Looking to head off on a Safari and searching for the best things to do in Tanzania? Look no further, as you’ll find plenty of ideas below!
Africa is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. Each year millions of tourists travel to the continent to experience its magnificent sites. It’s in Africa that you’ll find the Victoria Falls in Zambia, which are twice the height of Niagara Falls in Canada. The Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, Morocco’s Sahara Desert, etc.
The welcoming people, abundant wildlife, sandy beaches and historical sites to be found in Africa are some of the reasons you should have Africa on your travel bucket list. Deciding which country to visit in Africa can however, be extremely overwhelming. The continent has 54 countries and all of them have something amazing to offer its tourists.
If you’re planning your first trip to Africa and haven’t decided where to go, I will make the decision easier for you and recommended that you plan a trip to Tanzania!
What You Need to Know About Tanzania
- Tanzania is a country in East Africa. The country has a population of about 57.3 million people and its neighbors include Kenya and Uganda.
- If you want to see lots of wildlife, particularly the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, rhino) you cannot miss them when you take a safari in this beautiful country. The county also has stunning beaches along the Indian Ocean.
- The country’s capital is Dodoma, however this city has not always been the capital. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s most populous city was the capital until 1996 when it was moved to Dodoma.
- To travel to this country, you’ll need to apply for a visa. You can apply for the visa online if you meet the entry requirements for Tanzania visa.
- The local currency is the Tanzanian shilling. You can exchange your dollars or euros for this currency at exchange bureaus found around the country or at an ATM.
- Swahili is the national language, but many locals speak English. So, if English is your native language you’re unlikely to experience any communication barriers as you tour most parts of the country.
Top Things to do in Tanzania
1. Go on safari
Tanzania has many national parks you can visit to see wildlife. But by far the most visited park in the country is the Serengeti National Park. It is Africa’s top game destination and there is a good reason why. At the park, you cannot miss seeing lions, cheetahs, elephants, buffaloes, leopards and other wild animals in their natural habitat.
The Serengeti is also known because of the great wildebeest migration, which is one of the 7 new wonders of the world. Every year close to 1.5 million wildebeest, zebras, gazelles cross the crocodile-infested Mara River in search of water and greener pastures on the other side, which is Kenya. It is an amazing sight to see because some of the animals don’t survive the cross due to the crocodiles hunting them down. The best time to catch the migration is from July to October.
2. Go up Mt. Kilimanjaro
If you want to challenge yourself plan a trip to hike up Mount Kilimanjaro. This is Africa’s highest mountain standing at 5, 895 meters. Make no mistake you cannot wake up and decide to conquer this mountain. You must do some training to be physically fit otherwise you are unlikely to make it to the top.
If you’re physically fit and manage to avoid altitude sickness to make it to the snow-capped summit the view from the top will blow you away, and the pleasure derived will be worth the time and pain experienced. Depending on the route you to take to go up the mountain this is activity should take you 5 to 7 days.
If you love hiking and are up to it another mountain you can try to ascend is Mt. Meru. This dormant volcanic mountain is 4,565 meters. It is Tanzania’s second-highest mountain and the fifth highest mountain in Africa. The trek up this mountain is said to be tougher than going up Mt. Kilimanjaro because of its extremely difficult terrain. Maybe you can try both mountains and let us know which one was harder.
3. Discover Magical Zanzibar
If you’re planning for the perfect beach holiday in Tanzania then you should definitely head to the island of Zanzibar. Its clear blue Indian Ocean waters, white sandy beaches and smiling locals who welcome you saying “Jambo” (Swahili for saying hi) make Zanzibar an awesome place to get some R&R.
In Zanzibar, you can just chill on the beach and soak up some sun while sipping cocktails or be active. Some activities you can indulge in are swimming, beach games or scuba diving.
4. Taste Tanzanian cuisine
When I travel sampling the local cuisine of the places I visit is one of the things I enjoy doing. This is something you should do to. Tanzania meals you can sample include:
- Nyama Choma and Ugali. Nyama Choma is roasted cow or goat meat. The meat is roasted slowly over a charcoal grill given it a smoky flavor. It is served with ugali which resembles a white cake made from maize flour and water. Another accompaniment you can have your choma with is ‘kachumbari’. This is a salad made from onions, tomatoes, and chilies. This meal goes down well with a few beers. I highly recommend you order it when in Tanzania.
- Chipsi Mayai. This is a popular fast food in the country. In English, it is chips and eggs. This is served with ketchup and fresh veggies.
- Seafood. Visit Forodhani Garden in Zanzibar to enjoy some fresh seafood from the Indian Ocean.
5. Take a Balloon Safari
Want to have an aerial view of the Great Rift Valley? Get on a hot air balloon and get to see this spectacular attraction. If you don’t know, the Great Rift Valley runs from Lebanon across several countries in Africa, including Tanzania, before coming to an end in Mozambique. It covers approximately 6,000 kilometers.
On the floor of Tanzanians, Rift Valley lookout for Ngorongoro Crater. This is the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera, it is over 3 million years old. From the balloon you’ll also have an amazing view of the Serengeti plains and the wildlife there.
This activity can be expensive, prices charged can go as high as $600. But I believe what you pay for is worth it. The activity is best done early morning and also usually ends with some champagne and breakfast served in the bush.
There are a lot more activities you can enjoy in Tanzania. You could visit a Maasai village to interact with Maasai warriors who are known to battle with lions and win, tour Lake Manyara to bird watch and see hippos or visit Olduvai Gorge. This is the place archaeologists Mary and Louise Leakey discovered the existence of the first human species dating back 3 million years.
To truly get to see and experience Tanzania consider getting a tour guide. The guide will ensure you don’t miss out on any of the top tourist destinations in the country.