GoBear's Ultimate Guide to Africa

Introduction

Africa is the world’s second-largest continent. It is also home to the world’s longest river, largest desert, largest waterfall, highest mountain and largest island. It is also interesting to know that roaming in the African lands are the world’s largest land animal (African elephant), the world’s tallest animal (giraffe), the world’s fastest land animal (cheetah), world’s largest reptile (Nile crocodile) and the world’s largest primate (gorilla).  Traveling to Africa is discovering some of the best things that life has to offer making it the most exciting and most diverse continent on this earth. 

 

Map of Africa
Image credit: mapswire.com

 

Algeria

For years, Algeria has worked so hard to attract tourists until it has achieved its current state as a “must-see” destination for tourists around the world. Located in North Africa, Algeria is occupied by the world’s largest hot desert called Sahara. Aside from that, the country has so many charming cities, lush landscapes, and optimistic people that make it the 38th happiest place in the world. 

Credit card use: Algerian Dinar (DZD) is the official currency of Algeria. The current exchange rate is at 1SGD to 86.41 DZD. Although you can find a significant number of ATMs in the country, credit card use is not yet a preferred mode of payment for your purchases from small restaurants and shops. International hotels like Hilton and Sheraton may accept cashless payments, but you may need to check with your bank for charges and terms. 

Medical services: Algeria has hospitals and clinics that can be relied upon when it comes to medical emergencies. However, since the country is not yet into cashless payments, doctors expect cash payments immediately after any intervention. This won't seem to be a problem if you can arrange with your travel or health insurance provider for repayments once you go back to Singapore. 

Telecommunications: Getting connected while in Algeria should not be an issue because you can always buy a local sim card with 2GB of data for as low as S$11.57. Djezzy is the largest network provider in Algeria with around 45% of the market share. Their data and call plans are divided into three types which are Amigo, Millennium and Liberty. State-owned Mobilis is the second largest provider in Algeria. Mobilis offers the Mobtasim carte which includes data and call credits. 

Owning a local sim card can give you a good value for money when it comes to data and calls. You don’t have to sign any contracts, and almost all sim cards are compatible with modern cellular phones. 

Passport and visa: Singaporeans who want to visit Algeria for business or pleasure should apply for a permit one or two months before your travel date. Algeria requires that the actual passport is sent to their authorized government office which will be stamped for entry. 

For further inquiries, please check the information below:

Embassy of Algeria in Singapore

Address: Jl HR Rasuna Said Kav 10-1 Kuningan 12950 Jakarta Indonesia
Email:  [email protected] ,
Phone:  +62-21-525-4719 , +62-21-525-4809 ,
Fax:  +62-21-525-4654 ,

Things to do: The Sahara Desert is something you don’t want to miss, so the first thing you should include in your itinerary to Algeria is a tour of the world’s largest desert and camp overnight in between the sun and the sands. 

 

Tassili n'Ajjer National Park in Algeria
The Tassili n'Ajjer National Park. Image Credit: Wikipedia

 

Located in Algeria is a UNESCO World Heritage destination known as Tassili n’Ajjer National Park. Tourists endure a long bus trip to discover prehistoric rock art embedded in a unique landscape of rock arches, sandstone peaks and montane woodlands. 

Algerian travel is also a way of indulging in a spiritual journey with Our Lady of Africa, one of the most magnificent churches in the country. The Cathedral was built in 1858 with the Neo-Byzantine style. 

Should you want to experience ultimate diversity in food, accommodation, cinemas, gardens and theaters, go to Oran, Africa's second largest city. Visitors love to explore the seaside resorts, the souq and Oran’s historic centre. 

Food: Algerian food is a mix of Arab, French, Berber and Turkish influences. Fish dishes are genuinely exceptional, and specialities include chickpea cakes, hard cheese and figs. Most tourists look for shakshuka; a stew served with vegetables; tajine, stewed lamb and chicken; and couscous, semolina-like pasta which is also considered as Algeria’s staple food. Algerian meals are usually made with long, French loaf although Berber families eat flat, wheat bread. 

Regional drinks like mint tea, coffee and wines always come with these sumptuous delicacies. Alcohol is available in hotels and restaurants but is very expensive. 

Languages: Arabic is Algeria’s official language since 1963, and 81% of its population speaks it. Non-Arabic residents learn the language in school. Algerian Arabic is entirely different compared to Arabic spoken in other countries. Algerian Arabic as evolved with borrowed words from Turkish, French and Berber languages. 

Time Zone: The current standard time in Algeria is coherent with the Central European Time or UTC +1

Climate: There are three types of weather in Algeria. The first one is inherent to the coastal regions known as the mild Mediterranean climate. The second one is experienced in the northern hills and mountains and is called transitional climate. The last one is the desert climate generally encountered in the vast Saharan desert. 

The best time to visit Algeria is from July to September should you want the sea to be warm enough for swimming and other water activities. Skiing is ideally done in December, January, February and March. 

Travel insurance: GoBear allows you to choose among 26 types of travel insurance plans to Algeria starting from $18 per trip. This low rate already includes unlimited emergency medical evacuation assistance, personal accident repayment, medical expenses reimbursement, and loss of bags and other personal effects. A more comprehensive plan would be costlier, but you can opt to include different coverages like medical repatriation, hospitalization and extreme sports. 
 

Botswana

Botswana is a famous destination in South of Africa that is teeming with wildlife including reptiles, mammals, birds and amphibians. The variety of animals include around 30 species of bats, 460 species of birds, 150 species of mammals and 200 species of amphibians. Botswana is confined by river courses in the eastern and southern parts while its western borders are lines of latitude and longitude through the Kalahari. 

Credit card use: Fuel stations, hotels, restaurants and supermarkets accept Visa and MasterCard while Diners Club and American Express are also recognized by other merchants. In cases when credit cards are not allowed, you need to get a few Pula or the official currency in Botswana. Automated teller machines are scattered all over the country, but they dispense only Pula and not general notes. 

Medical services: Botswana’s public health care system is focused on disease prevention because almost one-fourth of its adult population is infected with AIDS or HIV. Public health facilities are in Botswana’s capital city Gabarone. Expect that medical provisions outside the capital are limited and of lower standards. 

On the other hand, private health care access in the country depends on a good health plan. Because professional skills and medical facilities are also limited, expect that individual health interventions are expensive. Thus, tourists are advised to travel with insurance plans to cover for health concerns while in the country. 

Telecommunications: Internet access in Botswana is available in cyber cafes and post offices. Internet signals are fluctuating so better check with local sim card providers for call and data packages. Orange, BeMobile and Mascom provide cellular phone coverage. All towns in the country are covered and even most portions of the national highways. 

