The Lion King: you’ve seen the movie, now enjoy the reality!

Majestic Male Lion In The Serengeti - Lion King

Lucky enough to have seen the exciting, 2019 remake of ‘The Lion King’ movie, released in July 2019? Then maybe it’s time for some real-life adventure. If so, Easy Travel can turn your movie dreams into reality. We can’t promise that your safari will be exactly the same as the Lion King story, but we can promise you adventure!

Turning your celluloid dream into real life

Truth, they say, can be stranger than fiction. Take a safari with Easy Travel in Tanzania, and you may well come to believe in that old saying. The 2019 remake of the Lion King movie is not in cartoon format, but even with the move away from animation, it can’t come close to reality. And reality is what you’ll witness while out on a safari in the Serengeti. Easy Travel can bring that to you, up close and personal. Our safari does not follow one single plotline, but each hour will deliver a highlight, some drama, a story with a happy – or tragic – ending.

Like a good plot, every day has a dramatic beginning

Your day may start with a spectacular sunrise, a natural beauty that in itself no movie can truly replicate. On safari, that sunrise is magical, different every day, casting its light on the wildlife wonders for which this National Park is justifiably famous. ‘Everything the light touches is our kingdom,’ they say in the movie script. As the sun pops up above the horizon, the Serengeti will quickly become your kingdom, too. Set out to discover the thousands of occupants of this magical land. With your camera or phone at the ready, you will truly be the king – or queen – of all you survey.

Serengeti, a place fit for a King…or Queen

The King of the Serengeti, of course, is the lion – ‘Simba’ in the movie. Your Easy Travel driver-guides are experts in knowing His Majesty’s habits and the favourite places to find these majestic felines. But in reality, the male lion (Scar) is often seen alone, a solitary figure, while it is the lioness who keeps company with her cubs and other lionesses (in the movie, Nala and Sarabi). It is a lioness who heads up the pride, so maybe these ‘Queens’ are really the ones calling the shots?

Closeup of a Male Lion in The Serengeti on Safari In Tanzania

To be, or not to be: life and death on the endless plains

Unlike in The Lion King movie, the real-life animals of the Serengeti don’t actually talk. Well, they certainly don’t talk to us mere human visitors. But they have sophisticated communication between themselves, very necessary when danger can lurk in every bush or behind every clump of grassland. Warning sounds are issued, when a predator stalks nearby. Dramatic scenes play out every day, as hunter and hunted seek to outmanoeuvre each other in an endless game of life and death. Did you know that the Lion King storyline was based on none other than the drama of Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’?

…and every movie has an ending, happy or sad

Our real-life story, as our safari proceeds, might contain a number of happy or sad endings: maybeyou will see a joyful scene of lion cubs (like the young Simba and Nala) playing together. Maybe, however, your day will be more poignant as you witness a kill. A lion may hunt down a gazelle; or a powerful crocodile might clamp its mighty jaws around a wildebeest as it attempts a river crossing in migration season. In truth, unlike the movie, there is no script here, no-one can tell you exactly what you might see each day. We can only assure you your time will be packed with highlights. And some ‘lowlights.’ Maybe you’ll laugh… or cry. And remember to consider that, even if you witness a kill, this is all part of the finely-balanced pattern of Mother Nature that keeps things as they are.

…and not all the characters are as bad as they seem!

In the Lion King 2019 movie,  the hyenas (Shenzi, Azizi and Kamari) are portrayed as ruthless and vicious, and should you see real ones hunting as a pack, you will certainly believe this. But consider the positives: primarily scavengers, they help clean up the plains. They pick clean the bones of corpses even if diseased, helping to prevent such diseases spreading. In the delicate eco-system, every creature has a part to play – however ugly and evil they might appear!  So next time you see the movie, remember there’s a positive side to Scar’s wicked-looking assistants!

And there are other characters, too. In the space of a few days, you will get close to warthogs, though thankfully not close enough to see…sorry smell (!) whether they suffer from the same flatulence as Pumbaa, who features in the Lion King 2019 movie. Other ‘stars’ who liven up the movie, such as the mandrill (in the movie, Rafiki), meerkats (such as Timon) and hornbills (like Zazu), are also likely sightings as you stride Serengeti, the stage of some of Tanzania’s great natural dramas.

And the curtain comes down…

A mesmerising Serengeti sunset will bring the curtain down daily on your real-life drama. After seeing, hearing, smelling the endless wildlife of our Serengeti, a mere movie – however good – may never seem the same again.

See our website for details of all our Easy Travel safaris, including  opportunities to witness The Great Migration, surely one of the greatest sights on planet Earth. And there’s more: perhaps you would like to design your own safari, with one of our Tailor-made tours?  

A Walking Safari in Lake Manyara

Herd Of Elephants spotted on a walking Safari in Lake Manyara, Tanzania

Closer to Mother Nature

“I can smell elephant” says our guide in hushed tones.

