Tanzania vacation, safari, culture and wildlife 7 days

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Tanzania vacation, safari, culture and wildlife 7 days

Environment

There are tremendous attractions in East Africa but the effect of tourism on fragile environments and indigenous cultures is often degrading. This need not be so and we want to avoid contributing to further damage whilst recognising that foreign visitors can bring great benefits. Therefore our trips are designed to give real insights into the lands we travel through with minimum impact on the people and places we visit.

We provide an intelligent traveler's alternative to the myriad adventure treks and safaris. We don’t miss the wildlife spectaculars, the so called “Big Five” - but you’ll see and learn something of the other five hundred as well and we'll never make you feel like a package tourist.

All of our foodstuffs are bought locally - often involving our clients in the shopping from markets along the way. Our drivers and guides adhere to the behaviour guidelines for conservation as set out by Friends of Conservation.

We provide our clients with advice on responsible travel behaviour and encourage them to share their cultures with the peoples they meet as a way of improving understanding of our two very different life-styles.

Community

There are no woolly "wherever possible" or "if available" caveats to our commitments to responsible travel practices benefiting local communities. We believe that all members in local communities must see rewards from tourism if they are to have an interest in safeguarding their environments.

In Tanzania we co-operate with the Cultural Tourism Programs initiated by local communities who decided to do something for themselves to benefit from the tourism potential. They were supported in this by the Dutch Aid agency SNV. In Longido, Karatu and Mtu Wa Mbu our activities with the villagers benefit their communities directly through the fees we pay - supporting families, local guides and a number of local farmers and businesses along the way.

We have also contributed significantly to the building of Maasai primary schools at Ilkurot and Esilalei, and donated solar lighting and phone charging to 20 local houses (via SolarAid). We donate $500 per year to the Arusha Children's Trust - a charity providing education and meals for deprived kids. All of the campsites and lodges we use are locally owned and staffed by Tanzanians.

Our staff are paid well above average wages and receive profit share bonuses each year. We do not recruit on tribal allegiance grounds. We employ many local guides and camp assistants en-route. Treating our staff fairly creates loyalty to our company and commitment to providing our clients with superb service.

Reviews of Tanzania vacation, safari, culture and wildlife 7 days

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 05 Sep 2013 by

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


I enjoyed both the safari in Serengeti and the diving in Mafia very much

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


Search for the right provider with experience in organising vacations in Tanzania

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


Absolutely, locals are very friendly and welcoming

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


Very good

Reviewed on 09 Oct 2012 by

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


Our most memorable moments were our interactions with the local people. Even though we booked this safari to see the Serengeti, we also wanted to make sure we spent an equal amount of time visiting and getting to know the people of Tanzania. We will forever hold in our hearts how warm and inviting everyone was. If I were to say the second most memorable part, it would be all the colors. The people of Tanzania love colors and it was apparent everywhere.

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


The best tips I could give is:
- Pack lightly (water is in short supply so bring things you can wear more than once)
- Bring lots of US dollars (you can use US dollars everywhere - even in the tribal communities)
- Buy on the local market (if you plan to donate to a school or community, buy the supplies locally to support the community rather than bringing them from home)

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


Yes, yes and yes. We could see first hand how our vacation benefited local people. We visited a Maasai tribe that has a schoolhouse built from funds donated by Maasai Wanderings. We also bought solely on the local market. As for reduction on environmental impacts and conservation, everything we did made us mindful of how to better conserve the water and electricity we used. We could also see what impact we and the community made on the environment around us.

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


Fantastic! Amazing! Awe inspiring! The trip of a lifetime!

Reviewed on 08 Nov 2012 by

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


For me it was walking out of our campsite on the savannah with just day packs,
and seeing ostrich, giraffe and gazelle as we walked. It felt like we had truly
got away from it all. My husband loved the moment we were just 8 feet from a
cheetah in the Masai Mara National Park. I think the kids loved everything.

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




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


Yes. We visited several projects that the tour operator is involved with and everyone we met spoke of the positive relationship.

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


Fantastic. It was the perfect family vacation with a 12 year old and 14 year old.
Always plenty to do, loads of variety, but never rushed.

Reviewed on 13 Mar 2011 by

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


Wow! where would we start? Muba - a great and knowledgeable guide with a tremendous sense of humour, Jackson a terrific cook and again a great sense of humour. Stumbling upon elephants whilst walking to the viewpoint at the Serengeti park gates. Sitting in the bush at night with the maasai during a thunderstorm. Animals, people, culture, experiences... there were so many memorable points, we'll be recalling them for years to come.

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


The company were great to deal with. Donna was extremely helpful when we were booking the trip, Muba and Jackson kept us right whilst on the trip. Don't be frightened to ask or enquire, they will help in any way they can.

