If youre looking to climb, youre most likely interested in climbing Kilimanjaro. Kilimanjaro is one of Africas most famous symbols, it also happens to be the highest mountain on the planet that you can climb with next to no mountaineering skills. What this means is that there isnt any technical climbing, its more of just a 4-6 day uphill battle of determination. Although it is iconic, its also quite expensive and physically exhausting, even for someone who is fit and experienced.
If youre die-hard set on climbing Kilimanjaro you need to have at least $1,000 US, although it will probably end up being closer to $2,000 US. This price does include the new park fees and rates for your sherpas/guides/cooks. One of the reasons its so expensive is because of the recent government park fee increase over the past few years. The fees are priced on a per day and night in the park so the longer you take to climb the more you will end up paying. In my opinion its a pretty poor value for your money considering all the other options you have in this country. If you cant afford it, but are into climbing, you still have the option to head north and climb mount Kenya or Meru. The mountains can be both cold and hot in the harsh sun and can even be wet depending on what time of the year it is. Most of the equipment you need will be supplied or can be hired in Moshi, however, I advise bringing a few of the essential items so you can make sure they are up to par.
I mentioned Mount Meru above, its less popular than Kilimanjaro but, in my opinion, a much better option. Its the fifth highest mountain in Africa, so your excursion will be shorter (usually 2-3 days), cheaper, prettier and far less traveled by the average tourist.
Do your proper research and decide what is more important for you before deciding on an option.
There are hundreds of options in Arusha for booking a safari and the competition is pretty intense. In all this competition you have good and bad tour companies. Here is my advice for you: get there at least a day in advance and start talking to as many different tour operators that you can. Dont be intimidated if they try to pressure you into booking a trip by telling you its your only chance. The key to a great safari is a good guide/driver and some luck.
After youve talked to multiple companies, pick whichever one offers what you need and you feel the most comfortable with. If you want the full package, which could include Ngorongoro, Serengeti, Manyara and Tarangire then youre looking at a 5 day minimum with 7 days being the optimum length.
Never be afraid to ask for a deal when it looks like business is slow, youre a walk-in. Another good idea is to pair up with other travelers to try and get a group discount. Note that the high cost is also a reflection of the increasing park entry fees. To read more about Tanzania National Parks and the fees that are associated with them.
The best way to get to Zanzibar is from Dar-es-Salaam as there are many ferries from there to Zanzibar that take turns making the trip (so about three trips a day). This means you dont really need to book in advance, unless you have a very strict schedule on your traveling. All of the ferries charge around $35-$40US. Sometimes the trips can be rough depending on sea conditions and they even have cheaper nightly journeys (though Id avoid the night trips personally). You can also fly using the travel agencies in the area like Kangaroo Travel. Kangaroo Travel offers 15 minute flights, which include transportation at both ends for not much more than a ferry ticket.
When youre coming back to Dar-es-Salaam there is a night ferry that is quite comfortable in first class (which is the only class a tourist is allowed to take). Make sure you get there early so you can claim an entire couch to lie on. The nice thing about the night ferry is that its cheap and will save you from having to get a hotel for the night, although Id highly recommend to try and not use the bathrooms.