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Tanzania Odyssey News

March 1, 2019

A list of the best honeymoon activities and accommodation in Tanzania

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 5:51 pm

When you are looking at booking a honeymoon, no stone must go unturned to ensure you get the absolute best and most special trip possible, and for the best price possible… Especially when paying for weddings are also involved! At Tanzania Odyssey we really do know our stuff and can guide you to the most romantic lodges, experiences and special offers the country has to offer both on safari and on the beach.

Let’s kick things off with the most romantic honeymoon experiences Tanzania has to offer.

Hot air ballooning in The Serengeti and most recently, Ruaha National Park

Now make note that this is not a cheap experience. It is definitely for those who have ample budget, and want to splash out on an extremely different safari experience. You start early (very early, even by safari terms!) and drive out from camp to the hot air balloon site where you will ride for around an hour over the vast Serengeti plains, and time of year dependant, you could even be lucky enough to catch the thousands of grazers involved in the Great Wildebeest Migration below. To have a chance of being on your balloon ride over the Migration, you must be in The Serengeti from July – October, as the herds are generally in the north at this time of year, and northern Serengeti is the only area of the park that allows balloon rides. Price-wise, you are looking at around $550 per person…

In the Serengeti, the best honeymoon hideaway is Serengeti Safari Camp for a truly authentic, tented yet absolutely and utterly romantic safari experience…

In Ruaha, you can’t get much more luxurious or much more wow factor than Jabali Ridge… We absolutely love this lodge.

Sleeping under the stars in the Selous Game Reserve

There is nothing quite like looking up and seeing the milky way in all it’s glory. What set’s this experience apart from any other is that in The Selous you are surrounded by pure African wilderness and all the stirring of the night which goes with it. Just you, your partner and a guide – it is an extraordinary experience and will probably be the most memorable evening you share with your new spouse.

Stay at Sand Rivers for unrivalled barefoot luxury either side of a sleep out under the stars…

Dinner at Emersons on Hurumzi in Stone Town

A little hidden gem in Zanzibar’s Stone Town can transform a nice evening wondering around it’s cobbled streets into a really special one. Book in advance for the Emersons rooftop dinner experience as it tends to get booked up pretty far in advance. You can either sit at a table or on the floor on the Zanzibari cushions… Wherever you sit though, the unmistakably atmosphere of Stone Town is all around.

Where else to stay in Zanzibar for your honeymon than at the beautiful Xanadu Villas… You may not make it to Emersons though, as it will be difficult to pull yourself away from their ex-Michelin star chef…

Happy planning!

February 12, 2019

What to consider when planning a luxury Tanzania safari

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 5:11 pm

The main thing we try to get to the bottom of when chatting to clients about their itineraries is what their priorities are for their trip. We really like to get to know our clients to ensure we are on the same page about their preferred styles of accommodation and the unique wildlife experiences which are important to them.

Before we can make appropriate suggestions though, there are a few things we need to know from you… This is usually how we begin the planning process… By getting to know everything you know about your trip!

How many people are on your trip and what is the occasion? Is it a honeymoon? We can get some exceptional honeymoon deals and advise on the best ones to make your dream trip even more possible. We also know the very best spots in the country for a family holiday where you can simply relax with a G&T whilst the kids are exceptionally well taken care of in the true Tanzanian hospitality style. All in all – let us know any finer details you can as this can only benefit your trip…

When are you looking at going? For how long? Are your dates flexible? This really does affect where we would suggest you visit in Tanzania. Ngorongoro and The Serengeti in the north are fantastic year round, but to be avoided in the rainy seasons (unless you really don’t mind some downpour!). The best months for the southern parks and the Great Migration are from July – October when the weather is dry and the wildlife is easier to spot. The Migration can be spotted crossing the Mara River in Northern Serengeti in these months too. February is also an incredible time to see the Migration are they pack into the southern Ndutu plains for calving season… As you can tell, where to go depends on what you are after!

