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Tanzania Safari Blog

April 14, 2018

Welcome to the Tanzania Odyssey Blog

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 11:26 am

Our blog is a collection of posts and articles written by ourselves as well as some which are sourced externally, but all of which are relevant to Tanzania and Zanzibar. Similarly, our website is a vast resource of knowledge compiled over 20 years of experience, written by ourselves; the Tanzania Experts. We really know our stuff and offer unbiased opinions on the regions of Tanzania as well as the lodges & hotels (all of which we visit on a regular basis!)

We specialise in everything from beach honeymoons to family safaris and even climbing Kilimanjaro, so you can rest assured our website is extremely well equipped to answer everyone’s queries and concerns. Please have a scan of the above button options to find your relevant page! We tailor-make all our trips but our itineraries page is also particularly useful when in the initial planning stages. The best way to get to grips with Tanzania and Zanzibar though is to give us a call so we can give you the low-down in our famous no-flowers Odyssey way…

In the meantime though we hope you find our blog interesting… Happy reading!

November 16, 2018

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Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tanzania Odyssey @ 11:45 am

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Freddie Mercury’s Zanzibar Roots – What the film forgot!

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 11:01 am

With the recent release of the Bohemian Rhapsody film selling out in cinemas across the world, we only thought it fitting to talk a bit more about Freddie Mercury’s childhood which was spent in Tanzania’s Indian Ocean archipelago, Zanzibar. Specifically, the then called Farrokh Bulsara grew up in Stone Town, Zanzibar’s spice infused and characterful seaside town.

His early years were spent meandering through the cobbled streets of Stone Town. He lived in the centre in an Arabic townhouse overlooking the sea with his parents and his younger sister Kashmira. His family immigrated to Zanzibar from India before he was born, and they lived there until the Zanzibar Revolution in 1964 where many Arabs were killed, forcing them to flee to England. They originally moved to Zanzibar so his father Bomi could work in the High Court as a cashier for the British Government (Zanzibar was under British protection at that time). Mercury was sent off to a prestigious boarding school in India (St Peter’s Church of England), but as his love for music increased, his grades declined and he ultimately chose to spend the last few years of his course in the Roman Catholic St. Joseph’s Convent School in Zanzibar.

Their house was an enviable one to live in on the island; as they were were well off they could afford a fantastic central position in the town. His family very much practised the Zoroastrian religion, as his parents were Parsees. Loosely and in very general terms, the religion focuses on there being one God (alike with Judaism and Christianity), and also revolves much around Dualism (the force of good and evil opposing each other within a person’s soul.) Unlike Christianity and Judaism though, Zoroastrians believe God’s power is limited and a person’s freewill is tangible (he is not omnipotent).

Some may assume that Mercury rebelled against his religion, due to the scripture’s demonization of homosexuality – he did after all change his name, and go down an extreme path of being the bohemian Rockstar we all know and love him as.  Interestingly though, as urbanisation increased in the 20th century, the religion mostly adapted accordingly. It adapted without losing it’s core principles of “good thoughts, good words and good deeds” – it could be true that this mantra stayed with Mercury throughout his life. The religion he grew up around is something which was not explored in the film, and we can only speculate on the inevitable impact it must’ve had on shaping him into the person he became.

The new film seems to overlook his childhood in Zanzibar, but luckily, we know all about it, and there is no denying that Stone Town is proud of shaping Mercury into the iconic figure he was.

With a rich history and an indescribable charm, it seems fitting that such a historic and influential character begun life here. Only 6 years after leaving this charismatic corner of Africa at the age of 17, did Mercury form Queen. When he was growing up, he spent much of his time learning and practising the piano in his home, a home which is now a main tourist attraction on the island.

Another big attraction for tourists and locals alike is Mercury’s Bar in Stone Town, which captures the spirit of Queen in an unlikely place. It is fun, lively and full of that Mercury and Zanzibari character and a great place to visit if you find yourself on Zanzibar. Taking a stroll around Stone Town really does give you a slice of Mercury’s history, and you can almost taste how his insatiable zest for life brewed on the streets of this charming town, and where ultimately this unconventional and truly free-spirited icon was born.

November 11, 2018

A guide to the Wildebeest Migration in January

Filed under: Migration month by month — Tags: , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 10:39 am

Where are the herds in January?

