Tanzania is a relatively safe country and visits are generally trouble-free. Most experts would consider Tanzania to be one of the safest destinations in Africa. But crime can happen anywhere in the world and there are always things that a visitor can do to help keep themselves safe during their trip. First of all, do not carry around large amounts of cash or valuables when you are out and about. There is no point in bringing an expensive diamond necklace or watch to Tanzania, but if you must, leave it in your hotel safe and get a receipt for it. Take a good look around before using an ATM: even better, make sure you have a companion with you when doing so. Do not wander around in unfamiliar parts of the cities, and don’t walk around after dark. Avoid very crowded areas where pickpockets might operate.
If in doubt, take local advice from your guide or hotel staff as to where it is safe to walk. Trustworthy local knowledge is always the best.
Is it safe to travel to Tanzania?
Easy Travel is a local company with decades of experience and as Tanzanians we know our country very well. You should be assured that you will be picked up by one of our trusted driver guides when you arrive at the airport and looked after until you leave at the end of your trip. Easy Travel will make sure that you have an adventure – that’s what you are here for – but it will be a safe adventure. Whether you are here for a safari, a Kilimanjaro climb or a beach holiday in Zanzibar, our staff are here to take care of you. All of our trips are tried and tested, and our visitors always feel safe. If you have any concerns, please do ask our team members when you are making your booking. Always follow the guidance of your Easy Travel guides to keep yourself safe.
What is it like to travel to and around Tanzania during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Like most responsible governments worldwide, Tanzania has developed a comprehensive set of Standard Operating Procedures (‘SOPs’) in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. But as well as this, Easy Travel has produced its own SOPs, which are based on and fully comply with that Government guidance. Our Easy Travel staff are all fully trained in the preventative measures required to minimize risks. Both the Tanzanian Government and our own Easy Travel guidance is devised to prevent visitors from bringing the COVID-19 virus into Tanzania and also to reduce to a minimum the chances of visitors contracting the virus while in the country.
Safety on game drives
Our Easy Travel game drives are carefully designed to give you the best Tanzanian adventure possible. And the safest adventure possible: to ensure your safety, we transport you in our fantastic Land Cruisers, which we maintain rigorously in our own workshops. And with great, safe, reliable vehicles, we also have great, safe, reliable driver-guides to drive them. These experienced guys stick to the National Park rules, which are designed to keep both visitors and the wonderful wildlife safe. Below you will find some of the guidance that you should follow, or be aware of, to keep you safe and protect the environment:
Take your safari with a reliable, professional and socially responsible operator Budget safari operators cut corners, often at the expense of safety and the protection of the environment, so choose a well-respected operator with good reviews.
Stick to the National Park rules If you have chosen a reliable, trusted safari operator, then they will comply with the National Park rules, designed for the safety of visitors and the wildlife. And as a visitor, you should listen and follow the advice of your driver-guide and the park rangers and wardens. Note that driving in the parks is allowed between 6am and 6pm only, unless permission has been given for a night game drive, for example
Make sure your driver sticks to the speed limits inside the National Parks It can be tempting to want to go faster, when on the trail of a rare wildlife species. But the roads are rough and the 50km per hour speed limit in the parks is there for a good reason. That reason is – once again – the safety of you and the precious animals. Do not put pressure on your driver-guide to exceed the speed limit!
And make sure he sticks to the properly authorized roads Deviating from the designated tracks is not allowed and a responsible driver-guide knows this. Encouraging driver-guides to leave the roads is irresponsible as it frightens the wildlife.
Stating the obvious? Wild animals are potentially dangerous! Your driver-guides and the National Park staff will advise you of the rare occasions when you can leave the safari vehicle. On such occasions, you must obey their advice as to how close you can approach the animals.
Smoking while on game drives is not permitted In designated areas, where smoking is allowed, you must dispose of any cigarette ends very carefully as these can otherwise cause fires with potentially disastrous consequences for both people and the wildlife, as well as catastrophic damage to the environment.
