Fun things to do in Tanzania

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  • SanguiniA's Profile Photo

    Hyenas in the Serengeti

    by SanguiniA Written Jun 3, 2005

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    Hyenas are plentiful in the Serengeti as well. While they are not exactly cute, they are part of the African wildlife experience and I really wanted to see some.

    It was not only me looking out for them though; at night in the camp they were frequently present sniffing around and making strange wailing noises. A word of warning - put your shoes in the camp or else the hyenas will take them as souveniers.

    The really odd thing about hyenas, apart from their weird body shape, is that there eyes always look like black holes ...

    'Almost cute' Hyena portrait
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  • Myndo's Profile Photo

    Tarangire Ntl Park

    by Myndo Updated Jan 5, 2005

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    On the road to Tarangire you will drive by the red clothed Masai, which are looking after their animals (mostly cows).

    The Tarangire Ntl Park is named after the Tarangire River that has water the whole year.
    It was opened 1971, is 2600 km2 big and has a lot of grasland and savannah.

    Very impressive are the many Baobabs that grow here. That are the trees with the big trunk and comparedly small branches.

    The park is big, but not big enough for the many animals who tend to wander in and out of the park and into the Maasai Country.

    Best time to visit would be during dry time, but there are enough animals to see the rest of the year as well.

    Animals:
    Elefants, Baboon, Oryx, Hyena, Jackal, Zebra, Wildebeest, Leopard, Lion, Buffalo ..

    for more information, have a look at my Tarangire Ntl Park pages

    Tarangire at sunset
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  • Myndo's Profile Photo

    a Maasai Village

    by Myndo Updated Oct 19, 2004

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    Between the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti our driver asked us, if we wanted to see a Maasai village.
    He told us it would be a show village, they do have another one (more private) where they are living in.

    They would use the money they want for it for the education of their children. They also had a small "school" in the village, but are trying to send them to real schools.
    This is also a way of preserving a part of their culture and it keeps them some privacy.
    We agreed to see it (costs about 50US$ for the bus, quite cheap compared to what I heard else)

    It was quite an experience.
    The Maasai are quite long, lean and proud people. One showed us around and explained some of the things.
    The wall made of sticks (quite thick) around the village not only keeps wild animals away, but also keeps most of the wind out - and it is a windy area.

    The huts are made only by the woman - so if you have a small wife your hut will also be small (makes me smile, maybe it explains why they are so long). Inside the hut is pretty dark and smoky because of the fire in the middle, but I think they will be most of the time outside.

    The Maasai are wearing red clothes. You can see them from quite far - and so can the animals - which stay clear of them, even the lions, I have noticed.

    They think that all the cows in Africa are theirs, so they didn't think of it as stealing if they got some of the white farmers. You can imagine that those thought different about it...
    The Maasai are allowed to stay in this area (Ngorongoro) and look after their cows, even though this is a conservation area. They are not allowed into the Serengeti, though.

    They eat mostly meat from their own animals, they are not hunting. They have a special drink made of cow blood and milk.

    Maasai
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  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Tarangire National Park

    by toonsarah Updated Apr 22, 2009

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    We stayed a couple of days in a tented lodge here which sits on an escarpment with fantastic views over the park below. The highlight of our time here was the large number of elephants who love in the park. I never tired of watching them, especially the so-cute babies, and capturing them on camera (as I found when I returned home and counted just how many elephant photos I had taken!) A river runs through the park, and has water even in the dry season (as when we visited, making it a magnet for wildlife. An evening game drive here will give you great photo opportunities as the elephants and other animals come down to the water to drink.

    Animals seen here:
    ~ elephants
    ~ more elephants!!
    ~ lions (a lioness stalking a zebra, and another “baby-sitting” three cubs)
    ~ giraffe
    ~ zebra
    ~ mongoose
    ~ wildebeest
    ~ impala
    ~ oryx

    Another feature of the park is the large number of baobab trees, which are almost as photogenic as the elephants. See my small Tarangire page for more about the animals we saw here and our accommodation at the tented lodge.

    View of Tarangire from the lodge Elephant in Tarangire Baobob tree and tent, Tarangire Safari Lodge
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  • SanguiniA's Profile Photo

    Lake Manyara National Park

    by SanguiniA Updated Jun 28, 2005

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    If you are taking a Northern Circuit Safari without visiting Arusha National Park the chances are that you will be starting your African wildlife experience from here. This is a really beautiful park, and surprisingly parts of it are very lush and green - not really what I was expecting.

    Though it is small, there is a variety of landscapes - forest, lakes, savannah and marshes. The most prominent inhabitants are the waterbirds and the hippos, but there are also elephants, zebras, giraffes, warthogs, impalas and others to be seen. The populations are not as staggering as in the Ngorongoro or the Serengeti but as a first window to the Tanzanian wildlife the experience here is very enjoyable. Here is the home of the tree-climbing lions, though they are supposedly difficult to spot (in fact I did not!)

