The Baobab: The Iconic Tree of Tarangire National Park

The Iconic Baobab Tree Of Tanzania

If only they could talk…

A true icon of Africa and Tanzania, the baobab tree is certainly in no hurry. And why should it be – it has all the time in the world! These bulbous woody giants can live to between two and three thousand years, though some are thought to be as old as four thousand. Scientists have measured their growth rate at only eight millimetres every ten years. As a Tanzanian would say: ‘Pole, Pole’ (‘Slowly, slowly’). No hurry at all! As you stand and marvel at one of these landmark trees, you can be sure that they have spent quite some time on the planet and seen a lot of history. If only they could talk, they would surely be interesting storytellers.

A true ‘Tree of Life’ – in many ways

Tanzanians respect the baobab as a ‘tree of life.’ Its roots are extremely strong, retaining a phenomenal amount of moisture. In the dry season, the trees are a draw for the wildlife. Even the mighty elephant will visit the tree and chew off the baobab bark, enjoying the moisture and the minerals within.

Despite those strong roots and sturdy appearance, most of the baobab is in fact hollow. Again, this is useful, as the ‘tree of life’ provides habitat for everything from bats to cats, from mongoose to bees and even snakes. In some ways, the giant tree is almost like an apartment block, full of diverse inhabitants. From the world of birds, owls, parrots and woodpeckers are amongst those who nest in the baobab’s upper reaches.

Shop, chemist… and weather forecaster, too!

But as well as being an apartment block, the baobab is also something of a convenience store – and even a pharmacy!. Amazingly, cream of tartar comes from the flowers, while its fruit is a favourite with monkeys. Leaves are also crushed to be used as medicines and it even helps with meteorology The baobab gets its leaves when the rains are close, useful information for Tanzanian farmers. After the leaves, flowers and fruit follow.

Baobab are choosy as to where they live, growing only between sea level and 1100 metres, which is why – for example – you will not find them in Serengeti. Tarangire National Park is an excellent showcase for some superb samples of the tree, so make sure you take time to admire them there or elsewhere in Tanzania and ask your driver-guide to explain their unique characteristics to you.

Black And White Photograph Of A Baobab Tree

Bottom Line?

At around 2,850 square kilometres, Tarangire is the sixth largest national park in Tanzania. The dry season sees thousands of animals in the park, as it offers a refuge when water is short elsewhere; it is also very rich in birdlife, with over 500 species recorded here. As well as being notable for its large herds of elephant (and of course, the baobab tree), Tarangire is known for the diversity of its landscapes, with grasslands, swamplands, riverine woodlands and rocky, hilltop vegetation attracting a great variety of animals. All these different environments combine to guarantee the visitor a memorable visit.

Getting You There?

Of course, the majestic baobab tree can be seen elsewhere in beautiful Tanzania, but is perhaps best seen in Tarangire National Park. Lying three hours’ drive west of Arusha, this magnificent, diverse park is incorporated into many of Easy Travel’s itineraries, or can easily be included in a custom-made safari. Just contact us and our exceptional customer service staff will help you organise a safari to meet your individual wishes and provide you with memories to last a lifetime.

Tanzania’s Last Hunter-Gatherers: The Hadzabe Tribe of Lake Eyasi

Our early morning start is almost forgotten as I marvel at how a bumpy, thirty-minute drive from our comfortable hotel has brought me in contact with this enchanting, alien world.

We stand on top of a rocky outcrop, maybe fifty metres high, and look out across the flatlands that stretch as far as we can see, towards the shores of Lake Eyasi. To our right, in the middle-distance, a small group of guinea-fowl scamper away into the bushes. My companions look longingly, fingering their wooden bows and arrows. But the quaint birds, which would make a tasty meal, are safely out of range.

The five boys in front of me turn around and I appraise them once again. Their skin is smooth and dark, their upper bodies partially covered by the skins of baboons – previous kills. Slim and athletic, no excess weight on them, they look to my ignorant eye to be between ten and twenty years old. But this is only a guess: here, out in the wilderness, two worlds have collided and my assumptions are based on my first-world, urban experience.

