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Money, Tipping and Travel Budget for Tanzania

The Tanzanian currency is the Tanzania Shilling (TZS). Whilst on your safari, trek or beach holiday Tanzania Shillings can be used to pay for the majority of things. However, pre-booked flights and accommodation are generally paid in-advance in US dollars (USD). National Park fees and the costs of remote accommodation and getting-around mean that Tanzania safari prices may be higher than the cost for other holidays you have been on. We share our advice for budgeting, tipping, and travelling with money in Tanzania.

Tanzania travel budget

HOW MUCH DOES A SAFARI IN TANZANIA COST?

Is a Tanzania safari expensive?

A safari is a very special experience and likely more expensive than other types of holidays you may have taken. Daily entry-fees into the national parks are not cheap. Maintaining Tanzania’s 22 national parks is a big task and costly for the government. For example, the entry-fee to the northern parks lies between 50 and 70 USD per (foreign) adult per day. While this isn’t cheap, it does contribute to the long-term existence of wild spaces in Tanzania. Seasonal accommodation prices vary little between the peak and low seasons. However, accommodation standards range from basic to highly luxurious and this is – along with choosing an intimate small group tour – where you can save money.

Tanzania safari prices: What determines the price of a safari?

Duration: when to travel to Tanzania and for how long?

The best time to visit Tanzania is generally considered to be the dry season, from June to October, as it is the period with the best weather and the best game-spotting. The dry-season is the peak period and prices throughout Tanzania will be higher. However, a constant are the national parks fees, which do not change according to the season.

For the best experience to Tanzania, we generally recommend staying at least from 7 to 10 days. Afterall, having paid to fly to Tanzania, it is worth making the most of your experience. Staying for this long, enables you to visit multiple parks and finish with a perfect tropical-beach-break at Zanzibar.

Type of safari: small group or private safari?

Tanzania safari prices are also determined by the size of the group: You can choose between a small group tour and a private safari. If you are travelling solo or as a couple, this will significantly affect the price of your trip. On scheduled group safaris, the cost for the safari vehicle as well as the guide is split between all members of your group. You can join other travellers from around the world (max 7) and share the cost. On private safaris, you travel with your friends and family only. If you travel with your partner only, the cost is split between two people only – making a private safari more expensive. In our getting to Tanzania guide we explain why self-driving-safaris are generally not recommended in Tanzania.

Understanding the different types of accommodation:

When you book a safari with us, we will help you to choose the perfect type of accommodation for you. This will greatly impact Tanzania safari prices. Depending on your budget, you could choose a combination of the following accommodation types.

Lodges & Tented Camps in Tanzania are beautifully built and offer a luxury experience with amazing pools, hospitality, accommodation, and food. You sleep in a private en-suite room, enjoying all the comforts of home and more. There is usually a restaurant mess tent. Lodges are built of permanent structures (concrete), while Tented Camps are made of spacious canvas walk-in tents. Both, lodges and tented camps range from very basic to highly luxurious.

Our Mobile Explorer Camp is a private mobile camp in the middle of nature. Situated in beautiful, off-the-beaten locations, you can expect to stay in tented comfort, a canvas width away from nature. At night you can hear lions roaring and hyenas calling. You sleep in walk-in canvas tents and enjoy a luxury camping experience.

Whereas Adventure Camping is as the name suggests, designed for the more adventurous. On public campsites, you overnight in dome tents and use the shared ablution blocks provided by the national park authorities.

Adventure Camping Safaris cost less than Mobile Explorer Camping Safaris.

What is the difference between a fly-in-safari vs a guided road safari?

You can go on a guided road safari in a 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser, driven by one of our experienced guides. Or you can choose a fly-in safari, moving between parks in a small plane. Most parks on the northern circuit can be reached by road. However, to reach the more remote parks on the western and southern circuit, you may opt for a fly-in safari to save time. Fly-in safaris are more expensive than road safaris.

The cost of a visa to Tanzania

Depending on your nationality, you need a tourist visa to visit Tanzania on a holiday. You can obtain an e-visa via this online portal or at your local Tanzania Embassy/Commission. At the time of writing, most nationalities could also obtain a tourist visa on arrival. Please always contact the Tanzanian embassy in your home country for the latest up to date information well in advance before going on a trip.

Ordinary tourist visas take 2 to 4 weeks to be issued, cost 50 USD and lasts for up to 90 days. Find out more travel-advice on our guide, getting to Tanzania.

Tanzania safaris for every travel budget

WHICH CURRENCY IS USED IN TANZANIA?

The Tanzania currency is the Tanzania Shilling (TZS). However, prices related to tourism, including Tanzania safari prices, are often displayed in US Dollars (USD). Examples also include park fees, accommodation and tips to guides.

However, whilst on your safari you will generally pay for any miscellaneous costs using Tanzania shillings.

