Africa! I think many people have this continent on their dream destinations list. While for most people Africa associates with Sharm El Sheik resort, you can be sure, Africa has far more than just that. This time our destination was Tanzania.
Are you curious to explore Tanzania's wilderness? Then jump on our bandwagon, we are bringing you to Tanzania in Africa! When is departure? NOW :). No Covid tests, no transfers, hotel bookings, and long waiting hours, sit back and relax. That’s all. Or maybe get some snacks too.🤔
But first, let’s start with some amazing facts about Tanzania. Not that we want to sound like your Geographics teacher, no, no (although, Martins Geography knowledge for sure is amazing and he could easily teach it 🌎🌍🌏), but why not know something interesting about the new destination you are about to tackle, am I right?
Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa.
Tanzanians speak the Swahili language. Does anyone fancy quick language tutoring? Thank you- Asante, Hi- Jambo, Welcome-Karibu
Tanzania is home to the tallest mountain in Africa -Kilimanjaro
Ngorongoro crater is home to the world’s densest population of wildlife
Zanzibar beaches are considered some of the most beautiful in the world
Oh, and by the way, all the QUEEN fans- this is for you! Freddie, the fascinating Freddie Mercury, was born in Zanzibar Tanzania. Keep reading, we will get to this as well.
Before I get to the long blah blah blah part ( we all know that this can be annoying for those who popped in here just for the basic info about flights and money😁) here you go some quick intro about the itinerary!
We were flying with KLM airline. Tallinn-Amsterdam-Kilimanjaro
Tickets were discounted, one roundtrip was 370€. Usually, it costs around 700€-800€ per person. We bought directly from the airline, no travel agencies were involved in our trip!
In order to fly, we had to make 2 Covid-19 tests, because the Netherlands needed also rapid antigen test 4h before flight. Now, these rules have changed, transit passengers don’t have to make antigen tests anymore, we always recommend to check the latest requirements. Maybe tomorrow's rules are again different. It can happen.
Yes, we made Covid-19 health insurance, and just in case we recommend doing that.
Hotel prices in Tanzania are pretty much like in Europe. A comfortable, clean room will cost about 70€ per night, but if you are looking for something luxurious with your own butler 😀👍 then be ready to pay even a few hundreds or thousand per night.
The local currency is Shilling, however, it is possible to pay also in dollars and even with bank cards in some places (prepare to pay 3-5% more when paying with card).
If you are in Arusha city (were very likely you will be), believe it or not, but you can order a taxi via the Bolt app! 6km was about 3€.
Food prices are again similar to Europe. If you go to a clean, international cuisine restaurant, buy two main dishes+ non-alco drinks, then be ready to pay 15-20€. Of course, you can buy food from street stalls too, then the expenses will be significantly lower.
No, Safari is not cheap and it will cost you a lot. We took the most basic one (but very beautiful&must see location) and paid 430€ in total for 2 persons 1 day safari.
In case you were wondering, an African safari is not a petting zoo, animals are in their natural habitat, so you can’t leave a safari jeep unless it is in allowed territory that will be shown by your tour guide.
Yes, Zanzibar water truly is SO blue, it’s not Photoshop, don’t worry!
You don’t need to vaccinate yourself against Yellow fewer. There is malaria risk, but you can take pills against malaria. In Estonia you can buy those pills only with doctors' prescription, however, in Africa, you can buy them in pharmacies without subscription.
We didn’t experience any mosquito attacks, perhaps you can feel them the most in overnight safaris. And no, we didn’t see snakes and other not very nice creatures. In fact, we saw only one snake and it was crushed on the road. Auch...
Amsterdam-Kilimanjaro flight was empty. We could easily use seat rows as a bed. Safe&comortable.
Once you are in Africa, you can buy a local SIM card and easily browse the internet, take a selfie with zebra and share it with your Insta friends. They will appreciate it.😀
No, we didn’t see elephants, giraffes, and other animals in the random fields around the country. In fact, we didn’t see giraffes at all. ☹️ The rest animals we spotted only during the safari.
If you like seafood, don’t hesitate to eat seafood dishes in Africa. Calamari, lobster, jumbo prawns, king prawns, grilled tuna and kingfish, octopus...mmmmmm.
Yes, it’s true that water in Zanzibar is highly affected by the tides. Don’t be surprised that in the morning until 5 PM water will be very much away from the coast and only in the evening it will start to come back. But in a way it is a very unique experience, you will see many beautiful sandbanks.
Ocean water temperature is VERY HOT. Like in bath. Literally. And you hear it from a girl who always finds water too cold. It’s so hot that you will want to refresh yourself somewhere else after dipping in the ocean.
If you are about to use local buses that are called Daladala, don’t get fooled by friendly strangers who will meet you on the street and tell “follow me, I will bring you to Daladala”. They indeed will do that, but they will take money from you (like from us they took 20 000 shillings) and then you will pay also the driver which will ask for much less! Always pay directly to a conductor on the bus. First, you take a seat and only then pay, which always will be later, a conductor will tell you when it is time to pay.