By January, most of the herds have congregated in the Ndutu Plains for calving season. Ndutu is in the Ngorongoro Conservation area which means rich, nutrient soils for the young calves to give them the best start in life. By mid-January, calving season is in full swing and more than 8,000 calves are born daily. Aside from the sheer volume of grazers in the area which is phenomenal to see in itself, the young calves also attract an immense number of predators. In fact, from January to February, the Ndutu plains has the biggest concentration of predators anywhere on the planet, which only means one thing; seriously explosive predator action.

Is January a good time to see the Great Migration?

So yes, January is one of the absolute best times to see the Migration in herds of thousands, though they do tend to be even more congregated in February so if your dates are flexible we would recommend maybe looking at visiting a  bit later if possible… If you are set on January though, look at going towards the end of the month. This way, you will avoid peak, peak prices over the festive period and the crowds that come with it. By visiting later in the month, you will also have the best chance of catching the big herds, as by this time the majority will definitely be fully into calving season creating spectacular wildlife viewing opportunities.

So, where should I stay to get the best chance of catching the herds in January?

The Ndutu Plains! If you are going in very early January though, really want to catch the mega herds, have a long Serengeti safari, and maybe want to stay in some more permanent accommodation options, then you could also consider combining a central Serengeti permanent camp with one in the Ndutu Plains in the south. The Ndutu area doesn’t actually have any permanent camps, and it is the home of the mobile one, so if you really want the permanent camp experience then you have no choice but to look to Seronera (though most of these, although permanent, are still under canvas!).

Which mobile camps to stay at for a January Serengeti safari in Ndutu?

Mid range mobile camps

Chaka ($607 pppn). Very comfortable accommodation and an excellent overall experience in great locations, at an amazing price; you can’t go wrong with Chaka for a basic yet authentic Serengeti safari.

Barefoot luxury mobile camps

Serengeti Safari Camp ($900 pppn but 7 for 5 nights and 5 for 4 nights deals throughout the month). An office favourite. Moving between 3 locations throughout the year and with 2 mobile camps, Nomad Tanzania’s passion of exceptional safaris shines through in everything they do… Safari mad but without compromising on quality one little bit, Serengeti Safari Camp is unbeatable for an authentic Serengeti safari.

Ubuntu ($664 pppn throughout the month). Asilia’s best value mobile camp, Ubuntu is similar in style to Serengeti Safari Camp and in an equally excellent location at this time of year. A fabulous choice for a barefoot luxury tented safari experience.

Very luxurious mobile camps

Serengeti Under Canvas ($1,240 pppn for whole month..) &beyond’s Serengeti mobile camp, this is a very luxurious tented option and for those who don’t mind splashing out on a premium experience.

Olakira ($971 pppn for whole month). Asilia’s most luxurious mobile camp, it is not quite as glitzy as Serengeti Under Canvas but by no means is a less desirable option as it doesn’t come with quite such a hefty price tag.

Early January permanent central Serengeti camps to potentially combine with a mobile one

Kiota ($430 pppn after 6th Jan, more before). As Chaka’s sister camp, this is an exceptional value property. Located in Seronera, with amazing views of the surrounding plains, it is exceptionally well positioned for the excellent central Serengeti resident wildlife. It is very comfortable with lovely staff and a very welcoming atmosphere.

Namiri Plains ($1,122 pppn after 5th Jan and more before). Namiri Plains is one of the best locations in the whole of the Serengeti in our view, migration or no migration. It is set in the eastern area of the park and with only one other camp in its vicinity, hardly any vehicles venture here. This does not mean its wildlife is less prominent by any means, but quite the opposite. As a former cheetah conservation area the big cats here are extremely good. Fine food, luxury tented accommodation in a magical area; you can’t get much better than this.

Dunia ($914 pppn for whole month). Another Asilia property, and one which we love to send couples and families alike to – it suits everyone, and the all-female staff create an incredibly welcoming and warm environment. Exceptionally well positioned in a quieter area of the Seronera region, with it’s excellent resident wildlife, it is a fantastic choice.

Considering visiting Tanzania to catch the Migration?

