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Tanzania has consistently ranked in the top ten most popular global destinations for luxury tours, and small wonder why. This equatorial stunner defies preconceptions about African vacations. Even the remotest game reserves are outfitted in comfort, catering attentively to those whose taste runs more to “five star” than “roughing it.” Clear skies abound, grass-scented breezes kiss the skin, and even the deluges of the rainy season feel like acceptable side effects of the adventure of a lifetime. Interestingly, this one country contains both the highest point (Mount Kilimanjaro) and lowest point (Lake Tanganyika) on the continent.

Located in the middle of one of the oldest continually-inhabited regions on earth, Tanzania has been a cauldron of culture throughout history. Passing between cities is like touring the past: tidy colonial villages give way to the arabesques and elegant decay of long-gone Arab influence, and are then crowded out by edifices of vibrant coral stone in the Swahili style.

Tourism in Tanzania centers around safari tours on the many game reserves flung throughout the country. You’ll spy lions, elephants, zebras, flamingos—everything you can imagine from Hollywood romances and glossy travel magazine pictures—running majestically free, your view unmarred by the presence of other vehicles for miles and miles. Hop in a jeep, trek by foot, or catch a hot air balloon to soak up the sounds and sights of grassland life. The annual wildebeest migration is truly a sight to see. At the same time, the beaches of Tanzania are hidden treasures. One can sunbathe on Mafia Beach, or walk the shores of the Indian Ocean on Zanzibar. The beaches are unspoiled, and the diving affords one the opportunity to swim with whale sharks! No end of surprises await you in this land, where the only thing wilder than big game are the dreams you’ll bring home with you.

Top Tanzania Sights

Ngorongoro Crater

The same volcanic activity that birthed Kilimanjaro and the Great Rift Valley also conceived the Ngorongoro Crater, site of the eponymous conservation area that is one of Tanzania’s can’t-miss destinations. The steep lip of the crater has formed a natural enclosure that houses many species of wildlife, among them the heavily-endangered black rhinoceros. Bull elephants with sweeping ivory tusks and plenteous lion prides call it home as well. Some 30,000 animals total live in the caldera, which is the world’s largest. Local Maasai tribespeople are allowed to bring their cattle to graze in the crater, provided they depart by day’s end. Safaris from nearby Karatu are abundant. The crater’s convenient position off the road to the Serengeti (one of the most astounding road journeys on the continent) means that it is easily combined with more expansive tour itineraries as well.

Serengeti

Serengeti National Park is enormous and justifiably famous. Larger than the state of Connecticut, its boundaries overflow into Kenya where it is known as Maasai Mara. Indeed, the word “Serengeti” means “endless plains” in the Maasai language. It is upon these plains that over a million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebras migrate in seasonal rotations, providing an astounding show as they travel in force. The photographs you take of your adventures here will captivate you for the rest of your life. A jeep safari complete with picnic lunch on the plains is a must, but hot air balloon safaris are also available! In nearby Arusha you can drop in on museums dedicated to traditional Maasai handicrafts: spears, tinga-tinga paintings, drums, and gorgeous hand-dyed cloth. At your exquisitely comfortable campsite, expect zero worries as you munch on fresh-roasted cashews and allow the riotous starlight of the Serengeti to entrance you.

The Selous

The Selous Game Reserve is the largest in Africa. Despite this, it is not as heavily visited as other reserves, primarily because of its remote location. The closest big city, Dar es Salaam, is still 175 miles away! This makes the Selous a place of restful beauty. Drifting the Rufiji River by boat is an amazing way to view the outstanding array of wildlife that makes its home here: buffalo, zebra, lions, impala, and wildebeests are just a few. Jeep tours last either half a day or a full day, and will send you careening over the trails in hot pursuit of big game! Surprisingly, one of the most exciting ways to tour the Selous is by foot. It is one of very few game reserves set up to allow walking tours, and you will quickly discover that the slower pace and quieter approach works wonders when creeping close to some of the park’s wild inhabitants. Don’t expect to rough it for too long, however—luxury lodges and camping await you!

