Tanzania has been an amazing country to explore and discover and has so much to offer. What I thought would be a once in a life time trip has turned into a place I now hope to return to someday. And I’ve been so inspired by this area, I’ve already planned a tour around all of east and southern Africa! We covered a lot of ground in Tanzania, and I shared a lot of information. If you’re looking to do a similar tour (or wondering if this is the right country for you), here’s a breakdown of what we did, how much we spent, who might be interested in a trip like this (this is only my opinion based on my experience and not meant to exclude anyone), and any other brief, general information I can think of.
Target Audience –
- Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro: Anyone who enjoys hiking, challenging physical activity and camping for a week. It’s a tough activity, but doable for someone in decent physical shape. And the rewards are definitely worth it.
- Safari (Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Serengeti, Lake Manyara): Photography buffs and wildlife fans alike. The photos ops on this trip are phenomenal and you are pretty much guaranteed to see some cool animals. Photography experience not required (seriously, even the worst photographers can get some great pictures!).
- Serengeti Hot Air Balloon Safari: Not afraid of heights and want a different perspective? This very expensive option ($540!!) is incredibly fun and a unique way to see the Serengeti plains.
- Zanzibar: Come here for the beach and stay for the ocean. The SCUBA diving is incredible, and if you like relaxing in the sun next to turquoise waters, this is the best place to do it.
- Spice farm tour: Great if you’re into cooking, spices, plants and/or really touristy activities. I’m in to all of the above, so it was great for me!
- Stone Town tour: Stone Town was a major port for shipping slaves to Asia and the Middle East, and the last place in Africa to abolish the slave trade. If you’re interested in history, shopping or pizza, definitely check this place out.
Cost Analysis –
I know I already mentioned the cost of this trip a few times, but they were scattered over a few posts prior to the trip. Now that I’m back, I want to combine them with what I spent (all amounts below are what I personally paid. What Amy paid is slightly different) while I was there, and explain where that money went, so you have an idea of what a similar trip might cost you. (Everything paid for in Tanzanian shillings has been converted to USD for ease of calculations, using the rate of TSH 2,079.73 to $1)
- Airfare: $1725.70
- Seattle > Dar es Salaam round trip on Emirates – $1285
- Dar Es Salaam > Kilimanjaro one way on FastJet – $48
- Extra baggage fee – $50
- Kilimanjaro > Zanzibar one way on Precision Air – $176.64
- Extra baggage fee – $28.85
- Zanzibar > Dar Es Salaam one way on Precision Air – $98.76
- Extra baggage fee – $14.45
- Visa for entry: $100
- Kilimanjaro Climb: $2506
- 8 day Lemosho route through Zara Tours – $2131
- Tips for guides, porters, cook, etc – $375
- Safari: $3535
- 7 day trip of Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Serengeti and Lake Manyara – $2870 (This is for standard lodge accommodations. We could have saved money and camped, or spent more for ‘luxury’.)
- Tip for our guide/driver – $125
- Serengeti hot air balloon safari – $540
- Zanzibar: $1242.71
- Z Hotel rate per night – $770.07
- Shuttle to and from airport – $60
- Spice farm and Stone Town day trip – $70
- 2 tank SCUBA diving at Mnemba Island (includes 6% credit card fee) – $124.02
- Extras at the hotel, including meals (breakfasts are included in the price of the hotel above, but we had most lunches and 2 dinners here), daily water and drinks – $218.62
- Miscellaneous: $663.17
- Souvenirs (I love to buy souvenirs to remember my trip, but I also do a lot of Christmas/birthday/gift shopping as well. This isn’t all for me!) – $310.53
- Meals and water (not included in tours/hotel) – $96.20 (about $9.62 per meal for the 10 meals we purchased on our own)
- Wine (Amy and I really enjoy a glass of wine each night before dinner, when available) – $54 (about $4.5/glass)
- Water – $50 (about $2.5 for 1.5 liters)
- School supplies for orphanage – $8.65
- Tips for drivers, bellboys, etc – $48.08
- Fees (My bank charges me a fee for withdrawing money at foreign ATM’s, my credit card does not) – $7.18
- Extras – $88.53 (I seriously can’t account for where this was spent! I have to assume it was food or wine or some other misc. that I didn’t take into consideration above.)
TOTAL COST – $9772.58
You could definitely do this trip for cheaper. The hot air balloon safari was a bit of a splurge for me (but as the only company that offers this, there is no other option to pay less), and if you aren’t in to diving, that saves you some money, too. Each day of the climb costs about $200 extra, but you don’t want to cut too many days out, or you reduce your chance of successfully summiting (which wastes all the money you spent on it anyway). However, Tanzania is by no means, an inexpensive trip. I think you could probably cut it down by about $2000 if you shortened your climb and safari (or camped instead of staying in safari lodges), stayed in cheaper accommodations in Zanzibar, and didn’t splurge on souvenirs or wine. For us though, this was exactly everything we wanted to do, and it was absolutely worth every penny we spent.
General Information –
Here’s some things I learned on this trip that I think might be helpful for someone else planning a holiday to Tanzania.
- While most companies prefer you pay in USD, no ATM in the country actually gives you dollars. If there is anything requiring USD, you will need to make sure you bring it from home. That being said, most places (grudgingly) accept Tanzanian shillings, and you’ll usually pay less doing it this way, anyway.
- I have T-Mobile. It has a fabulous international plan that usually allows me to text and use 3G data in most foreign countries for no extra cost. Tanzania is not one of those countries. If you want to use your phone here, make sure to buy an international plan before you leave, or a sim card when you arrive.
- Wifi is spotty at best. Most places either don’t have it, or you will need to purchase it. The only place we had reliable, free (well, included in the price of our room) wifi was at the Z Hotel in Zanzibar. If you to end up purchasing wifi at a hotel, it’s usually only available in the lobby (though Z Hotel had it everywhere on their premises).
- I had read before leaving that tipping was appreciated but not expected. I didn’t really get that impression as it seemed everyone was waiting for a tip. I suppose you don’t have to, just like anywhere, but it always seemed rude to not give people a little bit, even if it was just 2,000 shillings. And anyway, the money means so much more to them.
- If you want to take pictures of people here, it’s always good to make sure you ask first (which is true with most places I’ve been). A lot of the Muslim women really do not want their photograph taken, but other people will be asking you to take their picture. Even if you don’t speak the language, just sort of hold the camera up in an asking manner and see how they respond. Don’t take it if they shake their head no or put their hands up.
Miss a post? Links to everything I wrote about Tanzania are below!
A Few Hours in Dar es Salaam
Our Kilimanjaro Climb…An Overview
Kilimanjaro Climb Day 1: Into the Jungle
Kilimanjaro Climb Day 2: The Shira Plateau
Kilimanjaro Climb Day 3: Above the Clouds
Kilimanjaro Climb Day 4: Lava Tower
Kilimanjaro Climb Day 5 & 6: Barranco Wall and Acclimatizing
Kilimanjaro Climb Day 7 & 8: The Summit
We Made It!!
To Tarangire on Safari
The Baobab Trees of Tarngire
Descending Into the Ngorongoro Crater
The Pride of the Serengeti
Up In My Air Balloon!
On the Hunt for Big Cats
All The Lions
Crocodiles and Hippos and Leopards, Oh My!
Meeting the Maasai
The Flamingos of Lake Manyara
Zanzibar and Nungwi Beach
Zanzibar Spice Farm
Walking Tour of Stone Town
Diving At Mnemba Island
Whew! That’s a lot of words for me! I hope I’ve covered a lot of your questions, and please feel free to leave a comment if you have any more!