Passport and Visa: Singaporeans can freely enter Botswana without having to secure a visa and stay there for a maximum of 90days. More than this provision, Singaporeans can apply for visa by presenting a passport valid for six months, return tickets to the home country, proof of sufficient funds and purpose for travelling.

Things to do: Nature and wildlife are the highlights of every visit to Botswana, but the country is more than just your ordinary adventure as it takes the experience to a more exciting level. A traditional canoe will let you float along the Okavango Delta where you can hear the roar of lions, the laughter of hyenas and all other chilling animal sounds that make the African jungle. 

 

Okavango Delta
Okavango Delta in Botswana. Image credit: Pixabay

 

Farther to the Kalahari Desert, more adventurous tourists are inclined to exploring the caverns of the Gewihaba which feature two storeys of caves liked by a passageway adorned with stalagmites and stalactites. 

Food: Exotic wildlife is not the only thing that makes up Algeria’s treasures. Algerian families take pride in their five famous traditional dishes that keep them together and their culture alive. 

The first meal you should try out is the Chakchouka, a traditional breakfast made with sautéed onions, spices, eggs and tomatoes. It is best eaten with pita, rice or bread. Couscous is the national dish in Algeria an is a perfect complement to any meal. Couscous is cooked with vegetables, spices and meat. You can also try Hariri – a traditional soup from North Africa that is made with simmered lamb in spices, vegetables and herbs. And if you are craving for some heavenly roasted meat, then get a serving of Mechoui, a dish of roasted meat on a spit. 

Languages: Tswana and Eglish are the official languages in Botswana. English emerged after the colonial rule in the country and is used in most official business texts and written communications. Majority of people in Botswana speak Tswana which is used purely in conversations. 

Time zone: Botswana observes the Central Africa Time at UTC +2

Climate: Semi-arid is the best way to describe Botswana’s climate. The rainy season runs in the summer months while the rest of the year is dry and hot. The best time to visit Chobe, Moremi and Okavango Delta is from May to September. These are the months when winter and dry seasons have moderate temperatures. September and October are the worst times of the year when heat is intense in the North. 

Travel Insurance: Travel insurance to Botswana costs around $35 covering personal accident, medical expenses, lost baggage and cancelled a trip. Some packages offer unlimited emergency medical evacuation. The best thing to do is check with your provider any other coverages provided for activities which may not be included in basic travel insurance packages. Botswana is a safe destination because of its political and financial stability. However, no matter how safe it sounds, it best not to bring valuables like expensive jewels and watches to your trip.

Kenya

Kenya is another unpolished gem in Africa composed of diverse tribes and ethnic groups. The country became independent in 1963 pursuing opportunities in business through tourism. Kenyan children welcome visitors with a warm smile and audible chants of “Mzungu! Mzungu!” – a chant is indicating the presence of a white person in a community immersed in wildlife and snow-capped mountains. 

 

Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya. Image credit: Pixabay

 

Credit card use: Most establishments in Kenya accept Amex, MasterCard and Visa. Mobile payments are allowed through M-Pesa. Credit card payments are charged with 3% processing fee. It is best to call your bank before traveling to Kenya to ensure some charges are covered. Should you find credit card use a bit expensive, you can always carry cash to push for small transactions in rural areas within Kenya. The currency is called Kenyan Shilling (KES), and 1 Singaporean dollar is equal to 74.33 KES. 

Medical services:  Kenya has a network of private and public hospital facilities under the system Kenya Essential Package for Health. The government-owned hospitals are the Kenyatta National Hospital and the MTRH or Moi Teaching Referral Hospital. Visitors can also opt for the Nairobi Hospital and the Aga Khan University Hospital which are both privately owned. 

Tourists who will be in need of high standard medical care can seek assistance from these reputable private hospitals at a hefty cost. Many expats decide to be evacuated for therapeutic intervention to the UK or South Africa. Traveling with a comprehensive travel insurance plan with unlimited medical evacuation cover can be very useful in ensuring that a reliable service is available in case of mishaps. 

Telecommunications:  GSM cellular network is available in Kenya. Most tourists buy affordable handsets and local cards to get connected. Unlocked phones are compatible with telecom providers like Yu, Orange and Safaricom. The Internet is available in significant lodges, restaurants, hotels and post offices. There are also cafes and business centers that offer free Wi-Fi connection. With Kenya ranked second in Africa concerning internet speed, you can always get in touch with your loved ones while on your exciting Safari trip. 

Passport and visa: Singaporeans are not required to apply for a visa when entering Kenya. Kenya and Singapore have strengthened its partnership with two agreements promoting more opportunities for both countries. Through the Bilateral Investment Treaty and Avoidance of Double Taxation agreement, Singaporeans visiting Kenya for leisure purposes may also explore business and trade opportunities.

Things to do: There are a lot of unique and fresh things to do in Kenya. Tourists can explore one of the country’s greatest mysteries hidden in the Gedi Ruins. Buried deep in Kenya’s unexplored forest, the Gedi Ruins was established in the 13th century yet featuring running water, flushing toilets and other features of an advanced city. Africa was far behind most other countries in the world, but the Gedi’s urban setting remained to be a mystery among historians and scientists. 

Kenya’s mountains are capped with wildlife that surrounds the vast unscathed lands. Visit the Giraffe Manor and Giraffe Center where you can find the tallest land beasts that roam the earth. You can also check out the Kitum cave excavated by elephants using their massive tusks to pull off chunks of salt. 

Should you need to see, a masterpiece moulded by the wind, floods and rain, head to the Hell’s Kitchen or an odd sandstone canyon also known as the Marafa Depression. 

The interchanging colours of pinks, oranges, whites and deep crimsons are layered so perfectly that it would imitate the layering of a fancy-coloured cake especially when highlighted and mirrored by the setting sun. The Marafa Depression is symbolising the deep-rooted beliefs and cultural mysteries of Kenya. 

Food: Kenya’s restaurants are avenues for feasting and Carnivore is your destination for meat cravings including that of camel, crocodile, morsels and ostrich. Tourists enjoy the meat orgy as Carnivore entertains them with gardens, playground for children, cocktails, nightclub and African heritage gallery. 

Here are also a few of Kenya’s best dishes you can find in street diners that will let you have a taste of the country’s exotic and diverse culture. Most common of all meals is the ugali or cornmeal staple served with saucy stew and vegetables. The Kenyan stew is also a must-try if you want to experience different meats stewed in a light tomato base and accented with pepper, onion, salt and Mchuzi mix!. 

Finally, one of the most popular dishes is the Mutura – a Kenyan sausage delicacy perfectly served to beer lovers. The Mutura is stuffed in goat intestine after combining goat blood and meat. It is then boiled and cooked then grilled to give the meat a smoky taste. 

Language: Kenya’s long historical colonization under the British rule made it a natural home for English speakers making English its official language used in education, jurisprudence and trade. Despite this fact, Kenya is a multilingual destination with Swahili as the national language. When bound to Kenya, bear in mind that there are other 28 languages in the country. 

