TANZANIA - the voyage
I hope your week is going well.
I'm back with a brand new blogpost, this time about my travel to Tanzania ! Yey !
Regardless of the personal issues we had during the voyage, we still made the most of it.
16 days in total, 14 nights ( as the flights are quite long).
What a trip ! It was fantastic and I'd like to separate the two, Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania since they are quite different from one another, but definitely worth visiting both.
We went to Zanzibar in mid-July, a lovely weather, although quite rainy at times. We stayed at Zanzibar Star Resort - affordable hotel, clean and the staff is very helpful. I chose to take one that was less expensive as I went on a budget, wanting to stay more and just experience the country, the island..
Breakfast was included and depending what you want from your vacation, I'd recommend going to eat in the numerous places on the beach and in the little village of Nungwi ( it's where we stayed in Zanzibar). Nungwi is probably the most beautiful spot in Zanzibar; I did visit some other beaches, but to be honest, Nungwi beach was the best. It has that fantastic turquoise water, nice sand... very lovely. What I didn't like about the beach is the constant harassement from the local vendors trying to sell you everything from day trips to souvenirs, massages, etc. There are many of them and when they see that you are new to the picture, they will definitely try and try to persuade you to buy something.
The umbrella and sun-beds are rather pricy as well, so expect to pay around 9$ for two sunbeds and an umbrella. Otherwise, you can also sit directly on the sand, but it is tricky because if the sun is up and strong, you risk to burn, regardless of the amount of sunscreen you have on.
As far as eating spots go, we mainly went to a cute place on the beach ( I especially recommend it for sunsets), called Mangi's Beach Bar Restaurant. Fair prices, nice food. We went often there :). But we ate also at Baraka Beach restaurant which has great grilled seafood and meat ( sorry, meat eater here) and The Corner ( also very affordable and good food). The one that I liked the least was Mama Africa.
We rented a car for 3 days that was quite affordable and was brought to us at the hotel, something that was very nice. Also, we payed when we had it. The site is called Zanzibar Car Hire, but I suggest writing to them on WhatsApp. On the other hand, don't expect a receipt as you won't get one ...
Driving in Zanzibar is veryyy tricky from the police that constantly stops you and insists giving them money under false pretence to the horrible roads and the hectic traffic ( everybody drives like crazy there, expect bikes, scooters, people and other cars, all in one, each on his own vibe).
Since we had the car, we did visit a few places like Jozani Forest and the butterfly farm next to it. We really liked it ! Very nice spot and the guide was amazing. Totally recommend!
As far as Stone Town goes, we only stopped for like an hour, just in the city center, but we immediately felt that it's not for us. We couldn't get out of there fast enough lol. Too many people, each and every one of them trying to get money out of you by selling you something or proposing services like car parking etc, and obviously for enormous fees.. We were also searching for an exchange place that a guy accompanied us to it, and obviously asked for money in return just for that simple service. I feel that the people should be thought better not to be so grabby and desperate with tourists because this will kill any wish from people to go there or to return.
You can of course also book a trip to Stone Town via your guide or whatever and maybe it will be less frustrating, but knowing the prices for this trip, for me personally, it's not worth it.
Speaking of booked trips, we had booked two different trips to nearby islands.
One we unfortunately booked via our Corendon guide, that charged us double the price btw, so do go and book with the locals directly.
The trip was for one day - we visited Nakupenda Island, also known as the island that disappears in high tide. Beautiful place, even if it is packed with tourists. We had fruits on the beach, very lovely.
We had some snorkelling in our program, somewhere in the Menai Bay Conservation area. I didn't even go in because there wasn't much to see. Ok, it's also because I traveled to places where indeed, the snorkelling was fantastic :). But nice place nevertheless, looks a little bit like Thailand.
And then we had lunch on the beach nearby, part of Kwale Island. Lovely place I might add and the lunch was fantastic ! There is even an extremely old baobab tree there to see.
The other trip that we did, was actually also a snorkelling one near Tumbatu Island. As I was very sick that day, yet again, I couldn't go into the water, but apparently I haven't missed much :). The boat ride was nice though.
There is also Memba Island that is quite popular.
And coming to the most beautiful point of our travel, we did a fantastic safari in mainland Tanzania that I absolutely adored ! Yes, it was extremely pricy if you think about it, 600$ per person for only 2 days, 1 night, is indeed a big budget, but considering that I did such a fantastic job in finding an affordable hotel in Zanzibar with fair ticket prices, for me it was totally worth it ! We did do a safari in Namibia, heck, there you have plenty of animals on the street, but yet again, the whole corrupt police/bad roads situation intervenes so having landed directly on an airstrip 10 min from our lodge and also at the gate of Selous Park.
We booked via Hola Africa, they were very responsive and professional. In the 600$ you had included the return flight from Zanzibar, the accomodation with breakfast, lunch and dinner ( the lunch would be served in the park), the park entry including the guide and the transportation, a boat ride the next day.
Very very nice and our guide was freaking fantastic, a genuine environmental lover with lots of knowledge in the field. We saw all there was to see from the animals in the park.. from giraffes to lions and wildebeests, to hippos and monkeys . In other words, heaven for me ! It was quite different from Namibia.. it was a completely different experience and the scenery also so stunning !
I don't regret spending that much money in two days because we got to see a lot and it was an amazing experience xo
I know it's beginning to be a long post, but I really wanted to add some personal tips here that maybe it would help you:
- I'd change in Tanzanian dollars currency to use while over there, either at the airport or Stone Town as the rate was better
- read reviews online before going to restaurants as sometimes the food will not be so easy to digest
- don't forget bug spray ! the mosquitos and other insects are very aggressive
- when going to Jozani forest, don't wear long wide pants and use the bug spray ( the ants there are literal killers). Also have sneakers rather than tongs or sandals.
- if you decide to visit mainland Tanzania or are in mainland and planing to go to Zanzibar, book in advance your flight tickets. It will make you maybe save some money
- avoid renting a car, especially in mainland, especially if you're not a good driver and if you don't want to spend all your vacation arguing with the police. Maybe plan ahead your trip and know that there are flights available around the country, plus it will be an amazing experience as the planes are small :)
- if you have dollars with you, be sure to have lots of 1$ bills, you will need them
- if you're going for a more adventure, take malaria tablets and also have your yellow fever shot available
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