If you’re looking to tick off a few items from your bucket list, Tanzania delivers the goods. Get ready for the outdoor adventure of a lifetime as you climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Reaching heights of 5895 metres, Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa. In fact, it’s the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. To climb to its peak, you’ll have to trek through five distinct climate zones, ranging from rainforests to alpine desert. While Kilimanjaro is actually one of the easiest mountains to climb, just make sure you pick the right route for your fitness level. For those wanting to push themselves, aim to get to Kibo Peak. If you’re here for a good time, not a workout, head for the Shira Plateau instead.
Go on a safari to the vast plains of the Serengeti and witness the Great Migration
One thing that should be on everyone’s ‘to-do’ list is a Tanzania safari adventure. Our pick for the best national park in the country? Look no further than Serengeti. The Serengeti National Park boasts incredible scenery, including the famous Moru Kopjes, as well as magnificent creatures, including most of the Big Five. If you get your timing right, you might even be lucky enough to witness the Great Migration. This where millions of wildebeest stampede across the plains – with predators at their feet – trying to get follow the rains with the seasons. Seeing these majestic creatures dart across barren plains in a race for their lives is nothing short of mesmerising.
Discover magical Zanzibar
With white-sand beaches, shady palm trees and the most incredible turquoise-blue water, the island of Zanzibar is located just off the coast of mainland Tanzania, in the middle of the Indian Ocean. This beautiful island is the perfect tropical escape for those wanting some much-need R&R. With the narrow streets of Stone Town, twisting and turning through old Arabic buildings, Zanzibar has a distinctly Middle Eastern feel. Take your time to explore these ancient streets – between sunbaking sessions, of course! If you want to turn up the adventure, why not go for a dive? This island has some exceptional dive sites, which are suitable for both scuba novices and hard-core enthusiasts. Live the island life in Zanzibar!
Visit the sleepy city of Tanga
While most travellers will head straight for Zanzibar, there’s another Tanzanian seaside town that’s definitely worth the visit: Tanga. Located in northeast Tanzania on the shores of the Indian Ocean, Tanga remains an important port city. As a city that was once under Portuguese and German rule, walking along the streets of Tanga is like walking back in time. As well as European colonial styles, you’ll also discover Arab architectural influences. But Tanga’s real beauty can be found about 20 kilometres from the city centre, at the Amboni Caves. Surrounded by fig trees, these breath-taking limestone caves are begging to be explored. But do remember to bring a torch, as these caves aren’t often supervised.
Visit the Tarangire National Park
Often described as Tanzania's most underrated national park, Tarangire is one of Africa's little-known gems and a must for any lovers of the great outdoors. Named after the Tarangire River that flows right through it, Tarangire is especially amazing during the dry season, when animals begin to move closer to the river in search of water. This makes it a little easier to see some of the Big Five that call Tarangire home, as well as a host of other incredible creatures. One of the highlights of Tarangire? It’s home to Tanzania's largest population of African elephants. With beautiful backdrops of baobab and twisted acacia trees, enjoy every moment exploring Tarangire National Park.
Things to do in Tanzania
One of the most important religious festivals in Tanzania, Eid al-Fitr is the Muslim holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Following a month-long fast, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr by giving charity to the poor and feasting with family and friends. The Eid festival usually occurs sometime in June each year.
Diwali, also called Deepavali, is the Hindu Festival of Lights. Celebrated by Tanzania’s Indian community, Diwali falls between the months of September and November each year, depending on the Hindu calendar. The five-day festival sees many locals decorate their homes with lights, exchange gifts and sweets with loved ones.
April 26 is an important day of the Tanzanian calendar. On this day in 1964, the Zanzibar islands joined Tanganyika in 1963 to become the Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which later became known as the Republic of Tanzania. Cities all around the country celebrate with street parades, flag waving and eating lots of Tanzanian foods.
Zanzibar International Film Festival
Movie buffs, this one’s for you. Held over a weekend in July on the island of Zanzibar, the Zanzibar International Film Festival showcases the works of African and International filmmakers. Described as the biggest cultural event in East Africa, this festival is not to be missed!
Mzalendo Halisi Music Festival
If you love African music, make sure you get yourself to Tanzania in May. Held over two days, the Mzalendo Halisi is a music festival that showcases traditional Tanzanian music. Happening every year in Kigitonyama in northwest Dar es Salaam, this festival features local performers, as well as Tanzanian art and cultural exhibitions.