Time Zone: Kenya Time Zone observes the GMT+3 and does not operate the Daylight-Saving Time. 

Climate: The climate in Kenya depend on location, but in general it is mostly calm with some days that are extremely hot or warm. The weather is tropical, yet rainfall is quite high throughout the year. The hottest month in Nairobi is February while wet season runs from November to May. Tourists flock to Kenya depending on their preferred activities. Some travel from June to October when it is easier to spot wildlife and animals gather in rivers and waterholes. Others prefer to visit from November to May when the scenery is all green and beautiful due to the rain. Newborn animals can be seen during these months marking the continuity of fantastic natural resource which Kenya has been blessed with. 

Travel insurance: Using GoBear’s comparison tool, a travel insurance plan to Kenya is available from $18 to as much as $80. The price difference depends on the coverage included in each program, although almost all providers offer unlimited emergency medical insurance. Kenya is generally safe, but recently, terrorism is something you should consider. Most Western governments are against travel near the Kenya and Somali border although the other parts of the country are supposed to be secure.

Lesotho

Tucked in the heart of Africa is an underrated destination that is packed with majestic mountains, beautiful parks, rich reserves, rolling grassland and prolific wildlife. Lesotho’s charm has earned its title as the Kingdom of the Sky, considering its high altitude and stunning views. Whether you want to trek the mountain scenery, trail dinosaur footprints or discover rock paintings, Lesotho is a gift of nature beyond your imagination. 

Credit card use: Credit cards are accepted everywhere in Lesotho. Most of Lesotho’s automated teller machines are smoothly operating such that payments and other transactions can be done without expecting any glitches. ATM cards and debit cards in Lesotho can also be used for payments and even cash withdrawals. Should you want to save against transaction fees, inquire from your banks about international purchases and booking terms to prevent unnecessary expenses. 

Cash payments are inevitable in the country, so it is best for you to prepare a few bucks in South Africa Rand and Lesotho Loti– the official currencies of Lesotho. Current exchange rate values 1 SGD equals 9.75 South African Rand or LSL. 

Medical Services: Tourists are advised to prepare medicines and acquire vaccines for diseases like Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Rabies, Yellow Fever, and Hepatitis B. More risks await visitors who are into game hunting, who travel to the southern part of Africa and those coming to Lesotho during warmer months. 

Telecommunications: Lesotho’s data and internet services work correctly in the lowlands, however, telephone systems become unstable in the highlands making it expensive for tourists to call back home. On the other hand, mobile phone signals are working well in the high areas. 

Tourists should not worry about mobile credit and data because international bundles are available. 

Passport and visa: Singaporeans bound to Lesotho are not required to apply for an entry visa. You only need to present a passport which is valid for at least three months and with at least two blank pages. Some countries are required to submit documentary evidence of parental responsibility if entering Lesotho with children. 

Things to do: All trips to Lesotho are highlighted by immersion with nature starting from the Botanical Gardens and Katse Dam. The Dam is the central passageway of water from Lesotho towards the plains of South African Free State Province. The tunnels are incredibly beholding as they adorn the mountain ranges. 

 

Maletsunyane Falls in Lesotho
Maletsunyane Falls. Image credit: Wikimedia

 

Another popular attraction in Lesotho is Semonkong featuring the majestic Maletsunyane Falls. Visitors are awed by the cascading water at 204 meters into a swimmable pool below it. Maletsuyane Falls is not only a delight during the summer but also during the winter because the water freezes into a stunning block of ice just above the pool. 

Lesotho is more than its warring tribe and cannibals during the 19th century. At present, a village nurtures the Kome Cave Dwellings built and carved in towering sandstone rocks. The caves have been the habitat of the Bataung and Basia clans supporting the survival of Lesotho's native culture and tradition. The Kome Cave Dwellings is the country’s pride making it held a National Heritage Site. 

Lesotho may be small, but it holds the most extensive known sites that house dinosaur footprints. Lesotho lures paleontologists and archaeologist with a wealth of shells, trees, bones and plants from the pre-historic times. Because of this, the country has also named a lizard after a dinosaur Leosthosaurus is a 1-meter long lizard that thrived from 200 million years ago. 

Food: Amazing Lesotho is a hub of traditional foods featuring kebab, South African barbecue, Oxtail curries, and seafood. Drink and soup include ginger beer, maloti beer and local brews. The daily meal is composed of fruits, vegetables and grains. Some of the specialities you can indulge in include Braai, a barbecue recipe that is popular in southern Africa. 

Should you find it hard to choose where to dine, you can consider the Regal Restaurant which serves international and Indian dishes. Take note that Lesotho has no shortage of eateries as it needs to cater to hundreds of NGO employees and AID workers. Delight in sumptuous vegetarian dishes, meat-rich curries and other international favorites in tasteful ambience. 

Language: The national language of Lesotho is Sesotho – a Southern Bantu language. However, in September 1966, the National Assembly of Lesotho ratified that English should also be considered a national language. English then became a medium of instruction in schools and had since become an essential aspect of the country’s growing tourism. 

Time zone: The timezone in Lesotho is GMT+2 without any daylight saving clock changes throughout the year.

Climate: Lesotho experiences rapid changes in climate especially temperature and wind. Summer is the rainiest and winter is the driest season. The austral summer is the best time to visit Lesotho since it is least cold during the night. Some tourists come by April, September and October. 

From June to August, visitors bring spring clothes and a few jackets to wear in the evenings.

Travel insurance: Travel insurance packages in Lesotho starts from $34 which already offers up to $200,000 repayment for personal accidents, $300 compensation per lost item and unlimited emergency medical evacuation assistance among other coverages. Lesotho is a developing tourism destination and beyond its mountainous sanctuary is the rise of petty crimes that haunt the urban centers. But this is not something to prevent you from roaming around this promising destination. Lesotho has incredibly friendly people that warmly welcomes you with a rich unpolished natural resource. 

Madagascar

Madagascar is dubbed the fourth largest island in the world. Thriving in its landscapes are lemurs and other animals which you can’t find anywhere. Since parks in the country receive less than 100 visitors per year, any traveller can freely explore its incredible resources with peace. Moreover, people in the country don’t consider themselves Africans. They may be geographically farther to Asia, but they prefer to be called Malagasy and not African. 

Credit card use: International credit cards are widely accepted in Madagascar. In fact, automated teller machines are readily available for you to withdraw cash. The most frequently used credit card network is Visa while MasterCard and Diners are rarely utilised for transactions.

Madagascar banks are liberalised with 105 agencies nationwide. The Malagasy franc (MGF) was the official currency of the country until 2005 when it was replaced by the Malagasy Ariary (MGA). One Singaporean dollar is equal to 2,400 MGA. MGA is not convertible so tourists should exchange only for what they need during their stay in Madagascar. 

