Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

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Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by coffeeguy » Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:38 pm

Ok, finally have a few minutes to post a trip report.

We spent 3 weeks this summer in Tanzania and Zanzibar - fantastic trip - appreciated the advice of the board when planning - it certainly made it better.

Few into Arusha on Turkish Air (18 hours from TO). We booked a 9 day 'mid-range' safari of the major Northern parks through a local company - Benson Safaris, who were fantastic. They designed a 'custom' itinerary for us. We had a private driver exclusively for our family. Guide was extremely knowledgable and friendly, especially to our kids.

Arusha was no great shakes, but interesting enough to walk/drive around. Got ripped off at the local Maassai craft market, typical hard sell at every booth with 100 vendors selling to a handful of tourists.

Headed out next day to Tarangire national park - which was incredible. Animals everywhere. Not too crowded. Stayed at a great tenet camp lodge with a swimming pool and terrace overlooking the plains - amazing to see the animals moving in to graze and bed down while you have a drink as the sun goes down. Took a night safari which was interesting but didn't live up to the hype - of course the animals you see are the nocturnal ones - porcupines, deer, etc.

Then headed down the great Rift Valley to Lake Natron, a huge soda shallow lake home to millions of flamingos. Very rugged roads, some over volcanic flows (would never have made it on my own). Beautiful scenery.

Two full days in the Serengetti, saw herds of Elephants, lions, giraffe, zebra, hippos, wildebeest leopards, and other animal, so numerous, that after a while it becomes just common place. Again stayed in a fantastic tented camp lodge, booze all inclusive, with an infinity pool that you could sit in and watch the animals down below wander by.

Then off to the Ngorongoro Crater for beautiful scenery and wildlife, including a black rhino and a lion with a fresh kill.

Last day was at Lake Manyara where there are supposedly lions that prefer trees - we didn't see any, it was a more forested environment that the other parks. If I had to skip one part of the safari it would have been this.

Overall the safari was amazing - trip of a lifetime. Lodges were fantastic, food good, people friendly, felt very safe, roads to the parks were well maintained.

Then after another night outside Arusha, we flew to Stonetown, Zanzibar. Four nights in stone town which I loved. Great place to wander around. Took a dhow tour on Safari Blue in the marine conservation area farther down the island. Did a spice tour as well which was interesting but didn't blow my mind. Stonetown filled with tourists and although muslim very used to and accommodating to westerners.

Then rented a car and headed north to Nungwi to a beachside resort for some beach time R&R for two days. No problem with the drive - roads were pretty good with some potholes, cops are out checking licenses but they waved us through. In Nungwi beautiful blue warm ocean water and white sand and nice as anything I have ever seen. Took the kids snorkelling on a dhow which was fun, and to a sea turtle sanctuary. Great seafood at reasonable prices at restaurants right on the beach.

Then headed back to stone town and caught the ferry to Dar es Salaam. Spend 4 days there which was two much. Nice city, more modern than what I would have expected, with a lot of Chinese and Indian money coming into East Africa these days. But very conservative muslim culture - my wife and daughters had to cover up for first time on trip, and not a drop of booze in any of the restaurants and very hard to find for sale unless you drove to the burbs. Lots of economic activity though, modern shops and restaurants, and people very friendly. Felt very safe wandering around both day and night.

Took a day trip up to the old German colonial town Bagamoyo which was a waste of time - they wanted $100 for us just to wander around - all the buildings were in ruin. Did get to some ancient Shirazi ruins outside the town which was interesting and salvaged the trip, but wouldn't recommend it.

Had a great street BBQ meal our last night at 'Enemy of Diet' before heading to the airport for a night flight back to Canada.

Overall would highly recommend Tanzania, fantastic country, people extremely friendly, great overall value for money, although the safari wasn't cheap.

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by Chip_Oatley » Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:49 pm

No booze in Dar?

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by coffeeguy » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:11 pm

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by coffeeguy » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:15 pm

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by coffeeguy » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:19 pm

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by coffeeguy » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:25 pm

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by coffeeguy » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:29 pm

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by coffeeguy » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:30 pm

Chip_Oatley wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:49 pm
No booze in Dar?
Yeah it was hard to find. Not impossible but even most restaurants didn't carry any.

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by northern_goddess » Sun Oct 21, 2018 10:18 pm

Great pictures! Thanks for the trip report too.
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by Lost Soul » Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:29 am

Fantastic photos. The fat giraffe looks pregnant.
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by Chip_Oatley » Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:30 am

Great photos.

