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ABOUT TANZANIA 2014

Malaika Volunteer Project October 28-31
Cycling Tour November 1-7
Safari Adventure November 8-12
Zanzibar Island Holiday November 13-16

Itinerary at a Glance

Day Date Activity Destination Lodging
Tues Oct 28 Travel Arusha Arrival Planet Lodge
Wed Oct 29 Volunteer Malaika Children's Home Planet Lodge
Thurs Oct 30 Volunteer Malaika Planet Lodge
Fri Oct 31 Volunteer Malaika Planet Lodge
Sat Nov 1 Volunteer Malaika or Arusha arrival Planet Lodge
Sun Nov 2 Cycling Tarangire National Park Maramboi Tented Camp
Mon Nov 3 Cycling Tarangire National Park Maramboi Tented Camp
Tues Nov 4 Cycling Lake Manyara National Park Rhotia Valley Tented Camp
Wed Nov 5 Cycling Lake Manyara National Park Rhotia Valley Tented Camp
Thurs Nov 6 Cycling Karatu Country Lodge
Fri Nov 7 Cycling Karatu Country Lodge
Sat Nov 8 Safari Serengeti National Park Serengeti Serena Lodge
Sun Nov 9 Safari Serengeti National Park Serengeti Serena Lodge
Mon Nov 10 Safari Ngorongoro Crater Ngorongoro Serena Lodge
Tues Nov 11 Safari Ngorongoro Crater Country Lodge
Wed Nov 12 Travel Arusha Impala Hotel
Thurs Nov 13 Island Depart / Stone Town, Zanzibar Tembo House Hotel
Fri Nov 14 Island Stone Town, Zanzibar Tembo House Hotel
Sat Nov 15 Island Bwejuu, Zanzibar Bellevue Guesthouse
Sun Nov 16 Travel Departure via Kilimanjaro  

$4220 includes:
6 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

Not included:
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.

CYCLING SAFARI

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 crew:

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 PARK
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 PARK
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 pool.

November 4: LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK
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 NATIONAL PARK
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.

GAME SAFARI

November 8: SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
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 PARK
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.

ZANZIBAR ISLAND DETAILS

$750 includes:
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, ZANZIBAR
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, ZANZIBAR
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.

ACCOMMODATIONS

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.

LOGISTICS

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.

HEALTH

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

 
Arusha
Tarangire
Manyara
 Karatu
 Serengeti
 Ngorongoro
Zanzibar 
Ave high temps
77
84
84
67
82
82
82
Ave low temps
55
63
63
54
63
61
75
Ave rain in Nov
2-4"
3-4"
2-3"
3-4"
3-4"
1.5"
9"
Elevation in feet
4500
3000-4000
3000-4000
5000
3700-5000
3000-5000
Not much

November & 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 more likely.

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