Featured Lodge: Zanzibar Palace Hotel

Named Tanzania’s Leading Hotel by the World Travel Awards in 2011 and 2012, Zanzibar Palace Hotel is stunningly decorated in a mix of Arabic, Indian, Persian, Swahili and English designs that reflect the island’s rich multicultural history.

Zanzibar Palace Hotel is a nine-room boutique hotel in the heart of Stone Town, the historical center of the international spice trade. Step out of the hotel and into a fascinating maze of narrow streets and alleyways that lead you past mosques, ornate homes, shops and bazaars – then find yourself on the seashore, looking out on the blue waters of the Indian Ocean.

Each room in Zanzibar Palace Hotel has a full array of modern conveniences, including air conditioning, high-speed WiFi, a flatscreen television, digital safe, and high-pressure hot and cold water. Ceiling fans, mosquito nets and hotel-supplied bathrobes keep you comfortable. The staff has thought of the little things that will make your stay more pleasant, such as reading lights attached to the beds so you don’t have to reach through your mosquito net to turn your bedside lamp on and off. They can even supply you with reading glasses if you forget yours!

Additional amenities include an on-site restaurant, bar, guest library, and a spa that offers massages, facials, body scrubs, manicures and pedicures in a lovely, relaxed environment.

Zanzibar Palace Hotel is an ideal home from which to explore one of the world’s most beautiful islands.

The Road Is Part of the Journey

Dirt Road in area of Ngorongoro Crater Safari - Ngorongoro Conservation Area - Tanzania, AfricaRoad near Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania. Photo by David Berkowitz.

Traveling in East Africa can bring many new experiences, from learning about a different culture to watching prides of lions nap in the heat of the day. But there’s one unique experience that many Westerners don’t think about before going on safari: traveling rough roads.

Road budgets in East African nations are far smaller than those in North America and Europe. As a result, most byways are simple dirt tracks or gravel roads. (In Tanzania, for example, only 15 percent of roads are paved.) Flooding during the rainy seasons can wear away at the gravel and dirt, leading to enormous potholes.

While highways connecting major cities are frequently smooth asphalt, even these can have issues. Hot midday temperatures can soften the asphalt, leading to grooves in the road when heavy vehicles drive over it.

Fortunately, there are many ways to make travel on rough roads more comfortable. Ujuzi African Travel works with experienced drivers who know the roads and do their best to provide a pleasant ride. We use roomy vehicles with comfortable seating, and use four-wheel drive in areas that require it.

And once you spot a giraffe nibbling on a treetop, a wildebeest nursing her calf, or young chimpanzees cavorting in their natural habitat, the minor discomfort of rough roads becomes a distant memory.

Travel Tip: Using Cell Phones in East Africa

Photo by Erik Hersman. Used with permission through a Creative Commons license.

Keeping in touch with friends and family while you’re on safari takes a little planning, but it’s probably easier than you think. You may even be able to use your current cell phone and plan while traveling in East Africa. But it’s often cheaper to buy a special international roaming plan or an “unlocked” phone – a phone that’s not under contract with a certain provider – for your travels.

Planning for my own upcoming safari in Kenya, I found this world phone guide on CNET.com to be very helpful. It provides an overview of the types of international roaming plans offered by the major U.S. cell phone carriers, and offers guidance on how to find out whether your current cell phone will work abroad.

Buying a separate phone for your international travels is another option. Since not all carriers offer international roaming plans, and some U.S. cell phones won’t work on networks in Africa, many travelers carry unlocked phones with a SIM card slot. Bring the phone with you and, when you get to your destination, buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card. The card will give you a local phone number and allow you to make calls and send texts at reasonable rates. If you have a smart phone, you can also send emails, check your Facebook page or upload photos of your travels to your cloud drive or Flickr. When you buy your phone, make sure it’s compatible with African cell phone networks. This article explains how to do that.

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New Balloon Safari Option

Experience the natural wonders of East Africa from a bird’s-eye view. Adventures Aloft are based in Tarangire, and their balloon safaris fly over Maasai Mara in Kenya, Tarangire National Park in Tanzania, and the North Serengeti in Tanzania.

Balloon safaris give you an unparalleled opportunity to view wildlife in a way you’ve never before experienced. In its 15 years of operating balloon safaris, Adventures Aloft has maintained a perfect safety record. All balloon pilots have over a thousand hours of flying experience and are commercially rated on large size balloons.

Contact Ujuzi African Travel to book your flight today!