Solo travel in Tanzania

Jul 28th, 2005, 03:02 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 8
Solo travel in Tanzania

Hi! What a discovery, the Fodors Talk! I am currently planning to Tanzania this fall. I am a middle aged female and will be travelling alone. I have had dialogue with Thomson and Roy and I am trying to balance joining a group of strangers on a safari on the northern circuit (Thomson) or solo with a driver staying in permanent camps with Roy. Does anyone have experience with solo or could you comment generally? Can anyone comment on Thomson and Roy or could you recommend reliable operators. Next question. I am planning on spending approx 3 weeks. This is my first trip to Africa and I want to maximize my exerperience. I would like to add extensions to Ruale and Selous. Can anyone comment? Has anyone taken the balloon safari in the Serenegeti? I have flown in Napa (wonferful)and wonder if this one is worth double the cost. Thanks for your help!
summers is offline  
Jul 28th, 2005, 04:20 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Hi and welcome to Fodors.

I can't help with solo travel - happily I share my Africa obsession with my husband.

We travelled to Tanzania with Roy's last year and would highly recommend them. Our guide, Clamion, was delightful and everything ran absolutely according to plan.

I would also recommend you visiting the Ruaha if you get the chance. Regular readers here will know that I left some of my heart there when we visited a couple of years ago; it is, in my opinion, the most beautiful part of Africa I have visited.

There are plenty of solo travellers who post here regularly so I am sure that they will soon chip in with some much more helpful comments.

I envy you the anticipation of your very first trip to Africa - happy planning!
RuthieC is offline  
Jul 28th, 2005, 04:59 AM
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Do you know Sue Stolberger, a wildlife artist living in Ruaha NP? She has published a wonderful book, The Ruaha Sketch Book. If you like Ruaha so much, maybe this is something for you. Sue's website is

Jul 28th, 2005, 05:11 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 250
Yes we met her several times while we were there and spent many hours looking at her wonderful sketch book.

Thanks for the link to her website I hadn't come across that before & it has brought back some lovely memories.

RuthieC is offline  
Jul 28th, 2005, 07:35 AM
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Hello summers,

While I haven't visited Tanzania, I've taken all my trips to Africa (Botswana and South Africa) on my own. On both trips, I did a customised fly-in safari, where I was booked as an individual into various safari camps and transferred in between by light aircraft. This gave me the opportunity to customise my itinerary while also meeting other people at the camps. I also enjoyed the balance of time on my own with the chance to socialise when I felt like it -- I met a lot of wonderful people on my trips. You might want to consider this as an option -- three weeks is a long time to spend with your driver unless you really hit it off. If you include Ruaha and Selous, you'll end up doing some flying anyhow.

When I took my first trip alone, I was a bit nervous since I'd never travelled on my own. But I've never cared for group trips with a bunch of strangers -- I'd rather set my own schedule and my own pace, and I don't like being herded from place to place, which gives me awful school-trip flashacks. Travelling on my own was much more fun (though the single supplements can be painful).

In terms of the dreaded single supplement -- you might want to check out some of the CC Africa camps in Tanzania. Not only does CCA offer superb guiding, great food, and beautiful surroundings, but they are the only company which does not automatically charge a single supplement. This means that for a single person a stay at one of their luxury camps can cost the same (or sometimes less) as a stay at a lesser place that charges a single supplement. DO NOT let a tour operator charge you a single supplement for a CCA camp (Thomas Cook tried to do this to a friend of mine) -- that's an enormous rip-off which is going straight into their pocket since the camps don't charge anything.

Hope this helps!

jasher is offline  
Jul 28th, 2005, 01:26 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
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I've gone to Tanzania solo to hike Kilimanjaro, take a safari, and experience some culture. I went with It's a small private business with the "head" person living in Brooklyn. I met the two tour guides and got along great with them. They were very helpful when I had to stay in a hospital for 2 days from 2nd degree sunburn...they brought me all my meals. They also included a day visiting someone so I could see how they lived. Please email me if you wish.