Tanzania – it’s not just the wildlife that’s fascinating

An encounter such as this, with some of the Hadzabe tribesmen, is a highlight of my Tanzanian safari. Yes, I came expecting animals, spectacular wildlife and Tanzania has not disappointed me at all. But this is a bonus, a thought-provoking meeting with people who live simply and off the land. Later, back in the Land Cruiser, I reflect on my own life with its excess of worldly goods that out here in the bush seem wholly unnecessary.

But for now, the first world and the third are going hunting – together!

A Member Of The Hadzabe Tribe In Lake Eyasi

The hunt begins

With bows held at shoulder-height, four of the Hadzabe youths fan out into a loose formation and silently enter the semi-scrub that surrounds their camp, which is made up of a handful of simple grass huts.  The fifth and youngest boy hangs back, either to ‘look after’ me or perhaps out of curiosity. He is about ten years old and he turns occasionally to watch me, but his face shows no emotion. The older boys move quickly, and I struggle to keep up. But when I am motioned to slow down, I see that a small bird has settled on a treetop and one of the older boys is about to loose his arrow with a view to a kill. A soft whoosh accompanies the release, but a flutter of feathers heralds the bird’s escape. Arrows are all homemade, and so a miss means that the arrow has to be retrieved, or a replacement made. This is the duty of the youngest and our hunt is halted while he shins the tree to recover it. Mission successful, we proceed once again through the bush.

Two more failed attempts follow, before a shout announces that an arrow has at last hit home. Arriving at the scene, I can see that the winged victim is small, the size of a mere sparrow. Hitting something of that size is testament to the Hadzabe’s accuracy…but it will not provide lunch, that much is certain!    

Time for lunch: fast food in fifteen minutes

Again, the youngest boy is called into action. Perhaps he is earning his rite of passage, for it is his job to de-feather the tiny bird and collect the wood with which the older ones will start a fire, using a stone and a spear to create the necessary spark. Once cooked, the ‘meal’ is shared, though I decline. The kill, de-feathering, cooking and eating have been accomplished in less than 15 minutes: unlike back home, there is no long cold-chain here. ‘You eat what you kill’ has never seemed a more appropriate mantra, though I am sure the boys would have preferred to have one of those elusive guinea-fowl, or the baboon or kudu which normally form the basis of their diet.

Culture and beliefs

Back at the camp, it’s time to learn more of these people, of whom less than 1500 now remain. The Hadzabe language is punctuated with a strange clicking noise which seems to come from the back of their throats. We learn that their shelters are basic, made from grass and wood, though in rainy times they seek shelter in caves. The sun and moons are their gods, and when the sun goes down, the god is ‘sleeping’; its ‘baby’ the moon takes over until, at dawn, the sun wakes up once more.

The Famous Huts Of The Hadzabe Tribe

A simple, collective lifestyle

The Hadzabe are Tanzania’s last permitted hunters. As well as meat, animals yield up their skins to be used as clothes and adornments, while bird feathers are utilised in the arrows. The deadly desert rose provides the serum to poison-tip the arrows which bring down the larger animals. Nothing is wasted and everything is shared. While the men hunt, the women gather: their phenomenal knowledge of their environment is put to use as they collect arrowroot and wild fruits.

Before we leave, the tribeswomen perform a joyous song and dance as I ponder how long these captivating people can survive with a lifestyle that is so at odds with the rest of the world.

It’s a question I cannot answer. I can only hope.

Bottom Line?

Lake Eyasi is located in the Great Rift Valley, to the south of the Serengeti National Park and to the southwest of the Ngorongoro Crater. Eyasi is a salt lake and its water levels are subject to dramatic changes with the seasons: in  years with little rainfall, the dry season can result in the lake almost disappearing. It can then become capable of being crossed on foot, a useful shortcut for the Hadzabe, Datooga and other tribesmen who live in the vicinity.

Getting You There?

