Upon arrival in Dar es Salaam today, you will be met by your Classic Escapes representative and transferred to your hotel located a short distance from Arusha Town Centre. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s premier city, the political and economic capital of the country, even though the official seat of government was moved to Dodoma in 1973. The ‘Haven of Peace’ started life as a fishing village in the mid-19th century when the Sultan of Zanzibar got the urge to turn a creek (now a harbor) into a safe port and trading center. Now it’s a teeming metropolis of millions of people where Arab dhows mingle with huge ocean-going vessels. Overnight at DAR ES SALAAM SERENA.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for a short flight to the Selous Game Reserve (depart 8:45 am – arrive 9:15 am) where you will be met and escorted to your home for the next three nights. Get set for exciting wildlife viewing on foot, boat and vehicle during your stay at Selous (pronounced Seloo) – the second biggest conservation area in Africa, and the largest wildlife reserve on the continent. Measuring an astounding 22,000 square miles it is also a proclaimed World Heritage site. To give scale to these figures, the reserve covers an area more than twice that of Denmark, is bigger than Switzerland, and is nearly four times the size of the Serengeti! Named after the legendary 19th century explorer and hunter Frederick Courteney Selous, the reserve was founded by the German colonial administration in 1905. It was later expanded to include traditional elephant migration routes and accommodate the vast herds of buffalo that roam this remote, untouched corner of Africa. Selous boasts an impressive variety of mammals, birdlife and wild flowers in a mosaic of wooded hills, open miombo woodland and grassy plains and marshes.
Here, there’s no fixed itinerary…rather, you’ll pick up on the rhythm of the wilderness around you, all the time looking to explore and expand knowledge and understanding. The wonder of exploring the wilderness on foot, the magic of following the stately footprints of an old bull elephant, cut crisp and smooth in the white river sand, to discover his tracks interrupted by the passage of a female leopard dragging her recent kill, her tracks leading to a nearby tamarind tree; the small and industrious workings of termites to the dead silence of midday interrupted by the sound of gigantic ears flapping, to cool him deep in the shade; to the rush of five hundred buffalo stampeding away through tall grass… that’s what this is all about.
The focus here is on wildlife, exploring and connecting with the landscape by 4X4 vehicle, on foot and in a canoe! The tracking of buffalo and elephant, on foot with experienced porters, trackers and professional firearms trained guides, is a big part of what they do here, often forming the undercurrent through the day that draws you to discover other natural wonders. The rivers are navigable by canoe and with a fleet of modern inflatable canoes; it is a fantastic and relaxed way to gently travel the land.
In addition to this, the sheer dramatic scale of Selous makes it an outstanding example of untouched African wilderness, and as one of the last refuges of healthy populations of the endangered wild dogs, the reserve truly can claim to offer a unique African safari experience.
Set amidst dense indigenous forests, the Selous Serena Camp is the ultimate wilderness retreat. With 360-degree views over the surrounding bush, the 12 widely spaced tents are presented in time-honored safari style with natural thatch roofs, elegant Victorian-styled bathrooms and private viewing decks. Luxuriously presented, each tent features an engaging mix of canvas walls, crystal chandeliers, opulent rugs and elegant rosewood furniture.
Overnight at SELOUS SERENA CAMP.
Leave the beasts behind and fly to Zanzibar, the best kept secret in the Indian Ocean, with its fascinating history and magnificent beaches. Upon arrival at the airport you will be transferred to the Zanzibar Serena Hotel.
The Assyrians, Sumerians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Indians, Chinese, Persians, Portuguese, Omani Arabs, Dutch and English have all been here at one time or another. Some, particularly the Shirazi Persians and Omani Arabs, stayed to settle and rule. With this influence, Zanzibar has become predominantly Islamic, with the
remaining population made up of Christians, Hindus and Sikhs. The earliest visitors to Zanzibar were Arab traders who are said to have arrived in the 8th century. For centuries they sailed with the Monsoon winds from Oman to trade primarily in ivory, slaves and spices. The earliest building that remains on Zanzibar is the mosque at Kizimkazi which dates from 1107, and is a present-day tourist attraction. Zanzibar has two main islands, Unguja (normally known as Zanzibar Island) and Pemba.
The balance of your day is at leisure.
Zanzibar Serena is a stunning property set in two historic seafront buildings that have been masterfully restored to their previous grandeur, when Zanzibar was a crossroads visited by travelers and merchants from all corners of the globe. Interiors echo Zanzibar’s rich Arabic influence – or ustaarabu – as well as the island’s indigenous East African roots. The rooms are elegant and romantic, each overlooking the azure waters of the Indian Ocean. There is a restaurant and bar as well as an outdoor swimming pool with poolside cafe bar and shop. An extensive selection of recreation and water sport activities are available to guests.
Overnight at the ZANZIBAR SERENA HOTEL.
Begin to experience Zanzibar’s fascinating history and vibrant culture with a tour of fabled Stone Town. Visit the House of Wonders, the Palace Museum (People’s Palace), Dr. Livingstone’s House, the Arab Fort, and the National Museum of Zanzibar, which houses relics from the times of the Sultans and early explorers. See Zanzibar’s bustling market, winding alleyways, ornately carved and studded doors, two cathedrals and countless mosques. Visit the Anglican Church, built in 1874 on the site of the old slave market, and see the chambers beneath it where slaves were held before they were sold. You will see the site of Sultan Barghash’s harem at Marahubi, with its colorful history. Stone Town also has many excellent gifts shops with plenty of souvenirs and handicrafts to choose from.
Overnight at the ZANZIBAR SERENA HOTEL.
This morning, you will visit a plantation and have your senses dazzled with fresh spices. A detailed description will be given about these spices and their uses in cooking and cosmetics. You will be fascinated by the sheer number of spices produced and their incredible value for many ailments. This is an excellent opportunity to purchase spices and spice oils at the best prices. The history of Zanzibar would be incomplete without the cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper and many other spices which brought the Sultans of Oman and the beginnings of the infamous slave trade.
Afterward, drive to the Jozani Natural Forest Reserve, located in the central east region of Zanzibar Island and home to the rare red colobus monkey, endemic to Zanzibar (so named for a red spot on its head). These habituated monkeys are full of character and, although completely free, tend to feed just outside the reserve’s perimeter. They are extraordinarily photogenic as they leap from tree to tree just above you. Jozani is home to other species including Syke’s monkeys, small buck and bushpigs. The elusive Zanzibar leopard, not sighted for many years, is said to feed here at night. (Perhaps this is why the reserve is only open during the day?) Jozani has an excellent nature trail and the guides are well-trained and informative.
Overnight at the ZANZIBAR SERENA INN.
Your final morning is at leisure to relax and enjoy this paradise. This afternoon transfer to the airport for your flight home, finding you home the following morning.
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