I have been lucky enough to go on an expedition to Tanzania, Africa, and thought I would share a few pearls of wisdom to anyone who is planning a trip, or is just interested!
So, BEFORE YOU GO:
Obviously you must gather together the obvious things, for example a rusksack, your equipment, possibly a tent
. But things that I would also advice you to take are as follows.
Bungees - these proved invaluable for me, and could be used in many situations. They are also very cheap at just a few pounds.
That clever soap that doesn't need water - it's by Carex and is widely available. This is excellent- and perfect for when there is no running water to hand.
A few luxury items - I simply took a few face and hand creams
. After several weeks without civilisation, you may miss your luxuries. Obviously you can't ship your own bed over- so take a few little things that may cheer you up if you're feeling down.
A money Belt- the best way to carry your money and passport. A cheap one is fine. Mine was about £3 from Millets-and lasted fine!
And Photos - Take pictures of your friends and family. Even if you aren't a 'homesick' kind of person - it's always good to have a reminder of home!
Also before you go be sure that you have had all of the vacinations needed. You cannot enter the country without a Yellow Fever Certificate- so this one is a must. You also need to take Malaria Tablets. These usually have to be taken for a period before you actually leave- so ensure that you have planned ahead. Visit your GP and they can advise you.
Also make sure you have a valid Visa. Again- do this in plenty of time- as they won't let you in the country without one!
Finally - INVEST IN A LONELY PLANET GUIDE! This will be your Bible whilst you are away - it contains all the information any traveller could need; it also has 'blacklisted' hotels
and companies- so you know where to avoid! It cannot stress enough the need for this book. It's around £15 and is money well spent!
DAR ES SALAM:
This is where you will land in Tanzania- and you will probably be looking for somewhere to stay for that night.
You will probably be inundated by taxi drivers at the airport - all wanting to give you the best proce. *DO NOT accept the first price you are offered* Believe me they will try and overcharge you, but if you stay calm and stand your ground they will lower the price quick enough.
Dar Es Salam can be quite a frightening place- especially at night, so ensure that you don't walk around alone.
In Dar there are many restaurants-however we managed to find a McDonalds style restaurant - it was very clean and modern - and you could even eat the ice-cream (a luxury not enjoyed in Tanzania- due to dirty water!) Here the food is still cheap though- so if you already miss home- there is your best bet!
Hotels/ Hostels I stayed in and would reccommend as cheap, safe, and (relatively) clean are the YMCA, The Popp Inn, and the YWCA. There will be details of many other hotels in the Lonely Planet Guide.
This is about 7 hours drive from Dar. You can travel by road or train
. We opted for bus
as it was much cheaper. There is a bus station in Dar and from here there are daily buses
to Moshi. We payed 8500 shillings each- so do not be ripped off! If you would rather travel in style, on the return journey we found the company 'Scandanavian Travel.' These coaches - actually look like the coaches that we have here at home- and is a much more pleasant
experience - however- obvioulsy is more expensive. The Scandanavian Travel 'office
' is situated opposite the police station
in Moshi high street.
There is a lovely market in Moshi, where you can pick up
herbs and spices and food- so pay this a visit.
in Moshi I would not advise you stay in is 'The Coffee Tree'. If you can find somewhere else to stay - then do!
We found some lovely hotels - Meru Inn was ok- nice restaurant.
The Buffalo - very cheap.. hot showers!!
The Kinderoko - Offering luxury rooms to those who have the money. This is worth it if you have a few shillings to spare. The rooms have a Tv
and the hotel itself is very nice- boasting an extremely cheap roof top bar.
We booked our Safari in Moshi at Zara Tours. These are highly reccommended - but have a look in your Lonely Planet for others. It also has a 'blacklist' of companies which you obviously should avoid! We went to the Tanangire National Park and then the Ngorongora Crater on the second. I would reccommend that you go to two parks as otherwise you simply see the same thing for two days. Generally you travel in open top range rovers. Safari is excellent and I'd advise people to go. We stayed overnite in a campsite- you can stay in 'huts' but this is about double the price- so it's a good plan to take your tent!
Possibly the most beautiful place I have ever seen- this is a must! You travel by ferry over to Zanzibar. We managed to 'blagg' into first class for free- so don't be afraid to be cheeky- see what you can get! Imagine white sands
, clear blue sea etc etc- well- it is exactly like that.
We traveled to the resort
Jambiani- which is not where the majority of tourists go. If you want a lively resort then consult you Lonely Planet. However, Jambiani was gorgeous and very peaceful! You travel to your resort by 'Dala Dala' the Swahili name for Minibus. Again- haggle... do not accept the initial price.
There is the opportunity to scoober dive, snorkel, and swim with doliphins at the coastal resorts
- so make sure you've got a little extra money saved- its worth it- i promise you!
If you do go to Jambiani- find the 'Seafood Place'. We all ate a delicious 'all you can eat buffet' of Lobster, crab, octopus, prawns, salad, rice, fish etc- for the equivalent of £9!!
Stonetown is where the ferry port is in Zanzibar- and we returned here at the end of our trip. It has a bad reputation for beig dangerous- but we never encountered anything - just ensure you don't go out alone. Also - wear trousers- as it is a strict Muslim Community-and shorts and strappy tops are simply not appropriate, they are fine at the coast
though! We found a gorgeous restaurant in StoneTown - called Blues. The food is divine, it's on the pier- and you can sip cocktails out of coconut shells! Superb!
There is also a market in stone town- perfect for souvenir shopping! Again- be sure to haggle- they'll drop their price if they think you aren't going to buy!
I hope that was of some use - above all enjoy yourself- it's an amazing place. Try and learn a little Swahili before you go -
Jambo = hello
Pungutzu bei bwana = reduce your price sir! (if you can barter in Swahili they're sure to drop the price!)