An intimate journey through the East African nation of Tanzania will allow you to discover the rich culture and history of this exotic destination. From endless wildlife safaris, pristine coastline, vast plains, world-class diving, climbing Kilimanjaro and friendly locals everywhere you go, there is no doubt that a visit to this unique country will leave you with a life-time of remarkable travel memories.
Here are five top things to see and do when visiting Tanzania:
A UNESCO World Heritage Site covering 14,763 square kilometres, Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park is one of the world’s most renowned wildlife sanctuaries.
Particularly famous for the annual migration that takes place, this is when millions of wildebeest, 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle cross vast distances to find new food sources.
With the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino) joined by prowling cheetahs, spotted hyena, giraffe, eland, topi, kongoni, impala and hippos, a game drive in the Serengeti is a scintillating experience. The exhilarating spectacle of predator vs. prey is a wondrous sight as hunters go in for their kill in this expansive African savannah.
A vastly different experience to the Serengeti African plain, Ngorongoro Crater is nearly three million years old and is the world’s largest intact caldera. A safari extravaganza, this terrain is home to 30,000 protected animals and is an amazing wildlife habitat.
Endless herds of elephant, giraffe, lions, black rhino and cheetah all wait to be discovered on this sweeping grassland landscape scattered with iconic acacia trees. Huge flocks of flamingos nest in the vast soda lakes who from a distance cast a bright pink haze across the vista, leaving a lingering and mesmerising memory as you make a full circle of the crater.
Located just a 20 minute flight or a two hour ferry from Tanzania’s bustling coastal town of Dar Es Salaam, Zanzibar is a majestic tropical paradise tucked away in the Indian Ocean. Pristine golden sands and unbelievable azure water create a perfect postcard backdrop for the ultimate in relaxation.
Its charm lies in its isolation and that it is largely untouched by the kind of commercial tourism that has reached other popular tourist destinations around the world.
At the port end of the island is the historic Stone Town, famed for its legacy in the spice trade during the 16th century. Subsequently a spice tour is a must-do activity that offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of this island. Don’t forget to enjoy the fantastic diving and snorkelling around Mnemba Atoll.
Visiting one of the Maasai villages offers an intriguing insight into these friendly semi-nomadic people of East Africa. They are one of the few ethnic groups who have preserved their culture and customs amongst increasing westernisation within the wider population. Their singing and dancing performances are particularly impressive and you are bound to leave with your wallet a lot lighter after browsing their handicraft markets.
Make sure you take time to get to know locals on an intimate level while exploring townships and visiting small villages. No matter where you go, people will always take the time to wave as you drive past so make sure you return it with a smile.
The Grumeti Game Reserve is part of the Serengeti Maasai Mara eco-system and covers an area of 2,000 sq km. Teeming with wildlife, it marks part of the path during the annual Great Migration.
A guided walk on foot through contrasting terrain offers a unique glimpse into nature without the safety net of a 4X4 Jeep. Escorted by a knowledgeable local, you can enjoy an educational and insightful introduction about wildlife, plants, medical lore and traditional hunting methods. Gaze at giraffe striding out in the distance and walk through a changing topography of grassy plains and dense woodland areas where captivating flora and fauna are in abundance.
Alaina McGregor, from Jandals & A Backpack, is a traveller who counts hefting her backpack around the globe as part of her regular fitness regime. She has a passion for exploring the world, volunteering, sampling local beers in every country, taking photos and likes to share her tips for backpacking on a budget on her blog.