Safari & Beach Adventure Trip Notes
Trip code: FFXZA
Trip length: 12 days
- Riding local train down to Selous
- Set camera traps for leopards and other predators in Africa's most uncrowded game reserve
- Swim in the Indian Ocean
- Taste exotic Zanzibar spices
The south of Tanzania offers a natural and cultural richness which is guaranteed to stir the inquisitive traveller. Big game, comfortable lodges and the true African bush - this trip gives you the best of all worlds. Your first sights of the immense unspoiled wilderness of the Selous Game Reserve will be from the window of a train as you journey from Dar Es Salaam. You then embark on three days of wonderful game viewing on foot, by jeep and by boat, exploring the varied habitats found in this relatively unknown reserve. In complete contrast, you then fly across the water to exotic Stone Town of Zanzibar with its unique mix of Africa and Islam. The finale - the white sand beaches and coral reefs of the Zanzibar Coast - round off a perfect blend of activity and relaxation – a great African adventure undertaken in style!
Dar es Salaam
Your group leader will get your group together for a briefing at your joining hotel, so that you can all meet each other and discuss any optional excursions and what will happen over the next few days.
The rest of the day is free to relax and recover from your journey and just relax around the hotel complex with its many traditional souk shops and restaurants.
Hotel The Slipway (AAA) – 2 nights - Swimming Pool (B)
Dar Es Salaam, free day
Today if free to enjoy the great activities available from the coast. You may like to play Robinson crusoe and join the optional day trip to the paradise island of Bongoyo by traditional boat (additional charge). The small uninhabited island is reachable by means of a 30 minute boat ride from the mainland, it is a popular destination for those looking to get away from civilization for a while. There are plenty of snorkelling opportunities in places like Shark's Lagoon Cave. Hiking around Bongoyo is also popular, yet many visitors like to simply sit on the beach with a good book or relax with a picnic. (B)
Selous Game Reserve, train ride
Today we transfer to Dar’s Tazara Station and board the train to Selous. The four and a quarter hour journey shows an interesting view of rural Tanzanian life. You arrive at Kisaki station; the village is home to many Masai. From here it’s a 20 minute drive to Sable Mountain Lodge. Your home for the next four nights is set high above riparian forest at the north-west corner of the reserve, in an area of considerable elephant activity. It consists of eight delightful stone cottages and five tented bandas, with a swimming pool (great for cooling off in between safaris!), en suite facilities, solar power, and its own supply of spring water. Its high elevation provides wonderful views over the surrounding hills and forest with magnificent views of the Uluguru Mountains beyond. The lodge also has its own waterhole where you can watch the animals come down to drink in the evening. Regular visitors include elephant, buffalo, zebra and in November and December, the rare sable antelope.
Selous, at 55,000 square km; (about 5% of Tanzania’s total land area) is the largest wildlife preserve in the whole of Africa and contains the largest populations of elephant, buffalo, hippo, crocodile and wild dog on the continent, as well as large populations of giraffe, zebra and various antelope species. However, as it receives fewer visitors than some of Africa’s more famous reserves, you can benefit from more relaxed game viewing experiences; the north-west sector in particular is away from the busier routes and it isn’t unusual for you not to see any other vehicles during your game drives here.
There are over 400 recorded bird species, including a dazzling array of bee-eaters, rollers, sunbirds and kingfishers, and a marvellous landscape which changes dramatically across the reserve. The reserve has an incredible diversity of habitats from deciduous hard woodland (miombo), open grassland, rocky hills scattered with thorny acacia, palm woodland, sand rivers (only channelling water in the wet season), riverine forest, swamps, lakes and rivers. Its ecological importance lead to the reserve being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. This is one of the last great African wildernesses where it is still possible to watch lions stalking their prey without worrying about another vehicle interrupting the show.
Sable Mountain Lodge - Private stone and thatch cottages (AAAA) with en suite facilities - 4 nights - Swimming Pool (BD)
Our stone cottages are well spaced and located midway up a small hill which allows for lovely views of the surrounding hills and distant Uluguru mountains.
Selous; safaris by foot and 4WD
With such a vast area of bush at your disposal, your first full day in Selous is spent exploring firstly on foot as you make an exciting early morning walking safari – a great way to really get in tune with the beauty, peace and tranquility of this astonishing wilderness. Selous is one of the few parks and reserves in Tanzania where foot safaris are permitted; there is nothing to beat the thrill of going in search of big game without the confines or noise of a vehicle. Travelling on foot also allows you to take a closer look at the vegetation and follow animal spoor; your guide will be on hand to highlight points of interest and answer your questions. You may come across some of the park’s smaller, though no less interesting residents, such as birds and insects. Look out for dung beetles rolling elephant dung; their ability to move dung balls many times their size is amazing – especially as they may also have to fight off other beetles trying to steal their prize!