See our Great Migration page all about where to be in the Serengeti to catch the mega herds. Although we make our blogs as useful as possible and our website as detailed as possible, it is always best to call up an expert and chat through your options on the phone. Each consultant has visited Tanzania multiple times and can give you first hand experience of what to expect, which really is the most useful tool we can offer!

November 8, 2018

A guide to taking your children on safari in Tanzania

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 5:25 pm

Although the stars of Tanzania are classically considered to be Ngorongoro and the Serengeti, we strongly believe that for a family safari, you can get a special experience in southern Tanzania, namely in the parks of Selous and Ruaha for a few important reasons.

Firstly, they are less pricey than the northern camps and lodges, which is particularly important when paying for the whole family. You can get more luxury for your money with extra additions such as a pool which makes everyone happy throughout the day. The southern parks are also a lot easier to combine with a beach break on the fabulous activity-centric Zanzibar – The Selous is a mere 40 minute hop! It really couldn’t be easier. In the southern parks you can also enjoy boating safaris (Selous) and walking safaris in both Selous and Ruaha.

Though for walking the minimum age is 16, the watery Selous provides many activities such as fishing and beautiful boating safaris which break up your time spent in a vehicle. Night drives are also available in Ruaha which is really exciting for kids and adults, giving a different perspective on the bush. The combination of the two parks offers unrivalled opportunity for different safari activities which will keep all different ages equally entertained. As well as this, both parks offer an overall less touristy and more homely experience; as there are only a few camps in each park, you get a truly authentic experience and allows you to be in the complete un-affected, and serene wilderness with just you and your immediate family. Quality time has never been so quality!

Where to go with children in the Selous Game Reserve

The Selous is vast, and this is no exaggeration as it is literally the size of Switzerland. There are a few of our absolute favourite lodges to go to, especially with the kiddies. If you are looking for a truly authentic tented experience, we can think of nowhere better than the magical Lake Manze. With a very intimate feel and a long wooden dinner table set out into the bush, the atmosphere here is very friendly and welcoming. No person young or old could ever feel out of place! As hinted by its name, it is set on a lake and in a perfect position to enjoy beautiful boating safaris.

If you are looking for a little more luxury, set on the Rufiji river is the marvellous Sand Rivers. A Nomad property, your kids and any adults will be in exceptionally good hands! The view onto the river could be watched all day be parents in search of a beautiful view, and alike kids can be entertained by hippo pods grunting into the night, and during the day time fabulous fishing trips and boat rides. The structure is rather more permanent than Lake Manze, and the rooms all face out onto the river with solid walls and doors. It is truly spoiling for adults, and something your kids will never forget, all without losing it’s authenticity.

Where to go with children in Ruaha National Park

Lake Manze’s sister camp Mdonya offer a similar experience in an even wilder setting – it is a great option if you want the whole family to get the under-canvas experience. A bit of a step up however in terms of luxury is Nomad’s Kigelia – as a tented camp, it does not lose the ‘under canvas’ feeling, but also offers a few more luxuries as you get a more polished overall experience.

If you are looking for a more permanent structure, and don’t mind forking out a bit more money, Jabali Ridge is out of this world. Asilia is, like Nomad, an exceptional company and a stay here will blow away parents, and ensure your kids are well taken care of throughout your stay. The guides throughout Ruaha are particularly good at entertaining children on game drives (not that they will need entertained, as Ruaha is home to 10% of the world’s lions… The game is phenomenal!). Many guides have chosen to stay in Ruaha for their whole career, because it is such a phenomenal park. It offers an noncommercial alternative to an action packed Serengeti safari.

October 16, 2018

Dry Season Safaris in Southern Tanzania

Southern Tanzania is made for dreamy dry season safaris.

Tanzania is a stunning destination for an authentic African safari experience and the southern circuit is particularly ideal dry season safaris. Already a highly productive region of Tanzania, from June to October the sparse vegetation in the Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park make wildlife easier to spot and spectacular sunsets make way for cloudless, starry skies.

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Lions in Ruaha National Park © Mwagusi Camp

Dry season safaris are enjoyed in relative peace and quiet, away from the bustling crowds that are expected in the northern circuit parks. Safaris to southern Tanzania are great value for money and the dry season means reduced humidity and risk of malaria.