Have you been on safari before – what did you like/didn’t you like? We want to get to know you – it is not in our interests to send you on a trip which isn’t suited to your unique style and preferences. Maybe you don’t want to be in a tent – that’s fine! Or maybe you want a really adventurous safari… Also fine. Just let us know and we will let you know what to expect with each option.

December 21, 2018

Tanzania Holidays for Elderly and Senior Citizens

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 12:49 pm

Choosing a Tanzania holiday as an elderly person is no different to deciding on a where to go for any other age; it is all about your unique preferences, priorities and selecting experiences which are close to your heart. Of course though, what is important to our more senior clients can be slightly different to our young honeymoon couples, for instance. The most important thing in our view is focusing slightly more on the relaxation and luxury side of things, rather than an especially hectic, action packed and busy holiday. We know that older safari goers love to focus on getting off the beaten track to the privacy of their own little slices of wilderness, and that relaxation and the little things are what transforms their memorable holiday into an adventure of a lifetime. We would recommend looking at the southern parks of Selous and Ruaha for a seriously relaxing yet wild and authentic Tanzania safari experience.

… And where better to relax into your adventure than in the total seclusion of the African wilderness?

Many think of Africa and in particular African safaris as the height of holiday adventure, but we can let you in on a little secret…. Safaris are a fantastic option for those who love adventurous experiences, whilst avoiding all or any physically strenuous adventure in the process – in fact, we would say that 95% of the trips we love to organise are suitable for all ages; whether you are 6, 60 or 100 years old, an African, and specifically, Tanzania safari is an experience which should be ticked off everyone’s bucket list.

Your average day on safari in both northern and southern Tanzania consists of an early morning game drive, brunch/lunch, and (usually) a little siesta before an afternoon game drive, before dinner and falling asleep again to the sounds of the bush… Although early starts can be tiring for any aged traveller, if you can sit in a vehicle for a few hours, you can certainly go on safari.

Some elderly people will be less inclined to look as far afield as the ‘wild and adventurous’ African safari as a holiday possibility, but we want to challenge this misconception & prove that the grey pound in the safari world is a huge industry – here’s why;

1. A safari is a once in a lifetime experience, and is often on people’s bucket list… With a little inspiration and guidance from the experts it is probably the easiest holiday you will ever organise both in the planning stages, and on the ground.

2. As soon as you land from your international flight, you basically get chauffeured from A-B and all the way back again. No stressful airport waits for hire cars, last-minute panics or looking through tour guides for the best experiences… Ensuring you have world class experiences is covered by us here at Tanzania Odyssey, and on the ground your activities and amazing wildlife opportunities are all waiting.

3. We tailor make all your trips to suit you entirely. Our experts have travelled and/or lived extensively throughout Africa and to all the places which we recommend. Let us know of any physical limitations and we will be sure to find something for every kind of traveller. We have an excellent relationship with all the lodges and camps we work with and as such, we can request little things to make your stay more comfortable and enjoyable. As an example, we know the rooms which are close to the main areas for easy access to the dining areas.

4. A safari game drive is suitable for absolutely anyone… It is one of the most adventurous, exciting yet relaxed holidays you can have. On the edge of being in the harsh and unruly African wilderness but in the comfort of your vehicle or room, there is no one who can’t enjoy the unrivalled wildlife opportunities a Tanzania safari has to offer.

5. On safari, you will be extremely well taken care of by the intimate and personalised lodges you stay at – and honestly, on safari, nothing is to big of an ask for the staff there. The levels of hospitality exceed anywhere else in the world.

We can’t stress enough that pretty much every itinerary we love to recommend is suitable for any aged traveller. However, there are only a handful of experiences which you should probably avoid if you are physically fit, but not as physically fit as a physically fit 25-year-old!

Hiking Kilimanjaro, although some senior citizens may thrive on this kind of adventure, wouldn’t be advisable unless you are extremely fit and well trained. Of course though, you know yourself better than we do– some 25 year olds as much as some 85 year olds won’t be fully equipped to climb Kilimanjaro, so it is entirely dependent on you.

