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Mafia Islands

Places You Must Visit in Tanzania

Places You Must Visit in Tanzania

Places You Must Visit in Tanzania Travel Planning & Tips, Tanzania, Ngorongoro Crater, Mount Kilimanjaro, Great Migration, Serengeti

morkel wb1 Places You Must Visit in Tanzania

Places You Must Visit in Tanzania a country with the most polite and hospitable people in Africa, where the locals will not shy away from apologizing or making all their requests in the most courteous of manner.
Being the largest of the East African countries, Tanzania has a large share of attractions ranging from lakes, mountains, islands and numerous game parks and reserves. For this reason, we have narrowed the attractions to those five that you cannot afford to miss on your Tanzanian visit. These are the five places that will make your travel worthwhile.
5. Mafia Island

When you are looking to get away from the hustle and stress of this hectic lifestyle, then Mafia Island is just what the doctor ordered. As if stuck in a time warp, this unexplored gem takes you back into time with the lack of tarmac roads, few hotels and lack of ATM machines. But despite that, the island will blow you away with the white sandy beaches that go on for miles and miles, the clear shimmering aquamarine waters and the peace and quiet.

Boasting an incredible barrier reef teeming with marine life, you have a chance to scuba dive and snorkel in what is probably one of the best scuba diving spots in the world. You could even catch a glimpse of a whale shark or a humpback whale which are found around the island waters.

The island is also rich in history with 15th Century ruins at Ras Kisimani. You would not want to miss the spectacular and romantic sunrise and sunset over the island. This island offers the perfect ‘Cast-away’ experience.

4. Ngorongoro Crater

A candidate for the new seven wonders of the world, this massive crater holds it own in that category. Being the world’s largest unbroken caldera, Ngorongoro is home to over 25,000 animals. It is considered one of the best game viewing spots in the world with a chance to see the big five, zebras and wildebeests. The crater holds almost every individual species of wildlife in East Africa including the extremely rare and critically endangered Black Rhino.

3. Mount Kilimanjaro

This magnificent wonder of creation which has been nicknamed ‘The Roof of Africa’, really is a sight to behold. Standing at 5,895 metres above sea level, Mt. Kilimanjaro is not only the tallest mountain in Africa, it is also the tallest free standing mountain in the world. Rising from the cultivated lands at the bottom through forests and alpine vegetation to a snow capped tip, this mountain is alluring to the adventure seeking ones.

While on the trek or the descent, you get a chance to enjoy the varied and unique vegetation and wildlife including the elephants and buffaloes. So whether its a spiritual journey or an adventure, this hulk of a mountain is exactly what you are looking for. The ultimate climbing experience.

2. Zanzibar Island

Commonly known as the ‘Spice Island’, Zanzibar is an island associated with mystery and romance.The fragrant scents of cloves, cardamom, nutmeg and vanilla hung in the warm tropical air.

A walk through ‘Stone Town’ is similar to going back in time with narrow winding streets, bazaars, mosques, fortresses and a Persian style public bathhouse. The ruins of palaces and ancient mosques attest to the rich history of the Island.

Those looking for romance are in for a treat with the presence of long, white, unspoilt sandy beaches flanked by lush coastal vegetation. There are numerous honeymoon and romantic packages in the many hotels and resorts that ensure that each day is happier than the last. Scuba diving spots abound and the Pemba Channel is reputed to have some of the best game fishing anywhere in the world.

From getting views of spectacular views of the sunrise and sunset, to dipping your feet into the warm ocean waters wrapped in the arms of the one you love, Zanzibar Island really feels like it is cupid’s playground.

1. The Serengeti National Park

This park is the ultimate safari experience and is celebrated the world over. Not only is it one of the largest parks in the world, it also hosts the greatest animal migratory spectacle in the planet!

This is where over 90,000 visitors flock to catch a glimpse of the millions of ungulates as they make their way through plains, dry land and even crocodile infested rivers. Covering 1.5 million hectares, the park is teeming with all kinds of wildlife, from the big five to cheetahs, giraffes, hyenas, wild dogs…. the list is inexhaustible.

