18 independent reviews for Tanzania wildlife, people and beach vacation

Reviews for Tanzania wildlife, people and beach vacation

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review 22 Feb 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The vast variety of animals and birds observed often in large numbers and close up.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Check the likely wether conditions particularly day time temperatures in your choosen locations.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It clearly benefited local people as all the staff and guides were native Tanzanians. It supported conservation via the park entry fees. I am not sure it reduced environmental impact as we flew long haul and spent out time in large fuel hungry Land Cruisers.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Extremely enjoyable

review 2 Aug 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The incredible wildlife in both Selous and Ruaha national Parks, plus the coral reefs we saw around Mafia Island - truly spectacular. Lack of other tourists was a major plus.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Complete your PADI diving course before you go on vacation - the coral reefs around Mafia are too incredible to miss. Pack very little - the laundry services are incredible in all the lodges we stayed in in Tanzania.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes - the lodges appeared to be 'low impact' using solar power etc. Too much unnecessary washing of towels, however (and probably the laundry services are not really eco friendly - but very welcome though!) The lodges were largely staffed by local people and all the lodges seemed to have a policy of training up guides, encouraging English lessons and offering the chance to become multi skilled in all areas of lodge work. Charitable trusts have been set up to raise money to improve local living standards/conditions.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

A marvellous vacation that exceeded expectations in all areas!

review 4 Jan 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

It's hard to say what was most memorable -- everything was wonderful. The setting perhaps captures most of it -- staying in beautiful places in the midst of the national parks and conservation areas, where the animals were everywhere (from in camp to close by during game drives). We met wonderful people, saw incredible natural sights, and received service from everyone that could not have been better!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Don't overpack. Take large memory cards for your cameras. Be ready for varied weather. Relax and let your guide show you an incredible time!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

The vacation had a minimal benefit to local people. Aside from stopping at a "cultural" Massai village, I felt strangely removed from the people and place of Tanzania. When we stopped in Arusha to meet with the safari guide company for an introduction to the trip and for them to follow up on our lost luggage was the time when I most felt like I was in Africa and not just a tourist spot. Aside from the use of lots of petrol, I definitely felt like the vacation minimized any negative impacts on the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

The vacation was wonderful. We enjoyed everywhere we stayed, we received wonderful service, every single person we met (staff, other guests, people on the street) was welcoming and friendly. The animals were amazing. The beach could not have been more beautiful or relaxing. Overall, it was fantastic!

review 14 Oct 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

We were lucky enough to see a cheetah hunting a gazelle. Unfortunately the cheetah was unsuccessful but it made the hairs stand up on the back of your neck and you really felt the thrill of the chase watching the animals in action. The vacation was most memorable as Africa was like no where else either of us had either been before. It was our first experience of it and made for a very special honeymoon.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Absolutely definitely triple check the internal flights you have booked as close to or on the day of travel. Our first connecting flight from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro was cancelled meaning we missed half a day of safari and wasted it in Nairobi airport and then a airport hotel. The flight to connect us from Zanzibar to Nairobi to get our flight to back to London was also cancelled (again no notification) and we very nearly didn't make it to our homeward bound flight. If possible, try and arrange a safari tour where you are the only passengers (as opposed to sharing in large groups). You are more likely to have the quiet to appreciate the animals in a smaller group. Don't spend more than a day in the Stone Town unless you really want to shop or be especially touristy.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

We did and that added to our enjoyment of the vacation significantly.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Overall we had a fantastic and unforgettable time. We saw many more animals than we thought we would. The combination of safari activity first followed by relaxing at a beach in Zanzibar was fantastic.

review 17 Aug 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Seeing the great diversity of wildlife and landscapes, from the wildebeest on the plains, lions on the rocks, flamingos in the lakes and dolphins in the sea! Plus being felt very welcome by all of the people we met - we were celebrating two special occasions and received special treatment several times.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

We probably weren't quite prepared for how cool it was in the evenings, especially at the rim of Ngorongoro. Pack some fleeces! Do plenty of research about the different game parks. It probably wasn't the best time to visit the Serengeti although our guide made sure we saw plenty of wildlife. Be prepared to be incredibly hassled in Stone Town (Zanzibar)!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Difficult to say. We did see evidence of local involvement and indication of co-operation between the lodges/hotels and the local communities. One of the best sessions we had was our walk with a Masai guide and felt that he was genuinely happy to show us the plants and landscape - we would like to have done more of this. Would like to know what happens to all the plastic water bottles we (and others) go through in the course of our vacation.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

