Recently, Goway Africa Destination Specialist Melanie Tucker returned from a trip to Tanzania. In order to help you and your clients learn about the country, we’ve asked Melanie to share some highlights and selling tips about travel to Tanzania.
Where did you travel in Tanzania?
We went to Arusha, the Ngorongoro Crater, the Central Serengeti, the Northern Serengeti, and Zanzibar. We were on the most wonderful Lemala Migration Safari, which takes in these iconic sites in Tanzania. Although I’ve been selling these properties for years, what struck me afresh was their truly exceptional locations in pristine wilderness.
In Arusha we stayed at the Lemala Villas for one night. These are a range of villas located on the private wildlife estate, Kiligolf, situated halfway between Kilimanjaro International Airport and Arusha.
Before embarking on our journey to the crater we did a site inspection of the Arusha Coffee Plantation for a tour around this beautiful hotel and enjoyed some lovely coffees.
Did you have the opportunity to do any cultural or social experiences?
At Arusha Coffee Lodge there is an awesome organization called Shanga. Shanga is a successful social enterprise that employs people with disabilities to create unique, high-quality, handmade jewelry, glassware, and home wares incorporating recycled materials. These products are sold in Tanzania and all over the world, with profits being reinvested back into developing opportunities to employ more people with disabilities.
We had an amazing opportunity to spend a few hours at this lovely little gem. It was so inspiring. The minute you walk in you know this place has changed each one of the employees’ lives. It has a sense of peace and hope. We got to watch a live carpet weaving demonstration, then we watched some ladies in the jewelry section make gorgeous earrings. Our last stop was at the glassblowing section where a few of us learned how to blow glass. I was very moved by this experience and found myself wiping tears from my eyes. What a gift this is for these wonderful people.
En-route to the crater we stopped off at another local business called Sunday. The lovely owner is working to help sustain local communities. His team of women weave banana leaves into lunchboxes. Lemala invests in this project and uses their lunchboxes for their guests out on safari.
What was your favourite lodge and why?
Lemala Nanyukie—they have thought of everything here. There’s a screen door when opening the glass doors to reveal a plunge pool. The rooms are massive with modern decor. They have a gorgeous spa on a kopjie. The Italian general manager is lovely. This is a relatively new property and it has an epic location in the central-to-northern part of the Serengeti. The views from your deck out to the bush are award winning. A highlight was sipping a cocktail in my own plunge pool as the sun went down over the Serengeti. We only had one night here, but I would certainly recommend two or three nights.
As a Goway Africa destination specialist, was there anything that surprised you?
Yes, I did not know about Shanga and was blown away by this little place at the Arusha Coffee Lodge.
What region would you recommend if clients wanted to extend their trip?
I would usually suggest adding on Zanzibar at the end of a safari. This is a relaxing way to end a week of early morning and late evening game drives. If clients would like to continue on safari, Kenya is a natural extension. I was fortunate to spend three nights on Zanzibar and it wasn’t long enough! I would recommend five to seven nights for clients to soak up the sun and enjoy all that Zanzibar has to offer, not just great beaches. My ‘Aha! moment’ on Zanzibar was when we did our Spice Tour. The experience was completely different to what I imagined. The tour consisted of a walk through a local plantation and a government owned plantation. As we walked we had a local guide with us who would climb the trees to fetch us fresh fruits, spices, and leaves for us to smell. From cinnamon to cardamom, it was a delight to my taste buds!
My other recommendation is the Rock Restaurant, world-famous for its extraordinary location. At high tide, one catches a tiny boat to the dock and at low tide you can walk back. The restaurant is small, the food is outstanding, particularly if you are a seafood lover. Pre-booking is essential as it’s so popular.
Are there any tips about travelling to Tanzania that agents might share with their clients to make their trip even more enjoyable?
Take a donut pillow for the safari rides in the vehicle as the drives can be quite bumpy. I took mine and everyone was jealous!
Purchase your visa online before you go as the line at the airport is long and there is no air conditioning in the terminal. Plus, after a long flight, it is better to breeze through customs than to wait in a long line to purchase your visa. Spend the time in your pyjamas watching a show whilst applying online prior to departure.
Also, if your budget allows, spend more than one night in the Ngorongoro Crater. This is a very special place.