Nearly all of our time in Tanzania was spent as part of a package safari arranged through Hoopoe Safaris, so we didn’t have much of a chance to explore the country on our own. The parts we did see felt much more like our idea of “Africa” than South Africa ever did. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city, seemed very much to be part of the developing world–fairly impoverished, it was full of dirt roads, ramshackle produce stands and the occasional goat. The Tanzanian countryside was almost unpopulated in some areas and dotted only with dusty Masai villages in others.

Walking into one of the villages felt like traveling backward through time–people still live in the simple way that their ancestors have for hundreds of years, in circular, mud huts with thatched roofs arranged within an area protected from lions and other predators only by a stick fence, if at all. The Masai are cattle people; a family’s worth is measured by the number of cattle in its possession, and brides are paid for in cows. Our safari guide, Lesika, told us that Shanna would fetch about 21 cattle. We think it was a compliment.

Blog Entries We Wrote

  • To see all the blog entries we wrote about this country, please click HERE.

Pictures We Took

  • To see some of the pictures we took in this country, please click HERE.

Cities/Areas We Visited

  • Dar es Salaam (June 10, 2008)
  • Mt. Kilimanjaro Area (June 10-13, 2008)
  • Arusha National Park (June 13-15, 2008)
  • Tarangire National Park (June 15-17, 2008)
  • Lake Myanara (June 17, 2008)
  • Ngorongoro Crater (June 17-19, 2008)
  • Ndutu Area (June 19-20, 2008)
  • Serengeti (June 20-23, 2008)
  • Zanzibar (June 23-28, 2008)













Places We Stayed and Ate

*Because the places we stayed and ate during our safari were part of a package price, we don’t know the individual cost of each meal or night of lodging.*

Mt. Kilimanjaro Area

  • Kia Lodge (June 10-11, 2008): The individual bungalows at this place near the airport were fairly basic, but its grounds were gorgeous. Our dinner, on the other hand, was pretty much highway robbery. The beef stew and salads, while fine, were certainly not worth the exorbitant prices that we paid for them. (The meals weren’t part of our safari package, so we actually saw the terrifying total.)











  • Hemingway’s Camp (June 11-13, 2008): Our room at this camp was about as nice as it could be, given that it was in a tent in the middle of the African wilderness. We didn’t have running water, but we did have a chemical toilet, hot showers (staff came around with buckets of warm water) and comfortable (albeit twin) beds. The food here was really good, but the portions were so small that Derek left many of our meals hungry.










Arusha National Park

  • Hatari Lodge (June 13-15, 2008): Of all the places we stayed during our safari, this small one was our favorite. Our room in a thatched-roof bungalow was large, comfortable and uniquely decorated–and it had a fireplace that was lit for us every night. The food here was fantastic, too, and we loved meeting other guests every night at the communal dinners. Oh, and they had just adopted a precious baby buffalo who had become separated from his family.














Tarangire National Park

  • Tarangire Sopa Lodge (June 15-17, 2008): If Hatari was our favorite safari lodge, this was the one we liked the least. The rooms, of which there were hundreds, were in need of a good cleaning and an overall remodel. The big lodge in which we ate dinner, however, was very pretty, and it had a nice balcony where we played a great game of the South African version of Trivial Pursuit (think lots of questions about cricket and similarly mystifying subjects). The food here was pretty bad, and the waiters were really intrusive.









Ngorongoro Crater

  • Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge (June 17-19, 2008): Although it was just as large as its cousin in the Tarangire, this Sopa lodge was somewhat better. Our room was nice enough (although not very clean) and the very cool dining lodge offered great views of sunset over the crater. The food here was better than the stuff at the Tarangire, too, although our waiter tried to extort a $15-a-bottle corkage fee from us.









Ndutu Area

  • Ndutu Lodge (June 19-20, 2008): This was another one of our safari favorites. Our room was cute and clean, and the dining lodge offered a great place to relax with a cold drink and enjoy the expansive views over the Serengeti. The food here was great and plentiful, and the staff was wonderfully friendly.










  • Hoopoe Bush Camp (June 20-23, 2008): This tented camp was even better than the one at Hemingway’s. Our tent was comfortable (and complete with running water and chemical toilets), and it afforded us an incredible view over the Serengeti. The food was great and the staff friendly. We really loved the nightly campfire, too.

















  • Matemwe Bungalows (June 23-27, 2008): This place was incredible–and incredibly luxurious. The view from our balcony over the Indian Ocean was astounding, and our balcony itself boasted both a divan and a hammock from which to maximize our enjoyment. Our two-level room was lovely and large enough to allow us to host Mike and Mindy for happy hour. The food here was fantastic, plentiful and super fresh.










  • Serena Lodge (June 27-28, 2008): This luxury hotel was right on the Indian Ocean. Our comfortable room had a nice view over the pool, and the hotel was very centrally located in Stone Town. The was the first place that wasn’t all-inclusive, so we actually left the grounds for meals.









  • Archipelago Restaurant: We came to this BYOB place to celebrate Mindy’s birthday and liked it pretty well. The seafood, in particular, was tasty, and Shanna loved the mango salsa that came with hers. Their dessert specialty, called sticky date pudding, was spectacular (though it was more of a cake than a pudding).










  • Sole Mio: This outdoor eatery was right on the water, so the view from our table was amazing. The pizzas and pastas were good, and the ice cream we had for dessert was pretty tasty, too.









Things We Did

Dar es Salaam

  • Wandered through the bustling Kariakoo Market











Mt. Kilimanjaro Area

  • Took off-road game drives, which allowed us to get right next to elephants and other animals









  • Visited a Masai Village










  • Saw snow-capped Mt. Kilimanjaro and wished that we had planned to climb it









  • Crossed the border into Kenya for a few minutes








Arusha National Park

  • Took a game drive through the park









  • Hiked through the park in the company of an armed ranger and got up close and personal with a family of giraffes









Tarangire National Park

  • Took game drives and spotted a pride of 15 lions devouring a buffalo and a huge group of baboons walking down the road










Lake Myanara

  • Took a game drive, the highlight of which was seeing dozens of hippos lazing in a pond and thousands of pink flamingos on the banks of the alkaline lake









Ngorongoro Crater

  • Took game drives on which we saw two black rhinos, several prides of lions, huge herds of zebras, vultures munching on a fresh kill and a cheetah in the distance









Ndutu Area

  • Took a game drive and saw lions eating a dead elephant









  • Climbed up the mysterious shifting sand dune








  • Visited the Oldavai area, home to some of the oldest human/humanoid remains in the world


  • Took game drives on which we saw a lioness on the prowl, another one in a tree (which is incredibly unusual–most lions don’t climb trees!), zebras drinking from a river, a huge hippo pool, five cheetahs and one shy leopard











  • Went scuba diving along the Mnemba Atoll
  • Hung out around the pool
  • Walked along the beach and viewed the gorgeous Indian Ocean









  • Walked through the narrow streets of Stone Town












Country Facts

  • Capital City – Dodoma
  • Currency – Shilling
  • Exchange Rate – 1,200 Shillings to 1

Special Thanks

  • We would like to thank the following individuals who gave us a wedding gift that we used in this country: Mike & Mindy Sontag. We really appreciate it!


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