  • Cash machines/ATMs are located in Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Stone Town, Moshi and towns along the way. Check with your guide before you start your safari.
  • Foreign currency can be exchanged to Tanzanian Shillings at bureaus de change. Important: when exchanging US-Dollars only notes printed after 2006 are accepted.
  • Traveller cheques are no-longer used.
  • Budget some cash to visits places like museums and cultural projects as well as tipping, buying souvenirs and paying for extra drinks at your camp.
  • Pack a credit-card in case of an emergency.
Tipping staff Tanzania safari

WHICH TYPES OF PAYMENT IS USED IN TANZANIA?

  • Cash, Tanzania Shillings, is used at museums, cultural visits and markets. Only US-Dollar notes printed after 2006 will be accepted if you need to use them.
  • Debit cards are not guaranteed to work in Tanzania. Notify your bank before travelling.
  • Chip and pin can be used in the big cities, but not inland.
  • Traveller cheques are no longer accepted.
  • Credit cards are essential in the rare chance of an emergency.

Our recommendation: Always have cash on you, but do not take-out too much at one time. Instead, learn the locations of ATMs and currency exchanges and withdraw enough to cover one section of your trip. In case of power cuts or other interruptions, card machines do not always work. Always carry a credit card for emergencies.

HOW MUCH SHOULD I GIVE AS TIP IN TANZANIA?

Tipping is an important part of the tourism culture in Tanzania. Not only does it express a sense of gratitude; it also contributes to the livelihood of hard-working Tanzanians. The multiplier-effect of every dollar spent, means that tips go a long way in Tanzania’s economy – going towards education, health, and prosperity for Tanzanians. Saying that, tipping is not compulsory.

How much should I tip on a safari?

If you were happy with the service provided by your safari guide, you can express this in the form of a tip. We recommend tipping your guide 15-20 USD/group/day.

If you are part of a group, we suggest that you get together to decide how much you would like to tip the guide. We propose that you calculate the daily rate of 15-20 USD/day/guide and then split this amount equally between the group. If you want to be more generous, that is ok. Tips are given to guides during the fare-well at the end of a safari.

At your accommodation, there is usually a communal tip box at the reception. This way, everyone – including the staff behind the scenes – gets their fair share. 5 USD per guest per night is a good guideline.

Who to tip and when to tip on your Tanzania safari

Safari Guide / Accommodation staff / Restaurants

  • Safari guide: Our expert guides will be one of the highlights of your safari. They drive, guide and assist you throughout your journey. You will be strangers, brought together to share an incredible experience, and you will likely part as friends. We recommend a tip of 15 to 20 USD/group/day.
  • Lodge & camp staff: Behind the scenes, these members of the team work hard to create a special experience for you. We recommend a tip of 5 USD/guest/day. You can add it to the communal tip box at reception.
  • Restaurants: At restaurants, a tip of 10% is customary.

Whether at a restaurant, camp or with your guide: Always tip in cash.

Tipping on Kilimanjaro

Having climbed Mount Kilimanjaro hundreds of times our mountain guides are experts in their field. Regular training and extensive experience make them the perfect people to guide and keep you safe on the mountain.

You will discover that the guides are one-member of an important team. The amount of equipment that the porters carry-up the mountain to prepare the camps before your arrival will amaze you. A cook and waiter are the final crucial members of the team.

Tipping mountain crews

It is customary to tip all of the members of the mountain team after climbing Kilimanjaro and you can read about when to tip them below. We recommend the following daily rates, which can be split between your group:

  • Head Guide: 15-18 USD
  • Assistant Guide: 12-15 USD
  • Cook: 8-10 USD
  • Waiter: 7-9 USD
  • Summit Porter: 8-9 USD
  • Porter: 6-7 USD
  • Camp Crew: 6-7 USD

You can of course be even more generous.

When to tip after climbing Kilimanjaro?

The head guide will provide you with a list of every member on the team. As a group, decide how much you would like to tip each team member. Calculate the amount and collect the tips from each climber.

During the farewell ceremony read-out-loud the amounts designated for each member. This way, team members will know how much they will receive. You can then hand over the tips to the head guide, who will distribute the tips accordingly.

Speaking about money so openly may be unfamiliar. However, this system has proven successful and establishes clarity for the whole team.

Travel budget for experiences Tanzania
OUR EXPERT ADVICE

BUDGET FOR A ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME TRIP

It is easy to choose less-expensive options to make a safari cheaper. However, when reflecting on a post-safari, you will only remember the experiences. The big majority of our guests confirm that they got more for their money than they ever expected. Our advice is to contact one of our travel experts, who are specialised in creating the best experience for your budget. This is what makes us renowned for planning and executing some of the best safaris in Tanzania.

Lion paws closeup
Arno Snellenberg Tanzania Travel Expert
Tanzania-Experience safari vehicle

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