All in all, we can’t stress enough that elderly or not, age really doesn’t matter when deciding where to go for your Tanzania adventure. Safaris are extremely personalised and intimate holidays and as such are probably some of the most flexible; the managers at each lodge and camp will adapt to suit the unique and individual needs of every single guest.

We know the little things matter…

Due to our 20 years experience in creating inspiring Tanzania safari and beach itineraries, we really do know all our old favourites, and newly discovered spots around the continent like the back of our hands. Working with the team on the ground in each of our specialist countries for so long means we have excellent relationships with the camps and lodges, so as well as getting the best deals, we often go out to visit to see what’s changed and what’s new. From the best lit to the most private rooms, to the best guides, to the most comfortable vehicles, beds, and even to the most atmospheric camps; we really do know our stuff! Booking a tailor-made safari with Tanzania Odyssey means you get the details right as well as the overall experience, making the whole holiday, and not just that unbelievable cheetah sighting, a truly unforgettable experience.

December 12, 2018

Awesome Tanzania itinerary ideas

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 2:51 pm

We love putting together amazing Tanzania itineraries tailored just for you. Depending on what kind of adventure you are after, there are various routes we would suggest you take, but here are our top 3 Tanzania itineraries which we absolutely love after visiting all these locations, and sending people to Tanzania for over 20 years now. There are of course, other lodge options, but these are our top combinations…

Southern Tanzania – Rustic but with a splash of luxury (perfect for a family holiday of a lifetime)

For a chilled out and off the beaten track safari, you cannot go wrong with a combination of the Selous and Ruaha. With walking safaris, night drives, boating and some seriously intimate and charming camps, we absolutely love this combination. Many think you will compromise on wildlife viewing by missing out the northern parks, but we can say from visiting recently, that this simply isn’t true! They compliment each other beautifully, as the Selous is full of giraffe, elephant and beautiful watery scenery, whilst Ruaha has huge herds of buffalo and is big cat galore, as it is home to 10% of the world’s lion population (as well as all the rest!). Southern Tanzania is also one of the last strong holds of wild dogs; the safari enthusiast’s prize sighting. For an extension of relaxing, we can think of no spot better than Ras Kutani on the mainland coast, which is in our opinion the best beach ldoge in East Africa. Ran by a safari company, they really know how to look after their guests.

Here is what we would suggest:

Day 1: Flown from Dar off international flight to the Selous for overnight at Lake Manze

Day 2: Lake Manze

Day 3: Lake Manze

Day 4: Flown to Ruaha for overnight at Ikuka

Day 5: Ikuka

Day 6: Ikuka

Day 7: Ikuka

Day 8: Flown to Dar, connect for 15 minute flight to Ras Kutani. And chill.

Day 9: Ras Kutani

Day 10: Ras Kutani

Day 11: Ras Kutani

Day 12: Flown back to Dar for international flight

Northern Tanzania – Adventure without compromising on luxury

Now for the stars of the north, these are two of our absolute favourite accommodation options. Plantation Lodge is a beautiful and very well priced option in the Ngorongoro Highlands and offers a bit of permanent structure before your mobile safari in the Serengeti. Serengeti Safari Camp is our favourite mobile camp in the Serengeti and is exceptionally well placed to see the Great Migration year round as it has two camps which move 3 times throughout the year (where most only move two times). Then for the beach time, get seriously off the beaten track in Pemba Island for some world class diving and snorkelling, before heading back to Zanzibar for some luxurious relaxation and white sandy beaches.

