Ask just about anyone you know if doing a safari in Africa is on their bucket list, and they say YES.
The thing is, most of these people wait until they’re retired before theyÂ even think about going on a safari. Why? It’s primarily a cost thing. When people think of a safari, they think EXPENSIVEâ€”upwards of $10,000 per person.
Yes, there are safari packages available for that much money (and considerably more), but it doesn’t have to be that way.
That’s why I decided to hack the system, starting my own safari company in Tanzania in 2010,Â Pamoja Safaris. I wanted toÂ introduce a younger demographic to the awesomeness of seeing some of the most majestic animals on earth in their natural habitats.
Sure, no matter how you slice it, it’s not an inexpensive trip. But, if you want to do a safari in Tanzania anytime in the near futureâ€”with an awesome group of people to bootâ€”this will be your best bet.
This trip is scheduled into two parts:
- SAFARI: November 27 – December 4, 2021
- must arrive in Tanzania by November 27th
- extra pre/post-trip nights with meals can be arranged at-cost ($125/night)
- KILIMANJARO: December 6-13, 2021
- arriving in Tanzania December 5th or 6th, as you wish
- you may participate without doing the safari portion, if you’d like
- extra pre/post-trip nights with meals can be arranged at-cost ($125/night)
It’s gonna be some FUN times. But hey â€” don’t just take my word for it!
Imagine thousands and thousands of zebras and wildebeests as far as you can see in just about every direction! Words cannot describe just how truly incredible this whole experience was! The 800+ photos do a better job, but there’s nothing like being there and living the dream for yourself. Thank you Pamoja Safaris, you’ve made this a trip I will never forget!!!
Pamoja Safaris enabled me to fulfill a lifelong dream of seeing the African wildlife up close in its natural habitat. Â Our guide did everything possible to ensure our experience would stand out as one of the greatest of our lifetimes. Â Mission Accomplished!
WOW! What an incredible experience with Pamoja Safaris! I had always wanted to go on an African safari “some day”, but had no idea where to even begin planning such a trip. Pamoja Safaris took care of everything, from seamless airport transportation, to perfect accommodation, to the delicious meals, and everything in betweenâ€”including some unexpected surprises that really made the trip extra special!
I was completely blown away by my incredible trip with Pamoja Safaris. As a world traveler, I knew I wanted to do a safari someday, so when I had the chance to go with a small group led by Scott, Josh, and Jonas, I jumped at the chance. But I didnâ€™t realize just how amazing it would be. Iâ€™m already thinking about my next visit!
My favorite moment was when a cheetah literally jumped on our car. I never thought I’d see such a majestic creature, just three feet away from me. Pamoja Safaris took us to all kinds of different placeâ€”it was definitely one of the best vacations of my life.
My trip with Pamoja Safaris was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I never imagined I would get to be up close and personal with animals I’d only dreamed ofâ€”lions, leopards, cheetahs, and more! Scott and his team were incredible guides, and made the trip better than I ever imagined. If you have the opportunity to travel with Pamoja, do it!
The entire experience was way more than I expected. The lodging, the food, the guidesâ€”even the vehicles were great! I really appreciated the friendly and knowledgeable guides, they made the trip that much more special. Several times we found ourselves in remote areas with no other people around, seeing animals within a meter of our vehicle (or on our vehicle in one instance). It really was the trip of a lifetime!!
Scott put on a really incredible safari. The entire trip blew my mindâ€”it was more than I expected. Take what you’re expecting, forget all of thatâ€”it’s going to be WAY better than you ever expected. The attention to details, the way they cater to your every need, the most knowledgeable guides you could imagineâ€”we’re definitely going to come back again with Scott and his team.
I absolutely loved my Pamoja safari. Â The Serengeti is beautiful. Â The Pamoja team was incredible!Â Josh went above and beyond to ensure we enjoyed our time–even driving extra hours to show us the great wildebeest migration.Â Scott made the entire process smooth and easy-peasy.Â I’d recommend this trip a million times over!
Our safari was the trip of a lifetime!Â My dad and I both fell in love with Tanzania and our experience would never have been the same without our guide, Josh.Â He was so knowledgeable, kind and easy going, and we feel lucky to have gotten such a unique perspective of Tanzania, it’s people, the animals and life, in general!
