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SAANANE ISLAND (A national park within an island)

SAANANE ISLAND

Not every day do you get to cross a body of water to get to a national park. The park is located in Mwanza region at  the Northern part of Tanzania in the coast of Lake Victoria.

What fascinates me about this park is not only the fact that its an island but its the first national park located within a city. The island can be accessed by a regular short boat ride of about 5 minutes from the park’s office in the mainland. The office itself is accessed by a 15 minute short walk from the city centre.

Photo source: Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB)

A little history about the island, the name ” Saanane” comes from the name of the former owner of the Island Mzee Saanane Chawandi a fisherman turned farmer who moved to another island to pave way for conservation efforts in the 1960s. The Island became the government’s property in 1964 as the first government owned zoo. The island became an official national park in July 2013.

 

The Park is home to animals such as the Impala, Zebra, Rock hyrax, Velvet monkey and Wild cats. Reptiles like crocodiles, monitor lizards, Agama lizards, Pancake and Leopard tortoises, and snakes particularly pythons are also found in the island.  The aquatic part of the park habits a variety of fish species mainly the Nile perch and Tilapia.

Another unique feature of the island is that its the only park in the country that hosts the De-Brazza monkey.

De-Brazza monkey.

The park is an ideal place for game viewing, Photography and filming, Walking, picnics, Bush lunches, meditation, Rock hiking, and bird watching (The island has around 70 bird species so its an ideal spot for bird watchers). The island closes at 5pm so make sure to plan your visit early.

 

Did you know?

Saa Nane National park is the smallest national park in both Tanzania and East Africa with an area of approximately 2.1 square kilometers.

If you’re considering visiting the island and have any enquiries or further questions please do not hesitate to contact us. And while you’re at it, your comments and feedbacks will be much appreciated. Until next time, take care and safe travels!

Your Rafiki blogger here,

Signing out!

 

 

HOW TO HANDLE MONEY AND STAY ON A BUDGET WHILE TRAVELLING

HOW TO HANDLE MONEY AND STAY ON A BUDGET WHILE TRAVELLING.

Travelling on a budget can be very tricky, especially when you dont have a stick to the budget plan. I know how tempting it can be to swipe your card for that extra pair of converse. The pain hits in when you get home and receive your invoice and go like ”I spent 50 dollars on a pair of jeans!!!” worst feeling ever because you cant take anything back. Well at least you got that designer jeans that you’ll probably wear once in a blue moon, right?

Im not an economist or the perfect money handling adult or whatever you call them, but I do have some tricks up my sleeve that have helped me in the past not to overspend while on a trip. Hopefully they’ll be equally as helpful to you as they were to me. Well, here we go!

 

Be stingy!

Hahah I’m kidding! but what I mean is you really need to have a numerical fixed budget for your whole trip in advance that in no way should you exceed. This requires a bit of research about the money culture of your destination. Learning about how much basic things cost such as a bottle of water or public transportation cost will give you a reasonable idea of how much you need to put aside for your trip.

 

Fly for less

Based on where you’re from flight tickets can be super expensive. So what’s my basic o’l trick to save myself a few bucks? Flying smart! Meaning I only book for flights during the lowest seasons. Not only that but I also stay on the look out for the happy hours of the week.  The prices can go lower than half of the actual ticket fare.

 

Divide your money

This is for the obvious security reasons, the last thing you want in your trip is to have your whole wallet with all your money stolen. Leave some money in your locked safe, some in your locked suit case and always carry an extra wallet with a little cash for emergencies. Another good reason is that you will be in track of how much you spend on a daily basis during your trip since you are well aware of how much you carried and how much you remained with by the end of the day.

 

 

Keep small bills and change handy

People underestimate how much a hand full of coins and small notes can save you. You need change for literally everything. You want a soda from a vending machine? Bring them coins! You want to purchase a sandwich from subway? they will probably like you better if you pay through small notes and coins because that means more change for them. And of course you will save more money in the long run.

 

Rely on money alternatives and use public transportation.

Personally, this has always worked for me. When travelling to destinations such as the United Arab Emirates, Europe or Asia I always purchase a multi-use ticket for public transportation such as metros or buses. Here me out here! Not only do I save transport costs instead of taking a taxi or an Uber but I get to use the same ticket for as long as I paid for it, that means going to the same place multiple times with a cost probably even twice cheaper than a taxi or any other private transportation.

 

(The Golden question) Do I really need it or do I want it?

Do you really need that new Tom Ford Cologne? Asking yourself that will help you think twice before making a bad money decision. One of the things that really helps me to stay level headed when I’m in a store while travelling is to keep my priorities straight, I came to have a good time not buy unnecessary junk and that is what’s going to happen! a I would rather lie on a pool bench sipping margaritas than constantly worry if I still have cash or if my card will decline. But each with their own I guess!

 

Well that’s about it! Oh wait I forgot a few more!

  • Get cheap accommodation and save by replacing trade city hotels with those near the neighborhood.
  • Read about the costs in your destination before your trip.
  • Decide whether you will shop or not prior your trip.
  • During your stay stow your valuables securely in either a hotel room safe deposit box or an anti-theft bag.

 

Okay now I’m done! If you have any questions or suggestion please leave a comment or directly contact our tour operators and service providers we will be more than happy to help. Take care and safe travels!

 

Your Rafiki blogger here,

Signing out!

