Tanzania, Africa at its most beautiful

30 January 2024 | Henk & Ingrid

Tanzania had been on our travel destination list for a few years. After our retirement, we like to travel to distant, sunnier places in the first months of the year and when the pandemic forced us to return home from Australia prematurely in March 2020, Africa quickly came into view as the next destination. Covid restrictions and a move later, it finally happened at the end of January 2024. Our Tanzania trip could begin, perfectly timed to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary.
The organization was largely taken off our hands by Explore Tanzania, where Marloes skillfully translated our wishes and expectations into a wonderful 21-day trip. Largely consisting of a safari through various nature parks in northern Tanzania and ending with a 5-day ‘Delicious Zanzibar‘. Everything was perfect!
Our journey took us from Arusha via Tarangire National Park to Lake Manyara National Park. Then via the Ngorongoro crater to the Serengeti and Seronera to end the safari at Lake Natron, after which we traveled to Zanzibar.

The arranged accommodations were all beautifully situated close to or even in the middle of wildlife parks and varied from comfortable to luxurious. A few of them were lodges and furthermore safari tents. Always with a good, fixed bed and private sanitary facilities. We thought the most special thing was Green Camp South in the Serengeti. Beautiful, large tents with a large bed, a bathroom and a private sitting area with a view. tastefully and colorfully decorated. The water reservoir in the shower was filled with nice hot water on request and a hot water bottle was even put in bed to drive away the evening cold. The large ‘lounge’ tent was also a nice space. Large sofas and bean bags stood in a room with African art on the walls and a real bus in the back served as a bar. We drank the sundowners prepared there outside in a comfortable chair by a fire bowl while the chef on duty prepared part of the meal on a barbecue over the wood fire. Even the starry sky was breathtaking. without annoying leakage light in the area. All in all a special place, not least because of the nice people and good service.

But what really mattered this trip were, in addition to accommodations and people, also the animals we hoped to see during the safari game drives and we were not disappointed. Our fantastic guide and driver, Iddy Simba, a always good-humored, humorous, knowledgeable and fact-providing young man, played a major role in this. Iddy not only managed to spot and name a wide variety of animals, from large elephants to small dung beetles, but information about the characteristics and lifestyle of the animal in question was always provided. Moreover, he turned out to be an excellent driver who guided us safely through many puddles and mud puddles and over many difficult terrain. We spent more than 11 days mostly just the three of us, so it was very nice that we got along well.

To list here all the animals we saw would go too far, because the list is long, but we would like to share a few special observations. Of the large animals, a group of imposing elephants that were taking an extensive mud bath a few meters away from us, only to reveal the adorable baby elephant that mother never lost sight of when passing in front of the jeep. Or another mother animal, a wildebeest or wildebeest, who urged her newborn calf to climb out of the ditch where it had fallen. Unfortunately in vain, it seemed. And the giraffes that stand almost clumsily with their legs spread wide, eating from low branches, or the leopard that lies panting on a tree branch, with the wildebeest prey on the branch next to it that has been dragged all the way up and from which drops of blood end up in the jeep come. Mother lion with two cubs and a cheetah showing her young how to hunt. The impressive spectacle of endless wildebeest and zebras walking one after the other across a river during their great migration should not go unmentioned. Then there were the always playful baboons who crowded trees in groups or blocked ‘roads’ and the upright meerkats, to be watched endlessly.

And of course there were also many birds, from large ostriches to impressive eagles, vultures and marabou storks and elegant flamingos or colorful weaver birds. Here again we witnessed impressive scenes, such as a courtship of Kori Bustard or a Martial Eagle plucking a recently caught flamingo. Vultures sitting at the top of a palm tree drying their wings or another group of vultures and marabou storks scraping the carcass of a warthog. Again impressive and too much to mention.

In addition to the safari game drives, activities were arranged for us. For example, we took a village walk in Mto wa Mbu with a final lunch, we went on a walking safari at Lake Manyara and we saw the sun rise over the Serengeti from a hot air balloon. Very impressive.

We ended our Africa trip in Zanzibar. First to Stone Town, where we stayed in the Arabic-style Emerson Spice Hotel and then spent the last few days on the east coast of the island in tropical Sharazad, located on a silver-white beach. The activities on Zanzibar were, in addition to a city walk and relaxing massage, mainly culinary in nature. A delicious dinner in the Secret Garden at Emerson Spice, the next day we enjoyed an Arabic ‘spicy dinner’ on the roof terrace of Emerson on Hurumzi. Then on the way to the east coast we took a look at a Spice farm where we saw a wide variety of spices and fruits growing on trees, shrubs or plants in a Zanzibari version of a food forest, followed by a spicy lunch where several of the spices and herbs were grown. were processed, very worthwhile. Finally, on the east coast, there was a traditional cooking class and a beach barbecue. All equally memorable.

In addition to all the events and activities that made our trip a success, we certainly do not want to leave out the people who had a part in it. Marloes and the other Explore Tanzania team who put together a wonderful, tailor-made trip with their contacts and knowledge. Iddy Simba, the best safari guide we could wish for and all those nice and helpful people who took care of the accommodations, activities and transfers. Finally, the mostly friendly and good-humored Tanzanians we encountered, met or saw made us happy.

Back home, we can look back on a special, exotic, fantastic journey.
A trip that we will remember for a long time with great satisfaction and pleasure.

Henk & Ingrid

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