Work trip Marloes November 2017

19 November 2017

Drive-in safari southern Tanzania & Zanzibar

After a smooth flight (as always) with KLM, I arrive late at night in my hotel in Dar es Salaam. It will be a short night, because the guide will pick me up at 7:30 am for the ride to the Selous Game Reserve.
The drive out of Dar es Salaam is hectic, but I’m amazed. It is wonderful to see what is happening on the street: cars, buses, mopeds, pedestrians, tuktuks, the harbor and so many shops, markets, stalls … There’s just so much to see!
Once out of the city it gradually becomes less hectic. The city makes way for picturesque villages and it is becoming increasingly green, also because of the agricultural / plantations (including pineapples, bananas, cassava, cashews and palm trees).
The landscape is varied: hilly and wide. Plantations and dense, green, lush forests. Villages with enthusiastically screaming children. Fantastic: I’m in Africa!
The drive from Dar es Salaam to the entrance of the Selous Game Reserve takes a total of almost 5 hours. The first 3 hours on a good asphalted road, the last 2 hours on a dirt road, which is partly good and partly very poor.
At the entrance of the reserve I go have lunch at Selous River Camp with the owners Katie and Kenny. A very nice budget accommodation, built entirely from the heart by this young, enthusiastic couple. I’m glad to see that the atmosphere and the quality is still good!
In the afternoon, there’s time for a game drive in the reserve, on the way to my lodge for the night: Roho ya Selous. A beautiful, luxurious propertyn that has recently been opened (August 2017). The tent is beautifully spacious and very luxurious (incl. cooling system – not superfluous in Selous – and an indoor and outdoor shower!). The communal areas are all open and the swimming pool also offers a view of Lake Nzerakera – a great wild area.
In the evening I enjoy (together with the other guests and the manager) a tasteful and cozy dinner outdoors.

After a lovely, quiet night in the bush, we leave early morning to Mikumi. This ride takes 7 hours on a road that is partly good, partly very bad. But even this ride is not a punishment: beautiful, varied landscapes ensure that I enjoy immensely!
I arrive at Tan Swiss: a comfortable budget accommodation in Mikumi (outside the national park). Here I have a small private party with 4 old school friends who now live in Morogoro. It’s great to see them again and their offspring: the 5 children are there too! It’s a very enjoyable evening with lots of stories about the past. Very dear to me!

Getting up early in the morning after such a pleasant evening is tough, but again not a problem if you have a beautiful day ahead. Today, I’m going to Udzungwa Mountains National Park (only 2 hours from Mikumi): a beautiful wooded park where you can make beautiful walks (from 1 hour to several days). Driving through the Kilombero Valley will be a highlight of my trip, with sugar cane plantations on the one hand as far as you can see and on the other, the densely forested slopes of Udzungwa Mountains and the imposing Sanje Waterfalls (you can walk here in 5 hours) ). The authentic, picturesque villages also impress me.
At the entrance of the park, I’m going for a hike with a ranger to one of the lower waterfalls. Along the way, he tells a lot about nature, butterflies, birds and (medicinal) uses of the trees and plants. A great area for lovers of hiking and pure nature. Besides, because of the villages, markets and plantations, a very nice change i.c.m. with the other safari areas. At the end of the day we return to the Mikumi National Park for an afternoon game drive. This night, I’ll stay in a very comfortable lodge with a beautiful view over the park!
The end of my safari is approaching … We drive back to Dar es Salaam, where I board the boat to Zanzibar. I am (I believe) lucky because the crossing is very quiet. It’s great to leave the hectic pace of Dar es Salaam behind and the arrival on Zanzibar is spectacular! The sun sets and this beautiful light makes the arrival on Zanzibar really great!
I arrive in the dark at Pongwe Beach Hotel, but despite that, I feel that this is a very nice property! Waking up to this beautiful beach, confirms my feeling: what a lovely hideaway!
In the morning I have a meeting with our “wedding planner” in Zanzibar and we make some good plans.
The last hours I enjoy the peace and quiet at Hakuna Majiwe and Fumba Beach Lodge.
All in all: a productive and educational journey, with beautiful, inspiring discoveries!
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