Preparing for Tanzania: Visas, Immunisations, and more!

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The Road to Tanzania

It’s just on three weeks until I touch down in Nairobi, hop on a bus, and make my way down into Tanzania to begin a two week exploration of the country. With my first week dedicated to a four day safari through such famed places as the Serengeti National Park, Lake Manyara, and the Ngorongoro Crater; and my second week dedicated to some sun, sand, and serenity on beautiful Zanzibar – I’m pretty bloody excited!

Myself and a number of other bloggers have been afforded this opportunity by Shadows of Africa. and it promises to be a fun two weeks that I hope you’ll enjoying reading about as much as I’m sure I’ll enjoy writing about it.

Arranging to get to Tanzania hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, however; so I thought I’d share with you a little of what I’ve learned in preparing for the trip.

Flying to Tanzania from Australia

Unlike neighbouring Kenya, Tanzania proved a remarkably difficult place to find flights to from Sydney. Even using search engines like Expedia and Kayak, I was being quoted airfares up near the $3000 mark.

While I’ve since learned that this isn’t the case, it certainly proved easier to source an affordable return flight to Nairobi than it did to find a flight to Dar Es Salaam or Arusha.

It is possible to book that leg of your flight and then tack on a flight with a local airline like Precision Air, but the Shadows of Africa crew have been kind enough to arrange a shuttle transport (via Impala Shuttles) to take us between Nairobi Airport and Arusha.

My only regret going this route is that my only real exposure to Kenya will be gazing longingly out the window as we drive south towards Tanzania, but with friends from the region – I’m hoping to get back there someday to do it justice.

Getting a Tanzanian Visa

I ran into a lot of conflicting information when trying to figure out the visa situation for Tanzania. Some friends advised me that it would be possible to simply get my Tanzanian visa upon arrival, while others said that it wouldn’t be possible.

Turns out, they were both right.

If you are an Australian traveling to Tanzania via a country that does not have a Tanzanian Consulate, you’re able to collect your visa upon arrival.

However if, like me, you’re coming from a country with its own Tanzanian Consulate – you are required to arrange yours in advance. Luckily, the Tanzanian Consulate in Australia were able to clear this up for me.

My Tanzanian visa (complete with some dodgy MS Paint work) in all its glory!
My Tanzanian visa (complete with some dodgy MS Paint work) in all its glory!

The actual process is pretty simple. You need to post:

  • Completed Tanzanian visa form
  • Two passport photos
  • Your passport (not a copy)
  • A copy of your itinerary (specifically, they need your departure date)
  • A money order made out to The Consulate of Tanzania to the value of $95 AUD.
  • A return addressed and paid express post envelope.

As with most visas, you do need your passport to have at least six months validity and one blank page for a rather ugly stamp they’ll put in it.

All told, the process took about ten days (5 days for processing and the rest for postage). This would be a bit quicker if you were able to post from a major regional centre or city, rather than from my country bumpkin hometown.

Getting a Kenyan Visa

Although I won’t actually be spending much time in Kenya, I also needed to arrange a visa for my brief stint in Kenya.

Thankfully (and I cleared this up with the Kenyan Consulate in Australia), these are easily arranged upon arrival. You need to pay cash ($50 US), but don’t need to take along photographs.

The Kenyan visa requires two facing pages – one for the stamp and one for the visa document.

Immunisations for Tanzania

Depending on where you check, you’re going to get a somewhat daunting list of recommended vaccinations when traveling to Tanzania.

Ouch! Thankfully, none of my needles are to the stomach. Photo by Steven Depolo.
Ouch! Thankfully, none of my needles are to the stomach. Photo by Steven Depolo.

You’re also going to find conflicting information in some regards. I’ve had different sites tell me that I need the Yellow Fever vaccination or that vaccination against Yellow Fever is completely unnecessary if you’re only taking a short trip.

Smart Traveller and the World Health Organisation seemed to agree on most, so in the end I settled for:

  • Tetanus (Still up to date from 2007)
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (Still up to date)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Typhoid
  • Yellow Fever

I could also have gotten a Hepatitis B vaccination, but since I don’t plan on indulging in any needle sharing or unprotected sex, I decided that’s one less needle I’d have to get.

I also picked up medication for Malaria treatment.

All told, the three vaccinations and six weeks worth of Malaria medication came to a not unreasonable sum of $306 AUD.

Travel Insurance

I’ve not always been the most responsible traveler when it comes to purchasing travel insurance, but in recent years I’ve started to realize that the investment is worth it in the rare occasions when you need the help.

While my poor brother was given a paltry $90 when his $500 iPhone was stolen in the Philippines, I’m more concerned about injury or illness while abroad.

I’ve used World Nomads for my previous trips to the United States and the Philippines, and will be using them again this time around.

And not just because they treated me really well during the Great Nomads Chase of 2011.

What to Pack for Tanzania?

I don’t know!

In truth, I’m still working on my packing list for the Tanzanian trip. Keep your eyes peeled in the coming weeks for my guide on what to pack for Tanzania.

Your Say

Have you ever been on safari or just visited an east African country? What preparations do you do before leaving?

Got any tips as to what I should pack for the big trip? I’d love your advise!

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