    This place is usually allocated a few hours game drive - which is enough in my opinion. Still, if you are not short of time, an overnight stay permitting 2 or more game drives would be well deserved. I f you have enough time, there is an option for canoe safaris on the lake, which I guess is an enjoyable experience.

    Hippos and Birds at Lake Manyara
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  • SanguiniA's Profile Photo

    Tarangire National Park

    by SanguiniA Updated Jun 28, 2005

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    This is another park popularly included in the Northern Circuit Safaris. Still, it is very season dependent. During the dry season between August and October it teems with wildlife, but during the wet season, like when I visited, the wildlife is a bit scarce compared to other parks such as the Serengeti and Ngorongoro.

    Still at any season, Tarangire is the elephant park, in fact the locals affectionately call it "The Home of the Elephant". In fact you can see elephants at every corner - and delightfully there are quite large herds. A picture I will never forget is the one I have chosen for this tip - a herd of elephants huddling together to enjoy the shade of a tree. Another nice thing of this park is the presence of plenty of baobab trees.

    But a visit during the wet season, when the large animals are a bit scarce offers the opportunity to observe the other creatures that would otherwise be overlooked in favour of more 'interesting' ones. In fact it was enjoyable to stop and watch a family of mongoose and a group of helmeted guineafowl. I also saw a group of Ground Hornbills, which I wouldn't have seen if there were other animals around. Still, the varied landscape is a delight at every season.

    One downside of this park is the presence of a higher number of tse-tse flies than in other parks. This park is literally infested with them. For those of you who don't know what a tse-tse fly is, it is a grashopper-like fly that BITES - even through clothes. They are attracted to perfume and dark clothing especially blue, and they carry some nasty diseases such as the African sleeping sickness.

    Elephant and baobab - symbols of Tarangire!
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  • Geisha_Girl's Profile Photo

    A Light in Africa

    by Geisha_Girl Updated Jul 8, 2005

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    6 years ago she was a suburban housewife and mother taking her afternoon walk to the market in her Leeds, UK hometown while trying to decide what to prepare for dinner that evening. Suddenly she felt a strong charge from within. She says it was a 'calling.' Rather than step into the butcher shop where she was headed, she felt a push to detour into a travel agency. She needed to go somewhere.

    She sat with the travel agent who asked what destination she would like, and this woman said, "I think Africa."

    The travel agent then replied, "Well....Madame, Africa is a very big place. Do you have a specific place in mind?"

    Something was drawing this woman to Tanzania.

    This is how she tells the story when you're first introduced to this bolt of energy all the orphans affectionately call Mama Lynn.

    She swears it was a spiritual awakening that brought her to Tanzania.......and it was her calling that brought her to open up her first hospice for terminally ill children.

    Today, Mama Lynn runs 3 orphan homes under the "Light in Africa" organization.....and this is where she makes miracles happen. What she witnessed during her visit to Tanzania prompted her to head back to England and write hundreds of letters a week in an attempt to raise awareness and funds for this plight in Africa. The response was overwhelming, and it was enough for her to pack up her belongings, 4 plastic bags full of medical supplies, a word processor, and her 10 year-old son Tom. She left her husband and remaining grown up children behind and headed for her destiny in Africa.

    Sitting in the van hearing her tell this story and all the harsh realities she had to face, would bring chills up your spine. The stories of the babies and women she saved seemed too outrageous to be real. But when you come face to face with the exact people she mentions in her stories, you start to believe in miracles.

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  • SanguiniA's Profile Photo

    Arusha

    by SanguiniA Written Jul 11, 2005

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    Arusha is the gateway town to the Northern Circuit Safaris - with tour operators and accomodation of all types.

    Most of the town, inhabited by some 800,000 people is typically African - vibrant, noisy, overcrowded, dusty and sadly, poor. Still it is great to experience this life - where people get around by bicycle, stalls are everywhere and the masaii mingle with the town people.

    On the outskirts of the town, there is the Arusha Snake park - a great place to finish off your safari by having a look at the most dangerous east african snakes - all safely contained in terraniums of course. If the snakes aren't esciting enough there are also tortoise and crocs. You can even handle the non-venomous snakes if you wish.

    Tortoise in Arusha Snake Park

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  • sachara's Profile Photo

    Arusha National Park, only 40 minutes from Arusha

    by sachara Updated Mar 12, 2005

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    Arusha National Park is said to be a little gem in Tanzania's 'Northern Safari Circuit'. The park is at not more than a 40 minutes drive from Arusha, the gateway town for safaris.

    Not many visitors come to this scenic park, because most of them head straight to other parks like Kilimanjaro, Lake Manyara, Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti.

    The Arusha National Park has three different features, the lush swamps of the Ngurdoto Crater, the Momela Lakes with its changing colours and the rugged alpine peaks of Mount Meru.

    There are several safari agencies in Arusha who offer a trip to Arusha NP. With three persons we hired a 4 WD with open rooftop from Shidolya Tours & Safaris Ltd. Including driver/guide, entrancefees and lunch for a whole day we had to pay 250 $ for the three of us.

