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Tanzania`s Northern Circuit - Home to the LFC`s


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My wife and I are just back from 2 wonderful weeks in Zanzibar and Tanzania.

The trip was as follows

20-25 December The Z hotel, Nungwi, Zanzibar

25 - 27 December Tarangire Safari Lodge

27 - 29 December Wilderness Ndutu Tented Camp (not to be confused with Wilderness Safaris in Southern Africa)

29 - 31 December Wilderness Serengeti Tented Camp

31 - 1 January Sopa Ngorongoro

1 January Day room at Ilboru Safari Lodge, Arusha

2 January Back to Denmark


We booked Zanzibar ourselves. The safari part was booked with Base Camp Tanzania in Arusha. After having shopped around I ended up using the services of Achmed Philips at BaseCamp. He was very responsive and came up with some very good suggestions as well as very reasonable prices. We deceided to go against the flow starting in Zanzibar and finishing with the safari as one Means of avoiding the crowds. It seemed to Work but I had forgotten how much Work it is to be on safari so we were very tired by the time we returned to Denmark.

We had a great time in Zanzibar. I can hihly recommend the Z hotel. Great rooms, great service and a superb restaurant where we ended up eating most nights.

In Nungwi there are two Turtle sanctuaries. We visited one and had some very nice interaction with the rescued Green Turtles that later will be reintroduced in the wild.

No trip to Zanzibar is complete without a trip to Jozani National Forest to look for the endemic Red Colobus Monkeys.

We arrived in the afternoon and entered the forest with a very professional Ranger. It did not take long before we encountered the Red Colobus monkeys.
















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Christmas in Zanzibar, New Year in the Serengeti - that´s the way to do it! Great Colobus pictures. :)

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Christmas in Zanzibar, New Year in the Serengeti - that´s the way to do it! Great Colobus pictures. :)


Yes and a Zanzibar Syke's :)

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Your photos from Zanzibar are great.

Looking forward to your Christmas (Dec 25th to 27th photos) from Tarangire, ( as its the one large game reserve on the northern circuit that I did not visit on my trip to Northern Tanzania back in 2001) and then the Serengeti photos into the new year.

A fine way to to spend the festive holiday period.

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Beautiful start. 6 nights in one hotel to kick it off! Can you share with us why you chose Z Hotel? How did your Jozani visit work and for how long did you visit? Was it one visit? I would be interested in how you spent your Zanzibar days, if even a brief account.


You waste no time with your report. What a tremendous way to celebrate and ring in the New Year!

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Not to be confused with Wilderness safaris, southern Africa ........... Haha!!! Lovely start.........

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We chose the Z hotel for a number of reasons. Originally we had booked the Langi Langi hotel which is also in Nungwi on the Northern tip.

One of the reasons we had chosen Nungwi was that my wife loves swimming but does not want to spend any time on the Beach. The East coast of Zanzibar often has problems with larges tidal movements making it difficult to swim at low tide hence Nungwi`s West coast seemed like a good place. The Z hotel has a better Beach than Langi Langi and the rooms are more up to date. However the deciding factor is that the Z hotel is a boutique hotel that does not encourage people with children to stay there.

The food was outstanding. On Christmas eve they offered a 6 course menu with a glass of sparkling wine. 35 USD! The wine list was good and the one time they failed with a dish it was replaced with a smile. They were also very helpful in helping us retrieving a piece of luggage that was lost for 3,5 days.

We had booked a tour with Eco culture tours to visit Stonetown a spice farm and Jozani forest. The trip was from app 08.30 to 18.30. In retrospect we should have split it into two different tours which could have given us more time in Jozani. I did not time the visit in Jozani but I would estimate that we had 45 minutes with the monkeys and another 30 minutes visiting the mangroves. However when the ranger realised that we were interested in birds he told me that it is possible to do extended tours so I guess it is a matter of asking one of the tour Companies for an extended tour.

Stonetown was interesting but a little too hot and humid for us. The spice tour was outstanding. The tour Company took us to a government run non Commercial farm that had a very good variety of spices and Herbs. Our guide was very knowledgeable and had good help from a farmworker that would readily climb trees to get us fruits and other interesting things.

One day we took a village tour including the visit to the turtle sanctuary. The village is quite poor and it is a very stark contrast to the hotels in the area.

We also went fishing but with no luck eventhough we did see a lot of fish. The rest of the time was spent resting and walking along the beautiful coastline stopping from time to time to drink the wonderful local fruit juices. Especially the Passion fruit juice was outstanding.

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Now it was time to go on safari.

After a 1 hour flight from Zanzibar we arrived in Arusha to be met by our guide Joseph.

