TANZANIA

TANZANIA

EXPLORE THE COAST

Tanzania is a country with many tourist attractions. More than 44 per cent of Tanzania’s land area is covered with game reserves and national parks. There are 16 national parks, 29 game reserves, 40 controlled conservation areas and marine parks.Tanzania is also home to the famous Roof of Africa , Mount Kilimanjaro. On 6 January 2012 the New York Times awarded Tanzania the 7th position among 45 top destinations to visit in this year 2012. 

Tanzania’s most well known tourist attractions are located in Northern of the Country and include Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and the Serengeti National Park, renowned for its spectacular seasonal migrations. The Ngorongoro reserve is an extinct volcanic caldera with excellent game viewing from the crater rim. The reserve has large herds of wildebeest, zebra, and lions and the endangered black rhinoceros. Tourism is also focused on the coast, especially the islands of Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia. Game fishing and diving are the main attractions in these islands

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1. DAR ES SALAAM

Raised from the humble surroundings of a Fishing Village just over a century ago, Dar Es Salaam blossomed into one of the most beautiful sea-side capitals. Many beautiful and unspoilt beaches are within easy reach of Dar Es Salaam, literally translated as “The Heaven of Peace”. Dar es salaam acts as a hub for tourists in transit enroute to the game parks of the North or South, or for Business clients.

City tours:

Here is a sample of the sights and sounds you will experience during the tour:

Mnazi moja park:This is near Jamhuri and Uhuru Streets. On one side is seen the Uhuru Torch Monument erected to symbolise the Freedom Torch placed at the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro upon Tanzania’s attainment of independence. On the other side of the park is the Republic Fountain which commemorated the foundation of the republic in 1962.

kariakoo market:This beautiful main market has an interesting local colour and a diversity of peoples as well as exotic fruits, fresh fish, food products, handicrafts, local textile material and many other locally made products. The market’s colour, charm and character makes it a must for every visitor.

University:The University is superbly laid out amidst lawns and gardens on the Ubungo Observation Hill, some 14 kms. Away from the city. The hill offers magnificent open view of Dar Es Salaam city. The main campus area is built on three low hills, well wooded with cashew trees.

Village museum:This is 10 kms. Along Bagamoyo Road and has a collection of authentically constructed traditional houses of various Tanzanian tribes. It displays several distinct architectural styles with building materials ranging from sand, grass and poles to mud and rock. Villagers demonstrate their ancient skills of carving and weaving and offer their products for sale.

House of crafts (Nyumba ya sanaa):Near the heart of Dar Es Salaam there is a unique centre for creating and selling Tanzanian arts and crafts. Many of the artists working here have developed their talents through training which enable them to transform traditional materials, designs and motifs into contemporary forms. At ‘Nyumba ya Sanaa’, one finds many exciting creative activities to become absorbed in like painting, drawing, figurative wax batik and etching. Carvings of ebony are made as well as jewellery, ceramics and ‘tie-and-dye’ dresses for men, women and children.

National museum:The outstanding attraction is the Hall of Man where Dr. Leakey’s finds from Olduvai Gorge including the skull of Nutcrackerman (Zinjanthropus bosei) and other human fossils are displayed. The Museum offers an outstanding ethnographic collection of tribal ornaments, head-dresses, witch-craft paraphernalia and traditional musical instruments collected from various regions in Tanzania. Also, the history of the East African Coast is well portrayed with Chinese porcelain glazed pottery, trade wide beads from India and a series of copper coins from the Sultan of Kilwa.

State house:The State House accommodates the offices of the President. It has an ornate structure reflecting a blend of African and Arabic architecture, partly built on the foundation of the old German Palace in 1922.

Getting there
local Scheduled flights from Arusha, Dar Es Salaam and Selous. Zanzibar is also is the main International Gateway with a large number of international airlines connecting people to many international hubs.
By Sea: there is a fast ferry that go 3 times a day from Zanzibar.

When to go
Any time of the year.

Activities:

Beaches are located to the north (north coast) and south (south coast) of the city.

