Fact Sheet



The currency in Tanzania is the Shilling (Tsh). Current rate of exchange (as of Jan 2011) GBP1 = 2304 and US$1 = 1477 shillings. US$ cash and travellers cheques are easier to change than sterling and prices are still widely quoted in dollars.


Three hours ahead GMT (UK winter) ie when it is 12 noon in London it is 15.00 in Moshi.

Food and drink

The choice of food is fantastic and being a tropical country fruits and vegetables of every variety are often in abundance. The local food in Tanzania is usually very cheap and very filing, often a stew with rice or plantain or more often, a maize meal porridge known as Ugali.


Tanzania speaks Swahili (Kiswahili) but English is widely understood. It’s quite easy to pick up the basics and a few phrases up your sleeve will go long way to forming good relationships with the people you meet. Here are a few examples to get you started:

Hello/goodbye - Jambo/kwaheri

Thank you (very much) - Asante (sana)

I don’t understand - Swahili Sijui Kiswahili

Yes/no - Ndiyo/hapana

How much? - Ngapi?

Sorry - Pole


1 – moja

2 – mbili

3 – tatu

4 – nne

5 – tano

6 – sita

7 – saba

8 – nane

9 – tisa

10 – kumi

20 – ishirini

50 – hamsini

100 – mia moja

1000 – elfu moja

Culture and people

The main tribe around Kilimanjaro are the Chagga, they have their own dialect but use Swahili as their overall tongue, their English is often poor but the guides are much more conversant in English, German and French. Please respect the local way of life: you should always ask politely before taking photos of local people.


Remember that what you would wear on a hot day in the UK is not necessarily acceptable in countries of different cultures. Women travellers in particular should be modest in dress – avoid tight or ‘strappy’ tops in favour of regular t-shirts. Shorts should not be too short and trousers are preferable in rural areas.


It is expected in Tanzania, as in all African countries, that you will haggle over price. You are not ripping locals off if you knock their prices down, but you will damage the structure of their way of life and economy if you do not. It is also great fun and a good way of interacting with local people, a good rule of thumb is to offer a third of the asking price and meet somewhere in the middle.

Mount Kilimanjaro

Africa’s highest mountain, rises 5895m above the vast African plains that dominate the Kenya-Tanzania border, it is also one of the highest volcanoes in the world. The Kilimanjaro National Park was opened in 1977 and in 1989 the Park was declared a World Heritage Site by the World Heritage Convention. At 5896 metres, the mountain stands head and shoulders above the clouds. From the plains below you can go months without catching sight of this mysterious, hidden mountain. There is always an element of surprise when you catch a glimpse of its fading snow-cap, in the middle of an otherwise featureless plain, just three degrees south of the equator. Kilimanjaro is the combined remains of three extinct volcanoes, Shira, Kibo and Mawenzi. The central peak, Kibo, with its famous crater is the main feature and Uhuru Peak is the highest point and the goal for most trekkers. The summit crater measures an awe-inspiring 1.5km across and is connected to the Mawenzi summit by an 11km wide saddle. Since the days of Ptolemy, the outside world had heard reports of a mysterious snow-capped mountain on the equator. For the local Chagga people who farm Kilimanjaro’s foothills, the mountain has always been sacred. When German explorer Johann Rebmann reached the area, in 1848, he was the first European to see Kilimanjaro and was able to confirm its existence once and for all. The first people to announce they had conquered Kilimanjaro were Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller from Germany who made it to the top of Kibo, Kilimanjaro’s highest peak in 1889. There they planted the German flag and named the summit Kaiser Wilhelm Spitze in honour of their king, this name can still be found on some maps of Kilimanjaro. The ice is retreating as a result of being melted by the equatorial sun and a lack of snowfall in the rainy season, coupled with the warming up of the earth’s surface over the past 200 years. The dull brown lava absorbs the sun’s energy causing the ground to warm up and where glacial cliffs stand on bare rock or shale, melting occurs at the base. Thus Kilimanjaro is losing its icy mantle, some scientists say the breathtaking icy peak could disappear in as little as two decades time if the efforts to reduce global warming do not succeed.

As a registered UK charity, aiming to improve the lives of the people in Tanzania Water Aid Matters have always been committed to responsible and sustainable tourism practices. The charity commission of England and Wales have recognized this and awarded us with our registration status.

Aiding the Local Economy
The charity operates a policy of working very closely with the local communities through which we pass. The guides, cooks, porters and drivers etc employed for our trips come from the surrounding villages, as does much of our food and supplies. We aim to aid the local economy at a direct level as much as possible.

'Leave No Trace' Tourism
We understand the potential harm that can come from taking groups through many of the delicate environments in which we operate and insist on a policy of 'leave no trace' tourism. We go to great lengths to ensure that we do not harm the areas we pass through and therefore help to promote responsible, sustainable tourism. We put a lot of effort into informing our participants, both before and during their trip, about the impact they can have on a community and environment.

Welfare of Porters and Local Crew
Issues surrounding the welfare of porters in developing countries is a topic which has attracted a considerable amount of media attention in recent years. The general welfare of porters - and guides, drivers, cooks and any other local personnel employed on our trips - as well as the standard of their equipment and level of pay, is very important to us and to our ground crew, who generally recruit local staff for our groups. They have a good understanding of these issues and consider them vital to long-term tourism in their local regions - that is one of the reasons we choose to work with them.

Responsible Ground Operators
Our choice of who to work with locally is influenced by such quality-related approaches; while price is important to us (and you), we do not always work with the cheapest supplier. We have long-standing relationships and a good repport with all our ground crew teams, which involves a strong mutual trust and respect. Many of our ground handlers have been actively involved in setting up schemes for local people and porters, such as clothing banks and educations schemes, and are very committed to ensuring that the local people benefit through tourism.

And in the UK
When we plan our charity trek, any impact on the environment and local communities is always taken into account.

Water Aid Matters and the experienced tour leaders we employ, many of whom are professional mountain guides, are very aware of environmental issues caused by outdoor pursuits – to say nothing of the safety issues of inexperienced people underestimating mountain environments – and are wholeheartedly committed to ensuring that such areas are still there to enjoy in the decades to come

Kilimanjaro Pre-Departure information



Fact Sheet

Booking conditions





Tanzania Water - Further Information

Our Aim

Water Aid Matters in Africa Organise trips in Africa and help fund water projects, we are a UK based charity that is helping bring water to african people.