Not to be left behind are the over 500 species of bird life, very much a birdwatcher’s paradise. Enjoy panoramic views of the vast Serengeti by taking a ride in the hot air balloons. Indulge yourself in the 5 star amenities and services in the lodges and resorts that have been set up in the park. Do not miss a chance to visit this mother of all national parks.

Malindi Kenya Little Italy

Malindi Kenya Little Italy

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Malindi Kenya Little Italy

Malindi is a small town located in coastal Kenya. It acquired the name ‘Little Italy’ because of the growing Italian population in the area, which is more than 3,000 at present. It is also estimated that Italians own more than 2,500 properties there.

Three decades ago, the scene was not the same. The first batch of Italian tourists flew into the scenic coastal town in 1978 to enjoy the beautiful white sand beaches. The number of flights has been increasing ever since.

Smooth cultural integration between the locals and tourists has been a major factor facilitating the transaction. Locals in Malindi have grown fond of the Italians to an extent that their relationship crosses commercial boundaries.

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Malindi Kenya

You’ll definitely be forgiven for mistaking that you’re in Rome when in Malindi. The billboards are filled with Italian advertisements. Interestingly, locals from all walks of life in the quiet town are eloquent in the language as well.

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Malindi. The billboards

East Africa affordable Safaris

East Africa affordable Safaris

Serengeti National Park East Africa affordable Safaris

Top 10 affordable safaris in East Africa

Affordable is a relative term when it comes to African safaris but here are 10 – across Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Kenya – that offer great game-viewing without the super-high price tag.

These safari options do not include flights to the region, but rather suggest a range of trips that are possible once you get to east Africa. Most start from the Kenyan capital Nairobi but also from Kampala in Uganda, Kigali in Rwanda and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

Operators in the region generally quote prices in US dollars, although some will accept other currencies. Many do not list details and prices of all possible itineraries on their websites but the options below have been carefully selected to maximise experience and minimise cost. Prices quoted are generally the lowest that the operator offers for that particular trip but they – and the itineraries – have been confirmed with each operator directly.

Three days super budget safari in the Maasai Mara, Kenya

With park fees, transport and accommodation, Maasai Mara safaris can quickly add up to US $350 a day. Many of the budget options are very rough and ready, but this safari sacrifices some comfort – getting there means up to five hours on the road from Nairobi in a safari-style van as opposed to a 40-minute flight.

But you still get nearly two full days in the reserve and the chance to observe wildlife including lions, elephants, cheetah, wildebeest, antelope and many other species. During the great migration (expected between July and October this year) wildebeest herds cross from the Serengeti into the Mara and make several high-risk river crossings.

The simple camp with platform tents is near one of the gates to the Mara, the food – such as sausage and beans – is no-nonsense but included in the price and plentiful, and Kenya’s famous Tusker beer can be purchased separately. Add on a night’s stay at a guesthouse in Nakuru town and a game drive in the beautiful Lake Nakuru national park, famous for its flamingos but where many other animals can be seen, for an extra $130.

Track gorillas in Uganda

Normally it’s painfully expensive to go on a gorilla safari due to the high cost of permits (usually $1,500) but during the low season (April-May and November), the Ugandan Wildlife Authority discounts the price and a local tour company has capitalised on this to offer a three-day gorilla tracking safari with a permit for a third of the usual price.

Guests stay at a lodge – owned and recently renovated by Matoke Tours – overlooking the spectacular Lake Mutanda and the volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains, where they enjoy good quality food and en suite accommodation. With the safari including two travel days, travellers will track through the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest until the mountain gorillas are located, after which the group will spend one hour with the gorillas.

Ten day camping adventure in Kenya’s dramatic north

Get off the beaten track with this 10-day camping safari that takes in a wide range of Kenya’s impressive wildlife and breathtaking landscapes, including Africa’s second highest mountain (Mount Kenya) and the world’s largest desert lake (Turkana).