No, Africans mostly are not wearing masks, at least locals won't do that. Yes, hotel, restaurant workers, and guides will do this because they are providing service to tourists, but don’t expect it from locals. If this is very important for you, perhaps Africa, at this point, will not be a good destination for you.
So departure day arrived and for the first time after long time extreme travel anxiety kicked in.☹️ First of all, because we haven’t been traveling up to one year so obviously there was stress, second of all, it’s C-19 times so until the last minute before getting on the plane we were anxious will everything will be smooth and we will be able to take off. We came to Tallinn airport earlier because we needed to do an antigen test which we pre-booked in advance. We recommend doing it if possible, that way you eliminate yourself from crowds in the live line. After about 30 minutes we received for the second time our “NEGATIVE” result and were happy to move closer to our dream journey.😍
Tallinn-Amsterdam flight passed very quickly, the same can say about Amsterdam-Kilimanjaro. We were quite tired and lacking sleep, so all the hours we mostly spent sleeping. Blinked my eyes a few times and we landed at Kilimanjaro International Airport.
The process of getting through the airport was rather slow. There were multiple “departments” that wanted to check your passport and do the customs information, we spent I think more than 1h just doing that. The process was terribly slow and so many unnecessary checkings that could be done by one person instead of 5 :). We applied for the visa during our arrival, it was 43€ per person. Possible to apply for the visa as well before, but we think it’s better to do it on arrivals because when you travel during C-19 times your flight can be easily canceled/rescheduled therefore impact your visa.
I think you can read from our eyes who is more tired and who is more excited!😁
When all the processes were done, it was already late, around 11 PM. We had pre-booked hotel shuttle because Arusha city was 50km away from the airport. They charged for that 43€. Later we discovered that by Bolt taxi it would be cheaper in the half, but we don’t have experience would it be even possible that late to get Bolt taxi (it's not so popular like in Tallinn and Riga), so better to not risk and pre-book a taxi in advance.
1h on the road and we checked into our modest but very clean hotel. I was surprised at how clean it was. When we woke up it was time for Martins's favorite meal of the day- breakfast!🥐🥭🍉 It was quite generous- pancakes, coffee, smoothie, eggs, local fried dishes, fresh fruits, guacamole. Definitely can’t stay hungry after breakfast like this. The hotel was in the suburbs of Arusha city. From the city center, it was 7km.
...Now not so smart part. We decided to walk that 7 km. 🥵 Without sunblock. 🥵 Auch, Auch, much! We didn’t feel this immediately, but on the next day we, especially I, Sandra, burned completely.
Once we got to the city center we were in search of a cozy lunch place. Yes, we like to eat! 😇 Totally randomly we found Serengeti Coffee House cafe. Actually, we went to another one, which was on the opposite side of the road; but then I spotted Serengeti balcony with lush green plants and the waiter noticed my staring, so he waved to us over the street and we decided to accept his warm welcome and we went to eat in there. That was a good decision because for the rest of 4 days we were eating only there. Super cheap, super clean, super tasty. Who wouldn’t love this combination when eating outside?
Obviously, we didn’t come to Africa to only sleep and eat 😄, it was time to find the perfect safari tour for us. We didn’t know what to choose because there were plenty of options to choose from, but our hotel host recommended Greg who was operating with Safari tours. It’s the 21st century, so we dropped a message on Whatsapp “Hey Greg, what safari tours do you offer” and after 1h we already had booked for the next morning.😍
Greg arrived with his fancy jeep, told us “guys, you will LOVE this safari” and “by the way, what are your food preferences for tomorrow?”, collected money and was gone.
The next morning our wake-up call was set for 4:40 AM because at 5:00 AM Greg's driver came to pick us for the safari journey. Yayyyy!🦓🐘🦏
We were thinking that a very cool safari jeep will come and fetch us and we will hit the road, in reality, it was not so...The minibus that picked us up was totally not cool, half-dead, something like from the Wrong Turn movie.😄 The driver was even more shocking. He was coughing like Covid-19 positive.😷 I and Martin looked at each other and silently moved our lips “what a heck is this”...
Later 3 other people joined our car. One from Romania, and a couple from Ukraine. The driver kept coughing and I and Martin already were prepared that this will be more likely a journey straight to Covid instead of Safari. 😤 Later guy from Ukraine told the driver to put the mask on because his cough was shocking to everyone! He was super surprised to do that, but in the end did!
