ABOUT TANZANIA

This huge country is made of a union of 2 sovereign states forming the United Republic of Tanzania (consisting of the Union Government and the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government). The biggest country in East Africa, it is a land of variations and extremes all in one huge shell indeed massive game parks (e.g. Serengeti and Selous) and an “amphitheater” (Ngorongoro) all rich in wildlife, lakes, plains and savannah, and of course home of Africa’s Rooftop & the custodian of the continent’s sky – Kilimanjaro, the world’s highest free-standing mountain (5895M) with its snow-capped peaks. The sandy beaches at the Zanzibar Island coastline are a must-visit for the yearning visitor in search of the tropical African sun amid waves and waves of ocean water. Deeper south in the country lays the massive Selous Game Reserve cut across by the mighty River Rufiji, an abode of the African Wild dog.
All these, together with the hospitable Tanzanians really make the country a destination of choice for the discerning traveller.

Location

The country is located on the eastern side of Africa, covering an area of over 581,300 sq. Km, and astride the equator with different climatic zones due to variation in altitude.

People and Culture

Swahili is the official language even though trade and commerce is mostly operated in English. The citizens are very friendly and warm to visitors. The northern parks lie on Maasai country, a traditional & cultural leaning nomadic tribe who are spread across to the neighbouring Kenya. The numerous tribes here are joined as one with a friendly motto and a smile.
Please take note that it is prohibited to take a snap-shot of a person without his/her direct consent. Also possession and/or trafficking of drugs are serious and jailable offences in the country.

Travel Requirements

  • Passport, valid for travel 6 months beyond intended visit.
  • Visa is required for most nationalities and can be acquired either in advance or upon landing at the international airport. (For visa exempt countries, please refer to your nearest Tanzanian Embassy)
  • Yellow Fever immunization is also needed for clearance of entry, especially for those travellers from endemic countries.

Economy and Currency

  • Tanzania Shilling is the local currency; abbreviated as TZS
  • US Dollars (must be versions from 2003), Euros, Sterling Pounds and major international credit cards are acceptable for transactions by larger stores, national parks and hotels. Locals prefer to trade in the local currency.
  • All major towns have Banks (open from 08:00 am to 05:00 pm local time, Monday to Friday) and Forex Bureaus.
  • Most ATMS accept Visa Credit Cards
  • For Travellers’ Cheques, there is often a $1 – $2 surcharge as cheque-processing fee and then they are not widely accepted.

ZANZIBAR ISLAND

“Archipelago where time has stood still”

This island is a dream fantasy right out of a romantic novel. Days and nights punctuated with sweet humming palm trees and beautiful sandy beaches.
In Swahili, the local dialect (and Tanzania’s official language) it is known as Unguja. Its rich history dates back to over 2,000 years ago when the original Bantu settlers occupied it. Arabian traders arrived from the 10th Century, later settling around and inter-marrying. Meanwhile trade was going on briskly and peacefully until the arrival of the Portuguese who later claimed this beautiful island and the inland coastlines. With the British coming in later and also trying to lay a claim to this land, the Omani Arabs took full control of it. During this time, ivory and the infamous slave trade thrived and grew to the point of the Sultan of Oman himself relocating from his Persian Gulf Seat to the island. Delicious and nice-smelling Spices from the East Indies were introduced later in the island and formed a thriving farming and trade activity (to date). Slave trade only ended after the British with full support from other European countries declared it illegal and set sea expeditions in search of the slave traders who whenever found, they apprehended and freed the slaves on board ships.

ACCESS

  • By Air: from points of origin to Zanzibar International Airport
  • By Sea (with ferries and boats)

ACTIVITY OPTIONS

BEACHES

The island of spectacular fine white sandy beaches wrapped under azure tropical skies next to ocean waters that look like the turquoise gemstone reflecting the endless African sun during the daytime. The starry night sky lit by stars under a destination that is next to none, Zanzibar is a must-visit for the discerning traveler in search of a quiet and easy holiday.
Swimming here is quite a joy, including water sports that can be arranged upon request at costs.