Medical services: Small clinics and government hospitals are accessible in Antananarivo. Unfortunately, health care facilities may be scarce outside of the capital. Most medications are available in Antananarivo and tourists should carry any prescription of their required medications indicating the generic name. Anti-malarial medicines should be included in your travel necessities list. 

Aside from malaria, you should also be cautious about contracting rabies as it is considered an endemic disease due to the presence of street dogs anywhere. Moreover, HIV prevalence is low, but Madagascar suffers from a high incidence of tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections. 

Telecommunications: Staying connected in Madagascar is easy if you are staying in hotels offering complimentary Wi-Fi. If you are lucky enough, you can get a good connection from mid or high-end restaurants. Do not expect the connection to be smooth because connectivity might not be good enough for emails and other demanding applications like Skype and downloads. 

Airtel, Telma, Orange and bip are primary sim card providers in Madagascar. Choosing among these providers will help you save for phone and data costs. Airtel offers 10GB data valid for 30 days at S$48 on average while Telma prices the same package at S$50. You may also want to consider packages from other networks that include unlimited use of Bing, Facebook and certain websites. Tourists should know what they need before buying any sim card to make sure their connectivity objectives are met. 

Passport and visa: Singaporeans need to apply for visa to enter Madagascar. Should you stay in the country for less than 90 days, you can get a visa at the Antananarivo airport upon arrival. Just make sure your passport is valid for six months after the date of travel and that it has enough blank pages where Madagascar visa can be stamped. Currently, there are no required certificates of vaccinations, but injection for gammaglobulin and anti-malaria prophylaxis are recommended. 

Things to do: Some scientists consider Madagascar as the 8th continent in the world due to its unique ecology. Highlighting each travel is the Malagasy capital that radiates the cultural, architectural and historical richness of Madagascar. Antananarivo is lined with palaces and churches all cascaded in three levels: the ancient swamp or downtown, the middle of the cliffs, and the upper town or the old city. Beyond the busy streets of Antananarivo are the lux residential areas that are home to ancient noble families. 

 

Antananarivo, Madagascar
Antananarivo, Madagascar. Image credit: Wikimedia

 

Going farther from the city leads you to the Avenue of the Baobabs – a vast lining of Baobab trees that adorn the area between the Menabe region and Morondava. The striking landscape features 20-25 baobab trees stretched along the road making it Madagascar’s prime natural monument. 

Isalo National Park is known as the most stunning scenery in the country. Isalo is composed of eroded sandstones that date back to the Jurassic period, palm-lined oases, open grasslands and deep canyons. 

Food: Madagascar’s cuisine reflects the best blends that originated from the Indonesians, Arabs and Africans. Malagasy cuisines are flavourful including ramazava – a dish with herbs, leaves and pieces of meat cooked until browned. You can also try out Madagascar’s tastiest soup called lasopy, which is made with beef or veal broth and vegetables like white potatoes, turnips, scallions, tomatoes and carrots. This is often served with fresh bread or crackers. 

Throughout the island, you’ll find people munching on rice served with seafood and banana called Koba. Koba is also known as kobindravina which can also be made with ground peanuts, honey and corn flour all blended and steamed into a sumptuous meal. 

Should you ask about beers, well Madagascar serves Gold and Three Horses Beer. Tap water is not advisable, but you should try the ranonapango which is from burned rice water. Locals extract the water from boiled rice. This is then chilled and served best in dining settings. 

Language: French is widely spoken in Madagascar that is why it is considered as a Francophone country making French the official language along with Malagasy. The educated population speaks French because Madagascar used to be a French colony. However, at present, there are more Malagasy speakers compared to those who use French in daily interactions. 

Time zone: Madagascar observes Eastern Africa Time or GMT+3 and this year, the country does not follow the Daylight Saving Time. 

Climate: Madagascar experiences two seasons which are the dry season that happens from May to October; and the hot, rainy season which is experienced from November to April. Antananarivo is a gem during the dry season because the blue skies that adorn the entire city during those times are considered the most beautiful and brightest in the world. 

Travel insurance: Travel insurance to Madagascar starts from $34 with a bunch of benefits including repayments on personal accidents, medical expenses, lost bags and belongings, cancelled trips and emergency medical evacuation. 

Tourists should not worry because crime and violence rates are low in Madagascar. Fond memories are woven with the warmth of locals and great spots that await you in this unscathed African destination. 
 

Morocco

Morocco does not just take pride in its tasty cuisine but also its flavorful scenery that brings pleasure and peace to both Moroccans and visitors. Morocco’s population is young with around 70% under 30 years old. Nevertheless, it has become Africa’s top destination with over 10 million tourists coming to the country each year. 

Credit card use: In 2017, there are three million credit card transactions done in Morocco while Automated Teller Machines indicated 134 million deal for both international and local cards. The official currency in the country is dirham, and one Singaporean dollar is equal to 6.94 Moroccan dirhams. Surprisingly, most commodities are priced in euros so might be able to use other foreign currencies may be accepted except New Zealand or Australian dollars. 

The Moroccan dirham is a closed currency that you may need to wait to enter the country before exchanging for some cash. Paying in other currencies may be an easy way to transact but take note that businesses may round up the prices of goods once they see foreign money. 

Medical services: The medical system in Morocco is two-tiered with its public healthcare system offering dismal services. The private health facilities are based on a pay system which Moroccans can easily access through medical insurance. Vaccinations are not compulsory when planning to visit Morocco. All you need to do is update your booster before coming and make sure you have medical assistance coverage included in your travel insurance plans. 

Telecommunications: In Africa, the most mature market is Morocco considering several international and local network providers that develop the country’s IT system. Investments in telecommunications is overwhelming with three networks providers you can choose from like Orange, Maroc Telecom and Wana Corporate. 

Staying online while in Morocco is possible with the help of Wi-Fi hotspots in most guesthouses. Connections are secured, and you have to pay for access. Modern coffee shops offer free connections while those traditional ones may not have the same privilege. Moreover, internet cafes are still prevalent in Morocco for people to get online. Although computer equipment is somehow outdated, the connections are good enough to get you through video calls. 

Passport and Visa: Tourists should make sure that their passports are valid for six months after their expected date of entry. Singaporeans can freely enter the country and stay there for 30 days. Should travel be more than that, they will be required to apply for the necessary permits from the immigration authority. 

Things to do: Morocco is packed with, and you can begin by plunging into the public steam bath called hamman. Hammans are social places where people come together for cultural insight, exfoliation and cleansing. Female travelers take the opportunity to bathe in Hammans and socialize with local women. 

