Wildlife galore, idyllic beaches, snow-capped Kilimanjaro, moss-covered ruins, friendly people, fascinating cultures – Tanzania has all this and more wrapped up in one adventurous and welcoming package.
But it’s not just the wildlife that enchants visitors. Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coastline is also magical, with its tranquil islands and sleepy coastal villages steeped in centuries of Swahili culture. Travel back in time to the days when the East African coast was the seat of sultans and a linchpin in a far-flung trading network extending to Persia, India and beyond. Relax on powdery white sand beaches with gently swaying palm trees and vistas over the turquoise sea. Take in pastel-coloured sunrises and immerse yourself in languid coastal rhythms. Sail on a wooden dhow, with its sails billowing and its rigging creaking in the wind. Watch sea turtles nesting. Dive into crystal-clear waters, past spectacular corals and shoals of colourful fish.
Above all, don’t miss the chance to get to know Tanzania’s people. Walk through the Crater Highlands guided by a spear-carrying, red-shawled Maasai warrior. Get to know the semi-nomadic Barabaig near Mt Hanang. Experience the hospitality of a Tanzanian meal or the rhythms of a traditional dance. Watch a Makonde carver bring a piece of wood to life. Hike from village to village in the Usambara Mountains, stopping to chat and barter at the local markets. Learn to cook Haya-style in Bukoba. More than anything else, it is Tanzanians themselves – with their characteristic warmth and politeness, and the dignity and beauty of their cultures – who make a visit to the country so memorable. Chances are that you will want to come back for more, to which most Tanzanians will say ‘karibu tena’ (welcome again).
More than almost any other destination, Tanzania is the land of safaris. Thousands of wildebeest stampede across the Serengeti plains. Hundreds of hippos jostle for space in wild Katavi National Park. Massive elephant herds pass through Tarangire National Park on their seasonal migration routes. Chimpanzees swing through the treetops in the lushly forested Mahale Mountains. Wherever you go in the country, there are unparalleled opportunities to experience wildlife. Take a boat safari down the Rufiji River in Selous Game Reserve, past snoozing crocodiles and elephants cavorting on the riverbank. Watch a giraffe silhouetted against an ancient baobab tree in lovely Ruaha National Park, while zebras graze placidly nearby. Sit motionless as fish eagles soar overhead in Rubondo Island National Park and waterbirds peck in the shallows. See flamingos wading in Lake Manyara National Park, and hold your breath while a lion pads in front of your vehicle in Ngorongoro Crater.
Mt Kilimanjaro National Park
Since its official opening in 1977, Kilimanjaro National Park has become one of Tanzania’s most visited parks. Unlike the other northern parks, this isn’t for the wildlife, although it’s there. Rather, it’s to gaze in awe at a mountain on the equator capped with snow, and to climb to the top of Africa.