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pemba island

2. PEMBA ISLAND

Traditionally part of the Zanzibar Archipelago, Pemba is fast becoming a unique destination in its own right. For centuries, Pemba’s clove plantations and spice fields provided the Omani sultanate in Zanzibar with money for trade and military dominance over the surrounding areas. To this day, the island is still a major spice producer in the archipelago. Visitors flock to Pemba’s shores, dotted with desert islands and throngs of coconut palms, for some of the best diving in the Indian Ocean. The Pemba Channel drops off steeply just off the west coast and the diverse species of marine life and coral are truly exceptional. Because tourism is still in its early stages, a trip to Pemba’s unspoiled shores and pristine waters is the underwater adventure of a lifetime. The island of Pemba, known as ‘Al Jazeera Al Khadra’ (the green island) in Arabic, is an island forming part of the Zanzibar archipelago, lying off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. It is situated about 50 kilometres to the north of the Unguja (the island proper of Zanzibar). In 1964 Zanzibar was united with the former colony of Tanganyika to form Tanzania. It lies 50 kilometres east of mainland Tanzania, across the Pemba Channel. Together with Mafia Island (south of Zanzibar), these three islands form the Spice Islands (not to be confused with the Maluku Islands of Indonesia). In 1988, the estimated population was 265,000, with an area of 980 km²

Getting there
local Scheduled flights from  Dar Es Salaam and Zanzibar.

When to go
Any time of the year.

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3. MAFIA ISLAND

Lying in the Indian Ocean, Mafia Island faces the delta of the Rufiji River; farther inland lies Africa’s largest game reserve, the Selous. Mafia Islandis only a 30-minute flight south of Dar es Salaam and20km off the Tanzanian coastline. Mafia Island Marine Park was officially declared in November, 1994, under the Marine Parks and Reserves Act. Chole Bay and Kitutia Reef, two of Tanzania’s eight offshore marine reserves declared in 1975, are incorporated into the marine park. The sea around Mafia has an outstanding mosaic of tropical marine habitats including coral reefs, sea grass beds, mangroves, and inter-tidal flats. For the expert and the novice diver or snorkeler, Mafia Island Marine Park offers dramatic underwater viewing with a wide variety of choices. Over 2 000 species of fish from 150 families exist in the western Indian Ocean and new species are still being identified. The behavior, colors, and interrelationships of marine animals are an endless source of fascination for visitors, whether diving or snorkeling. Tourism on Mafia is still very low but growing. At least four beach resorts for tourists exist. Commercial planes fly regularly to and from Kilindoni, and there are also charter planes and slower sea transport.

Getting there
local Scheduled flights from Arusha, Dar Es Salaam and Zanzibar.

When to go
Any time of the year.

Activities: Due to the The Chole Bay’s protected deep water anchorage and marine park. Just outside the bay, runs an unbroken reef boasting some of the most spectacular and colourful coral gardens in the world. The Mchangari vertical wall just outside the bay drops from 5 meters to 25 meters, and is famous for its range of big fish and sharks (especially between the months of November and January for Wale sharks).

Mafia is the ideal place for those wishing for perfect tranquility added to big game fishing, deep-sea diving or snorkeling.

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Zanzibar Island, Tanzania

4. ZANZIBAR

Think of Zanzibar and images of white sands, coconut palms, dhows and veiled women would come to mind. Yet Zanzibar has much more. It is a place of history, spices, and beach holiday. According to Jen Finke’s The Rough Guide to Tanzania, Zanzibar is “one of Africa’s best-known and most enticing destinations.”

Lying 35km off the coast of mainland of Tanzania, Zanzibar is an archipelago comprising two main islands, Unguja and Pemba, along with smaller isles and coral atolls. The heart of Zanzibar is Stone Town, a fascinating living monument to the culture and histories of the island’s mix of African, Arab, Indian, Persian, and European traders, seafarers, and conquerors of the past. Stone Town is a place to explore the ancient maze of narrow streets and the historic stone buildings built by Arab and Indian merchants in the 19th Century.
The popular spice tours of Zanzibar involve a walk in the western and central regions of the island through plantations, private gardens, and forests. There are more than 50 different spices and fruits, including cinnamon, pepper, pimentos, ginger, tamarind, ylang-ylang, and sugar cane. Coconuts are another main produce of the islands.
The island is a nonpareil place for beach holidays; picturesque villages fringe white beaches and crystal water all around the island. Water activities include scuba-diving, snorkeling, and swimming – with or without dolphins.