Day 1: Driven from Kilimanjaro airport to Arusha for overnight at Rivertrees

Day 2: Driven to Ngorongoro Highlands (via game drive in Lake Manyara) for overnight at Plantation

Day 3: Plantation Lodge (Game drive into the Ngorongoro Crater_

Day 4: Flown to Serengeti for overnight at Serengeti Safari Camp

Day 5: Serengeti Safari Camp

Day 6: Serengeti Safari Camp

Day 7: Serengeti Safari Camp

Day 8: Flown to Pemba Island for overnight at Fundu Lagoon

Day 9: Fundu Lagoon

Day 10: Fundu Lagoon

Day 11: Flown to Zanzibar for overnight at Xanadu

Day 12: Xanadu

Day 13: Xanadu

Day 14: Xanadu

Day 15: Flown to Dar es Salaam for onward flight.

Northern & Southern Tanzania combo – Luxury for those who want to get off the beaten tourist track (without compromising on wildlife!)

So this is a pretty luxurious trip! Here, the focus is on luxury camps and lodges, but more importantly in some of the best game viewing areas of Tanzania which everyone else forgets about! Namiri Plains is set apart form any other lodges in the Serengeti and as it is set on an old cheetah conservation site, the big cats are absolutely out of this world here. They are everywhere! Then flit down to Ruaha for serious luxury in a very wild environment. With only a handful of lodges and camps in this (huge) park, and exceptional wildlife, Ruaha is probably the office’s favourite in the whole of Tanzania (and even Africa). Mnemba Island is the crème de la crème of Indian Ocean beach retreats… And is completely private. It is the ultimate destination for those who really want to get away from it all.

Day 1: Driven from Kilimanjaro airport to Arusha for overnight at Rivertrees

Day 2: Flown to Serengeti for overnight at Namiri Plains

Day 3: Namiri Plains

Day 4: Namiri Plains

Day 5: Namiri Plains

Day 6: Flown to Ruaha for overnight at Jabali Ridge

Day 7: Jabali Ridge

Day 8: Jabali Ridge

Day 9: Jabali Ridge

Day 10: Flown to Mnemba Island

Day 11: Mnemba Island

Day 12: Mnemba Island

Day 13: Mnemba Island

Day 14: Flown to Dar es Salaam for onward flight.

We hope these itineraries inspire you to explore Tanzania as it really does have so much to offer.

Link to family holidays and activities

December 6, 2018

Money advice guide for US holiday makers heading to Tanzania

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , , , , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 11:48 am

We get asked a lot about how much money and what kind of money to bring on a Tanzania holiday. We hope this blog clears up the confusion!

So throughout Tanzania in the lodges, hotels and camps you will be staying at, US dollars are widely accepted. No need to even go to the bank if you are coming from the US!

On safari, most of the camps and lodges we work with operate on an all-inclusive basis which means all your game viewing activities are taken care of, as well as food and drinks during your stay. The only thing which is not included is any personal purchases, or premium spirits. It could be that your accommodation is full board, which still means your game viewing activities are included (as in all our itineraries) as well as all your meals, but drinks are excluded.

If you are heading off to Zanzibar pre or post safari, most of the mid-range options and bigger hotels operate on a half board basis. We usually opt for this as it means your breakfast and dinner are included, but lunch is not, which is just as well because we know people like to get out and about during the day. Your activities will not be included, to make sure you bring some extra cash for these (as well as drinks). Some of the higher end little hotels operate on a all-inclusive basis as they are fairly confident that their guests will not want to tear themselves away from the luxury of their private villas for too long!

As a little guide…

Drink prices range from lodge to lodge and hotel to hotel, but as a guide, a beer is usually around $3, a glass of wine around $4 and a G&T is probably going to be around $4 too.

Tipping

When on safari, it is completely up to you how much you decide to tip, but as a rough guide, we would usually say around $10 per person per day for your guide, and $10 per person per day to go into the staff tip box, which is usually located in the main area of your camp.

You may want to also give your transfer drivers in Zanzibar a little tip too (though we would have included the transfer in the cost, some people like to tip too).

Of course though, how much you tip is down to your own discretion and is essentially up to you!