CITY TOUR (STONE TOWN)

The tour is organized to go around labyrinthine alleyways and mazes surrounded on 3 sides by the sea and bordering the creek to the east. Highly evident around is the historical mix of Arabian, Indian, European and African influence in general architecture e.g. Arabian style houses with courtyards and Indian styled ones with balconies and huge brass/spiked doors, culture, cuisine and attire.
Highlights of places to visit include;

  • Beit El-Ajab (House of Wonders); quite large, elegant and famous, it was built by Sultan Bargash as a ceremonial palace. It was bombed by the British in a series of wars and later re-built to be used as the sultan’s residential palace. It is now The Zanzibar National Museum of History & Culture showcasing the ancient dhow culture and Swahili civilization, and has doors of carved wood that are claimed to be the largest in East Africa.
  • Beit El-Sahel (Palace Museum); the sultan’s, residence till 1964 and now a museum showcasing the Zanzibar sultanate era.
  • Beit El-Amani (Peace Memorial Museum).
  • Old Fort; built around the 1700’s for defence on the site of Portuguese Chapel. It houses the Zanzibar Cultural Centre and offices of the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF). It also has an open-air theatre that hosts music & dance and The Neem Tree Cafe that has a tree of medicinal importance growing in front of it.
  • Anglican Cathedral & Old Slave Market; the 1st Anglican cathedral in East Africa, built on the site of the Old Slave Market (whose present remains are the slave-holding cells below the St. Monica Hostel).
  • St. Joseph Cathedral; designed and built by French Missionaries with an eye-catching Spire that can be seen as you are about to dock at the harbour.
  • Old Mosques (Msikiti Wa Balnara), Aga Khan Mosque and the impressive Ijumaa Mosque.
  • Hamamni Persian Baths; built in the 19th Century and though non-functional, they are worth paying a visit.
  • Livingstone House; now housing the Zanzibar Tourist Corporation Offices.
  • Old Dispensary; now housing boutiques and shops.
  • Ancient Ruins; these are-Mbweni, Maruhubi Palace, Mtoni Palace and Kidichi Persian Baths.

SPICE TOUR

The spice tours are organized for tourists who love agriculture. A half-day would take one to plantations to learn more on the spice farming and see how they look like as they grow, even a chance to taste them fresh e.g. cloves, vanilla, cinnamon, black pepper, lemongrass and nutmeg. Fruits and herbs to see will include breadfruit, jackfruit and lemongrass among others.

DOLPHINE TOUR

The most popular spot for this Kizimkazi Village on the south coast, where dolphins abound. The best time to visit is early in the morning when is still cool because as the sun gets hotter by the day, the dolphins prefer swimming deeper into the waters. Also as the day progresses too much activity from local fishermen scares them away. Sighting is not usually 100% guaranteed. While here, the 12th century mosque is also worth visiting for some historical and cultural experience. On the way back to your hotel, you can have a stop-over with guided nature walks at Jozani Forest, the last abode of the highly endangered red colobus monkey.

SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

Covering an area of over 14,760 sq. km, the Serengeti is the country’s most popular and famous park. “Serengeti” is a Maasai word meaning “endless plain”, very apt, as the park consists of flat, treeless plains stretching as far as the eye can see, one of the highest concentration game sites in Africa. However, one of the spectacular and unique events of the year is the Serengeti annual migration, which takes place heading north to south, October November and back south to north between the months of April and June. This has been described by many as one of the greatest wonders of the world. There is no fixed migration timetable; the animals migrate according to rainfall patterns.

TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK


Covering an area of approximately 2,600 sq km. This park has a particularly high concentration of wildlife, mainly congregating along the Tarangire River. The park is also an ornithologist’s paradise with more than 300 species of birds, including the largest bird in the world, the ostrich and the heaviest bird that can fly, the Kori Bustard.

