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Looking for cheap and reliable taxi driver on Zanzibar? Read on. I am a type of person that when traveling and meet cheap and reliable as well as honest taxi driver, i take his number.
Travelers that come with tour operators to Zanzibar have usually expensive transfers included in the price but those on the budget will be happy to know that its possible to find cheap and reliable taxi on Zanzibar.
I met my taxi driver on Zanzibar two years ago, he was recommended by local friend and since then i am using him for all transfers around Zanzibar.
I am happy to help and recommend him, as I am always happy to support local people when they prove to be honest and willing to work.
So, my taxi driver on Zanzibar is called Ali, a father of four children. He is driving a car licensed for four people. He is always somewhere in Stone Town center and after you arrange a time and place or pick up, you can be sure he will pick you up on time, be it on the beach or Stone town. His car is in good condition, Ali doesn’t drink.
His rates are – transfer from Zanzibar airport to Stone Town: 10 000 TSH, which is a little less than 7 USD. Usually prices charged for this route by others are between 15 to 20 USD.
Transfers from Stone Town to any place on the beach on Zanzibar is 40 USD.
If you are in a hurry to go to the beach, add about 20 minutes to your schedule, as taxi drivers have to pick up some sort of permit before leaving Stone Town. You will stop on the way to arrange this paper which is essential for driving out of Stone Town. This permit is usually required on a couple of check points on the way to the beach.
Here is his phone number: + 255 777 46 1320
If you are more than 4 people there is another taxi driver also in the business for 13 years, who drives a van licensed for 6 people. His name is Popo. His number is + 255 777 433667
When you are done with Gorilla tracking you should come to Red Rocks if you want to experience true Rwandan rural life.
About 8 kilometres out of Musanze, a short moto taxi ride in Nyakinama village surrounded by Volcanoes mountains in the distance this place has amazing atmosphere. Red Rocks is so much more than just a hostel where you can get a clean, but modest accommodation. It has grown into cultural centre with aim to support locals by employing them and giving them opportunity to improve their lives.
Friendly staff will make sure you will be involved in various activities offered by memebers and despite of interest there is something for everybody. From banana beer brewing, to arts and crafts along with daily trips in the area, be it Twin lakes or just hiking around the hills through villages.
Activities that will make you busy:
Banana beer brewing with locals – banana beer is very popular drink that everybody makes it in Rwanda. In Red Rocks you have your chance to see the magic of brewing banana beer from scratch!
Weaving rwandan baskets with local women - They are essential part of Red Rocks, helping run our little shop, making baskets and banana juice. Apart from taking care their own piece of land, children or grandchildren and animals, they also cultivate our farm and take half of the crops, giving us the other half to use in the kitchen.
Art Workshops - Agasozi centre run by young Rwandan painter Augustin Hakiziana,. By default these workshops are aimed for local children to engage them into creativity and exploration of art, but all travellers are welcome to participate in the process.
Hostel is located on fairly large property, besides accommodation there is also camp site for visitor that want to stay in touch with nature.
Another specialty of the hostel is that serves local food, mainlz produced on their own gardens, all organic and eco grown crops.
Definitely a place to spend at least a day or two.
Gorilla tracking in Rwanda was one of the main activities I wanted to do during the last visit to Africa. I was lucky enough to complete an adventure at the top of my travel bucket list - mountain gorilla tracking in Rwanda.
If you want to do gorilla tracking in Rwanda, you have to go to Volcanoes National Park. The park forms part of the Virunga Mountains, a chain of active and inactive volcanoes, which span Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC, and, together with the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda, around 40 km away, is the only habitat on earth where mountain gorillas.
Price per gorilla permit is high, 750 USD and all permits have to be booked at least six months ahead as number of visitors per day is limited to 7 -8 people per gorilla group. Money has to be at least partially wired in order to get confirmation of desired booking date. Note to future gorilla trackers – rumours say that gorilla permit in Rwanda will rise to 1000 USD in 2014!
On the day of gorilla tracking we were taken to park headquarters where a guide and gorilla group was assigned to our group of visitors based on group fitness level. We have chosen Agashya group, that consists of 23 gorilla members. While waiting for guide to arrange birocratic side of gorilla track, park headquarters prepared some entertainment with rwandan traditional intore dancers.
