We’re Here!

We left San Diego on June 8 and arrived Tanzania on June 10. Our routing was pretty bizarre, LA to Istanbul to Dar Es Salaam and finally Arusha. Arusha is a “regional” airport and that description is being kind. The baggage pick up was a red wooden table and the passenger arrival area was a tent with folding chairs. Pretty quaint.

We were picked up by Tauck’s representative, Richard, and he will be one of our drivers on the tour. There are 17 on tour and I think he said 4 vehicles. We drove through the town of Arusha and there is absolutely nothing to do. So, bring a book, download some movies and prepare to hang out. There is a pool, sauna and gym at the hotel. Richard said that last year Tanzania had almost no tourist season and the locals are thrilled to have people coming again.

The hotel is only a year old and very nice. WiFi connection and USB ports. The room is large and there is a balcony to sit out on. The grounds are beautiful, the staff is friendly and helpful. We discovered a small artist workshop, Sanaa, located just off the grounds of the hotel. The artists are disabled adults from the community who have been trained in skills such as sewing, weaving and glass blowing. We were given a tour of the workshop and introduced to the artists.

Our luggage didn’t make our connection in Istanbul. Luckily, I had asked our TD for
his phone number before we left, so I was able to contact him via What’s App and he was very helpful. Just found out that our luggage made it to Kilimanjaro and a rep from Tauck is picking it up for us. Oh happy day!

There is a roof top restaurant where we had lunch and the breakfast buffet was very nice. Weather is perfect for touring, cloudy and mid 70’s. Just right!

We just found out that Covid tests are no longer required to enter the US, so that takes the stress off of finding out you can’t go home. No one is wearing a mask. Very few people wore them on the plane. We were one of the few wearing masks.

We start out tomorrow for our first adventure!






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Comments

  • Thanks for your report Pam, it’s good to see photos of the new hotel.
    I’ve still never heard of anyone who has taken the route you did to get to Arusha. I think you may have mentioned this before. Did you, your agent or Tauck chose the route?
    You are going to have a fantastic time, wish I was there!

  • I loved the hotel, was there last September, did a tour of the markets and downtown Arusha with Richard who also picked us up from the airport, it was entertaining.

  • Thanks for update PamW. I'm the October 15 trip and cannot wait to go. Will be interested to hear more of your adventures and pictures.

  • Have a great adventure! I loved Tanzania so much; it is the first country that hooked me on Africa. I still treasure my souvenirs from that wonderful artist workshop.

  • edited June 11

    Glad you made it PamW. We will be there in two weeks. Our routing is a little more direct. SFO to Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro. The Arusha airport is where you will land when returning from the Four Seasons. Say hello to Bill for us … Mike and Eloise.

  • Enjoy, we will be there on the July 20 trip. NYC to Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro—although I am concerned about the problems that KLM has had in Amsterdam.

  • I have been watching AMS also. I think the problems are mostly getting into the airport. If that is the case I don’t know that connections would be affected, unless you were going domestic to international. We just need the flights to be on time, as we do not have a lot of connect time. I have done this exact itinerary before and it was not a problem … fingers crossed.

  • PamW, thanks for the report. We are going on the August 20 tour and really getting excited! We’ll be on KLM from ORD thru AMS and on to Arusha. Looking forward to your future reports.

  • Sealord, I think you posted about getting your VISAS for this trip with visas. My husband and I are on the August 24th trip and we can't get the Tanzania site to work and can't get our photos down loaded. I looked into Visa Central and I think I would run into the same problem trying to get the photos to them. Will I also have to send my passport to them and wait to get it back? Which Visa place do you go through, Nairobi , New York or ? Is there any way I can get some help with this through an agency or Tauck? Any advice will be helpful.

  • We went through Visa Central in 2019 and it or it’s equivalent the previous two times as Tauck changed the original visa company they used to work with. We had to send passports and photos then. We would probably do it from the website now, partly because it’s cheaper and you don’t have to send away your passport. Maybe the site was not working when you tried.

  • Debi Horan: I did not use a service. I applied directly on the embassy websites. Yes. The size of the files for the required documents for upload is a bit tedious. Your grandchildren can probably help you. (;-). I think there is a 300 kb size limit and your photos or scans are probably a number of megabytes. When you scan your documents select something like ‘medium’ instead of ‘large’ or ‘original’. Or find software that lets you resize the images. That should solve your problem I think. AlanS may see this and provide more help. I’m a novice at this. But, I made it work. The first application took a long time. The second was done in a few minutes.

  • There are a couple of ways to resize photos. I use a software that came bundled with Windows- MS Picture Manager, but there are others you can download for free or upload your pics to.

  • Thank you for the help. My son-in-law at least got the photos into the correct size. But he couldn't figure out how to get them onto the document spaces. On Monday, we will hope the IT guy comes to work at my husband's business but he is not a Mac guy. I wish I could just bring everything to someone! I have spent two days on this so far and don't have even one done!

