Honeymoon Tanzania & Pemba Sept 2005

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Sep 26th, 2005, 06:01 AM
  #1
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Honeymoon Tanzania & Pemba Sept 2005

We just got back from our honeymoon to Tanzania and Pemba today and LOVED IT!!!!

Shortly, I will write a comprehensive trip report to describe the park, accomodations, travel agency etc.

We traveled with Tanzania Serengeti Adventure and everything worked out very well.

I am now also uploading all the photo's!
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Sep 26th, 2005, 08:32 AM
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Marynus -

Please write your trip report soon! We leave on Friday for Kenya/Tanzania & Pemba (Fundu Lagoon) and am interested to hear everything!!
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Sep 26th, 2005, 08:48 AM
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Welcome back! I can't wait to hear all about it, and I'm thrilled that you LOVED it.
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Sep 26th, 2005, 09:46 AM
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bat
 
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Congrats on your nuptials, welcome back, and looking forward to your report.
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Sep 27th, 2005, 11:12 AM
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First, I would like to thank everybody who helped us to plan our honeymoon and those helping me to choose the camera!!!
The holiday was just perfect and we enjoyed ourselves every minute. There are so many things you just cannot explain in words or pictures, like standing in the car looking at nature, the different smells, the fun you have with your wife / friends / guide, waking up at Pemba and having the beautiful view, the wonderful food at Fundu Lagoon, the noises of the Hippos at the Migration Camp etc, etc, etc).

I will write the report per area and resort in order to keep it a bit tidy, but first some general remarks.

Before we went on holiday, we did not have a good camera (a 3.2 megapixel samsung without optical zoom). Buying the Panasonic FZ-5 (12x optical zoom) was the best thing we did to prepare for the safari!!! You really need the optical zoom to be able to capture the animals you see. Don't let the salesmen fool you into thinking that digital zoom will suffice.

Some of the pictures on Pemba were taken with the older camera, because I was afraid to take my new camera in the boat and to the beach.

Normally I do not take a lot of pictures, but on safari it is like hunting. You want to keep a memory of every animal you see. And because of the dozens and dozens of different animals you will see, you will probably be taking a lot of pictures. Every night we went through the pictures we had taken and deleted all the ones we did not want to keep. By working like this, we kept the amount of pictures around 460 (plus some on the older camera we brought and some on a discartable waterproof camera to take pictures of the snorkling). I had taken a 1 gig memory card and one of 256 Mb for the older camera.

You can find our pictures on:
http://www.snapfish.com/photolibrary/t_=31380371

It was my fist time to use something else than the most simple point-and-shoot camera, so do not expect masterworks, but feel free to comment or give suggestions.

Next to the Malerone tablets (malaria), we took some basic medication with us (repellant, painkillers, aspirines, iodine, some sterilized water to clear the eyes, spray for throat, disinfectant etc). One good thing we also took too was Loperamide. You are bound to get some problems in your digestive system and you do not want to have your bowels racing around if you have to spend many hours in a car (especially if you have seen the toilets in the bush).

We packed light for this holiday as was suggested in the many topics I had read.
I took:
-two safari zip-off pants
-about 5 t-shirts
-two jeans
-two swimming shorts
-two sweaters
-one waterproof coat
-one shirt
-two pair of shoes

If you have spare room in your bag, bring some pens for the kids there. We saw many kids asking for them, but unfortunately we did not have any to give them. When starting the trip, you are normally able to buy water bottles. Buy an extra case to distribute to people in the really dry areas!!!!

We stayed at the following lodges / areas:
-Arusha Bungalows / Arusha (1 night)
-Sopa Lodge / Tarangire (1 night)
-E-Unoto lodge / Manyara (1 night)
-Farm House / Ngorongoro (1 night)
-Ndutu Lodge / Ndutu (1 night)
-Migration Camp / Serengeti (1 night)
-Fundu Lagoon / Pemba (6 nights)

Beloew you will find a description per area:
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Sep 27th, 2005, 11:28 AM
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I'm having trouble viewing your album. Is anyone else having trouble? I've tried copying/pasting the link into my browser and logging into snapfish, but the album doesn't show up. What am I doing wrong?