Lake Manyara

The safari of your dreams departs from Lake Manyara, which is so densely populated with such varied wildlife that it is like a microcosm of Tanzania as a whole. Prepare to be spellbound by the sight of large game padding through soaring mahogany forests and of flamingo flocks so enormous they turn the landscape pink. During the dry season, the alkaline waters of the lake evaporate, leaving mud flats that become playgrounds for hippos, elephants, and giraffes. Keep your eyes peeled for a glimpse of the national park’s most elusive residents: the leopards and lions. The latter know how to climb trees here, so remember to look up! Camp in a luxurious treehouse-style cabin and wake to a sunrise that Hemingway called the “loveliest in Africa.” The path through the park is a circuit, and a jeep lap over the bumpy course is a rollicking ride!

Zanzibar

Located 22 miles off mainland Tanzania is a white sand, blue sky paradise. Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous archipelago, one of the Spice Islands, and was once the site of the world’s shortest war—38 minutes, in case you were wondering. It is known for exporting cloves, although ginger, anise, nutmeg, and saffron are grown as well. You can catch a ferry out from Dar es Salaam, explore the island’s highlights, and be back within a day. Must-see stops include Stone Town, one of the oldest functioning Swahili cities in East Africa. Winding, narrow alleys and exquisite Arab motifs mark this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The historic slave market hearkens back to a wretched time in history, but the museum is emotionally stirring and well worth a visit. The House of Wonders, built for sultans, is another architectural marvel.

Mount Kilimanjaro

Called the “roof of Africa,” Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain on the continent, and one of the most famous in the world. It was immortalized by literature and lives on in the global imagination today, perpetually snow-capped and serenely majestic. The national park encompassing the mountain is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Trekkers and climbers flock to Kilimanjaro by the thousands, and the fantastic thing is that no special level of expertise is required to manage the ascent: just moderate fitness and vigorous hydration. The assistance of a guide is required, and the guide you choose will determine which of six paths you take up to the top. Your climb will bring you face to face with rushing waterfalls, the hoots and chirps of monkeys and birds, and, at the peak, a stunning panoramic view of the Serengeti spread out below.

Quick Facts

Capital: Dodoma
Primary Airports: Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR), Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO)
Government: Republic
Currency: Tanzanian shilling (TZS)
Population: 47,780,000 (2013 est.)
Language: Kiswahili or Swahili
Electricity: 230V/50Hz (Indian or UK plug)
Time Zone: UTC + 3
Tanzania

Tanzania Travel Reviews


Tanzania Travel to Moshi and Kilimanjaro National Park

Anonymous

Recently me and my girlfriend had a Safari of our lives when we traveled to Moshi and Kilimanjaro Park in Tanzania.

I always heard of the beauty of Africa but my experience in Tanzania was well beyond beauty, it was magical. While in Moshi, we stayed at Kilimanjaro Bed and Breakfast; an amazing establishment with polite staff, serene views and an easy access to Moshi city. It was easy to explore the wonderful open-air markets and buy some small memorabilia of our trip down there. I would say this place could do a better job, probably give it 4 stars.

Exploring Mt Kilimanjaro park and staying out at Kaliwa Logde and you will be amazed at the view of the world's tallest free standing mountain. It's amazing to see this mound of volcano, right in front of the balcony, rising deep into the beautiful blue skies and probably into heaven. The snow capped Mt Kilimanjaro is a wonder to behold, the frozen snow on its top so pure and so white you will almost think you are in the Antarctica.

The best part is this lodge was right by the gate into the park and so, it was easy to enjoy a long drive into the park and get home to a safe refreshed. The bar and the music was great and of course the staff were very friendly. It gets a little cold especially with the mountain but if you live in Maryland like me, then there is no reason to worry. Oh and the sunsets from this place! Totally surreal! I would give this lodge 5 Stars.

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Destinations Visited: Tanzania

Trip of life of time in Africa!

WA

Africa is truly a trip of a lifetime!!! Ten day safari with Access 2 Tanzania was incredible from start to finish. Our guide Musa was top notch!!! Never a dull day from the wake up call from the resident elephant at Olivers Camp at Tarangire National Park, to watching the wildebeest crossing in the Serengetti. I love this country and hope I return again soon.

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Destinations Visited: Tanzania
Tour Operator: Access 2 Tanzania

Wonderfulness on Safari and at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

Vervet

Going to the ICTR, the Jacraranda trees, massive cheetahs in the Serengeti and the onward trip to Rwanda. A splendid hotel in Rwanda, the Kigali Serena with a massive, marble bathroom. Seeing officials, etc.

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Destinations Visited: Tanzania

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