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by polardude1 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:31 am

amazing photos
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by Bill Barilko » Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:45 am

Great photos-Well posted!
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:42 am

Coffeeguy, how much was the Safari with Benson Safaris? Can PM me if you don't care to post here. Great pictures, was in many of those places 30 years ago, but not to Zanzibar. May have a chance to get back there soon though.

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by coffeeguy » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:02 pm

Steve_in_Exile wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:42 am
Coffeeguy, how much was the Safari with Benson Safaris? Can PM me if you don't care to post here. Great pictures, was in many of those places 30 years ago, but not to Zanzibar. May have a chance to get back there soon though.
Hi Steve,

I paid just over $2500US per person for the safari. They called it a nine day 'mid-range' safari but the first and last day were actually arriving and departing. most of the cost seems to be the lodges, which generally exceeded my expectations. Couple were pretty luxurious. Based on the research I did, think using a local operator saves you about 30%+ against a western tour company. I researched using safaribookings.com which I think was recommended to me by polar.

We spent a week in Zanzibar, could have easily spend more time. Great vibe and lots of history.

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by EMG » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:24 pm

Great photos.

Pretty beach.

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by coffeeguy » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:48 pm

EMG wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:24 pm
Great photos.

Pretty beach.
Not quite as nice as the ones you post, but close. Got to get myself over to the phillipines one day

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by EMG » Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:17 pm

Won't see much wildlife here, unless it's under the water, but there are definitely some nice beaches to see.

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:19 pm

Thanks Coffeeguy, I also did check out their website. Did you drive to Serengetti? That road is supposed to be really bad to the point where some car rental agencies won't allow you to take their cars there.

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by coffeeguy » Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:26 pm

Yes, we drove (or rather our guide did!) we had a pretty rugged land cruiser that could handle most stuff. The roads to the park are all fine, western standard fairly newly paved most of the way and rest graded gravel base with very few potholes. Roads in Serengetti proper can be rough in parts but mostly fine - keep in mind we were there in the dry season and apparently some can be impassable in the wet season. The worst roads were to lake natron - what you might expect in rural Africa- washed out roads over dried river beds, over lava flows et. There were parts I was glad we had an experienced driver - I would have gotten stuck for sure, but I’m not an experienced off reader...

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by Homerj » Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:51 pm

Great stuff.
I'd like to get back to Africa one day.
namibia is tops of my list.
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by lolasf » Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:32 pm

So cool! Thanks for the report.
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by leela » Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:05 pm

I'm confused. I went to Bagamoyo independently, wandered round on my own, hired a bike, and enjoyed the place. Stayed in a super cheap place run by a local charity, and had a pleasant time of it. Who asked you for $100?

And I didn't cover up (nor did it even occur to me to) in Dar.

Lovely pics though. And I'd go back to the east coast of Zanzibar in a hearbeat. I stayed in Jambiani mostly, though.
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by northern_goddess » Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:16 pm

leela wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:05 pm
I'm confused. I went to Bagamoyo independently, wandered round on my own, hired a bike, and enjoyed the place. Stayed in a super cheap place run by a local charity, and had a pleasant time of it. Who asked you for $100?

And I didn't cover up (nor did it even occur to me to) in Dar.

Lovely pics though. And I'd go back to the east coast of Zanzibar in a hearbeat. I stayed in Jambiani mostly, though.
Leela, did you ever do a trip report? For some reason this thread really has me nostalgic to go back to Africa and it would be interesting to read what you did. Was it a solo trip? I think mine would probably be. I would need to start seriously thinking about it in order to plan for next year.
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by leela » Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:28 pm

I don't think so, n_g.

Yep, it was a solo trip. I flew to Dar, took a trip up to Bagamoyo, then flew on a tiny little plane to Zanzibar,. Spent two or three days in Stonetown, then crossed the island to Jambiani beach, which is quiet and 'local' for want of a better word. Then went up to Nungwi for a couple of days for a bit more of a buzz.

Back to Dar for a day or so to hang out with Boink and the Boinkettes, then took the Tazara train to Mbeya on the border with Malawi, to head to my usual place in Livingstonia.

Feel free to get in touch for more info, if you're interested.
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by northern_goddess » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:02 pm

Thanks! I'm going to look into this. I likely will have questions at some point.
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by northern_goddess » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:06 pm

Coffeeguy, Leela, etc. Can you tell me when you went (month) and whether you thought that was a good decision when it came to the weather and perhaps the amount of tourists?

