Tanzania is among the most visit African safari destinations and countries to visit on the African continent. The people are very hospitable and will welcome you with huge smiles beaming from their faces. The country prides in a beautiful landscape and the wildlife safari in Tanzania can be compared to none other across the entire continent. Although Serengeti National Park is the primary tourist attraction in Tanzania, there are a number of different things to do during your visit in this country among which are game viewing; don’t miss out on the amazing culture especially of the Maasai people; the amazing water sport activities are also worth exploring just as the beautiful coastal beaches.
Top 32 best things to do during your Tanzania Safari
- Boat ride on River Rufiji – Selous National Park
This is among the highlight activities in Selous National Reserve found in Southern Tanzania. The waters of the river are crowded with large numbers of hippos as well as crocodiles, in addition to giraffes, elephants and buffaloes which are commonly seen drinking water on the banks of the river lined with borassus palms. The boat rides will give you an up-close view of all these different animals and the numerous birds in the area including the fish eagles, African Skimmers, bee-eaters, kingfishers plus the yellow billed stocks and the vultures that live up in the riverine trees.
- Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro is also known as the rooftop of Africa considering the fact that it is the highest mountain on the continent. this a snow-capped mountain can be ascended through a number of routes however the Machame route offers hikers an additional day to enable them properly acclimatize to the high elevation. In addition it is regarded as the most scenic mountain route on Kilimanjaro and it offers you very high chances of reaching the Snow covered summit. So don’t miss-out in engaging in this once in a lifetime adventure as you make your way to the top of the 5895 meter high mountain.
- Take a safari to Serengeti National Park
This park is regarded as the number one wildlife destination well known for it wildebeest migration that sees close to 2 million animals including wildebeests, zebras and gazelles migrate across the wide Serengeti plains in search for fresh pastures and water, however during your visit you shouldn’t limit yourself to just the migration season but rather enjoy the rich diversity of wildlife living within the park all year round among which are lions, leopards, antelopes, hyenas, cheetahs and elephants to mention just a few
- Engaged in scuba diving or snorkeling on the Zanzibar islands
Any tour to Tanzania is considered complete after you have explored the beautiful Zanzibar islands. Also known as The spice island this beautiful destination offers crystal clear warm waters that meet the pristine white sand beaches where are you can enjoy a very memorable alone time. Along the eastern coast of African Zanzibar is considered to have the best diving sites with a number of them ranking among the best sites on the international chat.
- Visit the chimpanzees at the Gombe stream National Park
Situated on Lake Tanganyika’s southern shores the Gombe stream National Park which is among the protected areas in the country became famous following the great groundbreaking work done by Jane good. This is the best place to trek Chimpanzees in Tanzania, and fortunately there are professional guides who will be able to lead you on the amazing adventure of searching for the chimps within their natural habitat. Chimpanzees are considered to be the closest living relatives to man, and within this park viewing them is guaranteed.
- The big five
It is no lie that Tanzania is best known as a tourist destination where the big 5 animals which included rhinos, Lions, buffaloes, leopards and elephants can be seen. Nearly all the national parks found in this country will offer you great views of most of these animals.
- Explore the rift valley
Extending from Mozambique in southeastern Africa through Tanzania to the Ethiopian highlands, the rift valley is one of the prominent natural geographical features on the continent. During your visit you’ll be able to enjoy breathtaking views of beautiful sites within this amazing feature such as the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro crater. You will get an opportunity to spend a night in one of the amazing accommodations such as the Kilimamoja Lodge where you will enjoy views down into the massive valley
- Visit Iraqw Village
Situated close to Karatu town, near the Ngorongoro Crater the Iraqw village is another recommended place to visit while on holiday in Tanzania. The little kids here are very lively and will be very excited to see you. This unique tribe originates from Ethiopia and welcomes different tourists from all parts of the world who come to learn about the unique traditional lifestyle, language and customs of these native people. Iraqw is a highly recommended option when it comes to cultural visits in Tanzania.
