Tanzania & Zanzibar Itinerary


May 14th, 2015, 04:44 PM
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Tanzania & Zanzibar Itinerary

My fiance and I are planning a safari in Tanzania (with a few days in Zanzibar at the end) for our honeymoon. We are looking to do a private 10 day safari in August 2016. We would prefer to stay at tented camps or more luxury style places since it is a honeymoon, but realize we may have to choose some mid-range accommodations to stay within budget. Our budget for the safari portion is $4,000 - $6,000 USD per person (this excludes the international airfare and the trip to Zanzibar).

Here is a rough itinerary we have come up with:

Day 1 - Arrive Arusha
Arrive Kilimanjaro International Airport, transfer to Arusha, overnight in Arusha

Day 2 - Arusha to Tarangire
Drive to Tarangire, game viewing in Tarangire, overnight in Tarangire

Day 3 - Tarangire
Tarangire game viewing, overnight in Tarangire

Day 4 - Tarangire to Manyara
Tarangire to Lake Manyara, game viewing in Lake Manyara, overnight in Lake Manyara

Day 5 - Manyara to Central Serengeti
Drive to Central Serengeti, game viewing in Central Serengeti, overnight in Central Serengeti

Day 6 - Central Serengeti
Central Serengeti game viewing, overnight in Central Serengeti

Day 7 - Central Serengeti
Central Serengeti game viewing, overnight in Central Serengeti

Day 8 - Central Serengeti to Northern Serengeti
Drive to Northern Serengeti, game viewing on the way, overnight in Northern Serengeti

Day 9 - Northern Serengeti
Northern Serengeti game viewing, overnight in Northern Serengeti

Day 10 - Northern Serengeti to Ngorongoro Crater
Drive to Ngorongoro Crater, game viewing in Serengeti along the way, overnight in Ngorongoro

Day 11 - Ngorongoro Crater
Game viewing in Ngorongoro, drive/fly back to Arusha, Arusha to Zanzibar

Day 12 - Zanzibar

Day 13 - Zanzibar

Day 14 - Zanzibar

Day 15 - Zanzibar to US

My specific questions are:

1. Does this seem like a reasonable amount of time to spend in each park? Would you spend more time in Northern Serengeti or Central Serengeti during this time of year?
2. Does anyone have recommendations for tour operators?
3. What recommendations do you have for accommodations?
4. How far in advance should we look into purchasing airfare (we live in Seattle)?
5. Any advice or recommendations for self-booking a Zanzibar trip are welcome.
hollena is offline  
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May 14th, 2015, 11:24 PM
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As far as the safari is concerned you have a good budget and 10 days good enough time too.Your questions 1 to 4(including 5 )will not only be answered but analysed in detail here by some well travelled & well informed fodorites here.

My 2 cents.Zanzi is one of the most beautiful and romantic place on earth. The azure waters and white sandy beaches are unparalleled.The eastern coast from Jambiani,Paje Paje,Bwejuu & Dongwe have some wonderful places to stay.Pongwe and Kiwengwa too have some lovely resorts.These are relatively quiet and pristine stretches ( well that was 4 yrs ago ).An occasional party or so.

Kendwa & Nungwe on the northern tip of the island has a more active nightlife.

Stone Town is a quaint place.Good restaurants.Dont miss the Forodhani Gardens night market and the seafood on offer.

You can sure self-book in Zanzi.Zero in on the location and google.Have a great honeymoon .
inquest is offline  
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May 15th, 2015, 12:02 PM
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You should spend at least 2/nts at Tarangire, a gem of a park and where they have a mini-migration.

If visiting both Central and Northern Serengeti I'd fly from the North to Arusha for connection to ZNZ (or non-stop to ZNZ), I sure wouldn't try to drive from the North to the Crater... just too long, much of the daylight.

At the Crater, you only require 1/nt as crater floor tours are limited to 6/hrs only. Thus I'd skip Lake Manyara (not missing much unless into 'birds' or head deep into the park which time it's unlikely you'll have) , but leaving Tarangire stop at Mto-wa-Mbu (an ethnically diverse community to meet the locals and do some shopping), then continue to Ngo for crater floor tour and overnight.

From here you can continue into Central and then Northern Serengeti before fly back to Arusha/ZNZ.

Air flight costs from West Coast range $1,800-$2,000/pp and I'd start looking for best fares now, then you'll know what's left for safari and ZNZ.

And I'd suggest the tour operator who books your safari also handle the ZNZ segment as they get discounted rates and include your transfers to/from the airport, rather than you posting another question 'the hotel is charging $XXX, is this reasonable?' or something like 'what does a taxi cost?' - have your entire trip under one umbrella just in case there is a snag somewhere and thus have a single contact.
sandi is offline  
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May 17th, 2015, 08:13 PM
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I concur with Sandi on not staying overnight in Lake Manyara, I found wildlife scarce here compared to some of the other places you'll be visiting.

Do stay a few days in Stonetown and walk the maze of narrow streets in the old part, enjoy a sundowner at the Sunset Lounge in the Africa Hotel where David Livingstone used to hang out and try to stay in a hotel with a Zanzibari bed. Very cool.

Check out Mchanga Beach Resort, it's small and stunning but then most places on the island are.

I loved Zanzibar!!

Zanzibar is predominately Muslim so when in the city (Stonetown) one should respectfully have their shoulders and knees covered.
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May 20th, 2015, 06:52 AM
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Yes, Zanzi is beautiful! A Day or two in Stonetown is enough. I recommend the monkey park (blanking on the name) I truly enjoyed it. However, I'd just finished a semester studying them so, I may be biased
Don't miss the night market- Zanzi pizza can not be missed!

