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How does Zanzibar compare to other islands such as Hawaii, the Greek Isles or elsewhere???

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Oct 28th, 2005, 04:11 PM
  #1
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How does Zanzibar compare to other islands such as Hawaii, the Greek Isles or elsewhere???

I am questioning whether or not Zanzibar is a mandatory stop after my Tanzanian safari. At $900 per night for the accomodations I would like, the Palms Zanzibar, I do find myself reconsidering whether or not Zanzibar is necessary.

Currently, I have the following booked:

Moivaro Coffee Lodge, Arusha (3) I did this so I could participate in the Mt. Kiliminjaro Marathon or Half Marathon
Manyara Tree Lodge, Lake Manyara (2)
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, NC (2)
Olduvai Camp, between NC and Serengeti (1)
Nomad Masek, Serengeti (2)
Nomad Piaya, Serengeti (2)
Mbuzi Mawe, Serengeti (2)

From there I am free to return home or book an add-on to Zanzibar.

One option that is starting to appeal to me is the following:

Moivaro Coffee Lodge (2) - Even if I do the Mt. Kiliminjaro half marathon, I just need to arrive the night before. With my time zones all screwed up, I will probably be up and about in the wee hours of the morning anyway. Then I would do the half marathon and spend the second night back at Moivaro Coffee Lodge before beginning my safari the next morning.
Tanzanian northern circuit safari (11) as listed above.
Moivaro Coffee Lodge, Arusha (1)

This option is only 14 nights and then I would return to Europe. I would more than likely spend a couple nights in Europe in the mid-March cold weather before returning home. I could get a great hotel in Amsterdam for not more than about $250 per night.

Anyway I look at it, the Zanzibar extension will cost nearly $5,000. I will spend it if it is just this incredible experience at the Emerson & Green and the Palms Zanzibar, but if not, I will look at other options.

I just feel so bound and gagged by Africa Travel Resource that I am not counting on being able to make any changes to my itinerary, no matter that it is still about 120 days out. They have a change fee of $500, and as I mentioned earlier, if I were to cancel, I am subject to losing my entire $3,000 deposit.

What I may do is just forego my first couple nights in Arusha, possibly only spending my first night there. Then again, I may just choose to arrive on the morning of my safari in Arusha and go straight into it. This would cause me to lose three nights of Moivaro Coffee Lodge, but I am only paying about $500 for these three nights.

If I went straight into my safari and returned to Europe the night of my safari, I would be in and out of Tanzania is 11 nights flat. This may leave time for something like spending a couple nights in Madrid and then going to Morocco for a few nights. Or, I could go to Dubai for a few nights.

Let's say I have a maximum of about six nights to play with. Where could I go that would be halfway convenient? I do not want the cold weather of Europe so I am looking for warmer destinations.

Dubai?
Morocco?
Egypt?

I am looking for a place that will have top-notch accomodations. Dubai and Zanzibar obviously meet this criteria, and I think there are some places in Morocco that do as well.

Any feedback will be greatly appreciated...I am definitely out of my element in East Africa and need help. Thanks.
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Oct 28th, 2005, 04:39 PM
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Silly games the airlines play...

I checked for air between Madrid to Marrakesh and it is a minimum of about $650 pp for my required dates.

For the same dates, I am able to fly from Amsterdam through Madrid and onto Marrakesh for under $400. Luckily this works out better anyway, as I will be more than likely flying from Amsterdam to Kiliminjaro.

There are some nice four night Luxury Link packages to Marrakesh available for about $1000 total at some great looking places.

Given the fact that I do not necessarily need an island/beach experience, how would Marrakesh compare to Zanzibar?

Finally, aren't there any flights from South America to East Africa? I would never fly all the way down to Joburg just to return to East Africa as Micato Safaris and A&K does on their itineraries.
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Oct 28th, 2005, 05:00 PM
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What about Seychelles...without spending $2,500 per night at North Island, is it possible to go to a nice place in Seychelles for less than $750 per night?

I am even tempted to fly down to Zambia in search of wild dogs in mid March!

I know I am all over the map, but I really am wide open to the possibilities. Marrakesh and South Luangwa are looking attractive due to their great pricing. If I were a solo traveler I would go to South Luangwa in a heartbeat to experience it in mid-March.

Should I be considering Uganda for gorilla trekking, as well?

If I am going to spend nearly $5,000 for Zanzibar then I really need to explore how $5,000 could be equally spent elsewhere.

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Oct 28th, 2005, 05:33 PM
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Instead of Uganda for gorilla trekking, you may want to look into Parc Nacional Volcans (Rwanda), which is much closer to Kigali's international airport than Bwindi is to the airport in Entebbe.

To me, an island is an island -- I have been to many, but usually for a long weekend or an add-on to another trip.