I woke up to giraffes outside my tent at sunrise, was eyeballed by an elephant from two metres away, had a zero-metre experience with a cheetah on our truck, learned the sheer fun of truck surfing, watched six-week-old lion cubs play, and saw a lioness scare off a male lion right in front of us (she roared at him and we all nearly wet our pants). Massive thanks to Scott for making all this awesomeness happen!
Going Pamoja is first-rate–you’ll feel like family. AÂ well-planned, well-executed, well-experienced adventure trip. THANK YOU for making it happen.
Having gone on safaris in southern Africa, I’ve always dreamt of going on one in Tanzania. Pamoja Safaris was not only able to fulfill that dream but exceeded my expectations for what a safari should be like. Their professionalism, knowledge of the parks, and what they taught us about the Maasai people and culture made the trip one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
Seeing animals is a given, but what I wasnâ€™t expecting were the incredible guides that Pamoja Safaris has working for them. They were so knowledgeable and friendly, and went out of their way to make sure everyone had a great time. We were also able to experience the local culture; I have wonderful memories of meeting the Maasai tribe members. I wish everyone had the opportunity to experience what I did.
Table of Contents
Your mission is to spend an all-inclusive week in Tanzania with aÂ curated group of amazingÂ people, exploring the wildlife, nature, and inhabitantsÂ of this amazing country. We'll hit up all of the must-see spots that you've heard about before â€” the never-ending plains of the Serengeti, the caldera of Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, the great wildebeest migration, Kilimanjaro* â€” and a few that are totally off the radar.Â
And, the best part? We'll do it all in style.
That means premium accommodations from start to finish. We're talking super-buffet breakfasts, comfy beds, and elephants grazing just outside of your bedroom (please do not pet them).
EVERYTHING will be taken care of â€” from airport pick-up to drop-off. Three meals per day, guides, transportation via Land Cruisers, park fees, accommodation, tips, etc., etc.
You don't even need to bring any money with you at all if you don't mind skipping souvenirs and alcohol, because those are the only things not included in the package.
Make no mistake â€” this is some real epic Lion King-type adventureÂ you're getting into. In fact, I challenge you to not have the theme song to the movie playing in your headÂ as you see the sun rise over the Serengeti.
In a word? EPIC.
There will be up to 11 spots openÂ for the December trips on a first-come, first-served basis (initial deposit payment secures your spot â€” see Money Stuff below).
You'll be accompanied by yours truly, along with my friend and business partner Josh. Josh has almost 20 years of experience guiding visitors through his country, and is an absolute master of animal behavior and identification. We will also be joined by Jonas (depending on availability), our head guide who also has 18 years of experience leading safaris.
We'll be traveling inÂ two Land Cruisers, and will be with each otherÂ every day on a pretty fixed schedule. There won't be a ton of opportunity to go off and do your own thing, as weÂ will be together most of the time â€” whether it be on safari in the parks, or at the lodges, relaxing or enjoying meals.
Accommodation will be in twin rooms, and you'll be paired with another participant of the same sex (single room supplements available â€” see Money StuffÂ for more information). This person may change throughout the trip, as we will be staying in four different lodges throughout our time together.
I'm primarily reaching out to friends and family for this particular promotional trip, and you know you're all cool humans, so half the fun will beÂ making new friends and the time we spend together (but if you don't know me â€” but are an awesome person â€” you are invited as well).
In the summer of 2010 I traveled to Africa for the very first time, alongside my father. It had always been a dream of his to go on a safari, and lucky for me, I was invited to come along. We were in a group of sixteen Americans, and spent the next twelve days exploring everything there was to see and do in northern Tanzania.
Our group was assigned three guides, and I quickly became friends with one of them â€” Josh. Josh was by far the most outgoing, friendly, humorous one of the three. In fact, everyone wanted to ride in his Land Cruiser everyday, as his knowledge of the animals was unmatched. He would see a predator looking in a specific direction and know what was going to happen, circling around slowly to get us a better view of the action once the chase was on. It was an amazing time
I had elected to stay in Tanzania an entire month, solo, visiting Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro after the safari tour had ended and my father had gone back to the U.S. Throughout the rest of my time in the country Josh stayed in touch, and assisted me multiple times when it came to anything I was looking to do (bus bookings, etc.).
After I summited Kilimanjaro, on my last day in the country, Josh invited me over to his house to met his wife and kids. He picked me up at my hotel and we drove a while to his house, situated just a ways from Arusha city (the starting point for most of the safari trips in the country). It was during that car ride that the idea hit me: I was an entrepreneur that was used to starting up businesses, I loved animals and nature in general, and I was looking for a new venture after doing web development for much of the past decade. He was a proficient, personable guide with many years of experience. I wonder...