We hope this has been helpful as a guide to how much money to bring on your Tanzania adventure. If you still aren’t sure, give us a call and we can take you through any extra costs on your specific trip.

Happy planning!

December 4, 2018

The best and most luxurious way to see The Great Wildebeest Migration

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 2:28 pm

Luxury on a Tanzania safari is rather a subjective term depending on exactly what kind of luxury experience you are after. Your different options are either staying in a mobile tented camp, or a permanent lodge in the Serengeti to catch the migration. Both are fabulous options, let us break them down for you so you can decipher which one is for you.

Mobile Tented Camps

@Nomad’s Serengeti Safari Camp is our favourite mobile camp in the Serengeti. It is exceptionally well positioned to catch the migration, as it moves two camps between 3 locations throughout the year.

The term “mobile camp” can be deceiving when looking at tented options in the Serengeti. These are usually very well placed for the migration , as most move between two locations throughout the year; one in the northern Kogatende/Lamai area for the famous river crossings from July – October, and the other location in the Ndutu area near the south of the park for the calving season from December – March.

These are stand alone and en suite luxury tents. You have an en suite bathroom with a flushing loo and a “bush shower”. A bush shower is perfectly hot, but comes from outside the tent in a bucket which is filled up as you shower by a member of staff. Essentially, you are not compromising on quality when staying in a mobile tented camp, though it does have some quirks such as the shower and being under canvas which you would expect from safari accommodation. These are probably our favourite options in the Serengeti, as they are often very intimate, well ran and with a focus on exceptional guiding and an overall excellent safari experience. Some are slightly more polished than others, and the prices of each of our favourite options reflects this.

Permanent Camps

The step up in terms of luxury is (usually) the permanent camps. These have a similar structure to the mobile camps, often also with bucket showers and canvas, but have one set location year-round. However, they often have wooden floors and raised decks, giving a slightly more permanent structure, which some find comforting. There are some exceptional camps which operate like this, especially in the central Serengeti area. In the Migration’s transitional month’s such as June and November, where the herds are somewhat dispersed around the central Serengeti region, these are great options to combine with a mobile camp to give you the best chance of catching the herds. Saying that these are more luxurious than the mobile camps as a whole is a little bit of a sweeping statement, as many mobile camps offer more luxury than the more mid-range permanent camp options… Something to bear in mind!

Permanent lodges

@Nomad Lamai is an excellent permanent lodge located in the Northern Serengeti region; perfect for a July-October Great Migration safari when the herds are in the area and crossing the Mara River daily.

The most classically luxurious option for a Migration safari is the permanent lodges. The best permanent lodges are located in the Northern Serengeti so you should consider these when the herds are here from July – October (also when the famous river crossings are taking place). We would not suggest placing yourselves in these locations at other times of year though if your priority is to catch the Migration, as they simply won’t be there! You can not get a more luxurious overall Migration safari experience than in one of the Northern Serengeti’s permanent lodges, as when you get back from your game drive you are welcomed by all the creature comforts you could possibly need.

We hope this helps you decide on which Great Migration accommodation is more for you. The Migration’s movements can be a tricky thing to work out, so if you are unsure about whether the camp you like is in the right location to catch the migration then please do give us a ring and we can guide you in the right direction.

December 3, 2018

How to choose where to go for a Tanzania beach holiday

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 4:42 pm

So when most people think of a beach spot in Tanzania, the main Zanzibar Island springs straight to mind. However, for the intrepid beach lover, there are other islands in the archipelago which may suit you even more, or as a combination with the Indian Ocean paradise that is Zanzibar.

Let’s break each Tanzania beach destination down so you can see which suits you the most…

Zanzibar Island

Beaches: Zanzibar is tidal, so you have to be careful about where you choose to stay to ensure you have the sweeping white sands forever feeling throughout the day… See our Zanzibar beaches page for in depth information on the best beaches. As a rule of thumb though, the best beaches are in the north at Nungwi (see Zuri Zanzibar – see this video taken earlier this year of it’s beautiful beach), but also there are little pockets of beachy paradise peppered along the east coast (see Pongwe)

Privacy: If you want a completely secluded private island experience, Zanzibar is not for you! Some beaches bustle with local life whilst others are relatively private (not officially private, but as private as non-official private can get!).

