Jambo Jambo, the familiar greeting of Tanzania, a staggeringly beautiful country with a warm Swahili culture. If off the beaten track is your style, allow us to introduce heaven. It’s wild out there…
Most first-time visitors head to the North for Safari (Swahili for “journey”), lured by its most famous parks, but we recommend capturing your own David Attenborough encounters in The Selous, a rare beast the size of Switzerland. Can’t choose between wildlife and a sunlounger? Do both. A trip to Tanzania would surely be incomplete without a trip to the coast.
The beauty of the Selous is that you can enjoy game sightings without hoards of other vehicles, and are often lucky to spot rare wild dogs. Bed down in chic safari camps, where your digs are as wonderful as the game viewing.
There is a time and a place for a tent, and it’s a must when on safari. This authentic, intimate tented camp, located on the banks of the Rufiji River is understated but still chic. The real stars are the staff, our guide Ezra was a walking encyclopedia. His knowledge, love of the wildlife and care he took to enhance our experience made our stay so memorable. Opt for the early start and breakfast in the bush, you won’t be disappointed. In the evenings, try Konyagi (instead of your usual G&T) and make sure you guard your dessert carefully, or the cheeky bush babies will help themselves. Nothing is too much trouble and there are so many little touches that make your stay unforgettable, we would return in a hearbeat.
If you want to push the boat out, Siwandu is a stylish tented camp with epic scenery. It’s a great choice for a honeymoon. Opt for a game drive or walking safari early in the morning, when you are more likely to see predators before the heat of the day sets in. Afternoons are best spent enjoying river safaris allowing you to observe hippos, crocs and birds on the river banks. Finally, stop for sundowners somewhere overlooking the water, you can marvel at the sublime African sunset. The bush doesn’t get much more decadent than this. Utterly magical.
Lake Manze tented camp is nestled on the shores of it’s namesake, making it the ideal place to leap frog into the Wilderness. The tents are ‘off the grid’ (with no electricity, a deliberate choice) but panic not they still feature en-suite bathrooms with hot water and flush-able loos. If you are lucky you’ll have the enthralling experience of elephants stopping to eat, drink and play right outside your tent. Here time shifts, and your days begin with the rising sun, and end with the moon and stars. Idyllic.
The stunning white beaches of Zanzibar, or the more remote Pemba or Mafia islands, are all easily accessible and not to be missed.
If your idea of paradise is living virtually outdoors, with the bush on one side and turquoise waters on the other, then this is the place for you. A boutique lodge with organically designed villas offering barefoot luxury – not in the mod-cons of a champagne-filled minibar and a flat-screen TV but in the delightful experience of sharing your morning cup of tea with a troupe of monkeys. The sunset sail in their dhow and the guided village walk with Rashid are a must.
A big family friendly hotel located on one of the best stretches of beach on Zanzibar, and quite possibly the world. Conde Nast Traveller agrees, naming it as one of the top 30 beaches in the world. This spot should not be shared, it’s that special. We fell in love with Breezes for its simple luxurious style and authentic Zanzibari feel. Unforgettable experiences include diving off the Coral reef and snorkelling with exotic fish. Make a reservation for The Rock (a short taxi ride away), and experience the novelty of eating in an intimate restaurant nested on a rock in the middle of the sea.
Pole Pole is Swahili for “slowly, slowly”, and as its moniker suggests, this one-of-a-kind eco resort is our favourite place to sit back, relax and take it easy. As soon as you step onto Mafia Island you can forget the rest of the world exists. Just seven bungalow suites occupy this slice of heaven. Water babies will love the gin-clear waters, which are ideal for snorkelling or swimming with Whale Sharks. And, if you didn’t think this place could be anymore idyllic, there is an award winning spa and top notch Italian cuisine. If you’ve ever aspired to live like the Swiss Family Robinson then combine with a few nights at Chole Mjini for a treehouse adventure.
Image credits: yellowzebrasafaris.com, expedia.co.uk, aardvarksafaris.co.uk, leopardtours.com