If you’re thinking about coming to Tanzania for the PamojaLive 2020 Roots Of Wellness retreat November 28-December 5, 2020 and you’re anything like me you’ve probably got questions. Today I’ve got answers to the questions I’ve been hearing!
I remember the first time we were planning to travel together to Africa. We were planning to move to the continent at some point and this trip was to help us decide where we would like to live. I was very excited to go but I really didn’t know what to expect.
As is my usual modus operandi when I have questions about anything, I started researching online, reading books and doing everything I could to quench my thirst for knowing what Ghana and Tanzania were like. What should I wear? Was it safe? How would I be treated?
Many resources I could find online were outdated and I wasn’t sure how accurate they were anymore. Most of what I could find was written by Caucasians, from a tourist perspective. I found their interpretations and advice to be tainted with the colonialist mindset. They were condescending and lacked respect for the culture and the people. I knew this was not the real story of what these countries were like.
What helped us the most was talking to people we know who had already been or who were currently living there. These were people we know and trust and whose roots are African. People who have a deep respect for Africa and its history and culture and recognize it as their heritage.
These contacts were invaluable. They shared their favorite places to go and rich stories about their experiences. They connected us to their friends and family in the places we were going.
This was a huge relief, knowing there was someone on the ground to greet us when we were so far away from home and everything we knew.
Our wonderful hosts welcomed us with open arms and helped us feel at home and to find our way. I can honestly say that in the places where we had a local contact person our experiences were much more rewarding. They allowed us to see beyond the typical tourist experience and catch a glimpse of what day-to-day life is like.
These two things combined, made all the difference for us and helped us have an amazing trip.
And here we are now, in our fourth year living in northern Tanzania.
So in that spirit, today that I am offering you that gift. I am sharing our experience and advice and providing the relief of knowing we are here to welcome you when you come to Tanzania for the PamojaLive 2020 – Roots Of Wellness Retreat coming up later this year.
If you’re longing to join us, here are the answers to the questions we’ve been getting from those who have already registered. They might help answer your questions too.
Now is the time to get registered for the retreat. We have a limited # of rooms available and you’ll get the best price and payment options. Make your deposit through the end of February and you’ll have 8 months to pay the balance. Go to https://retreat.opare.net to grab your spot.
What about Trump’s travel ban for Tanzania?
You may have heard recently about a travel ban that the US president has initiated for Tanzania and several other African countries. It really is an imigration limit. It limits who can get visas to come to the US. This racist ban is geared towards keeping Tanzanian and other African citizens who want to come to the US out. It is not for tourists coming to Tanzania. The ban is unfortunate but it should not impact your travel here to Tanzania.
Is Tanzania safe?
TZ is very safe. The people are peaceful, warm and friendly, and very welcoming. Tourism is a major industry here so people are accustomed to Foreigners spending time in the city. They will welcome you and provide you with assistance when you need it.
They want to be your friend. You do need to be careful and know your boundaries because you will be seen as a source of potential income. They will try to sell you their artwork. They will offer to be your guide to help you find your way. They may tell you about needing help to pay for their child’s school fees or mother’s doctor visits. In general they may sometimes be a bit pushy but not hostile. If you decide you are not interested be firm in saying no and they will leave you alone. They are not dangerous.
As in most places you should keep your valuables secure and not walk around after dark outside of the lodge grounds.
Will I need vaccinations or medications while I’m there?
You are very unlikely to come into contact with tropical diseases that you need to worry about. The only vaccination that TZ requires is a yellow fever vaccination if you are traveling to Tanzania from an area we are yellow fever is a problem. This means if you are coming here from the US or Europe or another country where yellow fever is not an issue, you will not need to have the yellow fever vaccination. However if you are coming here after visiting a country that does have a problem with the yellow fever you will need to have a yellow fever vaccination card that states when you got the vaccination. They will give it a quick look as you arrive at the airport.
