Tanzanian Visa at the D. C. Embassy

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Dec 22nd, 2005, 03:10 PM
  #1
bat
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Tanzanian Visa at the D. C. Embassy

Pre-trip to Tanzania trip to Washington D. C. to obtain Visa Trip Report

We went straight to the embassy from the airport arriving shortly after noon (they accept applications from 9am until 1pm but told us to arrive before 1pm). The embassy is located at 2139 R Street N.W., an easy walk from the Dupont Circle metro station. The receptionist was friendly in her greeting. I offered her our passports, photo, application and money ($60). She immediately asked if I had our plane itinerary (I had printed a copy from the Delta website) and after handing it to her she then asked if we were using a tour company and did I have a letter from them. I gave her a print out of an email from ATR indicating that we were customers with a planned safari. She then told us, to my surprise, that we could come back at 4:30 the same day to pick them up (I was expecting that we would have to come back the next day). We returned around 4:10 and our newly stamped passports were waiting for us.

Conclusion: If you are going to the D.C. Embassy for your Visa, take a print-out of your plane itinerary and a letter (an email will do) from your tour operator. They seem to try to give same day service but they do not promise it. So you may need to plan on being able to return the next business day for pick-up.

For any one living in the D. C. area or who will be in D. C. anyway shortly before your TZ trip, I highly recommend this–not because it will facilitate arrival in TZ, lots of seasoned travelers have indicated that it is a very simple procedure to get the Visa on arrival in TZ–the reason I recommend it is that it was FUN! You get to chat with a Tanzanian about your upcoming trip. You get to say asante and receive a response of karibu. You have something concrete to show for your upcoming trip–the visa stamp on your passport (much more pleasurable than looking at my credit card statement for example). We left the embassy laughing and smiling.

Besides, as a friend pointed out to me–the moment you walk into the embassy you have left the U.S. and are standing on Tanzanian sovereign soil–it will be the cheapest trip to TZ you will ever take!

If you are looking for ways to spend a few hours while you wait you can always jump back on the metro and get off at the next stop, walk to the Zoo and practice wildlife photos (including the pandas) or you can go in the other direction and head to the Mall where you can catch a showing of Wild Safari, the 3D, Imax film at the Museum of Natural History.

Did I mention it was FUN!
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Jan 25th, 2006, 05:17 PM
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On another thread you mentioned you were going to a school in Arusha. Which one, how did you arrange that? We'd like to visit a secondary school, possibly lay the groundwork for a sister school relationship.

Thanks
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Jan 25th, 2006, 05:26 PM
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Bat,

Thanks for this post...a nice reminder that I must do the same and get my Tanzanian Visa very soon.

Okay, you Southern Californians out there...where do I go a little bit closer to home than Washington D.C. for my Visa?

Thanks.
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Jan 25th, 2006, 05:27 PM
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bat
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Hi V town:
I asked our lodge (Ngare Sero) to arrange it--it will be the local school for children in that area. [They offered a walk to a local village so I figured they could arrange a school visit]

You might post a new thread to see what others say.[How to schedule a school visit] I believe that tour companies can schedule them. My friends who traveled with Deeper Africa had a visit. Their pictures of the children are wonderful. But posters may have other ideas as well. I think that it may be a highlight of the trip.
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Jan 26th, 2006, 02:36 PM
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Hi Bat,

Please see my response and further question on http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34743666

Thanks
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Jan 26th, 2006, 03:12 PM
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bat
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V-Town:
I believe that the TZ embassy website indicates a 3 months visa but I seem to recall being surprised that my passport was marked for 6 months. Can't find the passport at the moment. My SO put it someplace "safe" so we would be able to find them for the trip! I'll post again when I can put my hands on it.

Here is the website for the embassy

http://www.tanzaniaembassy-us.org/

You might want to call and ask though.
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Jan 26th, 2006, 03:19 PM
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Rocco,
You can obtain your visa upon arrival at the airport.
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Jan 26th, 2006, 07:02 PM
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bat
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V-Town:
Confirmed, that our passports have a 6 month stamp for a visa.
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Jan 26th, 2006, 07:35 PM
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Leely,

Thanks for this information. This was also confirmed to me by e-mail by Sandi. What a pal and good samaritan...I book my safari with ATR and Sandi still comes to my rescue!

