Transportation will be in four-wheel-drive Landcruiser which will have roof hatches for window-free viewing and photography. Our drivers will be professionals, skilled at finding birds and mammals, and at repairing vehicles. Most roads are good to excellent, but there will be some rough stretches as we drive into some less-travelled parts or if there has been recent bad weather. There will be one or two long drives. A small inflatable pillow or ring cushion weighs almost nothing, carries flat, and may be welcome on the bumpier surfaces. In most National Parks leaving the vehicles is prohibited. Each person will have a window seat and the roof hatches are helpful, but come prepared to spend an unusual amount of time in the vehicles. 

Updated: 04 November 2015