Back from Tanzania

Jul 12th, 2005, 11:01 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 53
Back from Tanzania

We're just back from Tanzania and recovering from jetlag after a twenty hour flight across 12 time zones with a two hour layover in Amsterdam. I booked flights with the least amount of layover possible. We booked directly through in Arusha and couldn't be happier with their service. We had absolutely no problems with luggage, meetings, hotels, visas, passports, medical records, or anything else.

We arrived in Arusha at 8:30 at night very tired. It's about a fifty minute drive into the city from the airport along a two lane paved road. When the driver abruptly turned off onto an extremely narrow, very bumpy "street" to our hotel, my immediate thought was, "What have I gotten us into this time?" As it was, the hotel was clean and comfortable with a locked and guarded gate.

While I had included in our itinerary a rest day in Arusha, both my husband and I felt fine the next morning and requested that we start our safari immediately. "Hakuna matata," (no problem)the agent said, made the necessary arrangements, and we were off the Tarangire National Park.

Highlights of our trip included seeing a newborn giraffe take its first steps, watching a seven-foot spitting cobra attack a male lion, and experiencing the entire dinner of a brother and sister cheetah complete with the vultures leaping in after the cats had left and the hyena snatching the remains of the carcass.

If I had it to do again, I'd fly from Arusha to Serengiti and drive back through Olduvai Gorge to Ngorogoro Crater. The road is back jarring and a full day drive which would free a day for a stop over in Zanzabar on the way home.

We carried $200 in ones for tips, but only spent $100. I bought some jungle junk, as my husband calls sovenirs, for gifts and was disappointed that they were US priced and anything I probably could have purchased in the US. Since the purpose of our trip was animal viewing, we were very pleased and I didn't miss shopping a bit since I hate shopping.

Our trip was wonderful. We didn't spend any time in cities which would have greatly depressed me with their poverty and dirt. We carried cash and didn't worry about it. Our luggage arrived with us. We took hundreds of pictures, downloaded them onto our laptop at night, and recharged the digital cameras batteries. OH, HINT! take a universal adaptor. Our 220 up and down worked poorly in two hotels, but the manager had a universal which we plugged in.

It was a wonderful trip. Everything worked smoothly. Next stop; the Galapagos Islands.
suoma is offline  
Jul 12th, 2005, 11:27 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
Welcome home, Suoma.

The baby giraffe must have been incredible!

A couple of questions:
What was your itinerary?
Did you like your guide? If so, what was his name?

Hey, thanks for checking back in. And have a wonderful time in the Galapagos.
Leely is offline  
Jul 13th, 2005, 05:05 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 53
Dear Leely,

Since we live on a farm and had to return to take care of my horses and bale the hay, we had only seven days in country. I know many people would not think that was enough, but it was all the time we felt we could spare. Day one was Arusha to Tanangire, then a full day in Tanangire. We drove from Tanangire, with a stopover at Olduvai Gorge, to the Serengiti. There isn't much at Olduvai; it's certainly historically valuable and could be a tourist attraction. We couldn't go into the gorge, and there weren't any taped tours or foor paths to follow. The drive is long and dusty on roads that are washboard - tough on kidneys and lower backs. We did game drives through the Serengiti for two and one half days then drove back the same road to Ngorogoro Crater. After Ngorogoro, we drove to Lake Manyara (which has the cleanest restrooms next to Tarangire) then into Arusha and to the airport.

We stayed at Sopa hotels which were very clean. The English breakfasts with the fresh fruit were fantastic. The dinners with elegantly presented but nothing exceptional.

Our guide was Shaibu Suleman who was both punctual and well educated. He arrived on time and helped with box lunches nad reservations. He had studied the animals and their habits, so when other Toyotas left, he was able to say, "Wait, this will probably happen next." He was also willing to go when we wanted to and wait until we wanted to leave. In the case of the baby giraffe, I wanted to stay until the little tyke had found the milk bag. While others were leaving the cheetahs, he advised that we wait because the vultures and hyena would come next. He also took us to a water crossing to witness the great migration. I told the owner of the travel agency that she should pay him more. She smiled.

Given our time constraints, if I had it to do again, I'd fly from Arusha to Serengiti, drive back through Olduvai to Ngorogoro, eliminate Lake Manyara, and spend a day in Zanzibar or, possible Amsterdam, depending on the cost.

It's certainly another "trip of a lifetime" that we were fortunate enough to participate in.
suoma is offline  
Jul 13th, 2005, 05:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,536
It sounds like you had a fantastic trip. Great guide, too. I'm glad you didn't let your lack of time keep you from the trip. Any Africa is better than none. I would love to see the baby giraffe. Will you be posting your photos where we can see them?
sundowner is offline  
Jul 13th, 2005, 11:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,216
Thanks for sharing and welcome back!
Kavey is offline  

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