Never leave the safety of your safari vehicle while on game drives It is strictly prohibited to leave the safari vehicle within 200 meters of any wild animal. Your driver-guide will guide you as to when you can leave the vehicle and he must be strictly obeyed. (If you are on a walking safari, then you will be accompanied by a Park Ranger whose instructions must be followed at all times for your own safety.)
Never encourage your driver-guide to get too close to the wildlife Strict rules apply as to how close vehicles can get to the wildlife (no closer than 25 meters). Breaking these rules can result in a driver-guide losing his job. Bring a good zoom lens, on your phone or camera, to get those close-up pictures, as getting too close to the animals can scare them away from a hard-earned meal. Sometimes, of course, animals such as big cats will come very close to your vehicle of their own free will – enjoy those precious moments!
A number of other simple, common-sense rules are in place to protect you, our wildlife and the vegetation on which it depends. Please respect these rules, to keep everyone safe and to preserve the precious wildlife and its habitat.
Comply with the local rules Always observe animals from the safe, legal distance. And remember that these rules apply also to birds and – if visiting the coast or Zanzibar – to marine animals as well.
Never swim in Tanzania’s lakes and rivers It may be very hot but resist any temptation to cool off in any nearby water. Crocodiles and hippopotamus are among the wildlife that could attack. The waters also conceal many waterborne diseases.
The Wildlife ‘Right of Way’ When it comes down to it between humans, vehicles, and wildlife…it’s always the wildlife which gets priority!
Don’t ever feed the wildlife! Wildlife is exactly that – wild. Relying on food from humans creates dependency. And the food you eat is not the food that the wildlife eats, so giving them some of your lunch ‘out of kindness’ can cause damage to their digestive system.
Leave everything as you found it Which means, never pick flowers or plants, never take souvenirs such as animal bones or eggs, or even rocks or fossils. The eco-structure is fragile, but irresponsible human intervention makes it worse. That bone might be useful to some animal, that egg will hatch or provide nutrition for a scavenger. Let Mother Nature take her course, by leaving everything untouched! (And remember that there are strict laws about taking such souvenirs out of Tanzania, with big fines for offenders.) Do not be tempted; your photographs will be the best souvenirs you can have, and they harm no-one!
Never try to scare, disturb or antagonize the wildlife Keep your presence as low-key as you can, by making as little noise as possible. So, be aware that playing music is not permitted and you should never try to attract the attention of the wildlife by whistling, clapping, or banging on the side of the vehicle.
Take any litter back with you in the vehicle Litter is dangerous. Not to you, so take it away with you. But it is dangerous to the wildlife, so make sure that every scrap goes back with you at the end of the day. At Easy Travel, our driver-guides tidy the safari vehicle every night, so there is never any excuse for littering. Never.
One piece of carelessly discarded litter could lead to the death of an animal.
Don’t bring a drone!
These are not allowed in the National Parks and will most likely be confiscated if you attempt to bring them into Tanzania. If you must have an aerial view, book a hot air balloon trip!
Some of our intrepid visitors choose a camping safari with us, adding to the sense of adventure by getting closer to the wildlife and enjoying the unforgettable experience of sleeping beneath star-studded African skies. Our expert Easy Travel guides will look after you (of course!) but a few extra bits of guidance are important for our camping-safari guests:
Look after your welfare and that of your fellow travellers Without hotel or lodge comforts, being aware of your own and others’ welfare is very important while you are camping. Keep well-hydrated and keep well-fed. If someone falls ill, be prepared to abandon your trip: welfare always takes priority.
Be aware of local conditions Without the protection of a roof and four walls, you need to stay alert to changing weather conditions which might affect your safety. You will be more exposed to heat (and sometimes the cold!) and potentially to thunderstorms, lightning, and flash floods. You should also be extra-alert to the wildlife which might be roaming around the camp.
Drink more water Being outside requires you to keep very well-hydrated. The extra exposure to the extremes of climate demands that you drink more water – but never be tempted to drink tap water, as you can rely on it being free from contamination.
Use plenty of sunscreen It’s very easy to get badly sunburnt, without even realizing that it’s happening. Make sure you use a high-factor sunscreen and don’t forget that you should also wear a hat that protects the neck as well, a decent pair of sunglasses and long-sleeve shirts when outside.