 

Sahara Desert in Morocco
The Sahara Desert in Morocco. Image credit: Wikimedia

 

Another magical spot in Morocco is the Sahara Desert – a gateway to behold the famous spectacular dunes featured in movies like Sahara and The Mummy. Book a safari to spend the night under the stars and immerse in a traditional Bedouin village. Experience every sunrise and sunset in the Saharan horizon which transform the dunes into red and ochre ombre. 

From the sandy reserves, you can tread your way to the Atlantic coast and have a fair share of world-class surf breaks. Essaouira is a haven for those beginning a surfing adventure since the swells are gentler compared to those in other parts of the coast. 

Visit souks complete every Moroccan journey. Haggling is most evident in maze-like bazaars located in Marrakesh, Meknes and Fez. Labyrinth shops are overflowing with richly-colored fabrics and Alladin lamps. Don’t miss the chance to take home authentic Moroccan must-buy souvenirs to cap your travel. 

Food: Moroccan cuisine is highlighted with fragrant spices cooked and blended through unique cooking methods. The food is symbolic of the best delicacies of the Andalusians, the Arabs, French and the Berbers. Iconic dishes include different dishes of slow-cooked lamb, chicken and veggies in clay cooking pots. Most restaurants also offer the Couscous which is a Moroccan original and is served mostly on special occasions. You can spice up every meal with Zaalouk – a favorite side dish served with crusty bread. Zaalouk is made with spices, olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and eggplants. 

Language: Morocco considers Arabic and Amazigh or Berber as their official languages. There are more than 10 million Berber speakers in Morocco and according to recent surveys, Moroccans consider Berber, Moroccan Arabic and Standard Arabic as the national languages of the country. French is taught universally and is used as a primary language in culture, sciences, medicine, economics and commerce. Morocco is a member of the Francophonie – an international organization of countries and regions that consider French as common language or Lingua Franca. 

Time Zone: Morocco Standard Time is equal to Greenwich Mean Time, and the country observes Daylight Saving Time at GMT+1

Climate: The climate in Morocco is of three kinds – a desert in the inland, the Mediterranean on the coasts and Continental in the mountainous areas. In the country’s capital Rabat, heatwaves are common, and rains are a little more abundant from November to April. 

Despite the varying climate, Morocco is a year-round destination and the best time to visit highly depends on which area are you planning to travel to. Majority of Morocco is at its best in April and May When the weather is dry and warm. 

Travel insurance: Morocco, the gateway to Africa, is rich in diversity considering the French, African and Islamic influences and no matter how amazing this sounds, some travelers are still hesitant to step into its grounds due to safety concerns. Morocco is generally safe setting aside your fear to get lost amidst spider web streets and get captivated by its magical culture. Should you have any doubts, consider buying travel insurance plans with GoBear starting at $34 from FWD. Most packages include personal accident payment, medical expenses and emergency medical evacuation. 

Petty crimes are just anywhere in the world, but you will prevent any mishaps if you keep yourself on guard. Women are advised to dress conservatively and refrain from wearing flashy jewelry. Reading guides and facts about Morocco before your trip will be a great help in understanding the culture, breaking the barriers and ensuring a safe and meaningful journey. 
 

Rwanda

Rwanda’s stunning scenes are crafted beautifully by its endless mountains that surround this little country. Located in the eastern part of Africa, Rwanda is accessible from Uganda and Kenya. Visiting Rwanda is exploring a land of thousand hills, stunning natural beauty and lush green savannahs home to silverback mountain gorillas. 

Credit card use: Rwanda is a cash-based society, and the official currency is the Rwandan Franc. One Singaporean dollar (SGD) is equivalent to 642 RWF. Although cash is a convenient mode of payment, merchants in Rwanda still accept credit cards with Visa cards as the most widely accepted compared to Discover and American Express which are rarely used in transactions. If you find it difficult to look for RWF, you can always carry US dollars with you because most hotels, restaurants, airlines and safari companies accept this currency more than any other currencies. 

Medical services: Rwanda’s medical services used to be poor concerning quality but recent developments have made it one of the highest quality systems all over Africa. The country follows a system called Mutuelles de Sante – a community-based insurance scheme in which insured individuals pay premiums to a local health fund that can be later on withdrawn to pay for medical care. 

There are 440 health centers, 24 health posts and 48 district hospitals in Rwanda. Tourists are usually welcomed in clinics that are equipped with essential medical equipment. Other facilities and services may not be parallel to international standards, so visitors are advised to ensure that they are prepared with vaccinations before coming to the country. Vaccines for typhoid, malaria and Hepatitis A are recommended for those planning to tour Rwanda for several days. 

Telecommunications: Rwanda has around 7 million active mobile subscribers in which 99% are prepaid subscribers, and the rest are postpaid plan holders. Wi-Fi connectivity is accessible in most hotels, ecolodges, restaurants, and cafes. Internet speed is quite slow compared to other parts of Africa. Tourists are advised to buy a local sim card for any internet and international call bundles available from providers like Airtel, Tigo and MTN.

Rwanda’s telephone code is 250, and there are no other required area codes for calling someone within the country. Top-up cards are available from S$8 with calls starting from S$.088 per second. 

Passport and visa: Singaporeans are eligible to apply for a visa upon arrival in Rwanda which is valid for 90 days for free along with other nationalities from Central African Republic, Indonesia, Ghana, Kenya, South Sudan, Philippines and Tanzania. Singaporeans who wish to visit Rwanda should not only prepare their travel documents but should also make sure that they present a Yellow Fever Vaccination certificate upon entry. 

Things to do: Rwanda’s varied ecosystems results in diversified activities which tourists can engage in. The mountain ranges is an open sight for those who want to hike the dormant peaks of Bisoke, Gahinga, Sabinyo, Karisimbi and Muhabura. You can choose from day hikes to multiple-day adventures that involve camping overnight. 

Another magnificent experience is gorilla tracking in Rwanda. The activity might seem to be expensive, but it means a chance for you to trace the endangered beauties of almost 900 gorillas within the Virunga Mountain range. 

 

Kigali, Rwanda
Kigali, Rwanda. Image credit: Flickr

 

Rwanda’s capital Kigali also awaits you with its vibrant mix of modern and traditional ambience. Kigali offers more including hikes, markets and art galleries. There are a lot of fascinating tours around the city, and you can't miss one of them because you would not want to omit one of the highlights of the Rwandan journey. 

Food: The national dish of Rwanda is Ugali or bugali – a paste made from water and maize and cooked in porridge-like consistency. You can also try the mashed cassava leaves served with dried fish called isombe.  The staple food in the country are produced from traditional agricultural products including ibihaza – a dish made from pumpkins and beans boiled unpeeled. 

Some diners offer signature dishes like the Big Fish which is a standard serving of giant tilapia stuffed with spices and served with potatoes all grilled for a sumptuous experience. On the contrary, little fishes the size of your pinkie called Sambaza are also available. Fishermen used to catch these Sambazas at sunset by the Lake Kivu and are often fried in thick batter. 