Getting there
local Scheduled flights from Arusha, Dar Es Salaam and Selous. Zanzibar is also an International Gateway with a number of international airlines connecting people to many international hubs.
By Sea: there is a fast ferry that go 3 times a day from Dar es Salaam.

When to go
Any time of the year.

Activities

Stone Town Tour – Highlights

This begins with a visit to Zanzibar ’s colorful market.  Alive with the buzz of locals bartering fresh vegetables and baskets of tropical fruit, amongst the heady smell of Jack fruit (amongst many other exotic fruits) we continue  on to the site of a  cathedral built in 1874.  The cathedral signifies a potent time  in Zanzibar’s history and stands on the sight of a past slave market. Abolished in 1873 by decree of the Sultan of Zanzibar, the cathedral’s high altar stands on the exact site of the whipping post that was in the market.  From here we visit the residence of the late Sultan of Zanzibar, ‘Tip Tip House’, the Old Fort, ‘ Peoples Palace ’ and the House of Wonders’, full of intrigue from days of long ago.  The tour ends with a stroll down the narrow streets of the old stone town, the heart of Zanzibar ’s vivacious history.

 The Spice Tour – Highlights

This is guaranteed to waken your senses, we visit spice plantations where you will have the opportunity to pick, smell & savour fruits & spices that you have probably never seen on the supermarket shelf. Commencing at the ruins of the Maruhubi Palace , via the site of David Livingston’s house (one of Africa ’s greatest explorers) the journey continues north of town towards the Kidichi Persian Baths. From here we continue to the rural areas were local farmers live & produce some of the world’s most exotic fruits and spices. Cloves, star fruit, ‘bulls heart’, tangerine trees, lemon grass, mangosteen and lip-stick trees to name but a few are what you can we expect to see – according to the seasons. Perhaps you will fancy buying a basket of freshly picked spices to take home with you

 Jozani Forest Tour – Highlights

Jozani Forest lies about 35 km south-east of Zanzibar township in Zanzibar ’s South Region. It is a narrow neck of land between the Chakwa Bay in the north  and Uzi Bay to the South,is the only remaining natural forest on Unguja Island (which along with Pemba make up the islands of Zanzibar ). To have a complete forest tour, you must make a visit in all 3 parts of the forest including a re-planted species of trees from different part of the world which most of them are medicinal plants, they are over 100m long, the forest sustain a wide variety of wildlife and birds, including the rare Red Colobus Monkey, it’s 10 kilometers of swamp forests and evergreen thickets provide a unique glimpse into a secretive world, you will then visit the natural bushes  where are the home of  red Colobus monkeys before you   take a very relaxing walk into a well twisted wooden bridge crossing over the shadow of the varieties mangrove species, you  must  ask your guide about the close association between the witch doctors of Jozani & leopard found in the forest’s thickest recesses, and mystical tales that  have surrounded the reserve dating back to when Tigers inhabited the forest. This is a half a day tour.

Grave Island – Highlights

The island was formerly known as ‘ French Island ’ and has a cemetery that was reserved in 1879 by the ruling Sultan and was later consecrated by bishop Steer ( who built the famous Anglican Cathedral on the site of the old slave market) in 1880. The cemetery contains graves from residence of Zanzibar , officials and men of the Royal Navy Merchant Marine amongst which are British sailors who were killed in action with a German cruiser in 1914.

Coastal Excursion (Nungwi) – Highlights

North coast tour – This trip leads you through one spice farm, Mangapwani slave  Caves and Chambers and on to the beautiful white sandy beaches of Nungwi. The most wonderful place to relax and unwind after the dust and humidity of stone town.Pack your swim wear and enjoy a cool drink in Paradise. This is a full day tour.

 Prison Island Tour – Highlights

This half a day tour boat ride to the island in a small wooden motorized boat is a must when visiting Zanzibar .  Earning its namesake as a former prison for slaves, and a quarantine station for Kenya , Uganda and then Tanganyika , nowadays the island gives you the chance to escape for some peace and quiet!  A hundred year old Giant Tortoises act as unlikely vigilant over the island and you cannot not help but wonder what tales they would tell if only they could talk! Approximately one kilometer long and a quarter of a kilometer wide, the location is perfect for swimming & snorkeling after a stroll round the island. Keep the best till last because it really is like diving into champagne the water is so clear

Chumbe Island – Coral Park

Chumbe Island Coral Park, situated a few kilometres offshore from Zanzibar, leaves us speechless every time we visit.Chumbe has all the attractions of an island paradise – glorious coral reefs, waving palm trees, thick coral-rag forests and sublime cuisine.

