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Mwanza Guide’s TRAVEL GUIDE*)

- in alphabetic order

African dress code:
Africa is far from Europe, United States and Canada - also concerned what to wear, when and how. For both men and women, dress is important. You will have fewer difficulties, and be met with more respect and openness, if you are considerate of local sensibilities and dress modestly and reasonably neatly.Bare-legged or bare-shouldered travellers, or those warring excessively tatty clothing are often regarded with disdain.
For women, skirts to below the knee or loose-fitting long pants and modest tops with some sort of sleeve are the best option; and for men, long pants and shirts with sleeves should be worn.
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ATM’s
International VISA cardholders can get local currency 24 hours a day/7 days a week at the Standard Chartered ATM in Mwanza (Close to the Clock tower roundabout). (Maximum draw: 400.000/= Tanzania Shillings compared to US$ 240 per draw). MasterCard/VISA Card holders can also use the ATM at EXIM Bank at Kenyatta Road (opposite Gold Crest Hotel) (maximum 300,000/= TSH per draw).
 

Banking and Currency
Money can be changed freely at authorized dealers, banks, or bureaux de change - but for safety insist on a receipt for the transaction. There are a few foreign banks in major towns, but local banks operate far into remote districts.
The basic unit is the Tanzania Shilling. Notes: TSH 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000. Coins: TSH 100 and 200. It is advisable to carry American dollars as a back-up and for paying visa and fees here and there (e.g. in the parks). Moneychangers also accept the major convertible currencies including British Pounds, Euros, Danish Kroner and Japanese Yen etc.
Traveller’s cheques are still exchangeable in some places (In Mwanza at Bureaux de change only - e.g. at Serengeti Services & Tours, Posta Road and the FOREX at New Mwanza Hotel’s shopping arcade - which is open Sundays also). Useful currency converter: http://finance.yahoo.com/currency

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Books:
Bradt Travel Guide to Northern Tanzania (2013) written by Africa expert Philip Briggs. The guide reflects the growing trend away from large lodges towards small exclusive eco-friendly camps in remote parts of the Serengeti and other major reserves. This edition is more critically selective than previous editions, detailing the best on offer in all price brackets. It includes new chapters on the North Coast and on the Usambara Mountains both of which offer good off-the-beaten-track travel opportunities, as well as an expanded chapter on Lake Victoria (edited by Mwanza Guide ‘online’). Price: 15£ or 24US$. ISBN: 9781841624570.
Web info: http://www.bradtguides.com/shop/africa/tanzania/northern-tanzania.html
 
Credit cards
Credit cards (VISA and MasterCard) are accepted at major hotels in Mwanza. Before using international credit cards at hotels, travel agencies etc. - ask how high the card fee is.
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Dental Service
The HOPE Dental Centre is located in Isamilo Hills (few km from the city centre). How to find Balewa Road, Isamilo: Head up the hill from town and pass Ekacliff Building, then take the first road on your left and you will see the signs for HDC. Two complete surgeries, cabinetry and materials from Dentaid and donors in the UK and America ensured that Hope Dental Centre is the best equipped facility in the country, offering a high standard of quality dental services.
Postal address: Hope Dental Centre, P.O. Box 2323, Mwanza, Phone: 28 250 0732 or 0784 887254/0754 887254. About Bridge2Aid and Hope Dental Centre: http://www.hopedentalcentre.com/contact.html
 
Drinks (alcoholic)
Tusker, Safari, Serengeti and Kilimanjaro are the local Tanzanian beers - and they are definitely very good. A beer costs from about 2,000/= TSH at local bars up to around 5,000/= TSH at top-end hotels and discos. Konyagi is the general term of local liquor - and it is not that bad.
 
Drinks (non-alcoholic)
Soft drinks are available everywhere, usually cold. The most common are Fanta and Coca-Cola - both produced locally on the huge Coca-Cola plant only few kilometres from Mwanza city centre. Especially Fanta (five different sorts) is extreme delicious - because of pure local fruits directly from underneath the African sun are solely used in the production - and not chemical substitutes, sugar and tap water only as in Europe and in the States.
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Duty Free
The following items may be imported into Tanzania without incurring customs duty: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco, 1 (one litre) bottle of alcoholic beverage and (one pint) 570 ml of perfume.
 
