This summer I've spent 5 weeks in Tanzania with my husband. This forum was very useful for our planning (especially for the safari portion) and I hope this report is useful for future visitors.
Besides the safari, we mainly travelled by bus through Tanzania. I'll focus on the second part of our travel, as there are already a lot of nice safari reports on the forum.
We flew with Emirates from Zurich via Dubai to Nairobi. Arrived around 4 pm and got our transit visa for Kenya (10 USD) without any problem. Our hotel was in the gigiri area (a bit outside the center) and the drive there took us nearly two hours - traffic in Nairobi was really heavy.
Early in the next morning, we took the shuttle bus (Rainbow shuttle) to Arusha. Construction work was at this time not yet finished - the drive to Arusha took as about 5 hours. We bought the visa for Tanzania at the border, again without any hassle.
In Arusha we were staying in Oasis Lodge, liked it a lot. The lodge is in a quarter a bit outside the center.In the afternoon we took a walk around the quarter and had a drink (coke, they had pictures of it on the table cloth so we were able to point at it). On the next day, we started our safari. We went with Basecamp, our guide was Fiti (Fiteline) and our cook Christian. They both did an great job and went out of their way to provide us a beatiful safari. We loved
the safari a lot and would not hesitate to recommend Basecamp...
Here's a short summary of itinerary:
- 1 Day Tarangire. Overnight at public campsite just outside the park entrance. The campsite has hot showers (which is a luxury) and a nice eating area.
- 1 Day: Drive to Serengeti via Olduvai Gorge, which is a nice stop on the really long drive. The road is good about until the gorge, the part between Olduvay gorge and the Serengeti gate is very bumpy...
- 3 Days Serengeti. Overnight at public campsite (I think Pimbi campsite, but they all look the same) in the Seronera area. Facilities here are very basic and the campsite was quite crowded.
- 1 Day Ngorongoro. Overnight on crater rim (public campsite). It gets really cold in the evening...
After the safari, the second part of our holiday began.
- Moshi (2 nights): Arrived there by bus (around 5000 Tsh) from Arusha. The ride took about 1.5 hours. In Bradt guide, they write that Moshi is one of the worst bus station in east africa (regarding touts bothering you) - we were surprised that no one payed
attention to us when we arrived there...;-) Stayed in Zebra hotel (30 USD per night) in the center. Did a trek to the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro and visited Materuni village and a waterfall - this was a very nice day program.
- Lushoto (4 nights): Took the "express" bus to Lushoto (12'000 Tsh), the ride took about 4 hours. The road is paved until Lushoto and the part between Mombo and Lushoto is very scenic. Stayed a Parkview hotel (or similar, it is at the end of Lushoto near Kakakuana lodge), which was one of the best deals we had. The hotels was very new and we had a modern room with bathroom and hot water (working) for 35'000 Tsh. In Lushoto, we did a two day trek to Mtae. Overnight is in Rangi at a convent, facilities are basics but the sisters are very nice. Went with friends of Usambara and were not happy with our guide. Nevertheless, the view and the people on the way made this trek a gread experience. Bus from Mtae back to Lushoto leaves at 4am... Did also trek to Irente viewpoint which also offers spectacular views.
- Tanga (2 nights): The direct bus to Tanga took about 5 hours (6000 Tsh). It was market day in Mombo and the bus was really crowded. Would recommend to take a dala dala to Mombo and then take one of the express buses (Dar Express) to Tanga. Stayed at Pandori hotel (42'000 Tsh), which is a bit outside town but really nice.
Visited the caves outside Tanga which makes for a nice half-day trip.
- Pangani (4 nights): First beach days... Took a dala dala (2000 Tsh) for the 40 kilometers drive to Pangani which took us about 2 hours. From there crossed the river by ferry and then went by taxi to Ushongo beach. The beach is very beautiful and we had it to ourselves. Stayed at Beach Crap resort and loved it...
- Pemba (3 nights): From Pangani, we went back for another night to Tanga. Took the ferry on Tuesday morning to Wete, Pemba (does anyone know, if that was the ferry the sank recently?). Stayed two nights in Wete. We did a trip with dala dala and bycicle to the very north of the island. Stayed also one night in Chake Chake were we went to some ruins by bycicle. We just loved Pemba. Didn't see any other tourist during our stay. People were really friendly and the island is very beautiful. Guesthouses were quite expensive compared
to mainland Tanzania and you cannot really bargain as you don't have much choice...
- Stonetown (2 nights): Took a flight to Stonetown where we stayed at Clove Hotel. Had a very nice stay.
- Jambiani (4 nights): Stayed 4 nights at the beach in Jambiani, our hotel was Red Monkey lodge. Liked the hotel a lot, but found the beach to the north more beautiful.
For those who made it until here, some remarks:
- When going on safari to Ngorongoro, take some warm cloth.
- When on safari, just wear clothes that are comfortable, any color is fine.
- Bring a lot of patience when taking busses - also express buses stop a lot.
- When taking busses don't plan too much. In our about 25 days (after the safari) we just made it from Arusha overland to Zanzibar. This way we had a lot of time experiencing all the places.
And finally: Do go off the beaten track. There is much more to Tanzania than safari and Kili. It was at times tiring but really worth the effort...Edited: 30 October 2011, 18:35