Marloes and Ellen on study trip to Nyerere National Park

11 December 2023

Tanzania!

From an autumnal Netherlands, we depart for Tanzania. After a stopover at Kilimanjaro Airport, we arrive in Dar es Salaam. We are warmly welcomed by Kasim who takes us to the Protea Hotel Courtyard, a nice place to stay in hectic Dar es Salaam. Over the next few days, we set out to visit various accommodations in Nyerere National Park. During a study tour we check the quality and service of different places, taste the atmosphere and make safaris with the guides of the camps. This way we stay informed and can give good advice when putting together our trips.

The journey from Dar Es Salaam to Nyerere National Park takes about 5 hours by land*.
Rested and after a delicious breakfast, we leave in the jeep for Nyerere National Park. Kasim is one of our guides in the south of the country and a pleasant man who immediately tells us a lot about the area where we are. The road is unpaved and bumpy, but the views and scenic route make up for all that.
A stop at a local market for some delicious fruit – jackfruit, passion fruit, banana – is not to be missed! Near the park, we have lunch locally in the village of Mloka. After this we say goodbye to our guide and are welcomed by the guide of our first stay.

*Should you want to travel to the park within an hour comfortably, there are also several flights a day from Dar to Nyerere NP. We chose for the car to explore more of Tanzania’s inland.

Nyerere Nationaal Park
Previously this area was a game reserve (Selous) and in 2019 the part north of the Rufiji River (where safaris are conducted) received National Park status. November is the beginning of the short rainy season which means the park is now insanely green and the water levels of the river and lakes are higher. Characteristic of this park are the varied landscapes with baobabs, acacia forests and palms interspersed with swamps, rivers and lakes. As a result, there are many different ecosystems. Near the water you will find lots of beautiful, colorful birds (440 different species of birds occur), many hippos and crocodiles.

On land you will find the typical mammals you see in Tanzania during a safari: impalas, giraffes, elephants, buffaloes, kudu, baboons, warthogs. In terms of predators, the park has lions, leopards, hyenas and the African wild dog, rare in the rest of the country. The park has smaller numbers of tourists than in northern Tanzania and you also feel you are away from the crowds in a beautiful, atmospheric, diverse landscape.

Activities
Not only the nature is varied. Our program in the park was also varied because of the different safari activities. Namely, in Nyerere National Park you can go on boat safaris on the rivers and lakes – unique in Tanzania! On a boat safari you experience all the life in and around the water: hippos, crocodiles, water birds and mammals that come to cool off and drink at the water’s edge. During one of our boat safaris, we quietly enjoyed a herd of elephants cooling off in the lake – an unforgettable experience!


Of course, we also went on jeep safaris where the varied landscapes pass you by and you spot all kinds of mammals and birds with your guide. Remarkable during our safari in Green November were the quantities of young animals: funny little baboons with their floppy ears, herds of impalas with their young and cute warthogs šŸ˜Š.
You can also take walking safaris from many accommodations, zooming in on the smaller ecosystems (including plants, tracks, insects) with a guide (& armed ranger). An expert guide is very important here; for safety, of course, but also for the great stories to tell about life in nature.
You can also go fishing in the rivers and lakes (catch & release). If you ask nicely, you may bring a fish to put on the grill šŸ˜‰.

Season
We were in Nyerere National Park in November; the beginning of the green season that lasts through May. Green does not mean constant rain, but occasional heavy showers (we got quite wet during a boat safari!) and otherwise mostly periods of sunshine and humid warmth. The landscape is densely vegetated and is incredibly green, a true bird paradise.

You experience the park very differently from July to October. It is drier then, the greenery disappears and the many foothills of the rivers, swamps and lakes dry out. As a result, large herds of mammals descend on the Rufiji River, which continues to flow throughout the year. So if you come for the big game, July through October is the best season. If you love amazing, diverse wildlife and birds, then this park is fantastic throughout the year!

Accommodations
Nyerere National Park has accommodations in all kinds of categories: from simple comfortable to super deluxe. We stayed six nights in other camps to experience the differences and to advise our clients properly and in detail. This allowed us to see for ourselves how each camp differs in terms of its own atmosphere, style and comfort. It was good to get confirmation that the accommodations we work with a lot are still right in quality and atmosphere and fit our values. It was very nice to discover new favorites as well! They stood out because of their small scale, personal service, fantastic guides and respect for people and the environment.

Watch Marloes and Ellen’s trip on Youtube and check out the highlights our Instagram page.

Curious and want to know what best suits your wishes? Then feel free to call Ellen or Marloes!