Feedback from Michael

Austria | 18.08.2020

01.08-13.08.2020

Zanzibar – Tarangire National Park – Lake Manyara Conservation Area – Ngorongoro Crater – Zanzibar

We thought long and hard whether or not we should go on our trip this year. The reason for our concern was the Corona pandemic. After much back and forth, we eventually decided to do the trip.

Selfie from Michael

I’m sure many people are currently in a similar situation – I will remember the empty airport in Vienna for a long time. Upon our arrival at the airport in Zanzibar we were welcomed by our very friendly driver Mohammed. Since our flight was delayed, he had to wait for us for 1.5 hours. He took us to our alternative resort since our initial choice was still closed due to the pandemic. The Tui Blue Bahari Zanzibar was much to our liking as well and as a small extra we got an upgrade to a junior suite by our travel agency.

The junior suite was very spacious, and we had ocean views – which was fantastic of course. The staff was very friendly and helpful as well. We enjoyed our peace and quiet. There were maybe 10 other guests in total in the whole resort. So Corona also had a positive impact on our trip – for example the hotel pool and beach all to ourselves. We also got a Stone Town city tour free of charge from our operator. This tour was very interesting and informative – we can definitely recommend it.

On August 6 we went back to the airport to start the highlight of our holiday, the safari.

Upon arrival in Arusha our driver took us to the African Tulip hotel (a very nice hotel) where we got a briefing about the upcoming days. In the morning of August 7, our Guide Alpha fetched us from our hotel and the adventure began.
We drove to Tarangire National Park. The weather at its best, we saw so many animals. The wide open landscape and the diversity of wildlife was amazing. Since it was just the two of us, we could stop wherever we wanted. I think out guide enjoyed this as well; he could focus all his attention on us and could share many interesting things with us. His trained eyes would detect the next photo motif long before us. We especially enjoyed the last hour before going to camp, when the sun began to set. The colours were incredible. Spending the night at the tented camp was a great experience as well, because we could hear all the different sounds. Around 2am we were woken by the sound of a hyena which was very close to our tent – or at least that’s what it sounded like. Conclusion Tarangire: TOP

On August 7 after breakfast, we left the national park and drove to the Manyara Conservation Area. Manyara is known for lions climbing on trees (according to our guide, this is very rare as lions normally are on the ground). Unfortunately, we didn’t see any lions in the trees, but we did have the privilege to see a leopard just when it lay down on a branch in a tree – this is probably even more rare. Alpha had seen the last leopard 4 years ago – he took photos himself and shared the sighting with other guides we met along the way. We stayed for about half an hour or even longer to observe this very special animal. Our hotel for the next two nights was the Ngorongoro Farm House (great place). Conclusion Manyara Conservation Area: Great, but we liked Tarangire better. The highlight was the leopard in the tree.

Leopard in the tree

On August 8 we started early around 7:30am towards Ngorongoro Crater (caldera to be precise).
After driving uphill and then downhill into the Crater, we didn’t know where to look first – the biodiversity was incredible. Right at the beginning, we saw a lion mother and its cub, having a buffalo for breakfast – we stayed again for quite a while to observe them in awe. Later on, we also saw two male lions.
We will never forget this day. We saw all of the Big Five, except the rhino. Probably a good reason to come back one day! Conclusion Ngorongoro: Definitely the highlight of our tour.

Lions with Buffalo cadaver

On August 9, we returned to Zanzibar to spend another few days on the beach and let all the new impressions and experiences sink in.

Overall conclusion:
It was a fantastic trip and thankfully, we decided to travel and not postpone. We even had a few advantages due to the pandemic. It was quite something to have it all to ourselves during peak season. I am not sure what “normal” looks like during peak season. I can only recommend going on such a trip. The small obstacles (PCR-test/masks/sanitising etc) are not a problem. We were more than happy with our choice of accommodations – and would like to mention the Ang’ata Tented Camp in Tarangire National Park. No electricity and in the middle of the wilderness without wifi – that’s the way to enjoy. Just magical. The people (guides/staff/driver/everyone we met) were so friendly and hospitable. It was a really great trip.

Back