Chumbe offers the most pristine and colourful coral reefs you’ll find on the East Coast with over 200 species of coral providing a sanctuary for more than 400 species of colourful fish. To protect these coral reefs, diving is not permitted in the marine park. The reef is shallow enough to see everything very clearly with a mask, snorkel and fins. There is also a coral-rag forest which is home to the endangered Ader’s duiker, giant coconut crabs, hermit crabs and a variety of bird species. Knowledgeable guides take guests on daily snorkelling and forest tours.
It all started when German visitor Sibylle Riedmiller went snorkelling on the Chumbe reef. Stunned at the diversity of coral and fish species, she campaigned the Tanzanian government to declare Chumbe Island a marine park. In 1994 her wish for the protection of these reefs was granted and Chumbe Island was gazetted a protected marine area. Since many local fishermen didn’t know the value of coral or how to protect it, Sibylle set up an education and conservation project. Fishermen were trained as park rangers, and school children were brought to Chumbe to learn about marine ecology. Of course, funds were needed to keep all this good work going, so the idea of a low-impact, self-sustaining tourism project began. After continued efforts (the Tanzanian government favoured large hotel developments) Sibylle succeeded in building a small eco-tourism lodge. Today Chumbe operates as a non-profit organisation with all the funds generated from tourism channelled straight back into the conservation and educational programmes. It’s a highly successful model of sustainable tourism development and we hope to see other projects like it in the near future.

Note :Please ask your clients to wear shoes that can be used in the water, as at certain tides they may have to wade for a short distance to the boat.

All include

–       Lunch freshly cooked on the island

–       Soda, water and snacks

–       Swimming and Snorkeling

–       Boat transport to and from the island on the morning transfer

–       Boat transfers onto the reed for snorkeling

–       Guidance on the reef and through the forest trails

–       Use of snorkeling equipment

–       Tuition in snorkeling if required

–       All taxes

 

 Diving Zanzibar

Zanzibar is reputed to have some of the best diving in the world, and the coral reef structures that surround Unguja and Pemba ensure that the marine life is abundant. Good visibility (20 – 60 metres) and a year-round average water temperature of 27°c ensure that you enjoy your Zanzibar diving experience, and also present an ideal opportunity for learning to dive or upgrading your diving qualification.

There are several dive centres on the island including and most run courses using the international PADI system of diver education. This way, the certification you gain in Zanzibar can be used anywhere in the world.

Diving in Zanzibar isn’t restricted to beginners. Experienced scuba divers can enjoy exciting wall dives, night dives and drift dives. In deeper waters, lush coral gardens often stretch as far as the eye can see, and large gamefish (barracuda, kingfish, tuna and wahoo) hunt together with large Napoleonic wrasse, graceful manta rays and sharks. Shallower waters are the playground of tropical fish, including a huge variety of Indo-Pacific marine fauna.

Be a SAFE diver!

Ensure that the dive centre you use:

·    Is staffed by professional divers

·    Has well equipped boats. Important things to check for onboard include medical oxygen, first-aid facilities, radio communications, sufficient life jackets and back-up engine/s.

Deep Sea Fishing

World record fish or the skipper believes the fish is unlikely to survive release. With Leven bank just 5 miles north of Nungwi and the drop-offs and deep blue water east of Mnemba Island about 12 miles east, the well equipped fishing boats and professional crews will have you in the mix in no time! The boats are available for half day or full day charters. Night fishing trips for broadbill, the “gladiator of the sea”, can be arranged and will certainly test your skills as an angler. Zanzibar is home to some of the best big game and deep sea fishing opportunities in East Africa . You can book for a day out in the waters of Zanzibar and the Pemba channel. The deep sea fishing charter boats are fully rigged and ready to take you out for a fishing experience you will never forget! a fishing village on the north-western tip of Zanzibar Island where the fishing grounds of Zanzibar , Pemba and the famous Pemba Channel are not even a stone’s throw away. You will fish by trolling a combination of lures or natural dead baits (Ballyhoo or strips) or live bait. The well equipped and catered sports fishing boats and resourceful crews will ensure your absolute enjoyment out on the water. Billfish such as striped, black and blue marlin as well as the acrobatic and dazzling sailfish and elusive spearfish abound in these crystal waters! Yellow fin tuna, Dorado, Wahoo, Barracuda, Kingfish (Trevally), King & Queen Mackerel and the lesser game fish such as Bonito tuna, Skipjack tuna and Rainbow Runner provide endless hours of adrenalin filled game fishing action