Most of Rwanda’s drinks are common in other countries like milk, wine, juice and beer. However, alcoholic beverages made from dry sorghum, called ikigage, is believed to have medicinal powers while ubuki from fermented honey is also claimed to provide health benefits regardless of its 12 per cent alcohol content. Moreover, Rwanda takes pride in its fermented banana juice called Urwagwa. Urwagwa, one of the world’s most intense beverages, is brewed in every corner of Rwandan town. 

Language: Rwanda’s national language is called Kinyarwanda. Kinyarwanda is the first language of the majority of its population., However, there are other three languages which are also considered official in the country, and that include French, Swahili and English. In 2008, the government changed French to English as the medium of education while Swili is used in commerce and is included as a subject in schools. 

Time Zone: Rwanda observes the Central African Time which is UTC +2, and there are no clock changes because Rwanda does not follow daylight saving time. 

Climate: From March to May, Rwanda endures long rainy season while savors the long dry season from Jun to September. The dry season is the best time to visit the country. Most tourist wear hiking shoes, sun hat, light clothes and a jacket and a sweater at night. If you want to explore the Virunga Mountains, you should consider wearing warm clothes, gloves and a hat. 

Travel insurance: Rwanda is a safe destination considering its crime rate at a medium level. Some petty problems include pick-pocketing, break-ins, purse snatching, and vehicle theft. Your travel insurance providers may offer packages that protect you against these crimes. For instance, FWD’s travel insurance to Rwanda starts from $34 with repayments for medical expenses incurred overseas, lost bags and baggages, cancelled trips and emergency medical evacuation. Almost all travel insurance providers in Singapore offer the same coverage although they differ regarding repayment amounts. Check with your insurer if they can provide unlimited emergency medical evacuation which is essential especially for those who want to have access to quality medical services and assistance. 

Seychelles

Few miles away from Kenya lies a beautiful archipelago composed of 115 islands that boast of natural romantic charm. Seychelles is an ultimate getaway for those who want to bathe in pristine beaches and clear water suspended in incredible resorts. Seychelles is a land of beaches that are unexplored allowing every tourist to unwind beyond crowded shores and within lush piles of takamaka trees. 

Seychelles is a multicultural nation of inhabitants that trace back their origins from East Africans and French settlers embedded with considerable Chinese and South Indian influence that await every tourist from any part of the world. 

Credit card use: All major credit cards are widely accepted in Seychelles which means cashless transactions are possible in almost all merchants. The official currency is Seychelles Rupees which is equal to $.10 SGD. Tourists can always get rupees from banks and exchange bureaus in the country upon presentation of their passports. Exchanging currencies through individuals on the street are extremely dangerous due to counterfeit and rate concerns. 

Automated teller machines are posted in Praslin and Victoria which make it easier for you to withdraw cash and make other transactions. 

Prepare extra cash if you want to buy a few things that can only be found in Seychelles which are:

  • Coco De Mer – Native coconuts that is the most iconic commodity in the country. Make sure it has the right certification and holographic sticker. Any coco de mer without the proper label and certification will lead you to jail. 
  • Yi-King Essential Oils – Yi-King is an essential oil brand crafted by a French aromatherapist. Yi-King is widely known to blend the eight master elements which are wind, sky, water, earth, mountain, lake, fire and thunder. 
  • Kreolor jewellery – Kreolor offers tasteful jewellery that embodies the Seychelles spirit. 
  • Shark Chutney – A traditional dish found only in Seychelles, Shark Chutney is made with shark meat mashed, boiled and blended with bilimbi, turmeric, salt, pepper and lime juice. 
  • Seybrew – Whether you are staying at a five-star hotel or just lingering around corner shops, you need to try out the local brew called Seybrew. 
  • Takamaka Rum – Takamaka is a local rum that spices up unwinding in the beach. You can try out different varieties like white rum, coco rum, aged rum and other dark varieties. 

Medical services: Traveling to Seychelles is imposed with a few health risks. Tourist should know that medical services in Seychelles are limited including other facilities, dentists, doctors and nurses. Despite the dangers, there are no potential instances of yellow fever or malaria in the country. It is strongly advised that Singaporeans should get international travel health insurance package that covers for unforeseen mishaps and illnesses during the trip. 

Telecommunications: Seychelles is now the first in Africa when it comes to internet speed and 72nd out of 192 countries regarding data gathering. Ookla, a broadband testing company reported that Seychelles used to have 2.92Mbps in 2013 which rapidly increased to 11.32Mbps in 2014. Although this sounds quite amazing, the speed is still a bit slow compared to what Europe or Singapore can offer. 

When visiting Seychelles, you can try the prepaid broadband that frees you from an annual contract, credit checks and monthly bills. You can also opt for local sim cards that come with data and call bundles. Most resorts, hotels and restaurants offer free Wifi connection I especially in La Digue, Praslin and Mahe. 

Passport and visa: All foreign nationals who want to enter Seychelles are given a visa-free entry. Singaporeans can present their onward or return ticket, valid passport, sufficient funds and accommodation bookings. The visitor's permit can be acquired for free and can be used within three months upon issuance. Should you wish to extend your stay, you can check out visa extension requirements to a maximum of 12 months. Brazil, Macau, China, Cambodia, European Union, Russia and the United Arab Emirates have signed mutual visa exemption with the government of Seychelles. 

 

La Dique in Seychelles
La Dique in Seychelles. Image credit: Pixabay

 

Things to do: Seychelles is no more than a paradise within the Indian ocean and is perfect for those who crave for beach and water adventures. The main islands in the country are packed with exciting things to offer. Start with La Digue where you can go back in time literally due to the scarcity of motor vehicles, paved roads and an abundance of unspoiled beaches. On the other hand, Praslin is gifted with waterfalls that are located near the UNESCO heritage site Vallee De Mai. Vallee de Mai is a primaeval forest with 4,000 coco de mer palms that shimmer while serenaded by the rare black parrot. 

Hiking is another breath-taking activity for tourists in Seychelles. The Morne Blanc trail leads you to tea plantation covering the north of Mahe. During the path, you can witness the entire tea production process starting from harvesting drying, processing and packaging. Climbing a little higher trail will allow you to discover the world’s smallest frogs Sooglossus gardener hiding beneath bushes of mosses and ferns. 

Food: Seychellois cuisine is a blend of African, Indian, Chinese, and French cooking. Spices from these countries are combined to create a distinct flavor that is inherent to Seychelles. The dishes are tangy, spicy, creamy and sweet making every meal a tourist attraction. Seychellois cooking is mainly chillies and seafood. Rosettes are fruit bats served in different preparations depending on the restaurant you wish to dine in. Ladob is a dish that can be eaten as a main course or as a dessert. It is made with sweet potatoes, cassava, corossol and breadfruit boiled in nutmeg, vanilla, coconut milk and sugar. 

