Tanzania holidays, Selous, Zanzibar & the coast

“Everything on this trip is served with a twist. You'll travel by train and boat; visit Selous, not the Serengeti; and spend as much time meeting people as encountering wildlife.”

Highlights

Train journey across rural Tanzania | Walking and boat safaris | Selous Game Reserve | Game drives | Visiting a Maasai village | Zanzibar | Beachfront hotel | Stone Town | Optional: Jozani Forest, Spice Tour, spa treatments, kayaking, snorkelling, scuba diving

Description of Tanzania holidays, Selous, Zanzibar & the coast

This is a really special bush and beach holiday in Tanzania. Youve got time on safari in the very special Selous Game Reserve, and youve also got time to relax on Zanzibar, however weve also added in some special experiences which make this trip a bit different from a standard safari and beach holiday. There is a train trip, a boat safari, a visit to a rural village, and even the light plane flight from Selous to Zanzibar is a treat too, as you watch the patterns of African from the air.

Firstly you take a fascinating train journey from Dar to Selous. You head across Africa on a five-hour train journey, mixing with the locals and indulging in people and landscape watching before you arrive at Selous and your lodge on stilts!

One of Tanzania's largest reserves (much larger than the Serengeti) Selous Game Reserve is far less visited than the parks in the north. It has a varied landscape, from mountains to valleys, rivers and lakes, so not only does this make for a wonderfully scenic safari, but it also means that there is a great variety of wildlife. There are thousands of elephants, buffalos and antelopes, huge numbers of hippos, wildebeest, giraffe, zebras, and even the endangered wild dogs are doing extremely well here.

While youre at the lodge, which is just outside the park in a beautiful area of hilly miombo woodland, you will get a chance to visit a couple of villages which the lodge is closely linked to. At the Maasai village you can get a non-touristy experience of what Maasai life is like (though you will be shown crafts just in case you want to buy any as this is how the women make some money). At the village of Kisaki you can visit the school and clinic and see what life is like in an ordinary rural Tanzanian village.

End your holiday by flying to the spice island of Zanzibar, where you'll stay on the north east coast in a small friendly hotel on a really lovely beach for 4 nights. Go snorkelling or diving, or you could just enjoy the sunshine and friendly people! Two nights in Stone Town complete your exciting safari and beach adventure. Its a really varied and good quality African experience, for a truly superb price.

Featured activities:
- Wildlife viewing
- Swimming
- Snorkelling
- Cultural tours
- Train journey

Best time to go: The dates given for this trip are good times to go. We avoid the particularly rainy months of April and May. November could possibly be a bit rainy, but it's only the short rains so still quite a good time to come.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1:Dar Es Salaam. When you arrive in Dar we will pick you up and take you to the railway station for your afternoon train journey to Selous. (Note: This must be a Tuesday or Friday). The journey takes roughly 5 hours and once you leave the surrounds of Dar es Salaam, you're out into rural Africa. You will be met off the train and taken back to the lodge for a late dinner before bed.
Day 2:A walking safari is a great way to start attuning your senses to Africa. You will head off from the lodge on an early morning walk for about 2 hours. It's not arduous and you will be focusing on the smaller things. When you get back to the lodge you'll be ready for a hearty breafkast, then you can chill out (perhaps by the pool) until lunch. Then we head off on a game drive. Your expert guide will get you as close as possible to many exciting species which live here, such as elephants, antelopes, zebras, buffalo, lions, hyenas ... Full board.
Day 3:Today we're going to take you off on safari again, but this time with a picnic breakfast to enjoy out in the bush. Again you get the chance to see some wonderful wildlife in this beautiful reserve, and we'll also take you on a boat safari on Lake Tagalala. Crocs, hippos, terrapins and lots of birdlife will be seen on this trip. We return to the lodge in time for a late lunch in the mid-afternoon. The rest of the day is yours to relax and maybe have a few drinks in the quirky bar here! Full board.
Day 4:If you want to experience something of traditional rural life in Tanzania, today we'd suggest you have a little bit of a lie-in (even 7-8am is a lie-in on safari!) before breakfast. We'll then take you to meet a Maasai chief and his wife (Lightness!) who are friends of the lodge, and who will be delighted to explain some of their life and culture, and let you see around their village. You can also visit Kisaki village nearby and perhaps have a look around the school and clinic as well as wandering around having a chat to people. It's a very non-touristy experience. Should you prefer not to do this, we can arrange another wildlife viewing activity instead. Full board.
Day 5:Today you will fly from Selous over to the island of Zanzibar via Dar es Salaam. You will be in Zanzibar by late morning, so after a road transfer to your beach resort you should be in time for a late lunch. The Zanzibari hotel is in the north of the island and is a great place to chill out. Breakfast.
Days 6- 8:You have three full days of doing not very much! Relax on the beach, swim in the pool, maybe take a walk to the neighbouring village of Nungwi. If you feel in need of a little TLC, arrange a massage or another spa treatments, and you could also consider the yoga or reiki. If you're still up for more activity, try snorkelling or kayaking perhaps, and there is a PADI dive centre close by. Your hotel is right on the beach. The 8 stylish rooms have sea views, and there is an infinity pool. Breakfast & dinner.
Day 9:After breakfast today you will be driven to the main island town of Stone Town. Your hotel, the Dhow Palace, has a good central position in the old town, so it's a good place from which to explore the narrow streets, shops and markets. Breakfast.
Day 10:You have another day to explore Stone Town today. If you want to do a specific excursion, such as a Spice Tour or a trip to Jozani Forest, this can be arranged for you. Alternatively, have a wander through the narrow streets and do a bit of shopping perhaps. Colourful 'tinga-tinga' paintings are a popular souvenir, and it's a good place for antiques. There are some great restaurants to eat in here too, so all in all your last day in Tanzania should be memorable. Breakfast.
Day 11:Head for home. We transfer you to the airport in time for your flight home. B.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made and departures can be arranged all year. The sample itinerary below can be modified to your personal wishes including departure date, duration, accommodation used & how long you spend in each destination
Our top tip:
Bring snacks - and loo roll! - for the train journey. 1st class in Tanzania is comfortable but not luxurious.
Trip type:
Tailor made.
Activity level:
Leisurely.
Accomm:
Small, locally owned safari lodge and hotels.
Included:
Accomm., listed activities, transport inc. local flights, guides.
Meals:
All breakfasts, 3 lunches, 7 dinners.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Tanzania holidays, Selous, Zanzibar & the coast

