Entry #1 – Six Months to Departure –
After a year of being ‘grounded’ and not being able to travel internationally, I decided it was time to get a trip booked and to make it a big one. Tanzania has been on my short-list of destinations for many years and I was finally able to make it happen. Given the magnitude of this trip in terms of the logistics, investment and required preparation, over the next six months I will be posting updates on everything I experience on this Journey to Tanzania. If you have any questions or would like me to cover a specific topic, please email me!
Working with the amazing team at Giltedge Africa, we were able to put together an incredible itinerary (more on that momentarily). First, a few fun facts about Tanzania and ‘why’ I want to go there.
Tanzania is located in East Africa and shares borders with Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rawanda. In the north it borders Lake Victoria, in the east it borders the Indian Ocean, in the south it borders Lake Malawi and in the west it borders Lake Tanganyika. Tanzania is approximately 1.5x the size of Texas and the population is 53M. Tanzania is home to the highest mountain in Africa, Mt Kilimanjaro (19.3K ft), and Serengeti National Park which consists of multiple conservation areas and game reserves in the northwest. The Serengeti plays host to the world’s largest overland migration each year when over one million wildebeest zebras and gazelle migrate north from the south (and back again). Another key area for wildlife viewing is the Ngorongoro Crater (102 square miles) and features thousands of species of animals.
My desire to go to Tanzania versus, the more popular, neighboring Kenya was fueled by a couple of key attributes. Tanzania is a larger country and it dedicates far more of its land to conservation. There are fewer visitors to Tanzania than to Kenya which translates to better game spotting. Couple that with the fact that more of the Great Migration happens in Tanzania and voila, decision made.
It has been scientifically proven that we receive just as much pleasure (if not more) planning a trip than actually taking one. I don’t know if that will hold true on this trip to Tanzania but, the planning process has been hugely engaging and enjoyable. Working with Giltedge Africa to put together the itinerary was extremely easy, the process I used for myself is the same for how we work with them on a client’s behalf. It starts with letting Giltedge know the timing of the trip, desired number of nights, budget and the priorities of what you would like to see. From there they provide an initial itinerary and we work with them to refine it. One of the things I love about working with Giltedge is they are very personable and readily available to us. For example, we had a Zoom call to finalize the itinerary and answer my long list of questions. It was very comforting to have that kind of access to my counterparts, Rehana and Robyn-Lea, who are based in South Africa.
Below is a high-level recap of the itinerary. The first three nights will be spent on the beautiful ‘spice island’ of Zanzibar. We are hoping that this will be a wonderful way to get over the jet lag and rest-up for the days ahead on safari. The following seven nights will be spent in four different areas to take in a variety of accommodations and daily game drives. Note: I will not be climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, sorry to disappoint you! It’s not my thing however, I have friends and clients who have done it and they say it’s amazing.
10/28 – Depart from Milwaukee, WI to Atlanta, GA to Amsterdam, Netherlands.
10/29 – Connecting flight from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
10/29-10/30 – Stay at Arusha Coffee Lodge
10/30 – Depart from Arusha to Zanzibar
10/30-11/2 -Stay at Kilindi Resort, Zanzibar
11/2 – Depart from Zanzibar to Tarangire National Park
11/2-11/4 – Stay at Tarangire Treetops Lodge
11/4 – Depart from Tarangire to Ngorongoro
11/4-11/6 – Stay at The Manor at Ngorongoro
11/6 – Depart from Ngorongoro to Serengeti National Park
11/6-11/8 – Stay at Serengeti Migration Camp
11/8 – Depart from Tanzania to Amsterdam
11/9 – Connecting flight from Amsterdam to Atlanta to Milwaukee
In future updates I will breakdown the itinerary, share details about the accommodations, expected wildlife, etc. I will also cover topics such as packing (in a duffel <=33 lbs!), inoculations, camera equipment, etc. Plus, the fun items that help with anticipation such as books, movies, music, recipes and more!
Lynn Clark is the owner of Journeys Travel Group, Inc. dba Travel Leaders located in Southeast Wisconsin. She is capturing her Journey to Tanzania through a series of blog posts that chronicle her experience leading up to the adventure in October 2021. Lynn has spent nearly three decades working in travel for industry leading brands including The Walt Disney Travel Company, Carlson Companies and Funjet Vacations. In 2017 she cast off the Corporate America lines and set sail for a new adventure, owning a travel agency. Her goal in life is to connect people and ideas in the pursuit of transformational experiences which most often come in the form of travel.