You return to the lodge for lunch and have the afternoon to relax by the pool or check to see if there are any visitors at the waterhole. After the heat of the day subsides you embark on your first game drive. Using an open-sided 4WD vehicle you travel deeper into the reserve in search of more game. Selous Game Reserve is a vast wilderness and there are numerous routes to take. A stop at one of the many dry sand river beds may reveal elephants digging for water – a truly thrilling experience. You may also spot wild dog; unlike many other parks, Selous has a thriving population. The park is also home to a large population of giraffe and it is not uncommon to see large groups of them browsing the tops of trees and shrubs.
After dinner back at the lodge, the perfect way to cap the day’s activity is to relax with a night cap on the pool terrace. A great place to gaze at myriad of stars and soak up the night sounds. The constant sound of cicadas chirping is quite soporific while the sound of a hyena laughing or a lion roaring has a more spine-chilling effect! (BLD)
Selous; safaris by boat and 4WD
Today you make a full day game drive including a boat safari and a chance to spot pods of partially-submerged hippo, crocodile and other waterside dwellers at close quarters. Hearing hippo laugh is an experience which will delight everyone but only the brave will dare to look a crocodile right in the eye! Bird life is prolific; amongst others, you are likely to see pelican, African skimmer, goliath heron, fish eagle, ibis and the giant kingfisher, the largest in the world. The area is also home to Pel’s fishing owl but you would be very lucky indeed to see one. You may also spot other game at the water’s edge coming down for a welcome drink, especially during the dry season (mid-June – mid-November). Buffalo, waterbuck and impala are the most likely candidates but elephant, lion and leopard need to quench their thirst too. On returning to the camp after dark, look out for some of the area’s nocturnal species at the waterhole. (BLD)
Selous;free day for optional safaris
Today is free to relax at the camp, enjoy the swimming pool, spot game visiting the water hole or make your choice of optional safaris. (BLD)
NB: The day by day activities described for the Selous Game Reserve may vary due to weather conditions and also the location of wildlife in the reserve.
This morning there is a last chance to wallow by the pool before breakfast. A final short game drive ends at the Selous airstrip by mid-morning where you board the aircraft for a stunning flight across savannah grassland and shrub before crossing the Straits of Zanzibar to Zanzibar Island, where you can start to relax as you head for the beach. As a result of its trade in slaves and spices, Zanzibar was for many years the most important town on the East African coast. The Sultans of Oman, who introduced the clove tree to its fertile soil at the start of the last century, moved their court here from Muscat in the Gulf and ruled until independence in the early 1960s.
As a major trading centre, the 'Spice Island' is also reputed to be the birthplace of Swahili, the simple lingua franca that developed to allow trade between people of different languages. In the heart of the original merchant city the baleful cry of the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer resonates though the narrow stone streets.
Dhow Palace (AAA) - 2 nights - Swimming Pool (B)
Please note that the Zanzibar section is unaccompanied by a Group Leader although transfers are organised for you.
You have the morning to explore the atmospheric, faded splendour of Stone Town. It's fun to wander unhurriedly through the narrow, whitewashed streets and make chance discoveries. The bustle of the old fish market, the vibrant colours of the stalls in the fruit market, the curious mix of black Africa and Islam - veiled women, men with white pillar-box hats, and traces of Arabic origins in the faces of merchants. (B)
Today you can take a half-day ‘spice tour’ (optional), which brings to life the story of the island by visiting its many ruins, and the extensive plantations which produce cloves, pepper, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and cardamom as well as fruit and herbs. Those who do not wish to do a Spice Tour can stay back for some extra time exploring or shopping in Stone Town. You transfer by car at a time later in the day to meet up with the rest of the group after they finish the Spice Tour. Then you all drive together for the remainder of the journey to the beach hotel (about one hour’s drive).
