Tanzania – Beach & Bush

Tanzania – Beach & Bush Claimed

2 weeks | July 2017 | Family | Islands & Safari

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Trip Overview

The first week was a mom/teenage son trip to Mafia Island and Zanzibar, followed by joining another teenage son who was doing service work in Moshi, Tanzania and then being joined by my husband as well. The four of us then went on safari the second week. The whole trip was booked via Timbuktu Travel (www.timbuktutravel.com) which is a terrific company and their website and in person consultants make it super easy to book a trip. It was a wonderful trip!!!!

Full Itinerary

Day 0: Travel/Dar 

SF- Dar flights. Arrived next day, spent night in Serna Hotel


Day 1: Mafia Island

Flight from DAR toMafia Island. Picked up by Pole Pole hotel van and taken to hotel. Note that you must pay a fee of $70 for entrance to the Marine Park, in which Pole Pole is located (credit card accepted).


Pole Pole is beautiful hotel with individual bungalows, a pool, open air dining space, various lounge areas. The tide goes out fairly far so it’s not the best beach for swimming however except at high tide. The dive center is just down the beach and each evening the dive master comes to talk about the options for the following day – diving, whale watching, snorkeling etc. There is also one free outing per day via the Pole Pole.  There are only 7 bungalows so it’s very intimate and guests while we were there enjoyed cocktails together as well as outings and it was a great atmosphere.


Afternoon of day 1 we took a boat to a nearby island, walked about 45 minutes through little villages and beautiful countryside to the other side of the island where we watched sea turtles hatching.  We then did part 1 (land portion) of a diving refresher course.


Day 2: Mafia Island

We started the day with the in water diving refresher and a mini dive off the beach, followed by breakfast, downtime, a massage (they were free!), lunch and then a double dive in the afternoon (timing due to tides). The dives were two spots along an offshore reef that was spectacular. There was a dive guide per every 2 people, and they were excellent. Spectacular fish, sea turtles, eels – so many things it was like swimming in an aquarium.


Day 3: Mafia Island

After an early breakfast we went whale watching. Following the spouts in the distance we found about 8 whales – beautiful. We then stopped for lunch on an idyllic sand bar that forms when the tides are low – and left after the tide began to rise and cover the beautiful white sand oasis.  


Day 4: Travel to Zanzibar

Travel day to Zanzibar via Coastal Air, on which we were the only passengers! Were met by a driver and guide and decided to do a few hour tour of Stone Town, which was great, before proceeding with the hour drive on to the Pongwe Beach Resort.  Pongwe is a smallish resort (15-20 rooms?) set right on the beach with an infinity pool, with plunge pools for some individual rooms and a large  open air bar/restaurant. Very nice and friendly staff.


Day 5: Zanzibar

Quiet pool/beach day


Day 6: Zanzibar

Spice farm tour, arranged by hotel in the am. Nice drive around parts of the island.


Day 7: Zanzibar

Left early for a dolphin trip, but once at the meeting spot (1.5 hr drive) it was very rough/whitecap so we bailed on that idea (I get seasick) and went on to the monkey forest instead. Had a great guide who showed us the monkeys and also taught us about the plants we were seeing. Went across to the street to the mangroves and then also did (but should have skipped) the separate ‘park’ for turtles which was depressing and a waste of time.


Lunch in Stone Town and then after a quick wander/shopping back to Pongwe for final afternoon there.


Day 8: Travel to Moshi

Travel day to Moshi (flight via Coastal Air to Arusha where we got transport to Moshi, a 1.5-2 hour drive away) where we reunited with our youngest son at the Ameg Hotel in the afternoon. Dinner at hotel.


Day 9: Moshi

Picked up at 9am for a couple hour hike through beautiful scenery and villages that ended us at the entrance to Kili (the Mweka entrance where many hikers were just coming down the mountain). Really beautiful, rolling hike. We then drove to Moshi to pick up lunch and headed to the waterfall area. It was about 35 minute drive up a dirt road through little villages, then we parked and hiked about 40 minuteswith our guide – again incredible beautiful through farmland and villages and jungle – to the large Mnambe waterfall. After lunch hiked back and headed back to hotel. Great day! Hike was arranged via Popote Africa Adventures www.popoteafrica.com, info@popoteafrica.com


Day 10: Travel to Lake Eyasi to begin Safari

Early exit from Moshi.  We were picked up by Samuel of Albatros Travel, who would be our wonderful guide for the next week. Was supposed to pick up my husband from airport but due to a missed connecting flight in Nairobi that unfortunately did not work…so we went on to drive to Arusha and then on to our lodge in Lake Eyasi without him. It was a long drive of 4 hours, with a lunch stop en route, and the last hour being on very rough road. But it took us through interesting landscape with Masai boys herding their cows, small villages etc, and the last hour was through little villages in very arid, dusty landscape. We then arrived surprisingly at what seemed like an oasis at the end of the road and found our lovely Kisima Ngeda Tented Camp.


