To tailor make or not to tailor make, that is the question....

Many companies promote that they can customise and / or "tailor make" your safari adventure in Tanzania or any other African country for that matter. So what does it really mean, and is it really necessary?

At the lowest level you have the ready packaged trip, where your choice is when to travel, the destination (country) and possibly an alternative or two in terms of hotels and lodges, but the trip is pretty much set as it is sold.

Then you have the "tailor made" trips. Promoted as a customised trip, but in reality you basically have an option between a few parks/areas and a bit more selection on the lodge and hotel side. But is that really tailor made?

In our opinion to be able to call a trip tailor made, you should have very few limitations in terms of what you can and can not include. For a trip to be truly tailor made, your safari planner / expert, need to have expert competence in several areas so that you are able to get in-depth comparisons of areas, seasons, ideal combinations and of course lodges, camps and hotels that are to be included. A safari planner should have personally visited all these places to be able to provide the proper guidance to you as a traveler. Second hand advise and knowledge is simply not good enough when in comes to our continent, as things can change dramatically from one year to another. And even from one season to another. For example; visiting an area in two different seasons within the same year, can provide a very different experience, and your planner should be able to explain, discuss and share this knowledge with you, so that you are able to make the right choices for YOUR trip.

Do you really need a tailor made safari, isn't that for the advanced experts?

On the contrary! The less experience you have in terms of traveling in and around Africa, the greater the need to have an expert / safari planner. The reason is that there is so much to choose from, so to get proper advise on what to do, when to visit and where to stay -could be crucial for your trip. Besides, tailor made should actually not cost you any more

. We believe this should be included as part of the service for all companies selling and promoting Africa. Both for security reasons, and also for the "flow" of the adventure itself.

Getting your African adventure tailor made by an expert safari planner, is most likely the best "travel insurance" you can get! After all, it's YOUR adventure, not just "anybody´s vacation".

Updated: Dec 18, 2018

This is a question we get a lot. In truth -it rarely matters, as Tanzania can be visited all year around! That being said, not all areas are perfect all year around and not all activities can be experienced all year around. So to be able to provide you with the best possible advise, you have to be clear about your priorities. Is time of travel the most important or a specific area?

You should start your planning by selecting one of the below options as your starting point:

- You have a specific time that you want to travel

- You have a specific area you would like to visit or a special activity you would like to do

If you have a specific time you would like to travel, you should be open to advise on which areas to visit. And on the other side, if your most important wish is to experience or visit a specific place/event, you should be open to when to go, to get the most value out of your trip.

A few basic inputs:

SAFARI

In short, safari can be experienced all year around!

In the Northern part of Tanzania (Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire, Lake Manyara), all areas can be visited all year around. However, especially July-August and late December should be avoided if possible, as it can be completely overcrowded. The Southern areas (Selous, Mikumi, Udzungwa, Ruaha) should be avoided in the period from March through May due to the possibility of quite a bit of rain that could affect your game-drive. If you prefer the extreme remoteness of Katavi and chimpanzee trekking in Mahale and Gombe in the Western part, try to stick to the months August to October.

Different wildlife areas have different "features" and the animals location and behaviour can change dramatically within the same area during different times of year. And the same goes with the scenery. For the best game drive possibilities, you want to avoid the tall grass. Than being said, the most amazing safari scenery and experiences are usually when there has been a bit of rain so that everything is lush and green!

"So you can for example visit an area, and then come back a couple of months later and the transformation can be incredible depending on the amount of rain that area has had.

BEACH

If beach is an important part of your trip to Tanzania, you should avoid the months of late March, April & May as the weather could be wet and grey. From November through February, you could also experience a shower now and then, but it rarely affects your beach experience.

KILIMANJARO

Well, this is a tricky one because the weather on the mountain can be really unpredictable. Also because the different routes on the mountain can have big difference in weather. So two climbers going at the same time, starting from different sides of the mountain, can have completely different weather on the way to the top. But in short, statistically August to mid-October is the period where you statistically would experience the driest weather. If you prefer the other side of the year, the second week of February normally provides a weather change that is preferable for climbers.

If you are after great deals, November and early December is a good time to go, as well as May on the Northern parts of Tanzania and June in the South.

If you want further details and knowledge, you can check out the "Weather & Climate" section on this page:

https://www.tanzaniaexplorer.com/about-tanzania or the "When to go" section on this page in our safariguideguide for beginners https://www.tanzaniaexplorer.com/safari-for-beginners

Since we tailor make every single trip for our traveler, we need to ensure we have a wide variety of lodges and camps on safari. There are a lot of variety of different types of accommodation to choose from. You have lodges, tented lodges, camps, semi-permanent camps, bandas, mud-huts and the list goes on and on. And within the different types of accommodation, you have all standards. For example you can have a budget lodge, and a luxury mud hut. So just because we chose a certain type of accommodation does not mean it has a specific standard. (You can also read more about this in our "Safariguide for beginners".)

Although there are all types for accommodations, we judge all places by the same parameters, but we have different expectation levels based on their prices

We have a total of over 30 elements we judge a camp or lodge by, in 5 main categories:

- SERVICE

This starts already when we make a request to the lodge or camp. If they are late replying to us when it comes to request for rates & bookings, it often represents the attitude of the company in general. Hospitality and the welcoming feeling at the lodge is of course extremely important, but even more important is the swift response while at the lodge if something is not in order. Like no hot water, meals served on time when expected (especially breakfast and lunchboxes before safari), and also the general level of "felt-safety" while staying at a lodge.

- CLEANLINESS

This is of course a given, but its more than just not finding dirt in your room or tent. The most important thing here is health protocols for the place, in terms of how they prepare food, how they clean dishes etc. And on top of this health protocol is ensuring they do not use any kind of contaminated water in the preparation of food, producing ice-cubes etc.

- FOOD

We say that amazing food can save a mediocre safari day or a mediocre camp/lodge, but that mediocre food can destroy the whole safari experience and even the most amazing lodges (appearance wise). Food is such a big part of the whole safari experience, and we expect a lot from our accommodation partners here. As with the SERVICE, we have the element of time. Especially when you eat breakfast in the morning, good routines from the camp in how to produce quality food in a short amount of time (egg-order for instance), is VITAL as we want to get you out rolling in the safari car as early as possible each morning.

- SLEEPING QUALITY

Naturally, the quality of the mattress and the bed itself is important here. But if you don't feel safe in the environment you are in, it does not matter. So within this category comes the element of safety during night, good briefing at the lodge about "potential dangers", night watch, as well as the feeling of privacy in your own tent/room.

- LOCATION

You have probably heard the term "location, location, location -it´s all about location" when it comes to placement of stores etc. Well, there are no industry where this is more applicable than the safari industry. If you come to Tanzania with the object to experience the wildlife and being close to nature, it does not matter if your lodge is high luxury if it is placed in the wrong location. The "location-category" is divided into 3 parts:

1. Special scenery from the lodge/camp. Like overlooking a river, great viewpoint, "bush-feel", etc.

2. Being close to wildlife experience and animal wildlife so that you don't have to spend half-the day driving to an exciting area, and half the day getting back to camp. Remember that the most special moments on safari is normally in the early morning and late afternoon when animals are most active.

3. Sensible location in terms of where you are coming from, and where you are going after this particular stay, like the next lodge etc.

Hope this short-list gave you some inputs and insights on how we choose the lodges for our traveler, and what you should think about when contemplating where to stay for your next safari adventure in Tanzania.

What kind of safari accommodation do you prefer?