The first holiday as Mr & Mrs is very important. It should be super special, unique and unforgettable! Filled with magical moments and special shared experiences. It should be made of the things that make you talk about it for many, many years, and for all the right reasons.
An adventure to begin a new adventure.
A safari honeymoon in Tanzania is all of this and much, much more.
From the Great Migration in the Serengeti to Lake Victoria, from the Ngorongoro Crater to scuba diving in Zanzibar, from a river safari to a walking safari, a Tanzanian honeymoon has it all.
The right tour for you can be tailor made to suit your needs. I highly recommend the beach and safari combination and though my own ideal is safari first and then beach, after a wedding and all its busy-ness the first thing you may want to do is relax. Safari game drives start very early in the morning so this is worth bearing in mind.
To the Beach:-
Zanzibar is a fascinating, beautiful and colourful island with shell white sands and turquoise waters. A short plane ride from mainland Tanzania or perhaps begin your honeymoon here and fly directly into Zanzibar? Qatar Air, KLM, Emirates, Turkish Airlines are just some of the airlines that fly into Zanzibar.
The aerial view from the plane as you come in is worth getting a window seat for.
Zanzibar is a tropical island, rich in culture and famous for its spices hence its nickname ‘The Spice Island’.
The Zanzibari is a boutique hotel located to the North of the island in Nungwi.
Offering private suites overlooking the Indian Ocean, with its own private pool and hammock just footsteps from the exotic beach.
An aperitif in the authentic dhow boat bar makes for great photos then you can enjoy evening entertainment in the open air restaurant or maybe a private dinner for two in the hotel gardens.
The Zanzibari is the perfect place to kick off a honeymoon.
Zanzibar Must Do’s
The diving here is amazing and highly recommended if you like the underwater sea world. I love to snorkel at nearby Mnemba island, which can be arranged by the friendly staff at The Zanzibari.
Get a little lost in the charming and historical capital, Stone town.
Then enjoy a cocktail while watching the sun go down at Africa House, don’t forget to leave a ‘love’ note on the big pin board (if you can find a space amidst other travellers’ pins).
Visit a Local Village:-
You get a real sense of local village life by visiting Nungwi village. A guided tour there with Nzori from The Zanzibari hotel is not to be missed.
You can go on an authentic spice tour, diving trips, a sunset dhow cruise or just chillax and enjoy the stunning beaches. There really is something for everyone!
Beach to Bush
Simply Saadani Camp
Simply Saadani is easily reached from Zanzibar. By air it’s a quick 15 minute flight on a small plane.
From Dar es Salaam it’s approximately a 4 hour drive to the southern park gate.
However you get there trust me it is worth getting there!
It’s like nowhere else and I will tell you why….
Positioned on a wonderfully wild and deserted beach with the Indian Ocean to the front, mangroves and palms to the rear. Here you have both the adventure of the bush and beauty of the tranquil beach in such a beautifully remote location.
You can swim in the Indian Ocean and Safari on the same day.
There is an array of birdlife all around, a cute bush baby that comes to the bar every evening, an onsite wildlife research centre, there are sooo many reasons this place is unique!
The stilted banda rooms are beautifully rustic with large comfy beds and incredible views. All sea facing and with balconies.
With only 9 rooms you really get the sense of privacy and exclusivity.
Wake to the sound of the sea and peel back the blind to watch the early morning sunrises which are spectacular.
The beach is vast and wild, deserted and interesting. Incredible scenes especially at dusk and dawn. Walking along the beach you see cheeky vervet monkeys watching you. Keep your eyes open for any bird sightings too. It has been known for the odd larger mammal to take a dip in the ocean, a strange sighting on any beach and where else could this even be possible!
Safari at Saadani:-
There is a strong elephant population at Saadani National Park and the recent reintroduction of impala as part of ongoing conservation programmes are helping the park to flourish. As well as going on the game drives to see the wonderful wildlife I really recommend the boat safari too! There are only two parks in the whole country where you can do a boat safari and Saadani is one of them so don’t miss this chance!
Passing salt flats en route to the Wami river flamingoes create a pretty haze of pink. Once on the boat safari you will see hippos and crocodiles of all sizes and so many birds. Tanzania is incredible for birdwatching, and the different environments allow you to see so many more.
Simply Saadani couldn’t be unromantic if it tried.
Nyerere National Park & Selous Game Reserve
Sable Mountain Lodge
Such an intimate, romantic, homely and beautiful camp.
The suites are open tented rooms with elevated, incredible views over Nyerere National Park.
Enjoy the views, to the sounds of the wilds while toasting being Mr & Mrs over a glass or two. Or perhaps the open air bath? Yes an open air bath in your own private suite overlooking the largest game reserve in Africa!!
Does it get any more romantic for nature loving honeymooners?
These are super special and unforgettable moments that make your honeymoon in Tanzania magical.
Just to avoid any confusion Nyerere National Park is the new name of what was Selous Game Reserve. It is under discussion whether to keep a part of the reserve as Selous and part as the new Nyerere National Park.
You can game drive straight from Sable Mountain Lodge seeing many wild animals. The flora is stunning too, so many different kinds of trees.
African wild dogs are actually often seen very close to camp. I saw them on my first ever visit literally just outside the main entrance. It always feels such a privilege to see them.