Elephant? As a complete novice at taking a walking safari, I can only smell my own fear. The three of us have been on foot in the forests of Lake Manyara for about twenty minutes, tiptoeing in single file, motioning to each other with hand signals, whispering when words are required. I am spellbound: although this “elephant smell” is the morning’s first sign of large mammals, we have already discovered incredible facts about creatures so small that you would be completely unaware of their existence from the confines of a Land Cruiser. That is the joy of a walking safari.

All Creatures Great…and Small

Even a tiny, seemingly insignificant hole in the ground can reveal extraordinary secrets. I had never even heard of the antlion, a member of the so-called ‘Small Five’, each of which shares part of its name with the ‘Big Five’. We are standing over a little crater in the sand, no more than five centimetres in diameter and dug by the ant-lion. Like its feline namesake, this cunning creature uses ambush as its chosen hunting method. To demonstrate, our guide stoops down, finds an unfortunate ant and pops it in the crater. Furiously, the insect tries to scramble up the wall of the mini-crater, but the sandy surface offers it no help. Within a few seconds, up pops the antlion from below and the ant becomes lunch. Fresh, fast food, though looking around us at the hundreds of craters, there is plenty of competition from the neighbours.

The Beautiful Birdlife of Lake Manyara on a Walking safari

From lonely hunter to insect factory: the termite mound

While the antlion lurks in solitary style beneath the surface, the giant termite mound in front of us reveals a different, communal way of living. This strange mud-like construction has taken months to build and provides living-space to the genet, mongoose, civet cat and snakes, as well as thousands of termites – queen, king, soldiers and workers. (One creature who is definitely not welcome here is the aardvark, the termite’s biggest predator.) The mound’s careful construction gives it a constant temperature and can last for up to fifty years.

A pile of poo

What can you learn from a pile of animal dung? We are now poised over a huge pile of dik-dik poo, and I am wondering how a such a small, fragile little creature can have excreted so much at once. But our guide explains that the dik-dik will actually have only three or four places in his whole territory where he and his family will defecate, rather than just doing it in any old random location. Fresh poo is dropped on top of old poo, so any would-be predator struggles to pick up any clues as to the dik-dik’s most recent location. A clever strategy: “Being small in the bush you have to be smart to survive” our guide advises.

The smell of the elephant

As we reach a dried-out river bed, this is the moment that our guide catches a whiff of pachyderm. I stick my nose in the air, but my senses are amateur, and I smell nothing.

Sure enough though, a few moments later, a rustle of foliage will alert us to the presence of a small herd of elephant, and a low bellow of warning sends us into a cautious, slow-paced retreat. An elephant will always give you warning – and it’s one you need to obey! We even get a glimpse of some flapping, giant ears as we back off. Magical.

A giant’s grave

And then, there’s a tinge of sadness as we stumble upon a skeleton of a giraffe. Picked clean  – no doubt in accordance with the natural hierarchy – it has clearly been dead for some while. Only bones remain, as following the lion’s share – no other beast would have brought down a mammal of this size – the vultures and hyenas will also have had their fill. Our guide bends down to show us the teeth and explains how the giraffe is a “browser” in the way it eats. From the skull, he shows us the cranial bump and then the horn free of tuft which shows that this was a male; from the size of the foot, he concludes that this was indeed a big creature, even by giraffe standards.

Journey’s end

When we reach the end of our fascinating walk, down by Lake Manyara, a solitary yellow-billed stork stands guard over the shallow waters. A small squadron of the lake’s famous flamingos take off in formation, their slender frames making them look like mere pencil drawings as they stretch out in flight to their full, elegant length.

We wait on our vehicle to pick us up. All our safaris have been amazing, but our walking safari in Lake Manyara National Park will live long in the memory as a being a true highlight.   

Bottom Line?

At around 650 square kilometres, Lake Manyara is the third smallest national park in Tanzania. And only some of it is actually land, as the shallow waters of the lake occupy a large proportion of its space. Although small, the diverse environments ensure a good variety of wildlife and a great collection of bird species. The grassy floodplains are a favourite location, either permanent or seasonal, for large mammals such as buffalo, giraffe, hippo or maybe a troop of playful olive baboons. Don’t forget the hippo pool and keep an eye open for lion, cheetah and leopard too. The crowned eagle and African hawk-eagle are often seen looking for prey, and the lake is of course home to those wonderful flamingos.  

Getting You There?

At only around two hours’ drive west from Arusha, this small but magnificent park is incorporated into many of Easy Travel’s itineraries, or can be otherwise 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. A walking safari is highly recommended!

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. Yes, it is still possible to obtain a visa on arrival at entry points. The Tanzanian Government has not yet fully phased out visas on arrival, but the government will phase out visas on arrival at some point which is not yet known.
We recommend visitors to apply visas online in advance to avoid unnecessary ques at the entry points and to allow visitors to check out faster.

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 certainly 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


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!