Ultimate backpacking guide for Kenya and Tanzania

Two paradises in one trip. Animal wildlife paradise, where you can see all the animals that have been and have been released (the only way that should be allowed). Underwater paradise, you can discover life under the surface on the extensive coasts of Kenya and Tanzania and their islands. A paradise of beaches, both the coasts of Kenya and Zanzibar offer some of the best beaches in the world for all types of budgets and pockets.

But you can also get to know the most unknown and underdeveloped Africa, discover its great capitals and “slums”, interact with locals and see the reality of Africa from up close.

Everything you need to know for your trip to Kenya and Tanzania:

  1. Best time of year to visit Kenya and Tanzania
  2. Best tips for Kenya and Tanzania
  3. 15-day route through Kenya and Tanzania
    1. Day 1: Nairobi
    2. Days 2 to 6: Diani (Coast of Mombasa)
    3. Days 7 to 9: Moshi
    4. Days 10 to 13: Safari (Tarangire, Serengeti and Ngorongoro)
    5. Days 14 to 17: Zanzibar
  4. Kenya and Tanzania daily budget
  5. Where to stay in Kenya and Tanzania
  6. What to do in Kenya and Tanzania if you have more time

Official exchange rate 1EUR = 130 KES (Kenyan Shillings)

Official exchange rate 1EUR = 2,750 TZS (Tanzania Shillings)

Best time of year to visit Kenya and Tanzania

The funny thing is that both destinations at the same time of year have quite different climates, this is because part of Kenya is in the northern hemisphere and Tanzania is in the southern hemisphere.

  • In Kenya the dry season usually runs from June to October and December to March as far as the interior of the country is concerned. The best time to visit the Maasai Mara is usually in July and August, when you can see the great wildebeest migration crossing from the Serengeti (Tanzania) to the Maasai Mara. On the other hand, the coast tends to be a more constant climate throughout the year, despite being marked by those two great seasons, the days tend to get cloudy, with short but intense rains, clear mornings and it is usually covered again in the afternoon.
  • Tanzania enjoys a climate quite similar to that of Kenya, the same rainy seasons although somewhat shorter between March and May the first and December and January the second. Which causes the Serengeti to dry up earlier and generate the great migration in July and August. The coast of Tanzania or Zanzibar usually has a tropical climate with intense and predictable, but short rains and with constant temperatures throughout the year between 22ºC and 28ºC of minimum and maximum on average.

Contrary to what you may have preconceived about Africa, if this is your first visit, take a jacket because indoors the nights are usually cold, especially if you are going on safari and you end up sleeping in the open.

Best tips for Kenya and Tanzania

The first thing you should be clear about is that despite being less developed countries and apparently more affordable for our pockets, this is an expensive trip to which you should allocate a good budget. Safaris are expensive, private transport is usually expensive and whatever the color of your skin they will quickly identify you as a tourist and your price for things will be different.

  • Do not book anything in advance in your home country! For three reasons. One for your pocket, you can save a lot of money by reserving everything once there, without exaggerating I am talking about saving 60% on the total price of your safari. Second, if you reserve at source, less money stays in the hands of local families and businesses. This is a sustainable way with a positive impact on the local economy. Finally, don’t worry, there will always be a jeep to take you on safari or a car to take you on an excursion and you can do whatever excursion you want whenever you want. More information on how to get a safari at a good price in my other post.
  • Be patient with transportation: Pole Pole is probably one of the first words you will learn in Swahili. The road networks are usually not very good, the maximum speeds in much of the country are usually 50km / h, if you go in Matatu or Dalla-Dalla you stop every 2 minutes and if you go by train every 30. Do not be in a hurry to get to the sites, by public or private transport it takes a long time to get everywhere.
  • Uber / Bolt: The best way to move around big cities by private transport, you will never overpay and it is what the locals use. While if you stop a taxi, each one will ask you for a different amount of money.
  • Use the matatu, dalla dalla and boda boda: They are the local transport in all these regions. The matatus (Kenya) and dalla dalla (Tanzania) are intercity minibuses that stop every time they meet a passenger on the street or road. You do not know when you will leave or when you will arrive, since to optimize costs they usually wait to leave until they are more or less full. On the other hand, weddings (boys on motorcycles) are usually expected on the corners and sides of the roads and make short trips within the cities. Transportation in Matatu of around 1 hour can cost you around 2,000Ts or about 100Ks, similar to what a journey of about 10-15m can cost you at a wedding wedding, it depends on the need of the driver. Always try to negotiate the price of the wedding and tuktuk.

