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last updated: 28-Jan-2006

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African Wild Dog, Selous Tanzania Chole Mjini, Mafia, Tanzania Matemwe Beach, Zanzibar Zanzibar, Stone Town doors

I don't remember any other trip which started because of a website:

JJ had been diving in Pemba a year before, and sent me this link as a teaser afterwards. The decision to go to Tanzania was made shortly after viewing the related sites - this looked like excellent safari, excellent diving, excellent culture, excellent accommodation... and it was excellent service by Lenny from AfricaTravelResource, the internet travel agency behind allaboutzanzibar!

Picking places to visit for safari in Tanzania seems tricky for the beginner, due to weather and animal migrations. Lenny thus suggested for early December a to visit the South, i.e. Selous National Park. We also wanted to go to the treehouses of Chole Mjini, and see a bit of Zanzibar.

This page gives the travel facts, click on the links to get to the details about each location. For more pictures, visit my gallery.

Our route

6-7 Dec 2003 ZRH-AMS-DAR-Selous
7-11 Dec 2003 Sand Rivers Lodge, Selous National Park
11-17 Dec 2003 Chole Mjini, Mafia Island
17-20 Dec 2003 Matemwe Beach (Asali), Zanzibar East coast
20-23 Dec 2003 Emerson & Green Hotel, Zanzibar Stone Town


There is the lesser rainy season from ca. Oct-mid Dec, and the big rainy season in March-May, and January to March are very hot. It usually doesn't rain for days, it's more the one-hour stormy rain kind. When we were in Selous (Sand River Lodge), the small rainy season hadn't come, not a drop of rain since 18 months... However, they sky was overcast, which brought the temperature down to comfortable levels. Climate on the islands was warmer and more humid, though it rained only twice and short in Stone Town.

In Sand Rivers and Chole Mjini, we were the only guests for a few days - thus the time before Christmas seems to be low season.


We decided to fly between our lodges, everything booked by Lenny. There were scheduled one-propeller planes between DAR to Sand Rivers and on to Mafia. Mafia-Zanzibar-DAR was also on scheduled flights.
Transport from Mafia Airport in Kilondoni to Chole Mjini is quite adventurous: First a 30 min Landrover drive, and then a 20 min boat trip in a dhow - without pier, so you just jump into the water to get ashore :-) More details here.
Transport between Stone Town Airport and Matemwe was also prebooked; it took ca. 1.5-2 hrs by car.


Our travel doctor advised to take Malarone as malaria prophylaxis especially while staying on the islands, and a yellow fever vaccination because this is a requirement in Tanzania (just if coming from regions where yellow fever occurs...).
I did get very ill for 3 days, on the last day in Chole Mjini and while staying in Matemwe, with high fever and aches all over, but I tested negative for malaria and dengue fever. Having experienced similar illnesses while on Malarone at other times, I start feeling suspicious that this is just a Malarone side effect. Anyway, diclofenac helped bring me back to health (as aspirine or paracetamol are not advised if malaria is suspected).

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Travel directory Sand Rivers, Selous Chole Mjini, Mafia Zanzibar