Teach me more about Tanzania, please

Apr 23rd, 2003, 06:38 AM
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Teach me more about Tanzania, please

I've been considering a trip back to East Africa for a while, especially after reading some of the posts made by King and others here.

I have lots of questions, including:

What are the best times to visit Tanzania? Is December/ January a good time? If not, when is? What are good times to see the migration and what are good times if I don't mind about missing that?

I really prefer accommodations that have less than 10 tents/ rooms - are there any that spring to mind?

What are good parks to visit? I'd like to see different areas, not just Ngorogoro.

Anything else you can tell me?

This really is just a dream at the moment but I'd like to have your thoughts.

Kavey is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2003, 07:57 AM
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Hi Kavey,
I've been to East Africa 4 times in the past 5 years - and plan to go again this fall. I am hooked.

The rainy season is from Nov. to early December (light), and again from April to early June (heavier).

Late Dec/ Jan. are prime moonths to visit. I believe the migrations, however, take place in Sept.

Believe it or not, I have never gone on a safari! I did spend a few nights at Kirurumu tented camp at Lake Manyara which was heaven - small complex with top service, good food, and not expensive. There is a website I believe under Hoopoe Travel (good organization.)

I also stayed at the Serena Lodge in Manyara but found it a bit less personal than Kirurumu.

My favorite time to visit, however, is nearly off season: mid to late Nov. when there are far fewer tourists. But then, I'm not really a game lover - I think there are fewer animals at that time of year.
I go to visit the people there (lovely) and to explore the cultures. Fascinating.
Queenie is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2003, 09:58 AM
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Kavey, I have a post earlier about our June 2002 trip to Tanzania. May not be much help to your situation other than perhaps whetting the appetite to go. Since a migration is a two way event one can also catch the other "half". While perhaps not as spectacular as the Fall the June herd movement was still impressive. Plus, we didn't run into as many other vehicles/people as I have heard during the heavy part of the year. It was great being in the only vehicle at a lion kill and being surround by 15 or more of the big cats. In any case, good luck planning the trip. I am really looking forward to returning (perhaps in 2004).

