First Time to Africa

Old Sep 20th, 2007, 11:27 AM
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First Time to Africa

Hi everyone! I'm the editor of the South Africa book, as well as our new Safari guide which will be out in 2008. I'm traveling to Tanzania on Sept 29 for a week. This is my first time to Africa and I'm really looking forward seeing the places we're including in the new book. I'm really looking forward to exploring Dar Es Salaam and Zanzibar, though I know the safaris will be the highlight. I've included my itinerary in the hopes that you can give me some tips on must dos and be awares while I'm over there. I look forward to hearing from you and reporting back on my trip.

Sept 30: The Souk in Dar (b&b)

Oct 1: Selous Safari Camp

Oct 2-3: Jongomero in Ruaha

Oct 4-5: Ras Nungwi on Zanzibar

Oct 6: Overnight at Beyt Al Chai in Stone Town

Oct 7: Fly to Dar for connection to the states

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Old Sep 20th, 2007, 11:33 AM
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We DEFINITELY expect a trip report from you!!!
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Old Sep 20th, 2007, 11:46 AM
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I'd think Fodor's would be a bit more generous with Selous. Only 1/day? You'll barely arrive and be out of there next day.

As to DAR, depending on when you arrive... most flights get in late afternoon or night, you might not have time to explore.

While in Stone Town, just remember that this is a Muslim community, so no shorts or abbreviated tops. Depending on when you arrive, you can walk about on your own, but do get a map and it's all narrow winding streets with not a street sign to be found. Or arrange thru the hotel for a guided tour. Beit al Chai is a charming small hotel right across from the Serena Inn.

Second Lynda - a trip report on return, please. Happy travels.
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Old Sep 20th, 2007, 12:02 PM
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Thanks for the tips Sandi. We land in Dar around 4 pm, so we won't have a ton of time, but I do hope to see a bit of the Slipway market. Have you ever been there? We're leaving Dar at 8 am the next day, so I hope that means that we'll be able to get in the eveing drive at Selous. I wish I could be there longer, but since I only have a week, I've got to keep moving.
Your thoughts on Stone Town were dully noted. I'm really looking forward to exploring a bit. I think we'll be there by lunch time, so that should give us time to explore, right? I'll def check with the hotel about tours.



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Old Sep 20th, 2007, 12:11 PM
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It's been a long time since I was there, but I'd swap Ruaha for the Selous any day of the week. Keep moving if you have to, but if you can, take one of those "days" from Ruaha and give it to Selous.
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Old Sep 20th, 2007, 12:49 PM
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I've used Ocean Tours Zanzibar three times and think highly of them. Their offices are right on the square where you're staying, so you may want to contact them in advance and set up a tour, "meet and greet", etc. Our guide has always been Masoud, a charming and knowledgeable young man. My contact is Nicole Engesser: [email protected]

My sister was sick when we arrived in Zanzibar this year and Nicole personally took us to the doctor at the hospital to get medical care.
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Old Sep 20th, 2007, 01:34 PM
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Thanks ShayTay. I'll look into into.
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Old Sep 20th, 2007, 01:48 PM
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I didn't do any guided tour while in Stone Town and I regret it because, as Sandi notes, those are some winding, narrow little streets with lots of people wanting to get you something/take you somewhere/sell you something, etc. It's wonderful but intense, and as a history buff I would have appreciated a guide.

I am very, very jealous. You're the editor for So. Africa and yet you get to got on a Southern Circuit safari? Who says publishing doesn't pay?
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 06:02 AM
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I'm also in the process of editing and putting together our new Safari guide, which covers Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Vic Falls.
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 07:56 AM
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Alexis, Sandi is so right about Stonetown - it is much better with a guide. We had a wonderful guide named Mussa who has just started his own company, if you would like another name to add to your list, he can be reached at:

Mussa Shaaban
[email protected]

He is a wonderful guide, and a wonderful person as well!

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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 09:29 AM
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Dear Alexis: You should have plenty of time to shop at the Slipway - although there are only a few stores. Last year when we visited they had a good bookstore and a small but quite adequate grocery store. You should be able to time dinner so that you can eat outside & watch the sunset over the bay.

When we went to Selous Safari Camp last year in July they immediately took us for a boat safari which was great. You may want to consider doing this since in Ruaha there are, of course, no boat safaris.

Have a great trip. Bill.
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 10:38 AM
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Thanks Bill. A boat safari sounds awesome. I'm definetly going to try to schedule that. As for the Slipway, do you know if there are places to buy/see Tinga Tinga paintings? Also, what place would you suggest for dinner?

And thanks to you too Lynda. I'll take Mussa's name along with me. As well as ShayTay's recommendation for Masoud.

You guys have all been great. I really appreciate the help.

I'm packing this weekend and even though I've read all the packing threads and done research for the book, I'm sure I'll still have questions and would love your advice on that and anything else.
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 11:01 AM
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Please post photos upon your return. Safari njema!
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 11:17 AM
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Dear Alexis: I don't recall seeing paintings at The Slipway but frankly my memory may be faulty - we did seem them in Stonetown. We only stayed in Dar for 1 day & we ate at the Slipway at the restaurant right on the bay (between the rooms and the water). The food wasn't particularly memorable but the view was great.

We didn't actually book the boat safari - it was organized already. If you like small planes (we flew on Coastal Airlines in Cessna Caravans) you will enjoy the flights - if the plane is full you may get a chance to sit in the co-pilot's seat as I did on the Selous-Ruaha leg - which is a truly memorable experience since the landing strips are all unpaved - but don't worry these bush pilots seem to be highly skilled.

Bill.
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 05:39 PM
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hi AlexisK & Karibu! Welcome to Africa

Boat "game-drive"
i agree with bill - it's a must!
(well, in how many parks in East Africa can you go on a wildlife-sighting boat-trip ? )

Tinga Tinga
they're all over the place in the old city, waterfront, market etc' you can actually watch (& buy) while they are being painted...

a guide in Stone town?
i have a different opinion: i like to stroll along alone
especially if you want to take pictures, better be alone in the allies, sitting in a corner of a small square, joining some kids playing...
as long as you have basic orientation (North / West etc') you can never get lost in the allies; no matter matter how winding they are you'll finally find your way to the waterfront; and no i don't want to use a map...

Safari njema

aby
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Old Sep 22nd, 2007, 06:58 PM
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Hi AlexisK

you write: "I'm also in the process of editing and putting together our new Safari guide..."
I have a number of ideas that may take a safari guide-book somewhat "out of the box", it may be in the form of special "frames" or the sort
So many 'things' (i'm not talking about simply bits of data) are extremely interesting to safari-goers, once exposed to them, since the "classic" guides don't even touch

aby
(i've been lecturing and guiding safaris for over 25 years, so i have some feedbacks from a few people)
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 08:13 AM
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I'm smack in the middle of the book and welcome all thoughts and ideas. You can certainly post your ideas here or send them to [email protected]. Make sure you put "Africa" in the subject line.
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 08:14 AM
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i will be sure to post a travel report and include pictures. Thanks for the support and interest.
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 08:16 AM
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Thanks for the flying advice Bill.
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 08:17 AM
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Thanks to you too Aby.
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