15-day route through Kenya and Tanzania

Going on safari is perhaps one of those great traveling goals that we all have in life, it is usually a honeymoon destination for many couples and doing prior research can be a real headache, since each park is unique in its landscapes and animal fauna. For those who are not looking for something very specific, anyone is a good destination at any time of the year.

You may be wondering why I only did 6 days in Kenya and did not visit any natural park, and in my case I was more in search of landscapes than of certain animals in particular. Since at the time I did the safari the great migration was already ending and a large part of the animal population had migrated to the Maasai Mara.

Both the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater are ideal destinations for their spectacular landscapes. Also if you are a fan of diving, on the shores of Diani there are countless places to dive and do your underwater safari.

Day 1: Nairobi

Also known as Nairobbery … don’t be fooled! It is neither more nor less dangerous than any other African capital if you go with a little head. Although I do not always make use of it … It is not that you should stay here long, since the city does not have much to see.

After 13 hours by plane, he landed in the Kenyan capital. The departure from the airport was somewhat slower than in normal times due to Covid-19. Control of documentation, health, passport and security and he was already outside the terminal. I get my local SIM card for 800Ks and go to find my Uber. Uber in Kenya is at the limit of legality, but it is totally safe and very economical to move around the city, so you will avoid being charged more than what it takes. The trip of about 50 minutes to my hotel was 1,050Ks.

As I mentioned previously, Nairobi does not have much to see, it is usually a city to spend one night before or after the safari and go to the coast by train or catch the plane back to your country.

Many of the tourist attractions are related to the movie Out of Africa, you can visit the Karen Blixen House Museum (where the author of the book lived) or the Ngong Hills (where the tomb of Karen Blixen’s lover, Finch Hatton, is located) . Another highlight in Nairobi is the Giraffe Center, a place of protection and development for giraffes, although (without having gone) I have mixed feelings with this place. I think it looks more like a zoo than a rescue and development center.

So without being very convinced of the above options, I got in touch with some local guides from Kibera to discover this particular neighborhood in Kenya. Over the course of three hours Winnie and Freddy’s Kibera Tours, they showed me the neighborhood where they grew up, where 700,000 people currently live. How are their houses, how do they do their laundry, what is the health and supplies situation, how are the schools and local businesses, but above all the impact on the neighborhood that they want to leave with what they collect from the activities they carry out. They build schools and help the local economy to develop and organize to grow and improve its current conditions.

Kibera is the largest slum in Africa with more than 700,000 people living for less than € 0.50 a day.

Although you can visit Kibera on your own, it is not recommended because despite not being dangerous for your life you can suffer theft of valuables, so it is better to visit it with a local guide. It is an experience that is really worth it.

… and as I mentioned before laying head. I ended up going out at night through Ruaka Town (a good neighborhood, north of Nairobi), in a lockdown party, not knowing that there was a curfew in Nairobi and I ended up returning at night by taxi through neighborhoods where it is better not to stop and with the taxi driver inventing a thousand and one alternative routes to avoid ending up detained at a police checkpoint.

Days 2 to 6: Diani (Mombasa Coast)

Looking at it in perspective 5 days in Diani … woww … is that good or bad? To be honest, more days than I had originally planned and fewer than I would have liked. In every trip there is always that place that we love and captivate us and from which it is difficult to leave and you end up extending more and more days. This place was Diani.

If you are short of time I recommend that you go by plane from Nairobi to Ukunda, you can find flights for about ~ € 70 on skyscanner or opt for the scenic route and go by train, which means a taxi, a train, a mini van, a ferry, a matatu and a tuktuk all for just € 19. It is worth it if you go with time to see the landscapes and move like the locals do, to learn a little more about their way of life, although you will leave the hotel at 6 in the morning and arrive at 5 in the afternoon. That was basically my first day at Diani. Although the payoff in the form of endless white sand beaches upon arrival was well worth it.

