Truly, an unforgettable experience!

5 April 2019 | R, V, M, H (Belgiun)

Hi Marjolijn,

We’ve had a wonderful trip to Tanzania! Truly, an unforgettable experience! We want to thank you and everyone in Tanzania who contributed to this in one way or another!!! Asante sana !

We departed from a cold and gray Belgium with Ethiopian Airlines (stopover in Vienna, transfer in Addis) to Arusha. The flight was long and tiring and we were relieved when we finally stepped outside in Arusha and it was nice and warm and sunny!
Our driver was already waiting for us with the minivan and 4 beautiful and handy water bottles – nice and practical comity! The children were amazed during the ride to Onsea House and could already start practicing waving to the many children along the track!
Onsea House is a gem. A beautiful location, great food, spacious and well-kept rooms, friendly staff. Everyone immediately forgot about the long flight. How nice this was!
Before we went on safari and to get used to the African rhythm and the Tanzanian culture (for the children it was the first trip to Africa) we had planned 2 half-day tours: a market visit to Tengeru and the Arusha City Tour.
For the children the market was very busy and overwhelming in terms of smells and bustle. (On arrival we were immediately presented with dead rabbits and chickens …). Fortunately, we had a great guide who was very understanding and guided us to the quieter parts of the market where mainly vegetables, artisan pots, mountains of “black” shoes and clothing were sold. Given that we crossed the market faster than expected, we went to the nearby Lake Duluti to chat a bit about nature, culture, have a drink and play pool with and between the locals.
The day after, the Arusha City Tour was on the schedule. Arusha is a relatively large city with very busy wriggling traffic, even on a Sunday: vans, carts, cyclists, piki pikis (= motorcycles) everything’s criss-crossing. We drove with an open jeep and again looked our eyes on our tour through the city. In our case, we made a short stop at one of the 2 large markets followed by a visit to the cultural heritage center (extensive and expensive art gallery annex souverin shop in a special architectural construction) and concluded with a lunch in a local grill restaurant.

On our first safari day, we headed for Tarangire National Park: a beautiful park – multifaceted in landscape, lots of animals too. We’ve seen so many animals in this park alone! Unbelievable! Magnificent! We were all so impressed!
Tarangire Lodge is very nicely situated. That view is really unique. You can sit there for hours watching and enjoying nature and the elephants that spring past in the distance. And not only in the distance – also super close by – between the tents of the lodge grew tender leaves and … water comes from the garden hose. Very handy – also for elephants. That was really exciting!

Two days later, we travelled via Mto wa Mbu (village walk and local lunch) to Lake Manyara N.P. In the village with 2 local guides we visited the banana plantation, picture shop and a woodworking workshop. At our request, we walked around the schoolyard with the children and peeped into the crowded classrooms. After a local lunch, we went back into nature in the afternoon. In the Lake Manyara N.P. we were welcomed by a mass of storks! A much smaller park, but with a completely different landscape than Tarangire: flowing streams, dense vegetation and very green! We also spotted our first hippo here (not realizing that many more were to follow later) and also observed a few elephants from very close (but this time quietly). Beautiful!
The night at Kirurumu Lodge was very pleasant. Again super view from the tent / room! After the thunderstorm in Tarangire, we slept peacefully here and were ready to start the long day trip to Serengeti. On the way to Serengeti we have seen the landscape change several times. Amazing!

On this day trip we have spotted a lion couple, leopard and some cheetahs! That’s the advantage of a country trip. Tired but content, we crawled into our tent in the evening and slept wonderfully. We were the only guests in the Kati Kati Tented Camp – what a luxury! Together with the guide and staff we played cards, made a campfire, sang, got lunch (fries with spaghetti ;-)) and breakfast (pancakes) on order – in short: the team there was really great! Chapeau! And the food is also super tasty – but way too much!
We saw so many animals during our 3 days in the Serengeti and admired surprisingly many different landscapes, beautiful cloud formations. Indescribable!
Finally we had Ngorongoro and a stay at the very comfortable Farm House Lodge on the program. Perhaps we were too spoiled after Tarangire and Serengeti, but – contrary to our expectations before the trip, Ngorongoro was not the pinnacle of animal spotting for us. It was certainly worth the effort and the setting is special, but it’s also noticeably busier there and after the many herds of elephants, giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, lion families, hippos, the “few” animals in Ngorongoro were no longer that spectacular … But we knew it was our last safari day and that’s why we extra enjoyed it, gave our senses an extra boost and put our cameras to work.

As a final part of the trip, we flew with a “sardine box” from Regional Air from Arusha to Zanzibar. How exciting this was! Again, a true experience to fly to the island in such a small plane! Fumba Beach Lodge was an island hotel like “in the books”: beautiful location right on the beach and the sea, nice pool, beautiful rooms, original bar, very friendly staff. We’ve been very spoiled there again! We also went on a city exploration in Zanzibar in Stonetown: made a mini-market tour (only past some vegetables and herb stalls – we deliberately ignored the meat halls this time), but we loved strolling through the maze of old streets . If we had an extra day, we would’ve certainly returned! Our guide was good and patient (it all went a bit slower because of the warmth and the children and he told us a lot about the history and the ins and outs of the city then and now). Very interesting and intriguing city!

And then after 2 weeks it was time to return home, with so many impressions and beautiful experiences, thousands of photos, a nice tan …

Thank you very much for putting this trip together for us. We all had a great time and will never forget what we saw and experienced together in Tanzania!
Thanks a lot also to the local teams: everywhere we were welcomed super friendly and well and everything was arranged and well taken care of.

Good luck with Explore Tanzania! We’ll continue to follow you and who knows …

R, V, M, H (Belgium)

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