Seychelles also offers the freshest seafood cooked in the most unique blend of spices. Staying in the country is your chance to indulge in dishes that feature parrot fish, barracuda, shark, kingfish, squid and red snapper. Tuna and kingfish steaks are served in restaurants alongside creole sauce blended with onions, green bell pepper and tomatoes. 

Palm wine made from coconut snap is a traditional beverage in almost all 115 islands in the country. Bacca, on the other hand, is an alcoholic beverage used in ceremonial events. Should you want some beer to cap your meals, you can always choose between Seybrew and Ekyu. 

Language: The official languages of Seychelles is Seychellois Creole, French and English. The most spoken one is Seychellois Creole which is used by 95% of the country’s population. English remained the primary medium of communication in businesses and government offices. 

Travel insurance: GoBear’s comparison tool reveals travel insurance packages to Seychelles starting from $34 per trip. The plan provides coverage on personal accident, lost bags and belongings, emergency medical evacuation, medical expenses and cancelled tour. Should you wish to enhance the benefits, you can check with your provider and inform them of your planned activities during your stay there. 

Seychelles travels are trouble-free with levels of crimes considerably low except for some instances of robberies, burglaries, break-ins and theft against tourists, expatriates and residents. Other than these considerations, travel to Seychelles is a promise of the safe and fun journey all enveloped in peace of mind through travel insurance packages.
 

South Africa

Desserts, elephants, safaris and jungles are probably the things that come to your mind when you hear South Africa. But Africa is more than what is usually tied up to its name. South Africa means adventure in powdery beaches, night out in star-lit skies, and difficult trail amidst its lush mountains. 

Traveling to South Africa is landing on the world’s best safari destinations that offer once-in-a-lifetime experience with the BIG FIVE – buffalo, rhino, lion, elephant and leopard. All these and more can be experienced in South Africa’s natural canvass of wildlife and great outdoor fun. 

Credit card use: Tourists don’t worry about credit cards while in South Africa because they can be used in luxury hotels and other establishments in major cities. Before traveling, call your provider and let them know you have plans of using the credit card abroad. 

Moreover, cash is a necessity in every South African trip. American dollars are accepted, but you can always get a few South African Rand in your pocket for small purchases. One Singaporean dollar is equal to 9.73 of South African Rand. An assortment of bills can be an easy way to pay for a bottle of water or any other expense because credit card use might require minimum purchase amount.

Medical services: While South Africa maintains its reputation as the most geographically diverse destination on the continent, it currently focuses on improving its medical tourism travel. In South Africa, health care systems are comprised of essential primary care by the government and highly specialized services accessible by both the public and private sectors. There are over 400 public hospitals and 200 private hospitals in the country.

Hospital facilities and medical services in South Africa are costly so tourists can bring prescription medication enough for the duration of their stay. In cases of emergencies, you can always dial 112 to reach the nearest emergency service centre, 10177 o receive medical assistance and 1011 for fire and police services. 

Telecommunications: Unlocked mobile phones are practical necessities for every South African travel. Having unlocked phones can accommodate prepaid sims from the local network provider, and this allows for better, cheaper and easier connectivity. Using local sim cards are typically almost 400 per cent more affordable compared to costs incurred from making calls with roaming packages. Supermarket, cellular network stores and corner shops sell data and airtime. 

The primary networks in South Africa are 8ta, MTN, Cell C and Vodacom. Short-term travellers can choose from any of these networks although it pays to know that Vodacom is the first and largest mobile network in the country. Vodacom offers the biggest coverage and subscriber base. 

Passport and visa: Citizens of Singapore are exempted from applying for South African visa provided that they stay in the country for 90 days or less. Other nationalities may comply with specific requirements set by the South African government for visa application. Visitors may be granted visa for the following reasons: 

  • Business purposes
  • Visits to friends and families residing in SA
  • Spouse needing to join a spouse who works or study in South Africa
  • Children who need to join parents with work or study permit
  • Charitable or voluntary activities
  • Seminar and conferences
  • Work or movie production
  • Sports events
  • Medical purposes

A valid passport, duly-filled visa application form, vaccination certificate and photographs are required for visa application. You can present a bank statement, medical cover, bursary, salary advances and undertakings as proof or financial capacity to cover living expenses while in South Africa. 

Things to do: South Africa is heading to a premiere tourism title as the adventure capital of the world. No other country in the world offers a spectacular view of baboons upon setting foot on its land but Africa. Yes, these adorable babies are ready to welcome every tourist wanting to uncover South African wonders. These baboons are just loafing around everywhere luring every passing car to stop and take a photo with them on the background. 

 

Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town, South Africa. Image credit: Pixabay

 

Cape Town is another worthwhile destination. Cape Town is a flat-topped mountain that provides a view of the continent. You have to be an energetic tourist willing to climb that trail up. From Cape Town, proceed to the Boulder Beach to play with lots of wily penguins that built their colony in the early 80’s. 

Want to try out kayaking? The Orange River is the longest in the country and is not far from the border of Namibia. If you wish to venture solo downstream or you go with other daredevils who shoot complex rapids, the Orange River is a haven for extreme water sports lovers. 

Aside from natural resource, tourists in South Africa can take Instagram-worthy photos at Soweto- the birthplace of Nelson Mandela which was a town turned into a museum. Soweto has the Orlando Power Station Cooling Towers that were painted with murals embodying Mandela, community, music and culture of the South African population. 

Food: South Africa has a vibrant line of cuisines that reflect not just local influence but also that of Malaysians, Indiana and French. There are a lot of dishes you should try out but make sure you don’t miss any from the list below: 

  • Boerewors – A traditional South African sausage made from a mixture of pork, lamb or beef and blended with spices. Boerewors are coil-shaped meat blend grilled to perfection. 
  • Malva pudding – Originally a Dutch import, Malva pudding is sticky and sweet dessert made with apricot jam and smothered with hot sauce. 
  • Bunny chow – The bunny chow is a hit in South African markets featuring hollowed loaves of bread with spicy curry stuffed inside. Bunny chows are a great munch if you are craving for pork, chicken or vegetarian fillers packed with beans and lentils. 
  • Bobotie – Asian settlers did not fail to spice up South African dishes with the country’s national dish called Bobotie. Bobotie is a sumptuous blend of minced meat cooked in curry powder, herbs, spices, dried fruit, egg and milk all baked until set. 
  • Braai – A South African original, the authentic braai is also called shisha nyama which emerged from the townships of Johannesburg. Braais are a highlight in gatherings at local communities where folks get together, listen to music and pick braai for an unforgettable eating experience. 

