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Travel tips for first timer to Tanzania & Zanzibar

Dublin, Ireland
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Travel tips for first timer to Tanzania & Zanzibar

HI, as a first timer to Africa i'm excited and apprehensive, my boyfriend and I are visiting Tanzania in October and would like to do a safari (however long we can afford) and experience as much of the culture as we can and we then plan to go to Zanzibar for about a week. This is all completely new to me so i have a few questions id love some help with;

1: Should we book our safari before we go to Arusha or should we wait and book on arrival, i am aware that there is a list of reputable tour operators in the town hall but would love some current / recent recommendations, i would like to keep it below €1000 and although i'm not overly keen on camping i'm aware for that budget we may have to.

2: We plan to visit Zanzibar for a about a week and are keen to see most of the island however my boyfriend is keen not to be restricted by having reservations and would like to be a bit more spontaneous while i like to be a bit more planned around things like that, should we book before we go?

3: Also on a practical level, i would love to hit the shops for a new wardrobe but am aware this isn't going to be one of those holidays that i need 10 pairs of shoes for so can any ladies recommend the essentials i need to get / bring.

4: Also any recommendations on a good guide book that is current would be very helpful too or any must see or do things would be most appreciated.

Thanks for any help you can give this apprehensive but very excited traveller!

Isle of Man, United...
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1. Re: Travel tips for first timer to Tanzania & Zanzibar

Welcome to Tanzania.

October is a great time to visit and Tarangire National Park is ideal at that time. 5000 elephants I am told plus a mini migration (only 250,000 head) into the park for the water..

1. Bargains are said to be available for walk up bookings but most folks prefer to have this set up from home. Saves time and you get what you want, not what others have left over. Try a few on the list on the right. Email them your wishes and see what you can get. You may well have to camp at that budget

2. I don't do Zanzibar. I would think there will be space available for last minute arrivals. Again you will get the left overs.

3. I am totally unqualified but you won't need a wardrobe. (sorry about that) Take what you stand up in and two sets of spares. Loose clothing and comfortable. This is no fashion parade. Dressing in tie and tails and posh frocks on Safari is only a Hollywood idea for Grace Kelly and Stewart Granger.

4. The regularly recommended Guide book is "Bradt Guide to Tanzania" by Phillip Briggs. Get it from your local shop or direct from Publishers in Buckinghamshire England.

Enjoy the build up to your trip.

nyc
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2. Re: Travel tips for first timer to Tanzania & Zanzibar

Oct is still busy season, so suggest you prebook for even a camping safari so you get a reputable outfitter, decent guide and vehicle.

And decide whether you fly to ZNZ from the mainland or have the time for a full-ays bus ride to DAR where you can get on a ferry to the island. Its the least expensive, but eats up time.

Contact a few outfitters from bullet #4 under FAQs on the Tanzania page and see what they have to offer and price. Know though that 1,000 Euro is a tight budget for safari and beach.

Good luck!

Dublin, Ireland
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3. Re: Travel tips for first timer to Tanzania & Zanzibar

Thanks guys for your response, i am trying hard not to say "I was right" to my boyfriend about booking ahead but.....

I am sure we will have a great time and the more i read about Tanzania & Zanzibar the more real our trip seems and the more excited i am (although a little disappointed that i wont be able to justify a whole new wardrobe)

Thanks for advice i will go through the list on FAQ and hopefully get some good quotes, Im sure it'll be tough to get a really great high end safari for under €1000 but as long as we see the wildlife and get the experience Im sure we will both be happy even if we are not staying in a fancy 5* lodge. Plus after we slum it on safari we can then spend the week "recovering" on the beautiful beaches in Zanzibar!

Thanks again Safe future travels!

Perth, Australia
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4. Re: Travel tips for first timer to Tanzania & Zanzibar

Safari and Zanzibar with limited time/budget. I battled with this same equation.

Safari time or beach time ?

I came to the conclusion, I could get quality beach time at many different locations throughout the world - Spain, Greece, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, North America, here in Oz, etc etc. For you, beach time in Spain is only a couple of hundred Euro's away.

Now a quality Safari. This is only available in Africa. No where else in the world, do you have to park up and let a herd of elephants wander across the road, watch Thompson Gazelles leap into the air in fictitious fright as they jump across the gutter and stare into the eyes of a wild Lion, that is 20m from your car. Then there is the scenery .............

I dumped the beach time and was glad hat I had done so.

Dublin, Ireland
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5. Re: Travel tips for first timer to Tanzania & Zanzibar

Now when you put it like that in2it54 and after researching some more about the safaris available from a few of the ones recommended, it does look like we'd be better doing a longer safari than we had initially planned.