Playas de Diani

Due to the fact of being a foreigner, it is likely that they will try to sell you the most expensive train ticket and you cannot buy it on your own if you do not have Mpesa (the mobile payment system they have in Kenya), so ask the receptionist of your hotel or guide That they buy it for you and you pay them in cash, the price is 1,000Ks.

The train to Mombasa Terminus leaves from Nairobi Terminus, be careful not to get confused about the station! The station is right next to the airport. The train ride takes about 6 hours and it is better to arrive at the station an hour in advance due to the high security controls. Once in Mombasa you will have to cross the river with a ferry (it is free) and from there a matatu to Ukunda along the main road and once there a tuktuk to take you to your hotel along the beach line.

On the second day, some volunteers from Barcelona and Madrid who were collaborating with an NGO in a school and an orphanage invited me to spend the morning with them. Together with a Spanish couple, we spent a couple of hours at school with them, playing with the children at recess, seeing how they did class and learning a bit about their educational system.

The educational system is very different from what we can imagine in the West. Most children enter and leave class as they please, the teachers are not very keen on the work and the way they teach the students is based on copying everything the teacher points out on the blackboard. To all this we must add that not all teachers have a university background to be able to teach correctly.

Many families cannot afford to have children eat at home, so it is important that they go to school, not only for their education but to make sure they eat at least two meals a day.

The rest of the day I met a group of Spaniards and a Swiss (yes, more Spaniards … and in Kenya by A or by B most of the tourists came from Spain) and we dedicated ourselves to chat and visit the endless beaches of Diani’s white sand.

From this day on I spent my time in Diani exploring the sea.

The third day we got up early and went diving. Diani and the coasts south of Mombasa offer many options for lovers of the seabed, as an immense reef runs along much of its coastline.

The first dive was in a Chinese ship wreck at a depth of 27m. It was the first time that I was doing a ship wreck and the experience was incredible, not only because of the fact of being able to see a sunken ship and tour its deck but because of the large number of fish that inhabited its surroundings. The second dive was on a reef, the corals were beautiful and even though we didn’t see many fish we were lucky enough to find two giant turtles and see them swimming alongside us. The price of the two dives was € 70 if you have the PADI, which is a fairly correct price.

On the fourth day, I took a break from the pressure in my ears and traded the seabed for the surface to continue practicing and deepening my kitesurfing knowledge with a local teacher (€ 20 per hour). Both Diani and much of the east coast of some islands on the eastern coast of Africa, enjoy strong gusts of wind, ideal for sailing sports.

To all this we were complementing each of the afternoons and nights with the beach, good food, beers and friends in what was perhaps one of the best hostels I have ever stayed in, the Diani backpackers. There were a lot of travelers, with a very good disposition, wanting to have fun and join any plan.

You can move around the Diani area from one place to another for about 100Ks for a trip in tuktuk or for a little less in weddingwedding (motorcycles) depending on the distance between places, do not let them charge you more unless it is at night and you have no choice.

With much sorrow, the fifth day arrived in Diani and taking advantage of the fact that we were going diving next to the Kenyan border, I decided to take my backpack to cross the Tanzanian border on foot.

The place I’m talking about is Kisite Mpunguti National Park, it is a marine nature reserve. In this enclave fishing is not allowed and it is only allowed to enter the marine reserve with the authorization of the rangers. We were diving in a couple of places, both with giant corals, with a lot of color and very varied and with a marine fauna of the most abundant. We were lucky enough to see rays, turtles, octopuses, moray eels and many more fish and mollusks. Although we did not see them while we were diving we could see dolphins as we headed to our dive site, the group of dolphins began to swim and play alongside the boat until they got tired of following us and headed elsewhere.

The group of people who did not scuba dive were snorkelling, once we finished the two diving sessions they took us to Wasini Island to eat and finish the day. The price is around € 125 with two dives (although you may have to negotiate it), the price increase is due to the high fees that the Kenyan natural parks have (the same thing happens with safaris).