Seeing what I have seen with those obscenely elegant Grumeti camps, however, I would have no future reason to even consider Nomad's camps, at least if I were visiting between June - September? Had I known about these Grumeti camps prior to booking, I would have honestly waited 3.5 more months in order to experience these beautiful camps, and I would have surely then booked with Africa Serendipity, as it was mostly the Nomad camps that prompted me to book with ATR, although they have done mostly a good job for me.

27.5 days and counting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Jan 26th, 2006, 07:42 PM
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By the way...isn't there anywhere better near Seronera than Mbuzi Mawe...Lisa who just returned didn't much care for Mbuzi Mawe and this has me concerned...also I remember another Fodorite a couple months ago reporting that they were trapped in their tent by lions and it took quite a long time before anyone answered their calls for assistance...this honestly prompted a nightmare for me featuring lions!

There doesn't seem to be any better alternatives within a 90 minute drive from Seronera and I would not want to get any further from the Seronera airstrip than that, not when I have a morning flight to Zanzibar and I am paying for the Palms Zanzibar...imagine, due to a flat tire, or a wrong turn or whatever, if I got stuck at the Serengeti Sopa instead of the Palms Zanzibar.
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Jan 26th, 2006, 08:15 PM
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santharamhari
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Rocco,

About Mbuzi Mawe........i think it is meant to be centrally located to all different parts of the park for easy access? Atleast that's how they advertize on the serena website.....

Reading your post.......although, it would seem helpless having lions around your tent........wont the guide/whoever come to find you and escort you when it is time for the drive? or if you havent showed up for a meal?
 
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Jan 26th, 2006, 10:05 PM
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Hari,

Eventually the guide or staff would come to the tent, but depending on the behaivour of the lion(s), it may be a very uncomfortable wait!
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Jan 27th, 2006, 02:29 AM
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santharamhari
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Rocco, i agree........hearing them being agressive.........and just canvas between you and the beasts would be uncomfortable, and clearly a moment i wont be jumping around looking for my camera and the best angles to get my shots!
 
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Jan 27th, 2006, 08:46 AM
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Rocco,
Did ATR end up adjusting the pricing of Mbuzi Mawe for you? I remember they originally quoted you 'worst case scenario' or something like that.

Yes, you can get a visa on arrival. Try to get a seat assignment toward the front of the aircraft so you're not one of the last ones off
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Jan 27th, 2006, 09:01 AM
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Yes, how much did ATR end up pricing Mbuzi Mawe for you? If you don't mind answering.

Each time I see an itinerary for roughly the same time I'm traveling for less $$ (that's definitely not yours, Rocco--no way!), I get a little disheartened. Then I tell myself, it's Nomad, and we're a party of 3, only in a triple at Moivaro so that's it...

Oh well, you pays your money and you takes your chances.
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Jan 27th, 2006, 10:12 AM
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Rocco -- Don't get me wrong, Mbuzi Mawe was fine as long as your expectations are in line. Perfectly comfortable, decent food, and about a 45-minute drive from Seronera with its incredible game. It won't be one of the best places you've ever stayed, but we liked it fine. One thing I do remember, the water pressure in the shower was great! Also, ask the staff and you shall receive -- but you may have to ask. E.g. they were happy to provide us with bathrobes when we asked, but they weren't automatically in the tent. They were happy to allow us to change tents when we didn't like the first one. We had to ask about the nature walks -- they did not offer them. They were happy to wake us up in the morning by bringing us coffee, but only if we asked them to (they didn't offer to). That kind of thing. Very accommodating upon request, but otherwise didn't seem to anticipate what their guests might want or need. The other place we stayed in that area was Serengeti Serena which unlike Mbuzi Mawe did have a pool and slightly better location, but is much larger. To be perfectly honest with you, if we go back, we would be tempted to stay at the Seronera Wildlife Lodge just for the location!
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Jan 27th, 2006, 10:23 AM
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By the way, regarding prices at Mbuzi Mawe, our operator (Good Earth) quoted us that Mbuzi Mawe was $30 per person per night more than Serengeti Serena, and $65 per person per night more than Ikoma, if that helps at all -- this was for the last week in November of 2005.
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Jan 27th, 2006, 10:26 AM
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lisa,

We stayed at the Wildlife Lodge last time. We wanted "nicer" accommos for our upcoming trip, but I was a tiny bit torn about the Wildife. True, it's huge, not particularly glamorous to say the least, but I think of the sounds of hippos trundling about and munching at night, the lion on the "median" right in front of the lodge, the view from our room, etc., and think "Wow, what a location."

Sandi said it's changing ownership yet again, so it'll be interesting to see what develops.
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