When you think of Africa you probably think of sweeping, sunset coloured plains littered with exotic animals like zebra and giraffe. However the place you’re really thinking about isn’t just Africa, it’s Tanzania. The East-African country has vast wilderness areas, beautiful coasts and the highest mountain in Africa, Kilimanjaro. It’s a stunning country that will take your breath away. Don’t believe us? Look at this, and maybe Tanzania travel will trump you're next bucket list must...
The vast grasslands with thousands of animals ready to be spotted on safari is probably the image you have of Africa, and that scene is Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. It’s the largest park in Tanzania and the oldest in the country, and is also one of the most visited by travellers who come to see the thousands of animals migrate throughout the seasons. Serengeti means an ‘extended place’ in the Maasai language and it’s sweeping plains have earned it UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
Tanzania has a coastline that puts Greece to shame. The island of Zanzibar is an absolute stand out with its turquoise waters and white sand beaches, and is the former home of Queen legend Freddie Mercury, no less! Besides being a top holiday destination, Zanzibar’s beaches are also world-class surfing spots with waves for all skill levels. Keen to try your hand at kite surfing? Head to Paje, one of the best places in the world for the sport. Soak up the sun and when you get thirsty, try out the fabled ‘Rock Restaurant’, just a short journey from Paje.
Lake Manyara National Park is technically a park, but since 2 thirds of it is covered in water, it’s more like a lake. Because of the abundance of water, it’s home to thousands of animals like flamingos, hippos and wildebeest. When the water dries up to mud in the dry season, it then becomes home to giraffe, elephants and zebras. It’s a diverse wildlife zone no matter the season and one that’s best explored through binoculars or by canoe.
The soaring, snow-capped peaks of Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, are on a lot of bucket lists. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is a dormant volcano that was formed over 1 million years ago and has a varied range of climates as you climb. Think farmland, to rainforests, to alpine meadows, to the strange otherworldly barren landscape at the peak. The climb isn’t for the faint of heart, at 19,336ft it’s the tallest climbable peak in the world, but it’s also aggressively beautiful and worth tackling in your lifetime.
If you’re thinking crater means extinct volcano, you’re spot on! The Ngorongoro Crater was created more than three million years ago and is the largest intact volcanic caldera in the world. It’s wide vista, framed by the crater edges, are absolutely amazing. Hundreds of thousands of animals come to graze in the plentiful crater (it has a permanent supply of water and abundant vegetation). It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site (are you seeing a theme here in Tanzania?) and is one of the top spots to find the Big Five, and the extremely rare black rhino.
THIS ISLAND IS HEART SHAPED. WE REPEAT: IT IS HEART SHAPED. If that doesn’t take your breath away then we don’t know what will, but we highly recommend checking out this little island off the coast of Tanzania. It’s super luxe and romantic, making it a great honeymoon or #treatyoself destination. You can lodge practically on the beach and swim all day with the turtles, dolphins and beautiful tropical fish.
Selous Game Reserve
Established in 1922, Selous is the largest game reserve in Africa and counts for a whopping 5% of Tanzania’s total area. In saying that, parts of the reserve are a forbidden zone as it’s undeveloped, heavily forested and has a lot of dangerous, steep cliffs. The northern area you can visit though has big open plains, woodlands, the Rufiji River and rolling hills. Given the large river in the reserve, it’s the perfect place for spotting water-based wildlife and seeing the Big Five come to take a sip.
Tarangire National Park
In the Tarangire National Park, you’ll be treated to an awe-inspiring view of all the African animals gathering along the riverbed to drink their fill. This park has one of the highest concentrations of migratory wildlife, and seeing the herds of wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala and gazelle move across the land is a humbling experience. Tarangire National Park is also home to the famous baobab trees (the tree Rafiki lives in, in the Lion King, to put that in non botanist terms). They dot the grassy plains and make for an epic photo opportunity as the sun sets.
Isimila Stone Age site
It’s not all about the national parks and animals in Africa! One of the coolest places that will leave your jaw on the floor is the Isimila archaeological site. It’s a significant Stone Age archaeology site that’s nestled within a dramatic landscape of eroded sandstone pillars. Tools such as flints, hammerstones, axeheads and flints have all been found on the site, dating back 100,000 years! It’s a must see that will make you realise how rich human history is.
Think Tanzania sounds like your cup of tea (and really, why wouldn’t it)? Head on over to the guys at Contiki, and check out their Tastes of Tanzania trip.