PLACES TO VISIT IN DAR ES SALAAM

PLACES TO VISIT IN DAR ES SALAAM

Whether Dar es Salaam is your transit stop or your final destination there are a lot of fun things you can do to keep yourself busy during your stay, I will list down as many places as I can that are worth seeing that will make up for an excellent pass time.

The city has a very rich history with its establishment  in 1865 by Sultan Majid Bin Said of Zanzibar who wanted to build a new town near the Mzizima market place (which was a popular commercial ground). The name ”Dar es Salaam” itself  is Arabic for ”House of peace”. Throughout the years it went through declines and rises until in the early 2000s where the city experienced one of the fastest African urbanization rates as businesses were opened and prospered.

Okay we didn’t sign up for a history class, if you want to learn more about Dar es Salaam you can easily get information via the internet. Lets go to the fun part now!

 

1) Mbudya Island

This is where all the cool kids hang out! Mbudya island is popular with the youth crowds, and some popular parties are held on the island(so I’ve heard cause I dont party). The beach is beautiful with diamond white coloured sand, and the water sparkles with a Persian turquoise blue. You can take short boat rides from many points within the city, such as along the Dar es Salaam harbor, the Slipway hotel, Kunduchi beach hotel, and you can even arrange a fare near the White Sands hotel, your choice!

 

2) Kivukoni fish market

Once you get over the fishy smell the fish market is an intriguing and interesting place to visit.  You can witness the blend of cultures and business in a traditional Tanzanian setting. You can also get different varieties of fresh sea food. I personally enjoy the freshly cooked Shrimps, prawns and the boiled octopus they prepare there. Since the market is near the city centre it is easily accessible.  The best time to visit is from noon to early evenings.

 

3) Coco Beach

Coco beach is also one of my favorite spots to hang.  I love the ocean, so any place near the ocean is a green check in my book. Coco beach has a beautiful scenic view of sandy white beaches and crystal blue waters. But ill be honest the only reason I go there is for the fried cassava and skewers.  If you really want to get a taste of local treats then Coco beach is a place to be. Although I’ll have to warn you the security within the area isn’t very good so make sure you have a local with you and I would suggest your visits to be during the day, the darker it gets the riskier it gets. Take care!

 

4) National museum and house of culture

The national museum dates back to 1934 when it was first established by the Governor of Tanganyika( now Tanzania) sir Harold Mach Michael. It was open to the public in 1940. The museum was originally intended to be a memorial museum for King George V, in fact  to this date one of the cars of the King is still on display. There are different exhibits, such as archeological artifacts section, past and modern art and vintage sections.

Flexing in the modern art section

 

5) Askari monument

The Askari monument statue is not far from the national museum, they are both located within the City centre. This iconic monument was unveiled back in 1927 as one of the three statues that were displayed throughout the former British Africa. This Bronze statue now tarnished to black depicts an ”Askari” (meaning soldier in Swahili) in world war 2 uniform and his bay out pointing towards the harbor. The figure is very much visible at the Samora Avenue roundabout and the Maktaba street. In fact the statue is located at the exact centre of downtown Dar es Salaam.

 

6) Makumbusho village museum

This is a cultural museum showcasing 16 different Tanzanian ethnicities. The spot is definitely for the cultural enthusiasts. The museum has numerous traditional houses from different ethnic tribes. You can also request a cultural show, purchase souvenirs, and a tour guide who can take you around the property. You get to take pictures and even go inside the houses.

photo source: Lonely Planet

 

7) Mwenge wood carvers market

The Mwenge wood carvers market is the best place to get the cheapest and best quality products, both commercial and antiques. . What I love about this place is not only are the prices aff0rdable but they are also negotiable. A little heads up about security though is that you should be cautious with your surroundings and dont go strolling around alone, either bring a tour guide or a trusted local with you.

 

8) Mlimani City

Mlimani City is probably the most popular mall in Tanzania. It was actually the first indoor air conditioned mall in the country. It is home to several retail stores, restaurants, movie theatres (Century cinemax), and brand shops such as Mr. Price (South African brand), Choppies, Mac cosmetic store and many other international brands. There is also a popular club restaurant called Samaki Samaki. The place lights up after dark especially during the weekends, it serves for amazing night life with bands playing on weekend evenings starting from Thursday.

 

9) Dar es Salaam Zoo

This is one of the few hidden treasures in Dar. The zoo itself is located in Kigamboni, a part of  the city that is only accessible through a ferry or via the bridge (which is also a sight to see). The zoo property has left its natural fauna and flora untouched, giving it a unique and authentic feel. The place is rarely packed which means it serves as an awesome date spot (wink wink!) or if you just want some peace and quite.

The Kigamboni bridge. (photo source: The Citizen Tanzania)

 

10) Wet ‘n’ Wild

I knew id be tired by the time I got here so I wanted to save the best for last. Wet ‘n’ wild is the largest water park in the Eastern and Central Africa offering a wide variety of activities spreading over 6 acres of land. There are water slides that stand up to 6 stories high (so cool!). The water park has everything for everyone, Children’s water play, sports ground, restaurants, go-kart and a quad bike track (first and only in Tanzania). The park is definitely a family friendly spot.

 

If you plan to extend your stay in Dar es Salaam we can help organise a city tour for you, but we can also provide custom services based on your own personal interests and where you want to visit. Please do not hesitate to get in touch. Take care and safe travels!

Your Rafiki blogger here,

Signing out!