Selous Game Reserve

Africa’s largest game reserve is a little-known gem of unspoilt Africa and home to impressive concentrations of wildlife. Vast herds of elephants and buffalo as well as beautiful predators like lion, leopard and the endangered African wild dog roam the 48000 square kilometres of Selous.

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Sighting a giraffe at Sand Rivers Selous © Nomad Tanzania

With minimal water sources, game and birdlife remain close to trusted waterholes. This increases the chances of regular sightings of diverse wildlife at the same place. The density of plains game congregating at these few waterholes means exciting predator-prey action as well as skirmishes amongst these predators fighting to secure their next meal.

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Fly fishing at Sand Rivers Selous Camp © Nomad Tanzania

The plumage of and interactions between the 450 species of birds inhabiting Selous will stand out amongst the bare bushes and trees. These feathered beauties can be spotted on the ground during a walking safari or out on the water in a motorised boat. Fly fishing is available in various areas around Selous.

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Open plan luxury suite © Beho Beho

Safari accommodation in Selous offered by the Selous Safari Company and Beho Beho matches the natural surrounds and adds intimate luxury to the classic safari experience in the heart of Tanzania’s southern circuit.

Ruaha National Park

Even fewer tourists make it to Ruaha National Park making it a peaceful and tranquil haven for discerning safari enthusiasts. The largest national park in Tanzania is part of the southern circuit, and therefore, best visited in the region’s dry season.

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Sunset over Ruaha National Park © Mwagusi Camp

Numerous prides of lion along with cheetah, leopard and wild dog roam the massive wilderness that is Ruaha. Elephants and buffalo wander the plains passing under the magnificent baobabs that dot the horizon.

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An open-sided game vehicle at Jongomero Camp © Selous Safari Company

Game-viewing in southern Tanzania offers a fantastic cross-over of south and east African species. As with Selous Game Reserve, game drives in Ruaha National Park are in open-sided vehicles resulting in an exhilarating drive through wild Tanzania.

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Elegant poolside setting at Jongomero Camp © Selous Safari Company

Safari accommodation provided for by Selous Safari Company and Mwagusi Camp capitalises on the exclusivity of Ruaha’s solitude. Tranquil and elegant, these camps are perfect for guests looking for a getaway in a romantic and rustic setting.

Chat with us about planning a memorable safari experience in southern Tanzania during the dry season.

September 28, 2018

Diving with Whale Sharks off Mafia Island, Tanzania

Filed under: A guide to Tanzania,The Indian Ocean Islands — Tags: , , , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 8:51 am

Your questions, answered!

Off the coast of Tanzania, far south of Dar es Salaam, there is an island that welcomes spirited adventurers looking for a getaway that’s further off the beaten track than the other islands off East Africa’s coastline. Mafia Island is a peaceful retreat with pristine diving and snorkelling spots that are home to a colourful array of ocean dwellers, including the whale shark.

Encountering the largest fish in the sea is quite simply breath-taking, and it will be one of the many, long-lasting memories of a beach holiday in Tanzania. We answer the questions most regularly asked by our guests when booking a trip to Mafia Island to dive with whale sharks.

When is the best time of year to see whale sharks?

From October through to February each year, Mafia Island becomes a particularly magical place. Whale sharks, the gentle giants of the sea, venture close to the shore to feast on the plankton pushed out with the silt from the Rufiji River into the warm waters of the Indian ocean. As filter-feeders, whale sharks glide below the water’s surface with their mouths open consuming multiple kilograms / pounds of plankton and small aquatic organisms each day.

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© Chole Mjini

Mafia Island experiences the longest whale shark season globally. Whilst the behaviour of whale sharks is still relatively unknown, the most reliable time to encounter them within the October to February period at Mafia Island is during November and December.

What is it like diving with whale sharks?

Despite its name, whale sharks are neither typically whale nor shark. Without proper teeth and shy by nature, swimming with whale sharks is a safe excursion that makes Mafia Island such a special destination. As with all wildlife, a respectful distance should be kept at all times as a whale shark will most likely be nervous of the strange four-limbed creature swimming beside it.

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© Chole Mjini

Like the unique set of fingerprints humans have, whale sharks have distinct patterns and scarring that make each individual fish different from its neighbour. These are truly magnificent and beautiful creatures whose size add to this captivating encounter. Reaching up to 12 meters long, weighing in at 20 tonnes, and with the potential to live for 70 years, diving with whale sharks is a humbling experience.

