FAQs


Why Travel with Viewpoint Adventures? (video)

Where is the best place to go on safari?

 

thumb_PB200712Photo by Donna Baumgartner Safari in Kiswahili, the language of East Africa, simply means a "journey". Today it is synonymous in English with a wildlife viewing adventure in the African bush. If your primary reason for travelling to Africa is to experience an abundance of African wildlife in unspoiled wilderness, then Tanzania should be your destination of choice. Tanzania protects over 25% of its land through national parks and reserves, more than any other country on the continent. You simply cannot beat the wildlife concentrations found in Tanzania. The parks and wildlife reserves of Tanzania are inhabited by vast herds of wildebeest spread out across the Serengeti savannah, huge populations of elephant and buffalo, as well as plains game and their predators. All these animals interact and roam freely, the same as they have for thousands of years. Here you'll witness an incredible diversity of ecology and will find the vegetation and bird life as fascinating as the big game. This is the home to 90% of the film series produced on African animals. Tanzania also boasts a remarkable number of World Heritage sites including Serengeti National Park, Kilimanjaro National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Selous Game Reserve, (this reserve alone is the size of Denmark), Kilwa Kisiwani and the Songo Mnara Ruins and Mafia Marine Park.

When is the best time of year to go on safari in Tanzania?

PB190659Anytime other than during the long rains (April & May) is a wonderful time to be on safari in the northern circuit. At Viewpoint Adventures, we adjust our safari itineraries to take advantage of the best possible game viewing in accordance with the seasonal concentrations of wildlife.

 

Where is the best place to go for wildlife viewing in Africa?

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Photo by Carol Austin
You simply can't beat northern Tanzania for wildlife concentrations. Most people have heard of the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater and the wide array of wildlife dwelling on the Crater floor. Most have heard of the vast Serengeti savannah, which hosts the annual migration of wildebeest and the predators that follow in its wake. This is only the beginning of the natural phenomena awaiting your discovery on a safari to Tanzania. Guests of Viewpoint Adventures consistently tell us the wildlife they experienced far surpassed their most optimistic expectations.

What kinds of animals will I see on safari in Tanzania?

PB190562Photo by Donna BaumgartnerTanzania is home to over 35 species of large four-legged mammals and has over 1000 species of birds. On a typical safari in northern Tanzania,  you can expect to see elephant, buffalo, giraffe, hippo, baboon, monkeys and a variety of plains game such as wildebeest, hartebeest, zebra, impala and gazelle. Most people see lion and hyena, and possibly cheetah or leopard. In Ngorongoro Crater, you may see one of the few remaining black rhino to be found in Tanzania. You'll undoubtedly see several different species of mongoose and some hyrax and other small mammals. If you're lucky, you'll see one or more of the smaller cats, foxes, wild dog, or the more reticent antelope like lesser kudu, bushbuck, oryx, or eland.

What is the Migration?

PB210836Photo taken on Viewpoint Tour 11/2010Every year, over one million wildebeest move through the Serengeti plains in search of food and water. The phenomenon of these animals moving en mass through the African savannah is known as The Great Migration. The seasonal rains that water their grazing pastures drive their movement. It is impossible to predict in advance exactly how or when this progression will take place, but there is a pattern. Generally, from mid-December through May, the herds are feeding in the southern Serengeti. During February, thousands of calves appear on the plains. Between June and July, the wildebeest begin their annual migration north, reaching the Mara River that marks the Kenyan border sometime between the end of July and beginning of August. After the first short rains, usually in the beginning of November, the herds move back into Tanzania's Serengeti and make their way to the southern pastures where they rest and feed through the rains until their search for better grazing leads them to begin their annual migration once again. Even when the "migration" moves into Kenya for the summer months, there are many resident herds in the Serengeti, and there is always an incredible array of wildlife to experience there. Also, in the summer months, which are the height of the dry season, thousands of elephants  congregate around the Tarangire River. This park is at its prime during these months, and we adjust our itineraries to take advantage of the prime wildlife viewing there. Each time of year offers the visitor to Tanzania a special opportunity for wildlife viewing.

Will I have a chance to interact with the local people of Tanzania?

PB170323The vast majority of Tanzanians are still living very close to their traditional lifestyles. Most of the people are subsistence farmers. The Maasai people, favoured by photographers for their strikingly colourful décor, live a pastoral existence following their herds of cattle to better grazing areas, still adhering to the traditions and ceremonies of their ancestors. Their "bomas" (villages) are located throughout northern Tanzania. Other small tribes of hunter-gatherers, living according to their ancient customs and traditions, can also be found in this area.
At Viewpoint Adventures, we consider the cultural component of any safari to be subtle yet essential. All of our guides are Tanzanian born. They are an excellent resource to help you gain greater insight into the local culture. We don't promote specially-staged dances and tourist-oriented presentations. Instead, on most of our trips, we begin with a visit to a traditional village where you are welcomed as friends of Viewpoint Adventures into their lives and invited to get to know them as they get to know you. As we drive between parks, we pass many villages and Maasai bomas, giving you further glimpses into the lives of the Tanzanian people. We also offer a special trip in which our guests travel well off the beaten path to spend time among the Wahadza people and observe their ancient hunter-gatherer ways.

