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When to visit
There is no truly bad time to visit Tanzania or Kenya, the optimum months depend on which parts of the country you plan to visit and your main interests.
Peak tourist season coincides with the European winter, with January and February being particularly good since it is when the wildebeest calve. The low season typically runs from March to May. The month of May, though sometimes it’s wet, can be an excellent month to visit, with a good chance of catching the migration in the far south of Serengeti Park, and relatively few other tourists around.
Flights to Tanzania and Kenya
In Tanzania, common airports are Kilimanjaro International airport located in the north of the country, Dar es Salaam International airport and Zanzibar International Airport.
Most airports in Kenya are used for domestic flights. The largest airport is Jomo Kenyatta International Airport located in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. The second largest is Moi International Airport located in Mombasa.
Connections from Europe are possible directly via Amsterdam with KLM, Kenya Airways, Turkish Airlines via Istanbul or from Frankfurt with Condor (only during high season). Other convenient options are available with Qatar Airways via Doha, Fly Dubai via Dubai, Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa or Egypt air via Cairo.
Kenya Airways has recently launched direct flights from US to Nairobi in Kenya. Currently there are no direct flights from US to Tanzania. If you are travelling from US or Canada to Tanzania, you can either travel with Kenya Airways transiting Nairobi or with KLM flight transiting in Amsterdam, as well as via Delta Airlines in combination with KLM or Lufthansa. Alternatively, there are also connections from all major airports in cooperation with Ethiopian Airlines. There is also the possibility to book flights to Istanbul and fly from there directly to Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania with Turkish Airlines.
From Sao Paulo / Brazil there are flight connections via Amsterdam with KLM and from there, you will fly directly to Kilimanjaro Airport or Nairobi Kenyatta Airport.
If you are flying from/via Bangkok the best option is Ethiopian Airlines with a stopover in Addis Ababa to Kilimanjaro Airport. Alternatively, you can also fly via Nairobi with Kenyan Airways. From Shanghai flights with Qatar Airways via Doha are a very convenient option to get to Kilimanjaro Airport.
Visa and Passport Requirements
Travelers to Tanzania and Kenya need to have valid visas. Visas can be requested at any embassy or consulate of Tanzania or Kenya abroad. Please inform yourself on the official sites about the costs and requirements of a visa for your nationality. Single entry visas can also be obtained on arrival at all international airports in Tanzania and Kenya as well as in all borders posts.
The governments of Tanzania and Kenya require proof of yellow fever vaccination if you are traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever (this does not include the US and Europe). For complete list, see Countries with risk of yellow fever virus (YFV) transmission from the following link: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook
Malaria is endemic but is preventable: use insect repellent, cover up at sundown, sleep under a mosquito net and take antimalaria prophylactics as advised by your doctor. Bring prescription medicines, spare glasses, contact lenses and solution as well as sunscreen, a first aid kit, cream for bites/stings and diarrhea remedy. Drink only boiled or bottled water, bottled or canned drinks.
English is widely spoken in the cities, but not spoken much in the villages. A few words of Swahili can be useful and will be appreciated greatly by locals.
Major foreign currencies – particularly US Dollars and EUROS are accepted and are convertible in the banks and bureau de changes in the main towns and tourist areas. In general, credit cards are of little use in Tanzania and Kenya. Credit cards are not widely accepted and when they are accepted, they carry poor exchange rates and are subject to processing fees (between 3 -10%). Inside some banks in Nairobi, Arusha, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, you can request to withdraw cash (in US dollars) with your credit card but there is limit of around 800 USD per day. There are also ATM facilities where you can use your credit card, but you can only withdraw the local currencies – Tanzanian shillings or Kenyan shillings.
Exchanging Money: The best exchange rate is obtained at one of several Bureaus de Changes in the cities – especially in Nairobi, Arusha, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. You can exchange currency in hotels but these are rarely the best rates. Do NOT exchange money on the street vendors. The best rate is for new-version of 50 and 100 USD bills, 2007 or newer. Bills smaller than $50 USD get low rate and older bill (2006 or older) will generally NOT be accepted.