Our first trip to Tanzania was the “classic” safari trip to the northern National Parks, looking for the big five (finding four), followed by a beach vacation on Zanzibar and trying to catch the “special Zanzibar feeling”. Here you will find the first two days: arrival, Lake Duluti and Arusha National Park, including LOTS of Giraffes.
|Tanzania, Northern National Parks (Arusha, Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Lake Manyara) and Zanzibar
|How and when I got there
|Flights with Turkish Airlines from Cologne via Istanbul and Zanzibar to Kilimanjaro Airport; return flight from Zanzibar via Kilimanjaro and Istanbul to Cologne; January – February 2019
|Where I stayed
|Lake Duluti Lodge (near Arusha, https://www.lakedulutilodge.com/)
Highview Hotel (Karatu, http://www.highviewhotel.com/)
Meru View Lodge (close to southern Arusha Nat. Park Gate, http://www.meru-view-lodge.com/meru/en/)
Shu’Mata Camp (2 hours north of Moshi/Asursha, http://www.shumatacamp.de/index.php)
Hatari Lodge (close to nothern Arusha Nat. Park Gate, http://www.hatarilodge.de/en/contact.php)
Le Parlour Apartments (Boma La Ngombe, close to JRO airport, no own website)
Melia Zanzibar Hotel (Kiwengwa, Zanzibar, https://www.melia.com/en/hotels/tanzania/zanzibar/melia-zanzibar/index.html)
Dhow Palace Hotel (Stone Town, Zanzibar, http://www.dhowpalace-hotel.com/)
|we tried only the Restaurants of the above mentioned hotels / lodges. And we liked best:
Hatari Lodge, Shu’Mata Camp and Lake Duluti Lodge: outstanding!
Meru View Lodge and Melia Zanzibar: very good
|Things to do
|Game drives in the National Parks – the obvious thing
Hiking at Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru: not exactly the relaxing type of vacation
Walking Safaris and relaxing (e.g. at the Hatari Lodge or a tented camp like Shu’Mata): more solitude to “feel Africa”
|Recommendations in a nutshell
|see the post regarding “things to consider for travelling in Tanzania”!
Use a renowned travel agency for organising the safari trip (like Chamaeleon)
get some rest between the bumpy rides
Further Reading: Lonely Planet Tanzania Travel Guide
|Garlic marinade Beef Tenderloin
Our first trip to central Africa started out with a stupid mischief: I left my Kindle e-reader on the airplane from Istanbul to Kilimanjaro Airport. Classically, I put it into the seat pocket during the overnight flight, and there it stayed…I completed a “left item” form at the Turkish Airlines website – unfortunately unsuccessful so far.
Arrival at Kilimanjaro in the early morning hours
Otherwise, everything started fine. We arrived at Kilimanjaro Airport at 6:30 in the morning – about thirty minutes late, having circulated between Arusha and Nairobi twice. Luis, our great tour guide from “Chamaeleon Travel”, welcomed us very nicely. Together we climbed in the huge Toyota Landcruiser, which could harbour 6 guests – our “home” for the next five days.
The picture was taken later, but it’s a nice shot of Luis in front of our “tour home” and Mount Meru in the back. Our first trip was just a short one to the first Lodge, the “Lake Duluti Lodge” in Arusha, which took us about an hour. Thank god – after a night in economy class seats everybody was really tired.
Lake Duluti Lodge: nice rooms and excellent food!
The lodge is located close to the name-giving Lake (5 minutes walking distance) and is nicely embedded in a tropical garden. Being a former coffee plantation (until 10 years ago), there are still lots of coffee plants on the ground, and the lodge in fact produces it’s own coffee – a very good tasting one! – that they serve to guests on the terrace:
After a hearty breakfast we could move into our luxurious rooms (particularly nice: the bathroom with a free-standing bathtub and windows opening to the tropical garden – you can take a shower while watching the monkeys outside!) and take a nap. And we needed it – sleeping in economy class is almost impossible…
In the afternoon we explored the near surroundings of the lodge. Lake Duluti, just next to the garden of the lodge. And the coffee plantation – Lake Duluti lodge used to be a coffee plantation before becoming a hotel about 10 years ago. They offer a “cofee tour” with a guide. Before moving into the coffee plantation, we had a short tour to the Lake Duluti. You are not supposed to leave the grounds of the lodge without guard – so we had a “tour guide” for the visit of the Lake. At the lake shore there are lots of birds, including many “weaver birds”, that build their nests by weaving grass into a “cave”. And on our way back we actually met a specimen of the loudest animals in the area: a cicada.