 Dolphin Tour – Highlights

This half a day tour takes you to Kizimkazi along the south-west coast of Zanzibar , upon arrival at the fishing village Kizimkazi you will have a brief talk about the behavior and different types of dolphins before proceeding to the dolphins locations with 80% chances to see them.  There is a fair chance you will get to play and swim with them, returning to the sea shore in the afternoon.

Bawe Island – Highlights

In 1879, Bawe Island was given by Seyid Barghash bin Seyid, 3rd Omani Sultan of Zanzibar, to the Eastern Telegraph Company to be used as the operations station for the underwater telegraphic cable linking Cape Town with Zanzibar , Seychelles and Aden . The agreement was extended ten years later, in 1889, by the next Sultan, Seyid Khalifa bin Seyid. To accommodate the Cable & Wireless staff, Bungalows were built on the island, which were used also to host weekend parties when other town-based staff would visit and enjoy the beach with their families. Bawe is renowned for its exceptionally breathtaking marine life, becoming a popular sire for both snorkeling and scuba diving.

Safari Blue – Highlights

 

SAFARI BLUE – ZANZIBAR

This is absolutely different experience that Someone must experience in Zanzibar .

Think of the Africa boat Safaris, it is something one might not resist to take , it comes to you & why not to go?? All that Madeira Tours & Safaris has truly gone extra miles away to organise adventures that will make your holiday to Zanzibar the most memorable.

The original and the best “Safari Blue” is a full day excursion using locally made traditional sailing dhows of between 8 to 10 metres in length. We currently operate 6 passenger-carrying dhows that are finished to the very highest standards and fitted with outboard engines, marine VHF radios, gas inflatable life jackets, sunshade, boarding ladder, waterproof bags and first aid kit with DAN oxygen unit. We also have public liability and marine insurance.

The excursion starts at the fishing village of Fumba , 30 minutes drive from Stone Town . Fumba is situated in the southwest corner of the island and an ideal starting point to explore Menai Bay , designated a Conservation Area. The bay has a number of beautiful uninhabited islands and sandbanks and is frequented by humpback and bottlenose dolphins.

On arrival at Fumba clients are given a briefing on the day and a life jacket demo. We then board the dhows and set off to explore the bay and find the dolphins. We are lucky enough to see dolphins on at least 85% of our trips.

Later in the morning we stop on a sandbank where we set up sunshades and fit the clients with snorkelling equipment. We have a large range of sizes and good quality equipment. Guides, who can safely lead the snorkelling session and show points of interest, accompany the clients. For beginners or those who are not confident swimmers, we have inflatable snorkelling vests and our guides can give tuition.

After snorkelling we offer fresh green coconuts before we move to another sandbank for lunch. During the morning our catering boat has gone on ahead to prepare lunch which is served on teak picnic tables set up beneath smart canvas sunshades.

Lunch is a traditional Zanzibar meal and includes a selection of grilled fish, slipper lobster, squid, rice, tamarind and coriander sauces and barbecued chicken. A gastronomic fruit tasting follows with a selection of between 10 to 15 different tropical fruits. Cold drinks are available throughout the day and include mineral water, sodas and beer. Coffee and Amarula liqueur are also served after lunch.

 When the tide allows we visit a beautiful mangrove lagoon where it is possible to swim through the mangrove forest. We return to Fumba by sail and arrive back at 6 p.m. in time to see the colourful African sunset.

We advise clients that there are no formal changing facilities at Fumba so please wear your swimming things under your clothes. We also advise clients to bring waterproof shoes for boarding the dhows and to bring towels, sunscreen and a spare T-shirt for snorkelling.

