There are few better holiday options than the combination of a wildlife adventure with a city break or beach escape (or a mixture of all three). South Africa is a dream destination when it comes to choosing this kind of trip and I am a big fan but the incredibly diverse African nation of Tanzania is another beautiful option, which I would love to share. Your mind’s eye will no doubt conjure up images of wildebeest stampeding across the vast savannah, of beautiful rainforests teeming with monkeys and birdlife and of great plains brimming with legions of game.
All these spectacular natural wonders can be found in Tanzania along with three of Africa's Great Lakes. To the north and west lie Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake, and Lake Tanganyika, the continent's deepest lake, known for its unique species of fish; and to the south lies Lake Malawi.
Tanzanian experiences will of course include a memorable safari adventure and maybe for the more adventurous, a hiking excursion around Mount Kilimanjaro National Park or an underwater tour of some of the world’s most renowned dive sites around the gorgeous Spice Islands.
Whatever the active preferences, some additional time to relax on the picturesque island paradise of Zanzibar, just off the eastern coast is a must.
Famous for its mix of exotic beaches, spice plantations, history and diverse culture, the offshore archipelago has evoked mysticism and magic for centuries. It is also home to many endangered species including the red colobus monkey, bottlenose dolphins, the green turtle and the once assumed extinct, coelacanth.
Your presence in Tanzania will also ensure you are furnished with a warm welcome by fabulously friendly and peaceful inhabitants who, despite being divided into 120 different ethnic groups and cultures, live in harmony and provide some of the most wonderfully exotic local cuisine imaginable.
I can piece together several types of itinerary, mixed and matched according to available time and budget. An example of a 10-day adventure could be: Selous Serena Camp, Selous Game Reserve (four nights)
Set amidst dense indigenous forests, the Selous Serena Camp is the ultimate wilderness retreat. With 360-degree views over the surrounding bush, the 12 widely spaced tents are presented in time-honoured safari style, with natural thatch roofs, elegant Victorian-style bathrooms and private viewing decks.
The charming central dining room, lounge, library and bar, which are interconnected by broad wooden walkways, offer excellent views of the Selous Game Reserve and high above the lodge, is an impressive ‘infinity’ pool and sundeck.
The spectacular Selous Game Reserve is a World Heritage Site, home to the largest concentration of elephants in the world and the largest expanse of game reserve in Africa.
Covering 55,000 square kilometres of rolling savannah, lakes, rivers and deltas, it is four times the size of the Serengeti.
The Great Rufiji River and its tributaries are the lifeblood of the reserve, creating a network of forests and woodlands around the lagoons, sandbanks and lakes with tall palm trees adding to the scenic splendour. The reserve has over 2,100 species of plants, 350 species of birds, and an estimated 1,300 of the worlds’ roughly 4,000 remaining wild dogs.
The Z Hotel, Nungwi, Zanzibar (three nights)
Once little more than a ramshackle fishing village, Nungwi has been transformed into one of Unguja island’s primary beach destinations and its second most populated village after its capital, Stone Town.
Situated at the island's northernmost tip, it is blessed with some of Zanzibar’s most idyllic swimming beaches as the water surrounding this section of the island is deep and mostly unaffected by the change of tides.
The village is also renowned as a party hotspot with a thriving social scene hosted by the village’s slew of hotels, bars, shops and restaurants.
Daily itineraries here tend to be gloriously simple: sunbathe, swim, party, repeat!
The Z Hotel is a chic, boutique hotel situated in a vibrant spot on the corner of an idyllic beach that mixes contemporary design with traditional Zanzibari features.
Breezes Beach Club & Spa, Dongwe, Zanzibar (three nights)
On the beautiful eastern coast lies the resort town of Dongwe, a little corner of paradise for the quintessential beach-island getaway, where endless white-sand beaches meet crystal-clear azure waters.
Dongwe is encircled by lush tropical vegetation with an offshore coral reef teeming with colourful tropical fish and an array of other marine life including wild dolphins.
Breezes Beach Club & Spa is a beautiful resort with unique charm and warm hospitality, set in tropical landscaped gardens along a pristine beach stretching as far as the eye can see.
Notable for its attention to detail, intimate and private dining and its splendid local décor with stunning carvings, glistening brass and rich fabrics. It’s hard to return to a pop-up tent at Glastonbury once you’ve stayed in a thatched safari style tent with a private game viewing deck. I’d add a private pool too. Tanzania makes for a great honeymoon or family holiday destination, offering wildlife-focused adventure combined with culture and some of the most incredible beaches in the Indian Ocean.
It’s all about getting the balance right, which is where I would be more than happy to help.