The other question people have is about malaria. Here in the Arusha area malaria is very rare. We have not taken any type of malaria prophylactic for years. If you will be traveling outside of the Arusha area you should speak to your doctor about what he or she recommends for a malaria prophylaxis. Malaria does exist in other regions of Tanzania and in neighboring countries. Malaria test kits and malaria medication is very inexpensive and very easy to find so if you do choose to avoid the malaria prophylactic there are still resources here to protect yourself.
Once you have registered for the retreat we will provide an opportunity for you to get more information from Dr. Opare about what he recommends.
What is the weather like in Arusha?
The weather in Arusha is very nice all year around. The days are warm and the nights are cool. Although TZ is just south of the equator, Arusha has an altitude of 4,593 ft. above sea level which puts it in a tropical alpine climate. We don’t have the extreme highs or lows that are found in other regions and the higher precipitation levels provide for a lush environment. The coolest weather is generally in May through July with highs generally in the low 70s. The warmest is December to March with highs in the mid to upper 80s, followed by the long rainy season, March through mid May.
The retreat dates are November 28 to December 5 2020 so you will be here during the end of the short rains. This means that there may be some periods of rain during the day. If it rains it is usually in the early morning or evening or brief rain showers during the day followed, by warm beautiful sunshine. It is lush and green and is the perfect time to go on safari either before the retreat or once the retreat has ended.
The evenings and night times will be cool. It is advised that you bring a raincoat, a foldable umbrella, and sweaters or layers of clothing so that you can add layers as it gets cooler and remove layers as it gets warmer. You will find that locals will be wearing a jacket or light coat in the mornings and evenings and just shorts sleeves in the afternoon and in the afternoon.
I will provide a more detailed packing list to participants as we get closer to the retreat.
What is appropriate dress for Tanzania?
Tanzanians are modest in general although tourists can be seen wearing all types of clothing. Western style clothing is becoming more and more popular amongst locals. In general, you will not see many locals wearing shorts no matter what the weather is like. Most women here wear skirts or dresses however pants are also worn by some women, especially younger women. Head coverings are not required but are often seen on local women for style, religion or for practicality.
We recommend that you plan on dressing modestly out of respect. This means no midriffs. No mini skirts, no short shorts and no legging type pants. But once again they are used to foreigners from all around wearing whatever and you will likely not be treated poorly if you choose to ignore these recommendations.
Will I be able to maintain my raw food diet during the retreat?
Yes! We will be providing both tasty cooked and raw %100 vegan food at the meals served at the lodge. The lodge has its own organic garden which much of the produce is sourced from. I am working closely with their staff to make sure the meals will meet the vegan and raw vegan standard.
When we are out and about and visiting restaurants we will choose places that serve vegan options. Fresh fruit and vegetables are readily available all around town for those who are eating raw vegan and wish to supplement what is on a menu.
How do I get there?
Arusha is called the gateway to the safari circuit and is often the first stop tourists make in Tanzania so there are many airlines who fly here. The airport is Kilimanjaro airport (JRO). The main carriers are Delta/KLM, Ethiopian Air, Qatar, Lufthansa, Emirates, and Kenya Airlines. Flights from the eastern half of the US will have 1-2 stops and be 21 hours travel time up to 48 hour travel time depending on the length of your layovers. Prices range from about $1000 to $2000 depending on your location and preferences.
Well that’s a good start! Do you have other questions? If so please leave them in the comments and then join me for a question and answer video chat this weekend and get ALL the answers so you’ll know whether coming on the retreat is right for you.
Join me Saturday, February 22 at 11 AM Eastern time for a live Q&A video conference to get your questions answered. To register to attend the video meeting question and answer, enter your name and email below.
And again, Now is the time to get registered for the retreat. We have a limited # of rooms available and you’ll get the best price and payment options. Make your deposit through the end of February and you’ll have 8 months to pay the balance. Go to https://retreat.opare.net to grab your spot.