Electricity
Tanzania uses 220V, 50 cycles and AC (Like UK, Germany, Denmark and most of EU too). Power cuts occur with some frequency, although they generally don’t last very long. Major hotels have back-up generators.Plugs and sockets vary but are usually the British three-square pin or two-round pin variety. Adaptors are available in Mwanza - or bring a “tourist-adaptor” from home.
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E-mail & Internet
Tanzania has got the largest number of Internet cafes in sub-Saharan Africa. Internet cafes are located on every second street corner in Mwanza. The fee is 1,000 - 1,500/= Tanzania Shilling per half hour. Places you can surf while in Mwanza are: Community Telecenter at NCU Building of Kenyatta Road, Barmedas.com at Nkrumah Road, and Avionics at Market Street of Rwagasore Road, Internet Café and Karibu Internet Café at the junction of Posta Road and Kenyatta Road.
 
Entry Requirements
A valid passport; a valid visa for those not exempted. An international Certificate of Vaccination for yellow fever is required if you are arriving from an infected area. Check: ‘Yellow fever endemic zones in Africa’ on Google. Vaccination is a relatively cheap one and it is valid for 10 years. And don’t forget, that yellow fever is a deadly disease. Check also the ‘Health’ section on this website.

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Export
The export of seashells, coral, ivory and turtle shells is illegal. You may export a maximum of 2,000/= Tanzanian Shillings. There’s no limited on the importation of foreign currency, although amounts of more than 10.000 US$ must be declared.
 
Fax
A fax can be sent from Tanzanian Telecom Office (TTCL) in Mwanza, private business centres and from some hotels e.g. New Mwanza Hotel and Tilapia Hotel.
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Fishing
Lake Victoria is known for a once in a lifetime fishing experience, particularly for the Nile Perch - the largest fresh water fish in the world. (According to Guinness Book of World Records: A 232 kg (516 lb) Nile Perch and also the delicious Tilapia Fish are caught by local fishermen in Lake Victoria. Check the ‘Safari section’ on this website for more.
 
Food
In Mwanza there is a good selection of places to eat - ranging from delicious local food places, through a growing number of fast food restaurants/take aways - to exquisite international restaurants at Tilapia Hotel, Gold Crest Hotel, Malaika Beach Resort and New Mwanza Hotel. See the ‘Places to eat’ section. The choice is naturally more limited in smaller towns and villages out of Mwanza Town, where you’re likely just find a small hoteli (informal, local restaurant) serving chicken, beef or fish with stable such as rice or ugali.
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Glasses
If you wear glasses or contact lenses, take a spare pair and your prescription, as well as any necessary lens solutions, as these things aren’t available locally.
 
Government
Federal republic since 1964. Tanganyika gained independence from UK in 1961. In 1964 Tanganyika joined with Zanzibar, which had been British protectorate until 1963 - and became Tanzania. Head of State: President Dr. John Pombe Magufuli since 2015. Head of Government: Prime Minister Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan since 2015.

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Insurance
Medical insurance, including coverage of emergency medical air evacuation, is strongly recommended. Some credit cards e.g. Master Card Gold and American Express give card holders a good insurance coverage - if the air ticket is paid with the card. Check with your credit card company - before paying.
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Language
English and Kiswahili are the two official languages in Tanzania. English is mainly spoken in major towns, businesses and in the administration. Kiswahili, “the language of the coast”, played a key role in mobilizing and uniting Tanzania during the struggle for independence and later became a symbol of national identity.
In addition to the two main languages spoken, there are 130 or more listed as living languages, all spoken by the different ethnicities, tribes (e.g. Kisukuma in Sukumaland) and foreigners in the country
 
Local time
GMT plus 3 hours. There is no daylight saving.
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Newspapers
From about 11 AM you will find Tanzanian English-language newspapers include The Guardian, The Citizen Daily, The East African (weekly) and Daily News all over town. International magazines available are Newsweek and Time Magazine.
 
Photography & video
DON’T take pictures of anything connected with the government and the military, including army barracks, land and people anywhere close to army barracks. Government offices, post offices, banks, ports, train stations and airports are also off limits.I you want to take pictures of a person - you can ask in Swahili language: ‘Naomba nikupige picha?’ If the answer is ‘Hapana!’ - don’t take pictures. If you want to take pictures of something else e.g. a house, a car, or … - you can ask somebody close to it: ‘Naomba nipige picha?’
 
Post (mail)
Airmail to Europe/United States/Asia takes one week. Courier services take less than 24 hours. Western Union Money Transfer from Europe takes less than two minutes.
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Reconfirmation (return flight) (Ordinary tickets)
Reconfirm your return flight not later than 72 hours. Serengeti Services & Tours, Post Street in Mwanza will be happy to help you. Phone from Mwanza: 250 0061 or 250 9754. Phone international: +255 28 250 0061. Fax international: +255 28 2500446. You don’t need to reconfirm an e-ticket (paper ticket).
 