On another note, glad to hear you had a great trip and looking forward to your report.
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Sep 27th, 2005, 11:38 AM
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Patty-I had the same problem. Marynus-glad you had a great time and congratulations on your wedding
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Sep 27th, 2005, 11:41 AM
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P.S. It will take some time for all the pictures to appear. It takes quite a while to upload everything! My apologies for the very long story. Because my English is not perfect, it is slightly harder to write a more entertaining story.

After our wedding on September 10th in Portugal (my wife is Portuguese, I am Dutch) , we flew back to the Netherlands (where we live). Unfortunately, we still had to pack for our honeymoon and we fell asleep quite late, only to wake up at 5:00 in the morning to go to the airport. When we arrive at Kilimanjaro, our guide Hashim of Tanzania Serengeti Adventures (TSA) picked us up. Eager as I am, I already spotted the first animal when driving through Arusha. Unfortunately it turned out to be a stray dog. Or Hashim put it: We're still in a city, do not expect to see a lot of wild animals yet

Throughout the whole tour he was driving carefully, gave lots of information on everything and really took care of us. We saw some other groups with less careful guides racing around in their car and doing some really stupid things like eating outside of the care in the Ngorongoro Crater.

We spend our first night at the Arusha Bungalows, which is owned by TSA. The accomodation is simple, but very nice and clean. The day after we woke up early for the payment and the briefing.

After this we drove off to Tarangire and the safari finally begun! On the way we stopped at a cute snake farm where to also kept some crocks, turtles and birds. We found that the Tanzanian people like to scare tourists a bit with the stories about the animals. Next to the python you saw a picture of a giant python which had swallowed a person (a leg was sticking out of the cut-open snake). Every snake had a nice sign stating how poisonous it is, the symptoms you get after a bit and how long it takes to die (the winner is the black mambo: you die in 20 minutes!). In the Tarangire Park, we got all excited when we saw the first zebras and took lots of pictures. Same thing after that for the first impala, elephant, giraffe, wildebeast, baboon etc etc). It must be funny for the guides to see people getting out of their minds because of an animal as common as a cow (at least for them).

Hashim pointed towards a very big Cobra hanging in the tree above us. My enthusiasm for the snakes was tempered a bit when he told me that his father had died of a bite of the Egyptian Cobra.

Of all the lodges, we did like the Sopa lodge least, because we simply loved the atmosphere of the smaller lodges. This does not say anything about the quality of the lodge, though. The rooms were nice and the food was good, but we just missed the personal approach we found in the other smaller camps. On the way to our room we passed a Hyrax (a very cool name for a large Rabbit hanging helplessly upside down, trying to flee from us by climbing a small wall).

At the reception, I managed to embarrass myself because of my eagerness to learn some word in Swahili. One of the girls sais something that sounded like "Optoo seeyu bak". With a great smile I repeated the sentence twice and asked the meaning of the sentence. A small kick of my wife told me that I was making an ass of myself and se explained me a bit later that the girl at the reception was saying "Hope to see you back"! Oops...

Next day we woke up at 6:00 again to go for a morning drive in Tarangire. The Baobab trees in the park are beautiful!
After the drive we headed to the E-Unoto lodge to have lunch and drop off our luggage.
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Sep 27th, 2005, 11:52 AM
  #9
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For the photos, please try:
http://www.snapfish.com/share/p=7862...=SYE/otsi=SALB

Could anybody with admin rights please change the address in the first message to the new one and delete this post?
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Sep 27th, 2005, 11:56 AM
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Marynus,
The new link works fine. I don't think the Fodors board has the capability of editing individual posts (even by board moderators) but I could be wrong. I have only seen entire posts or threads deleted here. In any case, I'm sure readers will scroll down to see your new link.

I'm off to view your pics. Thanks for sharing!
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Sep 27th, 2005, 12:00 PM
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Nice pics! The giraffe face was just great!
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Sep 27th, 2005, 12:01 PM
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Your "hope to see you back" story really gave me a good laugh.

quot;> =D> \/ ><

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Sep 27th, 2005, 12:04 PM
  #13
 
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Pictures are amazing! Hope that we get some as good as yours in the next 2 weeks! We just bought an FZ30. Question for you - what setting are most of these pictures on?