Use insect repellent (bug spray) Mosquitos And other biting/harmful insects are prevalent, so try not to get bitten in the first place. And use mosquito nets, where provided.
Use layers of clothing, to remain flexible As temperatures can change, wearing layers of clothing allows you to ‘take off’ and ‘put on’ whenever conditions alter. Wear clothes that allow flexibility.
Wear appropriate footwear A decent pair of boots will ensure good ankle support, protect you against stubbing your toes (!) and against twisting your ankle when moving around camp.
Make sure there are no trip-hazards around the campsite Keeping your campsite tidy, and clearing up as you go along, will minimize the chance of accidents.
Keep up-to-date with the weather forecast Your guide will be aware of changing weather conditions, so talk to him to ensure you are well-prepared for any difficult, incoming weather.
Keep food outside your tent Food attracts wildlife, so keep it all outside your tent to avoid any unwelcome midnight visitors.
Use only official campsites Any responsible operator will make sure that you only camp at the official campsites. Camping anywhere else is unsafe and illegal!
Stay alert Because you are outdoors, you need to be vigilant: dozing off outside for an afternoon nap is inadvisable.
Never light fires If a fire is to be lit at the campsite, leave it to your guide. He will be aware of wind conditions and other risks. All fires must be extinguished properly.
Keep your campsite clean and tidy Food left lying around your camp attracts wildlife; empty cans or bottles, or indeed any other inedible litter can pose a hazard to animals, so tidy it all up before retiring for the night. Dispose of it all properly!
Safety on a canoe safari
A canoe safari represents a great and very different adventure, a relaxed manner in which to see wildlife from a different perspective, on lake or river. If taking one of these unforgettable trips, do read the few extra pieces of relevant guidance, as set out below:
All aboard! Getting into your canoe Don’t try and get into the canoe yourself. It’s much better to have someone steady the canoe as you get in, to avoid falling in before you even start.
Stay low as you get in Keeping your centre of gravity as low as possible is good advice, so bend your knees and keep hold of the canoe’s sides as you get into your seat.
Keep balanced, stay in the centre It’s important to keep your weight in the centre of the canoe as this stops the vessel from losing its balance or rocking from side to side.
And stay low while in the canoe Once you are under way, do not try to stand up in the canoe, as this will unbalance the vessel.
Wear your life-jacket – all of the time It is essential that you keep the life-jacket issued to you on at all times, as the canoe could tip over unexpectedly.
Move gently, avoiding any sudden movements Sudden movements can unbalance the canoe, causing it to tip over. Move slowly and gently.
Use the seat to sit on, staying in the centre of the canoe Moving to the side, or too near to the front or rear, will cause the canoe to tip over.
Keep the canoe away from any low-hanging branches on the shore Catching one of these can unbalance you, causing you to fall in.
Avoid canoeing in bad weather Your guide will check the weather forecast before you set out, but if the weather deteriorates, then it’s time to head for shore.
Don’t let any big waves hit the side of your canoe Keeping your canoe at right-angles to any significant waves, will avoid them pushing your canoe over.
Stay calm, if the canoe tips over or if you end up in the water It’s important to remember that your canoe is designed to stay afloat, even when it takes on water. So there is no need to panic, just stay calm and get your canoe to the shore where you can empty it, climb back in and continue on your adventure.
Don’t forget to be prepared against the sun Just because you are on the water, you are not out of reach of the Tanzanian sun. Remember to wear a decent hat, bring sunscreen, wear long trousers (pants) and a shirt with long sleeves.
Staying safe on a walking safari
Many of our visitors take advantage of one of our walking safaris, as these are slow-paced, wonderful opportunities to experience wildlife without being in a vehicle. Your guide can point out all sorts of fascinating details which escape your notice when you are doing a game drive in a vehicle. You can view animal footprints and droppings and be amazed what can be learned from these – with the help of your expert Easy Travel guide, of course. Obviously, you are no longer inside a vehicle and so there are a few extra safety considerations to think about. Here’s how to stay safe while on a walking safari:
Keep to the trails The official trails are maintained by the National Park authorities, who spend both time and money ensuring that they are safe for use by visitors. It may not be obvious to visitors, but the terrain away from the paths can be unstable, rough and slippery; in short, it can be downright dangerous to stray from the trails.