    Arusha NPNgurdoto from the north
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  • sachara's Profile Photo

    Arusha National Park, giraffes

    by sachara Updated Mar 12, 2005

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    The Arusha National Park has different altitudes from 1500 metres to over 4500 metres. Due to these different altitudes and the geological structure ther are different vegetations zones at rather short distance.

    After we visited the Momela Lakes we drove to the more central parts of the National Park. Here are areas with open grassland, thew so called Serengeti Ndogo, the little Serengeti. In and around this area we saw a lot of giraffes and some zebras.

    Arusha NP, giraffes
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  • sachara's Profile Photo

    Arusha National Park, Mount Meru

    by sachara Updated Mar 12, 2005

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    The Mount Meru is part of the Arusha National Park and is at the western end of the park. In one day you can visit the extinct Ngurdoto Crater, the Momela Lakes and the lower slopes of the Mount Meru.

    It is also possible to climb to the top of the Mt Meru. It will take about two days up and one day down. In Arusha there are travel agencies, where you can do the bookings for a three or five day trip.

    The Mount Meru is a mixture of forest and bare rock. The Mt Meru has a spectacular crater. The Mount Meru is a dormant vulcano, the last eruption was 100 years ago.

    During our visit to the Arusha National Park at a very cloudy day we hardly could see the top of the Mt Meru. In the late afternoon it appeared a bit out of the clouds, but the view became not really clear.

    Arusha NP
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  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Lake Manyara National Park

    by toonsarah Written Apr 22, 2009

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    This was the first National Park we visited on our safari in Tanzania, and although we were only here a few hours we found time to have a big advanture (see my Dangers and Warnings tip) and to get some close-up views of quite a few animals, like this giraffe.

    The first part of our drive here led through a wooded area, where as well as the giraffe we saw zebra, elephants and a large troop of baboons. Later we emerged by the side of the lake that gives the park its name. The lake is a focus for birdlife and is a popular destination for keen birdwatchers. We were there in late October, at the end of the dry season – not a great time for birds but we did see egrets and storks, and a few distant flamingos, and the lake-side provided a great spot for a picnic lunch (see photo 4).

    Wildlife seen here:
    ~ giraffe
    ~ zebra
    ~ elephants
    ~ warthogs
    ~ wildebeest
    ~ baboons
    ~ impala
    ~ egrets
    ~ stork

    Giraffe in Lake Manyara National Park Baboon, Lake Manyara National Park Warthogs crossing the road Chris with Reginald, Lake Manyara National Park
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  • sachara's Profile Photo

    Zanzibar, dolphintour Kizimkazi

    by sachara Written Mar 11, 2005

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    Kizimkazi is a pleasant fishing village at the south coast of Zanzibar Island. Kizimkazi is one of the oldest permanently inhabited settlements of Zanzibar. And probably it has been the capital of Unguja or Zanzibar Island until the 17th century.

    Here we had a nice boattour. Because the sea was not very calm, we had to go further on sea before we reached an area where the dolphins were in the deeper water.

    When we finally spotted the dolphins in the Menai Bay Conservation Area, we saw most of the time about 7 to 10 dolphins, swimming under and around the boat. It was amazing, I never saw this before, so many dolphins so close. Sometimes they jumped out of the water. .

    beach Kizimkazi Dimbani
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  • Geisha_Girl's Profile Photo

    A Light in Africa

    by Geisha_Girl Updated Jul 8, 2005

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    Visitors are welcomed at the Light in Africa orphanages, and it is the best way to see where all the donations are going towards. Mama Lynn will also be the first to tell you where the donations are NOT coming from.

    She had representatives from UNICEF come to visit and tour her homes. When she was asked by them, "So which part of these homes did our donations go to?"

    Mama Lynn's reply, "What donations?"

    Apparently, Light in Africa was listed as one of the UNICEF charity organizations, but Mama Lynn has never seen a penny of it. This is one of many examples, I'm sure, of how corruption can play a major role in the interference of funds going to those who need it the most. The money donated through UNICEF never goes down through the proper channels completely, to get where it needs to go.

    A sad reality, when you see everything this woman is trying to do for the children.

    She has had 3 homes built so far. This one is the Pilgrim House which houses all of the boys.

    Mama Lynn herself stays in a tiny shack with a leaky roof in the back of one of the homes. Very very modest means of living for a very modest woman.

    The Pilgrim House

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  • sachara's Profile Photo

    Zanzibar Town, labyrinth of alleyways

    by sachara Written Mar 11, 2005

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    Zanzibar Town or Stone Town is the cultural and historical heart of Zanzibar. Stone Town, locally known as Mji Mkongwe, meaning old town is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. In many ways Stone Town looks like the medinas of North Africa by its lively bazaars, markets, Arab mansions, but especially by its labyrinth of narrow and twisting streets and alleyways.

    The charm of Stone Town is wandering around in this labyrinth and looking at the nice mansions, the lovely verandahs, the famous decorated doors of Zanzibar, tiny shops and streetstalls and meeting the friendly local people.

    For more information have a look at my Zanzibar Town page.

    Zanzibar Town
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