After travelling overland to the Ol Pejeta conservancy in the foothills of Mount Kenya, the safari stops at the semi-arid Samburu national reserve, which plays host to all three big cats – lion, leopard and cheetah –as well as elephants, buffalo and hippos. Crossing volcanic terrain and the baked earth of the Chalbi desert, travellers spend two nights at Lake Turkana – a world heritage site that featured memorably in the film The Constant Gardener.

Heading south once more, an afternoon camel safari in the foothills of Mount Nyiro is followed by a stop at Lake Baringo, renowned for its birdlife, as well as hippos and crocodiles. Accommodation is basic, in dome tents, and much of the driving is off-tarmac: which means it’s not for the faint-hearted, but this safari takes in some of Kenya’s most unforgettable regions.

Explore the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro crater, Tanzania

A safari in the Serengeti is a bucket-list aspiration for many, which means that most tour packages to this game park push the definition of “affordable”. Nevertheless, the expansive savannahs and woodlands here are home to incredible wildlife spectacles, especially during the famous wildebeest migration, when up to two million animals are on the move (it is expected to take place from July onwards this year).

All of the “big five” are here, acting out their impulses with National Geographic-style theatricality, as safari van passengers stare agog. This four-day camping safari includes multiple game drives and a visit to Ngorongoro crater, the three-million-year-old extinct volcano that herds of tourists descend into to see herds of wildlife on the crater floor.

Track chimpanzees in Rwanda

The mountain gorillas in the Virungas range get all the attention but Rwanda is home to numerous rare primates, most of which can be found in the staggeringly beautiful Nyungwe Forest national park in the south-west of the country.

The forest is best known for its large troops of chimpanzees but is also prime swinging grounds for L’Hoest’s monkeys, Angola colobus, vervet monkeys, and a range of others, along with around 300 bird species. Best of all, the cost for this whole package, which includes a day of tracking chimpanzees through the mountains, a nature walk, and two nights in a comfortable forest lodge with full board, still costs less than a single ($750) gorilla tracking permit up north.

A city safari and luxurious tented camp, Nairobi, Kenya

Many travellers pass through east Africa’s bustling regional hub en route to other destinations but Nairobi national park – just a short drive from the airport – offers wildlife enthusiasts short on time a fast-track safari experience.

Thanks to the Nairobi Tented Camp, which opened in 2011, visitors can now sleep in the park – and tucked into a tree-lined valley, it’s hard to imagine that the capital’s traffic jams lie only a few miles away. The camp replicates a luxury camp deep in the bush, with spacious en suite accommodation in safari tents and evening campfires.

The park’s small area means that wildlife sightings are almost guaranteed: visitors might see zebras, giraffes, lions and leopard on a game drive. It is also an acclaimed rhino sanctuary, home to both black and white rhino. While full-board accommodation is not the cheapest on our list, a two-night excursion into the park can be affordable way to see impressive wildlife if you only can spare time for a short stay in the region or want a brief taste of luxury.

Track wolves in Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains

The rusty-hued Ethiopian wolf is the world’s rarest canid, and more than half of the remaining population of this critically endangered carnivore lives in the rugged, otherworldly landscape of Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains, a prime trekking destination in the south-east of the country.

Visitors hike through the stark Afro-alpine moorland of the Sanetti plateau, home to mountain nyala and spotted hyenas as well as wolves, and explore the Harenna cloud forest, where lions and leopards are occasionally seen. As you’ll be getting out of the Landcruiser to track on foot on this three-day tour, it’s best to avoid the rainy season and go between November and February or from May to July.

The drive from Addis Ababa stops at the bird and hippo watching spot, Lake Ziway, before proceeding for lunch in Shashemene, a vibrant market town that is the Rasta capital of Ethiopia.

Murchison Falls wildlife, Rhino tracking and Nile boat cruises, Uganda

Operating out of the Red Chilli Hideaway – a popular backpacker stop-off in Kampala – this safari heads to Murchison Falls national park, the country’s largest.