I am particularly interested in hearing about Fundu - we are there for 4 days after visiting the Masai Mara, Arusha, Tarangire and the Crater - we leave on Friday!! Thanks again and congrats on the wedding!
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Sep 27th, 2005, 12:17 PM
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your report is hilarious! nothing wrong with your english. more stories please!
Dennis
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Sep 27th, 2005, 12:27 PM
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Just a short reply for Lorib.

The report of Fundu Lagoon will come later, but it was the best place we stayed at. It is a wonder we did not come back 10kg heavier, because the food is delicious.

Do you like diving? We had never done it so we took a one day Scuba diving introduction and it was superb. Please say hello to Cindy and Russel of the diving center (from Luísa and Marijn). We now have a beautiful movie of our day and everybody is amazed by the quality of the movie and the beauty of the reef.
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Sep 27th, 2005, 12:35 PM
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Great photos, great report! I'm really glad you two enjoyed yourself. It's a wonderful country, isn't it?

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Sep 27th, 2005, 12:54 PM
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Manyara / E-Unoto:

To get to the E-Unoto lodge, you first have to drive through the desert for half an hour. During the drive you see a lot of Masai living in the dryest area I have every seen (I come from the Netherlands, so maybe it does not say a lot, but it was pretty damn dry!). The only thing besides the masai we saw, were termite hills and dust devils (dust devils are small funny twisters).

It is very hard to imagine that they are able to survive here and it was a pity that we did not have more water to distrubute among the children.

A little while later, you suddenly arrive in a lush green valley. We asked ourselves why the Masai are not living in that area, but our guide told us that they prefer the open plains. It might also be that they were given certain areas to live in. The E-Unoto lodge is a blast!! The view from the room was spectacular!! On one side you have the Great rift, below you see a small lake, birds are flying everywhere.

During our lunch the nice scary stories came up again. While looking at a small lizard, a waiter informed us that there are also bigger savannah lizards around, which are able to suck you brain through your nose!! We laughted a bit about the story and told our guide the story. He laughed too and confirmed that the story is true...

Apparently, this lizard has two separate tongues, each half a meter long which he can insert into your nose and start sucking way! He explained that you would have to be sleeping in the bushes and be very drunk not to mention a big lizard sitting on your face. Still the story kept us thinking and we double-checked all doors and windows.


After a small nap, we went to Manyara Park. The roads were very dusty and soon we had gravel in our eyes, ears and hair. In the park we saw a lot of different animals and a nive hippo pool.

When we entered the plains we had the most surrealistic view. About 30 giraffes were just standing there. The view had a Salvador-Dali-like quality, because they were just standing there, like statues.

At a certain point we saw a tree climbing lion, but there were so many cars standing there that it annoyed me a bit. If you see something extraordinary, please look at it, take pictures and move on. Two cars were standing right there for a very long time, basically blocking the view for everybody else.

The only downside of the lodge was that the windows did not have glass, but a grid (to keep animals outside). During the night, we experienced quite a storm, which made the curtains hang horizontally against the ceiling. It kept us awake for two hours...

But still, we loved the lodge and the staff was very friendly. The lodge also supports the Masai community and gives you the possibility to visit a Masai village, which is an important source of income for them and enables them to buy medicines for themselves and their cattle. We chose not to visit the village, because we do not like the idea of intruding in their lives and taking pictures of them as if they are a curiosity.

Again, we woke up very early and left at 6:30 to Ngorongoro.
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Sep 27th, 2005, 01:01 PM
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Your report is hilarious! You had me cracking up over the 'hope to see you back' and lizard stories!!!

Like you, we also found that we much preferred the smaller camps and lodges.

Anxiously awaiting more
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Sep 27th, 2005, 02:31 PM
  #19
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This is probably the funniest trip report yet. I just love the way you tell this story (a great sense of humor - so real)... and the tales told to you. The lizard is a good one, but something to watch out for the next time any one of us has been bending the elbow too much! Or for that matter falling flat on our face in the middle of the plains!

"oops to ear mooor soon"

That's a sad interpretation, but this is so much fun!

More, more..............
 