All include-

1)    Return Transfers

2)    A buffet seafood lunch comprising  :

-Slipper lobster

-Two types of grilled fish

-Chicken

-Grilled Calamari

-Vegetarian/non-fish dishes by prior request

-Rice

-Two sauces- tomato with Tamarind and coconut with coriander

-Large selection of tropical fruits (10-15 types)

-Beverage : Soft  drink, mineral water and beer

-Coffee and Amarula liquer

Sunset Dhow Cruise – Highlights

This Tour starts an hour before sunset, the guests are picked from their Hotels and transferred to  the drop off point at the sea front, where the guests then board the Dhow.

The skilled crew on board take the Dhow about 1 km from the shore by means of an engine, once out in the sea the engine is shut off and during a  tense moment the skillful crew put up the sail, when the sail is in favour of the wing, the guest can sit and relax enjoying the peacefulness of the ocean , as the Dhow glides through the water , you can watch the wonder of the fiery golden sun setting beyond the horizon ( while savouring a glass of chilled wine )

Fishing Trip

Forget fishing in a modern fishing vessel with the latest in reels and rods and fighting chair. We offer visitors the unique opportunity to sail our to sea with a Zanzibari fisherman and see what   “ fishing for a living “ is all about . Whilst the crew are busy preparing fishing nets the timelessness of this tradition will carry you far from the modern world’s pace. On returning to Zanzibar Island we will take you to see the colorful and bustling fish market where the fresh catches of the day are auctioned. This is full day tour.

Dhow Cruise (Sailing Trip) – Highlights

This is the sea excursion by using Traditional Wood Dhow made by hand in Zanzibar Island . This Dhow is the same like which was used to carry slaves from Mainland to Zanzibar .

The structure and sailing styles of this Dhow is original from Arabian countries. What we offer to clients is isles trips, prison island the place where you see the land giant tortoise and after time the dhow will drive you to sand bank the place where you have soft drinks and snacks, swimming and snorkeling sports also are down there the ones of the best  place at the west part of Zanzibar. Game fishing is done comparing for how you booked either full day or half day.

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saadani

5. SAADANI NATIONAL PARK

Located in the centre of the historic triangle of Bagamoyo, Pangani and Zanzibar, Saadani National Park covers 1100km square. It is the only wildlife sanctuary in Tanzania bordering the sea. The climate is coastal, hot and humid. It offers a unique combination of both marine and mainland flora and fauna in a culturally fascinating setting. About 30 species of larger mammals are present as well as numerous reptiles and birds. Besides many species of fish (over40), green turtle, Humpback whale and dolphins also occur in the ocean nearby. Gazetted in 2005, it encompasses a preserved ecosystem including the former Saadani game reserve, the former Mkwaja ranch area, the Wami River as well as the Zaraninge Forest. Many villages exist around the boundaries of the park. Before being included in the national park, the zaraninge forest was managed by the World Wide Fund for nature (WWF) whose goal was to preserve the extremely high botanical diversity of one of the last coastal rain forests remaining in Tanzania. Saadani village once was an important harbour-town and slave trading center in east Africa. Now it is a small Swahili fishing village with about 800 inhabitants whose livelihood is mostly fishing. Other villages adjacent to the park make their living through farming especially coconut growing. The humid savannah of Saadani National Park can be divided into three easily distinguishable types; tall grass savanna with herbaceous cover growing up to 2m and scattered palms; short grass grazing land mostly situated on former sisal plantation and black cotton plains where the clay soil creates particular harsh conditions. The common waterbucks occur all over the park area. Weighting up to 270kg these grazers can be easily recognized by the white ring around their tails. The density of reedbucks is especially high in Saadani National Park, although this medium-sized antelope (45kg) might be difficult to spot in tall grasses where they lie down for shelter. Warthogs are also omnipresent and even come into Saadani village. As most of the villagers are Muslims, warthogs have learned that they will not be harmed.

