Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Africa & the Middle East (
-   -   Parcel to Tanzania (

TheDavid Sep 22nd, 2006 10:12 AM

Parcel to Tanzania
My wife and I are about to mail a box of small gifts to a family in Tz and am wondering if someone on the forum has done this successfully and have any suggestions.

We want to make sure the recipient will not incur any fees and it looks like DHL and FedEx will be able to charge the fees to the sender.

We plan to send some jewelry, beauty products, children’s books, CD’s, DVD’s, home DVD’s and photographs.

The customs list on the USPS says one can not send jewelry and wonder if this is just for businesses? We can not find another customs list.

We do have a business address we can send the parcel to but we have also have several business size envelopes to send photographs and home DVD’s to individuals. Is it better to use FedEx or the like rather than the USPS for this?

We heard from one friend that we should mail CD’s and DVD’s separately because customs will screen these for content which can hold up a parcel for quite a length of time. Has anyone had this experience?

We realize this is going to be costly but these items are not affordable to the recipients and sending money just is not going to cut it for this situation. Any advice on keeping costs down would be helpful.

Do any food items send well? Some PeaceCorps volunteers mentioned in their blogs when I did a search on this and seem to get and like things like M & M's...

Should we send the items from a business address?

Any tips on itemizing and placing valuing on items would be very helpful.

Thank you,

TheDavid Sep 22nd, 2006 10:45 AM

Another Question: Has anyone had any success gifting families or businesses MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTIONS such as National Geographic? Thanks

VeeR Sep 22nd, 2006 11:00 AM

I'm not sure about Tanzania but I have been sending books and classroom supplies to Children in the Wilderness in Botswana - with mixed results. The first box and third box went through just fine, though slowly, with USPS ground service. The second box has been returned to me twice. First time USPS lost the customs form and they remailed the box with no additional cost - however it came back again - we haven't received a satisfactory reason why it was returned the second time. I plan to repack the books into smaller parcels and try again.
Most of the books were used which is what I put on the customs forms, with a "garage sale" cost listed. No one in Botswana has had to pay additional shipping or duty fees.

sandi Sep 22nd, 2006 12:35 PM

I can't provide specifics, but one of my client's has sent some items to their guide in Tanzania, whether FedEx/DHL or USPS, can't say. However, as a heads-up, for CDs or DVDs, sometimes these don't work on their equipment. As to jewelry, can I assume this is costume; if so, this shouldn't be a problem, nor the children's items. Liquids had better be tightly secured/sealed. As far as whether items are received, my client always has me contact Tanzania to check, as the individual on the other end doesn't have easy access to the Internet to confirm receipt. Many people who ship to Africa, go with DHL. USPS ground can take forever and for most countries if you ship USPS Global Priority, they use FedEx.

Let us know of your success or not.

Bill_H Sep 22nd, 2006 01:43 PM

"My wife and I are about to mail a box of small gifts to a family in Tz and am wondering if someone on the forum has done this successfully and have any suggestions."

We published a small book of photos from our trip, including some of the guide, and sent him a copy plus two CDs and they arrived in a couple of weeks without incident. I think we just sent it airmail via the US Post office (my wife actually did the mailing) and there were no problems.

jasher Sep 22nd, 2006 03:16 PM


For DVDs, note that Africa is not in the same 'region' as the US -- US DVDs will not work unless the person has paid extra for a multi-region player.

CDs may have the same problem.


TheDavid Sep 25th, 2006 05:52 AM

Thank you all for your replies! Any additional input would be appreciated.

VeeR – Having your boxes returned twice must have been expensive and frustrating. The “garage sale” cost list is interesting is that how you wrote it on the documentation?

Sandi – I guess these jewelry items would be considered “costume”; they are not diamonds or special gems. They were inexpensive and handmade but nice.

I will let you know how if I was successful or not. It would be great to find a way that we could send items that would be very helpful to our friends in Africa without it being cost prohibitive.

DHL looks to be coming out on top although very expensive for each pound and then if I have to be duties and taxes on arrival…I hope to learn a little more here before I call them.

Sandi & Jasher – Good information about the CD’s DVD’s, I appreciate the heads up on this!

Bill_H – Your information sounds promising; do you know if the guide was able to view the CD? Did your wife have to itemize the item for the USPS?

Thanks, Dave

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:25 AM.