What’s the Best Way to Get to Zanzibar: Ferry or Flight?

Aerial View Of Zanzibar

Scenario 1: The air is humid and sticks to your shirt, but the rush of wind and salt spray keeps you cool. Everywhere you look the Indian Ocean churns blue-green glass. As the high-speed ferry takes you from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar, you begin to see your destination revealed: Stone Town. Buildings come into view, then beaches, and your approach to a romantic week on Zanzibar mirrors how early explorers must have first experienced this archipelago—from the water.

Scenario 2: Your small plane departs Arusha late morning. After ascending, you are able to see Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro from the air, which takes your breath away. The plane heads east, passing over Dar es Salaam and out above the Indian Ocean. Before you can finish your ginger ale, Zanzibar’s turquoise-fringed beaches and spice plantations come into view. In just ninety minutes you’ve transitioned from your weeklong safari to an island paradise. Time to relax.

About To Take The Ferry In Zanzibar

To Ferry or to Fly? That is the Question…

We all know how cool the word Zanzibar feels as it rolls off the tongue, but does the place actually deliver? Absolutely. The Spice Islands are only 28 miles off the coast of Tanzania, and yet the archipelago lives up to its hype in every way possible. Powdered sugar beaches, blood-orange sunsets, world-class diving, and culinary arts rivaling most anywhere. A bucket list destination, to be sure.

So how best do you get to this paradise? The two scenarios above helped to imagine the available options: ferry or flight. Both offer exceptional experiences, and both have their benefits. To remove any confusion, we’ve made a quick-and-clear comparison for you to make up your mind. At the end of this post, we disclose our personal recommendation. So buckle up — let’s go for a ride.

Zanzibar Ferry

Why Take a Ferry to Zanzibar…

Oftentimes, staying close to the ground—or water—adds more adventure to any experience. Ferry travel can be exhilarating, and, in Tanzania, it will put you in direct contact with seafaring locals. Most high-speed ferries depart to Zanzibar multiple times a day from Dar es Salaam. Here are some numbers:

  • Duration: two hours
  • Cost: $35/$40/$50/$60 (USD as of November 2018)
  • Comfort: Economy / Business / VIP / Royal
  • Book in Advance? Recommended.

The journey is scenic, and it places you in direct contact with the elements that define this island world. It’s a truly unique experience to gain this vantage point when arriving, a well-earned crossing. Overall, the ferry system in Tanzania is safe and secure, though we only advise travelers to take the high-speed, well-maintained ferry operators. We recommend a ferry to clients whose travels home route them through Dar es Salaam. The port is easily accessible from downtown hotels, and this option avoids the 1.5-hour drive to the airport. Here’s what the ferry looks like: Here

Zanzibar From The Air

Why Take a Flight to Zanzibar…

A popular option is to book your safari for Northern Tanzania and/or a Kilimanjaro trek, then fly directly to Zanzibar from either Arusha, Kilimanjaro International Airport, or the Serengeti bush. Flights from Arusha are 1.5 hours; they are frequent and reasonably priced. If you fly from the Serengeti, be aware that this might require a few stops. This combination offers a convenient beach getaway after days in the bush. Your Easy Travel team can organize all the transfers to and from airport to hotel, to paradise, and back. Hassle-free. Here are some flight specifics:

  • Arusha to Zanzibar: $230 to $250 per person / one way
  • Northern Serengeti Kogatende Airstrip to Zanzibar: $470 to $500 per person / one way
  • Grumeti to Zanzibar: $470 to $500 per person / one way
  • Seronera (Central Serengeti to Zanzibar) $400 to $430 per person / one way

Our Recommendation? Fly.

Though we love the rush and close-to-earth feel of a high-speed ferry travel, flying to Zanzibar proves to be the best use of your limited time in Tanzania. We book you a plane that takes you directly there. To fly is to avoid seasickness, overcrowded boats, and potentially long, overland travel to get to and from the ports. Note that all ferries depart from Dar es Salaam, so if you wish travel by ferry post-safari, you’ll need to get to Dar first, which we can help arrange. A second place recommendation might be to take a one-way ferry to Zanzibar, then fly back to your destination.

Bottom Line:

Every minute counts during your travels in Tanzania. To fit in the most life-changing experiences during your visit, it’s advised to craft an exquisite itinerary to fit your timeline and budget. Ending any Easy Travel adventure with a few carefree days of lounging on a postcard-perfect beach, aside a lapping Indian Ocean, doesn’t get any better.

Getting You There?

Easy Travel representatives thrive in their ability to take your needs, your wishes, your budget, and your interests and customize the perfect, unforgettable itinerary. We offer 5 -7 day Zanzibar packages and can set up Spice Tours, bicycle rentals, scuba dives, and Stone Town tours. Contact us today.

The Serengeti’s Four Regions and Why They Are Important

The Serengeti From The Air - Aerial

The Serengeti. Even the word itself sounds far away, like a distant galaxy or unreachable star. Yes, we all know the Serengeti is in Africa. Yes, we know that the Serengeti is a place where lions roar and eagles soar, where hyenas laugh and hippos lounge–thanks Disney!–but what exactly is the Serengeti? How does it operate? And for our purposes, what region of the Serengeti is best suited for safari?