The tallest animals in the world and the National symbol of Tanzania: giraffes are numerous in Saadani National Park .Their tongues have special callus plates which make them particularly well adapted to browse on spiny acacia trees. Large herds of white-bearded wildebeests also graze in the short grass savannas. They were released in the area in the 1970’s. Other introduced species are plains zebra and Eland. The lion which is the largest of the Africa carnivores is also found in Saadan, although it is rarely seen. At night you may also hear the hyenas and encounter genets, porcupines and civets. Other species which can be observed within the perimeter of the park are bushbucks, bush pigs yellow baboons or velvet monkeys. From East to West, the open ocean with coral reefs changes to brackish water ecosystem characterized by mangrove forest, salt pans and bare saline areas. Further inland, the Wami River is the most important fresh water source beside numerous temporary rivers and dams. At low tide the sea retreats up to 100meters and form a convenient passage for local people and wild animals. These beaches are the only places North of Dar-es-salaam where sea turtles still come to lay their eggs. The most common species is the Green Turtle, the largest of the hard-shelled sea turtles. Beside nest thieves on the beach, turtles are particularly threatened by commercial fisheries and water pollution. The marine extension of the park includes the Mafui sandbanks, whose colorful coral reefs are important breeding site for many fish species.

Evergreen mangrove trees grow in the transactional zone, just above the mean sea water level. These salt tolerant tidal forests provide a resting and feeding place for many birds’ species, bats, monkeys, hippos and reptiles. Numerous species of fish such as prawns also lay their eggs in these protected habitats. The high demand for the resistance mangrove wood leads to over exploitation, making the protection of these forests even more important. In Saadani National Park, large mangrove forest grows along the Wami River. This is also the place where large group of hippos can be observed. Nile crocodile also live here. The Wami River is also a very good place for watching birds such as kingfishers, fish eagles and many species of wading birds. The less known coastal forest is characterized by a high biodiversity with many plants occur only this area (endemics). Forest plays an important role in protecting the soil against erosion and thus regulates the water cycle. Besides the two large forest of Zaraninge and Kwamsisi, many of the smaller patches of forest and shrubs represent an important habitat for animals.  These forests and shrubs are vulnerable to illegal logging, charcoal production and farming expansion.

In Saadani, elephants are relatively shy and usually hide during the day in woody parts of the park. Leopards are also found in dense bushes and trees (thickets). Seldom seen these animals are mainly nocturnal and can live in close proximity to humans. Other showy animals living mostly in woody areas are Greater Kudu and smaller antelopes such as Suni and Duiker. The crown of trees are inhabited by colubus monkeys which is almost like other monkeys, subsist mainly on leaves, strictly nocturnal bush babies as well as many fruits eating birds species, insect and butterflies.

How to get there 

Saadani National Park is located roughly 45km North of Bagamoyo. The park will be easily accessible through Wami River from Dar es Salaam via Bagamoyo when the bridge that is under construction is complete. However, currently in order to reach the park from Dar es Salaam one has to drive a 200km via Chalinze-Msata road.

From the north, one can reach the park from Tanga city by crossing Pangani River with a ferry (75km /3hours drive). Zanzibar Island is about 40km away from the park.

There is a daily bus connection between Dar-es-salaam and Saadani village as well as Tanga and Mkwaja village.

Transfer by air can be arranged to Mkwaja or Saadani airstrip.

NOTE; In rainy season (March-April), the muddy roads can make travelling in the southern parts of the park very difficult. It is advisable to inquire about the condition of the road before traveling.

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En route to the Lukaya Ranger Post on Rubondo Island. We were taken overland to the post on our last morning on the island.  The vegetation is extremely dense in places.  All Land Rovers I saw in Tanzania were 300TDi's

