Some great recommendations for budget travellers

Inge writes:

I love your travel guides and use them a lot, especially when visiting Africa.
So in November & December 2014 I used your travelguide “Tanzania Safari Guide”.
I did the backpacking way so I needed the book a lot…

I have a few recommendations for the book. Places and people travelers really have to see and meet!!

I think the below recommendations are really worthy. Not only because they are low budget and perfect for backpackers, but also because it’s a beautifull way to get travellers closer to the locals and vice versa.

Eazy’s Place, Dar Es Salaam
A lowbudget hostel, located around 20km outside off Dar es Salam. They have a booking link by www.tripadvisor.com<http://www.tripadvisor.com> and they have a own webside (http://www.eazy.bild-art.de). The best way to make reservation is by making a call to him.
It’s the perfect way to experience the real local Tanzanian way of life.
Emil (also named Eazy) used to be a tourist guide for a long while. At the same time his biggest hobby was, and still is, beeing a artist.
A few years ago he decided to make his own hostel together with a Batic Workshop. So at this time he is able to combine his two biggest hobbies; make and create batics and enjoy people.
You can sleep, eat, cook, do day trips and create your own handmade Batic Creations by joining his workshop. Everything in real Tanzanian style.
We paid around 20.000 Tsh for 2 persons each night. Food is around 4000 Tsh p.p. each meal.
The Batic Workshop costed me 25.000 Tsh included my 2 meter beautiful Batic wich I created for my newborn niece. The workshop took me 2 days.
When you want to go there, you can phone Emil. He will pick you up from where ever you are (around Dar es Salam) and take you to his hostel. The transport is by bejaji (tuk-tuk) and the guest pays around 20.000 Tsh for a one way drive.

Emil is expending his hostel for the future. For now he has one house for guests and the second house is allready in construction. He wants to get electricity in the future together with Wifi.
It is real back to basic style by showering with a bucket and as toilet a hole in the floor. For everything you do you use rainwater.

Pleace contact Emil!! +255754339851

Remi’s place, Paje
A one-man non-profit organisation. A guy, called Remi, came to Tanzania a few years ago. He was so amazed by de way of living in Paje, Zanzibar so he decided to stay.
He saw the problems around drugs and alcohol in combination with touristic atractions and wanted to do something with this, to safe the honest local people and therewith the aducation problems for the children.
The biggest problem is that a lot of locals at Zanzibar ask a lot of money from tourist for day trips so they can buy drugs and alcohol instead of paying aducation for their children.
Besides that trafic accidents increase by the minute, specially in the busy places at Zanzibar. This because the locals drive drunk or wasted.

The thing Remi diceded to do is to make touristic atractions honest again and make sure the money will go to the locals who will use the money the right way.
If you want to make a day trip, for example a dolfin trip, snorkling or fishing, you call Remi. He will find locals who wants to do this trip for real and without bad intensions.
You pay Remi afterwards and he will pay the locals.
You know for sure he will pay the locals, because he lives between them. He can’t affort to make enemies, otherwise he will be shot out of the village.
Prices for the trips are low and honest. Everday in consultation with the locals.

How long he will stay in Paje, is unknown. Remi is a French guy who likes to travel around and just go where life wants him to go.

You can reach Remi at the following Phone number: +255754339851

Safari Guide, Mikumi National Park
When I was travelin’ my biggest challenge was to travel Tanzania as cheap as possible. The first few days I thought this was impossible.
But after getting the Phone number from a Dutch guy, I knew it was possible to do this cheap!

Evan is a local young guy who’s biggest dream is running a low budget  safari guide in Tanzania. Because he lives in Mikumi, for now he works around Mikumi, but in the future he wants to work all over Tanzania.

Together with is brother, George, he ownes a truck (yearly checked for safety). George is the driver and Evan knows everything about the animals and the park.
Beautiful to see how Evan and George enjoy their work and do it with a lot of love.

The reason they can keep the prices low, is because they don’t ask a lot for their own.
You pay $150,- for the car incl. fuel and $30,- for each guide. Sometimes only one of the two join you, so you only pay $30,- ones.
They took us for a day game drive Mikumi National Park and the day after for a day hiking at Udzungwa Mountains.
Both the same price.
The guys liked it so much that they gave us discount even!
The only way the price will be higher is when the fuel prices go up.
They take you to good places to sleep in price category you ask. When you come from Dar es Salam or different; you drop off at the entrance of Mikumi National Park and they will pick you up there and take you to your hotel. All this for free!

Lovely guys who really love the work the do. They love to laugh, to make jokes and to have a friendly drink after a day trip.
Both legitimized to do this job.

Please contact these good guys and give them a place in your book, so they can make a living out of there dreams!

Evan: +255716671589
George: +255763823940/ +255714496064

Last few short recommendations:
– Neema Crafts in Iringa. Beautiful!!!
– Tatanca Safari and Tours LTD!!! A honest and good Safari office in Iringa. Good for safari’s like Ruaha National Park.

Southern Tanzania updates

We had planned to drive south to Lindi but a Danish doctor we met in Dar who was working in Lindi said the road is still difficult. Most of it is paved and is easy driving. Just south of the Rufiji River there is about 40 km in building. About 2 km is often under water and cars often get stuck. Though one may be pushed out for 10,000 shilling there are some reports of thieves relieving stuck occupants of wallets and phones.

