Tanzania has many natural attractions and is a haven for eco-travelers, adventurers and those seeking a true African safari. With some 800-kilometres of palm-fringed coast bordering the warm Indian Ocean, the continent's highest mountain - Mount Kilimanjaro - and longest and deepest freshwater lake - Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania is one of Africa's most attractive countries to visit. Except for a few main attractions, such as Kilimanjaro and the island of Zanzibar, much of Tanzania remains largely unexplored.
Language: Kiswahili, English
Size: 945 090 sq km
Currency: Tanzanian shilling (TSh) = 100 cents
Electricity: 230 volts AC
Tel code: +255
As well as the remarkable Lake Tanganyika, a large part of Lake Victoria, the world's second largest lake, lies within the country's borders. Also situated in the northern region is the Ngorongoro Crater, the world's second largest crater, which forms a incredible natural reserve for a large variety of flora and fauna. Also in this region is the Olduvai Gorge, a world-renown archaeological site. The nearby Serengeti Plain is renown for the dramatic annual migration of wildlife into neighbouring Kenya.
Mainland Tanzania consists mostly of plateaus interrupted by mountainous regions and the East African section of the Great Rift Valley. The southeastern plateau, covered by dry grassland, rises behind the narrow, coral-fringed coastal plain and is bordered in the west by the southern highlands. Between this region and the volcanic area of Kilimanjaro in the northeast is the Masai Steppe, a plateau covered by grass and thornbush. Between the eastern and western arms of the Rift Valley is a vast, dry and infertile interior plateau. In the north it descends to the more fertile Lake Victoria basin. In the south, Tanzania shares the waters of Lake Malawi with Malawi and Mozambique.
Off shore the islands of Pemba, Zanzibar and Mafia are renown for their attractive beaches, historical-cultural attractions and superb scuba-diving. Most of Tanzania's main towns are concentrated on the coast, although there are some important towns in the interior such as Arusha: providing access to Kilimanjaro and the Ngorongoro-Serengeti conservation area; Musoma: Lake Victoria port; and Kigoma: Lake Tanganyika port.
The coast is hot and humid. Inland it is dry. Temperatures are governed by altitude and due to its height much of the land is cooler than it would otherwise be so close to the Equator. In Dar es Salaam, on the coast, winter temperatures average 19 degrees Celsius and summer temperatures average 31 degrees Celsius
The mountains are temperate and the central areas warm and dry. The country has two rainy seasons - the short rains, known as the Masika, when it rains sporadically in November and December, and the long rains, known as Vuli, when the region is prone to heavy downpours from February to May. The rainfall increases as one travels north towards Lake Victoria. The central plateau is vulnerable to flooding during Vuli.
Tanzania's main attractions include:
The city of Arusha is not particularly attractive, but is the main jumping-off point for safaris to many of the nearby national parks and game reserves as well as to mounts Meru and Kilimanjaro. Places of interest in the area include the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater and the Olduvai Gorge.
Dar es Salaam
This city, once the haven of Sultan Majid, the ruler of Zanzibar, is now the economic and cultural centre of the country, as well as the main port. The city is hot and crowded, but never boring. Dar has a diverse mix of eastern and western cultures. The main focal points in town include the Askari Monument, the botanical gardens and Samora Machel Avenue, with its run-down, but attractive, buildings, shops, restaurants and kiosks. Kikuvoni Front at the harbour has a fish market. The Indian-populated Asian District, with its spicy foods and mosques, and Kariakoo, inhabited mostly by Swahili Africans, make interesting diversions.
Africa's highest mountain reaches an altitude of 5895 metres above sea level and although only three degrees south of the Equator is permanently snowcapped. Affectionately referred to as 'Kili' by the locals it attracts people from around the world who come to take up the challenge of climbing to its summit. There are various climbing routes: the village of Marangu is the starting point for most ascents and various operators are based here. A number of routes also begin at Moshi, a small town to the west of Marangu. It is essential that climbers take a guide as the mountain is set in a national park. Those who want to climb Kili should book their trip well in advance.