A wonderful experience of two different aspects of Africa. We certainly intend to return.

review 3 Dec 2007

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Lake Manze adventure camp. Besides the great location, accommodations and game drives; it was the staff that made this part most memorable and the highlight of our honeymoon. Our guide and driver were excellent, as was the hospitality of our hosts Gaia and Paolo. We will definitely consider going back to this location.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

We booked 1 week safari and 1 week of beach vacation, in hindsight, I would have split the 2 up. A full week in Selous was a bit long; 4 days were sufficient.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

It felt like most of the accommodations are owned by foreigners, it is not clear how much of the spend money gets returned in the local economy; especially in Zanzibar prices were high, while wages are pretty low.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

What stood out was the great organization enabling us to unwind and relax completely. All 3 locations were excellent with great staff! Lake Manze however stood out and was definitely the highlight.

review 13 Jan 2007

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The whole vacation was remarkable from start to finish. The two game lodges in Selous we stayed in were both absolutely terrific and suitably different – from the Jungle environment and terrific views at Sable Mountain lodge to the hippo filled River views of the Rufiji at Impala camp in the Selous. All the staff from the cleaners to the safari guides could not have done anything more to help us enjoy our trip. Mafia Island and Pole Pole hotel were exceptional for relaxing beach / diving. The food here is truly world class. The manager Maura, is an excellent hostess and nothing is too much trouble for her. Emerson and Green hotel in Stone Town / Zanizbar is a real treat – stay in the Keep suite and go for dinner in the roof top restaurant. Real Arabian nights.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Simply relax, enjoy it and let the very capable staff take care of everything. The mosquitoes are a problem at certain times of year so take the pills and use repelant. Take plenty of US dollars – in small denominations for tips – it is very hard to cash travelers chq’s 2 nights is more than enough time to be in Stone town.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

The Safari camps were mainly staffed and run by locals – if not owned by them. I go the impression that there were training programmes and career development options for them. They seemed glad of the tips – whether or not this was because the wages are low I’m not sure. Sable mountains environmental attitude was excellent – everything was solar powered. I did get the impression that Impala campo was less concerned. Pole Pole offers very good jobs to locals on Mafia Island which is a relatively poor community – I think that they help out the local traders where possible and do not impact too heavily on the indigenous population. It is very eco – friendly however they did insist on leaving all the lights on in the rooms when ever they were cleaned which seems a bit contradictory – however I must say that the place is incredible and this is only a very minor criticism.

review 11 Oct 2007

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The sunsets from our treehouse at Chole Mjini were perfect.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Take some anti-itch cream for bites.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, particularly at Chole Mjini. The owners always involve local people, and genuinely care about the impact they have on the local community.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent. A perfect honeymoon - we're already looking forward to going back one day!

review 1 Jul 2007

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Driving through the Serengeti with wildebeest, zebra, and giraffe as far as the eye could see. Also sitting eating lunch at the lodge looking across the acacia trees at the classic East African landscape.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

We spent more time on safari and less on Zanzibar and did not regret it. Unless you love to sit on the beach, 2 days on the beach and 1 in Stone Town maybe enough. However Zanzibar certainly needs the tourist dollars, it seems poorer than the mainland.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Most of the workers we came across were local, and tipping them is part of the routine it seems. Zanzibar really relies on tourism with deterioration in other forms of earning. Some lodges were better than others at clarifying their policies on the environment and local development.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Great introduction to Africa and a wonderful vacation.

review 25 Nov 2006

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

I can't possibly chose one thing as it was all amazing. It was our first visit to Africa. I can now understand why so many people have a love affair with Africa! It is impossible vast and breathtaking. The people were friendly and welcoming. It's a surprising land of contrasts - from the forests of Lake Manyara to the grassy plains of Ngorogoro Basin and then the turquoise waters and humidity of Zanzibar. Seeing a pride of lions on our first safari day was a real real thrill as was snorkelling above a sea turtle on Chumbe Island.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Be prepared - it's a different world and if you want total relaxation and comfort, safaris aren't for you. However if you can put up with insect bites and a sore bottom then you will see some truly awesome sights. We think our vacation was well worth the money as we knew we were supporting local people and eco projects. That's what makes this vacation unique. Talk to your tour operator about how you can help the local people. The operator gave us great advice to bring pens and paper for the school kids, balloons as well and they loved that, we just wish we'd brought more.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes we did and we were really pleased about that. For example in Zanzibar we heard some of the more commercial hotels along the coast were dumping their sewage into holes in the ground and polluting the water table rather than treating it properly. The Shooting Star Inn where we stayed had proper sewage and water filtration systems and really taking care of their environment. As the owner of the Shooting Star Inn was a local man with quite a lot of influence, he was making others reconsider their actions. When we were on safari, our driver told us that all the lodges we stayed in were good as they provided proper rest facilities and good food for the drivers, whereas other ones would make drivers sleep in their cars. We also saw a few safari vehicles that were really packed with people and driving round too fast, but our driver spoke with them and they slowed down. Our driver told us that a guides association is going to be set up and guides will have to pass a test and get a license. We really support this as it was obvious that there were some rogue guides out there. Finally the educational programmes on Chumbe Island for the local school children and fishermen were admirable and the staff there were really helping to ensure the coral reef stayed pristine. The most important thing about this vacation was realising as visitors we can make a real difference by choosing hotels, restaurants, tour operators, guides who can provide tourism in a sustainable way rather than those who are out to make a fast buck. Ask questions and make sure you are comfortable with where your money is going!