Thanks for the reply!

Arusha, Tanzania
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6. Re: Travel tips for first timer to Tanzania & Zanzibar

<< I'm sure it'll be tough to get a really great high end safari for under €1000>>

this converts to about $1500 USD according to my calculations.

Is this your TOTAL budget, or just for safari? including beach? per person? Does that include your flight to Zanzibar?

Let me re-phrase - what do you hope to include for this amount?

how many days do you hope to allocate to safari? to the beach?

Wardrobe suggestion - assign the wardrobe budget to the safari/beach, or even a good camera if you do not already own one. What you wear on safari is far less important than spending time on safari. I wear t-shirts and cargo pants/capri shorts.

Bring clothes you already own, and that you do not mind getting dirty, things that are comfortable and easy to hand wash and line dry. good walking shoes (hiking boots NOT needed), and a comfortable pair of sandals that slip on an off easily (for in the safari jeep so you can kick them off easy to stand on the seats). Bring half of what you think you need. Keep it simple!!

Guidebook suggestions:

Bradt Guide to Northern Tanzania, June 2013, includes Zanzibar

Bradt Guide to Tanzania, August 2013, includes ALL of Tanzania.

I also have the Insight Guide to Tanzania and Zanzibar, 2013, also good with less detail but good overviews.

I personally do not like the Lonely Planet guidebooks, although their Swahili phrase book is pretty good.

I also recommend booking ahead of time, Unless you want to waste (in my opinion) days once in Arusha to visit local tour operators, take care of the details at home, now, so it is done once you arrive. Less stress, no time on the ground in Tanzania wasted looking for a deal. You can contact 6 or so TOs by email and see what they have to offer, and compare them from the comfort of your living room. I live in Arusha part time, and I do not recommend having to go from one office to another to another by public transport or taxi in search of offices.

Happy planning, it can be fun, and a bit stressful at times, but you will learn so much!! But if you are looking at October of THIS year, you must get busy now!!

Arusha, Tanzania
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7. Re: Travel tips for first timer to Tanzania & Zanzibar

sorry, my edit didn't "take":

another suggestion - if a limited budget, I would allocate all of it to safari. you can do beach in many places around the world and for cheaper than you will get in Zanzibar. You did not say how many days you have to allocate to the entire trip, but I would recommend a bare minimum of 7 days on safari if you are in a time crunch, 10 or more days if you can be more flexible and that is just for the safari portion, not including the beach, or transportation days.

Also $1500 USD for safari is not going to get you high end, when the luxury camps charge well over $1000 per night. But all you need is camping (awesome to sleep under the stars in the bush!) or a budget to mid-level tented camp. Where you put your head at night is far less important than how many days you can afford to spend in the bush. Even basic camping can be made comfortable with a slightly larger tent and a "camp bed" so your sleeping bag is not on the ground.

You have many options to help spread the budget around!

Dublin, Ireland
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8. Re: Travel tips for first timer to Tanzania & Zanzibar

Thanks Kathy F for the reply you have given me loads to think about!

Melbourne, Australia
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9. Re: Travel tips for first timer to Tanzania & Zanzibar

Hi Karen, Good luck with your plans. We are doing a similar trip but have opted for 10 days on Safari & 9 in Zanzibar. I agree that there are great beaches everywhere but I think there will be something extra special about stone town & those gorgeous beaches. We scuba as well so it will just add to the experience. Now about the clothes... Definitely don't worry too much however- you may need some new "quick drying'" items such as those zip off crag hoppers from mountain warehouse in UK (Sale on at the moment & amazing price compared to what we pay in Oz) they are also impregnated with insect repellent- very cool. They have other stuff on sale also that may work for you. Ive got a few new grey tshirts in a viscose & pulled a coral viscose patterned scarf from my wardrobe for the dust & a bit of colour. I just wear sketcher go walks (also new) Everything I am buying is quick dry & cheap including my underwear! There is a great packing guide on About africa travel "What to pack for a safari" But I get that a girls needs a few new things for her trip of a lifetime! Have fun.

Wellington, New...
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10. Re: Travel tips for first timer to Tanzania & Zanzibar

Karen, I'm also trying to sort a safari for about 11-14 days and then 10ish days relaxing on zanzibar. Sone of the best in what I think is your price range (NZD$2250) is the Intrepid Road To Zanzibar. It leaves from Nairobi and is 14 days down to and including zanzibar. Google it, maybe the sort of thing you're looking for. It has multiple game drives and other things as well. https:/…road-zanzibar-71746