Departure Date: 06/12/2019
The secret South of Tanzania offers a great safari experience in off-the-beaten-track environs. It touches the wild Africa of yesteryear, and completes the heady infusion on the spice island of Zanzibar. It includes, traveling to Saadani national park, the only coastal wildlife preserve in the whole of east Africa with a unique combination of wildlife Park, marine park, a stunning river cruise and deserted white sand beaches.
Travel by a local train to Selous game reserve, the largest in Africa, teaming with wildlife but still with few visitors, and famous for its African hunting dogs. This tour also takes you to the exotic spice island of Zanzibar, off Africa’s East coast with clear turquoise seas and pristine beaches.
Day 1: Simply Saadani Camp, Saadani National Park
Saadani National Park
This park is unique as Tanzania’s only coastal wildlife conservancy in East Africa. The park is beginning to be recognised as a true one stop destination combining the best of Tanzania’s deserted beach with lovely game viewing. It covers an area of some 1100 square kilometres and is a near perfect mirror reflection of Unguja (Zanzibar) Island, 26 miles away over the Zanzibar channel.
There are some star turns; Miles of wild, deserted white sand beach, the Indian Ocean right there, a marine park protecting an important green turtle nesting beach, elephant herds among the largest seen on the continent as well as regular lion sightings and an amazing boat safari. Saadani joins Selous Game Reserve as one of just 2 destinations in Tanzania which offer a boat safari.
Just 90 kilometres North of Dar es Salaam, Saadani sits in the centre of the historically famous triangle of Bagamoyo, Pangani and Zanzibar. It is the closest wildlife park to both Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. Created in 1969 as a game reserve, Saadani continued to extend North through the 1990’s until 2005 when the reserve was awarded National Park status under the management of TANAPA (Tanzania National Park Authority). Like many game reserves, Saadani had suffered from poaching, although mainly at a subsistence level from local villagers. This inevitably reduced animal numbers and the reserve suffered from an identity crisis – beach resort or wildlife park? Today, thanks to considerable efforts from the park authorities, and other dedicated professionals and stakeholders, Saadani National Park is fast becoming all things to all visitors.
Under TANAPA, the game viewing has vastly improved. The park has good numbers of giraffe, buffalo, wildebeest, lions, Hippos, Crocs, among others, and boasts a healthy population of the rare Roosevelt’s sable antelope. Herds, of about 50 elephants are now regularly seen in territories providing some of the most spectacular sightings in any Tanzanian park.
Saadani offers a wonderful boat safari on the Wami river. The birdlife is spectacular, and includes rare species such as Pel’s fishing owl. The opportunities to get close to large groups of hippos are unparalleled, and some large crocodiles lurk on the edge of the mangroves.
Saadani Marine Park was set up to protect a green turtle breeding beach at Madete. The chances of seeing hatchlings emerge from the sand and take the plunge are best in July through September.
On arrival at Zanzibar international airport in the morning, you will be met by A Tent with a view rep. He’ll brief you on your next flight to Saadani national park and hand over your flight tickets. It takes 15 minutes to arrive at Saadani airstrip where you’ll be picked up and transferred through the park to Simply Saadani camp. Your base for the next 4 nights is at this beautiful camp with just 11 rooms all facing the Indian Ocean and fringed by a deserted white sand beach. It feels like you are on your own private island surrounded by wild bush. After lunch and a rest, head out for a late afternoon game drive returning to the camp at last light. (Lunch & Dinner)
Note: the flight to Saadani departs Zanzibar airport at 09:00. Your international flight should land in Zanzibar not later than 07:30.
Overnight: Simply Saadani Camp
Simply Saadani Camp is located near the Saadani National Park, Tanzania. The camp offers eleven beautiful rooms all facing the stunning Indian Ocean and surrounded by a wildlife park. Each room is very private and built using recycled natural materials. The camp is run on solar power so no noise and pollution. The lovely restaurant comes alive at night with the sounds of the sea close by. Guests can also enjoy dinner on the beach by the light of the moon.
Day 2: Simply Saadani Camp, Saadani National Park
This morning after breakfast, walk north along the beach with your guide to the sleepy fishing village of Mkwaja and learn about the life of a fisherman and his family as well as a visit to the dispensary and school. After lunch back at the camp, you will walk down to the wildlife research centre to learn about the camp’s conservation projects from collaring elephant and zebra to the upcoming lion collaring. You will also learn about the green turtle project and the breeding beach at the Madete marine park which forms part of Saadani. Every year between July through September, we expect baby turtle to hatch from their nests and wander down to the sea. All of our guests have an opportunity to see this fantastic phenomenon if any are hatching at the time guests are visiting.