It is small (7 tents), located on the banks of Lake Eyasi, which when full of water supposedly is full with tons of flamingo. It was dry for us however – so no water or birds. There is a pool, a lookout platform, nice dining area, an area to climb up to for sundowners, a fishery and a seating area by the lake. The staff couldn’t be more helpful and kind. And the food was great, as were the tent cabins.


Upon arrival we got settled and then went to visit the Datoga tribe. We had picked up a local guide upon arrival who stayed with us for our 2.5 days there, accompanying us on any excursion and he was terrific The visit to the Datoga tribe showed us their way of living, their dress, their home and how they are blacksmiths. They demonstrated their taking salvaged copper and brass items and turning them into arrowheads (which they sell to local tribes to hunt with ) and jewelry (which they sell and which they wear).  Really interesting. Dinner at the lodge.


Day 11: Hadza Tribe Visit

Early morning wake up call to leave camp by 5am to get to the Hadza tribe. They are some of the last hunter/gatherer tribes and live on what they hunt and find in the bush. We arrived at sunrise at their ‘home’ which currently(they are nomadic) was in a set of rocks in a barren dry area. We chatted with the women first, warming themselves around a campfire, and then with the men who were around their separate fire. First question from both groups was if we had any marijuana for them (we didn’t).  A hunter had killed (bow and arrow) a dik dik so we helped skin that and then they cooked and ate it (sharing it with us) before we left on our hunting trip. We spent about 3 hours with 4-5 of the men looking for game that they shot at with bow and arrow. We got a bird and a bushbaby, which were roasted and eaten en route home for breakfast, and another hunter met us who had just killed a larger animal, which my son ‘wore/carried’ back to the village, where they skinned it.  Following bow and arrow target practice we then left the tribe. They hunt twice daily to find their food and move around as needed to fund more game. Wonderful experience.


Once back at camp my husband finally caught up with us and we had a quiet afternoon at camp and went on a walk.


Day 12: Lake Eyasi

This was abit of a wasted day and to do it again I’d eliminate it, but given that my husband was late joining us it worked out ok. We re-visited theDotoga in the morning so he could see them, drove to the lake (nothing to see as it was dry), had lunch and then drove to the Farm Valley Lodge- maybe 1.5 hour drive or less.  Relaxed at the lodge, including a massage andcatching up on email etc and had dinner there.  So not too eventful of a day and could have been eliminated.


Day 12: Lake Eyasi

This was abit of a wasted day and to do it again I’d eliminate it, but given that my husband was late joining us it worked out ok. We re-visited theDotoga in the morning so he could see them, drove to the lake (nothing to see as it was dry), had lunch and then drove to the Farm Valley Lodge- maybe 1.5 hour drive or less.  Relaxed at the lodge, including a massage andcatching up on email etc and had dinner there.  So not too eventful of a day and could have been eliminated.


Day 12: Lake Eyasi

This was abit of a wasted day and to do it again I’d eliminate it, but given that my husband was late joining us it worked out ok. We re-visited theDotoga in the morning so he could see them, drove to the lake (nothing to see as it was dry), had lunch and then drove to the Farm Valley Lodge- maybe 1.5 hour drive or less.  Relaxed at the lodge, including a massage andcatching up on email etc and had dinner there.  So not too eventful of a day and could have been eliminated.


Days 15/16. Game Drives – Serengeti

15: Early morning game drive, back for breakfast, then out on drive the rest of the day. Highlights: post lion kill of a zebra, cheetah, leopard

16:   All day game drive – lots of lion, cheetah, leoprd, elephant and more.


Day 17 – Travel home

After a brief 1.5 hour game drive in the am we caught a small plane from the Serengeti to Arusha, had lunch and hung out at a lodge in Arusha and then headed to airport for long trip home.



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Time of year

July-Sept

Type of Trip

Adventure/Active, Nature

Duration

2 weeks

Who Went

Family with teen kids

Accommodation Type

Hotel, Resort, Combo

Budget

$400-$600

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