Forming part of the Great Rift Valley the lake is the longest in Africa and at 1 433-metres deep it is the second deepest lake in the world. It has proved particularly interesting to scientists and researchers due to its many endemic species of flora and fauna. Most of the 250 species of fish are found only in its waters. On the eastern shore of the lake, the town of Ujiji was an important terminus of the Arabic caravan route to the coast and the Arabic influence is still visible in the architecture. Kigoma, 10 km north of Ujiji, is the terminus of a railway completed by the Germans in 1914. From Kigoma you can catch a ferry to other areas bordering the lake such as Mahale Mountains National Park and Gombe Stream National Park.
Tanzania shares Lake Victoria, also known as Nam Lolwe (Lake Without End), with Uganda and Kenya. The lake is the largest in Africa and the second largest in the world. It is also the source of the longest river in the world, the Nile River. The lake has several islands. Bukoba, Mwanza and Musoma are Tanzania three main ports on the lake from which travellers can catch a ferry to Uganda and Kenya.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is located between the Serengeti and Lake Manyara. The area is home to the volcanic Ngorongoro crater which is the largest unbroken caldera in the world. The crater covers an area of 260 sq km and is 610 metres deep. It can be reached after a day's journey from Arusha and Lake Manyara and is considered one of the most impressive wildlife refuges in the world. There are more than 25 000 large animals within the crater itself - mostly buffalo and zebra. However, it also a good place to see the endangered black rhino and several prides of lion including the striking black-maned males. It is a great site for bird watchers with more than 100 species of birds. Other game includes: leopard, cheetah, hyena, elephants, warthog, impala, hartebeest, eland and several smaller mammals. The renown archaeological site - The Olduvai Gorge - is found in the Ngorongoro Crater. In 1959 fragments of a two-million-year-old hominid skull were found. Further remains of Early Man have since been found and there are several other archaeological features.
Pemba, a small island 50 km north of Zanzibar, has untapped potential as a tourist destination due to its many superb, and virtually unexplored, beaches. The island also offers superb diving on its coral reefs. Pemba, known to the Arabs as Al Khundra, 'Green Island', gets its reputation from the production of cloves which, along with slaves, dominated Pemba's 19th Century history. Chake Chake is Pemba's main town and has the remains of a 13th century Shirazi settlement and a Muslim fort. At Ras Mkumbuu, on the west coast, lie the ruins of an Islamic settlement established during the eighth and ninth centuries.
Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti National Park is best known for its annual migration, in late May/early June, of wildlife across the Serengeti Plains - one of the most awesome wildlife spectacles on Earth. The park is considered one of the most spectacular in Africa and is home to many buffalo, elephants, lions, leopards, cheetah, giraffes, wildebeest, zebra and a variety of buck. There are also numerous sites of rock art. The annual migration takes place when huge herds of herbivores move to longer grass in rivers of grazing animals of up to 40-km long. It is a triangular trek of about 800 km, which brings the animals back to the short grass when the rains come in December. The easiest way to get to the Serengeti National Park is from Arusha, where car hire is available. There are numerous lodges within the park.
The Great Rift Valley
At Makuyuni on the road from Arusha south to Dodoma, there is a gravel road which leads through the Rift Valley. The rugged beauty of the irregular valleys formed along the fault lines is captivating. Ol Doinyo Lengai, ('Mountain of God') is an impressive mountain, overlooking the pinkish waters of Lake Natron, one of the many alkaline lakes in the valley, and the home of many flamingos. At Lake Manyara and its adjoining national park there are hot springs and the groundwater forest and soda flats are interesting geographical attractions. There are numerous camps, lodges and a hotels in the park.
The island of Zanzibar has recently become popular with travellers because of its unspoilt, palm-fringed beaches and great scuba diving on the coral reefs. There are also many cultural-historical attractions in Stone Town, the island capital.