Religion
Tanzania is a secular state, whose population enjoys a high degree of freedom as provided by the Constitution. Major religions are Islam and Christianity. Muslims from about 38%, the same as Christians. The remaining follows traditional religions or Asian religions practiced by Asian communities, like the Hindi.
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Road rules in Tanzania
In Tanzania, you drive left, and most vehicles have right-hand drive. If you’re not used to drive left - and especially in Africa - hire a qualified driver together with the car. Your European/American/Asian driver’s license is valid in Tanzania - as long as you are there as a tourist, but an International driver’s licence is recommend. Consult your local police office on this matter before leaving home.
Avoid driving after dark, but if you must drive at night, be VERY alert for stopped vehicles in the roadway without lights or hazard warnings. Also many trucks are driving with only one headlight - and what you think is a motorbike suddenly shows up to be an oncoming big truck in full speed on a narrow road. While driving in Africa, also watch out for pedestrians, children, animals and bicycles with loads placed horizontal rather than vertical.
 
Security
Tanzania is a poor country and the few bills you have in your back pocket represent an enormous sum for many Tanzanians. Pick pocketing is rife in crowded areas such as bus- and train stations plus markets. Carry your money in an inside pocket or pouch. Don’t wear expensive items, such as fancy watches, jewellery and your new NIKON D5100 digital camera unconcealed.
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Swimming
Lake Victoria is riddled with Bilharzia, so avoid swimming in the lake or walking barefooted through the grass along its shores, as this is where the parasite-hosting snails lurk. Don’t swim (or walk) in any fresh water lake in Tanzania. You will find a nice outdoor swimming pool at Tilapia Hotel and Gold Crest Hotel. They will charge a minor fee for non-guests using the pool. Ask the receptionist or the bartender in charge at the outdoor bar.
 
Tanzania’s climate in general
Tanzania’s climate is predominately tropical. Coastal areas are usually hot and humid, but on the beaches a sea breeze cools the air considerably. The average day temperature in Mwanza is about 27°C. Tanzania has two rainy seasons; the long rains run from late March to June, and the short rains from November to January. The long rains fall in heavy downpours, often accompanied by violent storms, but the short rains rend to be much less severe. The hottest time of the year is from December to March, before the long rains begin. The coolest months are June, July and August, when the weather is often overcast. In high-altitude areas such as Kilimanjaro and the Ngorongoro Highlands, temperatures can fall below the freezing point. You will find a very useful online weather forecast including a five-day weather prognosis on this website.
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Tanzania Tourist Board
Tanzania Tourist Board, P.O. Box 2485, Dar es Salaam, phone: +255 22 2111244/5, fax: +255 22 2116420. Web site: http://www.tanzaniatouristboard.com
 
Taxis
Taxis can be hired from several taxi stands in town and on the street. None have meters, so you need to check the fare with the driver before getting in. The standard fare for a town trip is 3,000/= TSH. To the airport and to Bujora Cultural Centre the ‘standard’ prices are 15 - 20,000/= TSH. To hire a taxi for a longer trip away from town, negotiate the fare based on distance, petrol costs and road condition - plus a fair profit for the driver. E.g. for a trip to Bujora and back to town - including two hours of waiting is about 45,000/= TSH.
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Toilets
Toilets in Tanzania are either Western sit-down or Asian squat style. In some places, squat toilets are equipped with flush mechanisms, while in others they are simply built over a deep hole in the ground (long drop) with two slabs of rock for positioning the feet. You’ll also find Western-style toilet seats balanced over a long drop. Cleanliness levels vary; if you go in expecting the worst, you’ll often be surprised that they’re not all that bad. Toilets with running water are a rarity outside of the larger towns, except at top-end hotels, which all have Western flush toilets. However, even where there’s no running water, there will often be a bucket and scoop nearby for flushing. Many luxury tented camps in remote areas have ‘dry’ toilets - just a fancy version of the long drop with a Western-style seat - but they’re invariably very clean and hygienic.
 