4. Any other comments?

The best vacation I've been on ***** We'll definitely check out your site again - please keep up the good work promoting truly responsible travel.

review 13 Sep 2006

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The most memorable/exciting time - difficult to say! It was all great. The wildlife, scenery - otherworldly almost, amazing colours at Lake Eyasi, the vastness of the Serengeti, the view from the top of the Crater, our visit to the Hazabe people and in contrast, the colours, smells, sounds of the market in Stone Town and the peaceful beauty of the beach. Wonderful, friendly people, great food - gourmet and white linen cloths! Fantastic accommodation. The whole vacation was uplifting, awe-inspiring, life-changing. I defy anyone to go and not come back a different person! We will definitely be making another trip. Our guide was excellent. Can't recommend them enough.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

If you go during the dry season be prepared for dust on a grand scale! Having said that what you are seeing and doing overrides any discomfort. Done forget your lipsalve and hair conditioner as the air is very dry! You need to be fairly fit as the game drives involve long days over very bumpy roads and if you are not flying, the distances between N.P.s can be quite long. For us, it wasn't a problem, the time flew past and we loved all the activity you see on the road. You get a better feel for the culture. Make sure you always have tissues/loo paper with you as most toilet stops are al fresco.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Definitely. This was something I was very concerned about when booking - hence your great website. The company that we booked through were excellent. We did stay a couple of nights at lodges (our choice instead of camping) but would not do so again. Too big, although service is good and the rooms fine. The smaller tented camps are unobtrusive, the guides that we went with are all locals and very knowledgeable. We learnt so much. Their respect and sensitivity to the environment and wildlife was very obvious. We did notice a number of 4 x 4s speeding through the Parks but our guide was steady and careful and as a result we saw all the wildlife we hoped for without crowds of other vehicles being there.

4. Any other comments?

We had an absolutely wonderful time! To conclude, my rating is most definitely 5*****!

review 1 Apr 2006

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Being able to interact in a NON TOURIST environment with the Maasai community in Loliondo was the ultimate for us once we had experienced the animals this section of our trip was personally very rewarding and meaningful.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Spend at least TWO nights at Crater Lodge! Stay an extra night at Migration Camp rather than staying at Serenea Lodge (too tourist oriented for us).

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Loliondo was a definite for locals and environment. Migration camp was environmentally friendly. Other venues would have benefited locals as in employment. Degrees of environmentally friendly up to the ultimate at Chumbe.

4. Any other comments?

The service was impeccable at all but Serenea...this we found over commercialized and far too many BUS TOURISTS for our liking. Crater Lodge was amazing but needed more than one night there to fully appreciate and enjoy. FIVE STARS out of FIVE We loved it and it fully met and exceeded our expectations in 99.9%. Thank you to this operator and HOOPOE and JOSEPH our wonderful guide and driver!

