days of cycling and 4 days with safari game drives
Mountain bike rental
Full-board lodging (all meals beginning with dinner on your
arrival day through lunch Nov. 12)
Private local guide/driver, extremely knowledgeable about all
the animals and plants
Cycling leader/guide and cycling sweep/mechanic
Entrance fees for all national parks and conservation areas
Game drives in Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti
Airport pick-up and drop-off
Medical evacuation insurance
Bottled water in van and in hotel rooms
Round-trip airfare to Kilimanjaro International Airport in Arusha;
November 12 dinner; optional game drive at Lake Manyara; pre-
or post-tour lodging and meals; medical and trip-cancelation
insurance; personal expenses such as laundry, internet fees,
phone calls, extra bottled water needed, etc.
Safari means journey in kiSwahili, and here our cycling
journey begins ...
November 1: ARUSHA
You can join us in Arusha today if you're not able to visit Malaika.
This afternoon we'll meet our personable, helpful and very knowledgeable
Silvanus (Silvo) - guide extraordinaire
and driver for the entire journey
Nicxon (Nick) - cycling tour guide
Raymond - bike "fundi" (mechanic) and sweep
Boniface - additional sag driver, bike and gear transportation
Next you'll select your bike, take
a test ride and the crew will make necessary adjustments. On the
way back to the hotel Silvo will take us to an ATM to get some spending
money, and this evening we'll have dinner and a tour briefing.
November 2: TARANGIRE NATIONAL
Silvo will pick us up at our hotel after breakfast and drive us
out of the bustling city. You'll find this to be an adventure in
itself. We meet the rest of the crew at the Tembo Restaurant and
have lunch before we start our cycling journey to Tarangire. Tarangire
was added to the itinerary this year so these will be new roads,
but our guides say the terrain is mostly gentle and the roads are
excellent. We'll stay in our first tent camp where each room has
a veranda and sweeping views of open grasslands.
November 3: TARANGIRE NATIONAL
A bike excursion to Babati town and nearby villages is planned for
today, and this will be a new route, too. The roads should be quiet
and very similar to yesterday's terrain. A picnic lunch will be
supplied by the lodge, then we'll cycle back to relax around the
November 4: LAKE MANYARA
Today our versatile sag wagon transforms into a 4WD pop-top safari
van and the talented Silvo will guide us on our first game drive
in the park. After a box picnic lunch we'll bicycle through the
Rift Valley to Lake Manyara. We loved this route last year. The
gradually-rolling highway is well paved with light traffic and has
very wide shoulders. Our tent camp this evening is a non-profit
that benefits the community, creating jobs and supporting a children's
home and the local school.
November 5: LAKE MANYARA
This morning we'll ride some meandering single-track out to the
grassy shores of the lake. Return to the lodge for a hot lunch and
you can spend the afternoon relaxing. Or arrange a half-day game
drive to the national park, which is well worth the nominal cost.
November 6: KARATU TOWN
After a short warm-up, a steep road (optional!) switchbacks up to
the cliffs overlooking the Rift Valley. Continue on rolling hills
to the small town of Karatu where we'll receive a warm welcome at
our lodge. You'll enjoy your cozy bungalow and the beautiful grounds.
November 7: KARATU TOWN
There's more cycling along the Karatu highland today, on a wide
smooth road with good views. At the gateway to Ngorongoro Conservation
Area (or anytime you like) you'll backtrack to our cozy lodge. If
the weather is cool the staff will light a fire in your room's fireplace,
and you can also sit around the fireplace in the lobby.
November 8: SERENGETI NATIONAL
Leaving our cycling gear at the lodge for safekeeping and saying
kwaheri (goodbye) to our bikes, we board the Land Cruiser for the
drive to the Serengeti. We'll have time for an afternoon game drive,
and we hope to see the Big Five: lion, leopard, cape buffalo, elephant
and the elusive black rhino. We should definitely sight zebras,
giraffes, wildebeests (gnus), several species of antelope, hippos,
hyenas, crocodiles, vultures ... the last three are examples of
the Ugly Five! This time of year is at the end of the long dry season
and the animals should be congregating at the few remaining water
holes. The Serena Lodge will be a real treat after a long day of
driving. This is probably the finest lodge in the park. Relax at
- or in - the infinity pool that overlooks the Serengeti ("endless
plains" in kiSwahili).