Stay close to your armed ranger All of our Easy Travel walking safaris are accompanied by an armed ranger, an employee of the National Parks. Follow his instructions at all times, as he is experienced and can spot danger signs which will not be apparent to you, the visitor.
Drink plenty of water Outside of the vehicle, it is even more important to keep yourself well-hydrated. So drink plenty of water on your walking safari.
Protect yourself from the sun Wear a hat, wear long trousers (pants), a long-sleeved shirt and apply plenty of sunscreen.
Look after your feet: wear appropriate footwear Good-quality hiking boots will protect your ankles, while decent walking socks will stop you getting blisters. Make sure you bring both!
Bring your own first-aid kit Foot cream and blister plasters are useful items to include in your first-aid kit. Sanitizing hand-gel and wipes are also advisable.
Check the weather forecast and wear layered clothing As in most countries, the weather in Tanzania can change very suddenly. Wearing the right clothes is important, and by choosing lightweight layers you give yourself the flexibility to adapt to variations on temperature. Long trousers and long-sleeved shirts will help you cover up against the sun, while also keeping insects away and protecting you against scratches.
Don’t discard food! After you’ve taken a snack or enjoyed your packed lunch, take a good look around to ensure you are not leaving any scraps of food or wrappers for the wildlife. Living off scraps left behind by human visitors can create dependency and make animals aggressive in the future. This can sometimes lead to the need to destroy them – a tragic consequence of your carelessness.
Use insect repellent A good, DEET-based (or alternative) insect repellent helps to keep away mosquitoes, ticks and insects. Wearing long trousers (pants) and long-sleeved shirts also deters them, as does spraying your clothing with insect repellent.
Safety around waterfalls
Some of our Easy Travel excursions take you to spectacular waterfalls, fantastic places to cool yourself after a long walk or long day spent in the safari vehicle. While these are great places to enjoy, there are also a few safety guidelines which apply. Please note the following:
Keep behind the safety railings and barriers provided These have been put there for a very good reason!
Beware of slippery rocks Make sure you have a good grip on your footwear when you are around waterfalls, as paths and rocks can be treacherous!
Don’t jump in! It may be very tempting to jump or dive into the cool waterfalls at the base of a waterfall, but this is never advisable. There are often rocks just beneath the water level and you will not be aware of how deep the pool is. Lower yourself in gently and take a good look around.
Don’t swim alone For safety’s sake, swim with others in case you encounter difficulties.
Beware periods of drought Waterfalls change according to rainfall, and drought periods can leave their pools too dry for swimming.
Beware of heavy rain A waterfall pool may look safe to swim in, but after heavy rains there may be significant volumes of water on their way down from the mountains. A sudden rush of water after rain can make a waterfall very dangerous indeed.
Don’t drink the water Take bottled drinking water with you on your trip to the waterfall, as you will not know if the water from the waterfall is suitable for drinking (it may look crystal clear, but looks can deceive: it may be contaminated by animal droppings deposited at a higher altitude).
Waterfall pools can contain currents When swimming in waterfall pools, beware of currents and under currents, which can be strong – especially after periods of rain.
Mountain climbing safety
Climbing a mountain, such as Kilimanjaro for example, is a very special experience, but it carries its own dangers. Thankfully, a reputable company such as Easy Travel has all the staff, experience, procedures and equipment to reduce any risks and make it a safe and enjoyable adventure. And there are a number of things you can do to make it even safer and more comfortable:
Make your climb with a reputable mountain operator There are many operators offering mountain climbs, but some of the less expensive companies compromise on safety. Choose an experienced, reputable company, to give yourself the best chance of reaching the summit – safely. At Easy Travel, we have decades of successful experience, with only properly certified guides and experienced support staff.