After a picnic overlooking the falls and a night in basic camp on the banks of the Upper Nile, the safari then takes in a morning game drive in the park’s Nile delta at Lake Albert – where you might see lion, leopard, giraffe and elephant – followed by a boat trip on the river.

The camp is simple and facilities are communal but it is one of the few budget alternatives to Murchison’s luxury getaways. After a second night at the camp, the safari moves on to the Ziwa Rhino sanctuary, where guests learn to track rhinos with one of the rangers. Meals are excluded on this trip but can be purchased at the camp, which also has a fully stocked bar.

From the forests to the shore in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Doors in the island capital of Stone Town still boast brass studs for repelling war elephants – by merchants who sought to protect themselves from “combat” elephants that were historically deployed in India and Persia – but large mammals no longer dwell on the Spice Islands.

What the archipelago does have, however, is astonishing marine life, with dolphins and technicolour sea creatures galore. There’s also a healthy population of endangered red colobus monkeys and giant Aldabra tortoises. This highly affordable four-day tour package zips between land and sea, with snorkelling trips to the magnificent coral reefs of uninhabited Chumbe Island and walks through two forest reserves, one primate-laden and the other home to rare antelopes. There’s also a trip to Prison Island, where land tortoises creep along the beach, and a stop to watch bottlenose and humpback dolphins frolicking in the waves.

Elephant herds with Mount Kilimanjaro views, Kenya

If the idea of a roving herd of nearly 100 elephants appeals to you, then Amboseli national park in southern Kenya is the game park for you. The photo-ready peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, just across the border in Tanzania, looms over this small and manageable Rift valley park, where the roads are reasonable and the herbivore viewing is dramatic.

In addition to the impressive – and highly visible – packs of elephants, Cape buffalo, hippos, and giraffes can also be seen in abundance, although the big cats are less common. This three-day package includes van transport from Nairobi (it’s about a four-hour drive each way), and full-board accommodation in a nice tented camp with a pool, just outside the Kimana Gate, where many animals congregate during the dry season.

Mafia Island No relations to THE MAFIA

Mafia Island No relations to THE MAFIA

Mafia Island No relations to THE MAFIA Mafia Island No relations to THE MAFIA

Mafia Island No relations to THE MAFIA

While Tanzania’s famous Northern circuit national parks, Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Selous Game Reserve and of course Zanzibar, comprising of the islands of Unguja and Pemba, are well known abroad and need little explanation, has the more distant Mafia Island and its smaller neighbors always been a specialty destination for tourists.

Yet, those who ever made their way, by air or by boat, to Mafia Island, have tall tales to tell. Excellent diving grounds along the reefs surrounding the island, rewarding snorkeling trips, endless empty beaches with no beach boy pests bothering the visitors, good fishing and an intact nature rarely found today make up some of the attractions tourists enjoy and come back for.

Ruins of ancient settlements, dating back to the 11th century give an insight into the history of Mafia, which, while at one time part of the Kilwa Sultanate changed hands multiple times among major seafaring powers which ruled the world at one time or another.

Located about a hundred miles south of Dar es Salaam and only a few miles off the mainland almost opposite the Rufiji River delta, is the small archipelago of Mafia one of Tanzania’s best kept secrets. Some 50 kilometres long and at the widest point just 15 kilometres across is the island almost entirely surrounded by a massive barrier reef teeming with marine life and half of the island’s shoreline extends into a marine national park.

While an airstrip allows for daily flights to the mainland and telecommunications allow to stay in touch with the rest of the world is a trip to Mafia also a trip back into time and as such a marvel waiting to be explored.

Auric Air, one of Tanzania’s leading domestic airlines with over 30 scheduled and charter destinations, has now in conjunction with the Ras Mbisi Lodge put a package together to visit Mafia. At just 299 US Dollars, flight from and to Dar es Salaam included, is this offer one of the best values for a two night / three day trip to the island.