review 31 Dec 2006

The best part was finding that despite exciting, big screen footage of animals in the wild on the Discovery Channel or Planet Earth shows that children see easily these days, there is nothing to beat the real thing and my three boys of 11, 14 and 16 were equally thrilled for the week we were in Northern Tanzania. We combined animal safari with a visit to various Tanzanian tribes near the Highlands and although the kids thought they wanted to safari every day, actually they enjoyed learning about this country and the people. It also gave us a little bit of isolation form the jeeps touring the main road , leading us to a paradise on Lake Eyasi and some off road thrills. My advice to others is to stay at least two nights in each of the tented camps and really absorb being in the game reserve without having to repack and travel the great distances. We wish we had had 3 nights in the Serengeti Ndutu camp This gives you time to search for the more reclusive animals as well as enjoying the hospitality of the Tanzanian staff. They are kind and interesting and well worth getting to know. I think that locals are extremely proud of their beautiful country and the wildlife and enjoy showing the tourists without harming it . The conservation of the Serengeti and Ngororo is amazing. The safari guides turn off their engines as soon as they stop to view and animal and our jeep was on a low emission fuel. The camps are as simple as possible and use as little fuel (solar panels etc) and space as possible, not encouraging too many guests at once. They look after the area well under the guidance of the Park Rangers. The Kirumuru tented camp, which is beautiful but hidden so it does not change the landscape also supplies clean water and energy from their solar panels to the surrounding villages so they are giving back to the area. The Zanzibar hotel encouraged the purifying of water rather than bottle which is great as plastic bottles and bags is a big problem for developing countries. Some visitors in Zanzibar were very unaware of the Muslim aspect and dressed inappropriately but the hotel tried to guide them. There were no tourists visiting the two tribes we met and our visit was short and gave them a chance to show us their talents in their own home without gleaning us for lots of money to use unwisely. This was not a business like some of the Masaai camps on the roadside. Tourism is of course an enormous business but I think they are being encouraged by the Government and by some visitors via their tour guides like ours to look after their country and also be proud of their heritage. Our guide asked us to buy souvenirs from a cooperative store to share the wealth amongst the craft groups of the area rather than support the roadside paraphernalia of poorer quality. One of the hotels sold NGO goods made by local single mothers. We were also guided as to how to tip and to share it fairly. I was particularly impressed that until Zanzibar we only met one non resident managing the hotels and he was in the background. We had a totally memorable family adventure together and were looked after superbly by the Tanzanians everywhere.

review 3 Jul 2006

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Apart from the obvious highs of seeing cheetah in the Serengeti and 6 rhino in Ngorongoro, we loved the fabulous locations of all of the tented camps - Kisima Ngeda at Lake Eyasi, and Mt Makarot in particular. It was just incredible to be staying in such beautiful places, and the variety of the landscapes meant that each time we moved camp, we were amazed all over again. Our guide Joseph was brilliant, and his extensive knowledge of local wildlife got us hooked on bird spotting - even though we'd only been interested in the big 5 before coming!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

The beach resort in Zanzibar is absolutely beautiful and once you get there, you won't want to leave. It's also a little way away from anything else, so if you want to visit Stone Town, we'd advise spending a night there at the end of the vacation rather than trying to do it as a day trip from the resort. We also did the walk up the escarpment from Lake Eyasi over to our camp at Mt Makarot, which was good fun but has lost some of the charm now that a new road has been opened along the route. Previously, the walk was a short cut and avoided the 50km trip back around the lake but the road had opened just before we arrived (big excitement in the camp and our driver was the first to try it out!).

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

We felt that on balance we had a positive impact on the local people, especially in terms of employment and bringing money to the local economy etc...As for the environment, we were driving around in a jeep all day which is never going to be great. While it was lovely to have a personal jeep and guide all to ourselves, the environmental effect of all the safari vehicles can't be good (especially as lots of them only had a couple of people in them like ourselves).

4. Any other comments?

We certainly did have a fantastic time on our safari and beach vacation and would highly recommend this operator. The organisation was excellent - we didn't have to worry about a thing and were just taken smoothly from one place to the next without having to think about anything at all. Overall 4 stars. We had loads of fun and have zillions of stories to tell the grandchildren!

review 2 Oct 2005

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Most memorable was the very relaxing atmosphere at Sand River. The amazing architecture and people on pretty Chumbe. The dedication of the people working on Chumbe. All the animals. Sleeping under the stars in the Selous.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Bring lots of film.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, especially very much so on Chumbe Island.

review 9 Sep 2005

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Kahawa Shamba in the foothills of Kilamanjaro was the highlight of the vacation. Amazing people.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

To avoid spending much time in Stone Town unless you are a very seasoned traveler and male or with a man!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, very good.

review 20 Feb 2005

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The tree house in Naitolia camp, the view over Ngorongoro from the rim & the campfire at ndutu camp.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Ensure you get a view of the crater when you camp on the rim!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes apart from wasteful packed lunches.

review 30 Dec 2005

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Safari in Serengeti, Camp in Serengeti and the lodge and hiking/guiding in the local area by Lake Eyasi.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

To include the two parts Serengeti and Lake Eyasi.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, with small exceptions.

4. Any other comments?

A nice and knowledgeable guide/driver, also the guide in Lake Eyasi.

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