Day 3: Simply Saadani Camp, Saadani National Park
After a leisurely breakfast, leave the camp and head straight to the Wami River for a thrilling boat safari. Enjoy your lunch on the boat amongst the hippos and game drive back to the camp, arriving at last light. Saadani has excellent populations of elephants, giraffe, buffalo and lions adapted to life in a unique coastal habitat.
Day 4: Simply Saadani Camp, Saadani National Park
This morning, relax at the camp, swim in the ocean, walk the deserted beach, explore the colour-coded nature trails around the camp, enjoy a local canoe ride along the creek or visit our wildlife research Centre. After lunch and a rest, head out for a late afternoon game drive returning back to the camp at dark
Day 5: Sable Mountain Lodge, Selous Game Reserve
Selous Game Reserve
The remote and little-visited Selous Game Reserve covers more than 5% of Tanzania’s total area and is the largest of its kind in Africa. At an unbelievable 55,000 sq km it is almost twice the size of Belgium and four times larger than the famous Serengeti in the North. The landscape here has remained almost as it was before tourism began. Up until 2007 there were just 6 camps in Selous. Even with the large influx of camps, it is noticeable quiet compared with the more famous parks of the north and it is still possible at certain times of year to be out all day without seeing another game drive car.
The Great Rufiji River and its tributaries are the lifeblood of the reserve, creating a network of forests and woodlands around the lagoons, sandbanks and lakes with tall palm trees adding to the scene. Because of its size and remoteness, the reserve has over 2,100 species of plants, 350 species of birds, 60,000 elephant, 108,000 buffalo and an estimated 1,300 of the worlds’ roughly 4,000 remaining rare wild dogs, giving guests an opportunity to glimpse all of these exotic animals in true unspoilt wilderness. Boating, walking safaris and fly camping are all available in the Selous.
The terrain here is much more green and lush than the dry plains of the Serengeti and other northern parks.
Selous is one of only 2 parks in Tanzania to offer a fantastic boat safari; the other being Saadani National Park.
This morning, awake early for breakfast before driving to Dar es Salaam to connect with either Tuesday (at 13:50) or Friday train to Selous (at 15:50) - we recommend the Friday train as it’s the express one. You’ll be sat in the sleeper class carriages, and the train takes about 4.5 hours as it travels sufficiently slowly for one to enjoy the passing rural landscape. The journey is a fascinating one, passing local villages, and through the reserve in its final hour, so there is a chance to spot wildlife on the train. On arrival at Kisaki station, you will be met by a Sable Mountain lodge representative and drive for 25 minutes to the lodge. Sable Mountain Lodge, a beautifully positioned camp set over two hills. You will arrive for a short briefing followed by dinner.
Overnight: Sable Mountain Lodge
Sable Mountain opened in December 1999 and was one of just 6 lodges in Selous until 2007. The lodge is located on a small hill right on the North West boundary of the reserve affording beautiful views. Sable is made up of 6 stone cottages and 4 tented rooms, all with great views. Guests can enjoy a sun downer drink before dinner in the wonderfully quirky "Land Rover's Return" pub before heading to a small & intimate restaurant. After safaris in the heat of the day, guests can relax in the freshwater swimming pool and sunbathing terrace. Early mornings or late afternoons at the lodge can be spent at Sable's tree house watching animals drink at the lodge’s waterhole. We offer foot safaris from the lodge in the early mornings.
Sable was one of the first solar powered lodges in the reserve and runs entirely on solar power. Having just 10 rooms, the feel of the lodge is intimate, friendly and relaxed.
All Sable’s safari vehicles are customised Land Rover 110 Defenders with comfortable seats raised up behind the driver with all sides are open allowing for the best photographic opportunities. The lodge also has a boat situated on Lake Tagalala which can seat up to 10 and is covered to protect against the sun. There are few guides in Selous with the depth of knowledge of our guides, the most senior of which have guided in Selous since 1989.
Day 6: Sable Mountain Lodge, Selous Game Reserve
This morning after breakfast, you will visit a local Maasai boma with long term friend of Sable Mountain, Saita. This is a very personal experience where you will get to meet Saita’s family, and learn about medicinal plants still used today by the Maasai. After lunch back at the lodge, head out into Selous Game Reserve for an afternoon game drive. Selous game reserve is the size of Switzerland, full of wildlife and famous for its Africa Hunting dogs but it is still relatively untouched by tourists unlike the more famous parks in the North, which means that you can be out all day without seeing any other people making a safari here, a very intimate and exclusive experience.
