A trip to Tanzania and its vast wilderness areas is a once in a life time, bucket list journey of the senses as well as the heart and soul. A country that proudly lays claim to some of world’s greatest phenomena – like Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Crater, and Zanzibar – it is a country filled with wonder at every turn and of unparalleled beauty.
Here are our highlights of this astonishing part of the world visited,
Arush – Tarangire National Park – Ngorongoro -Manyara National Park – Northern Serengeti – Central Serengeti – Zanzibar
“Nice Stopover for Coffee Lovers”
Arusha Coffee Lodge is located about an hour’s drive from Kilimanjaro Airport but only about six minutes from Arusha Airport. The accommodation is nice, but not luxurious (we stayed in a Plantation Suite), but the property acted as a suitable one night’s stopover.
The iced coffee beverage we were served on arrival was delicious though thanks to the fresh coffee beans of course. The coffee tour of the plantation and the coffee tasting is highly recommended.
“Variety of Animals, Not Crowded “
We were only here for two days but we were able to see a variety of animals including lions, zebras, elephants, wildebeests, giraffes, ostriches, Dik-dik, Impalas. However, we didn’t see any cheetahs or leopards. The area is abundant in Baobab trees, which yielded a very delicious juice. Flies are also abundant in many areas so be prepared for some spritely swatting action!
Apparently, lions sleep around twenty hours a day and the two we spotted had full stomachs and thus had no interest in hunting any of the thousands of wildebeests and zebras migrating.
You also visited a Masai village in this area, coordinated by a guide from your lodge. At the one we visited we learned that generally women and children or the elderly or weak stay at home. Masai survive mainly on cows’ meat, milk, and blood. They sell handmade beaded jewellery to tourists as an income.
The lodge organised a fantastic sundown picnic atop a hill and witnessed one of many extraordinary African sunsets during our trip.
“First Time in A Treetop Room”
Treetop rooms sound fancy, but they are simply rooms built off the ground next to a tree. The one we stayed at here was nice and spacious, with a balcony overlooking the woods where we could enjoy sighting some animals which casually wandered by. The lodge staff were nice, but perhaps needed more training as some aspects of the service were lacking. The chef was good with local or Indian dishes on the menu, but other cuisines were obviously not his strengths. We went on a daily safari conducted by fantastic guide, and visited a Masai village nearby.
“An Amazing Place”
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is home to the volcanic Ngorongoro Crater and ‘big 5’ game animals (elephant, lion, buffalo, and rhino). It’s a strikingly beautiful place with animals aplenty which are used to the tourists and vehicles. Consequently, lions will often walk alongside your car they are so familiar to visitors. It’s often joked that if you want to lions at Ngorongoro, simply look for the lines of vehicles where the lions join the traffic!
Apart from the animals, Ngorongoro crater’s scenery is amazing. There’s a large picnic and rest area as well. Ngorongoro is well worth a visit, however, tourist numbers are high and can get a little crowded particularly when lions are spotted.
Lake Manyara, a soda lake, is beautiful and has an incredibly diverse population of wildlife for its small size. It’s best known for its pelicans (which there were thousands), flamingos and a large variety of other birds. During the wet season (around April/May), the water ebbs close to the edge affording a better view of these birds.
“Nice Lodge and Good Base for Traveling to Ngorongoro & Manyara “
The Manor at Ngorongoro is a beautiful country cottage that speaks of old world grandeur. It sits among beautiful landscaped grounds on huge coffee estate. It is a great base for visiting Ngorongoro and Lake Manyara with good service and food and a warm reception upon arrival. We stayed in a Manor Cottage room that had great views, especially from the terrace, and a stand-alone bath.
The spa facilities and service were a bit disappointing which otherwise would have been a five-star property. As with all Elewana properties, picnic lunch and supper at sundown are always exceptional!
“Thousands of Wildebeests Migrating”
We saw thousands of animals in migration, mainly wildebeests and zebras. The rivers are small and quite dry and therefore the river crossing scene was, I imagine, not as grand as around Mara river. We did however, happen upon large prides of lions a couple of times. In addition, we saw leopards twice in during the two days we were there. We learnt that leopards usually hunt alone and often eats his meal in a tree. Northern Serengeti was a good safari experience and lived up to its reputation.
“Good Variety of Animals”
On way to our property, we saw thousands of wildebeests migrating.
With high big cat density, we saw large lion prides few times, and sighted a cheetah mother with two of her offspring resting under a tree. Other common animals of this area include wildebeest, zebras, elephants, hippos, antelopes, giraffes..
This is a beautiful hotel and a great location for a safari in central Serengeti. But the best part of the hotel is the dining area which overlooks the pool (no privacy for swimmers though) and water hole where elephants and other animals visit daily.
Stayed in a Terrace Suite which was spacious, elegantly decorated complete with a four-poster bed, mosquito net, generous deck, and small plunge pool. It also had a fantastic view of the wilderness with elephants rambling pass every day.
We were a bit disenchanted with the hot air balloon trip we took over the Serengeti National Park. It probably wouldn’t have been had we seen animals migrating from above but that’s nature for you and probably not sound ground for complaint. Having said this, we can advise you to book the day before after checking with the operator what the odds are of witnessing animal migration, otherwise the animals look small or you pass too quickly to take a good shot. The view is not the best without the animals. There are more gorgeous places in the world to do balloon trip at. It’s a great experience for first timers though. The best part was the post breakfast setup in the wild, including the super clean outdoor toilets.
“Beautiful Tropical Island, Great for Safari Extension”
Zanzibar is a spectacular tropical island, particularly great for honeymooners, and perfect as a destination for a safari extension. Most tourists stay in the resorts, which are an hour’s drive from airport or Stone Town. Apart from Stone Town, there is not really any other towns where tourists can go for coffee or dining or shopping. But Stone town has a great local market.
I stayed for four nights in resorts, but we recommend couple of nights in Park Hyatt in Stone Town and 3-4 nights in a beach resort. staying for a week. It’s best to you stay in Stone Town for two nights and the resorts for five nights.
Tulia Zanzibar – luxury seafront villas which were spacious with contemporary décor that incorporated local material and design. Breakfast poolside was lush, and some nights there’re entertainment during diner time. There’re multiple designer pools and one with fun water slides! It’s a perfect place for couples to relax and enjoy a perfect tropical island holiday!
The snorkelling day trip from here was a definite highlight! Great fun snorkelling near Mnemba Island to which we travelled by boat. We saw an impressive array of corals and sea life. Dolphins can often be seen around Zanzibar and luckily, they happen to swim past us as we were snorkelling.
“New Boutique Resort With Designer Interior and Amazing Views”
This incredibly beautiful new boutique hotel in Zanzibar contains only 9 waterfront private villas. The spacious 100sq metre space features a nice terrace overlooking tropical plantation and ocean, contemporary luxurious interior, and a large bathroom. This is an all-inclusive hotel with great food, and boasts white sandy beaches where you can snorkel near the hotel’s beach or via a short boat ride to Oba-Oba lagoon.
This is a destination all on its own!
Wild Life, Culture, Tropical Haven, Tanzania has everything to offer!
What is the best time to view the migration?
I learnt from this trip that animal migration in the Serengeti happens all year round, moving from north to central and south, then they repeat the same route every year with dates varying. However, the most sought-after safari scene is the immense migration of wildebeest and over two million animals from the Serengeti National Park to the greener pastures of the Maasai Mara National Reserve during July through to October. If you want to witness this, either book your trip very last minute, days before it’s likely to happen (an experienced guide can usually predict by judging the weather and behaviour of the animals waiting at the bank), or book with Mobile camps which travel easier to where the action is.