November 9: SERENGETI NATIONAL
Today is a full-day game drive, and we'll get out at dawn to see
the transition from night hunters to daytime grazers. Last year,
just at daybreak, we saw a pair of lionesses hunting ( thankfully
no drama) and a pair of leopards slinking through the tall grass.
Returning to our rooms, you can shower and rest before dinner.
November 10: NGORONGORO
CRATER & CONSERVATION AREA
After a short morning game drive in the Serengeti we'll drive to
the famous Ngorongoro Crater, the largest intact volcanic caldera
on earth. The crater lies within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area,
a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This conservation area is unique -
the only one in Tanzania that protects wildlife while allowing human
habitation. Maasai are permitted to graze their cattle in the crater
but must leave each night. Tonight's Serena Lodge on the rim of
the crater is ranked among the top hotels in the world. It's built
of local stone and timber and camouflaged with vines to blend into
the landscape. The passages are decorated with flaming torches and
prehistoric cave paintings inspired by nearby Olduvai Gorge, the
"cradle of mankind," and each room has a stunning view
of the crater.
November 11: NGORONGORO
CRATER & CONSERVATION AREA
Today is a full-day game drive in the Crater, a natural enclosure
that is home to most of the species found in East Africa. There
are more than 25,000 large animals found in the crater, some in
very large concentrations. This area has had one of the densest
known populations of lions and many flocks of flamingoes. A few
remaining black rhinos have been sighted here, so we may get to
check the last of the Big Five off our list. Tonight return to stay
at the Country Lodge (and reunite with your cycling clothes).
November 12: ARUSHA
Check out of the lodge after breakfast, and Silvo will drive the
group back to Arusha. This time we stay at a downtown hotel, and
dinner is on your own tonight. There are lots of options. We usually
have afternoon coffee at an American-style cafe with wifi around
the corner, and they also have very good dinners. You could choose
one of the three restaurants at the hotel or Silvo will take you
to a nearby restaurant.
November 13: DEPARTURE ...
for home or ZANZIBAR!
Silvo will pick us up and take us to Kilimanjaro airport for either
a flight home or for the short flight to Zanzibar.
Round-trip airfare from Arusha to Zanzibar
3 hotels with breakfasts
Not included: This is an unstructured trip that you can easily
plan yourself on the spot. Lunches and dinners are pay-as-you-go.
The hotels can order taxis and costs can be shared. We will pre-book
your airport arrival transportation. Optional snorkeling excursions
or tours to spice plantations or to the Prison Island sea turtle
reserve can be arranged through the hotel staff.
November 13: STONE TOWN,
Exotic Zanzibar is one of the spice islands and has a long history
of wealthy sultans and merchants who traded slaves, ivory, cloves
and other spices. The first night we'll stay at the historic Tembo
House (elephant in kiSwahili) hotel where Ghandi stayed in 1930.
The building housed the U.S. Consulate in the mid-1800s and retains
an old-world atmosphere with antique furniture from all over the
globe. The rear of the hotel faces west for a magnificent view of
the sunset over the Zanzibar Channel, and you can dine at tables
by the sand. An upstairs veranda has couches for reading or gazing
at the ocean, or you can relax in the courtyard or pool. Included:
flight, lodging, breakfast
November 14: STONE TOWN,
Stroll around Stone Town if you like. A UNESCO world heritage site,
it's famous for its architecture and amazing carved doors. Freddie
Mercury, lead vocalist of Queen, was born in Stone Town. You could
also arrange a boat ride and snorkel trip to Prison Island, a sanctuary
for sea turtles (highly recommended). Return to the Tembo House
for another magnificent sunset and to watch the locals do gymnastics
on the beach. Included: lodging, breakfast
November 15: BWEJUU, ZANZIBAR
A taxi takes you to the eastern side of the island on the Indian
Ocean for an overnight at the Bellevue Guesthouse. Stay in a bungalow
surrounded by lush gardens just up a pathway from a white sand beach.