Hotel Mnarani Cottage Or Ras Michamvi (AAA) - 3 nights - Swimming Pool (BD)
Indian Ocean Beach
The beautiful coastline with its palm-fringed beaches creates an image of a forgotten paradise, with the sea lapping at the shore. Most are protected by coral reefs and are made of white coral sand. Here you can relax on the balmy, tropical shores of the Indian Ocean. In the morning it may be possible to see some of the local fishermen, in their traditional dhows bringing in their catch for the day. Spend the days relaxing or snorkelling from the beach in crystal-clear water. There are bicycles for hire or several other optional excursions can be arranged through your hotel, such as scuba diving, boat excursions, fishing trips or a spice tour of the island. You could also opt to visit the nearby turtle sanctuary where injured turtles and other marine animals are cared for until they are well enough to be returned to the wild. (Bx2, Dx2)
The trip ends for Land Only clients in Zanzibar hotel after breakfast. (B)
About The Imaginative Traveller
Our aim has always been to provide exceptional travel experiences. We believe that adventure travel should be stimulating, and that it should give you an authentic experience of a place. We want our travellers to relish the amazing diversity of countries and cultures the world has to offer. Our focus is on innovation, not imitation.
Obsessed with quality
One of our strengths has been our obsession with quality. We've always believed that our commitment to you doesn't end as soon as you've paid for your holiday. On the contrary, it is just beginning. Whilst most operators simply get a local company to handle the day to day operation of their tours, we do it all ourselves. We have managers for each of our key destinations around the world and all our small groups are escorted by our own leaders. Our local teams include guides, drivers, administration staff and contacts in the local community who help us ensure that our adventures are active and involving.
For comparability, all prices in this dossier are quoted in one currency. We use the US Dollar since that is familiar to most. However, once on tour you will need to pay for all goods and services in the local currency. See your Country Dossier for details of exchange rates.
Trip gradesAfrican Safari
Beach / coastal
Lodge based safaris
Walks are all optional and easy. Travel in Tanzania - as in much of Africa - involves some rough roads. Accommodation is both stylish and comfortable.
Please note that the Zanzibar section is unaccompanied by a Group Leader although transfers are organised for you.
Transport - Light aircraft, 4WD, boat, on foot, minibus, train.
Accommodation - Hotels (7nts), lodge (4nts).
Meals - 11 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 7 dinners
Single room supplementA single supplement is available for this trip priced from 540 GBP. This does not guarantee a single room for all accommodation. please contact us to discuss this.
For your comfort we recommend you travel as light as possible; many airlines impose a maximum weight limit of 20kg – we advise you to take 10kg as you will be on the move a good deal! For domestic flights using light aircraft the usual weight limit is 15 kg.
One main piece (a soft bag or rucksack, not a hard suitcase).
A daypack (25-30 litres), large enough to carry what you need for the day including camera, water, etc.
Bring your most powerful binoculars, not only for seeing the animals but also useful to enjoy star gazing.
Bring an old pair of beach shoes to protect your feet from the perils of sea urchins exposed at low tide on Zanzibar.
In Zanzibar people may be upset by you taking their photo and children in particular will nearly always ask you for money in return. Always ask first to avoid awkward situations and please don’t encourage children to beg.
Learn some Swahili (Lonely Planet have a handy little guide to learning Swahili) which will add an extra dimension to your trip! There are also many good internet sites so you can learn some simple words before you travel. Your efforts are sure to be rewarded with a warm smile (no matter how wrong you sound!) – go on be brave!
Jambo – hello: is the first word you will learn, but very touristy so say instead Habari – How’s things?
Asante (sana) – thank you (very much)
Hakuna Matata – no problem
Simba – Lion
Wapi choo? – where are the toilets?
And to really get you learning try pointing to things and say ….
Unasemaje ….. kwa Kiswahili….? How do you say.…. in Swahili?
SOME INTERESTING READING:
The Shadow of the Sun: My African Life - Ryszard Kapuscinski
Birds of East Africa (Photographic Guides) - D. Richards
Livingstone's Tribe: A Journey from Zanzibar to the Cape- Stephen Taylor
Zanzibar - Giles Foden
Your Child’s Health Abroad - Matthew Ellis and Jane Wilson-Howarth, (Bradt publications).
Travel with Children – Maureen Wheeler (Lonely Planet)
FOR YOUNGER READERS:
We all went on safari: a counting journey through Tanzania by Laurie Krebs
Jambo means hello: Swahili Alphabet book by Muriel L Feelings
Local Costs - Tanzania
Approximate costs are given for guidance only, and may vary widely according to location and type of establishment.
Coffee/tea USD 5.00
Soft drink USD 2.00
Bottle of water (1 litre) USD 1.50
Medium beer USD 3.00
Bottle of wine USD 20-40.00
Lunch snack USD 5-10.00
3-course dinner* USD 15-25
* in a reasonable mid-range restaurant
In Tanzania and Zanzibar, there are two (2) departure taxes. Domestic flights: 8,000 Tsh (or $8) and International flights: $40. Part of this tax ($30) should be included in your flight cost. When returning to your own country, you will be charged $10 as an exit tax. The customs sign asks for dollars, so it's probably safer to keep $10 in cash for when you leave.