I don't see anything wrong with traveling solo...I actually enjoyed the safari because I told the driver how long to stay, etc while watching the animals. The only advice I have is bring several books and a book light. I stayed a lodges and many places the lights were dim.... especially while eating... plus many places do not have television.

mrsilly is offline  
Jul 28th, 2005, 01:27 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
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oh, I'm going again Dec 26 for a Western Breach hike and then a 5 day horse ride before going home. I wish I had more time and money so that I could go to Selous and Gombe or Mahale...
mrsilly is offline  
Jul 28th, 2005, 03:39 PM
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Without a doubt, go solo with the driver. But you should pick up a game scout at each park as you go along if one is not provided at the camps. It is an inexpensive add on-maybe $10/day. I would need to check the parks and their fees. Driving on to Ruaha and Selous would be easy enough and a little adventurous. You can reach Ruaha from the northern circuit via Babiti-Dodoma-Iringa. But that is a day drive. From Ruaha you can enter the Selous from the North. Stay at 2-3 different camps going through. Drive through the park with your guide and leave at the East Gate. Return to Dar.
That would make just about anyone envious.
I travel in my own 4x4 and would do it no other way.
luangwablondes is offline  
Jul 28th, 2005, 04:35 PM
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Posts: 14,440

I'd encourage you to go alone if the costing is within your reach. That is my preference. You'll be able to socialize with others at the permanent camps.

Here is a link about balloons, pros and cons.

Both Roys and Thomsons get good reviews here, especially Roys. You can do a search in the box at the top for these companies.
atravelynn is offline  
Jul 28th, 2005, 04:37 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 55

I leave for my first trip to Africa - going to Tanzania and Kenya for three weeks on August 1. I am 41 and really looking forward to the adventure. The Fodor community really helped me get an advanced "feel" for the trip and you will find great tips here. I hope to post my trip report soon after my return to the US on August 23rd. Go for your dreams and enjoy. Planning is half the fun, I actually started my trip planning 15 months ago and can't believe I am finally boarding the plane on Monday! I hope this will be the trip of your dreams. I am only doing the Northern part of the country, but hope to go to southern Tanz like you in 2007.
Canechick is offline  
Aug 20th, 2005, 05:17 AM
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I can't thank everyone enough! I am now fully booked, thank you Julian for the tip on CC Africa. I would never have consider them due to perceived cost. I leave Canada October 22 with stays at Swala Camp (2), Klein's (2), Grumeti River Camp (4), Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (2)and Lake Manyara Tree Lodge (2). The price in US came in the same range as group tours and solo with guide but staying at these small camps, all inclusive and reduced travel time because of flying. Of course there is the dreaded conversion to Cdn $. Now thanks to Rocco and all the wonderful Fordites I am making my first foray to the camera store this morning, armed with all your experience and shared tips. I have a SLR but I am not taking it to Africa. My Canon PS A-70 just isn't up to the task so some big decisions to make in time to pracise at the zoo! The only big one left is finding a suitable duffle bag and clothes, oh my, that is a whole other chapter. Thanks again for all your help and insight. Chris
summers is offline  
Aug 20th, 2005, 06:10 AM
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Glad that you finally have your Tanzania trip booked, but sad to see that the 3-weeks turns out to be only 12-nts.

What I can't understand is 4-nts at Grumeti River Camp... way over in the Western Serengeti and nowhere near where the migrating herds will be leaving the Mara. Klein's is good - this should have been at least 3-nts. Can you still make changes? I'd try to do so. Would you care to share the cost of this itinerary?
Aug 22nd, 2005, 04:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,501

I'm glad you found my comments helpful. I'd like to second Sandi about Grumeti and Klein's -- is there any way you can swap 1-2 nights at Grumeti for 1-2 nights at Klein's? Since they're both CCA camps it shouldn't cost you anything.

Even if you can't switch them, it's not the end of the world -- there is still plenty of resident game in the Western Serengeti (notably the predators, who don't follow the migration). It's a great area in that it has a much wilder feeling than the central Serengeti because there's much less vehicle traffic.

jasher is offline  

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