Monthly Archives: February 2015

The secret language of Zanzibar’s doors

Zanzibar Door

Wonderfully carved doors hiding the traditional Zanzibari homeplaces, owned once upon a time by rich merchants and traders. Having a walk around Stone Town, you will see lot of these unique artifacts – a traditional crafting expression that nowadays is still a must in the archipelago.

Not everybody know, but the there is a meaning behind each centimeter of these complicated depictions. When building a new house, the first part was the door: not just for safety reasons, but also as a kind of “business card” of the inhabitants.

Stone Town was divided into ethnic and economic districts, often more specialised in a certain trade rather than others. At a good observer’s sight the difference is clear: not all doors look the same. Styles and symbols change depending on different cultural roots.

A few common figures are the key to “read” a Zanzibari door. Flowers indicate a high class family. Chains are the symbol of a slaves trader. Fishes and ropes represent a businessman dealing with fishing and vessels. Geometric shapes were for mathematicians and accountants. Beads mean jewellers. And so on…

Along bazaar streets, you’ll see mostly the Indian type: built for security purpose as first, these doors are less decorated, reinforced and studded with dhow nails. The second type are Arabic doors, richer in carving with visible symbols and Koranic scripts.

Next time you visit Stone Town, pay a little bit of attention. Every door locking a house will open instead a window on a story of times gone by.

The Wild South, in style…

When you choose your safari off the mainstream routes, it doesn’t mean that you have to give up about comfort and luxury. On the contrary, many extraordinary camps and lodges are located right in the middle of the wilderness of the Southern Circuit of Tanzania.

It’s good to choose these destinations, especially for the ones looking for something unique and classy but a little bit away from the crowd. Here we are, once more, to introduce the best of the best from our catalogue. Let’s have a look!

Beho Beho – Selous

Beho Beho is the first camp in Selous that isn’t located on the banks or the flood plains of the Rufiji River, but in the cooler highlands. Designed as a ‘private camp’, it creates the true ‘essence’ of a safari refuge: a luxurious base camp from which to explore on foot, by boat or by open safari cruiser the splendours of one of the largest game reserves in the world. The stone built and palm thatched cottages are not only a refuge from the equatorial sun, they are not just for sleeping; these spacious suites are designed as private homes with individuality and flair. Lounges, dining areas, cocktail bar and ‘billiards room’ are the sophisticated setting for post safari relaxation.

Jongomero – Ruaha

In the middle of Ruana National Park, this camp is tucked below a dappled riverine canopy on the banks of the Jongomero sand river, so that the camp bar, lounge and restaurant enjoy an incredible view – an open wooden terrace shaded by a high thatched roof and filled with sumptuous sofas and striking furniture made of reclaimed dhow wood. Accommodation comprises eight large and well-appointed tented suites, built on raised wooden platforms, under enormous thatched roofs that also encompass a spacious private veranda which overlooks the riverbed. The quintessence of luxury in the wilds.

Kigelia Camp – Ruaha

Located in the best wildlife area of the Ruaha National Park, Kigelia is a simple tented bushcamp offering all the comforts you need while enjoying one of the best kept big game secrets in East Africa. It’s a perfect spot from which to explore. Only six tents where to experience camping like you never tried before – airy tents that provide shelter from the elements without detracting from the beauty of the natural bush setting… The tents are well furnished with locally crafted pale wood furniture and there’s a hot safari-style bucket shower under the stars (the showers are en-suite but outdoors), and a flush loo.

Siwandu – Selous

Sheltered in a grove of palms on the shores of Lake Nzerakera, Siwandu is perfectly situated to experience the breathtaking landscape and wildlife of Selous Game Reserve. Siwandu’s accommodation ensures maximum privacy and every opportunity to soak up the sights and sounds of Selous. The spacious octagonal tents of canvas and secure mosquito netting and topped in thatch, not only allows for constant air-flow, but also enables guests to gaze upon the animals as they saunter past. A positive note about the kitchen, where all meals are complimented by a good wine selection. No movement between camps is required as each has its own host, guides, swimming pool, game vehicles and jetty for boat safaris.

Under the sea!

The Indian Ocean is like a wonderful gift box. Can you figure out how many creatures live in the sea of Tanzania and Zanzibar? Many, colorful and extraordinary ones! The coral reef itself is alive, and home at the same time for species of fishes, shellfishes and marine predators.

Let’s have a look!

What’s your way to climb Kilimanjaro?

So… your next challenge has been chosen, and you’re ready for it: time to climb the Mount Kilimanjaro! It’s a once in a lifetime experience, and every detail is important for a successful adventure.

As first, the route you’re going to take. Kilimanjaro is wide; you can start climbing from different sides, planning more or less days to reach the summit, adapting the trekking to your real level of training.

It’s all about combining properly all these factors. The advice of an expert is important indeed. In the meantime, you can get a general idea reading our suggestions in this article.

Machame Route

The most popular way to Uhuru Peak. You can find a bit of everything along the way – it’s scenic and various, not the easiest but anyways good for acclimatization. You will need to do camping, as there is not accommodation in huts along this way. Ascent and descent are different, it means great vistas of Kilimanjaro. Additionally, Machame visits stunning places such as Shira Plateau, Barranco, and Lava Tower.
7 days advised

Marangu Route

The easiest and the cheapest, as well as the most suitable for regular tourists. Because the ascent is gradual, it is told to be feasible also for not trained people. There are comfortable sleeping huts along the way, so it’s not required to do camping. Scenically it is not the best route compared to all the others: it confines climbers to one area of the mountain, thus limiting the variety; aside ascent and descent follow the same way. However, Marangu has the best trail in the rainforest section of the trek.
6 days advised

Rongai Route

This is another easy way to get to the summit, but more quiet and less crowded than Marangu. It starts from the very Northern side of Kilimanjaro, nearby the border with Kenya. It is probably the only route where seeing wildlife in the first days is possible. Scenically it is beautiful because it travels through an unspoiled rainforest and remote wilderness area; but anyways not such various as as Machame, Lemosho and Shira.
7 days advised

Lemosho Route

The best of the best, if you are an experienced climber! This is the longest and most various route to the summit of Kilimanjaro, not easy but recommended for well trained and experienced climbers. It is also the most expensive, but for real passionates of trekking and climbing it is really worthing the price. Besides it’s very good for acclimatization, so the success rate is high despite the difficulty. At one point it combines with Machame Route, crossing the Shira Plateau and other spectacular viewpoints.
8 days advised

Shira Route

This route is more extreme and challenging about acclimatization. In fact the first part across the rainforest is done by car, and the trekking starts at a higher altitude. It’s less beaten until it combines with Machame route, it’s as well scenic and crosses amazing viewpoints. It’s one of the most expensive routes as well, although the success rate is lower. It’s not enough to be expert and well trained when you choose this way; this is for very motivated climbers, who are really looking for challenge and who are ready to a possible fail as well.
7 days advised

Umbwe Route

The most difficult way to get to the summit of Kilimanjaro. It’s steep and doesn’t offer much space for acclimatization, and because of this reason the success rate is quite low. This is the choice for extreme and very well trained climbers, whose goal is mainly the challenge. This is the reason why this is also the less used track of Kilimanjaro.
7 days advised

And now… are you ready to leave to a great adventure that you’ll never forget? Ask our experts, sending an email to We’ll be happy to assist you the best way possible!