What kind of accommodation is on Mafia Island?

The perfect natural setting is equally matched by luxury furnishings, tasteful décor and a high standard of service at the lodges on Mafia Island. Stylish and laid-back island-living is the mainstay of the different accommodation types found here, such as bungalows, stone chalets and even treehouses.

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© Pole Pole

Mafia Island is a fantastic honeymoon getaway for newlyweds wanting peace and quiet after months of wedding planning. Families too will love the diversity of lodgings as well as activities that are on offer for the kids to get involved in. For those travelling on a larger budget, the lodges on the neighbouring Fanjove and Thanda islands are extremely exclusive and dreamy!

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© Kinasi Lodge

Inspired to dive with the underwater giants of Tanzania’s crystal blue coastal waters? Chat with us about putting together the perfect Tanzanian beach holiday for you.

August 15, 2018

The Ngorongoro Crater

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 12:19 pm

Any safari to the North of Tanzania should include a visit to Ngorongoro Crater. Voted in 2013 as one of the Seven Natural Wonders in Africa, Ngorongoro Crater is situated within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which is itself a protected area and a world heritage site. It is in fact, one of Africa’s most famous sites.

 

Lush Grasslands and Plentiful Water

Only 180km from Arusha, the Ngorongoro Crater is one of the largest intact volcanic caldera in the world. The crater ranges between 16 to 19 km in diameter, with the walls of the crater varying in height between 400 meters and 600 meters high. The floor of the Crater is 260 square kilometres and comprises a number of different habitats. These include lush grassland, swamps, forests and Lake Makat (Maasai for ‘salt’) – a central soda lake filled by the Munge River. The Lerai Stream drains the forests to the south of the Crater, feeding the Fever trees(Acacia xanthophloea) in the Lerai Forest on the crater floor.

The other major water source in the crater is the Ngoitokitok Spring that is situated near the eastern crater wall. In this area there is a picnic site open to tourists, adjacent to the huge Gorigor Swamp that is fed by the spring. Here visitors can enjoy lunch in the company of large numbers of hippos that call this swamp home. The walls of the crater are comprised of montane forest on the steep, eastern walls and Euphorbia trees on the western boundaries. Only once you visit the Ngorongoro Crater, will you understand why it is such a strong candidate for any list of the world’s greatest natural wonders.

 

Geological Splendour

The Crater is renowned for its geological splendour, but it is primarily famous as a natural reserve. The Ngorongoro is home to some of the densest, large mammal populations found anywhere in Africa. Boasting numbers of up to 25,000 large mammals, a trip to Ngorongoro Crater is guaranteed to offer spectacular sightings.

Because of the enclosed nature of the crater, it gives the impression of being a natural enclosure for most of the game that reside in that area and has almost formed its own ecosystem. However this is not the case, as almost 20% of the Wildebeest population and 50% of the Zebra population vacate the crater during the rainy season. During this time the reverse happens, with Eland and Buffalo and herd numbers increase with the rainy season.

The spectacular mineral-rich bowl that forms the floor of the crater, produces lush and nutritious grasses. These attract ungulates such as Buffalo, Thompson and Grants Gazelles, Zebra, Wildebeest, Waterbuck and Eland. But it is not only grazers and the crater is also home to East Africa’s best population of Black Rhino. Breeding herds of Elephants are occasionally seen passing through the crater, but it is the large Elephant bulls residing within the area that attract attention. These bulls are considered to be some of the biggest tuskers left in the Africa today. Unfortunately Giraffe and Impala are not present in the Crater and this is possibly due to a lack of open woodland favoured by these species.

 

Habituated Lions

As one would imagine, such a large population of herbivores will attract large populations of predators. The Ngorongoro Crater has one of the densest known population of Maasai lions. But numbers have varied over the years, due to the effects of the Natural Enclosure. This can reduce the amount of traversing between areas available to the male lions and makes them more susceptible to diseases. Due to the large number of ever-present vehicles, the lions have become habituated to the presence of game drive vehicles. As a result, they will hunt in close proximity to vehicles or even take advantage of the shade provided by the vehicles!