Accommodation and cost: This is where Zanzibar comes into it’s own – there is such a huge array of accommodation from stylish boutique hotels, to 5 star big builds and even to an almost private villa experience at seriously reasonable prices.

Snorkelling and diving: The snorkelling and diving of Zanzibar is very good. Many head to the Mnemba Atoll for some spectacular diving.

Best for: Pretty much everyone!

Zuri Zanzibar’s beach… It is phenomenal.

Pemba Island

Beaches: The beaches on Pemba are not as good as Zanzibar, and are all very tidal. However, there is the little Misali Island just off the west coast and near our favourite honeymoon spot, Fundu Lagoon, which offers white sands forever for that slice of Indian Ocean paradise which is missing from the mainland island.

Privacy: Pemba is very off the beaten track though and offers an authentic slice of Tanzanian island life. It is not only a beach destination but a fascinating place to visit in itself. On your activities you really do get a sense you have the Indian Ocean all to yourself, which you just can’t get in Zanzibar.

Accommodation and cost: There are only 3 main lodges we like to recommend on Pemba. They are not for budget travellers but suit mid to high end travellers.

Snorkelling and diving: The diving from Pemba island is among the best in the world. For divers, there is nowhere better than here and Mafia Island.

Best for: Divers and honeymooners looking to get off the beaten track.

Mafia Island

Beaches: Similarly to Pemba, the beaches on Mafia tend to be quite mangrovey and tidal, so as such we would recommend looking at Zanziabr for your Indian Ocean white sands forever experience.

Privacy: Mafia is only home to 2 lodges which we like to recommend, and as such if you are looking for uninterrupted Indian Ocean adventures, it is fantastic.

Accommodation and cost: The accommodation on Mafia is reasonably priced and you get a certain amount of luxury, however, it is pretty rustic when compared to options on both Pemba and Zanzibar.

Snorkelling and diving: Where Mafia shines above the rest is in it’s excellent whale shark populations. You can enjoy a snorkelling excursion to go see these huge and fascinating creatures. The diving is also tremendous. Most visit Mafia simply to get a glimpse of the whale sharks.

Best for: Very keen divers and for those who want to see Whale Sharks.

Mnemba Private Island

@&Beyond Mnemba Island Lodge

Beaches: Pristine, white, sweeping – everything you could wish for from an Indian Ocean hideaway.

Privacy: Mnemba is completely exclusive as it is owned by &Beyond and is the only lodge on the island. You have the whole place to yourselves with the other guests staying at the lodge. In our eyes, it is probably one of the best and more sought after honeymoon destinations in the world.

Accommodation and cost: But… This comes at a price! The bandas at nMnemba are luxurious yet still rustic and wooden without a glossy 5* type finish. We absolutely love them. Staying in such exclusivity though does come at a cost as staying here can cost you up to a staggering $1,500 per person per night.

Snorkelling and diving: The diving and snorkelling (and deep sea fishing) from Mnemba is absolutely magnificent. It seems to have it all…

Best for: Honeymooners, a holiday of a life time and those seeking absolute Indian Ocean perfection.

Fanjove Private Island

Beaches: Fanjove Island, alike with Mnemba, has absolutely beautiful beaches. It is set apart from the other islands and is situated in the southern waters off the mainland coast near Songo Songo.

Privacy: Alike with Mnemba again, Fanjove is owned by a safari company who have the whole island and so this is a completely exclusive experience.

Accommodation and cost: Unlike Mnemba, Fanjove is extremely reasonably priced. However, if you are looking for luxury, this is not for you. It’s bandas are very basic and are the epitome of what we like to call “beach shack chic”. The perk here is that if you are not bothered about luxury, you can have one of the more pristine Indian Ocean locations all to yourself for an extremely reasonable cost.