Finally with great sadness I said goodbye to my friends to go to cross the border through Horohoro, which is quite simple and does not have much complication. Although it is quite an experience.

You will have to take a matatu 200Ks from the junction with the main road towards Tanzania and once you get to the town there are still about 5km to the border so you will need to take a wedding for about 100Ks. Crossing the border does not have much difficulty, although you will have to carry all your printed documentation and customs agents may ask you for a bribe and lock you up for a while in an office (just say that you have already paid your visa fees ). In times of covid you will need a PCR (€ 80 if you do it in Ukunda) and they may ask you for an additional one, a rapid test at the border (€ 25-35), although in my case they said it was too late and they were lazy and to continue with my journey.

Once in Tanzanian lands I took a dalla dalla (Matatu in Tanzania) to Tanga to spend the night. I highly recommend the experience of crossing the border on foot.

Days 7 to 9: Moshi

After spending the night in Tanga and getting a good rest for the first time in several days, I get up early once more to catch the bus to Moshi. The journey to Moshi is about 6 hours and costs 18,000Ts. This leaves from the Kange station and you can buy the ticket once you arrive at the station, there are buses every two hours from 6 in the morning and it is usually quite punctual.

Around two in the afternoon I reached Moshi. Moshi is the main city at the foot of Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa in front of Mount Kenya at 5,895m high. It is a provincial city with a relaxed pace that serves as a base camp for hikers and travelers who come to climb Kilimanjaro or discover its surroundings.

Like most of these cities, they don’t have much to see or visit apart from strolling through the city, through its markets or relaxing with a coffee at Union Cafe. The Kilimanjaro area is popular for coffee and they grow one of the best coffees in Africa, this was popularized by a British during colonial times and is that the humid climate at the foot of Kilimanjaro is ideal to grow it. Moshi is usually also a reference city for many volunteers who live in Moshi and come to collaborate with NGOs.

If you are not going to climb Kilimanjaro, I recommend that you spend one day, two maximum in Moshi.

The next day, together with another friend I met at the hostel, we headed to the Materuni Waterfalls. It is an excursion that lasts around 4 hours. The first part of is about knowing how they make coffee on Kilimanjaro. Together with a group of young people from the region, we learned about the whole process and history of coffee. I was very skeptical about this issue, since my previous memory of the coffee process was the embarrassing visit to the Recuca farm in the coffee region of Colombia. Although in this case I must admit that it was worth it, it was educational and fun at the same time.

Then we go to the Materuni waterfall, the trekking is not demanding and is rather a relaxed walk through the mountains where you will pass through some villages, you will see people working in the field and even some locals will invite you to enter his house. This was the case of the father of our guide, who received us at his house and invited us to homemade honey and sugar cane.

Materuni waterfall

We regain our strength with a good dose of sugar and continue until we reach the waterfall. Materuni is a waterfall about 90 meters high, the highest waterfall in the region but not in the country. The water falls with great force and creates a halo of suspended water that leaves you drenched even 100 meters away from it. We spent a long time contemplating the waterfall and some animals that inhabited the area, such as lizards and a small chameleon.

In the afternoon we went to relax and refresh ourselves in the hot springs, although they have nothing hot and the water is rather cool, it was good to relax at the end of the day and swim a bit. On this excursion I met the youngest backpacker I have ever met, with only 7 years she had visited 25 countries!

Are you religious? I am not, but if you have the opportunity I recommend that you go visit a church on Sunday, even if you are not a Christian or a practitioner. It is a fascinating experience to see what a mass is like in Africa. It is music, color, joy, people singing and dancing and more energy than anything you have ever seen in a Catholic church in the West.

In the afternoon of the third day in Moshi we headed to Arusha making a stop at a Maasai village.

Although I have mixed feelings about this visit because everything is very focused on tourism and most towns have lost their essence and are basically a show for tourists, it helped me to realize the few mental barriers that children have.

I was very shocked to see that girl who previously commented that she had grown up traveling and living in many places playing with children and animals. While most adults or people I know have the mental barriers of race or wealth and do not engage with the locals in the same way.

