Five Day Tanzania Safari Begins....

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Thursday, November 8, 2007

We awoke in the night to kill a mozzie that had managed to get under our net and vowed that we had to resolve our malaria medication and insect repellent problem before we headed off on safari. And solve it we did. Our pick up at 8.00am ,after a wonderful breakfast at the Flamingo Hotel, took us to the office of Sunny Safaris to pay the balance of our money owed for the safari and our first question was where can find a western style pharmacy? No Problem our driver would take us there on our way out of town.

Our safari, organized over the Internet, was just for the 2 of us and for the five days we would have our own personal guide and driver, Yazidi. The vehicle was a Toyota Troopy so we felt at home right away, modified with a safari style lift up roof, so we could stand up in the vehicle when game viewing. All meals and drinking water was included and we opted for lodge accommodation rather than camping. All seemed to be in order until the representative of Sunny Safaris, Jamel, casually mentioned that it was customary to tip the driver/guide $30US A DAY. We baulked at this saying we asked for an all inclusive cost and did not budget for this. Be warned to ask this question if booking a safari as it became clear to us that we would indeed have to tip because the driver guides were not paid enough (if any) for the job and this appears to be standard amongst safari companies. It is a smoke and mirrors job to push responsibility on to the customer and make the trip appear more competitive, or perhaps they have simply had too many US customers?

We also were concerned as we had booked a plane flight to Zanzibar, accommodation and a train journey through to Zambia through Sunny Safaris but they did not have the tickets ready for this which caused a bit of unnecessary stress. On the whole though our Safari experience with Sunny Safaris was good. (Later we were to be further embarrassed when staying at a resort in Zanzibar that Sunny's had not on forwarded neither the deposit or final payments that we had long ago paid them. It somewhat soured this part of our trip.) 

So we were off on our safari. First stop the pharmacy where we could buy the equivalent of our Larium, some insecticide wipes and other requirements and then to the bank to get some cash. First stop mid morning was to a huge souvenir shop and we inwardly groaned hoping this was not going to be the pattern but there were no further stops of this nature. (However again later when we collected our Tzara train tickets in Dar, Sunny's had sent a tour operator who was quite insistent that we take a city tour. Fortunately we were able to use this to our advantage to do some shopping, check on some visa's and chase up luggage.)

We arrived at our first game park at lunch time, Lake Manyara and our guide produced some lovely picnic lunches in cardboard boxes. We then spent 4 to 5 hours or so driving around and seeing a wonderful array of African animals. This park is renown for tree climbing lions, however they hadn't been seen for quite awhile, but luck was on our side and although we didn't see them climbing a tree, we saw a pride cross the road in front of us. The pride then settled down close to the vehicle, allowing time for us to observe and photograph them. 

Our accommodation that night was the Lake Manyara Hotel and it was quite impressive, however various African standards applied water only for a brief time (and only if you are lucky) and candles for the frequent electricity failures. Dinner was a buffet and our eyes nearly popped out of our heads at the wonderful array of food including vegetables and fruit. We realized how we had missed these items in Ethiopia! However the best part is we were able to get much needed massages for $20 US each, which was great value.
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