Thanks.

UPDATE: I just ordered a guidebook for Northern Tanzania and Zanzibar. A real paper one. It should be here in a few days. I'll take it to Mexico with me.
Last edited by northern_goddess on Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by coffeeguy » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:28 pm

leela wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:05 pm
I'm confused. I went to Bagamoyo independently, wandered round on my own, hired a bike, and enjoyed the place. Stayed in a super cheap place run by a local charity, and had a pleasant time of it. Who asked you for $100?

And I didn't cover up (nor did it even occur to me to) in Dar.

Lovely pics though. And I'd go back to the east coast of Zanzibar in a hearbeat. I stayed in Jambiani mostly, though.
The town is now charging an admission fee to all visiting tourists. We refused to pay, especially when we saw what the old colonial buildings looked like - essentially just shells.

My wife and daughters got ‘the look’ from other women our first day in Dar after exiting the ferry from Stonetown, wearing shorts and sleeveless tops, they put in long dresses and something over their shoulders and they were fine. Leela, when were in you Tanzania?

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by leela » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:36 pm

Ah. I was probably wearing jeans rather than shorts, but not deliberately.

That's weird about Bagamoyo. How can you charge an admission fee to enter what's very much a working town?
I was there three years ago

ETA I've been googling to try to find out why, and how on earth they're getting away with that, and I can't find a single result.
Who charged you, and where?
Last edited by leela on Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by leela » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:50 pm

northern_goddess wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:06 pm
Coffeeguy, Leela, etc. Can you tell me when you went (month) and whether you thought that was a good decision when it came to the weather and perhaps the amount of tourists?.
It would have been the end of July or August. Weather was perfect in Zanzibar. Jambiani was quiet. I think I was the only person in my B&B for some of the time.
I kept hearing how touristed Nungwi was, but it was much more laid back than I'd let myself expect, and certainly not frantic. Again, I stayed in a smallish place, and I'm certain it wasn't full.
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by northern_goddess » Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:18 pm

Thanks!
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by coffeeguy » Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:49 pm

northern_goddess wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:06 pm
Coffeeguy, Leela, etc. Can you tell me when you went (month) and whether you thought that was a good decision when it came to the weather and perhaps the amount of tourists?

Thanks.
We went first 3 weeks of July, it was cool up north in the parks, had to wear a sweater in the nights and morning, but the dry season so animals congregated near water holes. Zanzibar was hot and sunnny, for the 3 weeks we had maybe 1/2 day of rain.

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by northern_goddess » Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:51 pm

Thanks, CoffeeGuy. I haven't been to Africa for almost 15 years. We spent a month in South Africa the first trip and 3 weeks in Namibia the next year. I'm feeling the need to get back.
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by leela » Tue Oct 23, 2018 4:44 pm

coffeeguy wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:28 pm
leela wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:05 pm
I'm confused. I went to Bagamoyo independently, wandered round on my own, hired a bike, and enjoyed the place. Stayed in a super cheap place run by a local charity, and had a pleasant time of it. Who asked you for $100?

And I didn't cover up (nor did it even occur to me to) in Dar.

Lovely pics though. And I'd go back to the east coast of Zanzibar in a hearbeat. I stayed in Jambiani mostly, though.
The town is now charging an admission fee to all visiting tourists. We refused to pay, especially when we saw what the old colonial buildings looked like - essentially just shells.
I ended up asking about it on the Bagamoyo forum on TA. The fee to visit the ruins (not the town) is now $8. The town itself costs nothing. I think one of the unofficial 'guides' was out to try to make a killing. I'm glad you didn't pay, but it's a shame it spoiled your impression of the place. It's very much an untouristed working town, but I enjoyed watching the fishing fleet come in, the hubbub of the resulting market on the beach, and cycling around and seeing the tiny church where Livingstone's body was brought.
Pass the wine...

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by Moethebartender » Tue Oct 23, 2018 5:50 pm

Awesome pics, thanks for sharing. Would love to do something like that one of these days.
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by Shavenhead » Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:26 pm

Great photos!
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by coffeeguy » Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:36 pm

leela wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 4:44 pm
coffeeguy wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:28 pm
leela wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:05 pm
I'm confused. I went to Bagamoyo independently, wandered round on my own, hired a bike, and enjoyed the place. Stayed in a super cheap place run by a local charity, and had a pleasant time of it. Who asked you for $100?

And I didn't cover up (nor did it even occur to me to) in Dar.

