Recently, Bart (from Boston, USA) returned from a Tanzania and Zanzibar Experience – our Northern Circuit Camping Tanzania safari… he spent some extra time in Zanzibar! Bart traveled over 10 days over May/June 2009! We asked Bart some general and popular safari questions…. Have a look below:
Where did you go on your Tanzania and Zanzibar Experience?
I went to Northern Tanzania & Zanzibar with JENMAN African Safaris. I booked a version of their Tanzanian Northern Circuit safari, but I changed it a little bit to make the most of the time we had. We visited Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. We spent a few nights in Zanzibar to end off the holiday.
Who did you go with?
JENMAN African Safaris – found them on the internet – through a Google search.
Tell us more about Jenman Safaris:
JENMAN African Safaris service was very good – considering that they are based in South Africa and I am in Europe all arrangements were taken care of very well and the consultant was very helpful and efficient. It was good to chat to them on the phone about the safari, & they were able to answer my questions about accommodations & the best route to take. They sent very detailed documentation, vouchers, itinerary etc electronically, which was really useful. When we got to Tanzania, all the arrangements were perfect – we were met on time, taken to awesome hotels/lodges, told loads of brilliant information by the guide. The guide was outstanding – he knew so much about the culture of the people and knew the best places to see the wildlife we wanted to find. The guide was very patient with us – we wanted to take a lot of close up photographs, and he often suggested to move the car around the game so we could get different angles – that was really appreciated.
Tell us about the accommodation:
We stayed at the Karama Lodge in Arusha (rustic, kind of tented chalets – but really nice. Breakfast was fantastic & the place was very peaceful). All the hotels we stayed at on the safari were part of the same company – called Wildlife lodges. They were each a little different in their own way, but it was nice to get to each one new, because you knew what you could look forward to. The hotels were really nice & stylish, considering we booked a mid range safari. I would say some were about a 4* standard, which I wasn’t expecting at all! Nice surprise. Manyara Wildlife Lodge, Seronera wildlife lodge (in the Serengeti) & Nogorongoro Wildlife Lodge (at the crater), All the hotels were really well positioned, either being set over the crater or the Manyara Park, or right in the middle of the Serengeti. In Zanzibar we stayed at Beyt al Chai in Stone Town (WOW – we loved this place, really stylish local stuff used to decorate the place), & on the beach we stayed at Fumba Beach Lodge. Also a great place – cool accommodation, beautiful beach, great food & the kind of place you could stay for a week or more just relaxing.
Any wildlife sightings on your Tanzania and Zanzibar Experience?
On our Tanzania and Zanzibar experience we saw pretty much everything, except unfortunately not Rhino, so we didn’t make the big 5. Our guide just said that was unlucky, because they do see Rhino fairly often. The very best thing was the incredible amount of Wildebeest – we went during Migration & they were EVERYWHERE & the sound was almost deafening. One day we saw a leopard, a cheetah with 4 cubs & a kill, & a pride of 6 lions who were getting ready to hunt. This was in 1 small location & in the space of about an hour & a half. It was mind blowing. Also we saw loads of Zebra, giraffe, two types of gazelle, a large herd of buffalo, elephant, impala, Topi, crocodile, hippos – pretty much everything! I also saw my first African Fish eagle, which was magical, and some really pretty kingfishers (3 species), as well as a crested crane. The fish eagle & the leopard were the best – definitely my wildlife spotting highlight.
Tell us more:
After a good breakfast, we would meet our guide outside the hotel & head off on game drives. The roof of the vehicle was always up, so we could stand or sit – what ever was most comfortable, & depending on what we wanted to see. You can go back to your hotel for a hot lunch, but usually we were so full from breakfast so we decided to stay out looking for game, & meant we could also go further away from our hotel. We would get back to our hotel around 5ish (or earlier if we were tired), have a hot shower, a drink at the bar & then just enjoy the facilities at the hotels (swimming pool, nice bar, viewing decks etc)
Any special highlights?
In Zanzibar we did a scuba dive, which was great, & also some snorkelling. We did a guided walk around Stone Town (which was a good thing, otherwise we would have got lost in the windy alleys), went to the night market for dinner, & hired bikes to go exploring.
What was wrong with the safari?
I wish we had more time in Zanzibar actually, but that was our own fault. We were advised by JENMAN to take an extra day, but we had to get back home. In hindsight, the extra day would have been great.
Yes – when wanting to go to Tanzania, make sure you ask where is the best place to go for the time of year you are travelling. We originally wanted to go north to the Mara, but JENMAN Safaris told us the migration was not in the north during the time we needed to travel. Good thing they told us that at the start, otherwise we would have been disappointed. So lucky we booked with JENMAN & not the first company we looked at, who didn’t tell us about the Mara lacking the migration at our travel date.
Overall: The game viewing is incredible, the people wonderful, the landscapes beautiful & the beaches – ahhh, so nice.