Aferwards, we got the 1-hour “cofee tour” with a guide, explaining about growing, harvesting and processing coffee. Very interesting!
|entire coffee plant
|coffee plant with white blossoms and green beans
|processing of the coffee beans: removal of the skins
Our first day finished with a fantastic dinner. I had read the comments about the lodge in Tripadvisor and thus we knew that the food was supposed to be good. In fact, it was really excellent. Of course, we stayed only for 2 nights – so no real statistics available, but on both evenings the dinner was really outstanding. Here’s an example f the menu:
Second Day – lunch with Giraffes in Arusha NP
Our second day – in fact the first “real” safari day – started with a short drive from the Lake Duluti Lodge to the Arusha National Park. We stopped at the southern Park gate, Luis left us to get the permits, and we went face to face with te first animals: a group of Baboons. They obviously hang around the entrance every day, as we’ve seen them there whenever we passed. And: we had a great view of the still cloudless Kilimanjaro:
And with a little zoom:
Just a few minuntes behind the Park drive there’s a large meadow, and this was our first “wow” moment. Although pretty far away, there was almost everything we were looking for: buffalos, Giraffes, Zebras, wartdogs…
Next we went to the Ngurdoto crater lookout, passing through small bumpy roads and meeting another large group of Baboons:
While passing, we got really close:
Ngurdoto Crater Lookout
Due to an impeccably blue sky, we had the perfect view of Mount Kilimanjaro. OK, a bit far away – after all, we were standing on one of the Mount Meru craters. Nevertheless, a spectacular view. Compared to the early morning view, the first ring of clouds around Kilimanjaro are already visible. Usually, after 11 a.m. the top of Kili disappears behind clouds. Fortunately, on that day it was a bit later.
At the bottom of the crater meadow some buffalos gathered in a spot. Otherwise., the place was pretty empty, and we continued driving back through thick rain forest, where we met these nice black and white colobus monkeys.
Around noon we arrived at the small Momella lake, followed by the larger one. Driving through softly undulating countryside, lots of animals passed our way, like waterbucks – male left and female right , warthogs, gazelles, and some giraffes:
Warthogs belong to my favorites – really cute:
And due to the low gras, you can see them from head to toe – and not only the “flag”, their raised tail.
In the Momella lake: pink flamingos
– and a huge number of them, to our feeling. But our guide Luis told us that there were many more to expect later in the year.
We stopped for lunch break at a wonderful lookout on a hill next to the left Momella lake, the smaller one of the lakes, with Mount Meru in the back and a meadow populated with lots of giraffes (on the picture, there’s one giraffe on a peninsula of the lake, and the others on the meadow of the opposing shore) in the front. We started counting like “oh, look, there are two, no three….five….ten…” and ended up with more than thirty.
The “Meadow of the Giraffes”
Right after lunch we continued the game drive and went to the “giraffe meadow”. Wow, now it became a really close encounter!
And I have never in my life seen so many giraffes in one spot, and probably I never will.
We just stared and couldn’t believe our luck.
Surrounded by giraffes – they even passed the road just a few meters ahead of us.
Although they can run pretty fast, they passed us slowly and very gracefully. So for me, it was the perfect first safari day. We returned “home” to the Lake Duluti lodge in the late afternoon and enjoyed the rest of the day swimming in the hotel pool:
consuming cold drinks and a wonderful dinner. I had looked up Lake Duluti lodge before on Tripadvisor, and there had been many enthusiastic critics about the excellent food. Absolutely justified! Every day we were served a 4 courses dinner, and due to the fact that starters, soup and main dish were so gorgeous, I had do skip dinner on both evenings, just had a small bite to try, and is was very good as well.
See more of our Tanzania Safari and Zanzibar Beach Trip here:
And find more information about Travelling in Tanzania here:
*According to a German Court decision, all texts containing links to commercial pages (e.g. links to Tripadvisor, Airline, hotel or restaurant websites) have to be identified as “commercial” (in German “Anzeige”). As my texts do contain links like that, I therefore identify each post and page containing a link as “Anzeige”. However (and referring to the “About Me” page) I would like to point out that I do NOT post any sponsored content in my texts; I pay for all my trips myself.