Language: Zulu, Siswati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Afrikaans, English, Northern Sotho, Ndebele, and Sotho are the eleven official languages in South Africa. Dutch and English were the official languages of the country until 1925. Dutch fell into disuse and was eventually replaced by Afrikaans. English is the second language in the country often used in government offices and schools. 

Time zone: The South African Standard Time (SAST) is the time zone used in South Africa. The SAST is two hours ahead of UTC. SAST is the same as Central Africa Time. Moreover, Daylight Saving Time is not observed in the country. 

Climate: South Africa is famous for its warm sunshine although it is generally known to experience a wide diversity of environment. January provides an opportunity for lush vegetation that allows for the birth or herbivores within the South African wildlife. February is the hottest month in the country, although grasses and other plants stay green and thick until the beginning of March. Water begins to dry up in April. Tourists should be ready to stand the weather that is hot during the day and freezing in the evening. 

May accommodates the weather transformation from summer to winter. And the difference in temperature between the day and night is more visible. June marks the beginning of winter and dropping temperatures are expected in the evening. Animals begin to gather at deeper pools for a drink with extreme caution. Winter is that time of the year when predators can easily track victims due to lack of vegetation. 

The remaining months of the year accommodate the transitions from winter to summer until the cycle of seasons continues. Tourist can enjoy South African treasures from November to January; however, those who want to watch wildlife should come from July to November. 

Travel insurance: With comprehensive travel insurance, you will surely have peace of mind during the trip because violent crime rates in South Africa is relatively low. However, it is still essential for tourists to get travel insurance package to South Africa for better protection. GoBear’s comparison tool suggest plans starting from $18 to $77 depending on desired cover. It is best to choose those with unlimited coverage on emergency medical evacuation and personal accident repayment. 

Make sure to check if the insurance provider offers for coverage on scams, pickpockets, natural disasters, terrorism and transport risks for maximum security and peace of mind.
 

Tanzania

The United Republic of Tanzania is not only home to Africa’s highest mountain but also to remains of pre-human hominids and humans who roamed the earth over two million years ago. Tanzania is wrapped in adventures that blend beaches, warm people, fascinating cultures.
 
Credit card use: Traveling to Tanzania with your credit cards is a safety precaution against theft and loss. Credit cards in Tanzania are handy in big cities like Moshi, Arusha and Dar es Salaam. Visa and MasterCard are accepted with the latter allowing withdrawals in most automated teller machines. You need to inform your credit card provider about the travel to avoid blockage as part of their security measures. 

Tanzanian Shilling (TZS) is the official currency in the country. One SGD is equal to 1,664 TZSYou might want to consider bringing enough TZS and dollars when traveling to Tanzania as cash is the easiest way to transact. TZS is best used for bus tickets, shopping, local markets and other smaller expenses. Money exchange in Tanzania requires your valid passport. 

Medical services: Healthcare provisions in Tanzania is hierarchical. At the bottom of this hierarchy are the dispensaries which are found in villages. Health centers come next followed by the district hospitals, zone hospitals and national hospitals. Some medical facilities are directly linked to the ministry of health and are considered specialized hospitals for those who can afford to pay for any treatments without depending on government insurance and subsidy. 

Visitors to Tanzania should know that the leading causes of death include HIV, lower respiratory illnesses, malaria, diarrhea, tuberculosis, cancer, ischemic heart disease, stroke, STD and sepsis. To prevent further health concerns during your stay, make sure you have vaccines against Hepatitis B, cholera, malaria, rabies and yellow fever. 

Telecommunications: There are seven mobile operators in Tanzania which include the Airtel Tanzania, MIC Tanzania Limited, Smart Telecom and Vodacom Tanzania. Internet users in the country reach up to 7.2 million. 

Visitors should purchase a SIM card immediately outside the international terminals in Tanzania. Vodacom is widely used in the country, but Airtel is preferred in Serengeti. 

Passport and visa: Entering Tanzania seems a little tricky since the granting of permission does not guarantee entrance. The immigration officer has the right to accept or deny entry. Visa holders undergo Immigration control and screening. Admission is granted based on the documents submitted upon arrival. Singaporeans headed for business travel in Tanzania can be exempted from applying for a visa should they fulfill the following: 

  • A holder of passport valid up to six months from the date of entry
  • Have sufficient funds in the form of a bank statement
  • A holder of return tickets to Singapore
  • Present all documents for next destination

Once the entry is granted, Singaporeans can stay in the country for up to three months. 

 

Things to do: Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater are the two best destinations for a safari experience. Serengeti hosts the Great Migration – an event held each year that showcases massive herds, greener surroundings and tastier pastures. The Crater, on the other hand, is home to a wide range of wildlife. Ngorongoro is the world’s largest unfilled and inactive volcanic caldera. 

 

The great migration of wildebeest in Tanzania
The great migration of wildebeest in Serengeti. Image credit: Wikimedia

 

Visiting Tanzania is a chance to witness the Great Migration of two million ungulates along with over one million gazelles, eland, plus zebra and wildebeest. This Great Migration is considered the highlight of every Tanzanian trip. 

Food: There are 126 tribes in Tanzania, and each prefers different drinks and cuisine types. In the interior parts of the country, people prefer maize meal eaten with fish, beans or meat. Along the coastal areas, residents are fond of green vegetables and rice. Several tribes in the Kilimanjaro Region consider pork and grains as staple food while those in other regions treat maize cooked in coconut stew as a basic meal.

One of the best dishes you should try is the ugali – a national dish prepared with cornmeal, sorghum, cassava flour and millet prepared to make a dough. Ugali is served with vegetables, fish and meat eaten from a large bowl. 

Green banana or Ndizi Nyama is served with fish or meat. It is often stewed with sweet pepper, ladies finger, meat, tomato and carrots.
 
Language: English and the Bantu Swahili are the official languages of Tanzania. There are 126 other languages spoken in the country – 18 of which are developing 58 are vigorous, 40 are endangered, and eight are nearing extinction. 

Time zone: Tanzania does not observe any Daylight Saving Time and its standard time zone is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time or GMT+3

Climate: Tanzanian climate is both coastal and tropical. The country experiences two rainy seasons with long rains lasting from March to June and short rains from October to December. The best time to visit Tanzania is from June to October when the dry season allows for hopping from one destination to another. Tourists who come to see the wildebeest migration arrive from June to July. 

Travel Insurance: Tanzania is a safe destination. However, travelers are still advised to take general precautions for travel that might lead to mishaps like lost baggage or flight delay. A travel insurance package usually protects every Tanzanian trip and provides coverage for hassles that you might meet along the way. GoBear’s comparison tool finds 22 single travel insurance plans for Tanzania. The lowest package is from FWD at $18 per trip with provisions of repayment on personal accident, medical expenses and emergency medical evacuation. 
 

Last update on Jul 16, 2019