Northern Tanzania and Zanzibar
Everything worked seamlessly despite concerns about baggage going astray in transits, which never happened. It was good in all locations to be able to choose the contents of our packed lunch.
The companies used locally were excellent and very professional. We were particularly impressed by the Serengeti Balloon Company. It seemed expensive when we booked but on reflection it was well worth it (we were toasted by everyone after we landed) and we loved the champagne breakfast.
It was a long drive on the first day from Kilimanjaro airport but it was a very poor road in some parts. I can see why some people take the opportunity for some inter-park flights; however, that would have meant changing guides/drivers. We saw all the animals we wanted to see and the numbers of elephants were really surprising. We were privileged to see leopards in trees and a pack of rare African Wild Dogs.
Looking back we think it probably wasn’t worth going to Lake Manyara Park compared to the rest.
Sam, our first driver, was excellent, gentle, helpful and knowledgeable and we seemed to ‘click’. We stayed out all day with him which was fine and we don’t think it made a lot of difference compared to early morning drives and then back to camp.
We may have missed actual ‘kills’ but we still saw a cheetah stalking and chasing prey plus lions/leopards enjoying the meal they had caught earlier.
Ernest, who was with us at Dunia was also good and had a better knowledge of birds than Sam plus had guides we could use to identify birds/animals.
To be honest we weren’t that fussed about Zanzibar itself, particularly Stone Town, although the different culture was interesting and we had no complaints about Seacliff. We also really enjoyed the experience at Mtoni Palace concert and dinner.
The only thing which slightly marred our departure was the sudden imposition of the exit tax of $48 pp which could only be accepted in $ and no debit/credit card facilities. It caught a lot of people out (and a lot were unhappy, especially families. I didn’t have enough $ so had to find a cash machine that would accept my card and then change the Tshillings for $. I think it might be helpful for you to highlight this for future travellers as this is now in force. (I can understand why quite a lot of people we talked to on the mainland would be happy to revert to Tanganyika.
All in all a holiday of a lifetime with great memories. Many thanks to all at Go2Tanzania for arranging everything so well.
Maweninga Tented Camp
Amazing location perched on the kopje. We really liked the pit fire and views across to the lakes.
Food service and accommodation were good, also the packed lunch.
It was a bit unusual to be greeted by whacks all over from fly swats to get rid of the tsetse flies we had brought in, but that was all part of the fun!
Bashay Rift Lodge
Lovely lodge and facilities with that view across the Crater.
I can see the benefit of staying more than one night to enjoy all that was on offer but we have to confess it was a bit like a normal holiday in a hotel with excursions. That was not what we wanted so although no problem with Bashay we preferred the tents.
This was the only place that seemed unwilling to vary the menu for me.
Olduvai Tented Camp
This felt quite remote, especially looking back from a vantage point (where we watched the sunset). As such it was really good and gave alternatives for my diet. Probably not quite so clean as the other 2 camps.
Enjoyed the presence of Maasai and the sunset walk. Also the local Maasai village (not cheap and, I suspect, enjoyed tourists!) but we didn’t mind for the experience.
Our absolute favourite in everyway. Five star treatment despite the logistics. Impressed with the same day laundry service!
The chef was outstanding in his cuisine (we visited his ‘kitchen’).
We loved our anniversary surprise, the dancing and wonderful iced Anniversary cake!
We felt very close to ‘Africa’ and would have happily stayed longer.
Zanzibar Seacliff Resort and Spa
Lovely resort, great outlook. Everything planned went very smoothly and we appreciated the flowers and champagne for our anniversary plus the ‘intimate’ meal!
Occasionally room service a bit confused, some days more towels needed, others too many! All the staff were very friendly and it was good to see managers/chefs doing walkabouts and happy to chat and make sure everything was OK.
They didn’t seem able to cater for sugar free diets (no artificial sweeteners) but the buffet was very varied and enough choice to get round any difficulties.