"Josh, have you ever thought about starting your own safari company?", I asked.
"I was thinking of maybe opening up a shop near my home..." he replied.
"Hmm...what if we opened our own safari company together? If we combine your strengths and mine, I think we could make something great...", I asked.
And with that short car-ride conversation, Pamoja Safaris was born.
Just because you're on safari doesn't mean that you have to rough it! We'll be staying in some of the best lodges and luxury tented camps Tanzania has to offer, complete with comfy beds, buffet breakfasts, warm-water showers, and gorgeous views. You might even be able to see some of the animals from your lodge, as they feed on the grasses and trees outside of your balcony.
We will be securing a number of twin rooms for everybody to share at each of the locations we'll be visiting (Arusha city, Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, and Serengeti National Park). If you're traveling solo you'll be matched up with somebody of the same sex, or, you can pay a bit of additional money to grab a room all to yourself for the duration of the trip (see Money Stuff, below).
We use only the most comfortable, feature-equipped, custom Toyota Land Cruisers available. Some days we'll be spending upwards of eight hours inside of these steel beasts, so it's of utmost importance that you're comfortable the entire way.
Another way that we make sure that you're enjoying the safari to the max is not over-packing each vehicle! Many safari providers will put a person in every seat, but that doesn't allow much room for backpacks, camera equipment, etc. For our 7+1 seat configuration vehicles (seven passenger seats plus one driver seat), we never put more than five or six passengers inside, leaving enough room for your belongings and to easily move around when you want to grab that perfect shot.
While on game drives, much of the time you'll be standing on the seats with your head poking out the top of the vehicle (which allows a 360 degree view of what's around you). To allow this, the roof pops up if you push on it, and the covering stays above your head, shielding you from the sun.
We'll be together for eight days total, including an arrival day, a departure day, and six full days of safari. The safari itself will encompass three separate parks (Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, and Serengeti National Park), and one conservation area (Ngorongoro Conservation Area).
Most days we will wake around 7:00 am-8:00 am, have breakfast, then do a morning safari while the animals are still active. Around noon we will either head back to the lodge or have a picnic lunch, then rest for a couple hours afterward, as the animals are their least active during the midday sun. At around 3:30 pm we will head out again on a late afternoon-till-dusk game drive, returning back to the lodge at sunset (it is not permitted to drive at night in the parks). You'll have a bit of time to wash up and change clothes, then it's time for dinner. After dinner you may hang around the bar for some drinks and conversation, or head to bed to relax, as you see fit.
For more information a detailed day-by-day itinerary can be found below.
Dates are set for November 27 - December 4, 2021Â (for the safari portion of the trip).
Day 00: Leave the U.S. (or wherever you may be) (Friday, November 26)
If coming from the U.S. you'll be taking a flight the day before, as it's a bit of a long flight with at least one, but most likely two layovers.
Day 01: Arrival to Arusha (A) (Saturday, November 27)
Arrive into Arusha via air, where we will pick you up at the airport. After that you'll be dropped off at your hotel in/around the city. Enjoy some down time after the long flight, and then we'll reconvene for dinner in the hotel restaurant. After dinner, meet with your driver and guide Josh. We will go over the schedule for the next few days in general, focusing primarily on the itinerary for the next day. After dinner retire to your room and get a good rest, as we'll start early the next day.
Day 02: Arusha toÂ Tarangire National Park (B) (Sunday, November 28)
Wake up around 7:00 am and head to the restaurant for breakfast. We will be trying to leave the city around 8:00 am on our way to Tarangire National Park and Manyara National Park (approx. two hours driving). We will spend the late morning doing a game drive in one of the two parks (they are next to each other), meeting together for lunch at our next lodge in the afternoon. After lunch, we will have some time to digest (a siesta of sorts), as the animals are less active during this hottest time of the day. At around 3:30pm we will head out again and do a late afternoon game drive in the park, returning to the lodge at dusk in time for dinner. After dinner we will do a recap of the day, and a presentation over what to expect the next day. After that you're free to go back to your room and rest, or hang out with the other guests at the lodge bar.