Young children only see people rather than race, ethnicity, or social status.

Most of these excursions you can negotiate up to the price of about 60,000Ts (€ 22 exchange rate). You will hardly be able to lower the price much more because the fees of the national parks are quite high and they eat a large part of the price.

To get to Arusha from Moshi you can go by bus from the main station for about 8,000Ts (€ 3 approx) or by taxi for about € 50.

Days 10 to 13: Safari (Tarangire, Serengeti and Ngorongoro)

The big day finally arrived, the one I had been waiting for several weeks after deciding that I was going to Tanzania. The start of the safari! During 4 days and 3 nights we will enter with a group of five people, the cook and our peculiar driver and guide Juma in the African savanna.

The places we will visit are Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara, Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater. Where we could see practically all the Big 5 (Elephant, lion, leopard, African buffalo and rhinoceros), although the latter is very difficult to see and only 25 specimens inhabit the Ngorongoro crater.

On the next post I am going to tell you in detail how to save hundreds of euros or thousands if you go as a group or as a family when hiring your safari in Africa. In my case I paid € 135 / day.

I don’t want to get too long with all the details of the safari. What I can tell you is that it is an unforgettable experience that you must do once in your life if you have the chance.

What I was not very clear about before going, is whether to visit one park or another, whether to do the Serengeti or the Ngorongoro, and the information available is usually quite limited. But the truth is that you do not have to choose one park or another, you can do several in your same safari, since each one houses a totally different animal fauna and once you have spent a few hours in one it will remain the same and then it is better to go on a safari through different national parks.

Although obvious, what you probably have not taken into account is the large number of hours that you will spend in the car so it is important when managing expectations. As well as the cold, the rain and the humidity. You are in the middle of nature, keep in mind that weather conditions change very quickly and above all wear warm clothes, since nights and sunrises are quite cold and even more so if you sleep in a tent as was my case.

There are three types of accommodation, camping, eco lodges or guest houses and luxury lodges. As always budgets for all types of pockets. In all honesty I will tell you that sleeping in a tent is a unique experience in every way.

While we were looking at the stars in the Serengeti a hyena approached us, before going to sleep in the Ngorongoro there were some zebras and giraffes grazing around the tents and at night you hear all kinds of noises and animals. Although I’m not going to fool you, this also means cold showers (or no showers if you don’t want to go through that process), nights at temperatures close to zero degrees with 100% humidity and paper-thin mattresses where you can feel the stones on your back.

The days usually start early around 6 in the morning when the sun has not yet risen because you usually drive many kilometers by jeep each day. 90% of jeeps can raise their roof to stand up and have a 360º view so you don’t miss any detail of what is happening outside. It is important never to get out of the car, as some animals get very close, we had lions brushing against the car and a herd of elephants crossing the forest track in front of us.

Tarangire National Park

Perhaps the least known of the three parks we visit. It stands out for having a very arid landscape with practically no grass and or very low grasses, most of the trees are baobabs and acacias. As for animals you can see countless zebras, gazelles and wildebeest, at first they will surprise you, but after four days you will say, ohh look at one more zebra out there.

It is relatively easy to see elephants, we were lucky that a mother with her two children came to wallow in a small pond, a little later a group of pumbas (wild boars) joined the mud party. Although from afar we also saw several giraffes and some other herd of elephants and several groups of monkeys.

Serengeti national park

In the Maasai language, serengeti means flat lands. Perhaps the most popular national park in Tanzania, the landscape is arid, with tall grasses, lots of acacias, and solitary trees where some animals rest. The Serengeti is the most popular park for the simple reason that you can see practically all the animals in it. Apart from the ones we saw in Tarangire, we were lucky enough to see several groups of lions, one of which crossed the forest track brushing our vehicle. We found a mother cheetah who had just hunted a gazelle and she and her four youngsters, a few weeks old, were feasting.

We also found a pond where there were at least 30 hippos. The giraffes that we had seen so far in Tarangire were seen in various groups and up close in Serengeti, just a few meters from us and many other animals, hyenas, birds, smaller cats, leopards, buffalo, ostriches, etc. .

