Friday, January 28, 2011

Helpful information (hopefully)

Just a few notes, some of these are obvious, some not, but knowing about them will make your time in Tanzania go more smoothly.

Although there are many tribal languages spoken throughout East Africa, Swahili is the common language spoken in Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya and Uganda. English is very widely spoken in Tanzania, particulary in tourist centres, hotels, lodges and main cities.

The People
The Tanzanian people are friendly and hospitable. They are rightly proud of their country, so be sensitive as you would be anywhere in your travels. Unfortunately tourist centres such as Zanzibar suffer a degree of hassle from touts so be firm and definite in saying “no thanks” as they can be very persistent . One of the joys of Mafia, is that they don’t exist on the Island.

Tanzanian Visas
You can obtain these on arrival for most nationalities; contact us if you are in doubt.

Tanzania’s currency is Tanzanian Shillings and Cents. You will be able to change foreign exchange at the airports, or at the many bureaus that exist (DO NOT CHANGE MONEY on the streets – these are scams) and also at any other banks in the major towns. US Dollars are often favoured, and most excursions, tips, drinks and curios can be paid for in Dollars. We advise clients to take spending money in the form of US Dollars cash. Traveller’s cheques carry a service charge of at least 5%. Credit cards are also widely accepted but again subject to surcharge, as the commissions are high anything between 4 and 12%. There are no ATM's on Mafia and generally you will only find them in major cities.

The Biomass Generator electricity supply is 240 volts.

In Mafia one-piece or bikini swimsuits are fine on the beach or around your hotel pool, but not appropriate in the villages or outside the lodge. Topless and nude sunbathing is not acceptable anywhere and is seen as a major insult.

Baggage allowances on charter flights and small aircraft
Scheduled small aircraft flights and charters limit baggage to 15 kgs per person. Please would you also take your luggage in soft bags rather than rigid suitcases as it makes it easier to fit in the small aircraft.

Yellow Fever
The famous Yellow Fever vaccine is required if you have passed through a classified Yellow Fever area. We do recommend that you consult your doctor about other recommended injections, normally the advice is that Typhoid and Hepatitis injections should be taken.

Malaria is endemic throughout Africa. There are a number of prophylactics available and be sure to obtain one from your physician and follow his directions. If, despite taking recommended drugs, you feel unwell and feverish, seek medical advice as soon as possible. If you are already in the UK, please do not forget to mention that you have been in a Malaria area.

Stomach Upsets
It is advisable to carry medication supplied by your physician for simple stomach upsets. In the first few days of your trip you may suffer from mild upsets attributable to a change in food and water.

Mobile services are present on Mafia, but not all company providers are operating on Mafia and the signal at Ras Mbisi is very poor (we have only had a signal at all for the last 18 months).

Billing and Payments by VISA or Traveller’s cheques
We cannot accept payments by credit card or traveller’s cheque on site, although we can accept credit cards through the on line booking service (no charge).

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