Day 03: Tarangire National Park to SerengetiÂ National Park (via Ngorongoro) (D) (Monday, November 29)
After breakfast at the lodge we will make our way out of the park (with a game drive on the way), and head towards Ngorongoro Conservation Area around lunchtime. After receiving our entry permits and passing through the gates, we will stop at the top of the now extinct volcano to grab some photos from the top. We'll make our way out of the conservation area onward to Serengeti National Park, where we will need to grab additional entry passes. After receiving clearance, we will make our way to your lodge (game drive on the way), arriving just before nightfall. Dinner at the lodge, followed by the day's briefing. (Total driving time this day is about five to six hours, so we'll be sure to make as many stops as needed for restrooms and to stretch our legs on the way.)
Day 04: Serengeti National Park (D) (Tuesday, November 30)
Sleep in a bit, eat breakfast, then we head out for a game drive until lunchtime, which will be back at the lodge. We'll then spend a few more hours out on the plains, looking out for leopards, cheetahs, and lions that are all over the area. Dinner back at the lodge, after which we will talk about the schedule for the next few days in the Serengeti.
Day 05: Serengeti National Park (D) (Wednesday, December 1)
This is the day where we will try to catch up with the wildebeest herds. This time of year they are (usually) in the western part of the park, so not the easiest to get to. We'll make things easier by camping in the general area, allowing for shorter drive times. Depending on how the herds are moving, we may opt for a picnic lunch to be able to spend more time out on the plains in search of the wildebeest. Long day with plenty of driving, so we'll make sure to advance at a comfortable pace with as many breaks as needed. Dinner back at the lodge after returning around dusk.
Day 06: Serengeti National ParkÂ (West) toÂ Ngorongoro Conservation Area (C) (Thursday, December 2)
After breakfast we will make a slow departure towards the east, heading towards Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area (while looking for animals on the way, of course). Arrive at our beautiful destination, overlooking the twelve mile wide crater at around 10:00 am. We will spend the entire morning driving through the crater, after which we will have a picnic lunch at a designated area within the park around 1:00 pm. After lunch we will continue our game drive for a few more hours before heading back to our lodge for the evening.
Day 07: Lake Manyara National Park & Maasai VillageÂ (C) (Friday, December 3)
After breakfast at the lodge we will head towards Arusha, stopping at Lake Manyara National Park for a few hours to see the abundant bird, monkey, and hippo population there before grabbing lunch within the park. After lunch we will stop at souvenir stores for a short time if anyone would like to grab anything. After that we will have the chance to stop by a local Maasai village, to see their traditional dances, handicrafts, and the way in which they live their lives. Special farewell dinner that evening to cap things off.
Day 08: Arusha to HomeÂ / Rest Day (Departure) (Saturday, December 4)
Although exact timing depends on your departure schedule, generally we will wake up, have a leisurely breakfast, and then relax at the lodge until it's time to drive you to the airport for your flight. (Those joining us for Kilimanjaro will have the entire day as a rest day at the lodge.)
Post-trip: Summit Kilimanjaro
Summiting Kilimanjaro has been a trophy of many a visitor to east Africa, and rightly so â€” the extinct volcano towers above everything else as far as the eye can see, top encrusted in a glaze of glacier ice that has slowly been melting since the last ice age.
After a full day of rest in ArushaÂ post-safari, we will be driving the two or so hours to Moshi, which is near the trail-head of Kilimanjaro. There you'll spend the night, leaving the next morning from there to begin our six day ascent and two day descent along the LemoshoÂ route â€” the longest, most scenic way up.
This will all be taking place after the December safari has finished, from December 6-13, 2021.
Gear & Porters
You do not need to bring your own gear, but can if you'd like. The only absolutely necessary component is to bring a pair of worn-in boots for the hiking, as tennis shoes won't be sufficient (or warm enough) â€” and if they're fresh out of the box you'll get blisters on day one.
We'll provide the tents, sleeping pads, and sleeping bags. As far as the jacket, insulated pants, trekking poles, hat, gloves, etc., you can rent all of that in town (yes, it does get very cold at night, especially as you near the peak). We suggest you bring your own pair of worn-in hiking boots at a minimum (definitely bring your own hat, jacket, gloves, etc. if you are able to), as it's important to have a comfortable pair on the hike. Kilimanjaro National Park requires the use of porters, and for every one of you there are at least three of them (they carry food and water, camping supplies, and any larger packs you have).
Our guide and assistant guide both have many years of climbing experience â€” this is what they do for a living. Usually one will follow in the rear while the other leads us from the front.
