David and Belinda Prince, and their daughters, Eleanor (9) and Sophie (8).
We traveled to Tanzania over the summer holidays. We flew from London, UK to Dar es Salaam via Dubai with Emirates, then caught a domestic flight to Arusha. We stayed for two nights at the Kibo Palace Hotel (www.kibopalacehotel.com) before going to the
safari in Tarangire. We organized our safari trip through Bobby Tours
(www.bobbytours.com), which included a jeep and an English-speaking driver/guide.
During the safari, we stayed in a tent at the Roika Tarangire Tented Lodge (www.tarangireroikatentedlodge.com). We also spent time at the Ngorongo Forest Tented Lodge (ngorongoroforestlodge.com) outside the Ngorongoro Crater. This gave the kids a great opportunity to roam around the coffee estate, learn how coffee is made, and see how local African families live. On the rim of the crater, we stayed at the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (www.ngorongorocrater.com).
Then, we went to Serengeti National Park and stayed for two nights at Ikoma Tented Camp (ikomasafaricamp.com). Our last day on the mainland took us to Migunga Tented Camp at Lake Manyara. The next day, we took a plane to the island of Zanzibar. We spent six nights at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Zanzibar enjoying warm turquoise waters and clean, sandy beaches. Lastly, we relocated for a couple of nights to the Dhow Palace Hotel (dhowpalace-hotel.com) in the center of Stonetown, the capital of Zanzibar.
It’s hard to give a cost for the flights, because we flew to Tanzania to and from the UK, not Beijing. According to Emirates’ website, it cost approximately RMB 30,000 for two adults and two kids to fly roundtrip from Beijing to Dar es Salaam in July of 2013. The overall cost of the holiday (excluding international flights) was around RMB 76,000, including eight domestic flights.
The Best Part
For the grownups, the best part was the fabulous wildlife within
Serengenti National Park. We saw a female cheetah with two cubs, a pair of cheetahs no more than a few feet away, five leopards (one of which was carrying an impala up a tree), lions, and more. The kids would probably say the same, but they also enjoyed paragliding in Zanzibar. It was 15 minutes of adrenaline rush, followed by a request to do it again – which we duly vetoed.
The Worst Part
The only thing we found disappointing was the dive we did off the coast of Zanzibar. While it was by no means bad, we were spoiled from diving in some of the best locations in the world.
We were really surprised by the level of service, which has improved tremendously since the last time David traveled in Africa. The people have always been extremely friendly, but this time they really knew how to look after others.
The entire trip was very child-friendly. Our kids were happy with all the food, got to explore safely, and were treated well by everyone we met. In Zanzibar, the resort was intimate enough for them to run around unsupervised with newfound friends.
Stay in a tent. The ones in Tanzania are large safari tents with solid foundations, verandas, modern toilets, and showers. They were quieter and more relaxing than a hotel, while giving visitors the opportunity to spot wildlife from the porch.
Carry both US dollars and Tanzanian shillings, as items in different places offer better value for money in either currency. Ask for prices in both USD and TZS, and choose the best one.
Don’t carry any USD 100 bills dated from before the year 2000, as they will either not be accepted or you’ll be offered a much lower exchange rate. This is because shopkeepers are worried that older notes may be forgeries.
The best tip of all? Go! You will have a truly memorable time.