After three hour hike in muddy and steep areas of rainforest trackers finally announced we have approached to the Agashya group.
Tracking guide will tell you more about how to behave when you’re in the presence of gorillas but here are some things to keep in mind:
Dont point index finger into gorillas, they have bad experience with poachers and they might think you want to shoot them
Dont make eye contact with gorillas – can be seen to be aggressive
If gorilla approaches you just act submissive and crouch down, but never run away!
Besides its not allowed to take food, drink with you – you will leave your backpack and unnecessary equipment, clothes in a safe place about hundred meters before you approach gorilla area.
I was postponing this review because I couldn’t decide whether I liked this hotel or not. Juba Hotel is perhaps not a good choice for first timer to Africa as it is located in Kariakoo area, the poorest part of Dar es Salaam with very local vibes.
After traveling for almost two days, I have ended up in this hotel just to overnight and then leaving for Zanzibar next day.
I had initially booking in Jambo inn, which turned out to be closed down at the time of my arrival to Dar es Salaam. Since I liked the location of Jambo inn due to proximity to the ferry port I found the nearest hotel to be Juba hotel, just 5, minutes by taxi so I have decided to try out this Juba Hotel, which is only perhaps a kilometer away from Jumbo inn.
So, location is in Kariakoo, imagine a ghetto place, ruined buildings, lots of homeless people in the street and also a lot of things going on in the night, medium noise from parties to screaming.
The staff is super friendly and they arranged a taxi for me at the airport since my arrival was late at night.
The hotel itself is quite big and has lots of rooms. Had a deluxe single bedroom with bathroom en suite. Don’t expect the luxury though.
The rooms are clean and have mosquito nets. Bathroom is African style; manning flushing doesn’t work well, shower and bathroom is one place, to really basic sink. I couldn’t close the window and air condition was very loud and in the middle of the night some parts of it fell off.
There is also a warning on the door not to leave baggage in the room, instead of leaving the backpacks in the room you should leave the backpacks in the reception in case you are away from the hotel. So, I wasn’t quite relaxed here, but have to say it once again, staff is really friendly and will try to accommodate you the best way they can. I think this is typical African budget hotel also hosting lots of locals.
Maybe I use this hotel once again on the way back home, just to test my feelings about it and update review.
This and many weekly photos ahead will definitely be from safari in Tanzania national parks where i spent few days enjoying the wildlife of Serengeti and Tarangire.
Since Safari in Tanzania is probably going to be a trip of your lifetime, I have decided to post a review of Shadows of Africa Safari operator I used twice for safari in Tanzania and both times had an unforgettable safari experience in Tanzanian national parks. Mainly because they are relatively new company and there are no reviews on Internet yet, and partly because I want to share good safari operator that will for sure not disappoint you!
Looking for the good safari company can be overwhelming task due to so many safari providers as well as mixed reviews on travel sites. I exactly know how it feels like doing a research among countless selection of safari operators, looking for reviews on Internet, worrying if there are true or scam sites offering safaris, will the vehicle be ok, food ok, so if you are looking a safari tour operator in Tanzania, read on as this post might help you save a lot of time.
Among all requests I sent to many safari operators at the time of my search for first safari this company was one of the most responsive and flexible in the creation of safari itinerary. Here are the factors that made me book with Shadows of Africa.
Email communication – from the first request sent to Shadows of Africa I was amazed by prompt response from company representative who actually listened to my requests as well as questions and offered me several options according to my given budget. In addition Shadows of Africa staff was available for my countless questions also on Skype where w could finalize my safari plans and got some extra directions and tips about travel to Tanzania.
Payment – safari cost is not small therefore the huge worry I had as first timer buying safari, was that my wired deposit for safari to Tanzania will be transferred without problems. Shadows of Africa kept me informed about the received payment also provided me immediately with written confirmation that my safari money was received along with deposit receipt.