NGORONGORO CRATER

The Conservation area is a fine blend of landscapes, people, wildlife and Africa main archaeological site, lying in the north of country and merging into the Serengeti Game Reserve. The Ngorongoro Crater has been declared a World Heritage Site. It is the largest intact crater in the world, being 610 meters deep, 16 km across and covering an area of 540 sq. km. And is teaming with wildlife, with virtually all the big game species found here, including, Zebra, Wildebeest, Black Rhino, Antelope, Elephants, Giraffe, Buffalo, Lion, Cheetah, and Leopard.

LAKE MANYARA

The alkaline soda of Lake Manyara is home to an incredible array of bird life that thrives on its brackish waters. Pink Flamingo stoop and graze by the thousands. Yellow-billed storks swoop and corkscrew on thermal winds rising up from the escarpment, and herons flap their wings against the sun-drenched sky. Lake Manyara’s famous tree-climbing lions are another reason to pay this park a visit. The only kind of their species in the world, they make the ancient mahogany and elegant acacias their home during the rainy season.

NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA

NGORONGORO SERENA SAFARI LODGE

Regularly voted one of the best hotels in the world, this unique lodge in Tanzania clings to the rim of the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater, the largest and most perfect volcanic crater on Earth. Long and low, the lodge is built from local river stone and camouflaged with indigenous vines. Designed to blend completely into the landscape, it is entirely invisible from the floor of the Crater 600 metres below.

NGORONGORO SOPA LODGE

Facing the always magnificent sunsets to the west, and located at the highest point on Ngorongoro crater’s entire rim, Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge stands well over half a kilometer above the crater floor and offers unparalleled views across this enormous caldera. Themed around traditionally circular African houses with conical roofs, and decorated with examples of Africa’s rich tapestry of artistic traditions by way of rich woodcarvings and sculptures, the lodge harmonizes perfectly with its dramatic surroundings.
But the drama does not just stop with the great outdoors: it also flows through the split level interiors of the main building which all offer an unsurpassed generosity of space while somehow managing to combine an almost magically welcoming ambience of both warmth and coziness.

SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

SERENGETI SERENA SAFARI LODGE

Set high on the saddle of a tree-clad ridge, commanding panoramic views across the Serengeti, this lodge is the ultimate fusion of traditional African architecture and world-class style. Winner of numerous awards from the world travel press, it is perhaps the finest venue the Serengeti has to offer.

SERENGETI SOPA LODGE

Located on the edge of the escarpment overlooking the plains of the south-western Serengeti National Park, home to thousands of wild and rare animals, Serengeti Sopa Lodge lies within an area of out-standing natural beauty. An oasis of cool relaxation from the equatorial sun. The lodge allows its guests to experience magnificent sights and enjoy interaction with the land and animals difficult to find elsewhere, whilst at the same time enjoying the highest level of cuisine and hospitality.

Lake manyara national park

LAKE MANYARA SERENA SAFARI LODGE

Standing high on the edge of a towering terracotta escarpment with panoramic views over the glittering alkaline waters of Lake Manyara, Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge offers a unique blend of safari opportunities, peace and tranquillity, wildlife discovery, and ornithological richness. The unprecedented range of high-adventure sports, meanwhile, include mountain biking, canoeing and forest walks, while cultural choices include tours of the neighbouring villages and dance displays by the local Iraqw and sukuma people.

SELOUS GAME RESERVE

SELOUS SERENA CAMP

Set amidst dense indigenous forests, Selous Serena Camp is the ultimate wilderness retreat. With 360-degree views over the surrounding bush, the twelve widely spaced tents are presented in time-honoured safari style, with natural thatch roofs, elegant Victorian-styled bathrooms and private viewing docks. Luxuriously presented, each tent features an engaging mix of canvas walls, crystal chandeliers, opulent rugs and elegant rosewood furniture.

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