2h on the road and we reached Safari camp. Had some breakfast- pancakes (yes, yes, they are very popular in Africa), egg, tea/coffee. We were still shocked about this ride and what to expect from this trip, but luckily, our tour guide arrived who was a totally different person! Well, now we are talking, finally safari jeep!🙃
Again 1h on the road and we reached our destination- Ngorongoro crater. When we reached the safari point, nature, animals all took our breath away. It was so beautiful. I think our photos will tell more than a thousand words. We saw zebras, elephants, lions, various birds, hyenas, warthogs, flamingos, wildebeests, rhinos and hippos.....You simply can’t compare this experience to a zoo. In fact, after this, the zoo seems like an even bigger jail for animals. They all were running, eating, sleeping in their natural habitat. It was a mesmerizing and unforgettable experience. Later, after few hours, we had our lunch. Thanks Greg, but you didn’t insert my vegetarian option I told you about yesterday!😁 Oh well, the food kit was a typical food kit that they give on such tours. Box with a sandwich, grilled chicken piece, juice, banana. Nothing fancy but will fill your belly.🙂 Or maybe not. Depends. For example, we went to empty our boxes under the tree, and a huge bird stole a whole chicken piece out of Martins's hand.😄
I think this was the best picnic spot we ever had. Imagine, right in front of our eyes we saw many hippos swimming and enjoying the sunshine. Priceless. Worth every penny.
Safari ended late in the evening and the driver dropped us back to the hotel. Our hearts were full and we will never ever forget this experience. Happiness is definitely not money, but money is a tool for how to experience moments like this, and yes, they bring happiness. A big one.
When safari was done, it was time to live that beach life, time to visit Zanzibar. We bought flight tickets (55€ per person), however, if you are not so passionate about planes, you can go there as well by bus. But keep in mind, by plane it will take 1h and by bus like 12h. Our Zanzibar experience started from Stone Town. Once landed, we got the local taxi and he drove us to the city. About 20min and we were there. Stone town is like no other city. Maybe in a way like Santorini, but in a not fancy way. It was a unique place and definitely a city you must visit when in Zanzibar. All hotels we booked on the go and in Stone Town, we stayed in Antonio Garden. Again, very clean, pleasant, nothing to complain about. Perfect location too. Sharing some photos from the breakfast at Antonio Garden hotel.
When we entered Stown Tone, the driver pointed to a cafe which was named Lukmaan. He told this is a must-visit place when in Stown Town. Later we forgot his recommendation but were searching dinner spot and accidentally ended up in Lukmaan. It was amazing! We did order too much food because we didn’t know how it works here (they had something like Buffet type servicing), but all was very very tasty. Exactly in here, I and Martin tried our first grilled Octopus ever.
For those who are looking for a more fancy dinner experience, the Cape town fish market restaurant will be a good choice to go. Food was not the best, Lukmaan definitely has much better, but that sunset view is so lovely so we went there several nights in a row.
On the next morning after our arrival, we decided to visit the famous Freddie Mercury house! We were so so excited, even were ready to pay those 8$ for the ticket (per person) and big was our surprise when we were there. Total scam and not worth your money. 😭 Yes, Freddie used to live in there, but how can you call it a museum, where are no authentic things just information printed out of Google? Fake piano and fake jacket. No, no! Don’t go there, and if Freddie would see this museum- he for sure would be embarrassed. We even joked that we can open the same museum in Tallinn! We need an internet connection, a printer, some wall frames, and voila.🙄
Even though Stone Town is a city by the ocean, it is not that beach you want to be on when dreaming about Zanzibar. It was time to prepare ourselves for the Daladala ride and get to our first beach destination- Paje. 1h of crazy crazy Daladala ride (after this you will never want to complain about buses in your fancy city) and we were there. Ocean was so blue and sand so white just like those travel Influencers and brochures ( does anyone still read travel brochures???🤔) are telling you about. We walked on the beach and reached Hotel On The Rock where we spent 3 nights. They gave us the best bungalow, it had an amazing ocean view and a terrace where to enjoy it. We were very happy. A big bonus is that Hotel had a very good restaurant, there was absolutely nothing I wouldn’t like and I heartily can recommend their grilled tuna and avocado/mango/shrimps salad. One of the times when we were walking on the beach, we decided to take a local dhow (boat) to enjoy the ocean breeze and it was lovely to experience.💦
After lazy days on the beach we decided to change the resort and location, felt like it's time to leave Paje and explore new destinations. We took a local taxi and went to Pingwe beach. Checked into another resort called Shanuo Beach Bungalows that reminded me of the Blue Lagoon movie. It was a cozy shack by the beach. The only not understandable part was open style toilet. But it's okay, while one is chilling on the deck, another one can do their stuff in the toilet! The breakfast was very good, very generous. They gave us 3 choices and we, of course, took pancakes. Of course, we were swimming in blue lagoon and enjoying amazing sandbanks.
Our beach days were coming to an end and we had to get our Covid-19 tests done for our flight back home to Tallinn. We went back to Stone Town to the facility called Migombani Covid Testing Center. It was stated that booking for the testing has to be done in advance, but when we arrived to the testing facility then in reality there was a live line. Rather slow and again many unnecessary ''departments'' in order to get to the testing. In total, we spent around 1,5hrs in order to get tested. Price was 70€ per person and certificate was sent to you digitally. Our flight was on Saturday and we got tested already on Wednesday. Results arrived on Friday, just in time for our trip.
Would we go again to Africa? Yes, of course! Hopefully someday soon! 😍