A nature documentary brought to life beneath a beating African sun.
Welcome to Tanzania, a land of extremes. Hike to Africa’s highest point - the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro and dive to the lowest - the floor of African Great Lake Tanganyika, or explore an effervescent blend of cultures and languages. Over one hundred tribes call Tanzania home including the Maasai, whose famous red robes and warrior culture inspire awe in so many. Then there’s the wildlife. As well as the pull of sighting the majestic Big Five in the wild, the Great Migration is one of the most thrilling spectacles in Africa.
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The top things to do in Tanzania
There are countless wonderful experiences to be had in this African gem. For further inspiration take a look at the trip ideas put together by our trusted local experts at the foot of this page, but in the meantime here are our top three things to do in Tanzania.
Scale Mount Kilimanjaro
Africa’s highest mountain stands in splendid isolation, rising 5,895 metres from the surrounding plains. Mountains of this height are usually for experts only but with a bit of training, Kilimanjaro’s snowy peak can be tackled by all. One of the founders of our hand-picked partner company was born and raised in the mountain's foothills, so you couldn't be in better hands to plan your ascent. Whether you want to undertake a popular route, or a route less trodden, speak to our trusted local experts to plan your adventure.
See the Serengeti and the Great Migration
The Serengeti has been so key to nature shows that visitors could be forgiven for expecting a voice-over from David Attenborough to boom from the heavens. Witness all the legendary African animals roaming the plains, and head to the Mara River to see the spectacular crossing of the Great Migration into Kenya from July to October. This is the most treacherous crossing that the grazers face, with lions patrolling the banks and crocodiles lurking in the muddy waters.
Relax on the shores of Zanzibar
The Zanzibar archipelago’s bright blue sea and impossibly white sand makes it the perfect way to conclude your holiday to Tanzania. Have an exciting safari experience, then head to these blissful shores for some rest and relaxation. The region's beguiling blend of African and Arabian influence is most powerfully felt in Stone Town, whose endless passageways and street markets are alive with the atmosphere of a bygone era of nautical trade.
Enjoy the tribal dance of cultures
Tanzania’s tribal cultures are both fascinating and compelling. The warrior Maasai are perhaps the most well-known, with their striking red cloaks and rituals based around song and dance. There are many more cultures to discover too, from the hunter-gathering Hadzabe to the matriarchal Sukuma. Witnessing the intensity of a tribal dance, sitting down to share a simple meal with a local family or walking through the colour and vivacity of a traditional market, will likely be some of your enduring memories of Tanzania.
Lesser-known highlights in Tanzania
While there are many well-known things to do in Tanzania, what about the lesser-known highlights? Our local experts have shared some of their top tips for where to go and what to do if you fancy a bit of an alternative Tanzanian adventure.
The origins of a species
A must-see for anyone with an interest in palaeontology, the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania’s Great Rift Valley is a hugely important archaeological site. Some of the oldest evidence of humankind’s evolution was found buried in the steep walls of this magnificent ravine. The discovery of hundreds of fossilised bones, skulls and stone tools dating back several million years led scientists to conclude that humans evolved in Africa.
Experience nature from a different perspective
Most people think of safaris as journeying in a 4X4 on a game driving experience, but you can also enjoy the incredible Tanzanian wildlife in other ways be it on foot for a walking safari, from the water on a canoeing safari or on two wheels on a mountain biking adventure. By getting out of a vehicle your senses come alive in a totally different way and different wildlife viewing opportunities present themselves.
Under the cover of night
Wildlife spotting is one of the highlights of any trip to Tanzania, but under the cover of night a whole new world opens up. The nocturnal wildlife of the Tarangire and Manyara National Parks is particularly varied, and as well as spotting the nighttime antics of hyenas, porcupines and civets, there is a good chance of encountering the glowing eyes of some of the more elusive African wildcats – a very good reason to stay up past bedtime.
Float above the plains
Gain a bird’s eye view of Tanzania’s Serengeti parkland on a hot air balloon ride over the plains. As you glide silently by you’ll see grazing animals and expansive uninterrupted views of the rolling grasslands. Taking a sunrise ride adds to the drama of the views.
When is the best time to visit Tanzania?
Tanzania is truly a year round destination with a varying climate depending on where and when you travel appealing to different people at different times of the year.
The Wildebeest Migration occurs all-year-round traveling between Northern Tanzania and Kenya. In June/July, the herds head North following the rains from the plains to the central, northern savannahs and cross the Mara River into Kenya. In September/October, they turn heading back southwards from the Mara through into Northern Tanzania migrating back to the Southern Serengeti short grass plains of Ndutu, where the herds calve during the months of February/ March. As the rains and the herd move on, areas become dry giving rise to less vegetation and the opportunity for impressive predator sightings and birding.
Tanzania is warm to hot all year-round, with wetter weather dominating from March to May. The months that make up “the long rains”, March to May, can involve intense daily downpours. June, July and August are dry, with highs of around 27°C and lows of 18°C ideal for the beach or cultural exploration.
Top tip from our trusted local experts
Our local experts in Tanzania are incredibly knowledgeable about their home country. Most people come to Tanzania for a simple safari, to lounge on the white shores of Zanzibar, or to climb the famous Mount Kilimanjaro... Moshi is the gateway to the mountain, but you don't have to be a mountaineer to appreciate the town and its surrounding area.
"Most people come to Moshi to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, but even if you’re not aiming for the summit you can contemplate its majesty and take some rewarding hikes in the foothills instead. Moshi is also at the heart of Tanzania’s coffee-growing region, so there is a thriving coffee house culture to get you motivated."
They also have a thing or two to say on how best to make the most of their safari offerings.
“A northern Tanzania safari is a journey around some of Africa’s most iconic wildlife areas and national parks including Tarangire & Lake Manyara National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater and the mighty Serengeti. We highly recommend a more immersive, slower style of safari when you can really get under the skin of this beautiful region, unplug from busy lives and have a truly memorable experience. The vastness of the African plains and the exclusive areas we can take you to will blow your mind!”
Don't hesitate to ask questions when you enquire with our local experts. Tanzania is their home so they have lots of inside knowledge that will transform your holiday into a trip like no other.
Interesting facts about Tanzania
Tanzania is a fascinating country. But did you know any of our top three facts about it?
- With as estimated four million wild animals living in Tanzania, it has the largest concentration of animals per square kilometre in the world.
- There are around 120 different tribes actively living in Tanzania, each with its own unique way of life.
- Freddie Mercury, front-man of the rock band Queen, was born Farrokh Bulsara in Zanzibar, Tanzania, 1946.
What to read before you go to Tanzania
If you're looking for something to get you in the mood before you set off on your travels to Tanzania, we've gathered a list of our favourite books to inspire you.
'My Serengeti Years' by Myles Turner
From 1956 to 1972, Turner had the incredible job of Deputy Chief Warden at Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. These memoirs recount the many adventures (and misadventures) he had during his tenure at the park.
'The Tree Where Man Was Born' by Peter Matthiessen
A classic and compelling piece of travel writing from an award-winning writer - Matthiessen vividly portrays his travels in East Africa, covering people, places and the natural world with equal craft and insight.
'Paradise' by Abdulrazak Gurnah
A vibrant coming-of-age novel for which Tanzanian writer Gurnah was nominated for both the Whitbread and Booker prizes. It tells the story of a young African boy during the first years of colonialism.
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