Coming to Tanzania – I was greeted by Shadows of Africa representative Rozy who kindly greeted me and helped me with first steps in Arusha. We also had briefing about safari one day prior departure where I paid the outstanding balance, got additional telephone numbers in case of emergency…
Safari Experience – Shadows of Africa driver and guide picked me up on agreed time in Arusha. Safari driver was also the guide during safari and was outstandingly avid about wildlife we saw on safari; he was a resourceful source of information as well as about cultural questions, daily life in Tanzania… He knew the hot spots where the animals like lions and cheetahs usually hang out! I have learned that all Shadows of Africa drivers have guide license and wildlife training along with mechanical skills, which is perfect mix that makes a good safari guide and driver.
Flying doctors Insurance in case of emergency included in safari price – this I find a nice gesture that Shadows of Africa take care of their safari guests by including this medical insurance. I was already insured by travel insurance, but knowing that I have free rescue plane flight included in the price was good for the peace of the mind.
Safari Vehicle – Shadows of Africa has Toyota Landcruiser vehicles with spare couple of tires – although we didn’t use them. When you are looking for safari you have to know that roads are extremely bumpy and vehicles are made for driving in rough conditions. Car had comfortable seats, a refilling station for camera batteries which was excellent as on safari you will make so many pictures that camera batteries will need an instant recharge during safari. You can even bring your laptop with you and transfer photos from camera card while on safari.
Food on Safari – fist time I was I a lodge I Karatu, so I had my dinner and breakfast in the lodge, on camping safari this year we had a cook that cooked delicious meals. Don’t be afraid you will eat beans on camping safari; they bring table, comfortable camping chairs and fresh food bought on the market. For breakfast we had everything from fruit to pancakes, omelets, sausages, bread, coffee, cacao, milk, tea… If you have any special requests just tell Shadows of Africa staff when arranging safari and you can be sure they will take your requests seriously. Lunch boxes are made every day from fresh ingredients and usually consist of meat, sandwich, juice, fruit, tea, and coffee. It is a picnic model.
After safari service – I decided to prolong a couple of days in Arusha, so Shadows of Africa provided me with reliable local that showed me around Arusha town and also took me to the Kibowa orphanage I wanted to see. What I was really grateful was that Shadows of Africa kept in touch with me even though I was travelling on my own throughout Tanzania after safari, contacting me regularly by phone if everything is ok, if I needed anything I was always able to call them for help. They helped me arrange and book my Zanzibar accommodation for lower price as I would get it if I booked on my own.
So to conclude this review, those are the reasons why I have chosen twice Shadows of Africa safari tour operator. In the future if I ever come back for third safari in Tanzania I will definitely use them again not just because of good organization but also because the owner is committed to local orphanage Kibowa and doing all they can to provide better education and life skill for orphaned kids.
Photos from Safari in Tanzania – http://www.travellingcorner.com/2012/04/safari-in-tanzania/
more photos from recent safari on my photo blog Serengeti wildlife
A bunch of young Maasai boys posing in Serengeti. Maasai culture is full of symbols – from clothing, jewelery as well as facial make ups. White dots on young Maasai boys signify that they have been circumcised and are on their journey to manhood.
This post is going to be more technical and written in hope that will save you some time when choosing right internet usb modem when you need to work or just have your own internet access while on Zanzibar.
Zantel is definitely the best choice for those who need good Internet speed. It has good coverage all over the island of Zanzibar, no matter where you connect from Stone Town to north or southern part of the island. I used Zantel also in Arusha and works well on the coastal area of Tanga.
There are several different usb modems for sale by Zantel. If you use Windows it doesn’t matter which one you buy, however Mac users be careful. I use the latest Macbook Air and my first choice was fast 3g modem priced 60 000 TSH. This type is not compatible with Mac computers so don’t buy this one. Stick was also tested on Macbook pro model and also didn’t work. If you have Apple computer buy HUAWEI EC122 model.
I went back to Zantel office that is located on the old part of Stown Town, at round about in Shangani area and had to buy slower stick which is still ok for emails, Facebook and perhaps uploading few photos. While took me sometime to first find the office, then to explain to the staff the problem, not to mention waiting in queue for my turn.
Few additional tips:
Don’t throw away modem box, there is a modem code written that you need when charging the credit starting with 077. While Zantel modems are only possible to buy in Zantel offices, vouchers are obtainable on the street almost anywhere.