I have been to the Greek Isles and Hawaii, but not Zanzibar, so can't comment.

I wanted to add at least one response so you avoid the appearance of having a dialogue with yourself ;-)
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Oct 28th, 2005, 06:02 PM
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Michael,

Thanks for the tip about Rwanda.

Usually the way I figure out the problem is by having such a "dialogue" with myself!
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Oct 28th, 2005, 06:08 PM
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Why not fly around the world? You've gone this far, whats a few more 1000 miles. I think India is considered half way for Californians. I fly west so I'm gaining time. Besides, there are some brilliant tickets available.

Should be good for a a whole new conversation from Rocco.
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Oct 29th, 2005, 05:06 AM
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I just love when you have these conversations with yourself - what I refer to as "talking alone"

Seems you've forgotten that you're not taking this trip on your own; believe someone else is joining you on this adventure (and doesn't know about it yet). Maybe Alexsandra would like some of the fluff, while you enjoy what you do and not be flying all around Africa or spending additional time in Europe's winter.

Zanzibar doesn't compare with Hawaii (ugh) or the Greek Islands or vice versa - they're all so different. You may want to consider less expensive accommodations than The Palms. Won't be as small or intimate, but at least with air conditioning - The Blue Bay, in one of their Sultan's Suites, can be an option. It's only because you chose the most expensive that you're reconsidering.

Using the same amount of money and flying to another destination, if I know you, you'll again be looking at the most expensive - but then you have all those extra hours of flying just to get to wherever. Zanzibar is, at least, in the same country.

Maybe it's time to include your very patient wife and see how she feels; go from there.
 
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Oct 29th, 2005, 06:06 AM
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One addition to my comment -- I do want to visit Zanzibar, precisely becuase of Stone Town, and to me, Zanzibar seems very interesting.

My "island is an island" comment really applies more to the Caribbean, most of which seem quite similar, and while I have been to many for beach holidays, they lack appeal for me.

But the Greek Isles (with their ruins, restaurants, and hiking opportunities) and Hawaii (with the volcanoes) both offer options beyond a standard, Caribbean island.

On my next trip to Tanzania (I'm contemplating Mahale and Selous), I likely will add weekend in Stonetown, but I don't see getting to Tanzania until December 2006, at the earlies, or more likely 2007. I'm fully booked until August 2006 -- thanks to frequent flyer miles!

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Oct 29th, 2005, 09:27 AM
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Thanks for the feedback. I really need to break the "wonderful" news about the 11 night core Tanzanian safari (excludes the 3 nights in Arusha, since we may or may not end up spending any nights in Arusha) before I decide what is best for an add-on.

Personally, I would love to just take Alexsandra on the 11 nights on the Tanzanian safari and then send her back to Europe for a week where I would pay for her mom to fly out to meet her to spend a week in Europe while I went to South Luangwa for a week in quest of my wild dogs. Slim chance for that to happen, but it doesn't hurt to dream.
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Oct 29th, 2005, 10:11 AM
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Ask your wife what she wants to do!

I liked Zanzibar, and do hope to return someday, but having been, I don't consider it "mandatory" for my trip(s) to East Africa.

Frankly, I'd rather go gorilla trekking. But ask your wife!!!
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Oct 29th, 2005, 10:26 AM
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<<I really need to explore how $5,000 could be equally spent elsewhere.>>

I have a thought: I just read a small blurb in the newspaper this morning that 1.7 million Zambians are going hungry, and the situation is deteriorating rapidly. (I didn't realize the situation was so dire there.) Just think what $5,000 would do for them!
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Oct 29th, 2005, 12:25 PM
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cooncat,

Yes, I always try to be very generous while I am on safari.

This year, for example, my wife spent nearly $100 on food/cooking oi/etc. and handed it out to the villagers on the way to South Luangwa.

Likewise, I bought two bicycles for $125 each and donated them to the South Luangwa Conservation Society.

Also, I met with Grant Cumings and his wife Lynsey Cumings while in Lower Zambezi to discuss how I could be of service in helping generate donations to Conservation Lower Zambezi. Currently a credit card system is being setup so they can accept donations online. As soon as they are setup, I would like you to join me in initiating the program. Let me know if I can count on you for a small donation of only $100 to CLZ and I will be happy to match it.

Furthermore, I made a generous contribution to Chipembele Wildlife Trust in South Luangwa.

Moreover, I carried valuable material from home all the way to South Luangwa for another non-profit organization, Working Hand In Hand, run by one of our fellow Fodorites, Tashak, and then returned with artwork from Zambia that was produced by Working Hand In Hand that is to be sold at upscale art gallery type stores here in Califonria, with all the profit going back to Zambia.

Lastly, I always tip as generously as possible and I try to tip everyone in camp. I did notice a recent thread where you seemed hesitant about tipping but these people really rely on our genorosity, so I hope you (and all other travelers) will be as generous as possible.