The company that organies this holiday is a multi award-winning responsible travel company. They try to ensure that nothing they do at home (in UK) or abroad compromises the environment or wildlife or exploits people. They believe in ensuring that travellers are well-informed, as an informed traveller tend to be a more respectful and sensitive traveller. They also believe in giving back to the country, people wildlife and environments which are affected by tourism.

Environment:
The lodge in Selous has extremely good eco-credentials in terms of their environmental policies (eg solar power ).

Carbon Offsetting: The tour operator is a multi-award winning responsible travel company. Every person that travels with this company automatically has their flights carbon offset. This is done through The Travel Forest. The Travel Forest plants indigenous trees to offset the carbon emissions produced when you fly on holiday. Whilst this is the primary motivation for planting the trees, the project also works as a poverty alleviation scheme and also aims to combat environmental degradation

The UK head office has a good policy of recycling, reducing and re-using (electricity, paper, plastic etc). They also buy only fair trade goods such as tea, coffee, and use biodegradable detergents etc. They also make a point of buying only top eco-rated equipment (eg monitors).

Community:
Your holiday can include a visit to the Kisaki hospital project near Selous, which benefits from your visit.

The lodge in Selous has community responsibility. The local community land owners are given bednight fees and lease payments for the Selous lodge. The owners are also very committed to the welfare of staff and the local community. For example scholarships have been provided for some local children to go to secondary school.

In terms of information, all travellers are given guidelines on Travelling with Respect, which includes advice on cultural aspects of your travels as well as protecting the environment. For any community-owned or run project, they also have an Community Tourism Information sheet for travellers to help explain how to get the best from the experience, and what to expect (good and bad). For trekkers, the company have a Porter Policy in place, a copy of which is given to clients. They are also have a Responsible Wildlife Viewing guide too. For anything more specific, eg rules about visiting gorillas, this information is also given to clients. In addition, they offer more information about the native people and cultures in a destination country, which all adds to a traveller being more aware.

The company works with partners on the ground in each destination, and only uses local guides. They also primarily promote locally-owned services (hotels etc). They have eco-rated about 300 properties worldwide which they work with closely, so they are very clear which accommodations have good environmental and social responsibility credentials. This information is used to ensure that any traveller wanting to ensure they are really making a difference, can choose between one property and another on eco-issues.

They also promote community-owned projects and services where applicable and possible. Indeed they were instrumental in setting up two community-owned ventures in Tanzania and Peru.

The company backs a charity with funds and administration. This is a registered UK charity whose principle aim is to relieve the poverty of indigenous communities in areas outside of the UK which are affected by tourism. The charity backs poverty alleviation, education, cultural preservation and conservation projects within these regions. It has backed schools, clinics, micro-business projects and more. They are currently raising funds for 9 different grassroots projects in nine different counties, which travellers are encouraged to donate to if they would like to give something back.

Reviews of Tanzania holidays, Selous, Zanzibar & the coast

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 12 Sep 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Seeing the animals up close and in their natural habitat. So fun to watch their mannerisms and really watch the "circle of life". From the lions taking down a
zebra, then the hyena's and vultures having their turn to a leopard taking down a gazelle then protecting it from a group of baboons. It was incredible.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Trust your travel agent. They know what they are doing. They'll design the perfect trip for you. Make sure you tell them all of your wants/needs and they'll
make it happen!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes - It was great eating the local food, learning about how the lodges are giving back to the community and meeting the local tribes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


11 out of 10. The holiday provider went above and beyond and made our holiday perfect. Our guide was fantastic, all of the lodges were unbelievable, and the itinerary was perfect.

