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Things to see and do in Tanzania

Tanzania is situated south of equator in East Africa with the Indian Ocean coastline and Zanzibar islands which contain secluded tropical beaches. The largest of the 7 nations in the region, much of the country mainland area is covered by huge African savanna ecosystem. This includes the Serengeti National Park famous for harboring the Big Five mammal species and the wildebeest migration. In this regard, Tanzania offers the best wildlife viewing safari in Africa which is complimented by beautiful tropical beaches and rich culture of the Swahili, Masai warriors, Hazdabe Bushmen and the oldest human fossils at Olduvai Gorge. If you’re considering visiting Tanzania on safari, let’s explore the top 8 things to see and do.

Safari in Serengeti National Park

Tanzania has 22 national parks of which the best wildlife is in Serengeti including the big five mammals and the wildebeest migration. These animals live in the savanna plains which itself is a must visit gem for keen nature photographers. Visitors can explore the savanna and take part in several activities such as game drives, hot air balloon safaris, walking safaris and cultural tours. The best time to visit Serengeti depends on what you really want to see. From May to July the wildebeest migration passes through Seronera valley the central part area where visitor center is found. By December to February the wildebeest birthing season happens in southern Serengeti plains. You can plan a fly camping safari exclusively to follow the movement of wildebeests from Tanzania to Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. Furthermore, whilst on safari in Serengeti, you should visit the local communities and meet the Masai to discover the cultural differences between you and the warriors.

Game drive inside the Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro crater is the largest volcanic caldera in the world. The crater floor which contains savanna plains, forests, and alkaline lakes and swamps spans for 264 sq.km and is surrounded by walls that rise 600 meters above. An estimated 30000 animals live within the crater including all the Big Five: lions, leopards, black rhinos, elephants and buffaloes. There are also African wild dogs, cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, hippos and over 500 species of birds including the ostrich and secretary bird. The abundance of wildlife in such a small place makes Ngorongoro one of the natural wonders of the world. As a matter of fact, you hope to see as many wild animals as possible by game drive through inside the crater.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

The tallest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro has an elevation of 5895 meters above sea level. The journey to reach summit at Uhuru peak offers great hiking adventure, wildlife and beautiful scenery as you pass through different types of vegetation. Getting up Kilimanjaro, there are 7 routes of which Machame has spectacular view but requires experience. Marangu is the best route for beginners intending to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. If you’re not into climbing but want a better view go on safari in Amboseli National Park, Kenya. That’s where you might spot African elephants with big tusks with clear view of Kilimanjaro in the background.

Cultural tour with the Masai warriors

The Maasai people have been keen at preserving their ancient cultural traditions despite the modern civilization. They used live a semi-nomadic lifestyle and cattle was the main livelihood. That’s gradually changing with education and conservation that turned much of their grazing lands into protected areas. However, some of the Masai still live in small villages where they have maintained their ancient traditions such as dress code (the glowing Masai Suka) and music and the high jump dance. You can take a tour of the Masai tribe whilst on safari in Masai Mara or Serengeti National Park, meet the family members, take part in their cultural activities or get some of their handmade crafts.

Chimpanzee trekking in Gombe Stream National Park

Situated on the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika, Gombe Stream National Park is a place to visit if you need peace and relaxation after Tanzania wildlife safari. The park is part of western Tanzania safari circuit along with Mahale Mountains and Katavi National Parks. There’s accommodation to stay closer to the lake and on Lupita islands. Then embark on guided chimpanzee trekking in the dense tropical forests and search for leopards in woodlands. Since the 1990s, Jane Goodall has been acclimating and studying the chimpanzees at Gombe Stream National Park. With local guides, you expect to see chimps as well as spot other primate species such as red-tailed monkeys, red colobus monkeys among others. In addition, other activities to do at Gombe Stream National Park include snorkeling and diving and boat cruises in Lake Tanganyika. The park can be reached by air through Kigoma town airstrip. This is the quickest way however, using the train and bus takes about 2 days.

Dhow boat cruise in Zanzibar islands

After a safari in Serengeti National Park, Zanzibar Islands offer some of the best tropical beaches in the world, making them an ideal destination for honeymooners and those seeking to relax. Situated 358 sq.km in the Indian Ocean off the coast of mainland Tanzania; you can get there by air through Zanzibar airport to Stone Town the capital city and UNESCO world heritage site. Whilst in Zanzibar for relaxing holiday, there’s a lot history and culture as well as marine wildlife to explore and be active. The dhow boat cruise is not only a leisure water spot to enjoy sunset but also a historical travel experience that will take you back in time when the Arab merchants first traded with the African Swahili on the Indian Ocean coast. This activity is available at Nungwi beach which also has sea turtles and great nightlife at the beach. For rich history, explore the Spice plantations and Stone Town’s markets and sites such as the old dispensary. Matemwe beach has the best sports for marine wildlife, coral reefs, diving and snorkeling. Jozani Chakwa National Park home to the Zanzibar red-colobus monkeys and offers nature walks.

Discover the world's oldest human fossils at Olduvai Gorge.

Olduvai Gorge is located 39 square kilometers (1 hour drive) from Ngorongoro Crater in northern Tanzania. It is a 90-meter-deep valley that stretches for 48 square kilometers through the plains. The site serves as a rest stop between the crater and the Serengeti National Park. Expect to spend at least an hour exploring the museum, which was built in 2017 to preserve archeological artifacts. Dr. Louis Leakey, a Kenyan anthropologist and archeologist, discovered the first human fossils in 1962. Leakey's discoveries, which included a 1.7 million year old hominin named Zinjanthropus, demonstrated that Africa, specifically Tanzania, was the cradle of humanity. As a result, Olduvai Gorge was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1979.The Louis Leakey Memorial Institute for African Prehistory was established in Nairobi the same year. Other important sites of archeological importance include Rusinga islands in Lake Victoria, Kenya, were discovered with crude stone tools and animal fossils of apes related to humans. All of these places can be visited during a safari in Kenya or Tanzania.

Lions and Baobab trees in Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park, located in southern Tanzania's safari circuit, is famous for its baobab trees, which are uncommon in East Africa. Boababs, also known as "Tree of Life," are mostly found in southern African destinations such as Madagascar, making them a must-see while on safari in Tanzania. Furthermore, Ruaha is home to Africa's largest lion population. Lion prides in Ruaha, like those in Botswana, consist of 12 to 20 individuals.

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