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Sep 27th, 2005, 02:31 PM
  #20
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We arrived at the Ngorongoro Farm house at 08:30 to drop the luggage and pick up lunch boxes. Unfortunately, we had to wait until 09:00 to get the boxes, so we took a tea and smoked a cigarette.

A note for the smokers: smoking is no problem as long you do not bother other people or throw your ash and cigarette away. Because we had a private safari, we were even allowed to smoke in the car (the rooftop was open). We kept all the ash and cigarette butts in a bottle with a bit of water. We were very happy to have a private vehicle (a nice efender). We saw some vans with lots of people inside and I can only imagine the difference. It has the advantage of being able to talk to more people, but we did not need this on our honeymoon. We were able to stop when we wanted without bothering other persons, nor did we have to stop because somebody else needed 15 minutes to take a million shots of a birds nor did we have to stop every 15 minutes because somebody had to go to the bathroom. While re-reading this part, it looks a bit spoiled to put it this way. We were lucky to have some extra money because this was our honeymoon and I am sure that the experience is also amazing when you share a van with other people. But given the opportunity……

Contact TSA for a quote. You will get a private vehicle and their price was much better than their competitors (I am in no way associated to TSA, by the way).

When we got the lunchboxes, we ascended the Ngorongoro crater. We passed some very dangerous looking buses full of local people and luggage, which seemed to have a lot of difficulty to keep moving on the steep roads. We also encountered two jeeps with tourists having problems with their car.

The view on top of the mountain into the crater is something that’s not possible to describe with words. The pictures I took do not nearly describe the beauty of this place. You look into the giant crater and see the herds below. AMAZING!!

It took another 30-45 minutes to descend (with squeaking brakes) into the crater. We heard before from some other tourists, that they did not really like the crater because of the amount of cars inside. Either we went on a calm day or it was because of the size of the place and the wide view you have, but I was not bothered at all by the other cars. Even if many other cars were standing still to look at an animal, you would still be capable of seeing them very well, because there are no trees, contrary to Manyara. We spotted a cheetah quite far away, but because of the good zoom it seems that he was quite near us!

We couldn’t believe how unimpressed the lions were with our presence. They would be lying a few meters from our car and not even look around! Then we faced The Big Dilemma. Some female lions were clearly hunting and drawling over a herd of zebras. Their hunt can take hours and then they might still give up. Because we wanted to see all the other game, we went away and saw the black rhino, hippos and many other animals. When we came back, one of the lions had a zebra and was waiting for the male lion to arrive. Women can sure learn a lot from the behaviour of this animal! They do all the hunting while the male is working on his tan and when they catch something, they have to wait for the male to start eating. My girlfriend wife was not impressed and I will continue cooking at our home…

At lunchtime we stopped at the pick nick site of Ngorongoro. The view is gorgeous (my English is not rich enough to keep coming with new words to express the beauty of the places). Our guide asked us to have our lunch in the car, because of the Black Kites (big prey birds) around. Soon it became clear why he suggested this. Some tourists were eating outside and the Black Kites were stealing the sandwiches and chicken from their hands (and wounding at least one while we were there). We watched one woman eating her chicken in a horrible way, with pieces of the chicken hanging out of her mouth and grease all over the face. Those birds could easily take out half your face, lips and eyes in order to get the chicken. She got away unharmed and laughing ignorantly when a kite stole some bread out of her hands. Would have made another scary story though!


Back to the Farm House, we had to ascend the Crater on very steep roads quite close to a ravine. Of course our guide told us that many cars are not able to climb that much, slide back, and fall into the ravine. According to him, several people died that way. Let me just make it clear that I am not a very big fan of heights or ascending roads close to a ravine and you will understand how I felt…

Arriving at the Ngorongoro Farm house, our guide spotted one of his former colleagues (the chef cook). This guy is really hilarious and friendly. We heard some great stories of the two of them camping at Kila Matiti (probably spelled wrong, but according to them it means something like Titty Mountains, because of the shape of the mountains). Of course, no lack of dangerous adventures in their stories! Next to the fantastic story-telling, the cook also knew his way around the kitchen and we had a marvellous soup that night. After dinner, the fireplace in the room was lit, which was a very nice surprise. We fell asleep early again, because the day after we had to drive to Olduvai Gorge and to Ndutu after that.
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