School supplies are in great need in Tanzania. You may wish to bring school supplies with you and present to a local school while on your safari. There are schools between the Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara as well as in Arusha. Some items you may wish to consider bringing include pens, crayons, exercise books, composition/spiral books, small back packs, coloring books, colored markers, chalk, chalk board and world maps (inflatable globes are always a big hit). Please note that our guests are increasingly being hassled to pay duty upon arrival at Kilimanjaro on donated school supplies. Accordingly, we recommend distributing school supplies among your regular clothes and luggage to reduce the chance of being asked to pay duty. A better alternative to bringing school supplies to Tanzania would be to bring a little extra cash and we can take you to a school supply shop in Arusha to purchase supplies and then assist you with delivering them.
Rather than giving out school supplies on an impromptu basis along the way, you might consider a making a more organized contribution to one of the schools we work with on a regular basis. One worthy school we are working with at the moment is School of St. Jude's. If you want to stop by the school and visit them in person to see the kids or deliver supplies, please let us know and we can set up a tour for you with one of the school administrators, as long as school is in session during that time.
If you want to lighten your load completely, one alternatively option would be to sponsor a child at St. Jude's or make a financial donation towards school supplies, which can help the school make curriculum specific purchases that you know will be used to their full potential. You can make a donation before your safari, while you are there, or after you get home as the school makes it very easy to do online: schoolofstjude.org/Donations/donate.html
Some individuals like to bring a small gift for their driver-guide. A good option for this would be a t-shirt or hat with a logo of your local sports team of any other item identifying with your hometown. If bringing a t-shirt, a large size is usually appropriate.However, we do believe the best gift you can give is simply bringing your excitement about your safari. Also, we suggest bringing three questions that you think will 'stump' your guide.
You will find that your driver guide quickly becomes your best friend in the bush and it is very natural to want to continue to communicate with him after your safari ends. As a safari outfitter, we have guidelines for maintaining communication so that the professionalism of our company remains intact. All communication should be sent to our main office in the US with the driver guide’s name clearly in the “subject”. We will forward all emails on your behalf and the driver guides will communicate back to you in the same way. This is very similar to the policies of other US companies making sure that employees maintain appropriate relationships with customers . While it might be appealing to write to a driver guide’s private email, it is not permitted for a driver guide to provide their personal information and we want to be sure none of our staff are put in a compromising position. A driver guide will not ask for your private email and we hope that our clients will not ask the driver guide for this information either. Tanzanians are very friendly people and if asked for an email, they are often uncomfortable to say no, despite the company policy.
A common inquiry we receive from our returning guests is that they would like to send a care package to their guide to thank them for their wonderful experience. You may certainly send a package directly to our office at P.O. Box 2189, Arusha, Tanzania (just address it to the name of your guide). Please note that shipping from the U.S. to Tanzania via the USPS can take months and can sometimes be unreliable so we do suggest adding tracking to your shipment.