Your guide is an expert, so follow his advice Now that you have hired an expert guide to take you to the summit, you need to follow his advice. Some of our mountain guides have climbed Kilimanjaro several hundred times (yes, really!) – they certainly know what they are doing!
If you are unsure – just ask All of our mountain team members will be monitoring you as you walk and their experience allows them to spot warning signs, for example the signs of altitude sickness. But if you are feeling unwell or have any doubts about any matter relating to your climb, just ask. You can be sure that our mountain team members will have the answer.
Don’t rush, take it easy All of our mountain climbs are carefully designed to get you to the top. It is never a race and pacing yourself will increase your chances of a successful ascent. Our mountain teams know very well the importance of climbing slowly, so listen to them.
Keep your body well-fueled Your appetite may diminish as you climb, but it is vital that you feed yourself well. Our meals up on the mountain are expertly designed and prepared, but you may wish to supplement them with some high-energy snacks. On a strenuous climb, you need more calories.
Drink more water A key factor in your wellbeing is keeping yourself well-hydrated. As well as the physical benefits of drinking more water, there are also benefits to maintaining your mental sharpness, too. And most important, drinking water regularly is key to reducing the chances of getting altitude sickness. Water-purifying tablets are a must, so bring these to ensure that what you drink is safe. Some climbers also bring energy drinks to boost electrolytes.
Do not take alcohol during your climb It is well known that consuming alcohol on a mountain climb simply makes the symptoms of altitude sickness much, much worse. Alcohol also dehydrates the body, the last thing you want at altitude. Similarly, smoking tobacco or taking sleeping tablets will hamper you.
Sleep lower than your daily highpoint Wherever possible, our mountain trips are designed to ensure that you sleep at a lower altitude than the highest point you reach during the day’s climb. (Sometimes, we will organize a short climb after the day’s walk, to reach a higher altitude before returning to camp to spend the night. This is a worthwhile ‘extra.’)
Medication for your climb Some of our climbers take Diamox, a medicine designed to combat altitude sickness. This is usually a prescription-only medicine, so you will need to consult your doctor before your trip. Diamox is taken a couple of days before the climb, but please note that taking it after symptoms develop will not alleviate the symptoms. The standard ‘treatment’ for altitude sickness is to get the ill person down to a lower altitude.
Wear the correct clothing Proper clothing is an essential part of any mountain climb, so give careful consideration to your clothing choices. Lightweight garments which give you the freedom to move, and layers which can be taken off or put on according to conditions should be your preferences. Wind- and waterproof outer clothing are essentials.
Wear the appropriate footwear Footwear is a very important subject. You need good-quality boots for a mountain climb, waterproof, lightweight boots that give ankle support and great grip.
Use walking poles Some walkers find that using a pair of walking poles makes their walking more efficient, while also improving stability and easing the pressure that ascending and descending can place on knees, ankles and the back.
Keep safe from the Tanzanian sun Although temperatures can vary significantly during the climb, the Tanzanian sun is a constant presence in many months of the year. Good-quality sunglasses are a ‘must’ as the sun reflects brightly at high altitudes. Snow-glare can be an issue at the summit. Protect your head and neck with a proper hat and use sunscreen to look after any exposed areas of skin. Don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen throughout the day.
Check the weather forecast Your Easy Travel mountain-guide will always keep one eye on the weather forecast. Safety is everything, so any threat of bad weather could lead to a rearrangement of plans. For your part, you need to make sure you have all the right clothing to cope with all sorts of weather conditions, from the heat on the lower slopes to the snowy, icy temperatures on the summit.
Be prepared for minor accidents Our Easy Travel philosophy puts safety as the number 1 priority, always. But accidents can happen anywhere, and while our teams are trained in medical and recovery procedures, it is always advisable to carry your own basic first aid kit for minor problems.