Ngorongoro Crater National Park

It is said that the human being comes from this enclave and it is that the oldest evidence and discoveries related to man ever discovered come from this area. The Ngorongoro crater is a very special ecosystem, its climate and height mean that it has a constant temperature all year round and the animals that inhabit it do not have to migrate to other areas. As far as animal fauna is concerned, we were able to see the same animals that we saw in the Serengeti, what really makes this place unique is the views that the crater leaves while you go through it. With a bit of luck you can get to see rhinos although they are difficult to find and they are quite elusive and rare.

So don’t forget to include these three parks on your list of places to visit when you go on your safari in Tanzania.

Days 14 to 17: Zanzibar

Last but not least, paradise … I mean Zanzibar.

Zanzibar has three faces. Stone Town is the most cultural and historical part of the island, the slave trade center of colonial Africa. North Zanzibar (near Nungwi) is honeymooner destination by definition. East and south, near Paje is the most backpacker area and focused on adventure sports. Without much mystery you can imagine which place I did not visit … That’s right, I did a day in Stone Town and the rest I spent in Paje.

Stone Town, as I mentioned earlier, was the most important slave trade center on the East African coast, they were taken out of continental Africa and taken to Zanzibar for screening and sale. In addition, the British were not the only ones to trade with slaves, but they were followed by Arabs, Indians, Persians and Omanis. From all this mixture, Stone Town is the result, which has architecture from all these cultures. Narrow streets of the purest Arab style, British colonial buildings, Christian churches, mosques, Arab decorations and even architecture of Indian origin.

You should not miss the Forodhani food market, every night in Stone Town

The rest of the days I spent in Paje without much more than resting, going out at night and enjoying the days with the friends and people I met. You can get to Paje from Stone Town by taking two dalla dalla for only 2,400Ts (almost € 1) or with a taxi (approximately € 25).

In Paje and the east coast, you have all kinds of options, from doing nothing and relaxing on the beach to adventuring with kitesurfing, diving, visiting an island by boat or fleeing from the Maasai who try to sell jewelry.

But I warned you, I met people who came for a week and months later they are still around. It has a special magnetism.

Kenya and Tanzania daily budget

Without a doubt the most difficult section of this post and I am going to explain why and try to give two points of view or at least one price range. The costs are increased compared to most destinations I usually go to because most plans are difficult to do on your own and you have to go through the hands of an organized tour either from the origin or in the same place. Although you only live once and I have spared no expense, I am going to give you a couple of price ranges for each concept.

Kenya and Tanzania daily backpacking budget

The average expenditure on food is € 12 per day, it is usually € 5 per meal and € 2-3 per breakfast. The problem is usually that where you are staying you do not have access to local restaurants or they are far away or because it is a tourist area you end up paying a premium. Assuming you always eat street food or local food, you could leave the average at € 6.

As far as accommodation is concerned, there is little room for maneuver, if you want to socialize and be in a decent and clean place, you will hardly be able to pay below an average of € 13 a day. On the coast, prices are usually around € 15 and inland they are usually below € 10.

In the case of transportation, what increases prices are domestic flights, due to the little air traffic in these countries, prices are usually high to cover costs. Despite this, in your day-to-day life, if you move by tuktuk, matatu, bodaboda and some uber from time to time you can average about € 4 a day. In my case it got a bit more out of hand due to my overnight excursions in Nairobi and a shared taxi between Moshi and Arusha. Try to get out of the airport parking lot and use local buses to spend less.

The leisure part is the most complex of all. Alcohol tends to make the bills quite fat (… and the body) but despite going out a lot and drinking at least one beer every day, I averaged € 5 a day. The fat part of this game is the activities and safari. Since everything you want to do adds up to € 25 in € 25. Any morning or afternoon activities are minimum ~ € 25 if it is not a national park, diving € 70 for two dives on average, kite lessons € 50 a day for 2h of class, four days of safari for less than € 550 with tips you will not find it. So you can go from a very tight budget to € 50-60 a day.

In summary and what applies to me, I spent an average of € 85 per day with safari included (not bad !!!). Realistically, if you don’t practice diving or kite and want to be more relaxed reading, walking or doing whatever you like, you could be around € 50- € 60 per day doing an excursion every couple of days.