Visas & Permits - Tanzania
Holders of UK & IRL passports do require a visa. Passports must be valid for at least six months after the end date of the trip. Nationals of all other countries should contact their local embassy or consulate. Visas for Tanzania are available on arrival for some nationalities, but we strongly recommend that you get your visa before travelling, as delays of 1 ½ - 2 hours can occur when getting the visa on arrival at Dar Es Salaam airport. Information can also be found on www.travcour.com.
This information is given in good faith, but may be subject to change without warning. Please note that, where appropriate, obtaining a valid visa is ultimately your responsibility. Please consult a visa agency or the consular authorities 4-6 weeks before departure for the most up-to-date information.
Vaccinations - Tanzania
The following are recommended:
- Hepatitis A
- Yellow Fever (compulsory if arriving from an infected area, not required for mainland Tanzania and for travelling from mainland to Zanzibar as per recent regulations provided by Kenya Airlines, see description below:
TANZANIA YELLOW FEVER VACCINATION CERTIFICATES
We personaly recommend you to get your Yellow Fever Certificate anyway, to be on the safe side, as it is valid for 10 years and you might be delayed in an endemic country for more than 12h if your flight get delayed and then you will need to provide it.
Kenya Airways has received the following communication from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Tanzania regarding requirement of Yellow Fever Certificate. The directive stipulates the following:
1. All passengers arriving from Non Endemic Yellow Fever zone(s) will not be required to show a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate on their arrival to Tanzania.
2. All passengers en route to Tanzania, who have passed through an Endemic Yellow Fever zone(s) BUT did not leave that country's airport, will be treated as above (1) above.
3. All passengers en route to Tanzania, who have passed through an Endemic Yellow Fever zone(s) and have left the airport of that endemic country, will be required to show yellow fever certificates on their arrival in Tanzania. Otherwise they will require a vaccination at the entry point of arrival in Tanzania (vaccination fee USD 50.00).
4. All passengers from Endemic Yellow Fever zone(s) will be treated as those in (3) above
5. All passengers from the Tanzania mainland to Zanzibar will not be required to show their yellow fever vaccination certificate as Zanzibar is inside the United Republic of Tanzania.
Note: The same regulations now apply to those flying directly to Zanzibar.
Please be aware that we had reports of Arusha airport abusive practices and if you get asked for your Yellow Fever Certificate and you don't have it, argue that you were only transiting in Kenya or Ethiopia and did not leave the airport and therefore aren't entitled to provide such certificate and will NOT purchase it at the airport.
For detailed information and advice concerniing vaccinations go to: www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk. Vaccination requirements change periodically so we advise that you check with your nearest specialist travel clinic 4-6 weeks before departure to get up-to-date information. A specialist travel clinic should also be able to advise regarding any special vaccination requirements for your children.
International rules for carrying medicines vary. Some countries do not allow certain medicines to be imported, or require official documents, such as a doctor’s letter, to prove drugs have been prescribed by a doctor and obtained legally. It is sensible to contact the relevant embassy or high commission of your destination to check what their drug transportation rules are before you travel.The itinerary and supplementary information has been compiled with care and provided in good faith. However it may be subject to change, and does not form part of a contract between the client and The Imaginative Traveller.
Responsible Travel - Travellers' Guidelines
At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It’s about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
- It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
- We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
- Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school. It is of course your own personal choice but you could consider giving to registered charities or contributing to our Responsible Travel fund instead. Money donated through our fund to our worldwide projects is matched pound for pound by Imaginative Traveller and used to help local grassroots projects.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavor to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don’t buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don’t leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn’t at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you’ll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare’s projects can be found on their website.
If you would like to contribute to our Worldwide projects, helping communities all over the World, you can also do this on our website or with a sales consultant. Please refer to our responsible travel page on the website for details of our current projects. Any donation you make will be matched £ for £ by Imaginative Traveller (up to a maximum of £1000).
Have a great trip!
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at firstname.lastname@example.orgThe Imaginative Traveller & The Adventure Company. This trip is operated by our partner company, The Adventure Company. They have more than 10 years experience in adventure travel and they share our ethos for offering unique holiday adventures. As this is a codeshared departure you can expect there to be both Imaginative Traveller and Adventure Company travellers on your trip.