Day 7: Sable Mountain Lodge, Selous Game Reserve
Head out at dawn this morning into the reserve for a full day game drive & boat safari on Lake Tagalala returning to the lodge for a late lunch. Relax by the pool, on your balcony or take a walk down to the treehouse and water hole to see what is drinking there.
Day 8: The Zanzibari, Zanzibar-Nungwi
Once little more than a ramshackle fishing village, Nungwi has been transformed into one of Unguja island’s busiest beach destinations and its second most populated village after its capital, Stone Town. Situated at the island's northernmost tip, Nungwi is blessed with some of Zanzibar’s most idyllic swimming beaches as the water surrounding this section of the island is fairly deep and mostly unaffected by the change of tides. It is also close to the world-renowned Mnemba atoll - a superb diving area. The village is also renowned as a party hotspot with plenty of boisterous nightlife and a thriving social scene hosted by the village’s slew of hotels, bars, shops and restaurants. Spend your days lazing on the spectacular beaches, floating in the idyllic turquoise waters or indulging in a massage. Then, as the sun sets, join the revellers as the town comes alive, cocktails flow freely and the beach bonfires begin to blaze. Dig a bit deeper though and you will find a peaceful way of life with an interesting history.
This morning, awake early for a foot safari from the lodge after tea/coffee, exploring the diverse environment from riparian forest on the Sable sand river, miombo woodland and open grassland. This is a chance to watch for smaller mammals, colobus and Skyes monkeys, study the spoor of larger game and marvel at the birdlife, before returning to the lodge for breakfast. Relax and after lunch, head to the airstrip for flight to the spice island of Zanzibar. The flight takes just under 1 hour. On arrival, meet your driver and transfer to the North of the island, to Nungwi village where The Zanzibari boutique hotel is located. The hotel is close to the Mnemba atoll, famous for its diving and Mnemba Island where Bill Gates and family saw in the millennium. Settle into the hotel this afternoon and explore the beach.
Overnight: The Zanzibari
The Zanzibari is located on the North Eastern tip of Zanzibar. Set above the beach on a low coral cliff with easy access to the sea, you are offered privacy, peace and tranquility while taking in the stunning views of the Indian Ocean. Facilities include a swimming pool with stunning ocean views, sea front rock pools for cooling off, wifi, seafront SPA for massages & body scrubs. The hotel is known for its fabulous 4 course dinner menus which change each day after enjoying a cocktail in the famous Dhow Restaurant & Bar.
We strive to offer our guests an oasis from the stresses and strains of daily life and unlike some of the larger Zanzibar hotels, we focus on providing an intimate, tranquil and private atmosphere with the added personal touch that will ease you into relaxation. To ensure we keep to our goal of providing privacy and exclusivity, The Zanzibari offers just 8 standard rooms in Bougainvillea House, 2 Fragipane Villas and the Bustani (Swahili for “garden”) Suite, all with en-suite, ensuring that the hotel never feels crowded. We focus on local entertainments from local singers and dancers to weavers all from the local village of Nungwi.
Day 9-11: The Zanzibari, Nungwi
The Zanzibari hotel has been moulded to offer all the creature comforts you could wish for whilst offering a chance to really life as a Zanzibari. Nzore, who is the assistant manager is known as “Mr Nungwi”. His irrepressible smile and good natural allows you to really get close to village life, something which is not easy unless one fully understands the sensitivities of the island. The remaining days are for you to relax, enjoy the peace of the hotel, or book from the many available excursions such as the exploration of Nungwi and its fishing community, historical tours of the capital Stone Town, Spice farm tours, diving, snorkelling, and more. There is also a Spa at the hotel for massages and body treatments.
Day 12: End of Itinerary
After a leisurely breakfast, say farewell to the Zanzibari hotel and transfer to Zanzibar airport for your international flight home.
Return flights ex Johannesburg to Nairobi and onto Zanzibar, approx. airport taxes, 4 nights at Simply Saadani Camp in the Saadani National Park on Full Board, 3 nights at the Sable Mountain Lodge in the Selous Game Reserve on Full Board, a 4 nights at The Zanzibari in Nungwi on a half-board, Safaris and activities and Park fees & other government fees.
11 Nights from R67,190 pps
These offers are brought to you by Travel Counsellors (Pty) Ltd. Valid: 6 - 18 Dec 2019. Offers are per person sharing. Rates for other periods are available on request. Packages and airfares are subject to availability, airfare increases, seasonal surcharge; high season supplements and currency fluctuations. Supplier's terms and conditions are available on request. Offers include airport taxes. Packages exclude laundry charges, items of personal nature, travel insurance, tips and gratuities, meals & drinks not listed. Additional information available on request. Valid for SA residents only. Terms and conditions apply. Prices and information correct at time of publishing. E&OE.