Known locally as Unguja, the island is only 85-km long and 20-km wide. Historically it is renown as the capital of the slave trade in East Africa and situated on one of the major historical maritime trading routes it was settled by a number of traders. However, the Arab influence dominated and this is evidenced in its architecture. In Stone Town visitors can spend hours wandering among the ruins of the Sultan's palace and the House of Wonders, among other places. Near the seafront stands the Arab Fort and the original slave market. The best time to visit Zanzibar is between mid-May and mid-October and the island can be reached by hydrofoil ferry from Dar es Salaam or you can fly directly to the island.
8-Day Tanzania Adventure Safari and Luxury Lodge Package Itinerary.
This is an optimum package for an exploration of everything the Northern Circuit of Tanzania has to offer. The itinerary includes the main features of Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater Reserve, with visits to the smaller regional national parks as well. Activities include evening and morning game drives and a complete overland exploration of Serengeti, including a dawn balloon safari as an optional extra..
14-Day Luxury Climb/Safari Package Itinerary
Lemosho Route is situated along the western slopes of Kilimanjaro, and is one of the most scenic routes. It is well placed for climbers to enjoy a short stay at the Ndarakwai Ranch private conservancy. A short fly-in safari itinerary compliments this climb with a luxury tour of the the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater Reserves and some of the best of the Tanzanian luxury lodges and camps..
8-Day Tanzania Luxury Lodge & Safari Package Itinerary.
This is a combination climb/safari packages that offer in a compact itinerary the best that the Northern Circuit of Tanzania has to offer. A fly-in transfer to Serengeti saves time and eases you out of your climb into the luxury of a tented camp in the interior of the par. From there things just get better. Activities include evening and morning game drives and a complete overland exploration of Serengeti, including a dawn balloon safari as an optional extra..
8-Day Lemosho Route Itinerary.
Lemosho Route is the longest of the standard routes and is without doubt the most beautiful. Expect some of the most extraordinary scenery anywhere in Africa, with well preserved forests, sweeping moorland, heather forests and high desert. Lemosho Route also offers easy walking days and plenty of opportunity for altitude adjustment..
7-Day Machame Route Itinerary.
Machame Route is the intermediate route and approaches Kilimanjaro from the south. Its main feature is an experience of the best preserved section of forest as well as a rapid rise in altitude allowing for effective adjustment. This is definitely one of the most scenically beautiful options available to climb Kilimanjaro..
7 DAYS Tanzania Exclusive Lodge Safari..
Visit the 'Big Five' areas of Tanzania on this 6 night safari. Starts with Lake Manyara, Serengeti, and then to the wildlife of Ngorongoro. Accommodation is in three stars to five stars Lodge.
14 DAYS Wildlife Safari and Zanzibar Beach Holiday.
An unforgettable holiday! - The very best of Tanzania's wildlife parks combined with a beach holiday in Zanzibar. Perfect for Honeymooners..
15 DAYS Northern Circuit Safari in Tanzania.
Visit Arusha - Tarangire - Lake Manyara - Ngorongoro - Serengeti. The great Tanzania safari is well planned with time to enjoy the highlights of Tanzania.
Great Tour - 5 days, 4 nights Safari- Tanzania.
Tanzania - Tarangire National park, Lake Manyara National park, Ngorongoro & Serengeti National Park. Discounts apply - Book now..
7 Days Mikumi - Ruaha Safari
The Safari in the Unexploited Ruaha National Parks.Ruaha National Park is the largest national park in Tanzania. It covers an area of about 20,200 kmē. It is located in the middle of Tanzania about 130 km from Iringa. The park is part of a more extensive ecosystem which includes Rungwa Game Reserve, Usangu Game Reserve, and several other protected areas..
20 DAY Tanzania Exclusive Northern & Southern Circuit Safari
Visit the 'Big Five' areas of Tanzania on this 20 days safari. The itinerary starts with Tarangire, Ngorongoro , Serengeti, Manyara, and then continues to Selous, Mikumi and Ruaha. This great Tanzania safari is well planned with time to enjoy the highlights of Tanzania..