Spotted Hyaenas are very common here and they are often seen competing with Lions for their hard-earned kills. The numbers of Cheetah in the Crater are growing and Leopards are seen occasionally too, while the elusive Serval is a common sight in the crater. Jackals are spotted following the Lion prides for whatever scraps they can scavenge and Bat-eared Foxes are a rare treat!

The only down side is the numbers of other vehicles and tourists that you will encounter. Every visitor to Tanzania wants a glimpse of this amazing natural wonder and the diversity of game within its confines.

 

Tanzania Honeymoon Ideas: Safari and Beach Romantic Getaway

Filed under: A guide to Tanzania,Tanzania Safari Guide,Zanzibar — Tags: , , , , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 10:30 am

You’ve said your vows, made an evening full of special memories with friends and family, and partied together until dawn. Now that the wedding is over, it’s time for just the two of you to spend quality time together. This might mean relaxing on a white sandy beach or tracking wildlife whilst on a bush safari.

honeymoon destinations; honeymoon ideas; romantic getaways

Sunset over the Katavi National Park © Nomad Tanzania

If you want to do both the beach and safari whilst on honeymoon, then Tanzania – which includes Zanzibar – is one of the best romantic getaways to choose as it offers the best of both. Here are just some of the honeymoon ideas to include when you’re planning a couple’s retreat to Tanzania and Zanzibar.

Witness a wildlife spectacle

Tanzania honeymoon ideas that centre around wildlife safaris afford you the opportunity to witness some of the very best fauna and flora that Africa has to show. Watch the herds of wildebeest, zebras and antelope as they journey over the vast plains of the Serengeti during The Great Migration, whilst staying at Singita’s Faru Faru Lodge in the private Grumeti Game Reserve or Nomad’s Lamai Serengeti Lodge on the Kogakuria Kopje.

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Greystoke Mahale on the shores of Lake Tanganyika © Nomad Tanzania

If you’ve always dreamed of looking into the eyes of a chimpanzee, then do include Lake Tanganyika and the Mahale Mountains in your honeymoon destination itinerary. At Nomad’s Greystoke Mahale, you’ll bed down at the foothills of the mountains in a thatched banda and enjoy sundowners on the lake’s sandy shore. Located in western Tanzania, the Mahale National Park partners well with a stay at neighbouring Katavi National Park.

A trip to Ruaha National Park will put you in the heart of Tanzania’s concentrated wildlife action, where predator-prey sightings are an almost guaranteed part of every safari in this southern park. Here you can stay at the exclusive Selous Safari’s Jongomero Camp, which oozes intimate luxury and gives you some of the very best in excellent views, game drives and bush walks.

honeymoon destinations; honeymoon ideas; romantic getaways

Romantic dinner in the Ruaha National Park © Selous Safari Company

Dive into the Indian Ocean

With palm trees lining the powdery soft sand and sparkling azure water, Zanzibar’s beaches are some of the most idyllic in East Africa and make for a stunning setting for a romantic honeymoon. Whether you’re needing to relax on the beach after a busy time of wedding planning or are keen to check out some of the cultural sights, Zanzibar really does have it all. And since it’s just a quick 15-minute flight from mainland Tanzania, it’s easy to incorporate Zanzibar into your honeymoon escape.

honeymoon destinations; honeymoon ideas; romantic getaways

Rest and relax at Pongwe Beach @ Pongwe Beach Hotel

Pongwe Beach is found on the island’s north-east and gives honeymooners a chance to experience a pristine beach that is far from the maddening crowds of tourists. Pongwe Beach Hotel is excellent value for money if you’re travelling on a smaller budget.

If you’re wanting to take long, romantic sunset walks together, then choose to stay at Nungwi and Kendwa as these are the only beaches on the island that are not tidal. You can also enjoy some partying at night before returning to ultimate luxury at the glamourous Zuri Zanzibar or Essque Zalu Hotel.

honeymoon destinations; honeymoon ideas; romantic getaways

A colourful rooftop tea-time setting © Emerson on Hurumzi

Stone Town is Zanzibar’s main town and is full of rich culture, history and long-standing traditional markets. From tropical fruits to handmade jewellery that are sold by friendly locals, Stone Town is full of East African character and charm. Choose to stay at one of the many boutique lodges and hotels in Stone Town, such as Emerson on Hurumzi or Park Hyatt.

