Tanzania Safari spending money?

Dec 15th, 2006, 12:33 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 43
Tanzania Safari spending money?

Hello - We are looking for advice on how much money we should take per day for our Tanzanian Safari. We will be in Serengeti, Ngorgnoro, Zanzibar, etc. Seems 3x meals a day are included. However, how much extras should we be prepared for? I can assume hotel extras like water, alcoholic drinks, laundry, tips. Then of course tips for drivers. Not sure how much local shopping we'd be interested in.

I've heard no place to use Visa or travelers checks in some areas. We are concerned about having enough/too much cash.

VDB is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 01:33 PM
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Do a search on this board for "tipping" "expenses on safari" "spending money" (all without the ""). Just about any question you have will have been answered.
Dec 15th, 2006, 02:29 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
LOTS of ones and other small bills. Avoid old, tattered bills. I think I've read about $100-bills not being accepted in places.

The $$ depends on if you have a private safari or are going with a group.

I'd say $25/day per person plus $400 for a 2-week trip. Hopefully you'll be bring some back.
atravelynn is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 02:51 PM
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"$25 a day plus $400"... You should bring quite a bit back, unless you have high bar tabs and buy lots of souvenirs. Your travel company should give you guidelines as to tipping and what costs are not included. Make a rough estimate of what you'll be spending and what bills you'll need ($20s for tipping guides at the end of the trip, smaller bills for miscellaneous tips, etc.) As was stated above, make sure there are no marks or tears in the bills and that they are the "big head" versions. The local banks will not accept damaged or older bills for exchange, so the locals know not to accept them, either. Some places accept credit cards, but it will be hit or miss. Have one along, just in case. You may be charged a fee to use it, however.
ShayTay is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 03:43 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Hi - my wife and I just returned in
Oct. 2006. Had the same questions prior
to leaving. You tip in camp based on
per guest not the qty of
people working in the camp. We had
private cars @ Nomads camps and tipped
the guides well at the end on a per day
basis not per person. I also found that
I tipped those who waited on us more
a little personal tip in addition to
the camp managers for the overall staff. We tipped the guides directly.
You will need small bills someone is
always carrying your bags etc.
For the places your staying it depends
on what is included. Used my CC - once.
We tipped well and felt fine with that.
However I brought lots of $ back, but
I did run out of small bills. It's
difficult to get change in the bush.
In Zanzibar - there are lots of people
looking to carry your bags - they don't
all work for the company picking you up
just looking for a tip.
We had no problems at all - the people
were nice and sincere. I left money out
in the open at the camps and nothing
was touched. I took way to much and
returned with $. Having to much was
much better than wishing I had more.

Wishing you a wonderful trip for us
it was simply FANTASTIC.
stissing is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 05:35 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
I actually take more than that in case I ever have a problem that requires some extra cash. I just keep it on my in my money belt and plan on giving it a roundtrip.

Fortunately I've never had a big problem. One time park fees that were supposedly pre-paid, suddenly were not upon entering a park that was visited several consecutive days. Though I got reimbursed from the agent when I returned home, I was glad to have adequate cash so as not to disrupt my safari. Another time two friends I was traveling with ran out of money and I was able to cover their tips until we got home. Finally if a place worthy of a donation surfaces, it's nice to be able to donate on the spot with no worries.
atravelynn is offline  
Dec 16th, 2006, 01:09 AM
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Do i understand that you are tipping/spending in US$? not local currency?
annhig is offline  
Dec 16th, 2006, 01:19 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
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in addition to small bills -
The bigger bills (50/100) better be post the year 2000. in some places they reject 1990s bills (even for visas)

annhig - yes. in most places it is better for both sides. you don't have to carry piles of notes & the staff can probably get a better rate than the official in lodges/camps which is rather low usually.
aby is offline  
Dec 16th, 2006, 05:01 AM
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To add to others -

In Tanzania, you're better with USD, however, you may want to exchange some into local Schillings (before departing Arusha) for stops at roadside stands. It's much nicer for these folks to have local funds as access to a bank may not be easy.

Your tour operator should provide suggestions for expense funds; most camps/lodges also have list in their Guest Information books.

And, as aby mentions, bills should be currently dated. Sounds strange, but bill should have been printed in years from 2000 on (maybe even from 2002 forward).

Jan 16th, 2007, 06:26 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 58
Use an ATM at the airport and get local currency.

Would you consider using Mexican Pesos for a trip to Australia? Learn some Swahili too.
drtravels is offline  
Jan 16th, 2007, 08:20 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,513
Also if you want to exchangr cash or TC's at JRO airport that was actually the best rate we saw whilst in Tz. At least that was the case 2 years ago! But I plan on exchanging when we get to JRO in a few weeks. It was quick & painless so we won't have to worry about finding something in Arusha.

Have a wonderful trip
jules39 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2007, 11:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 62
We took Schillings, but in fact most people seemed to want USD!! (including roadside stands!!). We had no issues in paying for anything in dollars at all, so take note that Tanzania is not Australia (as far as the Northern Circuit safari is concerned)and if we like it or not, the USD is effectively the world's global currency.
allycb is offline  
Jan 16th, 2007, 04:06 PM
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I had assumed that I could use a credit card in the lodges to pay the bar bill etc. Is this not the case?
john2003 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 06:33 AM
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We took dollars, exchanged some for Shillings (without the c!) and paid for one bar bill - at Gibbs Farm - with Visa. We were told that Visa is the best credit card as they are faster at paying out, most places will charge a handling charge for credit cards. Most lodges have a tip pot which you leave some cash in when you go rather than tipping everyone individually. It then gets split up between everyone, even those you don't see. SOme places, such as Olduvai gorge prefer you to pay in Shillings.
hetismij is offline  
Jan 18th, 2007, 08:47 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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I would not depend on being able to use your credit card at the lodges. More likely than not, you won't be able to use it. And, if you do, they'll likely hit you with a surcharge. Cash is king in Tanzania. Traveler's Checks are only good in a big city - on safari, there's no place that will accept them.

I'd take mostly USD, though, I'd pick up some Tsh in Arusha from an ATM. Sometimes, the exchange rate isn't good for USD, and Tsh work better.
lifelist is offline  
Jan 18th, 2007, 09:52 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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In summary
take some small dollar bills
the amount depends on the number of people in your party and for how long the safari is.
get some Tsh as soon as you can
lets say for a 7 day trip US$ 100 in Tsh. should be enough for incidentals but it depends on how much you drink and how many souvenirs you want to buy
also buy a small swahili phrase book
and then have fun

Geelong2007 is offline  
Jan 18th, 2007, 10:45 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 104
na wewe Je
unaongea na Kiswahili au hii ni manaeno tu au blah blah
Geelong2007 is offline  

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