A down side but nothing to do with the company or the trip. Be warned that African airports are not like European ones. We arrived back at Kili airport from Zanzibar at 7.30pm. Our flight out in the morning was 6am and we intended to stop in the airport until then. This is not possible, you are not allowed to enter the airport. We sat outside for hours until some UN employees told us this was unsafe and took us to a local lodge. It cost us £135 for four hours at the lodge, there was no where else to go. Although we couldn't really afford it at least we were safe. Do bear this in mind when making your own travel arrangements.

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


Those involved in this particular tourism area would have definitely benefited but it was probably a small percentage of the actual local population. The Iraqwi village walk left me wondering whether the village benefited or just our guide and his family. The maasai were obviously getting a good deal with their school which was funded by the company and the women with their jewellery which they were selling. As for minimizing impacts on the environment? I felt guilty that there were just the two of us in the safari vehicle (I also felt very lucky!). There are many, many safari vehicles out there, they are bound to have an effect on the environment, however, the revenue which these companies bring into the area and the parks are what keeps everything going.

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


Great! The wildlife viewing was far better than we anticipated and Muba's knowledge and ability to share it made for fascinating listening. The tents were roomy and mattresses comfortable. Jackson seemed to think we needed fattening up, unfortunately we were never able to eat every last scrap of food, what a great cook! The change in itinerary with Manyara National Park being at the beginning rather than the end was a great way to lead you into the safari itself, I loved Manyara, so many trees, a great variation of wildlife, a great starting point. I would recommend this company to anyone, a full and interesting itinerary and fantastic staff.

Reviewed on 28 Dec 2009 by

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


Two things stood out the most over other safari companies. First, the very knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff absolutely made the trip superior to other similar-looking outfits. Instead of using the radio and following a lot of other safari vehicles around in order to spot animals, our guide and driver went further out, driving slowly, and as a result, we got to see a lot of really unique sights. It made all of our sightings a lot more special, and not like we were in a zoo. Our guide knew a LOT (he had a degree) of information about all the flora and fauna in the area. Secondly, this company did two cultural visits (on a 7 day trip), which were really interesting to local villages; one of which was to a community that they support through the safari. It enriched my understanding of the people living in the area, and it was really satisfying to see that some of the proceeds of our trip were going somewhere beneficial.

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


Do some research into the safari company that you choose. Many other companies (especially budget ones) do not pay their staff a regular salary, which requires them to live off tips. Secondly, only this safari company and one other does similar community work, so I felt it was important to choose somewhere that not only promotes cultural understanding, but directly benefits them.

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


Absolutely. I believe something like 9% of their profits goes back to the community, and they have two ongoing projects. One of the villages we visited was in the process of building a school with a kitchen, and they've already completed a school for another village, along with a resource center for teachers, playground, etc. They're also doing some work to benefit the environment (such as planting trees to help cut down on the dust).

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


This company was outstanding--it made our vacation!

Reviewed on 30 Jul 2007 by

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


There were so many high points it's hard to pick out just one; the wildlife was amazing-many different species as well as the usual lions etc (LOADS of lions!). The staff- cooks, guides and drivers were really friendly, helpful and knowledgeable and the entire group (9 + 6staff) gelled together as a family for a week (ujamaa as they say in Tanzania). The cultural walk, a proper Maasai market (not just beads but meat and sugar cane beer!) and the half day with the Maasai were absolutely fascinating and we all felt very privileged to be invited into one of the homes in the village.

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


Go with an open mind - don't be afraid to talk to people. Take school equipment to give to the head teachers of schools you visit for distribution to children, or extra money to make a donation. In some places you have to be able to squat to use the toilet - could be awkward if you have a bad back!

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


Absolutely yes. We visited a nursery school built by the operator and a primary school they support. One of our guides, (Victor) who is being trained by the company, told me he loves working for them and helped to paint the outside of the nursery school. We were able to buy souvenirs (carvings, beads, pictures) directly from people who made them - a positive benefit, no middle men. Obviously the vehicles have impact in terms of fuel use and emissions, but all the driving was on roads so no erosion, and no stress to animals.

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


Superb. Excellent value for money. All extra arrangements (hotel bookings and transfers) went very smoothly. Great food, lots of fresh fruit, soup and main (mostly African-ish) courses. Good hygiene precautions. Great fun. I would recommend anyone to try this vacation.

Reviewed on 16 Jul 2006 by

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


The first night we drove into the Serengeti, we saw three cheetahs stalking an antelope, and a very pregnant lioness greeting the lion. The sounds of the night - zebras, wildebeasts, jackels, bush pigs and lions from the "comfort" of our tent, are an experience we will never forget. The cultural experiences were equally memorable, especially the walk through a village and the visit to a school.

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


This operator makes it very plain in their literature that this is not "luxury camping" and anyone traveling with this tour should be prepared to be in a bush camp with few facilities some nights. They should also go with an open mind and an open heart for the people they will meet in the cultural experiences.

