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.”


Scenic light plane flights | 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. You’ve got time on safari in the very special Selous Game Reserve, and you’ve also got time to relax on Zanzibar, however we’ve also added in some special experiences which make this trip a bit different from a standard safari and beach holiday. There is 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 fly on a light plane from Dar to Selous, arriving at an airstrip near 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 you’re 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! A night in Stone Town completes your exciting safari and beach adventure. It’s a really varied and good quality African experience, for a truly superb price.

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

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.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

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:
Small, locally owned safari lodge and hotels.
Accomm., listed activities, transport inc. local flights, guides.
All breakfasts, 3 lunches, 7 dinners.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

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.

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

For every person that travels with the company, it plants trees through The Travel Forest initiative. Depending on where they plant and the requirement of the specific area, they plant either indigenous trees or a mix of indigenous and non-native species. Planting non-native seedlings may seem counter-intuitive but doing this can often help any remaining indigenous forest from being cut down (e.g. for fuel) as some non-native trees grow much more quickly than indigenous types. They particularly aim to save ancient or older indigenous forest, through offering an alternative option for fuel requirements of local communities. In addition to this benefit, their Travel Forest initiative helps with such things as planting for water-course retention, soil erosion, shade and even food – all depending on what is planted and where. They have planted almost 100,000 trees to date in various degraded locations including the Andean mountains in Peru, northern Tanzania and Malawi. This has always been done in conjunction with the local communities who plant and then tend the seedlings. Trees are far more important to the health of this planet (and us) than many people imagine. This global Travel Forest initiative can and does make a big difference.

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).

As part of our commitment to the environment we have a programme to plant trees in Tanzania, Malawi, Peru etc. through the company’s foundation. This was set up to help alleviate poverty, conserve endangered wildlife, and protect earth’s environmental diversity for the benefit of us all. All the projects have a link with tourism in some way, and many benefit the wider world as well as local people, through conserving areas of natural beauty. We don’t just look overseas when considering the environment, even at the office the team planted tress in the fields surrounding the buildings to celebrate the company’s 21st birthday in 2019.

As a company we think about our partners overseas carefully. The company ethos is to use properties around the globe that have a similar ethical stance to ourselves. If they can use local suppliers for their provisions, be it food or furnishings then they do, and all offer a variety of menus including vegetarian and vegan/plant-based options. Our partners support the use of solar/renewable energies, and many are looking at ways of switching their current supplies to more eco-friendly options in order to be more efficient. The use of solar, water and air are options in use or being explored, as well as grey water run offs. Energy efficient appliances and practices, card operated in room lighting, low energy bulbs, and a change in laundry practices, are all in operation, and show just a few of the initiatives used. Our partners also use local staff within their properties. Many live on-site in seasonal properties for example reducing the travel emissions of the company, many come from the local villages and communities surrounding the properties. This includes everyone from house keeping to management and the guides that are from the locale.

Due to the nature of the holidays provided by the company, it is impossible to eliminate all flights but where possible we use the minimum flight hours an itinerary can operate with. The packages we have on offer include rail portions in some areas, which keep emissions low, many walking options and shared transportation.


The Impacts of this Trip

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.


6 Reviews of Tanzania holidays, Selous, Zanzibar & the coast

4.5 out of 5 stars

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!

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