Please help plan a first visit to Tanzania

Jan 15th, 2005, 04:17 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 18
Please help plan a first visit to Tanzania

Hi you all,

I really do need all the help I can get because I'm hoping to put together a travel plan for a trip in April/May this year on a very limited budget.

- Any suggestions starting with how to find a cheap flight to Dar es Salaam from the Netherlands?

I'm not into the African Safari experience. I like to try to get an idea of the way people live in the countries I visit and I'm particularly interested in crafts (textiles) and self help community development projects.
I want to include an approx. ten days stay in Sumbawanga but apart from that I have no plan.

The language barrier worries me slightly: Any suggestions on how to acquire the bare essentials?

What are the must see/do things on the Tanzanian experience list?
Jona is offline  
Jan 15th, 2005, 04:42 AM
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For a budget trip you'd probably do better on the Lonely Planet or Thorn Tree travel message boards. Sorry, but I don't have the links.

More important - know that April/May are the rainy season in Tanzania - something to seriously consider as many of the national parks in southern Tanzania (and where Sumbawanga is located) are actually closed.
Jan 15th, 2005, 08:46 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
The lingua franca in East Africa is Swahili. Although I've never used the Pimsleur tapes and CDs to learn a language, many people who participate on the Fodors Europe forum and other travel forums swear by Pimsleur's Italian, French, etc., CDs.

Pimsleur's offerings include Swahili tapes and CDs. I see that Amazon's German website ( ) is selling the set of 5 CDs for 98,50 euros.

Here's the URL for the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree forum's Africa branch:
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 17th, 2005, 12:58 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 18
Hi Sandi and thanks very much for your help.

I checked the websites you mentioned and they are proving very useful.

Your rainy season warning made me think - I'll have to look into that.
A brolly and a pair of wellies are clearly a must. I gather most of the rainfall is in the mornings and the evenings so I was hoping one could venture outside for a part of the day.
Any tips on how to cope during the rainy season would be most etc!

Thanks again!

Jona is offline  
Jan 17th, 2005, 05:01 AM
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Jona - my experience has only been during the "short" rains that come in November. As to the "long" rains, these can be only morning or overnight rains, or all day for one day or two or three. Then there may be no rain for a few days. Like animal sightings, which cannot be guarantees, neither can weather. There have been some seasons when there was no rain, others when it rains daily. In the latter, roads can and do get bogged down and very muddy and rivers develop where there were none. People who live here have somehow learned to deal with the various seasons and go about life (or don't) when the weather doesn't allow them to do so.

Depending on what you plan on doing - walking, using public transport (buses), private vehicles - all depends on how far your legs or these wheels will let to advance on your adventures. Some people don't mind slosshing around in the mud, others would prefer to stay indoors till the rains end.

It's something for you to consider during this particular time of travel. But I'm certain your Wellies will serve you well.
Jan 22nd, 2005, 01:11 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 18
Thanks again to Sandi: Very helpful and reassuring. (Besides, being Icelandic I'm used to rain, at least the horizontal kind).

Judy_in_Calgary: A friend in Germany is getting me the Swahili course and I have found some great websites.
(I never thanked you for your help with finding weavers in SA. Thanks to you we saw some interesting workshops and fabulous scenery which we otherwise would have missed)

My Tanzania plans are coming along slowly as I haven't found a travel agency that can help with the planning but a cheap flight is in the bag.

I would initially be staying one or two nights in Dar where I would need a safe budget accom. (YWCA?)

Sumbawanga is my destination and I am hoping to find that I could get there by public transport possibly via Mbeya with stops in Ifakara/Morogoro/Iringa.

Any suggestions for a Dar es Salaam-Sumbawanga itineray with the focus on local crafts?

Jona is offline  

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