Tanzania is home to some of Africa’s most famous national parks and game reserves. The scenic and welcoming country is also where travellers can conquer the continent’s highest mountain. If you’re planning a trip to the East of Africa, here are some of the most exciting things to do in Tanzania and essential activities to keep in mind when finalising your itinerary.
Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
At 5,895 metres above sea level, Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain. Since it is also the world’s highest free-standing mountain, the ascent is relatively easy and attracts trekkers of all abilities from around the world. Bring along a walking stick and layers as you reach Uhuru Point, the mountain’s summit with panoramic views of the picturesque region. If you are planning a trip soon, you’re in luck. February is one of the best times of the year to climb Kilimanjaro thanks to warm temperatures and dry weather between December and February. The months between July and September also offer ideal mountain conditions with dry, albeit colder, conditions.
See the Wildlife of Serengeti National Park Safari
Serengeti National Park is Tanzania’s oldest and most visited national park. Exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the must-have experiences for anyone travelling to Africa. Be part of one of the world’s largest migrations as millions of zebra, gazelles, wildebeests and other animals converge in the Serengeti in October and November. Gaming viewing in the park is ideal at almost any time of the year other than April and May when long rains are at their heaviest. The park is home to herds of buffalo along with elephants, lions, giraffes, impalas, and other beautiful creatures.
Stare up at the Stars in the Serengeti
Besides seeing the wildlife, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy Serengeti National Park. You can stay at one of several lodges in the park. Look up at countless stars from outside your bush tent or more comfortable accommodation at higher end options. Local tour operators and hotels can also arrange an unforgettable dinner in the bush as the sunsets and the stars come out. One of the top tour operators in the Serengeti, Safari Consultants organises informative walking safari and other thrilling activities in the park. In the morning, see the park with a unique perspective with an air balloon ride.
Explore the Stone Town of Zanzibar
The bustling island of Zanzibar offers a unique cultural experience and is home to one of the country’s most important historic sites. A beautiful example of a Swahili coastal trading town, the Stone Town of Zanzibar is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The island is a great place to relax with fine beaches and an inviting atmosphere.
Relax on a Tanzanian Beach
Tanzania has some of the best beaches in the world, many of which are unspoiled and largely unknown to outsiders. These stunning white sand beaches are relaxing spots to enjoy the cool waters of the Indian Ocean water. Zanzibar is a popular choice. There are lovely calm beaches between Kendwa and Nungwoi, while the southwest offers more secluded places to escape during your holiday. Elsewhere in the country, Bongoyo Island and Lazy Lagoon also have excellent beaches. Snorkelling and diving off the coast are also popular and opportunities to see colourful coral or interesting marine life.
Walk with Chimps in Gombe Stream National Park
See chimpanzees in their natural habitat at Gombe Stream National Park. Walk through this ancient forest while hearing the calls of the park’s residents on the northern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Jane Goodall once studied the chimpanzees at the park, which is also home to olive baboons and Colobus monkeys. There are also some 200-bird species that add colour and sound to the rich visual tapestry of Gombe Stream. In addition to treks to see chimpanzees, you can also snorkel and swim in Lake Tanganyika.
Experience Rural Life around Ngorongoro Crater
One of the most scenic places in the world, Ngorongoro Crater has a collapsed crater that stretches 16 to 19 kilometres in diameter. The crater forms part of a chain of largely inactive volcanoes in the Great Rift Valley in the Ngorongoro Highlands. Game viewing has traditionally been the main reason for travelling to Ngorongoro Crater, although increasingly visitors are enjoying horseback riding and experiencing Hadza culture. The region gives you one of the best glimpses into rural life in Tanzania, including the market town of Karatu.
Explore the Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwana
The Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwana include the remains of two ports that were once visited by European explorers charting new routes. Between the 13th and 16th centuries, these East African ports were home to merchants trading gold, silver, pearls and perfumes, as well as crockery from the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula, earthenware from Persia and porcelain from China. You can see the remnants of a fortress, palace, mosques, graves, and much more at Kilwa Kisiwana, which was one of the post important trading centres on the shores of the Indian Ocean.
Experience Maasai Culture
One of the best ways to experience East Africa is with a visit to a Maasai village. Spend a few hours, or better yet a night, with local Maasai people to learn more about their culture and traditions. Many Maasai live close to game and national parks in northern Tanzania. Many tour operators offer cultural tours that provide a glimpse at day-to-day life of the world famous tribe.
Selous Boat Safari
Covering over 54,600 square kilometres, the Selous Game Reserve is Africa’s largest. It is home to elephants, lions, hippos, giraffes, leopards, crocodiles, wildebeest, and other wildlife. One of the best ways to explore the Selous is by boat along the Rufiji River. A boat safari provides a unique way to see the rich flora and fauna of the game reserve, from roaming antelopes to flocks of colourful birds.