These guys are "captains" of our proverbial ship, so what the guides say goes. If they decide someone has had enough and shouldn't proceed any further, we listen to their judgement (see Notice, below).
We will also be accompanied by two chefs who cook meals for us and the rest of our staff every morning, afternoon, and evening. You need as many calories as you can get when hiking up and down the side of Kilimanjaro all day!
Route & Schedule
Day 01: Post-safari Rest Day, transfer to Moshi (December 5)
This will take place after Day 8 of the safari trip, so in effect it will count as Day 9 of your trip if doing the safari. We will be relaxing at our lodge in Arusha and making preparations for the climb, including talking over the plans for the days ahead, after which we will transfer you to the lodge in Moshi (a 2 hour drive).
Day 02: Drive from MoshiÂ to the KilimanjaroÂ LondorossiÂ Gate, start climb to Forest CampÂ (3.7 mi/6.0 km) (December 6)
After breakfast, we will drive from Moshi drive to the Londorossi Park gate, then begin a gentle climb up through the mountain forest, carpeted with unique flowers, begonias and ferns. First camp is situated among the giant heather plants at 9,500 ft (2,896 m). (Total ascent: 1,700 ft/518 m during 3-4 hours hiking.)
Day 03: Forest Camp to Shira Camp IÂ (5.0 mi/8 km) (December 7)
Emerge from the giant heather zone and hike through fine open moorland to camp at Shira Camp I at 11,500 ft (3,505 m). Herds of eland antelope sometimes graze up here, and there are fascinating geological features in the old volcanic caldera which can be viewed during a half hour optional walk in the afternoon. (Total ascent: 2,000 ft/610 m during 5-6 hours hiking.)
Day 04: Shira Camp I to Shira Camp II to Moir Hut CampÂ (8.7 mi/14.0 km) (December 8)
We hike along the Shira plateau for the duration of the day. Begin with a gentle walk east toward Kiboâ€™s glaciered peak, winding across the plateau that leads to Shira II camp on moorland meadows. We'll then continue to Moir Hut, a little used site on the base of the Lent Hills. A variety of optional walks are available on Lent Hills making this an excellent acclimatization opportunity.Â (Total ascent: 2,300 ft/701 m during 6-7 hours hiking.)
Day 05: Moir Hut Camp toÂ Lava Tower to Barranco HutÂ CampÂ (4.4 mi/7.0 km) (December 9)
From the Shira Plateau, we'll continue to up a ridge, passing the trail junction towards the Kibo peak. As we continue we'll arrive at the Lava Tower geological formation, called the "Shark's Tooth." After that we'll come to a second trail junction, which brings us up to Arrow Glacier at an altitude of 16,000 ft/4,877 m. We'll then continue down to Barranco Hut Camp at an altitude of 13,000 ft/3,964 m. Although you'll finish the day below the elevation you started at, this day is an important step for acclimatization, and will help your body prepare for the summit. (Total descent: 800 ft/244 m during 5-6 hours hiking.)
Day 06:Â Barranco Hut Camp to Karanga Camp (3.1 mi/5.0 km) (December 10)
After breakfast, we'll leave Barranco Hut Camp and continue on a steep ridge passing the steep Barranco Wall, ending at the Karanga Valley campsite. This is a short day meant for acclimatization.Â (Total ascent:Â 100 ft/30 m during 4-5 hours hiking.)
Day 07: KarangaÂ Camp to Barafu HutÂ Camp (2.5 mi/4.0 km) (December 11)
We'll leave Karanga Camp and hit the next junction, which connects with the Mweka Trail. We then continue up to the Barafu Hut Camp, which completes the South Circuit trail. Here we'll make camp, rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for the summit morning/day. (The twin peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo can be seen from this position.) (Total ascent: 2,200 ft/671 m during 4-5 hours hiking.)
Day 08: Barafu Hut Camp to Kibo Summit toÂ Mweka Camp (10.6 mi/17.0 km) (December 12)
A bracing 1:00 am start to climb the steep, frozen scree up to the summit. This is unavoidable on any route, but we want to aim to reach Stella Point (on the crater rim) for sunrise â€” another 40 minutes later and magically youâ€™re at the highest point on the continent, bathing in the sun's warmth (which is much appreciated at that elevation). After reaching the Kibo summit and snapping the prerequisite photos, we then return via the Mweka descent route. Total walking time will be around 7 hours (4,265ft/1,300m ascent) to the summit, then a 6-8 hour (9,186ft/2,800m) descent to Mweka camp, set in a clearing amongst the giant heather. This is a long and hard day â€” youâ€™ll feel extremelyÂ tired, but also absolutely ecstatic that youâ€™ve actually done it. Enjoy your sleep â€” you've earned it!Â (Total ascent: 4,045 ft/1,233 m during 7-8 hours hiking, followed by 9,345 ft/2,848 m of descent over a period of 5-6 hours.)