- Enjoy a meal at The Rock Restaurant
This beautiful restaurant found on the Island of Zanzibar stands marvelously on a rocky outcrop that protrudes from the waters of the Indian Ocean. It rewards its guest very breathtaking views of the ocean. Guests can choose to either sit inside or outside. When the tide is low you can access the restaurant through a staircase however when the tide is high you will use a boat.
- Walking Safari
Walking Safari in Tanzania will reward you particularly with an intimate feel for the true African wilderness. They normally begin in the morning and are led by an armed ranger taking about 2 hours. Walking safari can be enjoyed in Selous game reserve and will offer you an opportunity to see different bird species and animals such as elephants and zebras.
- Explore the House of wonders
This beautiful construction overlooks the harbor of Stone and it is also known as the palace of wonders. It comprises of beautifully large carved doors which are believed to be the largest in the whole of east Africa. It has a National museum on culture and history that showcases the rich culture of the Swahili people as well as the Indian Ocean coastal people. This museum is found within the huge remarkable pillars and balconies of this amazing structure
- Explore the Olduvai Gorge
The Olduvai Gorge is regarded as the cradle where civilization began it is here that Dr. Leakey together with his wife discovered evidence of hominid existence. it is alleged that in the 1970’s the very first remains of the human species which was dated about 3 million years ago where found in this place by Mary plus Louis Leakey. It was from these findings that it was scientifically concluded that human beings evolved from the African continent
- Explore the Isimila Stone Age site
The archaeological site is a popular and very important site in the findings made in relation to the Stone Age era. The findings were uncovered scattered among a remarkable landscape of sandstone pillars that have been eroded. Some of the tools found at this site include scrapers, hammer stones, flints and axe-heads that are predictable to be used between 60,000 – 100,000 years back. You can also visit the museum found at this ancient site.
- Visit Stone Town Zanzibar – the birth place of Freddie Mercury
Although Zanzibar is best known for its turquoise water, luxury resorts and beautiful beaches, Its Stone Town is the birth place of Freddie Mercury a well-known British songwriting, record producer and lead vocalist and singer in the rock band Queen. You will get an opportunity to see the door of his home and even visit the Mercury’s bar and enjoy a drink there. Another unique thing about Stone town is that it is a UNESCO world heritage site therefore expect to see a lot. This is town was previously the main hub for spice trade as well as the brutal slave trade that happened in the eastern part of Africa. you will enjoy guided walks through the beautiful stone walkways and see the beautiful architecture, colorful busy markets and even get an opportunity to interact with a hospitable people
- Explore Kitulo plateau
Found within the southern Tanzania highlands the kitulo plateau is referred to as ‘The Garden of God’ by the local people. This montane grassland is a protected area that holds a very unique plant life that includes Orchids. Field scientists back in 2005 discovered within the Livingstone forest found on this plateau
- Engage in a hot air balloon Safari
for those of you interested in wildlife viewing forget about the traditional game drives conducted in safari vans and leaped into a hot air balloon which will give you yet very unique opportunity of seeing the rich wildlife found in the country. These balloon rides are conducted in the wide plains of the Serengeti and they begin very early in the morning giving you an opportunity to enjoy the sunrise while soaring above the African plains. The balloon flights normally end with a champagne breakfast in the bush and despite their fairly high price tag; they will offer you a lifetime experience that is worth every dollar you will pay
- Explore Pemba Island
The beautiful island of Pemba comprises of green hills, numerous club plantations and offers holidaymakers flawless views. The island receives several drivers from all parts of the world who come to explore the Pemba channel that comprises of beautiful coral reefs with a rich marine life. This island separates the mainland of Tanzania from the islands. There is a ruined fort plus museum dated to be constructed in the 18th century within Chake Chake which is the main town here air and a very large number of tourists every year.
