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Selous & Zanzibar

Trip type: 
Wildlife
Adventure level: 
2. Gentle
Max group size: 
16
Avg user rating: 
5
Africa, Tanzania | 14 days
Trip code: 
YTSZ
What's included: 

Transport - 4x4 Safari Vehicle, Plane, Minibus, Boat, Train

Accommodation - Cottage (4nts), Hotels (3nts), lodge (4nts).

Meals - 11 breakfasts, 3 lunches & 8 dinners.

Trip Highlights: 
Discover the abundant wildlife in Selous Reserve
Explore the night markets of Stone Town
Relax on Zanzibar's beautiful beaches
see full itinerary >>

Trip Highlights: 
Discover the abundant wildlife in Selous Reserve
Explore the night markets of Stone Town
Relax on Zanzibar's beautiful beaches
see full itinerary >>
What's included: 

Transport - 4x4 Safari Vehicle, Plane, Minibus, Boat, Train

Accommodation - Cottage (4nts), Hotels (3nts), lodge (4nts).

Meals - 11 breakfasts, 3 lunches & 8 dinners.

Trip Overview: 

Discover Tanzania safari with a real difference as you visit the highlights of southern Tanzania on this trip with a relaxed pace. Enjoy an off the beaten track safari in quiet Selous Game Reserve. Explore the narrow streets of Zanibar's capital Stone Town before relaxing on the island's white sand beaches. 

Itinerary: 
Day
1-2
Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam

Take an overnight flight - on arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Jambo! Welcome to Tanzania.

The rest of the day is free to relax and recover from your journey. The hotel complex has lots of traditional souk shops and restaurants. We also recommend an optional 30 minute boat ride out to the gorgeous inhabited Bongoyo Island. On the island you can lounge in the shade on the beach or take a dip in the sea and go snorkelling.

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's old capital, means 'Haven of Peace'. Many of its buildings display Arabian influence and the port area is fascinating to visit with its ocean-going dhows and inshore ngalawas (out-rigger fishing canoes).

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nt)

Day
3-6
Selous Game Reserve

Selous Game Reserve

The morning of your second day is at your leisure, You may wish to visit the Islands this morning if you haven't done it yesterday afternoon. After lunch you transfer to Dar’s Tazara Station and board the train to Selous. The four and a quarter hour journey shows an interesting view of rural Tanzanian life. When the train departs on time, there is also a small chance to spot game as the train passes through Selous Game Reserve.

You arrive at Kisaki station; the village is home to many Masai. From here it’s a 20 minute drive to Sable Mountain Lodge. Your home for the next four nights is set high above riparian forest at the north-west corner of the reserve, in an area of considerable elephant activity. It consists of eight delightful stone cottages and five tented bandas, with a swimming pool (great for cooling off in between safaris!), en suite facilities, solar power, and its own supply of spring water. Its high elevation provides wonderful views over the surrounding hills and forest with magnificent views of the Uluguru Mountains beyond. The lodge also has its own waterhole where you can watch the animals come down to drink in the evening. Regular visitors include elephant, buffalo, zebra and in November and December, the rare sable antelope.

Selous, at 55,000 square km; (about 5% of Tanzania’s total land area) is the largest wildlife preserve in the whole of Africa and contains the largest populations of elephant, buffalo, hippo, crocodile and wild dog on the continent, as well as large populations of giraffe, zebra and various antelope species. However, as it receives fewer visitors than some of Africa’s more famous reserves, you can benefit from more relaxed game viewing experiences; the north-west sector in particular is away from the busier routes and it isn’t unusual for you not to see any other vehicles during your game drives here.

There are over 400 recorded bird species, including a dazzling array of bee-eaters, rollers, sunbirds and kingfishers, and a marvellous landscape which changes dramatically across the reserve. The reserve has an incredible diversity of habitats from deciduous hard woodland (miombo), open grassland, rocky hills scattered with thorny acacia, palm woodland, sand rivers (only channelling water in the wet season), riverine forest, swamps, lakes and rivers. Its ecological importance lead to the reserve being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. This is one of the last great African wildernesses where it is still possible to watch lions stalking their prey without worrying about another vehicle interrupting the show.

With such a vast area of bush at your disposal, your first full day in Selous is spent exploring firstly on foot as you make an exciting early morning walking safari – a great way to really get in tune with the beauty, peace and tranquility of the wilderness. Selous is one of the few parks and reserves in Tanzania where foot safaris are permitted; there is nothing to beat the thrill of going in search of big game without the confines or noise of a vehicle. Travelling on foot also allows you to take a closer look at the vegetation and follow animal spoor; your guide will be on hand to highlight points of interest and answer your questions. You may come across some of the park’s smaller, though no less interesting residents, such as birds and insects. Look out for dung beetles rolling elephant dung; their ability to move dung balls many times their size is amazing – especially as they may also have to fight off other beetles trying to steal their prize!

You return to the lodge for lunch and have the afternoon to relax by the pool or check to see if there are any visitors at the waterhole. After the heat of the day subsides you embark on your first game drive. Using an open-sided 4WD vehicle you travel deeper into the reserve in search of more game. Selous Game Reserve is a vast wilderness and there are numerous routes to take. A stop at one of the many dry sand river beds may reveal elephants digging for water – a truly thrilling experience. You may also spot wild dog; unlike many other parks, Selous has a thriving population. The park is also home to a large population of giraffe and it is not uncommon to see large groups of them browsing the tops of trees and shrubs.