  • @Debi Horan - Like Sealord I have successfully done the e-visa applications on my own. Which country's e-visa are you having trouble with when you say you don't know how to get them onto the document spaces? You don't see places to click on a file and then upload it, or to drop and drag?

  • edited June 12

    Debi … you all are missing something ‘obvious’. I don’t remember the form clearly, but there is a box or button or something you click on that says something like ‘upload documents’. You click on it and then select the files wherever you stashed them on your computer or iPad. If you are doing that and the file will not ‘upload’ then the file is probably still too large.

  • Hello All, I and my grandson are scheduled on July13 trip. I did the same trip in 2014 with another grandson…and Seth as TD. Was wonderful!! We are very excited. I have a question regarding the no plastic bags in luggage etc. Since TSA requires carry ons have small plastic bag…are you not carrying on liquids & packing all in luggage…with no plastic of course? Any suggestions?
    Also what is the KLM problem you are mentioning ? We are flying LAX -AMS-Kilimanjaro. We also have a very short time in between flights. Hoping LAX takes off on time 🤞

  • I did find out about the plastic bags. Nosingle use "zip lock" type plastic bags but at CVS or Target type stores they sell TSA approved size "reusable" bags with real zippers that will work. Or at travel specialty stores.

  • I did get 2 photos to go on one application but I, and my daughter, couldn't get a picture of our return flight info picture down to the right size to load. Will still work on it. May end up at there Apple Store for help.

  • Thank you Debi….that’s very helpful information. Good luck with the Visa stuff!!

  • This is what I recently got from our TD for this tour who is in Africa right now:

    “ Kenya and Tanzania have passed laws against the use of plastic bags. I have not seen an enforcement of this law. But all three governments asks you not to bring throw away plastic bags like the ones you go to the store with. Ziploc and reusable are fine plastic bags to bring.”

  • I just read recently that zip lock bags are also banned. You can find the small ziplock size reusable rubbery bags on Amazon. And other sizes.that’s what we took in 2019

  • edited June 14

    Well Pam, I’m guessing you had a great lunch in the crater yesterday, and are having way too much fun to mess with your iPad. I’m guessing you are on your way to the Serengeti today. We have our old Tauck Eagle Creek duffels out and the packing has begun.

  • Thank you, Debi Horan, for the phone number and info about the Journey Preparation Center. We called today and the helped tremendously in completing our visa applications for Kenya and Tanzania. It still took awhile, but using Tauck’s Journey Prep team made it so much easier than it might have been.

  • We are at the Four Seasons in the Serengeti and it is everything that everybody says it is. Magnificent. Our routing was absolutely a nightmare and I had a feeling it was going to result in chaos. My TA, Pavlus, made the arrangements. Originally, it was LAX to Istanbul, then to Kilimanjaro. Something along the way was cancelled and we ended up with flying all over Tanzania. Went 5 days without luggage, but we muddled through with what we packed in our carry on. We always pack enough for 2 to 3 days.

    The weather is delightful. The weather at the crater was very chilly. Had to purchase a heavy sweatshirt from the hotel.

    I am going to link a few photos here for your viewing pleasure.

    Link to Serengeti Photos Day 1 and 2:
    https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared/p-yV2nO3RvOy_QO8QuuPFw.c1OP7obaeM-mQZtktrBZvP

    link to Photos from Ngorongo Crater:

    https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared/vGHH88zCRBu1lvmGVZl8QQ.nZQb8b7QqVcMJ_HnlOYJMs

  • edited June 15

    PamW
    8:16AM

    Before your first report, we were all wondering how your roundabout routing would work out. At least it got you there and you eventually got your luggage.

    Have there been any animals at the 4 Seasons pool? When we were there in 2015, the only animals we saw at the hotel were a Klipspringer family, two adults and a baby, below the walkway near the entrance to our room. We never saw a single elephant or any other animals at the watering hole near the pool! :/

    Enjoy the rest of your safari!!

    At first I couldn't get the Amazon photo viewer to open- it wanted a password, but seems to be working now. Great photos. What is that in the last photo- it looks like a serval. What a great sighting!! :D

  • edited June 15

    Well, you know we didn’t care for the Four Seasons. We were there in Dec 2019, the swimming pool is unheated, the pool is a big draw for me, the only pool I have not been able to swim in ever became it was freezing. Smarks had bugs all over her room and the Dining room was extremely dark. There was only one other table occupied in the dining room and there were complaints that our group of about 8 were too noisy. I was concerned about the pool problem because we are planning a Bridges tour in 2024, thank goodness Tauck seem to not go there in 2023, so I hope it’s the same in 2024

  • PamW, great pics. Thanks for posting. They get me even more excited about our August 20 safari!

  • PamW, great pictures, when I was at the Four Seasons last September we had a lot of elephants come to the pool at night, it was lovely.!
    I've tried to upload pictures but have not been able to do it.!

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