FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Traveling to a foreign country often gives rise to a lot of questions. Here we have tried to answer some of the most frequently asked questions in order to provide you with some of the information you will require before and during your travel. If you have any further travels, please don't hesitate to contact us!
PRIOR TO ARRIVAL
As none of us are doctors (yet), we advise you to look into the recommendations from the Foreign Ministry in your country. To give you an idea of what is required, we have enclosed the list of vaccines recommended by the Danish National Health Service upon travel to Tanzania:
Tetanus, Diphteria, Hepatatis A + B are highly reccomended.
Yellow Fever is mandatory, as you will most likely be asked to show your Yellow-fever card upon arrival in Tanzania, especially if you have been in transit in another East African country, or of you want to enter Tanzania through any other borderpoints.
Further more, it is also advisedto use a malaria prophylaxis.
Depending on what you will do in Tanzania, the Tuberculosis-vaccine and Typhoid-profylaxis can also be considered, but we advise you to discuss this with your doctor before your arrival.
DO I NEED AN INSSURANCE?
Yes, we highly advise all our guests and volunteers to purchase a travel-insurance. Medical care isn't expensive in Tanzania, but if bad luck is out and something with bigger complications happen, it is always best to be covered from home. Make sure to purchase one that covers Tanzania as a country.
Further more, if you are a volunteer in the medical field, make sure you have an insurance that covers work related injuries too as this is not always the case
IS IT EVEN SAFE FOR ME TO TRAVEL TO TANZANIA?
Yes, it is perfectly safe for you to travel to Tanzania. Our accommodation and projects are located in Arusha, which is the 5th biggest city in Tanzania. As in any big city, there's always a risk of pocket-theft and you should also be aware of this in Arusha of course. But overall, Arusha is a peaceful city with a safe environment. Simply take your precautions and avoid to carry too much cash and valuables at the same time and be considerate in your behavior.
With that said, you shouldn't worry about bringing your phone or camera along with you. Keeping it in safe pockets difficult to acces or visible to you will help eliminate the risk of theft.
HOW WILL I GET TO ARUSHA?
Arusha is located close to two different airports; Kilimanjaro International Airport and Arusha Airport. The Kilimanjaro Airport is the biggest one, where all the international flights are landning - this one is approximately 1-1,5 hour from Arusha city and we will of course arrange transportation for you.
Arusha Airport is much smaller and is only for domestic flights, but this might still be useful for you. There is a big city by the coast of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, where you might be lucky to find cheaper tickets to than to Kilimanjaro - however, Dar es Salaam is many hours from Arusha, which is why it is then must either to ride the bus for about 12-13 hours (long, we know!) or to catch a connecting flight from Dar to Arusha - and these often land in Arusha Airport, which is about 30 minutes from the White House.
Our suggestion is to look through the flight-booking sites and of course you are always welcome to ask us for advice or recommendation in fligh-connections, bus companies, accommodation or whatever!
DO I NEED A VISA?
Yes, you will need a visa to be allowed entrance to Tanzania. This can either be obtained at the airport upon your arrival or at any border-crossings, should you be arriving from Kenya or another Eastafrican country.
What you need to obtain is the tourist visa, which gives you permission to stay in Tanzania for 90 days. The price for the tourist visa is 50 USD, except for American citizens where the price is 100 USD. The visa must be payed cash at the entrypoint.
Further more, in order to work voluntarily, you will need to get a volunteer permit. We know that it can seem a little unbelievable to be paying for doing volunteer work, but unfortunately that is how our Tanzanian system work. The permit costs 200 USD and is also valid for 90 days.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING?
As it is quite difficult for us to make a complete packing list, we have listed some of the most important informations and guidelines for your packing here:
As for clothes, we want to remind you about our Tanzanian weather seasons. We don't have a proper summer, fall, winter, spring-circle, but we do have quite different seasons and it is therefore important to keep in mind, when you pack your bag. As Tanzania are just below ecuator, our warmest season is December, January and February. During these months, we rarely see rain, the streets gets dusty and we can easily get temperatures higher than 35-40 degrees celcius. During these months you won't have to pack any woolen sweaters, but remember to bring more than only light clothes, as it can get chilly at night. Having mentioned these high temperatures, it is important for us to remind you that the Tanzanian culture is different from the western one. It is a religious country, almost split 50/50 between Islam and Christianity and it is therefore appropriate for women not to show too much skin. Some good guidelines to remember is that dresses is best to cover down to the knees and that shoulders should be covered too. Same should apply for men, in Tanzania is not appropriate to wear too short shorts or to walk around shirtless. If you keep these simple guidelines, you won't draw too much attention walking in the street.
The big rain season in Tanzania is normally in April and May and during this time it is best to bring warmer clothes and definitely raincoats. Even rubber-boots can be very useful as our roads can get extremely muddy. However, it is not only rain for two months straight, the sun does shine too!
June, July and August is usually the cold season in Tanzania with daily temperature of about 20-25 degrees celsius and with colder nights - the temperature can be down to 10-15 degrees celsius. During these months, you must remember to bring some jackets and warmer shirts for the nights!
During September, October and November the temperature is starting to rise again and the nights will get warmer and warmer. This season usually holds both rain and sun!
So, depending on what season you wish to travel, you must be aware of our suggestions. It is also good to keep in mind, that it is very easy to travel to Zanzibar from Arusha. As Zanzibar is a beach paradise, you will need summer clothes and swimsuit for a get-away.