Day 09: Mweka CampÂ to Mweka Park Gate to Hotel (6.2 mi/10.0 km) (December 13)
We finish up with a 4 hour descent through the forest to Mweka Gate to collect our completion certificates and meet with our vehicle. Return to Moshi/airport area, arriving early afternoon, then check into our hotel for some R&R and a celebratory dinner, or head back to Kilimanjaro airport for your flight home. (Please note that those opting to stay the night of the 16th will be charged an at-cost amount of $125/person to cover food and accommodation.) Those leaving later that day will be provided day rooms with which to clean up before your flight home. (Total descent: 4,600 ft/1,402 m during 4 hours hiking.)
Day 10: Hotel to AirportÂ (December 14)
Have breakfast at the hotel and chill until your flight back. You'll be transferred by the hotel to the airport approximately 2 hours before your flight departs.
Time & Money
The Kilimanjaro post-trip extension will require two nights post-safari (one in Arusha, one in Moshi), six days of ascent, and two days of descent, making itÂ nine days and nights in total.
The final cost will be $2,990 extra for the entire extension (all nine days, from December 6th until the afternoon of December 13th, including meals, transport, park fees, guides, and accommodation), plus an additional $300 for crew gratuity. (Total: $3,290.)
There will be 12 spots open for the Kilimanjaro trek. In order to secure your spot there will be a non-refundable $1,000 deposit required. First come, first served. (The deposit will be applied to the trip balance.)
The rest of the money ($2,290) will be due along with your final safari payment, no later than September 1, 2021). (Even if you are not joining the safari, it will still be due on on September 1, 2021.)
Payment Methods include cash, check, money order, PayPal (fees are on you), Venmo, or Chase QuickPay/Zelle. If you need my address to send a check/money order please contact me.
Cancellation Policy and Terms of Service may be found here.
NOTE: most guests stay with us the night of the 13th, following coming down off the mountain. This will allow you to celebrate with the rest of the team, and to rest up before getting on a long flight back home. This extra night (and meals) is available for $125 per person. Just let us know if you'd like the stay the night of the 13th and we'll arrange the lodging for you, if you wish.
Although Kilimanjaro does not require any previous mountaineering experience, nor does it require any technical skills, do not let that fool youâ€”it is a long, strenuous climb at extremely high elevation. You should be in reasonably good physical shape, and training is advised prior to coming over to Tanzania (at high elevation, if possible).
Even with all the training and physical fitness in the world though, the altitude can still get the best of you. If one of our professional guides decides you should not continue, you'll need to stop ascending (and most likely start descending). Hypoxia (altitude sickness) can cause vomiting, dizziness, loss of appetite, loss of sleep, and even death in the most serious cases, and is nothing to be messed with.
THIS IS NOT A BUDGET TRIP. If you're looking to do the cheapest safari possible, you can find that in other countries with less expensive park fees (e.g. South Africa, Kenya, etc.), or by joining a scheduled group tour, or a rough camping tour. There are also many managed game reserves in places such as Kenya where they fence in a large area and carefully manage wildlife numbersâ€”like an open-air zoo.
This, however, is not a game reserveâ€”this is 100% natural, as nature intended it. Animals come and go as they please, there are no fences, and the land area is HUGE â€” nearly 5,800 sq. mi (15,000 sq. km) for Serengeti National Park by itself.
That being said, the trip is not prohibitively expensive (especially with the $1,500 discount we are providing), and is actually a greatÂ deal if compared to other all-inclusive, private Tanzanian safari packages. (Not even factoring inÂ the huge bonus that you'll be with an amazing group of humans, along with yours truly.)
Please be aware that I am putting this together at discounted pricing, in part because I'm looking to take photos and videos during the trip to use for promotional purposes. (If you don't want to be photographed and/or videotaped, this may not be the best tour for you to join.)
There will be 11 spots open for the safari trip. In order to secure your spot there will be a non-refundable $1,000 deposit required. First come, first served. (The deposit will be applied to the trip balance.)