Look no further. This post is all about the WHAT, the WHY, and the WHERE of the Serengeti. Where exactly is the Serengeti, and in what sections do safaris typically travel? Because the word Serengeti quite literally means “endless plains” or “the place that rolls on forever,” in local Maasai language. Here, without a compass you could get turned around. Consider this post your compass.

Quick History: The Serengeti’s Beginnings

Sometimes mythical places like the Serengeti—or, say, the Egyptian Pyramids, Mount Everest, or the Amazon rainforest—fold so deeply in our imaginations that we forget to realize their true dimensions. To drill down and learn more about their history and nuance is to inject meaning into these destinations. Becuase the Serengeti is so vast (so vast, in fact, that it should be on everyone’s bucket list: here), let’s waste no time.

 At its most basic level, the Serengeti ecosystem is a region of outstanding biodiversity that straddles the political borders of Kenya and Tanzania (mostly in Tanzania). For millennia, these plains were virtually unknown to the outside world, until the end of the 19th century, when Austrian explorers first entered the scene, opening a floodgate of imperial hunting camps.

Wildlife numbers dropped precipitously, until the British ended hunting in a large portion of the area, which would become the Serengeti National Park. The size of Northern Ireland, this park now teems with over 2 million ungulates—wildebeest, gazelles, zebra, and innumerable other species. In 1981, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Learn more here.

Serengeti vs. Serengeti National Park.

Hearing travelers interchange the words “Serengeti” and “Serengeti National Park” is about as common as seeing a blue-balled vervet monkey swinging from the Tanzanian canopy. Technically, they are not the same thing. The Serengeti National Park is a protected area that extends 14,000 sq. kilometers (5,700 square miles) but lives within the greater Serengeti Ecosystem, a much larger region at 30,000 sq. km (12,000 sq miles). The Serengeti includes this national park plus several game reserves.

 For our purposes, we will be focusing on Serengeti National Park, the crown jewel of the region, a destination that receives over 350,000 visitors annually.

Four Regions of the Serengeti: Central (Seronera), Western Corridor, Northern, Southern

When dropping into Serengeti National Park, it can sometimes feel like you had been playing in the kiddie pool all your life and now, all of the sudden: BAM! You are in the deep end now and you must quickly orient yourself. Worry not: Easy Travel is here to help.

Each experienced driver-guide knows every nook and cranny of this park, and will provide you with much-needed context along the way. To give you a general sense of the region and all of its parts before you arrive, here’s a look at the four main regions of the Serengeti: Central (Seronera), Western Corridor, Northern, and Southern.

Region 1. Central (Seronera) Serengeti

If you only had one option for where to maximize your chance of seeing the most amount of wildlife in the least amount of time, better travel to Seronera. In both April and November, wildebeest will be migrating through here en masse. Though you will likely find several other outfitters in this area, this is considered the central heartbeat for the Serengeti. The Seronera River has one of the highest densities of leopards on the planet. Think postcard stretches of savannah, towering acacia and baobab trees, and you.

Region 2. Western Corridor and Grumeti

Spin your Serengeti dial west and you reach the Western Corridor and the infamous Grumeti River, one of the most dramatic river crossings for the millions of wildebeest that migrate endlessly in search of grasslands and water. The Great Migration makes its way to the Western Corridor late-May through June, and it is here where you will see wildebeest threading past lions and leopards and Nile crocodiles—some over 20 feet long (6.5m)!

Region 3. Northern Serengeti

By the beginning of July, the migration makes its way north to the upper, lesser-visited reaches of the park, where most of the animals will remain until September. Here you will find more woodlands and hills, along with the main highlight, the Mara River. During this period, wildebeest will cross the river several times, and, like the Grumeti River, these passages can be deadly. Here is some incredible footage of the scale of wildebeest at the Mara River: 

Region 4: Southern Serengeti

The Southern Region - Serengeti National Park - Safari

Southern Serengeti consists of short-grass plains, and it’s technically where the Great Migration begins. From December to March, wildebeests begin to grow and congregate in number in the south, in regions around Lake Ndutu, shared by both the Ngorongoro and the Serengeti. For a full look at Easy Travel’s Migration tour options, click here.

Bottom Line?

The Serengeti isn’t just some ephemeral dreamscape, but a real one, an ecosystem thriving off its millions of animals, its migrations, its predator and prey drama. It is all one seething mass of life and beauty, and to better understand these various pockets before arriving will give you an advantage. If the migration is what you’re focused on, tracking their movements will help you understand where they’re likely headed in any given season. Here’s our take on the best time of year to view the migration. Takeaway? There’s never a dull moment in the Serengeti. Each of the four regions offer unparalleled adventure and unique encounters with some of the most stunning creatures on the planet.

Getting You There?

Contact Easy Travel today to start charting out your Serengeti adventure. Our exceptional customer service staff thrive off of building custom trips that work with your busy life and specific goals on safari.

What’s the Difference Between Small Group Safaris and Private Safaris?