Top 5 Festivals in Tanzania
There are so many festivals happening in Tanzania year-round. From religious holidays to celebrations of African music and film, watch the country burst to life during festival time. Here are our picks for five festivals you should check out in Tanzania.
National Museum of Tanzania
From the Zanzibar slave trade to the German and British colonial periods, the National Museum of Tanzania tells the story of Tanzania’s history. With a huge collection of early artefacts, including the bones of Paranthropus boisei, the museum has many interesting displays, including one of the original cars of King George V of Great Britain.
Located right on the river, the Sultan’s Palace is one of the most iconic buildings in Zanzibar. Once the home of Sultan Seyyid Said from 1828 until 1896, it was largely destroyed by the British, before being rebuilt as the Tanzanian Republican movement. Featuring opulent interiors and décor, check out how royalty once lived in this fascinating history museum.
Arusha Declaration Museum
Covering the key events of Tanzania’s modern history, the Arusha declaration museum showcases life in Tanzania under socialism. Named after the declaration that first introduced the 'African Socialism’ or 'Ujamaa’ policy to Tanzania, soak up Tanzania’s recent political history at this fascinating photographic museum.
Peace Memorial Museum
Built to commemorate the end of the First World War, the Peace Memorial Museum is a history museum in Zanzibar. Housed in a white domed building, the museum’s collection tells the story of early trade, slavery and migration, palaces, the former Royal Family and the religious history of Tanzania.
Established in 1968 by the local community, the Sukuma Museum aims to preserve the culture and history of the Sukuma people. As the biggest tribal group in Tanzania, discover what makes the Sukuma culture unique at this village-based museum at the Bujora Cultural Centre in Mwanza.
Top 5 Museums and Galleries in Tanzania
Having been colonised by the Portuguese, Arabs and the British, Tanzanian history is a fascinating look at how different cultures have interacted and integrated over time. From learning about the slave trade in Zanzibar to visiting the palace of Sultan Seyyid Said, here are five awesome museums to visit in Tanzania.
When it comes to local cuisine, nothing is more quintessentially Tanzanian than ugali. Made using maize flour that is boiled until it forms a dough-like consistency, ugali is eaten with almost every meal in Tanzania. From being mixed with fruit to accompanying spicy curries, you can try ugali in a variety of ways at the Universal Classic Restaurant in Arusha.
Best eaten at Universal Classic Restaurant, Between Azimio Street & Swahili Street, Arusha
A staple of East African cuisine, nyama choma is a favourite of all Tanzanians. Literally translating to “roast meat,” nyama choma is typically made using goat, which is marinated, skewered and barbequed until tender. Often served with tomato salsa called kachumbari, you can pick up a plate of nyama choma at Khan’s Barbeque in Arusha.
Best eaten at Khan's Barbeque, Mosque Street, Arusha
With its Indian origins, pilaf has quickly made a place of its own in Tanzanian cuisine. Rice is the main star of this dish, which is flavoured with stock, vegetables, meat and spices. Usually served with saffron and kachumbari during celebrations, you can taste this mouth-watering dish at House of Spices in Zanzibar.
Best eaten at House of Spices, Kiponda street, Stone Town, Zanzibar
Similar to pilaf, biryani is another iconic Tanzanian rice dish with Indian roots. The major difference between biryani and pilaf? While all the ingredients for pilaf are cooked together in the same pot, the biryani rice is cooked separately to the meat and the sauce, which are then combined at the time of serving. Pick up a plate of this tasty dish at Chef’s Pride in Dar es Salaam.
Best eaten at Chef’s Pride, Mchafukoge, Dar es Salaam
What are otherwise known as green bananas, plantains grow in abundance all over Tanzania. One of the country’s favourite ways to cook this delicious fruit is by frying them to create Ndizi kaanga. Soaked in lemon juice, fried in butter and oil and sprinkled with sugar, this street food will quickly become your favourite Tanzanian snack.
Best eaten at Street vendors in Zanzibar
Food in Tanzania
With residents hailing from Africa, India and abroad, the history of Tanzania is told through its food. From delicious spiced rice dishes to the smoky flavours of barbecued meats, the Tanzania food scene is as rich and varied as its people. Here are five awesome Tanzanian foods you need to try.