What if I want a custom safari?

We would be delighted to work with you to help you and your family, friends or organization plan the best possible safari to match your interests and budget. We organize custom safaris for professional photographers, honeymooners and families, to name a few.

Can I take my children on safari?

PB210877YES! Viewpoint Adventures has a personal understanding and deep commitment to meeting the special needs of families. We have designed our unique family-safari programs to allow you and your children to experience the wonders of Africa together. You'll have a chance to deepen your understanding of cultural diversity, discover the many miracles of nature, and at the same time play, laugh, and enjoy the pleasure of one another's company. Our trips are well suited for children.

Will I stay in tents or lodges?

Our safaris offer a wide array of safari styles to suit your interests and budget. Please see our website for a description of the different types of accommodation we use on our trips.

How big are your safari groups?

Our safaris vary in size to accommodate all of our clients, whether it is a solo safari or larger group. Safaris of 10-14 people are ideal for personalized attention.

What's the weather like in Tanzania?

PB160227Located at an altitude of 5,000 to 7,600 feet, northern Tanzania's dry sunny climate is nothing like the steamy African jungle of Tarzan movies. The weather is spring-like year round, with daytime temperatures in the 70s and 80s (20 to 25C), evenings in the 60s (15C). From June until August, temperatures are slightly cooler, ranging from the 50s to the mid-70s (10 to 20C). The coastal and lowland areas tend to be more tropical in temperature.

What clothes should I bring on safari?

Safari dress is comfortable and casual - layers are recommended. Keep it simple and bring things you don't mind getting dusty. After you have booked your safari, we send you pre-departure information via email to help you prepare for your safari.

What's the food like?

On safari, you will be pleasantly surprised by both the quality and the variety of the food available on safari. In most lodges, meals are served buffet-style so you can choose what you like. The food is prepared according to western tastes, with some curries and local cuisine included. 

On Kilimanjaro, dinners are typically a main course with vegetables and salad. Chicken and fish are served some of the days during the climb, with pastas and rice dishes being served in the middle of the climb while up high. Lunches are often on the trail and usually consist of cold cuts and salad laid out on a table so you can make your own sandwich. Fresh hot vegetable soups are served at dinner time, and packet soup is available on request between meals, as is coffee, tea and hot chocolate. Breakfast is your choice: granola, toast, fruit, eggs, and sometimes pancakes or French toast. While hiking, some people have a favorite snack that they like; it is a good idea to bring this from home.

Can special dietary requirements be accommodated?

Special dietary requirements such as vegetarian or diabetic meals can easily be arranged with advanced notice. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you may wish to bring along some alternative protein sources. If you have multiple food allergies, you'll definitely want to bring along supplemental snacks. It is important we know of any possible dietary restrictions as soon as possible.

Are safaris in Tanzania safe?

thumb_PB190585Today's modern safari is a far cry from the rugged safaris of the past. After a stimulating day of game viewing, you can relax at comfortable, attractive lodges, with amenities like swimming pools, full service restaurants, and fully stocked bars. Located right in the scenic settings of the wildlife reserves, the lodges are close to nature… but not too close for comfort. Tanzania is one of Africa's most stable countries, where you'll receive a warm welcome from its gracious people. Every care is taken to ensure your health and safety on safari.

Is it okay to drink the water?

We provide bottled water on game drives and in campsites. Bottled water is provided in your rooms for drinking and brushing your teeth. You can purchase good quality bottled water at all the lodges and camps.

Are there a lot of bugs in Tanzania?

There are more bugs in many places in the USA than you will encounter on safari. Again, remember that most of the areas you'll be visiting are arid (especially from July - November). The bugs you will see are fascinating, but certainly not anything to be concerned about. Repellent for the mosquitoes during the early and evening game drives is recommended.

How far in advance should I book my safari?

It is better to book as far in advance as possible to ensure availability at the time you wish to travel, especially during the peak seasons (July & August and Christmas time). This is especially important for those wishing to travel on private custom safaris and those adding extensions to the scheduled trips.

Can I use a credit card to pay for my safari?

Payment by Visa coming soon! A 50% deposit of the total amount is required to guarantee your reservation within two weeks from written confirmation. The balance is due 60 days prior to departure.

What shots should I get?

For medical advice, it is always best to consult your doctor or travel clinic. Bear in mind that you will be staying in camps and lodges oriented to meet the needs of American and European guests. When you talk with your medical specialist, tell them the area of Tanzania where you will be traveling, and they will make the appropriate recommendations.

What additional costs can I expect when I travel with View Point Adventure?