Couple On A Private Safari Tour In Tanzania

Safari Scenario #1:

Smells of scrambled eggs and tea wake you up before your alarm does. You and your partner rise slowly in your personal bush tent surrounded by Serengeti National Park. Stomach growling, you head to the breakfast table where a hot meal is being served. Four others in your group greet you.

The morning is cool and your group has a full day of game drives ahead so you double up on caffeine. Everyone is chatting and laughing, sharing how they slept, what they dreamed of, and what they’re most excited to see today. You slurp the last of your tea, then load into the Land Cruiser for another exciting day in the African bush.

You all agreed to rotate seats each day and today you get the front seat. Your new friend from the group offers a cold bottle of mineral water from the vehicle’s built-in cooler. You take it, thank him, and turn to face the beautiful sunrise. Game on.

Basic Tour Lunch In Tanzania With Easy Travel

Safari Scenario #2:

On your own time, you wake up in the comfort of a cozy safari lodge looking out from the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater. It’s almost too much beauty to handle this early in the morning.

Breakfast is ready for you in the eating area. Over a delicious meal your personal guide gives you and your partner an overview of today’s agenda, but stresses that these are only options. This is your tour, he says. You have chosen a private tour and that means you have your own vehicle, your own guide, and your own wild adventure.

Following breakfast, you place your bags in the back of the Land Cruiser and start the morning game drive deep into the caldera, beginning your very own romantic safari dream, just the two of you.

Luxury Safari Experience With Our Small Group Tours

Private or Shared Safari? It’s a Question of Priorities…

The two scenarios above give you a wee glimpse into the varied experiences of waking up to either a small group safari or private tour. As with anything in life, every choice has their merits and limitations. As you decide what version of safari travel suits you best, ask yourself this:

What is it that motivates you to safari? Are you interested in witnessing wildlife and wild places at any cost or are you keen on experiencing safari while also being conscious of funds? Are you willing to share vehicles and meals with others? How much control would you prefer over the day-to-day itinerary?

Easy Travel offers both small group tours and private safaris, and we want you to have all the essential information before making your decision. Because we know: going on safari is a big deal—quite possibly the biggest trip of your life—so it’s super important that to do your homework first.

To help you, we’ve crafted a comprehensive overview of the differences between small group tours and private safaris. By the end, you will have no problem knowing which category you fit into:

Small Group Safaris: The Socializing Shilling-Saver

Small Group Tour Vehicle On Safari

Experiences of a lifetime are rarely just about the places you travel, but also who you traveled with. Some of my most indelible moments abroad weren’t just because I discovered some paradise. Often it was about the company I was with and our collective energy that infused the place with such magic.

Choosing a small group tour saves you money, cultivates patience by working with others, helps you relax (safety in numbers!), and enables you to share bucket-list experiences with others, something that seems to only increase the power of experience. Plus, you’ll walk away with lifelong friends from around the world, all sharing a most potent experience–the great Tanzanian wilds. (Source)

To choose a small group tour with Easy Travel — either Basic or Comfort — is to share transportation and resources with others (maximum seven per group), while also looking out for each other. It is the most economical option for solo travelers, pairs, and groups of three. (Insider tip: If you are a group of 4 or more, booking a private tour can actually be similar in price, or cheaper!)

So whether you are scaling Mount Kilimanjaro or scanning the Serengeti for rhinos and cheetah, think of a small group option as adding several pairs of eyes to your own, helping you to witness the full beauty of Tanzania and not miss a thing. Learn more about Small Group Tours here

Private Safari: The Intrepid, Freedom-Seeking Romantic

What is more powerful than to have a safari all to yourself (and/or your partner)? With Easy Travel’s private tours you gain exclusive use of a safari vehicle, along with your personal guide, from beginning to end. You choose your level of amenities—Basic, Comfort, or Comfort Plus—and we take you to your desired locations in custom style.

Sure, private tours are more expensive, but what you receive is a different level of customization, intimacy, and privacy. Our expert guides know every nook and cranny of Tanzania, and yet it is ultimately you who gets to decide where to do and what to see. With Easy Travel private tours, we’re the pilot but you’re the navigator. Learn more about private tours here

The Bottom Line…

Tanzania is waiting for you. Seriously. Right now this large, friendly country on the east coast of Africa teems with sharp-toothed animals, cone-shaped volcanoes, baby-blue oceans, and sandy beaches that beg for your wiggling toes, your piercing eyes, and your thumping heart. From joining a tight-knit group of other adventurers to choosing your own adventure with a private tour, it’s your call.

More extroverted and budget-conscious? Small groups can be a fantastic option. Less concerned about money and more concerned about privacy and itinerary control? Private tours might be for you. Either way, contact us today and let us find the right fit for you. Tanzania is waiting.

Getting You There?

Easy Travel offers many options for you to plan your journey of a lifetime and to witness the Big Five in Tanzania. Our guides all have decades of experience and know where, and when to go. Whether you are looking for a Small group tour or a Private Safari, we have something for everyone. Or are you interested in your own Tailor Made tour? Contact Us today to get started.