- Visit a traditional Maasai village
When we talk about culture and traditions in Africa I believe me most of you have heard about the Maasai tribe. Well no safari in Eastern Africa is complete without meeting the natives of the maasai tribe. When you visit you will be gladly welcomed by the nomadic and warrior maasai people who will give you a great welcome with their traditional vibrant dances, songs and their unique style of jumping very high up in the air. it is quite a very uncommon thing for anyone to visit them and not buy a souvenir from these amazing people; this will actually give you an opportunity to try out you’re bargaining skills.
- Visit the beautiful Forodhani Gardens
The beautiful gardens are found close to the waterfront of Stone Town and they are a meeting area for different cultures and a place to enjoy scrumptious cuisine especially as the sun sets. Popular within this area is a food market that comes to life every evening after sunset which is set up within the main square offering both Zanzibar and Swahili themed delicacies including sweet potatoes, grilled sea food, cassava and samosas.
- Visit the thousands of pink flamingos on Lake manyara
For holiday makers interested in bird watching and appreciating the gifts of Mother Nature we highly recommend that you visit Lake manyara an Alkaline Lake best known for its high population of pink flamingos that live around this Lake. Because of their high numbers when you watch the lake from a distance you may think it is covered by a pink blanket. The thousands of flamingos migrate to this lake in season, and you will also get a chance to see some other species such as eagles, storks and the Kingfishers. Besides the amazing birdlife you will also be able to catch sight of the fascinating colonies of baboons that live there that are commonly seen walking around.
- Enjoy a cultural visit in Mto wa Mbu
Within Tanzania’s Arusha area is the Mto Wa Mbu village (translated as village of mosquitoes) which is very vibrant and busy. A very large number of travelers stopover in this village not just for a fuel top up but to buy souvenirs, blankets, jewelry and so much more. This is a good place to get yourself some fresh fruits as well during your travels. It is alleged that nearly all the 120 different ethnic tribes of Tanzania are will represented among the natives living in this village
- Explore the Arusha cultural center
Found within the town of Arusha this culture center is a fairly new site that houses different pieces of African art and paintings. The center offers tourists and opportunity to ‘walk’ through the unique culture of ancient Africa as it is well displayed in form of art. The center receives hundreds and hundreds of tourists each year; there is also a nice gift shop as well a cappuccino-shop where you can enjoy a nice cappuccino while unwinding
- The Mafia Island
This island is bordered by a marine park which attracts a very high number of snorkelers and scuba divers from different parts of the world. it’s clear Waters offer a good display of the beautiful coral garden that acts as a magnet to different species of tropical fish and in fact is a breeding area for the green turtles.
- Visit Shanga village
The Shanga village found in Arusha town is a project which assists disabled people to enhance their skills in making art pieces and crafts. During your visit you will have a tour of the workshop and see how these artisans use a sustainable model to recycle materials and make beautiful ornaments, clothing as well as tapestries. As a way of supporting this project you can purchase some crafts and jewels from here.
- Visit the historical Old Fort
This is known as the oldest building on the Zanzibar archipelago and it is among the most commonly visited tourist sites in stone Town. In 1698 the Oman Arabs constructed this structure which has fortification painted with a pale orange color after they seized the Zanzibar Island from the Portuguese. Over the past several years it has housed very many things including a tennis club and a prison
- Take a Biking tour in Tanzania
In case you are looking forward to having an epic adventure in Tanzania, then embark on a biking tour from Arusha all the way to Mbeya found in the south. You will get an opportunity to see the amazing gifts of nature within Tanzania. while riding your bicycle you will go through beautiful coffee plantations and explore the quiet countryside. you will ride on paved roads, traverse bumpy trails, ascend challenging routes and even meet some of the local people while riding their own bicycles especially in rural Tanzania. you will finally make your way to Dodoma another busy capital in Tanzania and get an opportunity to even take a refreshing soda by the roadside. The riding adventure will give you an up-close encounter of the lifestyle of the native welcoming people
- Explore Jovani Forest
This is considered to be one of the few remaining natural habitats of the red colobus monkeys across the world which makes it a very important. Jovani Forest covers an area of 2000 hectares whose terrain is comprised of a salt swamp area, coral rag forest and a ground water Forest not forgetting the extensive mangrove swamp. Among the animals found in the forest are Aders’ duikers, Skye’s monkeys, and bush babies.