Snorkelling and diving: Snorkelling and diving off Fanjove is also excellent.

Best for: Honeymooners, families or those just seeking seclusion and authenticity on their African adventure.

Mainland Tanzania

Beaches: So the lodge we think reigns absolute supreme on the mainland coast is Ras Kutani. This is in our view probably the best beach lodge in East Africa. With a spectacular beach which is also absolutely secluded, you can’t get much better.

Privacy: Unlike some of the busier beaches in Zanzibar, Ras Kutani is on the mainland coast and as such is well away from tourism and any kind of bustle whatsoever. It is a hidden gem, and we hope it stays this way for a long time to come.

Accommodation and cost: What’s more, Ras Kutani is exceptional value for money. The style of the lodge is the ultimate “barefoot luxury” experience, meaning it is extremely comfortable with very attentive staff, excellent food, comfortable beds, a glorious setting but without glitzy frills.

Snorkelling and diving: Ras Kutani does not have good snorkelling and diving and is a place for relaxation.

Best for: Any kind of traveller/group/couple or honeymooner who is looking for a place away from it all to relax in absolute Indian ocean paradise.

November 27, 2018

Mauritius vs Zanzibar – Which should I choose?

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 2:32 pm

For every type of traveller, we would recommend Zanzibar over Mauritius as a beach destination for a few reasons which we will expand on below. Ok, so Mauritius is classically the family destination for families. However, we think you can have just as much of a family adventure without spending a premium on lengthy flights in Zanzibar. Here’s why!

Accommodation

Mauritius hotels are classically rather big, and can be soulless if you don’t choose carefully.

Mauritius accommodation options, although with glamour and all the amenities you could wish for, are generally pretty soulless. Mauritius is a place of big hotels and we really prefer the little boutique options which Zanzibar does so very well. If big hotels are what you are after though, then Zanzibar has this too! Although there is a lot of bad accommodation on Zanzibar which can trick tourists, we often visit and re-visit, so have a handful of our favourite beach hotels in a huge array of different styles.

Accessibility

If you are looking to safari as well as stay on a beautiful beach, then Zanzibar is a mere 45 minute flight from it’s nearest park, the Selous Game Reserve. It is also easy to connect with the rest of Tanzania, including the stars of the country, Ngorongoro and the Serengeti, as well as Kenya’s famous Masai Mara. Even if you are not looking for safari time, if you are looking to go to Mauritius, you will be inundated with “dead” nights in between lengthy flights. If you go to Zanzibar however, you can arrive into Dar es Salaam off your international flight, and be lazing on a Zanzibar beach within only a few hours…

Authenticity

Ok, so Zanzibar is not quiet in regards to tourists, but Mauritius is BUSY. There are some good stretches of beach in Mauritius, but if they are good, they will be seriously busy! Mauritius even has some artificial beaches, which really demonstrates how it is not home to the Indian Ocean stretches of paradise which many imagine it as. Zanzibar, although tidal, has some pockets of seriously beautiful beaches which are not saturated with tourists.

A beautiful undisturbed Zanzibar beach.

Diving

Off Zanzibar there are some incredible diving spots – some of the best diving in the world happens of Zanzibar’s neighbour, Pemba Island. The snorkelling is also incredible with it’s beautiful coral reefs which surround it. Mauritius isn’t really a diving destination, so if this is your primary interest then definitely head to Zanzibar for some relaxation and either stay there for great diving, or head to the surrounding islands for some world class underwater scenes.

Cost

Mauritius is an array of 5* hotels, and when you look at flights too, this can add up to a very costly holiday. Although there are cheaper options in Mauritius, these options are nothing in comparison to what you can get for your money in Zanzibar; our favourite little boutique hotel haven. The flights are so cheap and easy, we even get some clients tempted by a beach-safari-beach combination.

November 16, 2018

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 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.

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