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From the biggest mountain to the biggest crater to the Big 5, Tanzania has no shortage of epic experiences for those looking for an African adventure! Tanzania is one of Africa’s larger countries and has numerous wonders to explore. There is the sensational wildlife, such as the Great Wildebeest migraption in the Serengeti National Park to the tropical island of Zanzibar with its stunning beaches and interesting cultural heritage.
Tanzania is a very popular African holiday destination. This is due to the diverse amount of attractions within the country, from safaris to hiking to a beach holiday.
Those looking for a safari experience could hardly do better than visiting the Serengeti National Park or the Ngorongoro Crater. You can choose to view the animals on land, with a 4x4 vehicle and get up close and personal, or in the air by plane or hot-air balloon to get an incredible and unique perspective of Tanzania’s wildlife herds and unique landscapes.
Those looking for a more active holiday will certainly enjoy hiking in the Usambara mountains. The most well-known mountain in Africa sits in this region - Mt. Kilimanjaro. This is a dormant volcano that reaches over 19,000 feet above sea-level but requires no technical climbing experience or equipment - just hard work! The diversity of flora and fauna in this area are also second to none.
Those who are lucky enough to visit the tropical paradise of Zanzibar will have no shortage of activities - if they so desire. While it is possible to spend all your time on the island’s amazing beaches, one should also note that Stone Town, the capital, has numerous important cultural sites dating back to the time of Arab rule. The town has also long been known for its spice plantations and a spice tour is a unique activity here.
A dream destination for many climbing and hiking enthusiasts, Mt. Kilimanjaro is located in northern Tanzania and stands over 19,000 feet high. Rather uniquely for a mountain this size, climbers require no technical climbing experience or equipment - a wonderful challenge for those in good physical condition. There are several different trails to the top, some better than others depending on physical ability, scenery and time of year. Kilimanjaro has three volcanic cones, Mawenzi, Shira and Kibo - the first two are extinct but Kibo, long dormant, could erupt again one day.
The word Serengeti comes from a Maasai word that roughly means “endless plains” and indeed the land here seems to go on forever. The Serengeti plains are home to the animal kingdom’s most spectacular sight - the Wildebeest migration, with many hundreds of thousands making their annual march across the wilderness. Here you can also observe the Big 5 (lions, leopards, rhino, African elephant and African buffalo) as well as more exciting species such as cheetahs, Nile crocodiles, honey badgers and many, many more!
Located in northern Tanzania in the Eastern Great Rift Valley, the Ngorongoro Crater is a stunning natural wonder. At about 12 miles wide, 2000 feet deep and covering over 115 square miles, the crater is the world’s largest volcanic caldera. Here you will find an amazing diversity of flora and fauna, including the Big 5 (and the densest population of lions anywhere). The floor of the crater is predominately grasslands while the rim of the crater is heavily forested. The Olduvai Gorge is also located nearby, showcasing human remains dating back millions of years.
Located near both the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park, Lake Manyara National Park is well known for its population of flamingo’s (in the wet season) that flock to this soda lake. The park is about 130 square miles in size and the lake takes up nearly 77 square miles in the wet season (and virtually disappears in the dry season). As well as the flamingos, you’ll find tree-climbing lions, large herds of baboons, warthogs and numerous bird species here as well.
Often overlooked in favour of its more well-known neighbour, the Serengeti National Park, Tarangire spoils those who make the effort for a visit. Especially spectacular in the dry season, you’ll be delighted by the animal encounters along the Tarangire River, as herbivores and carnivores congregate here. Tarangire is also home to a vast number of the world’s largest species of the iconic Baobab tree. You’ll be treated to countless elephants as well as wildebeests, giraffes, cheetahs and much more. Of special note: over 500 species of birds can be found here as well.
Enjoy startling blue waters and sensational beaches on this island paradise, located just twenty minutes by plane from Dar Es Salaam. On top of world-class beaches and diving opportunities, you’ll also find that this island has a wonderful history to explore. From historical tours of Stone Town to swimming with dolphins in the Menai Bay nature reserve or snorkelling in the Mnemba Atoll – East Africa’s tropical fish capital. Whale sharks are also a highlight in the coastal waters off Tanzania, especially near Mafia Island, and diving with one is a bucket list experience for many adventurers!
The unique geography of Tanzania has given it several climatic zones and the best time to travel here will depend on your destinations in the country and your prefered activities. The coastal region has a tropical climate, while the inland and mountainous regions have more temperate climates.
Inland, at the wildlife parks, you’ll find the dry season of June to October is often best for viewings and the famous wildebeest migration is at its peak (for river crossings that is) in August and September. For those taking on the magnificent Mt. Kilimanjaro, there is no real off-season as different hiking routes and times of year offer different challenges and opportunities. However, the most popular times to take on this trek is January to March and June to October. The coastal areas and Zanzibar with their year-round high temperatures are perfect for a beach holiday and one can typically focus on avoiding the 2 rainy seasons (March to May and November).
Tanzania also holds several wonderful festivals throughout the year and they can be a great addition to any trip. In Zanzibar, there is the Zanzibar International Film Festival held over a week, every July. In late November, Zanzibar also puts on the Zanzibar Beach and Watersports Festival. Here you’ll see sports tournaments for football, volleyball, kite-surfing and even goat racing! For meat lovers, there is the Nyama Choma Festival which celebrates all things barbeque (Nyama Choma translates as roasted meat) each March in Dar es Salaam and Arusha. On April 26, Tanzanians all over the country celebrate Unification Day, Tanzania’s national holiday, marking the union of Tanzania and Zanzibar into the United Republic of Tanzania.
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