Tanzania Travel Guide
The Serengeti. Zanzibar. Mount Kilimanjaro. The names sound exotic. The destinations are even more so. This is Tanzania – an epic land of snow-capped peaks, powdery beaches and immense savannah giving birth to the largest animal migration on the planet.
Here you’ll find the world’s highest free-standing mountain and its largest extinct volcanic caldera – a richly forested habitat filled with lions, cheetahs, tusker elephants, and even pink flamingoes.
Tanzania is blessed with spectacular natural landscapes supporting a universe of wildlife all expressed in a series of vibrant national parks. Close to fifty percent of the country is devoted to conservation, so you can easily travel between these vast green spaces, enjoying one safari experience after another.
As unforgettable as the land and its stirring populations of wildlife are, so too is the coastal experience of Tanzania’s beaches and offshore islands. For eons, this region was the trading hub between Africa, the Middle East, and Asia – a swirl of cultures that is still seen today in architecture, cuisine and traditional sailing dhows plying the Indian Ocean coast.
A visit to the spice island of Zanzibar is a journey through time with its historic Stone Town, spice farms, and crystalline beaches, all alive with a wash of regional cultures.
But perhaps just as alluring as its natural wonders, Tanzania enchants visitors with the gracious hospitality of its welcoming people. Whether in the cities chatting at a market or joining a ceremonial dance at a local village, the opportunities to meet the Tanzanians themselves are limitless.
Perhaps you’ll share a meal with the locals in Dar es Salem or sing with the Maasai people at their traditional boma. Your time in Tanzania will be measured by the depth and quality of these priceless moments, maybe as much as your time with its amazing wildlife.
The incredible bounty of animals and large species inhabiting these national parks is only rivaled by the spectacular landscapes you’ll encounter.
Serengeti National Park – an immense horizon of land and wildlife. Over 3,000 lions and wildebeests by the millions. This is where they are reared before beginning their epic trek of the Great Migration. Named one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of Africa”, these endless plains and grasslands are home to all of Africa’s Big Five and one of the richest fields of wildlife in the region.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area – a self-contained world where all the Big Five roam. Descending this blue/green volcanic caldera is like dropping into an adventure movie. One of the most extraordinary habitats on the planet, the Ngorongoro is home to over 25,000 animals.
Mount Kilimanjaro National Park – It’s the highest peak in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Kilimanjaro’s snow-wrapped summit is known the world over and easily seen towering over northern Tanzania. Thousands of climbers test their skill and perseverance every year scaling its forests and moon-like surface in a quest to conquer Kilimanjaro’s 19,000 feet.
Arusha National Park – a small but incredibly versatile park boasting rainforests, alpine moorlands and the heights of Mt. Meru. You can even take a canoe safari over the park’s green algae lakes. Here you’ll find the world’s largest population of giraffes!
Tarangire National Park – Elephants rule here with numbers exceeding 3,000! And over 700 lions make for exciting safaris with great herds of wildebeests, zebras, and buffalo.
Lake Manyara National Park – Maybe the prettiest park in Tanzania, though much of it is underwater. But what lies above will dazzle in the form of fuchsia flamingoes herding at the alkaline lake adorning this park. Also, look for the very unique Manyara tree-climbing lions.
Magical beaches and islands grace Tanzania’s coastline meeting up with the green Indian Ocean. Swahili culture mixes with Asian and Arab influences to present a multi-cultural richness in art, architecture, and attitude.
Zanzibar Island – What to do first at this historic center of the world’s spice trade? Throughout the ages, clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg were grown on Zanzibar’s farms for export throughout the east. But don’t miss Stone Town, a historic part of Zanzibar City. Touch the architecture and culture formed by Arab, Persian, Indian and European traders passing through.
But of course, you also came for Zanzibar’s diamond coast. Go, sightsee, snorkel, dive, go deep-sea fishing or just enjoy the fabulous beaches you’ll find here.
Pemba Island – Just north of Zanzibar, lush Pemba offers lagoons and perfect little beaches. Its offshore coral reefs attract world-class diving experiences.
Mafia Island – This green island off the coast of Dar es Salaam is known for its secluded beaches to the south and the Mafia Island Marine Park, home to coral reefs, white sharks, and sea turtles.