- Explore the Ngorongoro Crater
internationally listed as the biggest unbroken caldera on the planet which is not filled with water but rather serves as home to about forty five thousand (45,000) wild animals that live peacefully in this wildlife ‘amphitheatre’, a safari in the Ngorongoro crater is definitely a must do activity on your safari in Tanzania. It is quiet a unique experience to watch animals within a volcano ‘hole’ whose walls are over 600 meters high above the floor of the caldera. Some of the animals you will encounter her include: wildebeests, zebras, lions, elephants and different antelopes
- Watch the annual wildebeest migration
This mass movement of nearly 2 million animals that include wildebeest, zebras and gazelles is internationally regarded as one of the most spectacular natural wildlife migration. This large herd for so many years has been marching through the vast plains of the Serengeti National Park in search for water and fresh pastures following nearly the same path year after year. This event attracts thousands and thousands of tourists into the Serengeti national park every year especially during the peak safari season.
- Prison Island
Previously this was a holding place for convicted prisoners however today the prison island which is also referred to as changuu island receives thousands of tourists every year to see it’s resident colony of the huge aldabra tortoise which is among the endangered species on the Zanzibar island. This special species was given as a gift by the Seychelles government. a number of them are over 100 years old and they are seen strolling peacefully amidst other wildlife such as the shy buck, colored butterflies and the beautiful peacocks.
- Visit the Serengeti hippo pool
Found within Serengeti National Park, the hippo pool is a good place to visit especially when you do not mind the smell. it is characterized by a very large number of hundreds of huge hippos that compete for space within a somewhat small pool of muddy water. it is a very dramatic place to see these land giants
- Mount Meru
This mountain which is found within Arusha national park is the fifth highest mountain on the whole of the African continent and the second highest in Tanzania after Mount Kilimanjaro. Its slopes rise high above the adjoining Savannah and are covered by verdant forests and vegetation in which different types of monkeys and birds dwell. Leopards have also been recorded to live in this area however they are very challenging to see.
The best time to visit Tanzania and where to stay
One of the commonly asked questions by any holidaymaker visiting Tanzania especially for the first time ‘Is when should I go to Tanzania?’ and to be honest this questions is somewhat tricky considering the fact that different parts of the country offer different tourists attractions in different seasons of the year. For that reason I can say that Tanzania can be visited all year round however, the most recommended time is from late June to the month of October (the dry season). During those months most of the countryside is dry, the vegetation is thin and most of the sources of water have dried out so the animals tend to congregate around the remaining water sources this offering better and easier views of wildlife. nonetheless, I have to inform you that during that time, majority of the wildlife sanctuaries are crowded with large numbers of tourists, so in case you are not comfortable with the large crowds then you are advised to visit during the green / wet season that begins in March to the end of May, or opt for the short dry season that starts in December to h end of Feb.
Below we have highlighted the best time to visit the most popular national parks and reserves in Tanzania and we hope it will be helpful as you plan to visit this beautiful destination
Serengeti National Park
This is the most popular game pack in Tanzania and it has one of the highest populations of wildlife all year round however the best time to visit is during the dry season which begins in June through July to the end of September. For tourists visiting the park at this time and are interested in watching the wildebeest migration the best places to see the animals is in the Western parts of the park especially in the month of May and June when the well-known river crossing is happening. You can choose to spend nights at any of the following accommodations: Ubuntu migration camp, or Singita fura fura lodge.