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


The work the staff is doing to assist a school is a wonderful service, and we were glad to be a part of that effort. Also, their work with the people of Mto Wa Mbu to provide a cultural experience in that village is outstanding.

4. Any other comments?


We had an amazing trip with this operator in Tanzania. The staff was outstanding. Their knowledge and their concern for the people of their country, as well as the environment, was inspiring. I would give the trip 5 stars.

Reviewed on 14 Aug 2005 by

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


Without question, it was the game drives. Seeing so much wildlife and being so close to such a diversity of animals was amazing.

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


Bring LOTS of film! Twice as much as you think you'll need. Also, the "camping" was much easier than traditional tent camping. Since staff set up & took down tents, cooked meals, etc. it was very easy "camping." The meals were plentiful and amazingly good, but snacks were a great way to make new friends on the game drives. Mornings were quite cool, and Ngorongoro was cold, so we'd recommend bringing a warm hat and fleece jacket.

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


Yes. All of our drivers, cooks, guides, and guest house staff were locals. This benefited us as well, as we were able to interact with Africans rather than European or American staff. One night of our tour was spent at a Maasai village, interacting with warriors and villagers. The crafts we purchased directly from the Maasai women enabled them to have money to use in their households. Other than the fuel used by the vehicles, our environmental footprint seemed to be fairly small.

4. Any other comments?


It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime type of trip! We highly recommend it to all adventurous travelers. Thank you for providing us with the information necessary to travel responsibly. We look forward to doing business with you again in the future and will recommend you to our friends and family.

Reviewed on 19 Jun 2005 by

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


The most memorable part of our vacation - well there are many memorable moments - firstly the efficiency of our company and their staff who made us feel very safe and organised our trip to include a variety of experiences which gave us a true flavour of the culture of the country. Secondly, we were overwhelmed by the hospitality of the local people and their lovely natures. Very friendly smiley folk who welcomed us into their villages and homes and we were particularly struck by the aura of contentment and happiness - the children were a delight. The animals were in abundance and we were very lucky to see the big 5 within the first two days. The beauty of the country and its inhabitants can only truly be appreciated "live" and we would thoroughly recommend the trip to anyone to see for themselves as photographs just don't do it justice - you need to be there to "feel" it, "smell" it, "taste"it - to drink it all in.

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


We would certainly promote this operator who offer the whole cultural experience and support local projects. The company does not present itself with a false image - the accommodation is not luxurious by any means and you have to rough it a bit at times - they are clear about this. The information they provide on their website is comprehensive and mostly accurate and they are keen for feedback from their clients. Our guide was excellent, he had an abundance of knowledge and his supporting staff, drivers and cooks were great. Our message to anyone thinking of a safari vacation is to do it and we are sure you will enjoy the experience of the stunning scenery, rich game areas and friendly people.

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


We would recommend traveling with a fair trade company because this benefits the locals and offers travelers a true insight into their culture - don't miss it.

Reviewed on 30 Jan 2005 by

A group of us from New Mexico found out about this operator through your website. We just got back from a month in Tanzania - Kilimanjaro climb and a safari. I wanted to let you know that we had a wonderful experience and would definitely recommend this tour company to others. The highlights in terms of working with the company: Chris, the main contact person in the UK, was great about answering our questions clearly and honestly. He made special arrangements to accomodate two vegetarians in the group and a person with a food allergy.

The accomodations were modest, which helped keep the cost down, but there was no scrimping on good, healthy food, safety, environmental consciousness, and clean conditions in terms of tents and camping areas. The vehicles were in good working order, the Tanzanian guides and staff were excellent: competent, knowledgeable and kind. Based on our experiences, we felt that this was a socially responsible company in deeds not just words. There was a sense of teamwork and respect amongst the staff that we saw as part of this operator's commitment to being a fair trade company. The cultural insight experiences they provided on the safari part of the trip were highlights for us. We stayed at the operator's guesthouse, which we would definitely recommend to others. Logistically it made things much easier, and the food and staff there were great.

Reviewed on 26 Oct 2003 by

I wanted to give you some feedback on our Tanzania Explorer Safari we took. I absolutely could not have been more pleased. The staff was first rate. They were professional, competent, helpful, and kind. It was very sad to say good bye to them after spending so much time with them. Also the itinerary and planning for the safari were excellent.

Obviously we could have traveled with any number of companies but chose this operator because of their philosophy and the cultural tourism aspect of the trip and we're so pleased that we did. They really are everything they say they are and the cultural tour days were the highlight of the trip.

I would highly recommend this operator to anyone who wants to see more than animals and make a positive contribution to the lives of the local people. Please feel free to give my personal information to anyone who would like to chat about the operator or travel to Tanzania in general.

Thanks for the recommendation.

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