Full board with mineral water at meals, afternoon tea served at the pool, coffee making facilities in the room, transfers to and from the airstrip and the free use of kajaks, besides guided nature walks, are all part of the deal which no doubt will be snapped up by local expatriates over the upcoming Idd celebrations which mark the end of Ramadan next weekend.

International tourists keen to discover the small archipelago should request us to put together a package for them to include Mafia in their holiday itinerary.

Africa Safari Adventure Seasons

Africa Safari Adventure Seasons

Tarangire NP May 2014 41 Africa Safari Adventure Seasons
Safaris are available year-round, but seasonal climate changes and other factors can affect game viewing and personal comfort. Today we’ll cover what you need to consider in choosing your ideal time to travel in the East Africa Safari destinations.

The best time for game-viewing is typically during the dry season, which varies from country to country as detailed below. During this season, temperatures are mild, animal populations are concentrated at rivers, pools and other water sources, and there is less vegetation to obstruct your view. However, the rainy season can have special draws as well, such as an influx of migrating birds.

 
Tanzania Safari Adventure Seasons 

 

tanzania mt kilimanjaro Africa Safari Adventure Seasons

Tanzania has two wet seasons each year, short rains that come intermittently in November and December, and long rains that fall roughly from February to May. Generally, the dryer months of June to October are best for wildlife viewing.  Tanzania from early June is warm, sunny days and comfortable nights and ideal game viewing not only in the world-famous Serengeti National Park but throughout the country.

During rainy periods in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which boasts a terrific density of wildlife, animals congregate on the short-grass plains to have their young. At nearby Lake Manyara National Park, bird populations peak during the rainy seasons. You’ll find large numbers of flamingos, storks, herons, cormorants, pelicans and geese, among others.

Kenya Safari Adventure Seasons

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Kenya’s best game-viewing periods are during the dry winter months of May through August and the warmer spring months of September and October.

Tanzania and Kenya share one of nature’s most amazing spectacles, the annual movement of nearly 2 million wildebeest and zebras and other animals across open savannahs in both countries, known as the great Migration .

Seasonal rains and droughts drive the migration, so the timing varies a little every year but there is a general pattern, described below. If you schedule your visit correctly, you’ll be treated to ideal weather and extraordinary wildlife viewing.

Wildebeests and zebras typically spend December to April nursing newborn calves in Tanzania. The slow-moving calves lure lions, cheetahs and hyenas, and the resulting mix of predator and prey offers prime viewing opportunities in Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater.

When the rains end, usually in May, the animals head north in search of food. This is the start of the Great Migration, a steady stream of animals in columns that stretch for miles, heading toward the western and northern Serengeti. June and July are the best months for witnessing the migration in Tanzania.

By August or September, the herds begin to cross into Kenya to graze amid the lush greenery of the Masai Mara National Reserve. Some naturalists claim that the Masai Mara contains the largest concentration of predators along the migratory route. The animals will stay here until October or November. Most safaris visit the area before fall brings another rainy season to the plains and the herds turn south, back to Tanzania.
For more information on the Great Migration, and to book a safari  see https://www.natureboundafrica.com

Uganda Safari Adventure Seasons

Murchison falls boat ride Africa Safari Adventure Seasons

 

Most travelers to Uganda want to trek through the jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to spend time with mountain gorillas. The best times for this are during the dry months of June through early September and late December through February. The rainy seasons are from mid-September to November and from March to May, and gorilla tracking during these times is more difficult. Daytime temperatures in most parts of the country are consistently warm all year, but it can get much cooler in the higher altitudes of Uganda’s mountains, especially at night.

Uganda’s traditional game-viewing preserves, like Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kibale National Park, also are best visited during the dry months noted above. Routes through the parks can become impassable during the rains.

Rwanda Safari Adventure Seasons

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Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda  is another key destination for gorilla encounters. Like Uganda, the best periods to track the primates are June through early September and late December through January, the region’s two dry seasons. The tiny country’s high altitude keeps temperatures relatively low here as well.

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