You can fill credit by any phone as long as you know the modem number.
To fill Zantel Internet credit dial:
*149 *07 # call
choose number 1 from the menu for Ezynet services
choose number 2 for Ezynet Recharge Inquiry and follow the instructions, in first message you have to write modem code number, in the next one you rewrite the numbers from Zantel voucher.
After you filled for desired data, you have to make an Internet package.
You dial again *149 *07 # call
Choose number 1 for Ezynet services
Choose number 3 for Ezynet Bundle
In next step you choose from weekly, monthly,
In final step you select the amount you charged.
After each step Zantel sends you message on the phone where you can follow the progress of your re/charging.
If you use all Internet credit before expiry date you cannot recharge the same usb stick until the Internet package expires. In this case you have to buy another stick.
Prices of packages / 20 000TSH for monthly 5giga, 40 000 TSH for 8 Giga
Other available but not tested providers are Vodacom Tanzania and Airtel.
What can I say. I only spent a day in Kilimanjaro National park, but if i knew before how beautiful it is, I would definitely spend a weekend there. Trip started from Moshi, journey to the park gate takes about less than an hour . I was really lucky, official off season is still going on for another week and there were no tourists along the way. My guide told me that once the season starts the trail we had for ourselves becomes a massive queue of tourists and porters. Too crowded. Since i am nt an avid and enthusiastic hiker at fist place, we needed probably an hour more than average fit trekker. Still, all the tiredness vanished the moment we reached Mandara hut on 2720 meters. Another 350 meters more from Mandara hut there is Maundi crater, from the edges it is possible to see Kenya. Unforgettable. I will be back, next time up to Horombo point.
During my trip to East Africa i am going to take huge amount of street photos. If you are interested in street and documentary photography visit my wordpress blog called Moments in Africa
Candid photos, real life no sunsets:)
I hope this blog will represent a nice selection of black and white images showing daily life in Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya.
One of the advantages in living in Europe is that all European capitals and other cities are just a short flight away. This way even prolonged weekend and a day off or two are enough to hop on a plane to transform into tourist. I thought five days in Barcelona wouldn’t be enough but it turned out that one can see a lot even on a short string.
I fell in love with Barcelona and will definitely come back to see more in the future. Everything is easy there, bus from the airport (Aero bus) takes you straight to the Barcelona city centre, hostels are in abundance and i have chosen one on a great central location – see Itaca Hostel post. Metro stations are on every corner, so are the buses but to me the best way to feel Barcelona was on foot as Barcelona is really pedestrian friendly – lots of street promenades, lots of trees and green areas throughout the city. Once you get the feel for the city is easy to get aroudn even though Barcelona alleys especially around Ramblas and Barrio Gothico seem complicated at first.
To get an idea where the major sights are i took a Bus Turistic for a day. Then i just walked around and enjoyed city vibes and smells.
The major con of Bus Turisitc is that queues are long and you are loosing time waiting to get on the bus. The busiest stations are Placa Catalunya and Sagrada Familia.
Below are just a few snapshots taken while visiting this fascinating city.
Forodhani gardens leave mixed impressions with people – some praise it other think it is a tourist trap and rip off. Some have eaten the beat meal in their lives some like me got sick for next few days. Therefore, be careful as being sick and on antibiotics probably isn’t what you planned for Zanzibar.
When i was on the visit on Zanzibar everyone was raving about Forodhani Gardens and of course couldn’t wait until half past six when cooks start preparing food stalls. All the enormous amount of seafood, from crabs, lobsters, shrimps to all sorts of fish and breads, barbecued, cooked, spiced, lights and smells …atmosphere was great.
What was not so great were prices and annoying touts that will hassle you and persistantly follow you around the Forodhani park untill you give up and buy something from their stall. Fix the price before you order otherwise you will get ripped off.
It’s probably the best if you visit on your own and decide.
So, after your Kili climb you would like to spend another day or two in Moshi.
There is plenty to do in Moshi although many consider it only a base for climbing Kilimanjaro. From half day trips to full day hikes many options are available. From rice field walks, some other smaller waterfalls, Marangu village…. I have decided to go for Materuni waterfalls hike.