Besides clothes, we have made a list of things that should always be included no matter the season:
Travel documents: passport and Yellow Fever-card
Dollars for visa and accomodation (this way you won't have to pay the fees for taking out money in the ATM)
Sunscreen + after-sun screen
Basic fist-aid tools as bandaids, disinfectant, painkillers, Imodium for stomach symptoms and other basic medications
Adapter for the power-outlets
Flip-flops for showering
WHEN IN ARUSHA.
WHAT CURRENCY IS USED?
In Tanzania the currency is Tanzanian Shillings = TZS
The approximate exchange rate is 1 USD = 2250 TSZ, depending on the daily rate.
In Arusha, you will find various ATMs open 24 hours a day, where money can be withdrawn. Very few places in Arusha accepts creditcard and it is therefore necessary to have cash.
Often accommodations and safari-companies accepts payment in dollars (if regarding big amounts), which is why we will recommend you to bring some dollars from home to save the fees from withdrawing at an ATM.
WHERE WILL I LIVE IN ARUSHA?
Before we even had the idea to make these Fursa-projects, we have been running a hostel for many years. Our place is called the White House of Tanzania, as it is literally a very big white house. It is located in the area called Daraja Mbili, which is just about 15 minutes walk from the city center of Arusha. The house consists of various roomtypes - both quadruple-, triple-, twin-, double- and a dorm-room. All the rooms are facing out towards a courtyard, where you will find a common-area where all the guests eat their meals together, share stories and relaxes after long days. All the rooms share bathroom-facilities of western standard with boiling hot showers.
Besides our guests, we live in the White House too. Junior have been born and raised in the house and runs the business together with his family and few staffs. Cathrine is still in school in Denmark, but spends as much time as possible in Arusha as well. This arrangement guarantees that there will always be someone on the site to help you with your problems or answer your questions and to make sure you feel comfortable and at home during your stay.
Further more, beside you and your friends our house is always full of travellers from all over the world. This gives an unique opportunity to share experiences about trips and everyday life. There's always someone, who is up for a game of cards - and it definetly never gets boring in the house!
Check our our hostel website for more pictures and information:
HOW WILL I GET AROUND ARUSHA?
Arusha is the 5th biggest city in Tanzania and is fairly easy to get around. Most things are in walking distance if you are not in a hurry (which you rarely are in Tanzania!). The first days of your stay we will show you around the area and make sure you know how to get back and forward to your placement, show you the shops and banks, help you get a local sim-card and what else you might need.
As for public transportation, there are multiple choices in Arusha. All over and outside of town you will find these small vans called dala-dalas. They work as busses and can fit more than twenty people - even though there only seats for about half of them! They are very cheap and easy to take, just as long as you are prepared to sit very close with your neighbor but this is all part of the experience - you won't believe how many people and things that can actually fit in a dala-dala!
Besides the dalas, Tanzanians get around using boda-bodas, which are motorcycle-taxis. They are at every corner in the city, and are also very cheap. This form of transportation however is not very safe, so we highly advise you to drive slow and always wear a helmet - the last is also reinforced by law.
Taxis can also be used at anytime of the day - we will make sure to give you the contact of safe and fair taxi-drivers.
During the day, all types of transportation, including walking, can be used. But after darkness, it is no longer safe to walk around town nor will we recommend you to drive motorcycles. As a basic houserule, we always tell our guests to only use taxis during night.
WHICH LANGUAGES ARE SPOKEN IN TANZANIA?
Swahili is the national language in Tanzania, but most Tanzanians knows decent English as well. Upon your arrival, we will make sure to teach you the basic greetings and make sure you will be able to get around Arusha and buy the necessary things.
Incase you want to practise a bit from home, here are some very basic and essential glosary:
Mambo = how are you?
Poa = I'm fine!
Na wewe? = and you?
Poa = I'm fine too!
Asante = thank you
Asante sana = thank you very much
Ndiyo = yes
Hapana = no
Hapana asante = no, thank you
Pole = sorry
Pole pole = slowly
Hakuna matata = no worries
SHOULD I GET A TANZANIAN SIM-CARD?
Depending on the length and duration of your stay, it might be easier for you to get your own local sim-card, which makes it possible for you to communicate easily. There are multiple major companies in Tanzania - Airtel, Vodakom, Tigo - whom are all working just fine. Upon your arrival, we will discuss this opportunity with you and depending on your wishes and needs, we will help you achieve a sim-card if needed. Many of our guests also chooses this so they can have internet connection outside of the hostel. Either if it is for calling or for internet connection, both options are quite cheap and can easily be arranged.
HOW WILL I COMMUNICATE WITH MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY FROM HOME? WHO SHOULD I CONTACT IN CASE I NEED HELP?
As we have perfectly good WIFI in our accommodation, it will be no problem keeping in touch with your friends and family while you are in Arusha. Many of our guests have had great success with traveling blogs, in which their relatives at home could keep up with their many adventures.
As the Jackson family, who runs the organization and the hostel, lives on site there will always be someone to help you with your problems. In the unlikely event of theft, we will make sure to help you contact the local authorities, your insurance company and whomever is needed. The same way we will assist you in case of sickness or any other issues - minor or major. We are here to make your stay as memorable as possible and we are always more than ready to help you.
We do however recommend you prior to arrival to make sure you have the appropriate contacts with you - meaning the contacts for your insurance company, for your closest relatives and for your country's embassy in Tanzania. This will make communication much easier in case something happens, that requires our assistance with contact.