Tanzania’s Top 10 Attractions

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Tanzania’s Top 10 Attractions

1 Serengeti National Park

The sound of pounding hooves on the Serengeti plains draws closer. Suddenly, thousands of animals stampede by in a cloud of dust as the great wildebeest migration – one of earth’s most spectacular natural dramas – plays out. Despite the theatrics, time seems to stand still in this superlative park. Lions sit majestically on lofty outcrops, giraffes stride gracefully into the sunset, crocodiles bask on river- banks. Wildlife watching is outstanding year round. Just allow time to appreciate all the Serengeti has to offer.

2 Zanzibar’s Stone Town

 Whether it’s your first visit or your 50th, Zanzibar’s Stone Town never loses its touch of the exotic. First, you’ll see the skyline, with the spires of St Joseph’s Cathedral and the Old Fort. Then, as you wander through narrow alleyways, surprises are revealed at every turn. Linger in dusty shops scented with cloves, watch as men wearing white robe-like kanzu play a game of bao. Admire intricate henna designs on the hands of women clad in buibui (black cover-alls). Island rhythms take over as mainland life slips away.

3 Ngorongoro Crater

 On clear days, the magic of Ngorongoro starts while you’re still up on the rim, with chilled air and sublime views over the enormous crater. The descent takes you to a wide plain cloaked in hues of blue and green and covered in an unparalleled concentration of African wildlife. If you’re lucky enough to find a quiet spot, it’s easy to imagine primeval Africa, with an almost constant parade of animals streaming past against a quintessential East African backdrop. Go as early in the day as possible to maximize viewing time and to take advantage of the morning light.

4 Mt Kilimanjaro

It’s difficult to resist the allure of climbing Africa’s highest peak, with its snow-capped summit and views over the surrounding plains. Thousands of trekkers complete the climb each year, with a main requirement for success being adequate time for acclimatization. But there are also other rewarding ways to experience Kilimanjaro. Take a day hike on the mountain’s lush lower slopes, learn about local Chagga culture or sip a sundowner from one of many nearby vantage points with the mountain as a backdrop.

5 Local Life 

Wildlife galore, a snow-capped peak, fantastic beaches and Swahili ruins are but a backdrop to Tanzania’s most fascinating resource – its people. Local culture is accessible and diverse: seek Cultural Tourism Programs to get acquainted with the Maasai, learn about the burial traditions of the Pare and experience a local market day with the Arusha. Hike past Sambaa villages in the Usambaras and watch a Makonde woodcarver at work in Dar es Salaam. Wherever you go, Tanzania’s rich cultures are fascinating to discover.

6 Beaches & Diving

With exotic archipelagos, inland lakes and over 1000km of Indian Ocean coastline, you’ll be spoiled for choice with Tanzania’s beaches. Zanzibar’s are developed but lovely, with white sand, palm trees and rewarding diving. To get away from the crowds head to Pemba, with its placid coves and spectacular diving, or to the mainland near Pangani. To really get away from it all, try the far south, between Kilwa Masoko and the Mozambique border, or inland along the Lake Tanganyika shoreline.


7 Chimpanzee Tracking

 Climbing up steep muddy paths, stumbling over twisted roots and pushing through dense vegetation – chimpanzee tracking is hard work. But the struggle is forgotten as chimpanzees become visible in a clearing ahead. Tanzania’s remote western parks – Mahale Mountains and Gombe Stream  are among the best places anywhere to see them. Combine chimpanzee tracking with a safari in Katavi National Park or an exploration of the Lake Tanganyika shoreline for an unforgettable adventure well off the beaten track.

8 Ruins & Rock Art

Tanzania offers a wealth of attractions for history buffs. The most impressive of the many coastal ruins are those at Kilwa Kisiwani a UNESCO World Heritage Site harking back to the days of sultans and far-flung trade routes that linked inland gold fields with Persia, India and China. Standing in the restored Great Mosque, you can almost hear the whispers of bygone centuries. Inland, armed with a sense of adventure and a taste for rugged travel, head for the enigmatic Kondoa Rock-Art Sites, spread throughout central Tanzania’s Irangi hills.

9 Selous Game Reserve (Nyerere National Park)

 Vast Selous, with its tropical climate, profusion of greenery and massive Rufiji River, is completely different to Tanzania’s northern parks. Take a boat safari, and as you glide past borassus palms, slumbering hippos and cavorting elephants, watch for the many smaller attractions along the river banks. These include majestic African fish eagles, stately Goliath herons and tiny white-fronted bee-eaters – all part of the daily natural symphony in Africa’s largest wildlife reserve.

10 Ruaha National Park

Rugged, baobab-studded Ruaha National Park together with surrounding conservation areas, is home to one of Tanzania’s largest elephant populations. An ideal spot to watch for the giant pachyderms is along the Great Ruaha River at sunrise or sundown, when they head down to the banks to snack or to swim in the company of hippos, antelopes and over 400 different types of birds. A visit here, together with a journey through the Southern Highlands, will be a highlight of your Tanzania travels.