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Visas Money and Travel in Tanzania

The Tanzanian currency is the Shilling it cannot be imported into the country and so it is necessary to bring foreign currency with you on safari. US$ Dollars are the best currency to take to Tanzania with the Euro or GB Pounds coming in second and third. US$ Dollars are bar far the safest option with larger notes US$50 and US$100 offering a better rate of exchange. The lower denominations are not popular with the US$1 being difficult to get rid of except as a tip. If you intend to pay for a safari with cash then pay in large dominations to avoid a possible penalty.Travellers checks are accepted by banks and bureaus, they attract a lower rate of exchange and can be a bit of a hassle; it is better to keep them to a minimum or to avoid them totally.

Credit cards [Master and Visa] are more widely accepted now than they were in five years ago. However, if you wish to draw cash against a credit card then try to do this from the banks as many hotels with change heavy commission for the privilege. More importantly let your bank know where and when you travel otherwise you may hit problems once you start using your card in Tanzania.Visas are available in advance from Tanzanian Embassies or they can be obtained on arrival at border posts or airports. There is a departure tax for Tanzania if you leave by air but this should be included in the price of your ticket.

It can be expensive to fly into Kilimanjaro airport especially in high season. It is usually a cheaper option to fly into Nairobi airport and transfer countries via the bus-shuttles that travel to Arusha via the Namanga border post. At Nairobi airport purchase a transit visa this costs US$20 and will last between five and seven days. All visas obtained on arrival in Kenya and Tanzania must be paid in US Dollars and in cash. Have the correct amount ready. The Tanzania holiday visa costs vary according to nationality.

The shuttles are 25 seat coaster buses that travel from Central Nairobi to Arusha town and then off to Moshi Town which is nestled against Kilimanjaro.The shuttle bus companies are Riverside, Davanu, Bobbies and Impala. The price should be about US$ 25 per person and an extra US$10 to Moshi. They will all pick up and drop off passengers at city centre hotels in Nairobi or Arusha ? by special arrangement. They all set off from Parkside hotel in Nairobi and end at Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha.The shuttle from Nairobi can be taken either from the city centre or from the airport.

If you have a late arrival then an overnight in Nairobi will be necessary. It is best to overnight at the Parkside Hotel in Nairobi as it is clean and inexpensive ? no more that US$20 per person. All the shuttles for Tanzania leave from outside this hotel.

The journey should take about five hours including Immigration and Customs at the border post town of Namanga. The driver will show you where to go to get the necessary stamps for your passport. The shuttle will give out immigration cards for you to fill in whilst you travel.

To do this in advance will save time at the border post ? remember to travel with a pen to save on unnecessary stress.If you travel in the midst of high season ? mid July to October I would advise you to make all your bookings for accommodation and safaris in advance. All other months and especially low season [March through to the end of June] it is possible to arrive in Tanzania and Zanzibar and shop around for cheap accommodation and bargain safaris.Arusha Tourist Board Office is on Boma Road and they can advise where to start your search for a safari.

The office has a small notice board on the left hand-side wall with special offers displayed by reputable tour operators. The tourist Board offers a safer bet to start a search for a bargain safari. Be warned that as you enter and leave the Tourist Board the Safari Street hawkers will hassle you and try to sell a safari. Remember all that glitters is not gold so beware making deals on the street, however good the sales pitch. Be good natured but firm and do not be tempted by offers that sound to good to be true, because that what they are?.Travelling from Arusha to Zanzibar the cheap way is by bus to Dar es Salaam and then high speed ferry from Dar to Stone Town.

Scandinavia, Royal or Dar Express have luxury coaches [about US$18 to US$25 per person] these three companies offer the best and safest road transport to Dar es Salaam. To travel from Arusha to Stone Town in one day means an early departure 6.30 to 7h30 getting to Dar by 14h30.There are many cheaper alternatives to travel to Dar es Salaam - US$6 to US$10. The two best companies being Amazon or Fresh Coaches as they travel at a slower speed and have fewer seats squashed inside. The fast coaches are not safe and should be avoided at all costs.

The last ferry to Zanzibar departs about 16h30. There is an overnight ferry but this is from Zanzibar into Dar only - it is slow but cheap.

.For more information on travel to Tanzania http://wwwbetheladventure.

co.uk and for a non-tourist information and Tanzania tourism links see http://www.tanzaia-info.

co.uk support responsible tourism and change lives.

By: Ian Williamson

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