If you would like to include an encounter with the Hadzabe hunters as part of your Tanzanian safari, contact Easy Travel today to plan a life-changing adventure. Our exceptional customer service staff simply love building custom trips that meet your specific wishes and leave you with memories for ever.

Drones In Tanzania – For Now, A Big ‘No-No’

Drones In Tanzania - Are They Allowed?

Most people love to take photos on their holidays and a safari in Tanzania provides excellent photo-opportunities beyond your wildest imagination. Every safari is different, so we cannot tell you what you might capture with your camera or mobile phone, but leaving Tanzania without pictures would be unforgivable, that’s for sure! After all, how often in your life will you see a pride of lions basking in the sun, a herd of elephants on the march, or a pod of giant hippos wallowing in their murky pool?

Drones In Tanzania - The rules and regulations

But we must give a word of warning, as the use of drones for any purpose is strictly prohibited in all of Tanzania’s National Parks and visitors are advised not to bring drones of any other unmanned aerial vehicle into Tanzania. This prohibition is imposed by our Government for security purposes, and – in a dangerous world – we must all comply with this rule, without exception.

But here’s the good news! Our Easy Travel driver-guides are the best in the business, 100% dedicated to getting you the very best photo opportunities out in the wild. You only need to read a few reviews on Tripadvisor to see what our visitors say about the guides’ incredible ability to spot the wonderful wildlife of Tanzania and get in the best positions for you to take breath-taking, jaw-dropping pictures that will ‘wow’ your friends when you get home…and give you a permanent, photographic bank of memories to stay with you forever.

The combination of your camera or phone and our Easy Travel driver-guides will ensure that, even without drones, you can capture our natural wonders in fantastic pictures. And don’t forget, if you need a ‘view from above’ of our National Parks and their fascinating inhabitants, we offer you the option to book a hot air balloon safari. If you decide to take one of those…don’t forget your camera!


Tanzania Visa Application FAQs

Your safari has been planned, the excitement is building; Tanzania’s wildlife, people and incredible scenery are awaiting your arrival. Now, it’s time to make sure that your paperwork is in order. Yes, we know it’s boring, but it is essential to get everything right so that your arrival in beautiful Tanzania is as smooth as possible. It’s so important – please read on!

Easy Travel and Tours are providing the information below to assist visitors in applying for their visas. We are always here to help! Nevertheless, we must stress that each visitor must apply for their visa well in advance of their proposed visit, comply with the correct procedures in their application and be in possession of a valid, appropriate visa when they arrive. The official website for applications is www.immigration.go.tz, which also provides contact numbers if applicants require further information or have any queries.

It is very important to take a note that the only official website to apply for Tanzania online visa is www.immigration.go.tz. The Tanzanian immigration does not recognize nor accept any other website or agent that claim to be Tanzania Visa application centre.

Q. Do I need a visa?

A. The short answer is yes, unless you hold a passport from one of the countries listed below. If your country is in this list, then the good news is that you are exempt from the requirement for a visa. If your country is not on this list, you must get a visa. As the list is updated frequently, please check immediately before applying.

Exempt countries:

Antigua & Barbuda
Anguilla
Ashmore & Certie Island
Bahamas
Barbados
Bermuda
Belize
Brunei
British Virgin Island
British Indian Ocean Territory
Botswana
Cyprus
Cayman Island
Channel Island
Cocoas Island
Cook Island
Christmas Island
Dominica
Falkland Island
Gambia
Ghana
Gibraltar
Grenada
Guernsey
Guyana
Heard Island
Hong Kong
Isle of Man
Jamaica
Jersey
Kenya
Kiribati
Lesotho
Malawi
Montserrat
Malaysia
Madagascar
Malta
Mauritius
Macao
Mozambique
Nauru
Naue Island
Norfolk Island
Namibia
Papua new Guinea
Rwanda
Romania
Ross Dependency
Samoa
Seychelles
Singapore
Solomon Island
South Sudan
Swaziland
St. Kitts&Navis
St. Lucia
St. Vicent
St. Helana
South African Republic
Trinidad & Tobago
Turks & Caicos
Tokelan
Tonga
Tuvalu
Vanuatu
Uganda
Zambia
Zimbabwe

Q. Once I get my visa, am I guaranteed entry to Tanzania?

A. As with most countries in the world, the possession of a valid Visa for the United Republic of Tanzania does not provide automatic right of entry into the country. The Immigration Officer at the port of entry may refuse entry to any person, if he is satisfied that such a person is unable to fulfil the immigration requirements or that such person’s presence in the United Republic of Tanzania would be contrary to national interests or security.

