Lake Manyara NP

Our girl now being 1.5 year old and my mama visiting us made us decide to go on a short safari trip. We decided to go to Lake Manyara NP for a weekend. My very first safari in 2006 was in Lake Manyara NP and since that time, I came there several times. I had not been there for three years now and I saw changes. Last year, some floods have been devastating the area. The water came from the escarpment of the rift valley through the rivers and took many big rocks. At the entrance, I found that the visitor center and the toilets were completely covered by rocks. In addition, within the park, we saw several areas where trees had fallen down and rocks were present. Moreover, according to what we saw and heard, the habitat of several animals has changed. However, it has not made the park less attractive. Floods are part of nature and that is what I saw in the park also. Manyara National Park is however still highly rewarding, as it was. It is unique in its sort because a significant part of the park consists of forest. Although we did not see any tree-climbing lion, the forest is a great place for seeing many types of monkeys and birds. To name some loads of baboons, Sykes blue monkeys and vervet monkeys and considering birds: kingfisher, black kite, giant kingfisher, hornbill, wagtail etc etc. The combination of this forest, a savannah area and the lake makes this park perfect to start your safari with. On the savannah plains we saw zebra, wildebeest, giraffes, warthogs and here and there a buffalo. The most amazing and very rare animal that we saw here was a cheetah. Bernard, who has been a safari driver guide since ten years and visited Manyara NP a hundred of times, never saw cheetah here before. The cat was a bit far, so it was difficult to show it to our girl. The good thing was that she was really interested with seeing the monkeys that came close to the car and to see the zebra and giraffes. And for me? Although we only saw the butt of one of the big five (a buffalo), I really enjoyed being there again. The sceneries of this park are beautiful. The forest just below the steep escarpment of the rift valley is beautiful. Also, the combination of all colours is amazing. The deep green of the forest, the red soil of the roads and open places, the light green of the savannah grasses, the pink of the flamingoes, the grayish blue of the lake, white of the salty crystals on its shores, the blackgrey mountains at the horizon, the blue skies and the white clouds in combination with all the wild animals make this park a wonderful destination.

 

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Zanzibar: island of thousand-and-one-nights

Lovely seafood! A warm but fresh breeze! The smell of fresh spices! Beautiful beaches! Mystic Stonetown! Hospitable people! Palmtrees! I can continue for hours and hours to describe all good things of Zanzibar. Zanzibar is an archipelago that is part of Tanzania. The main island is Unguja and that’s the island I’m talking about. However, people always refer to Unguja with the name Zanzibar. Just after Christmas I had the opportunity to go there. I have been there several times, but each time and again, I love the island. I always call it the other Tanzania. My main goal was to visit some hotels that we may offer to our clients after they’ve been on a safari or after they have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. Zanzibar truly is a heaven to relax after the more adventurous trips in Tanzania. The good thing about such a business trip is that I could enjoy the total environment. So, I made a bit of a vacation of it.

After being in the sky for less than one hour from our home in Kilimanjaro Region, I could already enjoy the lovely view from the plane seeing the azure-blue ocean with white beaches, picturesque Stonetown and millions, if not billions, of palmtrees. The first two days we stayed in Stonetown, which is the ‘capital’ of Zanzibar. We enjoyed walking through the small alley-ways with several old buildings and the beautifully carved wooden doors, chatting with the local Zanzibari and eating lovely seafood in the great restaurants, but also in Forodhani Gardens. Forodhani is an experience in itself. You should be there when the sun sets in the ocean and the kerosene lights are on. Local people appear and you can choose literally every creature from the sea like octopus, squid, shark, barracuda, kingfish, tunafish, lobster, but also several kinds of meat, chapati, naan and banana-chocolate-pancakes. The atmosphere is like taken from a thousand-and-one-night fairytale. Look for the place where the locals are, because there the chance is highest that the food is fresh. We found a place where we could choose what we wanted to eat. It is always a bit hard to choose because the several types of seafood are abundant. We choose kingfish and tunafish. The sticks with the fish were placed on the barbecue and after some 15 minutes we got our plate with fish. Fresh catch of the day!

After the hustle of Stonetown, a visit to one of the superb beaches is the best option. This time we choose to go Paje Beach and Jambiani beach. In Paje Beach we found a beautiful stretch of white sand with palmtrees scattered around. The ocean was pretty warm, but just cool enough to forget about the hot temperatures. We stayed in Cristal Resort where the food was lovely. After that, we went to the Casa Del Mar Hotel in Jambiani Beach. This place was so friendly and the facilities are fantastic. Due to big winds with high tides, the beach was a bit less attractive, but the swimming pool with the lovely view on the ocean compensates that. We had a great new year’s party with life music and delicious food. The rooms here are lovely and very spacious. We stayed here for three days where we just relaxed and forgot about the rest of the world.

In previous visits to Zanzibar I have done several excursions, so this time I decided just to relax and judge the hotels. However, you can do so many excursions such as a city-tour, a spice tour, a dolphin tour  and a visit to Jozani forest to see the unique red Colobus monkey. If you are more adventurous, you may go snorkelling, diving or kite surfing. No matter what you do, you will surely enjoy Zanzibar.

I really enjoyed this other Tanzania again. I wish I could go there much more often, because it is kind of a retreat.  I just love the combination of seeing the local life of Stonetown and relaxing on the beach for a few days. The mix of Africa, Middle East and even some Far East touches  makes this Island one of my favourite destinations.

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Something more about us

Recently, we have added a blog to our website. Here we are able to write a bit more extensively about our experience in Tanzania besides the short messages and pictures on facebook and twitter. We will write about safaris and other trips specifically, but also about other experiences, events, living in Tanzania and any other news that may be interesting to you.

We have recently moved to another house close to Moshi town with a magnificent view on Mount Kilimanjaro. Well, we have to look a bit around the pillars of our veranda, but Kilimanjaro looks great from our place. We have lived in Moshi now since three years. Before that, Bernard has Always lived at the foot of Mount Meru, the little brother of Mount Kilimanjaro. Another great mountain to climb. I lived and worked in Netherlands before coming to Moshi. As I found a job in Moshi as post doc researcher, we decided to live in Moshi. That was a good choice. Every day, I walk to the small bus, the daladala, that brings me to my work, I am privileged to enjoy the great view of Mount Kilimanjaro. It is great to interchange my work as a researcher with creating great (safari) trips in Tanzania. As I said, here we will keep you updated about our work and life in Tanzania. We hope you may enjoy reading our stories and that they will inspire you to come and see the beauties of Tanzania.

Marion

Kilimanjaro

 

Southern Tanzania

As of the start of 2014 we can offer trips to Southern Tanzania.

The Galery below proofs this area is worth while!