After dinner back at the lodge, the perfect way to cap the day’s activity is to relax with a night cap on the pool terrace. A great place to gaze at myriad of stars and soak up the night sounds. The constant sound of cicadas chirping is quite soporific while the sound of a hyena laughing or a lion roaring has a more spine-chilling effect!

The following day, you take a full day game drive including a boat safari and a chance to spot pods of partially-submerged hippo, crocodile and other waterside dwellers at close quarters. Hearing hippo laugh is an experience which will delight everyone but only the brave will dare to look a crocodile right in the eye!

Bird life is prolific; you are likely to see pelican, African skimmer, goliath heron, fish eagle, ibis and various species of kingfisher including the aptly named giant kingfisher – the largest in the world. The area is also home to Pel’s fishing owl but you would be very lucky indeed to see one. You may also spot other game at the water’s edge coming down for a welcome drink, especially during the dry season (mid-June – mid-November). Buffalo, waterbuck and impala are the most likely candidates but elephant, lion and leopard need to quench their thirst too. On returning to the camp after dark, look out for some of the area’s nocturnal species at the waterhole.

Your last day in Selous is free to relax at the camp, enjoy the swimming pool, spot game visiting the water hole or choose from a range of optional safari's.

Included Activities

  • 4x4 Game Drives
  • Selous Walking Safari
  • Boat Safari

Optional Activities

  • Masai village visit - USD25
  • Selous Foot Safari - USD105

Accommodation

Lodge (4 nts)

 

Day
7-8
Stonetown, Zanzibar

Stonetown, Zanzibar

This morning there is a last chance to wallow by the pool before breakfast. A final short game drive ends at the Selous airstrip by mid-morning where you board the aircraft for a stunning flight across savannah grassland and shrub before crossing the Straits of Zanzibar to Zanzibar Island. As a result of its trade in slaves and spices, Zanzibar was for many years the most important town on the East African coast. The Sultans of Oman, who introduced the clove tree to its fertile soil at the start of the last century, moved their court here from Muscat in the Gulf and ruled until independence in the early 1960s.

As a major trading centre, the 'Spice Island' is also reputed to be the birthplace of Swahili, the simple lingua franca that developed to allow trade between people of different languages. In the heart of the original merchant city the baleful cry of the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer resonates though the narrow stone streets.

The old part of Zanzibar's main city is known as Stone Town. The best way to see this exotic port town is on foot, exploring the bazaars, shops, mosques, palaces, courtyards and myriad intricate alleyways. When the sun is setting, why not enjoy a sundowner from a bar overlooking the seafront before trying one of the island's local seafood curries at one of the town's many restaurants.

You have the following morning to explore the atmospheric, faded splendour of Stone Town. It's fun to wander unhurriedly through the narrow, whitewashed streets and make chance discoveries. The bustle of the old fish market, the vibrant colours of the stalls in the fruit market, the curious mix of black Africa and Islam - veiled women, men with white pillar-box hats, and traces of Arabic origins in the faces of merchants.

Optional Activities

  • Stonetown historical Tour - USD45

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nts)

 

Day
9-12
Zanzibar

Zanzibar

Today you take a half-day ‘spice tour’, which brings to life the story of the island by visiting its many ruins, and the extensive plantations which produce cloves, pepper, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and cardamom as well as fruit and herbs. Then you transfer to a beach hotel (about one hour’s drive).

The beautiful coastline with its palm-fringed beaches creates an image of a forgotten paradise. Most are protected by coral reefs and are made of white coral sand. Here you can relax on the balmy, tropical shores of the Indian Ocean. In the morning it may be possible to see some of the local fishermen, in their traditional dhows, bringing in their catch.

Spend the days relaxing or snorkelling off the beach in crystal-clear water. There are bicycles for hire or several other optional excursions can be arranged through your hotel, such as scuba diving, boat excursions or fishing trips.

Included Activities

  • Zanzibar Spice Tour

Optional Activities

  • Snorkelling to Mnemba - USD65

Accommodation

Cottage (4 nts)

Day
13-14

Tour ends

Your adventure ends today and you will be transferred to the airport for your overnight flight home.

 

Selous Game Reserve

From Dar Es Salaam, the ‘Haven of Peace’, you’ll enjoy a wonderful train journey across evocative African bush to Selous Game Reserve. From your comfortable lodge base enjoy classic game safaris by 4WD, boat and on foot. You’ll search for elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and wild dog in a region that is home to some of Africa’s largest populations of wildlife.

Africa’s Secret Reserve

Selous is the largest game reserve in Africa and offers unrivalled wilderness. It is home to large populations of elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, hippo, crocodile and the elsewhere endangered wild dog and rhino. Despite this, it remains one of the least visited reserves on the continent. Come and discover this unique, personal safari experience for yourself and escape from the crowds on our Selous Zanzibar holiday tours. One of the best times for Zanzibar holidays is between June and October, when you’ll enjoy cool dry weather and the best chance of seeing game as it congregates around the shrinking waterholes. However, holidays to Zanzibar in December through to February are also a visually lovely time to visit. This period is known as the 'Green Season' as the parks are lush and green following the short rains of November. Many animals give birth in February as well, so keep your eyes open for the babies!

Zanzibar – Spice Island

In Zanzibar wander the narrow maze of alleyways in exotic Stone Town and sense the grandeur of days gone by in this historic trading port, home to the Sultan of Oman. Finally travel to the coast where the warm waters of the Indian Ocean lap white-sand beaches. You can choose to go snorkelling from the beach or explore the centre of the island to learn about the many spices that grow here.

Our Selous & Zanzibar trip is just one of our many Tanzania tours. To find out more visit our Tanzania holidays page.