*Note that children under the age of 10 years are not allowed on our mountain climbing trips
Safety on chimpanzee trekking trips
We all know that chimpanzees are often said to be our ‘closest cousins’ but even closest cousins can be dangerous sometimes. Visitors are enchanted by the habits of these wonderful creatures, but it is important to remember that chimpanzees are indeed wild animals and must be treated accordingly. For their own safety and the safety of the chimps, a few safety rules must be followed by those on a chimpanzee trekking trip:
Follow your guide’s instructions Any chimpanzee trekking group will have the services of a specialist guide, an expert who is familiar with quirks and habits of the champs and who can read the signs of the animals. He knows how to keep you and the chimps safe, the best places to stand and how close you can get to them. Your guide will always be with you and his instructions must always be followed.
Stay at a safe distance The standard rule states that trekkers must always be at least seven metres away from the chimpanzees. Approaching any closer can be dangerous, as a frightened chimp can attack a trekker as a form of defense. On occasions, the chimps may come closer (they do not know the rules!) but on such occasions any trekker is advised to retreat to maintain the ‘seven metre’ rule.
Do not eat or drink in the presence of the chimpanzees Chimpanzees are always on the lookout for food, but human food is not necessarily appropriate for their diet and eating near to them is provocative.
Never use flash photography The chimps can be easily scared by the bright light.
Keep to the time limit A maximum of one hour may be spent with a chimpanzee group.
Do not make them feel trapped Like humans, chimpanzees like their own space and freedom to move around. Do not make them feel trapped or cornered.
If you are unwell, do not undertake a chimpanzee trek As chimpanzees are similar to humans in many ways, so they are also prone to catching human diseases. Transmittable diseases such as influenza (flu) or the common cold can easily be passed on to them, unwittingly. So if you are under the weather, you should not undertake a trek to see chimpanzees. You should also think twice if you have a weak immune system, as diseases can also pass the other way, ie from chimp to human.
Adults only You must be 15 years or older to join a chimpanzee trek.
Stay within your allocated group To undertake a chimpanzee trek, trekkers are formed into groups of eight and one chimpanzee family is allocated to the group. Once the trek begins, the members of the group will be led on the trek by an armed park ranger and must stay together for safety. The environment in which the treks take place is also home to many other animals, some of which are very dangerous.
Your armed park rangers An armed park ranger is obligatory for anyone undertaking a chimpanzee trek. In the very rare event of an animal threatening the trekking group, the armed ranger is trained to fire his gun into the air to scare the animal away. Trekkers can be comfortable while on their trek, secure in the knowledge that they have the protection of the trained armed ranger.
Stay calm, don’t look directly into the chimpanzees’ eyes All trekkers should observe a few basic rules when the chimpanzees are close by. First, trekkers should act calmly and peacefully when in the presence of the chimps. Loud voices and excited chatter are likely to scare the chimps away. Secondly, trekkers should not look directly into the chimps’ eyes as this can be perceived as threatening and even lead to the chimps charging at the trekkers. Baby chimpanzees can be less inhibited than adults, which means that they sometimes approach trekkers: if this happens, trekkers should avoid any temptation to pick up or touch the baby chimp, as this can be misinterpreted as a threat to harm it. Adults may become protective in such circumstances and charge the trekkers.
Wear the correct clothing Trekking trips to see chimpanzees can be a hot, sweaty and sometimes muddy business. Terrain can be rough, slippery and your trek may involve a bit of climb and descent. A good pair of (preferably) lightweight hiking boots is the best footwear. Long trousers and long-sleeved shirts are also advisable, as is a pair of gloves. Additional items required are a hat and sunglasses to guard against potential sunburn and a waterproof jacket as the forest environment can be wet, with rain showers. An additional layer of clothing should be brought to put on if the temperature dips.
Don’t smoke It almost seems unnecessary to say it but smoking while in the presence of the chimpanzees is strictly prohibited.
Flash photography Use of flash photography is not allowed, as this causes the chimpanzees distress and can scare them away.
The forest has no toilets! Trekkers who need to relieve themselves should leave the trail to do so, burying their waste at a depth of 30cm.
Talk quietly Keeping your voice down will let you hear the chimpanzees better – don’t spoil the opportunity of a lifetime!
Bring some insect repellent As your chimpanzee trek will be largely in a forest environment, insect repellent is advisable as this is an environment where insects – as well as the chimps – thrive.