Q. Is it still possible to obtain a visa on arrival?

A. Although it is still possible to obtain a visa on arrival, we strongly recommend that visitors should apply for and obtain their visas using the on-line process via the official website www.immigration.go.tz. Please note that, once you have applied on-line, it can take up to three weeks for the visa to be issued, so please apply in good time.

Recent changes have meant that obtaining a visa on arrival in Tanzania can now result in lengthy delays as visitors have to queue three separate times to:

    • Obtain a Government Control Number, then
    • Pay for the Government Control Number, then
    • Be checked by Tanzanian Immigration and have the visa issued

We urge everyone entering Tanzania through the five entry points listed below to apply on-line, to avoid having to join these three queues, which can take up to two hours.

Note, however, that currently only five entry points are fully equipped to accept the on-line visa. If you are entering Tanzania via any other entry point, you should still obtain your visa on arrival. At those other entry points (for example, Tarime Isebania), the on-line visa will still be accepted, but it will take longer to validate and will result in delays.

Entry points where the on-line visa should be presented:

    • Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) 
    • Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO)
    • Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ)
    • Namanga (road border between Arusha & Nairobi)
    • Tunduma (road border between Tanzania & Zambia)

Entry points where it is preferable to obtain your visa on arrival:

    • Isebania Border

Q. Which visa should I apply for?

A. Nearly all those booking safaris or mountain climbs with us will need to apply for an ‘Ordinary’ single-entry visa. However, if you are intending to make multiple entries into the country, or are travelling for any purpose other than tourism, or are intending to stay in Tanzania for more than 90 days you should read the guidelines on the website carefully to ensure that you apply for the correct type of visa. All US citizens, please see ‘How much does a visa cost?’ below

Q. How do I pay for my visa?

A. During the online application process, you may pay for your visa by use of a credit card (Visa or Mastercard.) We at Easy Travel do not advise paying for your Visa by the ‘SWIFT transfer’ option offered on the Government website, as it can be difficult to trace payment and this may delay the granting of the visa and prevent your entry to Tanzania.

Q. How much does a visa cost?

A. Currently, a single-entry ordinary (tourist) visa costs $50 USD and a multiple-entry visa costs $100 USD. Note that US Citizens must apply for the multiple-entry visa, and pay $100 USD, even if they are only making a single trip. Prices for any other types of visa are detailed on the website.

Q. How do I know if my visa has been approved?

A. You will be notified by e-mail. Before receiving approval, you will be able to check the status of your application online.

Q. How long does my visa last for?

A. An ordinary single-entry visa will last for 90 days.

Q. Apart from being required to make a payment, what other documents do I need?

A. You will need to be able to upload a passport-size photo of yourself, the biographic data page of your passport, and a copy of your return flight ticket. Passport size photograph usually has dimensions of 4.5mm X 3.5mm.Your passport-size photo and biographic data page of the passport needs to be saved in Jpg/png formats separately with maximum size of 300kb each, see below picture for better understanding.

Please note that your passport must have validity for at least six months after the date of your departure from Tanzania, and also have at least one full unused/unstamped visa page.

Q. My visa application has been rejected. How do I get my fee refunded?

A. Unfortunately, fees paid for a visa application cannot be refunded.

Q. When should I apply for my visa?

A. Although the government website indicated that a visa application takes 10 days to process, we advise that you should apply for your visa as soon as you are able and recommended not less than 30 days before your departure for Tanzania.

