Holiday review by MR
Date of trip: 28/01/2015
Number of people: 2
All in all a super trip, but I now need a little lie down.
Tanzania is a very full on safari experience, but incredibly rewarding for anybody who is prepared to be a bit forgiving. The people are charming and have a great sense of humour, and thrilled if you tell them how lovely the country is . It needs more visitors - we in the West ask a lot from the Africans to care and manage the heritage of their wildlife, but we have to realize that it comes for them at a huge cost â€“ in not many parts of the world do the major tourist attractions (think British Museum and Buckingham Palace) destroy your crops and eat you, so we have a duty to support them as much as we can.
General misinformation is also to blame for the current dearth of visitors â€“ apparently the Ebola scare has decimated the numbers despite the fact that Tanzania is at less risk of an outbreak than Europe.
Social & Environmental Responsibility:
One quick word about prices, because I see a theme of complaints about the cost of the park fees and guides on Tripadvisor. I think the guides are $20 a day and I tipped each on top of that. They were great, although their knowledge of the flora and fauna could be better. They were out with me for a full day (9 hours) which works out at a little over $2 an hour before tip. That is not a high price for any Western tourist to pay, frankly. Likewise the Park fees are absolutely justified having regard to the sheer scale of the park management tasks which they cover. Of course locals should not have to pay those sort of fees and they do not, but visitors from Europe, America and Australia are incredibly privileged to be able to afford to travel the world to see such beautiful places, and should not feel resentful about the cost. London and Paris are no different â€“ try visiting London Zoo with children, for a real wallet busting experience.
The places you stayed
Impala camp in Selous was lovely in all respects. There was plenty of game in the immediate vicinity, and I had giraffe, bush babies and hippos around my tent most nights. The view in the evening from my wooden verandah as the sun set over the Rufiji river was absolutely wonderful. However, I suspect the camp at the absolute epicentre of game viewing is still Lake Manze and we had a longish drive to see most of the â€œseriousâ€ animals. Once we did so, we saw plenty of lions, a pack of 15 wild dogs and even a leopard which strolled right up to the vehicle which first spotted it (not mine, sadly- I only caught a few minutes as it disappeared into the deep bush). Hippo, monitor lizards and crocs on the river beneath my tent were commonplace and the birds were as I remembered them from my last two trips, spectacular. The robberies themselves were certainly very bold - vervet monkeys descended on my early morning tea and biscuits and left devastation in their wake; weaver birds ganged up to deprive me (successfully) of my breakfast cereal; and in the evening the bush babies distracted my attention and stole the delicious bread rolls from my plate.
Sable Mountain Lodge was an unusual place. It was very nice and comfortable, but there were relatively few birds or animals in the area, and it was surprisingly quiet in the jungle around the lodge. I had it pretty much to myself, which was a shame for the staff who were attentive and helpful. Abdullah, who has been at the Lodge since it was built, is absolutely charming.
The camp was the most basic I went to, and could possibly do with a quick Health and Hygiene visit, but was perfectly nice, and the staff absolutely lovely. I suspect that they obviously struggle with the heat and humidity (as did I), and mould stuck the pages of books together and pervaded the tents.