rsnyder is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2003, 02:41 PM
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Kavey, you might find my website useful to you as it has pretty good pictures and does describe somethings about Tanzania and our trip--including lodging, culture, wildlife, etc. We went the first 3 weeks of January and it was wonderful but that is not when the migration is. With that said, we still say thousands of zebra and wildebeest. The website is: www.janeandken.com
janelp is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2003, 02:45 PM
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Oops--just read new comments in the next posting down and see that you have been to my site. Thanks for the nice words and I am glad you liked the photos. The one of the Hadza boy that you mention happens to be one of my favorites, too. Keep your dream of Tanzania alive and maybe we will see you when we go back.
janelp is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2003, 05:23 PM
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Don't forget - the migration is going on all the time In Dec the wildebeest are working their way down to the short grass in the south eastern Serengeti. In Feb and March they are there having babies, that's when we went. It was amazing. Then they make a circle up through the western Serengeti around May and around July are in central to northern Serengeti, crossing into the Maasa Mara in Sept and back to the Serengeti on the eastern side starting in Nov. Entirely dependant on the rains happening as they should. Possibilities for lodges in the Serengeti, although I'm not sure about the tent count, and haven't been to the places include: Klein's Camp on the east, Grumeti (and Kirawira - where we stayed 2 nights - 25 elegant platform tents) on the western corridor, and Kusini in the southern area. We also went to Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Arusha and the Crater. Hopefully we will get back to see the southern parks, and maybe one of the parks with the chimps, but I would go back to any of them in a heartbeat.
darlene is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2003, 07:45 PM
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Ah, Kavey ... your request was perfect timing. On a damp, dreary day here in N.H. I can think of nothing better than the chance to "talk" about Tanzania. We spent late September/early October 2002 in Tanzania and the weather was ideal. Based on personal experience, I would recommend the following places to visit in Tanzania: Tarangire National Park and the Selous Game Reserve in the south. Tarangire was magnificent, and poor planning on my part resulted in us only spending 1 1/2 days there. Giant baobab trees and some of the largest termite mounds I have ever seen dot the landscape. The Tarangire River (which was really a trickle when we were there) is enough to sustain wildlife year-round, so no need really for a migration out of the park. We saw dik-dik, lions, giraffe, buffalo, etc. My husband was "slimed" by a giraffe when our guide got us so close to a beautiful giraffe eating from an acacia that when leaves fell out of the giraffe's mouth, they fell on my husband's head. It was virtually impossible to take photos of one animal without getting another in the frame. Magnificent park with a wide array of accommodation choices. We stayed at the Tarangire Safari Lodge, which is older and very "rustic," but the view was spectacular. I will never forget the night we spent there when I was awakened by a slight noise, and looked outside the tent window by my bed to see five impala within 2 feet of my bed. My husband swears later that night that an elephant walked alongside his side of the tent. Wonderful park and definitely worth looking at. We spent three glorious nights in Selous at Sand Rivers, which only has eight bandas. It is the site of Richard Bonham's old camping ground, and Bonham is still a visitor there. Anyway, in Selous you can do fly-camping, boat trips and walks (with an armed ranger) inside the reserve. One morning after our picnic breakfast, we tracked lion spoors with an armed ranger leading the way. Do you know what it feels like to approach a lake (Lake Tagalala, the largest in Selous and reportedly the highest density of crocs in East Africa) and have almost 100 crocs run from you into the water? Unbelievable!! It is very bushy compared to the Mara or Serengeti, but I can guarantee that you will not see another tourist vehicle while you are out on game drives. There is an area in Selous that has so many giraffe that they call it "Giraffic Park." The mighty Rufiji River is spectacular and a boat ride on the river is a game drive unto itself. You see crocodile sunning themselves, hippos galore, giraffe, waterbuck, impala, baboons and a lot of other animals down by the river drinking water. The accommodations at Sand River are very comfortable (solar powered ceiling fan over the bed) and the rates include all (including alcohol) beverages and laundry. Morning and afternoon hikes are offered, and the guides are fantastic. While the vast majority of Selous is set aside for game hunting, that is on the other side of the river and had no affect on our animal sitings. In our open-side vehicle, we sat with a pregnant lioness no more than 10 feet away from us. We also spent time with three adorable lion cubs who were left alone while the rest of the pride were out hunting. I would highly recommend Selous to anyone who is looking for something off the beaten path. It's about a 75 minute plane ride from Dar Es Salaam, which is also a great city. I wish we had spent more time there. Wonderful people, very cosmopolitan and shopping galore. Go to the www.intotanzania.com/ site and click the "south" link. This is a good site with accurate information about Selous. I would be happy to answer any other questions you may have about Selous or Tarangire. Thanks for giving me the chance to revisit two very special places..
SusanLynne is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2003, 11:47 PM
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Queenie, I'd love to hear more re the people and the culture. Thanks in advance
pattysuericia is offline  
Apr 24th, 2003, 05:07 AM
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Oh most fantastic, thank you thank you thank you everyone...

Will go away, digest, think, dream and no doubt come back with more questions...

Kavey is offline  
Apr 28th, 2003, 06:49 AM
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Hi Patty:
RE: the culture:
I climbed Kili 5 years ago and made friends with two of the guides.

Since that time both guides have visited my husband & I in the US twice, and I have gone back to visit them.

In Africa, our visits consist of basically just hanging out, meeting the families and friends, going shopping, maybe going on drives. We stick around the Arusha area, or last year we went to Zanzibar and Dar.

It is fascinating to see the lifestyle: some folks live in mud houses with no electricity, some live in masonry homes similar to the US lifestyle. Some live in a dung hut (boma). All are welcoming and friendly. We communicate thru english (through my friends translation), limited Swahili or French.

Memories that pop to mind about the culture:
- It is considered rude to say NO, so they will answer YES to questions even though they have no intent to do what you have asked.
- Greeting and visiting is very important in daily life. You cannot simply 'drop something off' at someones house. It is a time commitment
- If someone has $, food, a TV or whatever, they all share. This is expected.

Since my friends are Maasai, we spend large chunks of the day looking for good goat or beef. Vegetables are only eaten by 'poor' people. And fish? Forget about it!

This type of visit is not for everyone, but the 'cultural submersion' appeals to me.
Queenie is offline  
Apr 28th, 2003, 08:53 PM
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Queenie, I feel the exact same way you do. The wildlife is very important to me but it is just as much of a priority to mix with and do things with the locals-that makes a trip very special-I've met good friends all over like that and it always makes a trip memorable-to just be a tourist doesn't suit me in the least and I loved getting immersed in local culture wherever I have gone..
pattysuericia is offline  
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