The balance for the entire trip â€” one more payment of $2,490 (plus the entire amount of the Kilimanjaro climb, if you're joining us) â€” will be due approximately 90 days before the start date of the trip, on September 1, 2021. If your payment is not received by that day you may lose your initial deposit/place on the trip (I will inform you when the date is approaching if I haven't heard from you yet).
Total pricing will be raised to $3,990 at 12:00 am ET on September 2, 2021 (for those that have not paid the deposit yet).
What the $3,490 payment includes:
- 8 days/7 nights of accommodation in luxury lodges and tented camps from November 27th-December 4th (see Accommodation above)
- Double Occupancy in twin bed rooms. If you are not traveling with a companion you will be matched up according to gender. If you want your own room this can be arranged for an extra $700.
- Guide services the entire time
- Airport pick-up/drop-off
- 3 meals per full day
- Unlimited bottled water, during the game drives and at your accommodation
- Guide & staffÂ gratuity
- All taxes and surcharges
- All park and vehicle fees
- Transport via Land Cruiser to/within parks, incl. gasoline, driver meals and accommodation
What the $3,490 payment does NOT include:
- Flights to/from Tanzania (closest international airport: Kilimanjaro JRO)
- Alcohol & beverages other than water
- $50-$100 Tanzanian visa fee (see Visa, below)
Payment Methods include cash, check, money order, PayPal (applicable fees to be payable by you), Venmo, or Chase QuickPay/Zelle. If you need my address to send a check/money order please contact me.
Cancellation Policy and Terms of Service may be found here.
Weather & Packing
Tanzania in December is quite temperate, partially owing to the fact that the spots we are going to visit are well above sea level. Daytime is generally in the high 70's/low 80's Fahrenheit (25C-30C-ish), and the evenings are cool enough that you'd want a hoodie or windbreaker with you just in case you get cold. Rain is usually infrequent and brief, and the grasses that cover the plains are at the lowest growth point of the season, allowing for easy spotting of game.
We also have the added bonus of early December being one of the least busy parts of the year when it comes to tourism, so we won't have much competition when it comes to jockeying for position with other groups to see that lion eat its dinner.
In short, this is the perfect time of year to go on safari.
What to wear? Well, you'll want to bring muted colors, as animals can sometimes react aggressively towards bright colors (think of bulls and the color red). You'll also want to stay away from dark colors, such as dark blue or black, as flies can be attracted to you that way. So, the best thing to wear? Unsurprisingly, khaki.
As mentioned, a windbreaker jacket and hoodie or fleece is recommended for nighttime, but during the day jeans, khaki shorts/pants, T-shirts, etc. are all fair game. Dress comfortably, because there won't be any formal occasions during this trip.
Tanzania is one of the most stable, crime-free countries in Africa. In the rare event crime does happen, it is almost solely crimes of opportunity by the poor to make some extra money â€” e.g. grabbingÂ your bag or camera when you're not looking. Violent crime is exceedingly rare, especially against tourists (making the country much saferÂ than the U.S., for instance).
Because we will be on safari for most of the trip (and on the side of Kilimanjaro for those doing the post-trip), we really won't have to worry about theft at all. The employees at the lodges wouldn't risk their jobs stealing anything, and the other tourists usually aren't culprits. Sometimes have to watch out for baboons though... (Only half-joking.)
The only spot I would caution vigilance (although I've never had anything happen personally) would be the first and last days in Arusha. Even there though, we will be at the lodge most of the time, so there shouldn't beÂ any issues.
Regardless, I do recommend you purchase travel health and trip protection insurance, just to be on the safe side (see Disclaimer, below). (Note: for anyone doing Kilimanjaro, travel medical insurance is mandatory.)
No matter where you are coming from, getting to Arusha, Tanzania is a bit of a slog. If coming from Europe (besides Amsterdam, which is direct) you can manage it with just one stopover (usually in Nairobi, Kenya; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; or UAE/Qatar), but if you're coming from the U.S. be prepared for a long flight with two (sometimes three) stopovers (although sometime you can find a single stopover journey, especially if you pay a bit more). Be sure to checkÂ Google Flights, or Skyscanner. for best available routes and prices.
If leaving from the U.S. it will take you the better part of an entire day to arrive in Arusha, so I would look for flights leaving on November 26th (just make sure to get in at the very latest the evening of November 27th).