6. RUBONDO ISLAND NATIONAL PARK

A pair of fish eagles guards the gentle bay, their distinctive black, white and chestnut feather pattern gleaming boldly in the morning sun. Suddenly, the birds toss back their heads in a piercing, evocative duet. On the sandbank below, a well-fed monster of a crocodile snaps to life, startled from its nap. It stampedes through the crunchy undergrowth, crashing into the water in front of the boat, invisible except for a pair of sentry-post eyes that peek menacingly above the surface to monitor our movements. Rubondo Island is tucked in the southwest corner of Lake Victoria, the world’s second-largest lake, an inland sea sprawling between Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. With nine smaller islands under its wing, Rubondo protects precious fish breeding grounds. Tasty tilapia form the staple diet of the yellow-spotted otters that frolic in the island’s rocky coves, while rapacious Nile perch, some weighing more than 100kg, tempt recreational game fishermen seeking world record catches.
Rubondo is more than a water wonderland. Deserted sandy beaches nestle against a cloak of virgin forest, where dappled bushbuck move fleet yet silent through a maze of tamarinds, wild palms, and sycamore figs strung with a cage of trailing taproots. The shaggy-coated aquatic sitatunga, elsewhere the most elusive of antelopes, is remarkably easily observed, not only in the papyrus swamps it normally inhabits, but also in the forest interior. Birds are everywhere. Flocks of African grey parrots – released onto the island after they were confiscated from illegal exporters – screech in comic discord as they flap furiously between the trees. The azure brilliance of a malachite kingfisher perched low on the reeds competes with the glamorous, flowing tail of a paradise flycatcher as it flits through the lakeshore forest. Herons, storks and spoonbills proliferate in the swampy lake fringes, supplemented by thousands of Eurasian migrants during the northern winter. Wild jasmine, 40 different orchids and a smorgasbord of sweet, indefinable smells emanate from the forest. Ninety percent of the park is humid forest; the remainder ranges from open grassland to lakeside papyrus beds. A number of indigenous mammal species – hippo, vervet monkey, genet and mongoose – share their protected habitat with introduced species such as chimpanzee, black-and-white colobus, elephant and giraffe, all of which benefit from Rubondo’s inaccessibility.

About Rubondo Island National Park
Size: 457 sq km (176 sq miles).
Location: Northwest Tanzania, 150 km (95 miles) west of Mwanza.

Getting there
Scheduled flights from Arusha, Lake Manyara, Serengeti and Mwanza in peak season, charter flights only in low season.
By road from Mwanza and then boat transfer.

When to go
Dry season, June-August. Wildflowers and butterflies
Wet season November-March. December- February best for migratory birds.

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7. MAHALE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK

Set deep in the heart of the African interior, inaccessible by road and only 100km (60 miles) south of where Stanley uttered that immortal greeting “Doctor Livingstone, I presume”, is a scene reminiscent of an Indian Ocean island beach idyll. Silky white coves hem in the azure waters of Lake Tanganyika, overshadowed by a chain of wild, jungle-draped peaks towering almost 2km above the shore: the remote and mysterious Mahale Mountains. Mahale Mountains is home to some of Africa’s last remaining wild chimpanzees: a population of roughly 800 (only 60 individuals forming what is known as “M group”), habituated to human visitors by a Japanese research project founded in the 1960s. Tracking the chimps of Mahale is a magical experience. The guide’s eyes pick out last night’s nests – shadowy clumps high in a gallery of trees crowding the sky. Scraps of half-eaten fruit and fresh dung become valuable clues, leading deeper into the forest. Butterflies flit in the dappled sunlight. Then suddenly you are in their midst: preening each other’s glossy coats in concentrated huddles, squabbling noisily, or bounding into the trees to swing effortlessly between the vines. The area is also known as Nkungwe, after the park’s largest mountain, held sacred by the local Tongwe people, and at 2,460 metres (8,069 ft) the highest of the six prominent points that make up the Mahale Range. And while chimpanzees are the star attraction, the slopes support a diverse forest fauna, including readily observed troops of red colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys, and a kaleidoscopic array of colourful forest birds. You can trace the Tongwe people’s ancient pilgrimage to the mountain spirits, hiking through the montane rainforest belt – home to an endemic race of Angola colobus monkey – to high grassy ridges chequered with alpine bamboo. Then bathe in the impossibly clear waters of the world’s longest, second-deepest and least-polluted freshwater lake – harbouring an estimated 1,000 fish species – before returning as you came, by boat.

About Mahale Mountains National Park
Size: 1,613 sq km (623 sq miles).
Location: Western Tanzania, bordering Lake Tanganyika.

Getting there
Charter flight from Arusha, Dar or Kigoma.
Charter private or national park motorboat from Kigoma, three to four hours.
Weekly steamer from Kigoma, seven hours, then hire a local fishing boat or arrange with park HQ for pickup in park boat, another one or two hours.

What to do
Chimp tracking (allow two days); hiking; camping safaris; snorkelling; fish for your dinner.

When to go
Dry season (May-October) best for forest walks although no problem in the light rains of October/November.

Accommodation
Three seasonal luxury tented camps.
Two small resthouses, large campsite.

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