Reviewed on 03 Aug 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


It's hard to pick one most memorable or exciting part as the whole trip was incredible!! One of our first magical moments was within the first half an hour of our safari - we just left our lodge (which provided us with the best accommodation, and service ever by the way!) and we spotted an elephant in the bushes - we started taking photos and when we turned around a giraffe was standing right in front of our car! All our safari trips were wonderful, we saw lots of animals - including lions, buffalos, crocodiles, hippos and so on, and Joseph our game driver was fantastic! He was very experienced, knowledgeable, caring and a very humble man - a true legend!Zanzibar was also amazing - fantastic location, great hotel and food. We did the village tour and a boat tour and we had a lovely time! Stone Town is also great and the spice tour was very educational and inspirational!We go on a lot of holidays (up to 6 countries per year) and this was definitely the best organised and most magical trip ever!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Beware that trains are not always running on time - ours was 4 hours late, and as we only had $ on us so we couldn't buy anything at the train station as they only took TZS :) Other than that I would say - book it and you will love it!!!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, we did! We absolutely loved that it was so tailor made - small, remote and magical places! No big group tours and lots of tourists around!All local people have a really good understanding and massive respect for the wildlife, which was fantastic to see. Everything we did was taking local culture, people, wildlife and environment into consideration, and I was very happy to be contributing our money to a lovely local communities.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It's actually pretty hard to describe this trip in a few words - it was truly magical and inspirational! We met some wonderful people, the food and accommodation were incredible and I would definitely recommend this trip!!

Reviewed on 07 Oct 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Seeing the way the different animals interact within their natural environment in ways that could never be experienced by visiting a zoo.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Make sure you or someone with you is good at taking photos!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


As far as I can tell - yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Way better than I ever could have imagined.

I will be going again!

Reviewed on 24 Sep 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Staying at Sable Lodge in Selous was simply stunning. The layout of the camp means you can't see any other buildings from the one you're in. Our accomodation was Rooftop which was spectacular - open views across the forest.
While there we had a combination of walking, river and game drive safari's - just two of us with a guide, who not only had incredible eyesight but had so much knowledge about the animals and their behaviour.
Everyone at Sable Lodge was so friendly and helpful - couldn't have wished for a better stay (and we were the only guests for 48 hours of our 4 days!)
Even when we left, we took a 5 seat plane from the grass air strip to Zanzibar - just us and the pilot. What an experience!!!!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared for the train trip! First class in Tanzania railways is not the same as UK first class. It's a bit of a culture shock, especially the toilets. Take snacks too!
Take a pack of pencils - if you go to the Massai village the children really appreciate them.
If you go on the Spice tour in Zanzibar - take your swim stuff - there's an hour or so at a beautiful beach but we weren't told about that part so could only paddle! (although we did find the hotel bar!!!)

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Booking through this operator meant 10 trees planted in Malawi.
Our entire trip was very small group excursions (just 2 of us in most cases) so this minimised the impact to the local environment, we had a local guide who knew local people rather than big "stop and stare" tourist trips.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Absolutely amazing. The most memorable holiday ever.

Reviewed on 31 Aug 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The stay in Serengeti with special camp

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?




3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Was clear the use of low impact energy sources

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Interesting, exciting, very comfortable! We would like to recommend everyone! !

Reviewed on 24 Dec 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


This holiday was a great mix of relaxing and more active days. It was my first safari and we saw some great wildlife. But even without the wildlife, the scenery in the parks was so beautiful and the people were so nice. It was sometimes a bit scary to be so close to big and dangerous animals such as lions or elephants but it was exciting at the same time!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


We went here on our honeymoon. We wanted to combine a more typical honeymoon, relaxing in beautiful places, with a more active part. This was perfect as we had so many new exciting experiences on mainland Tanzania, and then we could relax in Zanzibar.

We went in December and the scenery was really beautiful because it rained a bit once in a while. It was nice and green, but it was extremely humid and hot. If you cannot stand this very well, it's probably better to go in another season.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I definitely felt the difference with other safari operators. The hotels we stayed in were all very environmentally sustainable with solar power and responsible water management. The lodges always had a good relation with the local people and tried to benefit them as much as possible. One of the lodges had its own elephant conservation project and while staying at another lodge we went to visit a local village where we could buy some things the local women made.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


We had a great time and we will definitely recommend this holiday!

Reviewed on 06 Feb 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


There were so many memorable moments - the experience of seeing lions hunting at Maasai Mara, and also seeing lion cubs, will stay with us forever. We also saw cheetahs, rhinos, hippos and so much more.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


We booked the six day camping safari followed by four days on the beach on Manda Island which worked really well as we spent long days on safari, getting up at 6.30am every day - so the relaxation time at the end was very welcome.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


The impact of our holiday on local people and the environment was the most important consideration when booking our holiday and overall we felt happy with this. The conservancies we camped in were managed by local communities who clearly had strong relationships with the company in Kenya who organise this holiday.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Fabulous!

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