I was under the impression that all of Zanzi was super conservative, but only in stonetown, you're free/able to wear a bikini on the beaches (I brought some horrid 1 piece!)
needmorevacation is offline  
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May 20th, 2015, 08:17 AM
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We did a very similar trip our first time to Africa. Flew into Nairobi and stayed overnight at the Norfolk Hotel. The next day we "transferred" to Arusha -- that meant a long, hot 5 hour drive. Fly! Its so much better. There is no need to overnight in Arusha. There is nothing to see. Having left Nairobi very early morning, we were in Arusha for lunch before flying on to Serengeti - Kirawira Camp. Kirawira is amazing. So romantic! I wish we had stayed a much longer time there.

We then flew to Lake Manyara for lunch. Again, nothing to see. From there we drove 3 hours to Ngorongoro Crater Serena Lodge. It is a long hard drive with nothing to see along the way.

The crater is interesting, but you can not off-road so most sightings are from a far distance or if they are near a road there will be 15-20 other vehicles jockeying for position. Its a circus.

We then flew from the crater to Tarangire -- others in our party drove the 6 hours. The drive was brutal.

From Tarangire we flew back to Nairobi via Arusha (which is how we should have gotten there in the first place) We spent one night at the Norfolk again before flying to Samburu Game Reserve in Kenya, staying at Larsens Camp.

From Samburu we fly to the Mt. Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki. Not a place I would recommend. Its historical, but that's all.

My point is this.....ask a ton of questions as you plan. Make sure you know what "transfer" means. Spend as much time in the bush as you can. On subsequent trips to Africa (see my trip report on 22 days in Southern Tanzania on this site)we made much smarter choices, stayed longer in each place and got much more value for our dollars.

Trip report:

Photo page:
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May 20th, 2015, 01:24 PM
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Hi Hollena!
A safari in Tanzania followed by some days in Zanzibar is a fantastic idea for your honeymoon!
Your budget is more than ok for a good safari. Not top-end accommodation every night, but you will be surprised to find extremely good, cozy and charming mid-priced options in TZ.
August is a great month for a safari. During this time of the year the big migrant herds tend to gather in the extreme North of the Serengeti, along the Mara River, so it's a good idea to spend some time there. Central Serengeti offers the highest concentration of big cats.
Trangire is beautiful between July and November, rugged landscape, huge baobabs and big herds of elephants. Manyara is small, it is just below the Rift Valley escarpment and is interesting for the varied landscapee and its bird life, but big game can be scarce sometimes. I suggest to spend half day there, on the way from Tarangire to Ngorongoro. Apart from "parks and game" Tanzania has a lot to offer as long as culture is concerned. They say that game attracts you to Tanzania but it's the people who makes you come back and this is true. My family and I had a great safari last January, it was not our 1st time and we decided to visit the Serengeti and meet the Hadzabe bushmen, a touching experience. You can read my trip report here: http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...n-tanzania.cfm

As per your day-by-day itinerary, I'd run it in a slightly different way.
Here follow 2 suggestions:

A) with flight from Northern Serengeti to Arusha: this option allows you not to drive back on your tracks from Northern Serengeti.
1) Arusha
2) Tarangire
3) Tarngire
4) Manyara on the way to Ngorongoro
5) Ngorongoro Crater
6) Central Serengeti
7) Central Serengeti
8) Northern Serengeti
9) Northern Serengeti
10) fly from Kogatende airstrip to Zanzibar
11 to 14) in Zanzibar
15) Departure

I wouldn't drive from Northern Serengti to Ngorongoro in one day, it is just too far. The above itinerary allows you an extra day for the safari portion, which you could spend either in Lake Eyasi meeting the Hadzabe. This means that in the evening of day 4 you will reach Eyasi, you will reach Ngorongoro in the evening of day 5 and explore the Crater on day 6.

If you prefer to avoid flights then you can run your itinerary the following way:

1) Arusha
2) Tarangire
3) Tarngire
4) Manyara Karatu
5) Central Serengeti
6) Northern Serengeti
7) Northern Serengeti
8) central Serengeti
9) reach Ngorongoro
10) Crater game drives
11) fly to Zanzibar
12 to 14) in Zanzibar
15) Departure

As per Zanzibar, I would avoid Kendwa and Nungwi in August: the beach is beautiful but it has been overbuilt in recent years and tends to be too crowded especially during peak season. I'd go to Matemwe or Jambiani or Kizimkazi, where you can still experience the true Zanzibari spirit.

I hope this helps!
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May 28th, 2015, 08:42 PM
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lilyclaire is offline  
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Aug 17th, 2015, 09:52 PM
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I'm commenting late on this post so do not know if you have booked anything yet.
You safari looks perfect for 10 days. There are some additional things you can add to it to mix things up a bit in terms of diversity of options while in the Serengeti. The Zanzibar idea at the end is a totally great way to wrap things up with its pristine beaches and relaxing atmosphere. If your safaris is not yet set with a tour operator, I am one and would be glad to answer your excellent questions, if you have not yet had them answered. The safari companies name is Zohar African Safaris ( www.zoharafricansafaris.com ) We specialize in custom designed safaris with a wide range of options in addition to wildlife viewing (see: http://www.zoharafricansafaris.com/1081-2/). Feel free to reach me at 1-800-603-1219 or email me at [email protected].

Dr. Ken Firestone
Zohar African Safaris
Director of Global Markets
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Aug 28th, 2015, 06:43 PM
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