Zanzibar and safari

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Dec 17th, 2005, 03:03 AM
  #1
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Zanzibar and safari

Hello, everybody! My name is Marina. We have booked our honeymoon at Zanzibar in Feb. WE'll stay in 2 hotels: Breezes and Pongwe. Do you think it's a good choice?
We would also like to go for a short, 3-day safari in Tanzania. Has anyone done that, or heard about people doing that? We haven't book anything for the safari yet, and are hoping to do that once at Zanzibar. You think it can be arranged from there?
Thanks in advance for any piece of advice as to Zanzibar!
Marina


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Dec 18th, 2005, 09:52 AM
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Congratulations on your wedding! If you are doing a Tanzania safari in Feb, I'd book it now and not wait until you are in Zanzibar. Feb is a popular time in Tanzania.

Never been to Zanzibar so no knowledge of its hotels.
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Dec 18th, 2005, 10:06 AM
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You haven't mentioned your budget, but if it's generous, I guess you could do a fly-in 3 day safari. However, as Lynn suggests, I'd hustle on booking the safari; accommodations are at a premium, and you could find "there's no room at the inn."

I hope others can give you more specifics.

And please do report back about your experiences on Zanzibar. Have a wonderful honeymoon!
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Dec 18th, 2005, 12:26 PM
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If you're speaking about February '06, there is very little if any space on mainland Tanzania's northern circuit parks for safaris.

Into/Out of which airport are you flying? Dar-es-Salaam (DAR) or Kilimanjaro (JRO) Tanzania for you connection to ZNZ? Generally, it's suggested to do safari first then relax on the beaches. When including safari you would have to add the flight to/from mainland to ZNZ at least once (maybe twice) if doing the beach first.

So, both budget and availability may be an issue.

As to the hotels on ZNZ:
Breezes is lovely and honeymooners abound. Located on the southeast coast of the island. Rooms are air conditioned, something to think about especially since you'll be visiting in the summer here. And considering the coastal areas are hot and humid.

Pongwe, is smaller and many exclaim they have the loveliest beach. Located on the northeast coast. However, no air condtioning.

Who will be handling your transfer between the two hotels and how many days at each?

If you're working through a travel agent they can try to ascertain if there are any safari options available, as long as you know this is high-season (meaning high $$$) and you will have added airfares.

 
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Dec 19th, 2005, 07:52 AM
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Dear Marina

For safari - Also think about Southern Tanzania since Ruaha National Park and Selous Game Reserve are just one Coastal Air flight away from Zanzibar whereas the Northern Parks will also require a drive or second flight.

Ruaha is higher and cooler in February (although still hot rather than cool) than the possibly hot and sweaty Selous.

I would suggest doing your research and booking before you go.

Richard
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Dec 19th, 2005, 08:08 AM
  #6
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Dear All,
Thank you for all your replies! Thank you for congrats, and I'll be sure to make a thorough report including pics .
So I guess we really need to book everything now, before we go.

sandi - We will be flying out of DAR. We'll stay 6 nights at Breezes and 5 nights at Ponwge. We don't have a transfer back from ZNZ to DAR arranged yet. I've booked everything though ATR, and they've been great so far. However, the safari's they offered were way too expensive for us and they could not do it for 3 days, 2 nights. We'd like to spend $300/day max on a safari plus the travel expenses. I hope it's still possible.

Richard_Smith - Thanks for your tips! I'll look into those! Have you heard anything about Kilimanjaro Park? Anything interesting there or just the mount to climb?

Thank you again, I am getting so excited about our trip!!!
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Dec 19th, 2005, 08:17 AM
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Marina

As budget is an issue it'd be cheaper to fly to Selous than Ruaha (you'll just have to cope with the heat!).

Selous Safari Company www.selous.com still use their 2005 rates to the end of their 2005-6 season in March 2006. Their nightly rate is US$270 plus $30 reserve fees in their February low season at Selous Safari Camp. Just what you want (possible for two nights) and for the right price (although the flights there might be prohibitive, I don't know what you have allowed)

You can fly direct Znz to Selous and then back to Dar.

I know of Hoopoe Safaris running trips to Western Kilimanjaro (outside the National Park itself, which I think is just the mountain) but haven't been there myself. I understand they get some traffic from Amboseli, animal traffic that is, including good ele's. Not really sure i'm afraid this is second hand and I haven't had clients go there.

