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Southern Tanzania and Zanzibar

“Everything in Africa bites, but the safari bug is worst of all” – Brian Jackman. I fully agree and would only add: “The only antidote is to go back on safari again and again.”

So this time my husband and I ventured to East Africa, specifically to southern Tanzania, before flying to Zanzibar for some beach-time.

Nyerere National Park was our first safari destination and on landing I knew immediately I was going to love this place. The landscape is ever-changing and comprises miombo woodlands and open plains as well as wetlands, lakes and rivers. And as we all know, water always influences a safari experience positively. We saw plenty of hungry crocodile and hippo, as well as lions in action, elephant, buffalo, giraffe and zebra; it also needs to be said that Nyerere is definitely a birding destination!

Tanzania Selous is a birding destination

A selection of bee-eaters & rollers from Nyerere – as well as a spoonbill with a watchful croc.

We really enjoyed our game drives and water cruises; during the latter, we once spotted two lionesses walking on the edge of the lake – phenomenal! But we’ll have to return … to see the endangered wild dog too 😉 … and also because we just loved the remoteness of Nyerere with its variety of landscapes and different safari activities.

Giraffe on a Tanzania game drive

Nyerere’s open woodland habitat is ideal for giraffe & we saw many of them in the park.

Ruaha National Park was our second safari destination. It’s very different to Nyerere, especially in the dry month of October, and therefore ideal to combine! We saw lion, leopard, buffalo, zebra and plenty of giraffe. But what we loved the most here was the contrast between the baobab forest and the golden savannah.

Life journey of a baobab tree

The seed pod & pips of a baobab; the hole in this huge but soft-wood tree was dug out by hungry elephants.

It’s almost unbelievable to think that a massive tree like the baobab comes from such a small seed. And in October the baobabs start to flower too. They bloom at night – big white flowers – so that night-flying fruit bats can see and pollinate them.

Game drives in East Africa are usually between six and seven hours long. But a number of safari camps offer private activities – subject to availability – that allow much more flexibility; guests can, for example, stay out all day on safari or also decide to return to the lodge earlier, if they wish.

Game drive in Ruaha National Park

Ruaha lions rest in the heat of day.

We connected between safari destinations on shared charter flights and then flew to the Indian Ocean coast and Zanzibar Island. From the moment we landed, we perceived the coexistence of African, Arabic and Indian cultures as well as many more influences. The most visual evidence of this meeting of cultures is seen in Zanzibar’s historic centre – Stone Town – and its famous carved doors: artefacts that speak history.

Zanzibar doors artefacts speak history

Reflecting different cultures & eras, Stone Town’s wooden doors make great photography.

Although it’s safe to explore Stone Town alone, we decided to tour it with a local guide so we wouldn’t miss or overlook anything. It turned out to be a great choice! It was a touching experience to walk through the East Africa Slave Trade Exhibit. We also visited the fish, fruit and spice market and we toured the community spice farm. The Island’s fertile land is one of the reasons why Zanzibar has long been one of the centres of Indian Ocean trade.

Fruit market in Zanzibar

Visit a Zanzibar food market if not for the food then for the colours & compositions.

After much safari and exploration, we decided to spend the last days of our trip at the beach. The ocean tides affect the ‘swimming’ experience and so every accommodation provides swimming pools. But if you are a sea-person, it isn’t difficult to book an excursion on a traditional fishing boat to a snorkelling or diving spot, rich with colourful fish and coral.

Indian Ocean view from Zanzibar Island

The view from our Zanzibar lodge – well, we did say we were going on holiday!

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Reviews

Best trip I have ever been on. Highly recommend.

Would highly recommend. Safari online asked questions when booking and were efficient and knew exactly what we were looking for in terms of accommodation and animals were wanted to see. Gave advice on a few little extras with no pressure, which we did and am very grateful which make trip even more exciting. Would definitely recommend booking with them.

Very helpful good suggestions for holiday ideas always available for questions good organising

Excellent service and they supplied good suggestions for our holiday they also organised all internal flights and arranged check in for us so we had no worries while on holiday. We have had a most memorable holiday staying at wonderful places thanks to Sabrina and Safari Online. Would recommend Safari Online to organise your holiday.

Lorraine (UK)
Safari Online made our fantastic family holiday dream come true!!

Safari Online have been nothing but professional and incredible from the time we made our first enquiry to the last day of our stunning holiday. Nothing was too much trouble for Walter. We are now starting to plan our next family Safari for 2019. Guess who we will be booking with??? Safari Online we hope you are ready!!!!!

Penni (AU)
Professional, quick and top of the edge service!!!

From the very first contact we’re very happy about the respond time and quality of information from safari-online.com. Based on the received first tailor-made quote, which is a weblink with all the details about the flights, photos of the lodges etc. we knew that this is “our” partner for this trip. Our expectations were excelled!!!

Lukas (Germany)
Safari Online were extremely efficient and absolutely charming to work with.

Our 28-day itinerary took us to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. A magnificent and unforgettable adventure. Everything ran smoothly and efficiently from the flights, transfers, rides, connections, etc. Absolutely wonderful! Can’t thank them enough!

Ann and Mario (Canada)
It was a safari of a lifetime and exceeded all of our expectations!

Our mom grew up in Central and South Africa so we had visited the continent many times. My sister and I wanted to take our teens and husbands to Africa to experience the magic. We had a limited budget but big and specific expectations and by some miracle Walter was able to manage both.

Heather (USA)
Professional, patient, efficient and responsive. Met all our travel needs and requirements spot on

Communication was excellent – I asked A LOT of questions and did a ton of research myself and Walter was extremely patient with me and very responsive. he was straight forward and extremely professional. Tour itself was excellent – an incredible experience and one never to be forgotten. Everything was spot on.

Neena
Walter has always been an excellent communicator and has supported us fully

We have been to Africa for 24 of the last 27 years so know a bit about what is involved. Walter has arranged the details for the last couple of years, and has done a superb job. He is always quick to respond and comes up with answers immediately……..no evasive tactics, always head-on!

Roger (UK)
An incredibly well organised tour with no hassles whatsoever.

Safari Online understood our needs and was able to present us with sensible options to choose from. It was evident that this tour operator has knowledgable and experienced agents who can arrange a seemless tour. We were provided with a professional online itinary which was comprehensive and easy to use, knew exactely what to expect, and encountered no stumble blocks along the way.

Gwen (AU)
Karina was absolutely instrumental to our safari success.

Our experience with Safari Online was excellent. After becoming very frustrated trying to search for a safari destination on our own, we turned to Karina for help and she was a lifesaver.  We had an amazing safari adventure at the lodge–the experience of a lifetime–and are so grateful for her help. We literally couldn’t have done it without her!

Chris (USA)