Monday, 6 May 2013

Selous Game Reserve, Zanzibar, Tanzania October 2012.

Its late October 2012 and I am on the move again, today I am getting EK 18 from Manchester to Dubai.
and as it is this lady's last shift prior to a short spell of leave, we will decide the next destination tomorrow. In the meantime I was lucky to be allowed to the bar up stairs for a few moments, to see how the other half fly, then it was back down to Economy for me to enjoy a few drinks with my meal.
In the Bar!
Back downstairs in the Economy Cabin. A380
Emirates economy treats.

After a lot of looking at aircraft loads, the loads to Dar es Salam looked promising, so Tanzania it was. As I have been to Tanzania before and stayed at the Serena Lodge, I looked up their web page, and hidden away I found a special offer. 3 nights at a camp in the Selous Game reseve and 2 nights in Zanzibar, with flights, It was called The Selous Dream Safari, it sounded good, it got booked!
EK 725 was a 3 class Airbus 330 (its a 777 now) that took us to Dar, we arrived at 15.15 and a lot of people had connecting flights to camps, we were staying in Dar for the night, and just as well. It took over 2 hours to get our Visas. There was a system in place, but it was very slow. so, if you have a connecting flight I would suggest you get your Visa before you arrive, some people were very stressed!
At Dar es Salam Airport waiting for the Visa
Do not go to this desk for your Visa, join the Q.
 We stayed overnight in the Serena Hotel in Dar, it was comfortable, clean and did the job for us. next day we were back at the airport to check in for a FlightLink flight, that turned out to be on Coastal Aviation. Costal Aviation small planes fly all over Tanzania, there a lots of them and they are good value for money, you can charter your own to Zanzibar for 100US $, it seats 6 so works out better than the ferry.

Our Check in Desk for FlightLink

Costal Aviation fly's all over Tanzania
Our flight to the Selous Game Reserve and the airstrip of Stieglers Gorge took 45 mins, it was a bumpy ride and that was quite long enough for me. I was pleased to get my feet on the sandy airstrip. 
The Arrivals hall at Stieglers Gorge

As we get off it moves on to the next camp
The landing strip

the bathroom!
The beds in the tent at the Serena run camp.
Selous Luxury Camp, Selous Game Reserve.
Room (tent) key

At the airstrip we were greeted by our guide and taken to the camp. It was wonderful, there was only us in it, but we were treated like queens. You stay in 'Tents', but this is not camping! the service, food and staff were all outstanding and the danger was the camp was so good that you wanted to stay in it rather than get out into the Selous game Reserve. I had not heard of this reserve, its the largest in Southern Africa, the Rufiji River runs through it and we spent a peaceful afternoon fishing on the river, catching odd white catfish that live in the orange water of the river. Just as I pulled one out of the water, a Fish eagle swooped down and helped himself. The guide was very worried when we got to close to the edge of the water as it was full of massive crocodiles, and he said they would see your shadow and jump out of the water, it was a magical day.
The next day we drove into the Northern Section of the Selous, and despite a bleek, dry landscape, saw Impala, Kudu, Elephants, loads of Buffaloe and Wilderbeast, birds, and Lions, one Lioness on a Kill, and a pile of 5 young males, with their short manes that are peculiar to the Lions of this region!
Fishing with the Crocks

A light lunch

Afternoon tea with the lions

We were served a magnificent picnic and afternoon tea, then back at the camp it was more five star gourmet cooking. On Trip Advisor The Selous Luxury Camp is listed a 3 Star, as far as I am concerned it was 10 Star fantastic in every way, and at the price we paid, not to be missed.
It was time to move on and we were taken back to the Stieglers Gorge airstrip to fly the 45 mins back to Dar, then swap planes and flown to Zanzibar, a very nice South African pilot took us on this short  20 min flight.
Stone Town Door
Stone Town

Stone Town

Serena Hotel Stone Town

Room 3, Serena Hotel Stone Town

 In Zanzibar we stayed 2 nights at the Zanzibar Serena Inn, it was nice but our room, room 3 on the ground floor was very noisy so we moved the next day, to a room on the first floor. We explored Stone Town, getting lost in the narrow cobbled, winding streets, visiting the Slave Monument and Anglican Cathedral, the Old Fort and house of Wonder. It was an interesting and thought provoking place.
We moved on, over to the coast and the town of Pongwe, the beach here was windy and busy with Kite surfers. The beach itself can not be recommended, as apart from the wind, the tide goes out very far and there is a lot of seaweed, I liked it as local women collected the seaweed and the beach was good to walk on, but if you are a beach person. looking to chill out on your lounger, I don't think you would do it here!
'Photo! Photo!'

Beach at Hukuna Matata Hotel
 All to soon, it was time to fly back to Dar, same plane and driver!

From Zanzibar to Dar with Costal Aviation or Flight Link.
 At Zanzibar Airport, a far larger place than I had imagined, you could get flight to many places with a multitude of airlines. Including TUI to Amsterdam!
Zanzibar Airport
Zanzibar Airport
Zanzibar Airport
Zanzibar Airport

Dar Airport
For us, it was a quick hop back to Dar, than a walk from terminal to terminal to check in for the flight back to Dubai. It was a great week and we packed a lot in, we also discovered another wonderful part of the country and its people, thanks Tanzania, I don't thinks its goodbye ?