Q. I am from a country which is listed below in the category of ‘Referred Visa.’ When should I apply for my visa?

A. We advise any visitors in this category to apply for their visas at least 90 days before their proposed arrival in Tanzania and to obtain visa approval before booking any flights or incurring other costs (such as non-refundable hotel bookings). Visitors from these countries will need to have a referral letter from Easy Travel: we can write this once we have received the deposit for their booking. Countries in this category are listed below, but as the list is updated frequently, please check immediately before applying.

Q. Referred Visa Countries:

Afghanistan
Azerbaijan
Bangladesh
Chad
Djibouti
Ethiopia
Eritrea
Equatorial Guinea
Iran
Iraq
Kazakhstan Republic
Kyigten Republic
Lebanon
Mali
Mauritania
Niger
Nigeria
Pakistan
Palestine
Senegal
Somalia
Sri Lanka
Somali land
Sierra Leone
Syria
Tajikistan
Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan
Yemen and
Stateless persons or persons with refugee status.

Q. I have found several websites offering visas to Tanzania. Can I apply through any of these sites?

A. No, we strongly advise you to use only the official government website, www.immigration.go.tz. Other rogue sites may cost more and will not be able to fast-track applications; they may also be ‘scam’ sites, taking your money without actually providing a visa.

Q. I have received confirmation of the grant of my visa. Do I still need a yellow fever certificate?

A. Yes – if you are arriving from, or transiting through, certain countries. The grant of a visa is entirely separate from any requirements with respect to yellow fever. Please see www.moh.go.tz and ensure that you comply with the requirements. Entry to Tanzania may be denied if you do not comply with these, even if you possess a valid visa.

Q. Which entry points can I use to enter Tanzania?

A. Applicants who have a visa can enter Tanzania through any of the following five entry points:
• Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA)
• Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA)
• Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (AAKIA)
• Namanga border
• Tunduma border
• Isebania Border


Tanzania Bans Single-use Plastic Bags

Important: your action is required!

Here’s your chance to help!”

We all care about the environment, about nature, about the wonderful wildlife that Tanzania has to offer. We all share the responsibility of preserving what we have…otherwise, it may disappear forever.

In an important development, Tanzania has joined nearly 60 other countries in banning single-use plastic bags, and visitors to our beautiful country will have to take a share of the responsibility to keep it beautiful.

You can no longer bring any single-use plastic bags into Tanzania, nor use them when you are here!

Your responsibility as a visitor will start from the moment you arrive at the airport, or other entry point (for example, if arriving by land from a neighbouring country). You are allowed to bring in the see-through, zip-lock bags which you use to carry your liquids and toiletries through airport security, but you are expected to keep hold of these and not to dispose of them while in Tanzania. No other plastic bags should be brought into the country in either your hand luggage or your checked-in luggage. Failing to comply could result in delays when you arrive.

End Of Plastic Bags In Tanzania

A small exception to the ban has been made for certain milk and sugar bags authorised for use by Tanzanian retailers and additionally, any plastic or plastic packaging for medical services, industrial products, the construction industry, the agricultural sector, foodstuff, sanitary and waste management are not prohibited.

Replacements will be in the form of environmentally-friendly, biodegradable bags and these will shortly be available in Tanzania. Visitors arriving with any other plastic bags will have to surrender them on arrival and will be provided with alternatives.

Bag Usage In Tanzania - Zanzibar

The new regulations take effect from 1st June 2019, and just being a tourist or a visitor in any other capacity will not be acceptable as an excuse for carrying or using plastic bags.

Please observe these new rules and ensure that all members of your group are aware of them, too. Together, we can work to tackle the huge problem across the world, namely the dreadful pollution caused by non-biodegradable waste – especially plastic bags.

Currently, less than 10% of the world’s production is recycled. One thing’s for sure: the use of plastic is both an environmental catastrophe and a horrible eyesore – especially when set against the natural beauty of the Tanzanian landscape.

Help Tanzania to remain beautiful – so do not bring any single-use plastic bags into the country!