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If you are planning a visit there next summer (July or August):
- August is in the middle of the dry season. Temperatures aren't too hot and no rain will spoil your trip, which is perfect. Wear light clothes, comfortable shoes, a hat and sunglasses. In the Ngorongoro area you'll need some warm clothes at night. Binoculars and photographic equipment are essential too. A torch might be useful as well.
- The worst part is that most of the gnus and zebras may have migrated to Masai Mara, in Kenya, looking for green pasture areas, so you'll miss the chance to see huge herds. That said the herds often cross backwards and forwards between the N Serengeti and Masai Mara all through August, so some say August is a perfect time to see the Migration but staying in the Northern Serengeti is a must!! In Ngorongoro , the animals there stay the whole year
. If you plan to visit Africa at this time of the year, you may choose to go to Kenya instead (which would probably be cheaper, by the way), and wait to visit Tanzania during the rain season (or at the end of it, when the migration starts).
- Don't expect to find any rhinos. You'll be lucky to spot some in the distance. They're really shy and so hard to be seen. On the other side, you'll enjoy sights of lions and plenty of giraffes, crocodiles, hippos, buffaloes, gazelles, monkeys, hyenas, eagles, vultures, etc. If you're lucky enough, you'll even get to see some cheetah and leopard, or some lions or crocs in action (thrilling!).
- Take every precaution with food and specially with water (always use bottled water, even when brushing your teeth), and take with you a medical kit (diarrheas and vomiting are a classic). Make sure to get all the necessary vaccines in advance, and the anti-malaria profylaxis (you have to start taking the pills one week before the trip). And get yourself a powerful mosquito repellent (use it abundantly before sunset and sunrise) and a good solar protection cream.
- If you can afford it, stay one night at least in a luxury camp. It is a great and unforgettable experience.
- Don't miss the visit to a Masai village. It'll cost you 20 dollars at least and altogether it feels rather artificial, but a look inside one of their huts is worth the visit. Also, you'll get to take as many pictures of them as you like (they wouln't let you otherwise, for they believe photographs would steel their soul, although it seems that their soul is safe as long as you pay).
- European travellers should get information about the convenience to take US($) dollars with them, instead of Euros. In 1994, American dollars were widely accepted, unlike Euros.
- Tips are expected at hotels and other services (drivers, guides, etc).
- Don't buy any souvenirs without bargaining to get a good price. They're extremely overpriced.
- You might want to take with you pens, school material, t-shirts or any other objects from home to give away as a present (people, mostly children, will try to get money from you, but those gifts will serve as well).
- Finally, don't expect people to hurry up. Tanzanian people don't know the meaning of stress. They're kind and charming, and they'll solve any problems you may encounter during the trip, but their way. You'll hear the expression Hakuna matata (No problem) quite often. It is so popular that there a is song (different from the Lion King movie's, but same meaning). You'll be singing it as well by the end of the trip.
If you like the beach, a few days in Zanzibar would be the perfect end for an excellent trip. Enjoy it!