I guarantee that a good portion of the profits from Destiny Africa will be donated to Zambian charities, as I am not doing it because I am starving and need more money, but rather because I cherish the Zambian wildlife and people.

Here are the links to some of the organizations that I mentioned.

http://www.workinghandinhand.org/

http://www.conservationlowerzambezi.com.zm/

http://www.southluangwaconservationsociety.com/

http://www.chipembele.org/
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Oct 29th, 2005, 02:52 PM
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Hi Rocco,

I would really suggest Pemba Island to you. Fundu Lagoon is a beautful place. For more information, please read my trip report or look at my pictures!

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34487305
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Oct 29th, 2005, 05:51 PM
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Rocco - I hope you know that I've never doubted your generosity. I was sincere in that I know how much you care about the Zambians and if you had the money it would be of great value to them. l was actually very surprised to read that in the paper this morning and it hit home that I need to find better sources of news so that I'm better informed. Throughout my planning process I'll be honest and say that I've questioned my own spending of that amount of money when I could just send even half the amount over there - or somewhere - and make a bigger impact. This is just me and my idealistic way of thinking. As for tipping, I am a big believer in tipping - I have so many friends in the service industry who depend on it, so I really wasn't grousing about tipping, per se. Maybe I'm stinging from the single supplement costs, and I have been really stressed out - lots going on at work, and frankly my income is leagues below yours, and probably most others on this forum, and I'm a bit freaked out about it. So again, no hard feelings, I hope.
Peace,
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Oct 30th, 2005, 07:51 AM
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cooncat,

I apologize if I got overly defensive. I did wrongly take your post as a questioning of my genorosity.

More than a single one-time donation of $5,000 could ever do, I believe that by continuing to frequent Zambia and steer others to this beautiful and largely overlooked country that I will be able to most help the Zambian people and wildlife.


Marynus,

Thanks for the suggestion for Fundu Lagoon...I am vaguely aware of Fundu Lagoon but I will have a closer look.

I guess the majority of my second-guessing of Zanzibar has to the with the Palms Zanzibar. After carefully analyzing their brochure, all of the attention seems to be on the food and accomodations while the photos of the beach seem to be carefully constructed, as if the beach at the Palms Zanzibar is not that great.

If I am going to spend $1,000 per night for a beach resort, it damn well better have an amazing beach!

I will reconsider both Fundu Lagoon and the CCAfrica resort, Mnemba?, as well as more reasonably priced accomodations such as Matemwa Bungalows which is where ATR is trying to push me.
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Oct 30th, 2005, 03:54 PM
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Roccco -

Fundu, Mnemba (at the same or higher price than The Palms) and Matemmwe do not have air conditioning. Though believe 2-rooms at Matembwe do. If traveling in February... it's summer in East Africa, so only you can decide whether being without air should be a consideration.
 
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 06:02 PM
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Would I be missing out if I spent two nights at the Zanzibar Serena rather than at the Emerson & Green. I have been reading too many mixed reviews on the Emerson & Green and considering that it does not even have air conditioning I am asking myself why I am considering staying at the E&G...bad food, no air conditioning, possible noise issues, etc.

My itinerary would be the following:

Moivaro Coffee Lodge (2)
Private northern circuit safari (11)
Zanzibar Serena (2)
Palms Zanzibar (3)

Since I would arrive back in Amsterdam on a Thursday, I may add a couple nights in Amsterdam at the end, returning home on Saturday, March 18th.

Would I be able to enjoy all the same activities from the Serena as I would be able to from the Emerson & Green?

Thanks.
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 06:19 PM
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Short answer: yes.
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 06:59 PM
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It is a very atmospheric and occasionally challenging place. However, I cannot imagine how you could possibly be paying $900 per night. Totally unreasonable. If you are the least bit adventurous, you could stay at the perfectly fine Hotel Tembo or even Emerson's for at least a sixth of that price. The allure of Zanzibar is wandering the narrow passageways and discovering little things there. It is not a spa vacation.
It is not at all like Hawaii or the Greek Isles. And there is just nowhere on Zanzibar worth $900 per night. Get ahold of a Lonely Planet guide and find out more about the other islands- Pemba, Mafia, etc. They are interesting and atmospheric, and much less inexpensive.
 
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 07:21 PM
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Thanks for the responses.

I do have a concern staying anywhere without air conditioning since it will be hot and humid. What other 5* lodge will offer air conditioning besides the Palms? While my wife and I will undoubtedly enjoy the culture and the ocean, we will still be spending 10 hours per day in our room, so I do want to be totally comfortable and surrounded by luxury. I am not so sure that I have seen anywhere else as luxurious as the Palms Zanzibar on Zanzibar or the other islands.
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