Yours, Richard
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Dec 19th, 2005, 08:31 AM
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Eastern and Southern do a range of Tanzanian Safaris and may be able to advise. http://www.essafari.co.ke/

My contact there.... who has been really helpful... is Serah. [email protected]

They have 3 day lodge and camping safaris. But they can put together a shedule bespoke.

SR

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Dec 19th, 2005, 09:34 AM
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Is that $300/day per person? I also second the suggestion of southern Tanzania since you're flying out of DAR. I believe fares from Zanzibar to Selous run around $280 roundtrip. Flights to Ruaha will be much higher.
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Dec 19th, 2005, 09:37 AM
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Obviously you'd fly ZNZ-Selous-DAR and not roundtrip ZNZ, sorry for the confusion. The fare should still be about the same.
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Dec 19th, 2005, 10:35 AM
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sandi
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Marina -

Definitely, if DAR will be your departing airport, then Selous would be the closest. Should this be something that is of interest, Richard provided references for you to check. However, if flying from ZNZ to Selous, you're not likely to have 3-days for safari... unless the flight returning to DAR gives you additional time. Definitely check flight schedules (to/from) and if need be, maybe you can shorten by a day beach-time from ZNZ.

Let us know how things come together.
 
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Dec 19th, 2005, 10:42 AM
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Marina/Sandi

Oh ye of little faith - how about the daily 0800 Coastal flight out of Znz to Selous arriving at 0900, followed by the 1515 return flight from Selous to Dar or Znz. That's almost 3 days safari for two nights stay.

Now I really am working hard for you - suggestions, weblinks for camps, rates, flight schedules - just like a real tour operator!

Yours, Richard
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Dec 19th, 2005, 10:52 AM
  #13
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Richard,
you are wonderful - such a help! Thank you sooo much! I'll do my own research now, I don't feel about giving you and others so much hassle.

Sandi and Patty,
I think we'll just fly to Selous, and spend as much time as possible there. Thank you for your suggestions, they are brilliant!

Now the question is: how do I book coastal flights?

THANK YOU ALL AGAIN!
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Dec 19th, 2005, 10:58 AM
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Dear Marina

Sorry, didn't mean to sound rude, I was joking!

It's fun to be able to answer questions and I wouldn't have found the answers if I hadn't time/inclination

Enjoy your trip

Richard
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Dec 19th, 2005, 11:02 AM
  #15
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Richard -

Thanks for the heads-up on the schedule. Just hate to see people have their hopes up and find they barely deplane and have to reboard.

Now Marina - If you have an 8am flight, and have to be at the airport by 7am... it's an early wake up and the drive to get from Pongwe to the airport.

You may want to consider spending the last day or two in Stone Town which is a great place to take in some Swahili culture... and it's only 10-minutes from the airport. Tembo House, Dhow Palace are reasonably priced; a bit higher in cost is Emerson & Green.

Keep us posted.
 
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Dec 21st, 2005, 02:16 PM
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Hi Marina,

Pongwe is a great place to stay! The food is exceptionally good. I was there last February and I would suggest that you contact them and make sure you are set up for one of the front bungalows, preferably on the far end for privacy. We were in one of the two that were set back off the beach and it was really hot...no breeze. I think we would have been fine if we had been closer to the water.

ShayTay
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Dec 22nd, 2005, 03:14 AM
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Hi ShayTay ,
Thanks a bunch for your tip! I just emailed them - hopefully we'll get a front bungalow!
Marina
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Dec 24th, 2005, 02:26 AM
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ShayTay,
where did you go for lunch, while staying in Pongwe? They only offer breakfast and dinner. Any tips as to lunches?
Thanks!
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Dec 24th, 2005, 04:54 AM
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Pongwe serves all three meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner. Apparently your reservations were made for Half-Boad (HB) - Breakfast and Dinner. This is not unusual, as many guests are out on the beach, at the pool or participating in some activity during the day - snorkeling, scuba, tours, etc. If away from the hotel and "involved" guests prefer not to break what they're doing to return for lunch which has been pre-paid.

Besides, mid-day is often very hot - not conducive for eating.

However, if you are on the premises at Pongwe, you can always break for lunch and have this billed to your account. Meals are not expensive.

If you want to be assured of lunch daily, just have your tour outfitter make this change for the price difference.
 
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Dec 25th, 2005, 09:20 AM
  #20
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Thanks for the info! We actually specifically inquired for FB, but were told it's impossible...

Have you snorkelled while at Pongwe? How far are the reefs from the shore? It is possible to swim there, of do you have to take a boat to organize snorkelling?
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