Family Southern Tanzania Safari and Zanzibar    *alt*

10 days, from £2615
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Get away from the crowds of the Northern Tanzanian national parks on this family safari holiday with a difference. There can be few locations in Africa where you can combine a beach holiday with safari so effortlessly. Step out of your beach hut onto the tropical white sands of the Indian Ocean in the morning, heading inland by boat and safari vehicle in the afternoon to spot elephant, giraffe and buffalo.

Spend time between Saadani National Park and the incredible Selous Game Reserve to the south, one of Tanzania's hidden wildlife jewels. The trip ends on beautiful Zanzibar Island.

Tour comfort rating: premium

Tour pace rating: moderate


 Day 1 Trip starts in Dar es Salaam.

Join the trip at the Slipway Hotel, set on the shores of the Indian Ocean, three kilometres from the city centre. The hotel features an excellent swimming pool overlooking Msasani Bay, together with shops and a choice of restaurants; it's an ideal location to relax after a long journey.
Meals included: none
Single room option

 Day 2 Drive up to Simply Saadani Camp on the Indian Ocean. Learn how to use camera traps.

After a leisurely breakfast, drive north to Saadani National Park, enjoying our first wildlife viewings, perhaps elephants and Giraffe if we are lucky, as we drive through the park. Saadani is the only wildlife park in East Africa offering a unique combination of bush and beach in one destination, walk on the white sands of the Indian ocean in the morning and head into the African savanna in search of wildlife in the afternoon. We split our four night stay in Saadani in two locations. Spend three nights in bandas, tastefully decorated tented huts on stilts that sit right on the beach front, with private views of the ocean from your veranda. The third night of our stay is spent inland at Babs camp, with its own viewing tower complete with crow's nest, ideal for sitting down with a drink watching elephants ample below you as the sun sets. By staying in two locations we get to maximize wildlife spotting opportunities. After a late lunch and a short briefing, check into our rooms, later we get together for a short Swahili lesson and a talk on the camp's use of camera traps used to spot wildlife. Saadani camp has been using camera traps for many years to help track the movements of elephant and other animals within the park. They are a non-intrusive way of studying animal behaviours and has often produce footage which we would not normally see when out on foot or game drive. In the late afternoon, for those that wish to, head down to the Mafui creek at the camp to glide down the narrow channels in a canoe, locally known as Mtumbwe. Birdlife is abundant with sightings of long-crested eagles, yellow-collared lovebirds, weavers, kingfishers and bee eaters amongst the species in the park. Alternatively, take a stroll along the beach or sit back and relax on your veranda with stunning views of the Indian ocean and deserted beach. Dinner is served in the restaurant with the sounds of the sea gently breaking in the background.
Meals included: Breakfast Dinner

 Day 3 Morning game drive in Saadani National park. Afternoon option to go birdwatching in the backwaters on canoes.

This morning awake before dawn and head out into the park by open Land Rover for our first game drive returning to the camp for a late breakfast. With a slight chill in the air, anticipation rises as we speculate what we could spot made even better by the fact that unlike the more famous 'northern circuit' parks in Tanzania, Saadani National park is virtually void of other people; giving you an undisturbed and exclusive wildlife viewing experience. Look out for herds of giraffe, buffalo and elephant. The park also hosts a few lion prides as well as the elusive oryx, sable and kudu. During this mornings game drive, we will set out the camera traps. After lunch relax at the beach or head down to Mafui creek to go birdwatching in the backwaters on canoes. Early evening we have an informal Swahili competition to test our language skills before settling down to a delicious dinner prepared by the camp's chefs.
Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

 Day 4 Follow the footprints of game on a sunrise salt flat walking safari. Afternoon game drive to Babs Camp.

This morning after breakfast, enjoy a guided walk up the beach to the local village of Mkwaja to visit a local school and meet the children. Mid-morning we will hold a talk on the endangered green turtle which breeds at the nearby Madete beach, a marine park within the Saadani National Park. This talk will take place at the Wildlife Research Centre, or, if turtles are hatching, the talk may be given at the breeding beach. If we are visiting during the peak season period of July to September, there is a 50% chance of seeing turtles hatching. After lunch, drive to Babs Camp in time for lunch. Babs Camp is a small camp located right on the edge of the Saadani salt flats with a 20 metre high tower at its centre which has bedrooms, small restaurant, bar and even a crow's nest with 360 degree views of bush and beach making it an ideal location to view game from the comfort of your chair. Late afternoon, head out on a game drive ending with a night drive back to camp. During this game drive, we pick up the camera traps set on day three.
Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

 Day 5 Walking safari tracking wild animals, afternoon boat trip on the Wami river.

