Safari and Sand
Safari so good
Seeing wild animals in their natural environment is thrilling. Travel in a jeep with pop-up roof to get the best Instagrammable shots (unlike being in a totally open jeep, you won’t feel like meals on wheels!). Tanzania is one of the world’s best safari destinations. We recommend having your own guide/driver. That way, you can do what suits you – whether you want to be out all day with a packed breakfast and lunch or go back to your lodge during the hotter spells.
For a real adventure, tour different parks to see the varied scenery of this stunning part of
Africa, from vast open savannah dotted with ancient baobab trees, to rivers, swamps and forest. Everyone’s experience is different but you won’t go more than a few minutes without spotting something – zebra, antelope, wildebeest, warthog, baboons, ostriches, buffalo, giraffe… You’ll see elephants close-up, including tiny babies trying to keep up with their mums. You would be unlucky if you didn’t come across hyenas or lions (we loved the sight of two male lions – probably brothers – just feet away, cuddling up together and purring and puffing). We also caught sight of a cheetah and, fleetingly, a leopard…
Stay in style
We kicked off at the charming Rivertrees Country Inn, near Arusha – the perfect place to sleep off our journey before meeting our safari guide (and jeep) the following morning.
Next stop was Tarangire National Park and our campsite, Ndovu. Camping in the bush is the best way to have an authentic wildlife experience and you don’t have to rough it. Our tents had proper beds and furniture plus a bathroom with loo and hot shower. Wildlife is all around – scary at first (you’ll hear growls and rustles at night) but staff reassured us that the animals avoid the tents. After dark, you’re accompanied to and from dinner to be on the safe side!
After a couple of nights here, we headed north through Lake Manyara National Park, with its vast stretch of water where flamingoes and hippos live, to Endoro Lodge in the cool forests just outside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
Next day we drove down into the Ngorongoro Crater – the largest unflooded and unbroken caldera in the world, which was full of animals! A day of wildlife viewing here was followed by(bumpy) journey by road into the legendary Serengeti, where we spent a further two nights at the wonderful Naona Moru Camp, with its huge tents and super friendly staff.
All you’ll want to do after a safari is flop on a beach. Rather handily the dreamy island of Zanzibar is a short hop away by small plane. Zanzibar’s south-east coast has silky white sands stretching for miles alongside the warm waters of the Indian ocean. Tourism is lowkey, with only a handful of hotels.
We stayed at the Echo Beach Hotel, a relaxed place with just 10 thatched-roof casitas, some on two storeys and ideal for families, plus a beautiful pool and a bar and restaurant. Chef/owner Andrew is from England but French trained and serves up impressive food making much use of the plentiful seafood each day. Drag yourself away to try some watersports – diving, snorkelling, windsurfing and kite surfing are all available nearby.
Stone Town – the capital and hub of political and social life on the island – is well worth a day trip, too. It’s now a Unesco World Heritage Site, which is understandable when you see the stunning yet sadly crumbling architecture with Arab, European and Indian influences.
Get lost in the narrow streets and lunch in a breezy rooftop restaurant (we recommend the Emerson on Hurumzi). The Anglican cathedral, former site of one of the world’s last slave markets, shut down by the British in 1873 – is a poignant reminder of the island’s history.