Besides a stroll around the city which is fairly small Tanzanian market town and easy to get around, you may consider a hike to any of numerous waterfalls and visit a local on his small coffee plantation where you will will work hard to cook your probably first the best coffee of your life.
I was staying in Twiga home hostel where l i met local guy Steven and he took me to a day trip to Materuni waterfall. With 150 m height it is considered the highest waterfall at Kilimanjaro region and don’t forget to bring swimming suit as waterfall lagune is safe for swimming. Before the hike we stopped at his friend on private modest coffee tour by visiting plantation farm where we made the most delicious coffee. It was a nice educating experience about cultivating coffee from selecting the beans to brewing the coffee. On the way home if you want you can stop at local bar where you can taste home brewed banana beer and banana wine and chat with locals. Whatever you will choose to do in Moshi you will have great time.
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If you are asking yourself where to stay in Amman then read on because you have probably found your ideal place for your next trip to Jordan.
Jordan Tower Hotel is probably one of the most famous hotels in Amman Downtown, a Trip Advisor winner 2012 - awarded for best budget hotel in Middle East is definitely great choice for budget traveller that doesn’t want to spend too much for accommodation but can still enjoy all the necessities from free breakfast nice and clean rooms, free wifi in public areas to central location of Jordan Tower Hotel that enables easy starting point for anywhere in Amman – just under the Citadel and right on the street abundant with shops and local restaurants.
In Jordan Tower Hotel you can book either private rooms as well as dorm bed with shared bathroom. All rooms are cleaned every day.
What really adds value to Jordan Tower Hotel is atmosphere where you will feel like at home in Amman. Friendly and courteous staff, a place where you easily find a fellow travellers to share a trip to most famous places in Jordan from Dead sea to Jerash to Petra and Wadi Rum for great affordable prices. Just express your interest at reception for a tour and voila next day you are there.
Another great plus that Jordan Tower has to offer and have personally really enjoyed is the rooftop terrace – where you can relax and enjoy the views and sounds of Amman. Unforgettable.
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Views from Jordan tower Hotel:
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Getting to Usambara region is fairly easy with public transport. I have reached Lushoto from Moshi and the ride took about five hours with Fasaha Bus Company. If going from Arusha book Chikito bus line. If coming from Dar es Salaam you can take a direct bus by Ibariki company from Ubungo Bus station.When going to Lushoto make sure you sit on the left side of the bus – left window seat will allow you to enjoy majestic views on Usambaras.
Of course you may only chill out and enjoy the nature or you arrange any kind of hiking in Usambara region – from one day to several days depending on your time and how fit you are. I stopped for couple of nights therefore I decided to go for a full day hike from Irente View Cliff Lodge to Magamba forest, descend to Lushoto and then back up to Irente village.
Although Usambara Mountains are not on the main Tanzania northern tourist circuit, but if you are looking for genuine and unique African experience then the effort of getting there will reward you with unforgettable memories.
When I travel I always make sure i support locals. Despite of official Usambara society that provides »official« guides, i hired a local guide that also works in Irente View Cliff Lodge James. Afterall to me matters honesty, reliability and knowledge – James turned out a great source of knowledge in terms of history, flora and fauna of the region. James is born in irente village and knows every corner in the forests. He guided me from Irente to Magamba tropical forest through lush green hills and villages overlooking Lushoto and the hiking took a whole day till late afternoon by returning back to the Irente lodge. In the forest we tracked shy Colobus Monkeys.
Hiking in Usambara region was truly priceless experience – hiking with James who speaks fluent English and can tell you all about the local history, flora, fauna as well as point out many things I’d never noticed without his help. We saw black and white colobus monkeys in Magamba forest, several chameleons along the way, beautiful butterflies and numerous birds…
There are many different viewpoints (Mtae viewpoint), waterfalls (Mkuzu Waterfall), tea plantations in the area and James can arrange it all. There are many varieties of hikes in Usambara, and if you happen to have more time there are options of longer multiple day treks. To arrange a hiking in Usambaras you can call or email to Irente View Cliff Lodge and ask for James. Since I spent few days with him I can recommend him as a guide and will definitely use him next time i visit Usamabara Mountains.
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