Awake early and head out of camp on foot, studying the masaic of animal prints on the salt flats. Our highly knowledgable guides have extensive experience of tracking game gained through conservation work over the past seven years; spend time learning how to identify animal prints. After a late breakfast, head down to the Wami river. Saadani is one of just two parks in Tanzania that offers boat safaris, providing a very different experience from a traditional game drive. View hippopotamus, crocodile as well as a host of colourful birds as we gently make our way downstream on our motorized vessel with an experienced wildlife guide on board. Taking our time to return to Simply Saadani camp, we enjoy a further game drive spotting wildlife along the way. Back at camp, we learn the camera trap photo winner before settling down to enjoy a pre-dinner drink in front of a camp fire before enjoying a delicious Swahili buffet with Maasai dancing.
Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

 Day 6 Drive to Dar es Salaam train station, train into Selous Game Reserve.

This morning, awake early for breakfast, heading back to Dar es Salaam to connect with the afternoon Friday train to Selous. Travelling by train in Africa offers fine views of the countryside and local life, taking just over four hours to travel the 200km from Dar es Saalam to Selous with the last two hours inside Selous reserve itself. Compete to see who can spot the first wild animal from the comfort of your seat. Drinks and food can be bought on the train. On arrival at Kisaki station, take the short 20 minute drive to Sable Mountain Lodge set over two small hills, featuring a freshwater swimming pool, treehouse, waterhole and a number of well-appointed tented rooms and stone cottages. Since the Selous is a game reserve not a national park, there are fewer restrictions on wildlife-viewing activities and there will be opportunities for game walks and boat trips during our stay, in addition to the traditional vehicle safaris. Selous is also vast, 25 times bigger than the Masai Mara yet visitor numbers are a fraction of its northern counterpart allowing for wildlife viewing opportunities away from the mass of safari vehicles, uninterrupted and unhindered.
Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Single room option

 Day 7 Full day in Selous Game Reserve in search of elephant, giraffe and cape buffalo.

This morning after breakfast, visit a traditional Maasai boma, a small hut made of mud and cow dung, quick to construct and easy to maintain, allowing the Maasai village to move on quickly if necessary. This is a very personal experience where you will get to meet Saita, a long term friend of our local Tanzanian partners. Learn about medicinal plants still used today by the Masai. After lunch back at the lodge, head out into Selous Game Reserve for an afternoon game drive. Covering an incredible 50,000 square kilometres of southern Tanzania, the reserve is named after Frederick Courtney Selous, the famous 19th century hunter and explorer. Selous has benefited from careful conservation management over the last two decades resulting in abundant wildlife with very healthy numbers of cape buffalo, wildebeest, African elephant, lion, leopard and giraffe as well as around one third of the world's population of wild dog. Return to camp for a dip in the pool. Dinner is served either in the restaurant or under the stars.
Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Single room option

 Day 8 Early game drive and boat safari on Lake Tagalala. This afternoon head to the waterhole.

Depart the lodge early today with a packed breakfast for an extended day game drive and boat safari on Lake Tagalala. Selous is made up of Acacia savana, woodland and open grassland with the Rufiji River cutting through the reserve, with a network of lakes and channels criss crossing the open plains. This diverse ecology of the area offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities alongside upwards of 350 species of birdlife within the reserve. Combining a traditional safari drive with a boat trip on Lake Tagalala enables us to potentially see many of the major African mammals, including elephant, giraffes, lions, leopard and even the rare African Wild Dog. Return to the lodge for a late lunch. Visit the treehouse for elevated views across the plains, our lodge also has a waterhole where animals often congregate in the late afternoon allow further wildlife viewing.
Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Single room option

 Day 9 Transfer to the airstrip for a short flight to Zanzibar Island. Transfer to Stone Town hotel.

This morning after breakfast, bid farewell to Selous, driving to the local airstrip for a short flight to Zanzibar island. Taking off in a light aircraft from a remote grass airstrip in a game reserve is a truly memorable experience; no long check in queues here, instead you're more likely to get delayed whilst game is chased off the airstrip. After flying over the 40 km wide Zanzibar Channel we touchdown just outside of Stonetown and transfer to the Dhow Palace hotel. The exotic spice island of Zanzibar, a land of sun-kissed beaches, Arabian dhows and swaying palms, where the rich smell of spice in Stone Town's old quarter mingles with colonial and Arabic architecture to create a perfect getaway island. Zanzibar's fascinating culture and remarkable history makes any visit to the island a captivating experience, with beaches and reefs to explore, plantations to wander through and a rich history of conquests, slavery and pirates to investigate.
Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
Single room option

 Day 10 Trip ends in Stone Town with the option to extend your holiday in Zanzibar.

The trip ends after breakfast in Stonetown, alternatively extend your stay in Zanzibar at The Zanzibari boutique hotel in the north of the island at Nungwi.
Meals included: Breakfast

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