Visas for U.S. citizens cost USD$100 (other nationalities: $50), and can be purchased at Kilimanjaro International Airport upon arrival, or via the new e-Visa service (a sample form to use when applying for your visa is available here). Be sure to have a pen handy to fill out the arrival card and health form you'll receive on the flight prior to landing.
Tanzania doesn't really have any more communicable diseases than many of the other developing spots you may travel to.
There is a slight risk of malaria, however, it is more along the coast of the country than inland where we will be (4,500 ft/1,400 m above sea level for most of the journey). Please talk to your travel medical specialist if you would like to bring anti-malarial medication with you (there are a few different types, but they all have their side effects â€” I choose to go without and just use longer clothing at night along with some bug spray on exposed skin).
Zika prevalence is low (lower than the U.S.). Ebola is non-existent (there have never been cases of Ebola in Tanzania, even with the 2012 outbreak).
If you're coming straight to Tanzania from a yellow fever endemic country such as Kenya or Brazil (click here for a full list), you may be required to show proof of vaccination upon arrival at the airport.
For those doing Kilimanjaro, it may be worth talking to your licensed medical professional about taking Diamox to combat potential altitude sickness during the trek.
As far as immunizations go, just make sure you are up-to-date on your usual foreign travel stuff â€” tetanus/diphtheria, typhoid, Hepatitis A/B, etc.
Hopefully COVID-19 pandemic will be less of an ever-present worry than it is as of the time I am putting this itinerary together (December 2020), but I'm sure that even a year in the future it will still be a point of worry for some.
In case of any COVID-related issues within the country of Tanzania, we will offer a special cancellation and postponement policy for the trip this year.
- In the case of an individual traveler contracting COVID at any time before trip departure, we will be offering the ability to push the trip back to the next year at no additional cost (we will need proof of a positive test in order to do this).
- In the case of an increase in the danger of COVID in Tanzania, the trip will be rescheduled. You can request a refund, or move the trip back a year at no extra cost.
- In case you still don't feel ready to travel but have already paid the deposit, or the full amount, we will be offering an option to push back your trip to the next year at no extra cost.
In addition to the updated policy above, here is some information regarding the history of the pandemic in Tanzania thus far:
- Tanzania has been open to tourism, including Americans, since June 2020. The number of reported cases in Tanzania has been relatively low (as it has been with much of sub-Saharan Africa).
- Some of these lower numbers have to do with lack of testing and test center availability, some of it has to do with the relative spacing between people and communities throughout much of the country, and some of it has to due with a decision by the government to stop publicly publishing COVID numbers.
- Travelers coming into Tanzania are screen for COVID via a temperature check at the airport, but no quarantine or COVID testing is required.
- COVID testing is available upon arrival in Arusha city for those that request it, with results back in approximately 2-3 days after testing (at a cost of USD$100).
I'll be updating this section with the most up-to-date information going forward, but if you'd like to check the most current news direct from the CDC, you can just click hereÂ (or here to see the latest news from the U.S. Embassy). Just keep in mind that nearly every country at the time of this posting is listed as a Level 4 travel advisory, regardless of the prevalence of cases in the country.
This is travel, and unexpected things may happen. Although I will do everything in my power to assist if something goes wrong, you get sick, etc., I nor Pamoja SafarisÂ is in no way legally responsible for your well-being during the duration of the trip. By signing up for this trip you are acknowledging this fact. Medical facilities for routine visits, prescriptions, etc. are few and far between in Tanzania, so you may want to buy travel medical insuranceÂ (and think about the emergency evacuation option possibly) just in case something more serious befalls you.
This also goes for the itinerary as listed above. Although we are pretty set as far as the schedule because hotels are pre-booked, there may be things we may not get to see because of weather, migration patterns, bad luck â€” who knows.
This is a first-come, first-served opportunity. We only have 11 spots for the safari and 12 for the Kilimanjaro trek, and once those are gone we are not planning on adding any additional spots.
Secure your spot by clicking the button below and then filling out the form, after which you need to send the initial payment of USD$1,000/per person/per trip to me (payment details to be provided upon submitting the form).
Once we reach a maximum of people the trip will be closed to new sign-ups, and I will refund any money sent my way (and you'll be added to a waiting list, if you wish).
If you have any questions please send me an email through my Contact Page.
Some photos on this page (1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 11) were taken by the amazing John Russell, professional photographer. See more of his work here.