PB220496Our safari packages include all accommodation, meals while on safari, airport transfers, park fees and services of Viewpoint Adventures, guides and drivers. It is customary to tip your guide and driver, as well as the cook or camp staff if you are camping during your safari. You will also need to pay for your own beverages with meals as well as personal items, like laundry service and phone calls. Before you go, you are responsible for any passport and visa fees. We also highly recommend you purchase travel protection insurance. And, finally, if you know yourself to be a big souvenir shopper you'll need to budget accordingly.
Recommended tipping guidelines

  • Guide, assistant guide USD $15-$25 per person per day
  • Porters USD $5 to $10 per porter per day on Mt. Kilimanjaro treks
  • Lodge porters USD $1-2 per bag

Please note that tipping is customarily recommended, but depends on your service satisfaction. More tipping information available under Travel Tips.

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Release of Liability 

Payment for a Viewpoint Adventures, hereinafter referred to as VPA tour implies consent of the following VPA terms and conditions and further holds VPA harmless of all non-negligent acts. In kind, VPA agrees to adhere to the details of the clients’ contract to the best of their abilities and in alliance with the terms and conditions as set out below.

1.) PAYMENT

Payment shall be made in accordance to the terms of the contract. By making payment for your VPA tour you agree to the terms of the contract and the terms and conditions of this release of liability. Prices from vendors or park fees may change (up or down) without warning and out of the control of VPA. If such an occurrance takes place, your itinerary prices will be adjusted accordingly.

Park fees are established by the Tanzanian government. Fees may change, without notice, at the discretion of the Tanzanian government. VPA will not be held responsible for any changes made by the government regarding price changes to your itinerary. VPA will adjust your  itinerary charges accordingly.

Hotel reservations, prices and availability cannot be guaranteed by VPA. Private vendors are not in VPA control. Every effort will be made to give clients their requested accommodations, but in the event of unavailability or price changes, VPA will endeavor to establish similar lodging and accommodations at our discretion (if a time constraint exists or will exist). VPA will make every effort to consult clients when possible.

2.) PERSONAL EXPENSES

VPA will not be responsible for clients obtaining passports, visas, travel insurance, telephone service, laundry service, non itinerary entertainment expenses, beverages not previously specified or any other items of a personal nature. VPA will be happy to assist the client in obtaining personal items (within reason), if and when possible.

3.) ITINERARY CHANGES

VPA will make every effort, within reason, to accommodate clients’ requests for itinerary changes. Clients will be responsible for any price increases, fees or rate changes associated with the changes requested. It is accepted that VPA cannot guarantee any itinerary changes due to time constraints or logistics based on the remainder of the tour. Prices will be adjusted accordingly.

4.) LODGING FEES

It is understood that lodging is to be booked as far in advance as possible to ensure occupancy and that the fees are non-refundable (per the policies of the individual lodges). Even though VPA chooses its vendors and lodges with extreme care, we have no control over their non-refund policies and VPA cannot legally be held responsible for these policies of our vendors. It is strongly recommended that the client purchase travel insurance in the event of cancellations and non-refundable fees.

5.) UNAVOIDABLE CIRCUMSTANCES

VPA will not be held responsible for unavoidable circumstances including, but not limited to, delays due to technical difficulties, weather or disaster; hotels regarding prices, complaints to the hotel, accommodations, food; airline problems; telephone calls or etc. VPA will make every effort to alleviate problems as they come up and will make every effort to ensure that all details of the planned itinerary be carried out. However, VPA does not have control over the policies of direct suppliers and vendors in the event that they alter their policies. VPA does not accept liability for errors and omissions of said suppliers and vendors.

6.) TRAVEL DOCUMENTS AND NECESSITIES

VPA does not accept responsibility for any consequences whatsoever due to a client failing to comply with necessary passport, visa and health requirements. VPA recommends securing a passport, visa and required vaccinations early in the booking process. VPA is also willing to assist in obtaining any of the needed documents.

7.) TRAVEL INSURANCE

VPA strongly advises clients to purchase travel insurance to protect against cancellations, illness, loss of personal items or any possible defaults. The purchase of said travel insurance should be completed well in advance of your trip in order to benefit the carriers full range of coverage.

8.) DISCLAIMER:

Viewpoint Adventures acts only as an agent for the various vendors and suppliers that provide accommodations, tours, sightseeing, activities or other services connected with our tours. Such services are subject to the terms and conditions of each specific vendor and supplier. Viewpoint Adventures and their respective employees, agents and representatives accept no liability whatsoever for any injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or any other incident that may occur due to negligence, defect or default of any company or person that provides services except said VPA personnel. Responsibility is not accepted for losses, injury, damages or expenses of any kind due to sickness, weather, hostilities, acts of nature, local laws or other such causes. All services and accommodations are subject to the laws and regulations of the country in which they are provided. Viewpoint Adventures is not responsible for baggage or personal effects of any individual on tour arranged by Viewpoint Adventures. Individuals are responsible for purchasing a travel insurance policy, if desired,that will cover incidents of loss as covered in your specific policy. Due diligence of each individual is expected in all situations on a Viewpoint Adventures Tanzanian Safari Tour.

I HAVE READ THIS RELEASE AND UNDERSTAND ITS CONTENT. I FURTHER UNDERSTAND THAT BY PAYING FOR SOME OR ALL OF THE TRIP THAT THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THIS RELEASE AND THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE VIEWPOINT ADVENTURES CONTRACT ARE ACCEPTED.

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