Joseph was in his mid fifties just like us. He had 22 years of guiding experience.

We had requested a guide that could keep us away from the crowds. I had also asked for a guide WHO was knowledgeable about birds, partly because we like birds partly because any guide that is interested in birds is typically generally interested in nature. Joseph was just that kind of guide. The only small gripe was that he was not very communicative in English but that was certainly counteracted by his keen eyesight and driving style. Most of the time he woud drive relatively slowly to make sure he did not miss anything. He would also stop at regular intervals and scan the area with his binoculars. My wife has 20/20 vision and although my eyes are not that good I am quite experienced in game watching so between the 3 of us I dont think we missed much.

The challenge however on most of the trip was that the grass was very tall making predator sightings quite difficult.

After a leisurely two hour drive with a few stops for birding we arrived at the Tarangire Northern gate. Tarangire was one of the highlights for me. I love Baobab`s and few Places can beat Tarangire in terms of the number of Baobab`s.

This was my 8th safari. However all the previous ones had been to Southern Africa and all in the dry season so I was looking forward to seeing all the green + a number of mammals and birds that would be new to me. We totalled 190+ bird species (without really looking for LBJ`s) and 42 mammal species for the trip.

My main concern for the trip was how I would react to the Holiday crowds. My hopes were not very high after the first hour seeing how many vehicles were leaving Tarangire but Joesph quickly starting using some of the loops away from the main road. The most other vehicles we had at any sighting inTarangire was 4 and that was a Group of 4 vehicles travelling together. Tarangire delivered a lot of good birding, Giraffe and Baboons but also a few LFC`s.

Somehow I am not able to enter text between the Pictures. @@Game Warden can you help?

PS mammals to come in the NeXT installment






















Edited by mvecht
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Thanks, great info and great bird shots, with some warthogs wandering through.

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Great bird shots so far. Love that parrot especially -- it really pops against that darker background.

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Some really superb bird photos you have posted.

If you really like baobabs then Ruaha National Park is the place to go - there are so many in some areas it looks like a baobab forest.

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What a lovely series of bird images. Really enjoying this report.

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Lovely starling with the catch!

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Next was our first Long Flat Cat`s (LFC`s). Cat sightings were plentiful on the trip but most of the cats were resting :(

This turned out to be the busiest sighting in Tarangire with four other vehicles. Joseph really did keep us away from the crowds. I should probably also mention that he did not ever use the radio for contacting other drivers.

The rest of the drive was fairly quiet. Elephants were everpresent in Tarangire and many of them had very small babies.

We finished the trip with a nice Steppe Eagle.

Tarangire Safari Lodge was fully booked. 35 tents and 5 Bungalows. We had tent number 35 which is the last tent away from the lodge but then the Bungalows are next to it. Tents are adequate but beds a bit small and quite hard. Food is served buffet style and was quite nice. The wine list was also quite OK. The first night we suffered from some noisy neighbours but the second night was OK. Breakfast and lunch boxes were not super exciting but quite OK.










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What a beautiful series of photos - and good to see animals against a green background

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How the wonderful bight colours of Tanzania contrast with the drab grey I can see outside my window today.

I know where I'd rather be.

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What a beautiful shot of the elephants crossing the (Tarangire?) river - it really shows the scale of the park and surroundings. I miss Tarangire!

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I wondered what LFC was! Thanks for explaining! Some great pics so far. Looking forward to more..

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Great birds @@mvecht, but aren't you going to tell us what they are? :lol:


We loved Tarangire, one of our favorite parks in Tanzania. The landscape is so beautiful there. And fabulous for birding. Glad you had a good birding guide!

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maybe I will save the birds name for "Game name that bird" :rolleyes:

Sorry but I am struggling a little with the Pictures. In the "old" days I would get a tag in the text showing me were the Picture would be placed and I could adjust my text accordingly. Now it just places the pictures at the end of the text and I can not write any text in between. Any advice?

Edited by mvecht
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Time for a full day drive inTarangire.

We started with a beautiful full monn rising above the Baobabs. Lots of Elephants around.

One challenge ws the long grass. Actually long enough to let a baby Elephant disappear at a distance of less than 15 meters!

Birds: Crowned Plover and female Pallid Harrier











Edited by mvecht
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For breakfast we went to one of the campsites in the Eastern part of the park. Lots of Vervet Monkeys around.

After breakfast we had a good sighting of two Cheetahs. Mother and juvenile. However after a few minutes they decided to lay ldwn in the long grass and they were gone!




















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Next a Giraffe kindergarten and some nice birds. Black shouldered Kite, a chanting Goshawk.and a Secretary bird lying Down in the grass.














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