So we went to Mbeya. The road is in good /excellent condition for most of the way. There are road works and rebuilding in the Ruaha Gorge and on the plateau before Iringa. Very little traffic and very enjoyable drive.

Mikumi NP. We love this park, small and neat with all one wants to see.

Stayed at Tan-Swiss Inn, 58,000Tsh double, comfortable, clean rooms and good food, friendly staff.

Staff at entrance gate at Mikumi were laid back and seems we were a bit of a nuisance. They had 12 NP bandas at $50 per person with chai. However in a rather dull part of the residential area of the park HQ and what with admission charges probably not worth the cost since driving in from Mikumi village you see game as well.

Mikumi Wild life Camp. We stopped for coffee at 11 am and the two staff sitting at the restaurant table found this very inconvenient. Eventually conceded they had some water and milk, ‘but we were very late’. Tablecloths dirty, floor unswept.The toilets were not well tended and the cost at $120 FB per person seemed excessive for the poor service. The situation, however is lovely. Seems classic way that low occupancy leads to poor service. The Manager who turned up later said Selous was much more expensive! I think he has lost contact with the reality of the tourist trade.

Neema café in Iringa. A welcome stop for Wazungu, excellent cakes and coffee and great, fast Internet connection in the Internet Café (sorted by a local VSO).

The cemetery at bottom of the hill is actually at British War graves cemetery with at least 50 graves of mostly South Africans with some Rhodesian and Nyasaland soldiers. There are about 12 graves of Germans. (I did not count at the time). Also some more recent graves from the 1960s and 1970s expatriate community. The gate is padlocked with a combination lock. The combination can be accessed by phoning (Nairobi, I think) in working hours. We slipped over the wall and wandered about.

Iringa Info very helpful and got a good discount on a Ruaha camp. There is a newly opened Bookshop next door. However almost entire stock was fiction and not really of much help to the average Tanzanian, seemed to be aimed at the growing expatriate community — a result of the huge road building projects.

Iringa to Mbeya, easy drive of 5 hours.

Mbeya Hotel was full so stayed at Rift Valley Hotel. 20,000Tsh twin, 30,000Tsh double. Seems as time has passed this hotel by. The rooms were tatty and we had to see 5 rooms before finding one habitable (shower not working/ toilet not working/ toilet leaking/ no light bulb in central light. I retrieved a mosquito net from a previous room as I thought it might prove difficult for staff to contemplate doing it.) We were the only guests and breakfast seemed to be a bit of an imposition for the waitress.

It reminded me of travel in Eastern Europe in previous times. It is a pity as the structure of the hotel is perfectly decent.

Could not find Babukuwa or Chinese Dragon restaurant so eat at Sombrero. Reasonable food but heavy with the oil. All in all time seems to have passed Mbeya by and there seems to be much more going on in Iringa.

Wonderful road down to Kyela, smooth, great scenery and little traffic. Road Kyela to Matema Beach in reasonable graded condition but took one and half hours. Coming by bus etc a couple took all day to travel Mbeya to Matema.

Stayed at Lutheran Beach Guest House, lovely, small octagon banda 10 metres from Lake (25,000Tsh, other bandas 15,000Tsh). It was basic but clean and beautiful breeze. The evening meal of fish and rice was excellent. The fish was huge, more than two of us could eat and the vegetables were first class.

Matema Resort (drive right through Lutheran settlement) had very pleasant large airy rooms for 40,000Tsh and smaller semidetached cottage rooms for 30,000Tsh. It now serves cold Serengeti beer! So we walked down there for a meal, not spectacular.

Walked up river towards waterfall but abandoned trip after one and half hours. (I had my only trainers on and as it meant wading through water and I needed dry trainers next day). Some young Germans did it next day and said it got steeper and more difficult. They had to climb a steep rocky slope with rope, but there was a lovely pool at the base of the waterfall to swim in.

Lake Malawi a delight to swim in, clear and cool. Visited local Lutheran hospital and found it very clean and well organised.

Rupert Gude

Now returning to Iringa we stayed at Mufindi Highland Lodge. Delightful situation, comfortable bandas looking down the valley, tea brought to banda before breakfast and excellent food sourced from their farm. The communal area is extremely pleasant with views over the valley and log fire inside. We know Geoff and Vicky Fox so declare our ‘interest’. However still very enjoyable.

Mwagusi Tented Camp. Amazing situation with fabulous tents. The design and artistic touches were superb and we relished the luxury. The food was excellent, the best we have had in Tanzania. The main problem was too much food!! Coming independently by car we found it difficult to find as the NP signposts directed us over the Mwagusi River, which happened to be flowing, and we did not know of the bridge further down stream. However eventually found it at 7pm. Guide on our game drive seemed to be the most knowledgeable we had encountered, friendly and courteous.

Returned to Morogoro, 10 hour drive as took 4 hours to get to Iringa.

In the Ruaha Valley the Crocodile camp asked 2500Tsh for a small soda (declined) and the Baobab valley camp is closed and in disrepair.

Rupert Gude