Useful Swahili (basic)

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Before you land:  
  You look smart Umependeeza sana
  What is your name? Jina lako ni nani?
  When will we arrive? Tutafika saa ngapi?
  Thank you for your service Asante kwa huduma
     
Just landed:  
  Welcome Karibu
  How are you? Habari yako?
  I am a citizen of …… Mimi ni raia wa …..
  Where is your passport? Pasi yoko iko wapi?
  It is hot today Leo ni joto sana
  How long will it take? Itachukua muda gain?
     

On the streets

 
  Let’s go to Tilapia Hotel Naomba twende Tilapia Hotel
  Where do they serve good food? Wapi sehemu nzuri ya chakula?
  What is the price? Bei gani?
  I want to go to town Nataka kwende mjini
  How much is the fare? Nauli ni kiasi gani?
     
At a restaurant:  
  Do you serve food here? Mnauza chakula hapa?
  I want …. food Nata chakula cha ….
  ……. European kizungu
  ……. Indian kihindi
  ……. African kiafrika
  I’m a vegetarian Nakula mboga tu
  I don’t eat meat Mimi sili nyama
  Please bring me the bill Nipe risiti tafadhali
     
Basic words:  
  Hello Jambo
  Goodbye Kwaheri
  How are you? Hujambo
  Fine Mzuri Sana
  Please Tafadhali
  Thank you Asante Sana
  Excuse me Samahani
  Yes Ndiyo
  No Hapana
  Mr. Bwana
  Ms. Bibi
  Infant Mtoto
  Elder Mzee
  Take care Kuwa mwangarifu
  I want Nataka
  I’m going Nakwenda
  I’m coming Nakuja
     
Health:  
  I’m ill Ninaumwa
  Doctor Daktari
  Medicine Dawa
  Pills Drugstore Duka la dawa
  Fever homa
     
Numbers:  
  0 sifuri
  1 moja
  2 mbili
  3 tatu
  4 nne
  5 tano
  6 sita
  7 saba
  8 nane
  9 tisa
  10 kumi
  11 kumi na moja
  20 ishirini
  21 ishirini na moja
  30 thelathini
  40 arobaini
  50 hamsini
     
Time:  
  What time is it? Ni saa ngapi?
  It’s … o’clock Ni saa …
  Half past na nusu
  Quarter past na robo
  Quarter to kasarobo
  Minute dakika
  Hour/clock/time saa
  Day(s) siku
  Week(s) wiki
  Today leo
  Morning asubuhi
  Afternoon mchana
  Night usiku
  Yesterday jana
  Tomorrow kesho
  Soon sasa hivi
  Later baadaye
  Always kila wakati
  Every day kila siku
  Saturday Jumamosi
  Sunday Jumapili
  Monday Jumatatu
  Tuesday Jumanne
  Wednesday Jumatano
  Thursday Alhamisi
  Friday Ijumaa
     
Visa and documents
All visitors to Tanzania except for very few countries require entry visas. Visas can be obtained at the point of entry for most nationals. See the visa & formality section on this web site.
Tourist visas last for three months and fees range from US$ 50 to US$ 100 depending on nationality. Investors need business visas, which can also be obtained at all Tanzania Embassies and consulates abroad. It is issued upon presentation of necessary documentation at a US $200 fee. Like tourist visas, business visas can be obtained upon arrival at major points of entry.
Visa extension is always possible and can be made at the immigration office in Mwanza and at all major towns within Tanzania. NOTE: Business visas cannot be extended while in Tanzania.
Multiple visas will no longer be issued at embassies and consulates abroad, but requests have to be sent directly to Immigration Services in Dar es Salaam. Address: Immigration HQ, P.O. Box 222, Ohio/Ghana Avenue, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Phone: +255 22 2118637. Fax: +255 22 2112174. E-mail: uhamiaji@intafrica.com NOTE: Regulations and requirements for international travel may change at short notice. Before finalizing any travel arrangements, you are advised to contact the appropriate diplomatic or consular authority.
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Water
Be careful of the water. If you don’t know for certain that the water is safe, assume the worst.
Reputable brands of bottled water or soft drinks are fine, and are widely available in Tanzania. Although it’s generally not a problem in Tanzania, check the bottles to be sure they haven’t been refilled with tap water. Only use water from containers with a serrated seal - not tops or corks. Take care with fruit juice, particularly if water may have been added. Milk should be treated with suspicion, as it is often unpasteurised, although boiled milk is fine if it is kept hygienically. Tea or coffee should also be OK, since the water should have been boiled.
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*) This guide is for advice and guidance only - and can not be held responsible if something goes wrong. Common sense is recommended everywhere - even in Tanzania. Welcome, enjoy your stay and come back soon again.