Back from Tanzania

Oct 3rd, 2006, 12:11 PM
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Back from Tanzania

Back from a 23 day self-drive visit to Tanzania. Visited Katavi, Ruaha, Selous, Mikindani, Kilwa and Arusha National Parks.

Many pictures and brief descriptions geared towards the independent travellers (perhaps useful to the rest) can be found at

yaser is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 01:07 PM
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Hi Yaser,
Karibu nyumbani. This looks extremely interesting. I’ll have a closer look later.
Nyamera is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 03:00 PM
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Thanks, great photos.
thit_cho is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 03:51 PM
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You drove it all yourself? That's wonderful. Katavi--As I scrolled through the ever enlarging hippo photos I felt like I was floating toward them on the water. Ruaha--Nice job spotting the owl. Some excellent kudu shots. I liked the warthogs who thought they were buffalo. Selous--Such vibrant green. Croc mouth was a favorite. Many great birds. Ruins--an education for me. Looks like you had good weather. Arusha--really liked the flamingos.

Thanks for sharing.
atravelynn is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 04:51 PM
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Really cool! I'm sure this will be helpful to many. Thank you for posting.
Leely is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 07:05 PM
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What an awesome trip. Your pictures are great. Of particular interest are your photos of Kilwa ruins - the architecture looks to be a unusual mix of Moorish, Arabian and Gothic styles which doesn't add up for that area unless built over a long period of time by different groups. How old are the ruins and who built them?
Thanks for posting;
cybor is offline  
Oct 4th, 2006, 04:02 AM
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Thanks for the kind words (the credit goes also to my wife for the pictures).
You can see pictures and some info from other Africa trips on my site. They cover parts of Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe Tanzania and Mozambique.
yaser is offline  
Oct 4th, 2006, 04:27 AM
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I overlooked providing more info on Kilwa. Its most recent history (of these ruins ranges from the 10th century to the 19th). It became prominant due to controlling trade routes to the interior (primarily to what is now Zimbabwe and Mozambique), began with gold and ivory trade and involved slave trade in the 19th century (when it completely declined as Germany colonized Tanzania).

Kilwa was a mix of Indians, Arabs and Africans. Was apparently incredibly developed and at peak even at the time of the visit of Ibn Batuta (1307-1377, one of the early great explorers). Was occupied by Portugal for a century around the 16th century but taken back by the Omani's and had cycles of rise and fall since.

The ruins are quite impressive (in the mold of Middle-east and European ruins),
except they are subject to tough climate (the stone structures are of coral stones, so they appear to wear faster). Most interesting were the villagers who lived among the ruins, with their small plots of farmed land, chickens and goats. The island appeared as it would have been 100 years ago, but not as developed as it would have been 200 or 700 years ago!
yaser is offline  
Oct 4th, 2006, 05:41 AM
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What an exciting way to see Africa! I can't believe the hippo pools - so many! Thanks for posting.
sundowner is offline  
Oct 4th, 2006, 08:18 AM
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Beautiful pictures. So many hippos at Katavi. The picture where they're under the branches looks like a cosy place for a happy hippo family, or at least it would if it wasn't for the very visible scars on one of the hippos. If the buffaloes in Ruaha had been staring at the warthogs I would have suspected that warthogs sometimes hunt. Mbega is in my plans if I ever get to Selous, but it's a bit worrying that you didn't see any predators there. I liked the palm tree (borassus?) in the water and it makes the elephant next to it look quite small. The Kilwa Kisiwani ruins look impressive indeed.
The self-driving makes me really jealous. How much was the cost pppd? Did the bandas have bathrooms?
Nyamera is offline  
Oct 4th, 2006, 08:44 AM
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To Nyamera,

No predators in Selous was just bad luck, we saw plenty of prey. The park is quite diverse, the very north area is very densely wooded, so you can't see much, then there are some wonderful plains that would have been perfect for spotting Cheetahs, but found nothing. The area around the Rufiji is dominated by lakes and sparse beautiful trees, and here it is a matter of luck with the predators since there was plenty of water.

The bandas at the entrance of Katavi had bathrooms and showers in the room for 15000Shilling/person ($11), Ruaha in-park bandas had the showers and bath shared outside the room $20/person (but compare it to $30 for camping with nothing!),
Selous-Mbega was $10/person camping.

Surprisingly, our per-day cost was under $100/person including scuba diving and all (we were 4 for 2 weeks and 2 for 1 week).

For self-drive, Ruaha has good tracks (2WD!, except that you may need the 4WD for the drive to the park). Selous access is relatively good from the East Mtemere gate, but worse from the North Matambwe gate. Katavi is more challenging to get to, the two tracks we took (into/out of) were off the beaten track (even by the standard of the remote common approaches from Mbeya or Kigoma). Some tracks are not mentioned anywhere other than word of mouth) but had the great advantage that they are not used by buses and trucks (which typically turn tracks painful to ride or drive on). I don't recommend Katavi for your first self-drive, but if you have bush experience then it's quite an experience.

The animals are quite shy in Katavi and Selous (they will approach you if you are still and vanish as soon as they get wind of you if you happened to be in motion).
yaser is offline  
Oct 4th, 2006, 08:54 AM
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Great photos! Thanks so much for sharing.
Patty is online now  
Oct 4th, 2006, 09:19 AM
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Thanks Yaser! My plans are very “remote”, but I like to know everything.
Nyamera is offline  
Oct 4th, 2006, 06:39 PM
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This is fascinating. Thanks for the posting.
bat is offline  

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