This is the ultimate spot for relaxation, with no phones or TVs
(but there's wifi if you can't live without it). Stroll along the
miles of shoreline or read a book on the beach lounges or in the
hammock outside your room. Your meals can be in the open-air cafe
at the guesthouse, or you can walk along the beach to another hotel
to try their fare. Everything is casual. It will probably be very
hard to leave ... and they'd be very happy to extend your stay!
Included: lodging, breakfast
November 16: DEPARTURE
Rise early if you want (about 6:00 a.m.) to see the sunrise through
the banana trees from your bungalow. Enjoy one last breakfast in
the outdoor cafe before taking a taxi back to the airport in Zanzibar
City (near Stone Town). The short flight returns to Kilimanjaro
airport for your flight home. Included: flight, breakfast
ON THE ROAD
On our Africa tours there's a seat
for each participant in the support vehicles, so you can ride as
much or as little as you want. Even non-cyclists can enjoy the sights
from the van, which travels the route and stops at all the same
attractions. We ride on the left side of the road, British-style,
and it was easy to acclimate. We were pleasantly surprised to find
the cycling so enjoyable! For one thing, we wondered whether we
would risk encountering beasts when we ducked behind a bush to use
the facilities ... or whether there would be any bushes! But this
never proved to be a problem. A lot of the riding is through pasturelands,
so the only animals you'll see are domesticated. We never even saw
any crawly things along the road. When we're in the open valleys
there will be the occasional acacia tree or termite mound or ditch
for nature's calls, and a couple of times we found a public toilet.
The terrain for much of the route is rolling; sometimes gentle hills
and other times moderate but short grades. The well-paved highways
are wide with generous shoulders and very little traffic. It seemed
like every time we stopped our bikes little boys tending the cattle
would materialize out of nowhere. Of course, they were very curious
about us and our bikes, and we had some great "conversations."
The sag wagon (a.k.a. 4WD Land Cruiser pop-top safari van) will
be close by with bottled water and pulls a trailer to haul the bicycles.
Each lodge is traditionally African
and our rooms will always be special in some way. All have mosquito
netting on the beds and wonderful decorations and artwork. We stay
in a variety of accommodations. The lodges are luxurious with every
amenity. The camps have tents built on platforms and are complete
with baths and showers. Some lodges will have decks or balconies
overlooking the countryside, with monkeys playing in the trees outside
(be sure to leave your door closed!) and elephants or giraffes may
graze nearby. One lodge has a sitting area with fireplace that the
staff will light for you.
I could easily get used to the wonderful
service we receive. When we leave for the day the rooms are tidied
and the beds are made, of course. Then in the evening (usually while
we're eating dinner) the staff pulls the mosquito netting around
your bed and turns down the covers.
We'll have mostly simple and delicious
food with lots of veggies and sauces. There's always a choice of
entrees, sometimes plated and brought to our table and sometimes
there's a buffet. When we'll be away from the lodge during the day,
the hotel provides boxed lunches with so many items that we'll never
be able to eat them all. The guides are happy to help. Our servers
were especially attentive and helpful. At the Serena Lodge in the
Serengeti the wait staff and cooks transformed into performers after
dinner was served, and entertained us with joyful ethnic songs.
Kilimanjaro International Airport
(JRO) is the destination for your round trip to Tanzania and not
the local Arusha airport. It's about 45 minutes from Arusha, close
to the town of Moshi and the slopes of Kilimanjaro. You may see
climbers arriving or departing and might even get a glimpse of the
majestic mountain as you descend ... if it's daylight and the weather
cooperates. Pick-up and drop-off service between airport and hotel
is provided. Much more info will be provided in your tour packet.
There are currently recommendations
but no requirements for inoculations. You'll need to be current
on all typical vaccines like tetanus so it's wise to talk to your
doctor or HMO travel desk about 6 months before departure. Hepatitis
A and B vaccines are recommended, and one is a series of injections
over several months. Most people take malaria pills, and you can
choose a daily or weekly dose (each may have different side effects).
Your tour packet will go into greater detail.
CLIMATE & WEATHER AVERAGES
& December - ‘Short rains’ - An unpredictable period
of about a month of rains occurs sometime between October and December.
The rains will be unlikely to interfere with your safari and it
is rare for it to rain throughout the day. Afternoon showers are