Lovely pics though. And I'd go back to the east coast of Zanzibar in a hearbeat. I stayed in Jambiani mostly, though.
The town is now charging an admission fee to all visiting tourists. We refused to pay, especially when we saw what the old colonial buildings looked like - essentially just shells.
I ended up asking about it on the Bagamoyo forum on TA. The fee to visit the ruins (not the town) is now $8. The town itself costs nothing. I think one of the unofficial 'guides' was out to try to make a killing. I'm glad you didn't pay, but it's a shame it spoiled your impression of the place. It's very much an untouristed working town, but I enjoyed watching the fishing fleet come in, the hubbub of the resulting market on the beach, and cycling around and seeing the tiny church where Livingstone's body was brought.
Thanks for the feedback, sounds like we were set up to be scammed. We were hit up by a guy with an official looking ID card outside the colonial admin building ruins. We did go to the church and museum where Livingston was brought and did tour that. shame we didn't get to spend more time in Bagamoyo - it was 2 hour drive from Dar and heavy traffic getting back to the city on a Fri evening.

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by northern_goddess » Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:46 pm

Holy crap. I looked for points tickets and they are 150,000 for Business Class and average about 34 hours each way. Buying a ticket is stupidly expensive. Ughhh.
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by coffeeguy » Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:07 am

We flew Turkish airlines, $1500 return pp. Booked 6 months in advance

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by northern_goddess » Thu Oct 25, 2018 3:37 am

Interestingly it was about $800 cheaper to book the same flights (Van to Tanzania - Bus Class) through Turkish Airlines than it was to book them through Air Canada and they both use each other for legs of the flights. Bus class is way too expensive to pay for but I was curious about the costs so I checked it out. I'm wondering if I will have enough points by when I want to book the flights. Anyway, I'm going to do some planning and looking in to it all. That's really what I like to use my points for - Bus Class on long haul flights.
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by Scrubb » Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:20 am

Homerj wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:51 pm
Great stuff.
I'd like to get back to Africa one day.
namibia is tops of my list.
That, exactly. We may go in January but I expect it'll be really, really hot then.
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by Scrubb » Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:21 am

Wonderful photos, coffeeguy.
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by Homerj » Fri Oct 26, 2018 2:24 pm

Scrubb wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:20 am
Homerj wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:51 pm
Great stuff.
I'd like to get back to Africa one day.
namibia is tops of my list.
That, exactly. We may go in January but I expect it'll be really, really hot then.
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by Scrubb » Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:03 pm

n_g - in terms of timing, we were there in late Oct/early Nov and the weather was wonderful. We spent 2 weeks in Kenya and 2 weeks in Tanzania, and we had one day that was cloudy/foggy. It wasn't blistering hot, either. I think it's officially a shoulder season so it's not as busy as in high season.
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by northern_goddess » Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:33 pm

Ok, thanks. That's helpful.
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by Cyllarus » Fri Oct 26, 2018 8:29 pm

Great shots coffeguy. The humping lion made me laugh.
We spent several weeks in South Africa 21 years ago. Love to visit Namibia and Tanzania. Latter was in running for our trip this winter but lost out to the sub-continent.

Northern Goddess, take a look at British Airways premium economy if paying cash. Think it was about $2200/cdn return Toronto to Nairobi with BA prem economy when i cehcked last spring. Was looking at safaris on same site Coffeeguy mentioned (Polar ID'd it months ago) and there were some interesting Kenya/Tanzania safaris.

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by northern_goddess » Fri Oct 26, 2018 8:37 pm

Thanks, Cyllarus. I will look at BA if I'm thinking of going the cash route.

I loved South Africa and then Namibia the following year and really would like to get back to see some Animals. It's been well over a decade since I've been there.
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it.

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veronica_inheels
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by veronica_inheels » Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:33 pm

Looks like an excellent trip! Thanks for posting. Makes me want to go back there. I went to those parts 20 years ago. My safari was much cheaper, and I loved lake manyara- but maybe now it’s different.
You only get one turn on this merry-go-round of life. Chase your happiness. -Nines

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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:35 am

I put an air itinerary together, haven't bought my ticket yet. San Francisco to Nairobi via Istanbul with 3 days in Istanbul on the way there, and 1 day on the way back. $950 on Turkish Airways. :D

Steve_in_Exile
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Re: Trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:20 am

Coffeeguy, did you happen to go to Lake Eyasi to visit the Hadzi people there? Or did you talk to the guys at your safari company about it? I'm wondering what that experience is like.

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