Foot safaris and boat safaris can be arranged too. Nyerere National Park along with Saadani are the only two parks which allow a boat safari
I really love and encourage going on the varied types of safari to really get the most from the experience. Each new one can be a new set of wow moments. Sharing these special moments with your beloved is truly unforgettable.
The vastness of the reserve certainly warrants multi stopping and staying at opposite sides of the park to enjoy different safari experiences, see link for more camps in Selous.
Selous can be reached either by air or rail. There are daily flights from Zanzibar or Dar es Salaam to the Matambwe airstrip (Selous). Also there is a twice weekly TAZARA train from Dar es Salaam, it takes around four hours. This was an experience I humbly enjoyed but I do now prefer to fly. See my blog for more on the train journey.
Little Okavango Camp
Little ‘O’ is an even smaller and more intimate camp oozing with charm located on the Western side of the Serengeti, right next to Lake Victoria. It is the perfect pitstop en route to the Serengeti.
Teaming with birdlife it’s mega for birdwatching and at night you hear the sounds of hippos croaking or maybe some elephants passing. It is hard to sleep the first night because you don’t want to miss any of the sounds, it’s so exciting.
The bar area doubles as a hide too, to watch the water birds such as the pied kingfisher as it overlooks the pretty waterways. Such a perfect place for a tasty cocktail before dinner.
Take a gentle canoe ride down the winding waterways through papyrus grasses and then onto Lake Victoria where you may see local fisherman at work in the lake.
It is beyond romantic and really adds to the charm of Little O.
The 5 tented banda rooms connected by walkways are spacious, fully equipped with big comfy beds, Maasai decor, and have balconies - great to watch the weaver birds weave their intricate nests from.
Visit the nearby fishing village for a real delve into local village life. Keep your hands free as little village children will probably want to hold them. Go by car and return by boat through the pretty waterways stopping off for brunch at The Tower where you can enjoy even more spectacular views. Don’t forget your binoculars.
Go on a guided bird watching walk straight from camp. Not only do you get expert guidance from Behebe, you get to see the surrounding village farmland and cattle. It all adds to the raw and authentic feel of Africa and to the honeymoon adventure.
You can’t go on a safari honeymoon in Tanzania without going into the Serengeti!!
It is one of the most amazing places in the world for wildlife and nature. The Serengeti National Park has some of the most breathtaking ecosystems on earth! It is an incredibly special place that will stay in your heart forever.
When Africa gets under your skin, it really gets under your skin.
The Great Migration – Serengeti
The Serengeti is home to the largest terrestrial migration on earth, millions of wildebeest, zebra and other antelope make the epic journey across Tanzania and Kenya every year. Risking their lives as they cross crocodile infested waters and face predators such as lions and leopards.
Witnessing this phenomenal spectacle is nothing short of WOW. To share it with your beloved makes it even more wow!!
The Serengeti is pretty gigantic (in lots of ways) and different safari experiences can be had depending on the area you visit and the time of year you go.
The Bush Rover Migration Camp
One the coolest and most unique ways to enjoy the Serengeti is with a stay in the Bush Rover Suites.
Consisting of four suites which are basically modified land rovers that have been ingeniously made into a mobile camp like no other. Turning from a driving vehicle into a two storey lodging that houses a double bed, a balcony with a sofa, sockets, lamps etc to the upper floor which is reached by a spiral staircase. The lower floor houses the toilet in place of the passenger seat and even has a bathtub to the rear.
The mobile camp follows the migration, setting up camp for approximately
3 months at a time. The safari game driving is done from another vehicle.
I’m not sure I can even put into words how awesome and special this experience is!!
Imagine starting your day with a game drive, seeing wild animals in abundance. Maybe the first time you hear a lion roar… or see wild dogs starting a hunt, a herd of elephants protecting their young or giraffe reaching high for food. All of this with no other vehicles in sight.
Like a secret safari.
Return to camp for a tasty cooked breakfast in the restaurant tent, followed by a hot bubble bath perhaps, then enjoy the sofa on your balcony to watch more wildlife pass by.
Remember you are immersed in the Serengeti at the Bush Rover Suites.
An early evening game drive is exhilarating, the animals are getting more active again as the temperature drops, and as the sun starts to go down the scenes over the savannah plains are spectacularly beautiful.
The air feels magical. This is the perfect time for stunning photography.
On return to camp it’s pre dinner drinks around a bush camp fire, wrapped in Maasai blankets, eating warm peanuts, drink of choice in hand whilst relaying tales and sightings of the day.
Dinner is delicious and served by candlelight in the restaurant tent. A guide walks you to your suite where you can retire to bed to the sounds of the true wild, tucked safely up high. It’s a little unnerving if you need a wee in the middle of the night, you soon get over this after the first night though and even enjoy the mystery of the night.
The photos, the memories, the shared experiences are bonding and beautiful. A safari honeymoon in Tanzania will make a stamp on your hearts forever and for sure you will want to return.
A safari in Tanzania feels wild and raw in comparison to South Africa which is a little more ‘polished’. Having done many safaris in SA it was only when I started to explore Tanzania did I feel like I’d tasted real Africa. There is no question that South Africa is truly beautiful and you can have some iconic trips there, but with Tanzania you get that true off the beaten track experience, exploring and adventurising the vast wilderness with hugely diverse ecosystems in remote areas and you get much more of a taste of the culture. It feels less man managed, no fences and more authentic. To share this on your honeymoon, to begin married life together with an adventure like this is just beyond special.