Are you planning a romantic honeymoon? Contact us to discuss how we can tailor a getaway for you that combines both the beach and safari.

August 14, 2018

A perfect Zanzibar Honeymoon

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 12:53 pm

Honeymoons are notoriously daunting to organise. A lot of pressure on one holiday which really, has to be a holiday of a lifetime and kick start married life in the most romantic way possible. Essentially, you don’t want your ‘honeymoon period’ to be destroyed by shoddy accommodation, mediocre food and a trip which would have been better spent at a nice Airbnb in Cornwall. This is where we come in, and where Zanzibar does too. A combination of one of the most idyllic Indian Ocean spots, and the knowledge of a team with over 20 years experience on Zanzibar means you will never be let down by overcooked chicken and greasy sinks (I know).

Although internet research is a hugely helpful resource for honeymooners seeking their perfect getaway, the atmosphere of a place can never be appropriately represented by a few photos and some reviews saying ‘great spot!’ or ‘delicious food’ or ‘my light broke!!’. On our visits we know what we are looking for, going in with an eye for romance and with 20 years experience & knowledge of what makes honeymooner’s tick.

So from a recent visit, one of our team has made a run down of our absolute favourite spots, so here goes… The best of lower, middle, high and even higher budgets…! Also, some tips to get you out and about in the best ways possible on your Zanzibar honeymoon.

The best rustic & quirky budget honeymoon hotel on Zanzibar

Pongwe Beach Hotel. With it’s classically Zanzibar style, comfortable and colourful rooms, excellent pool and with one of the best beaches on the island, Pongwe is a marvellous option for those who want a funky yet affordable option. For an added luxury (for around $40 extra per person per night) treat yourself to a sea view suite upgrade which includes your  own private pool – an added luxury fit for a honeymoon. There is a reason Pongwe is difficult to get space at!

The best bigger yet luxurious budget honeymoon hotel on Zanzibar

Zuri Zanzibar is the new exciting addition to the Zanzibar hotel scene. With 54 rooms, it is a bigger hotel which may put some intimacy seeker honeymooner’s off. However, there is a reason we love Zuri so much. There is nowhere else on the island which offers such luxury for such an affortable price. The room types are all pretty similar, apart from the Ocean View Room with a jacuzzi… For obvious reasons, alike with Pongwe, it could be a good idea to upgrade to this option for a honeymoon. Aside from the value for money, Zuri actually is on the most beautiful beach on the whole island. It is set in a true Indian Ocean paradise, so if an unbelievable beach is at the top of your priorities, Zuri is your place.

 

The best mid-range honeymoon hotel on Zanzibar

Zawadi is one of the more glossy mid-range options on Zanzibar. The rooms are pristine & the glass doors romantically frame some unbelievable views. Each room is fitted with it’s own little plunge pool – a nice added luxury. The menu is delicious, and Zawadi really does go the extra mile to ensure your honeymoon is extra special with spontaneous sundowner cocktails & it’s 7 nights for 5 offer making it great value for money. The evening dinner is also an experience with Zanzibari dancers, making each meal unique. Tip: the massages here are unbelievable.

The best high-end honeymoon hotel on Zanzibar

Xanadu Villas are all absolutely exceptional. The chef is ex-michelin star so you know every meal will be a culinary experience. There are 6 villas of varying luxury, but all with your own private pool and ample room to move around. It is quirky, very tastefully designed & acts as the ultimate unique & romantic Zanzibar getaway.That is if it is available – the Umande Villa is the most affordable by far and as such is always booked out. However, Mbingu is the presidential villa, and with a price tag to match, it is often free up… If you are after a Zanzibar hotel experience of a lifetime, then Xanadu is your one.

The best (higher) high-end honeymoon hotel on Zanzibar

Mnemba Island. Wow. What can we say – it is pure barefoot, Indian Ocean luxury. Mnemba Lodge sits on it’s own private island, so a stay here really does offer an unparalleled beach experience. At 1,700 per person per night, so it should be though! If you have deep pockets and really want to go all out on your special holiday, then we would send you nowhere else.