You can travel anywhere in the world on a moderate or tight budget.

Now I suggest you look at any travel agency and compare quotes. Most organized trips start with starting prices of € 2,200 for just 8D7N or just over a week and a half.

Where to stay in Kenya and Tanzania

Except for Nairobi I was pretty lucky everywhere and most places had a good backpacker vibe and lots of solo travelers.

  • Khweza Bed & Breakfast // Nairobi: Perhaps the only hostel per se that I found in Nairobi although it was quite clean and close to the center, it lacked a backpacker atmosphere, it had no hot water in the room (in Nairobi it is cold) and the windows did not close completely and gave me a bit of a thing to leave my valuables although nothing happened.
  • Diani Backpackers / / Diani: It is at the top of the places where I have stayed, five minutes walk from the beach, the rooms / dorms are cabins with a very rustic style, good food and drinks at an acceptable price. The backpacker vibe is unmatched, I came for two nights and stayed four. With lockers and shower with hot water.
  • The Comfy Stay // Moshi: Perhaps it was the riskiest bet after visiting another place in the same city, the truth is that I did not like any accommodation and this one, although it was recommended by a friend, had very few reviews. But I was wrong, the staff a 10, clean and safe rooms, hot shower and very good food. In addition, several people who volunteered were staying with which there was always someone to chat with.
  • Runako Lodge // Arusha: I stayed here on my first night in Arusha because the other place I had booked was already full … It was the most luxurious place I stayed, it only cost me € 12 / night. Large clean and private rooms with hot water (excuse me, but this is not usually the norm).
  • LionsGate Hostel // Arusha: On the way back from the safari we stayed with some friends in this place, the facilities were rather modest, but the place was clean and neat. The positive aspect is that despite not having many guests, we were grilling, eating and chatting with the owners.
  • Lost & found Hostel // Stone Town: Basically in Stone Town there are two backpacking options and this is the one I stayed with. Very large bedrooms with capacity for about 20 people, although you have enough privacy, since you have a curtain to have your privacy. Located right in the center a few minutes from any point of interest. The staff is not the most pleasant in the world, but they help you with whatever you need.
  • Your Zanzibar Place // Paje: The one that was my home for 7 days, and I would have stayed a few more. The backpacker vibe and people having a good time is unmatched. YZP is on the podium with Diani backpackers as the best hostels I have ever stayed in. They have a BBQ on Saturday nights where people come from all over (approx 100 people), the staff is magnificent and the breakfast is very rich and included in the price. The negative part is that it does not have lockers in the rooms (although they are safe) and it does not have a hot shower.

In general, in the beach places, the accommodations were better for socializing (not a surprise), in the inland places or where people usually go with a more organized plan, people usually spend one night and continue with their tour or trip and it costs more to make groups and plans.

If you travel alone, YZP and Diani backpackers are a safe bet.

What to do in Kenya and Tanzania if you have more time

They are two huge countries and of course there are countless sites and national parks to visit, but I will try to keep the list short and specific. Kenya is undoubtedly the country with the most pending places to see.

  • Lake Turkana (Kenya): In the north of the country on the border with Ethiopia and South Sudan. After kilometers of desert there is an immense lake with turquoise waters that extends towards the horizon. Its banks are bathed by dusty traditional villages. This is undoubtedly an iconic and little crowded destination.
  • Lamu (Kenya): North of Kenya by the coast is this small island removed from the madness of the great African cities and metropolises. Old colonial city that still preserves its traces of British architecture mixed with Swahili tradition. Quiet and reserved beach destination.
  • Lake Victoria (Tanzania and Kenya): This lake borders three countries, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. After a bit of research and seeing that it was a fair bit of days (it takes time to arrive) I decided to put it aside. If you want to visit it on the part of Tanzania you cannot miss Ukerewe Island near Mwanza.

I hope I have helped you tip the balance of your next trip to either of these two destinations (or both, who knows) and that you fall in love with Africa in the same way that I do. In fact I am already thinking about my next destination and it will surely be in Africa again.

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