Musoma, Tanzania

Living in Oman means that I’m so much closer to many parts of the world, including Africa. Africa was not on my ‘must do’ travel list, mainly due to the cost of getting there from Sydney coupled with the cost of a safari. I always thought it may be somewhere I’d travel to one day, but it was not on the bucket list. I have been pleasantly surprised with many places I originally had no great intention of travelling to, but due to circumstances, had decided to visit. And Tanzania was no exception.

I had to be out of Oman due to visa requirements and preferred to go somewhere somewhat interesting for a week, rather than simply spending a weekend in Dubai. I intended to travel somewhere reasonably close which wouldn’t cost me a fortune. After considering a few destinations, I decided on flying to Nairobi and visiting either Kenya or Tanzania. I initially wasn’t sure which country to visit. The drawcards for Kenya were Masai Mara National Park and a visit to a Masai village. And for Tanzania, I was keen to visit Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. After a bit of online research and weighing up some pros and cons, I decided to go with Tanzania.

Being a solo-traveller for this trip, I looked into various tours of Tanzania. Private tours were out of my price range, so I opted to join a group tour organise by Intrepid Travel. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Our first stop after departing Nairobi was Musoma, on the shores of Lake Victoria. We had a wonderful campsite by the lake and spent an afternoon exploring the nearby villages on push-bikes with a local guide. The village children were so excited to see us, running out of their homes to wave to us as we rode by. Although they do see westerners now and then, they were still overjoyed by the sight of ‘white people’. We stopped by some local markets and in a couple of the villages, to see how the people live and to talk to some of the locals. Many of the children were initially rather shy and embarrassed to have their picture taken, but they quickly warmed to us and were more than happy to pose. Although the people live an extremely simple life, the children seem more than happy to play outside with one another. Unlike in western countries where children are increasingly home bound and isolated, you can see that these children in Musoma have a great sense of community.

After a night by Lake Victoria, we headed towards Serengeti National Park for two days of game drives.

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Essentials

Getting there:
Nairobi airport is the hub for east Africa. You can fly to either Arusha or Dar Es Salaam, but flights are usually cheaper and more frequent to and from Nairobi. There are a number of tour companies which operate out of Arusha, quick cuts your travel time to and from Nairobi. So if you’re short on time and happy to pay a few extra dollars, this may be the way to go.

Tour:
There are a plethora of companies offering tours in Tanzania. There are a number of factors which go into selecting the right operator for you: a private or group tour, camping or lodges, budget, travel time, itineraries, safety, etc. So take your time contacting a few companies, asking questions and making comparisons. It could make a difference in making your trip enjoyable.

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