And the best of, well, something completely different…

Fundu Lagoon. Set on Pemba Island, Fundu Lagoon is for those who enjoy underwater adventures, being off the beaten track, and generally a rustic luxury which many return to year after year. Fundu is a really quirky honeymoon option for the diving-mad who also want their little slice of secluded luxury. The only downside here is that Pemba does not boast the same idyllic white beaches as Zanzibar at all… For some though, this is not so much on the agenda, so if you are one of these couples them Fundu is an exceptional option which we absolutely love. For the real beach enthusiasts, some time on Zanzibar and Pemba could provide a really very special honeymoon.

Fanjove Private Island. If you are looking for the romance of a private island without breaking the bank, then Fanjove offers just this. A really special place, with immaculate beaches & excellent service, Fanjove epitomises beach-shack-chic. For the adventitious,the lovers of nature and the romantic wilderness seekers who don’t like air-conned luxury, Fanjove is the ideal honeymoon retreat.

The best hints and tips to make your Zanzibar honeymoon special

Aside from the well known Zanzibar excursions like diving, snorkelling, sunset cruises (the list goes on), we know you want to make your honeymoon as special as possible – here are a few hidden experiences which not many people know about…

The Island at Pongwe. Not somewhere conventional to stay at all… As the island literally sits on a tiny rock formation set slightly off the coast and as such could be lacking the privacy (ironically) that a honeymoon deserves if you were to stay here. However, The Island at Pongwe offers delicious food at their restaurant – perfect for a lunch time excursion with a twist. Book in advance though!

Emersons on Hurumzi rooftop restaurant. If you are staying in Stone Town then head over to the rustic & charmingly Zanzibari Emersons on Hurumzi rooftop restaurant for some delicious food & a truly authentic, romantic atmosphere. You have to book for dinner… Beware this is a Zanzibar experience not for the precious, as you sit around tiny tables on floor cushions in true Stone Town fashion, which really is all part of the experience.

Well, we hope this helps whittle down some options for your Zanzibar honeymoon. Of course, there are other fantastic options, but here at Tanzania Odyssey we know there are a lot of bad hotels on Zanzibar too… The ones we recommend we wholly trust, rate & have personally visited to ensure your experience there will be as exceptional as it deserves to be.

July 23, 2018

Why ecotourism is important for nature conservation

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 7:00 am

As the world celebrates Nature Conservation Day on Saturday 28 July, we consider the role ecotourism can play in supporting conservation efforts in Tanzania.

A significant emphasis is placed on ecotourism in Tanzania, which has led to local communities becoming increasingly involved in the country’s booming tourism and travel industry. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the industry contributed to 3.8% of the country’s total GDP in 2017 and is forecasted to rise by an estimated 9.8% this year.

© Kevin Rush

A major attraction that brings tourism to the country is, of course, its wildlife. Tanzania’s environmental management scheme reflects it commitment to conserving its natural resources. As a low-impact form of tourism, ecotourism has been noted to encourage nature conservation as well as the socio-economic development of people at village-level.

One particular wildlife attraction in Tanzania, the Serengeti National Park and its surrounds is one of the most complex and least disturbed ecosystems in the world. This makes it a spectacular wilderness sanctuary to visit when planning a safari in Tanzania.

As wildlife enthusiasts, we understand the importance of conserving Africa’s biodiversity and we actively assist national park efforts that promote the protection of Tanzania’s fauna and flora. The fight against poaching is an ongoing focus of Tanzanian authorities and the country’s hunting permit regulations are strict, allowing only two animals to be killed per hunter each year.

© Kevin Schafer / Corbis

When booking a safari in Tanzania, you can choose to stay at an eco-friendly lodge, such as Singita Explore, Katavai Wildlife Camp or Mdonya Old River Camp. Some of these lodges establish funds that are founded on collaborative partnerships with local communities who are responsible for the management and monitoring of nature conservation programmes.

Whether visiting Tanzania’s inland wildlife spots or holidaying on its sun-drenched beaches, travellers can minimise their impact on the environment by properly disposing of litter and being mindful of water usage. To contribute to the local economy and community development, tourists are urged to buy from entrepreneurs at small markets instead of major chain stores.

It is clear that successful ecotourism can play a key part in fostering nature conservation along with community development.

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