The annual wildebeest migration is among the most remarkable wildlife spectacles in the world and a very popular tourist activity so in case you’re planning to travel around this time we highly recommend that you book with your tour agents in advance to guarantee the availability of your accommodation on your desired travel dates
From late January to March the pregnant female wildebeests are giving birth to their calves this is known as the Calving Season. It happens within the southern part of the Serengeti and several predictors including lions and cheetahs are on guard to feast on the more than 200,000 calves that are born at that time. Some of the recommended accommodations include Lake Masek Tented Camp, or Kikondo Migration Camp
From the month of March to April is the rainy (wet or green) season. At this time of the year there are no tourist crowds in Serengeti and this offers holidaymakers a more intimate wildlife experience. During this time there are short but heavy downpours which normally last utmost one hour. Despite this there’s more availability of accommodation and the good news for bird lovers is that several migratory species of birds are flying into the Serengeti
Best time to visit Zanzibar Island
This water adventure destination can best be visited from the month of June to October when it’s dry and cool. The months of August and September offer the finest water clarity that ranges from 25 meters and more; making it the best time for scuba diving, snorkeling as well as whale viewing. An important thing to know however is that during the months June plus July some of the restaurants on the island might be closed due to the Ramadan Muslim festival. For that reason it is always very important to make a detailed search before making your reservation
From December to February the time is similarly considered ideal for visiting the archipelago since it is hot and dry with temperatures at times reaching about 40 degrees Celsius. In March, April and May, the wet season is running; the water clarity is not good and humidity is a challenge to many. A Beach holiday on the Zanzibar Island can be combined easily with a wildlife Safari on the mainland of Tanzania.
Best time to visit to visit the Ngorongoro crater
Here the best time to visit is during the dry season which runs from June to October when the temperatures are cool and there is minimal or hardly any rain. Shortage of rain implies that vegetation cover in the crater is thin and even animals species like the Black rhino which are known to be shy can easily be seen at this time of the year. the disadvantage of travelling during this season is that the number of tourists in the crater is very high creating a big crowd
From November to May is The Green or rainy season and there are fewer tourists however even visiting the crater at this time is still considered to be good time since the rains present as shot showers in the afternoon. The months of March, April and May receive the heaviest rain. Migratory bird species visit the crater at this time of the year and due to the abundance of vegetation and water the animals are more spread out across the crater making it a bit more challenging to find them, however this should not deter you from visiting the crater. allow me to add that even during the green season the Ngorongoro crater still offers remarkable views of wildlife with very few destinations matching up to it. Some of the recommended accommodations during this time include the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge or The Highlands.
Best time to visit Tarangire National Park
Similar to most of Tanzania’s national parks Tarangire can best be visited during the dry season which begins in June to November. Because of the scarcity of vegetation and water most of the wildlife converges around River Tarangire. It is no doubt that during this time of the year the pack is crowded with several tourists, and some of the recommended accommodations include Sanctuary Swala and Oliver’s Camp.
The rain begins later on in the year with March and April receiving the most the heaviest rains. At this time the vegetation is thick and there is great availability of water which causes the animals to disperse all over the park consequently making game viewing not as rewarding as it is in the dry season. For tourists that don’t like crowds this is a good time to visit the park and in addition you will enjoy spectacular views of different migratory bird species. a safari in Tarangire national park can easily be combined with any of the popular game parks along the northern Safari circuit of Tanzania
Best time to visit Selous game reserve
From June to November the Selous game reserve is experiencing its dry season and this is the best time to watch the big cats as well as the rare African wild dogs. During this season there are fewer surviving water sources and the animals tend to converge around them in big numbers thus bringing predators together with their prey. Actually animals like lions can easily be seen them. From June to August the African Wild dogs tend to den so they can easily be seen at the time
From the month of March to May is considered to be the rainy season with the heaviest rains falling in March and April. At the time of the year the animals spread out across the vast plains of the game reserve making game viewing rather challenging. Some accommodations do shut down in this season and a number of roads might be inaccessible the good news however is that several migratory birds are flying in and a number of them are birthing.
A safari to Selous game reserve can easily be combined with other western and southern game parks such as katavi , ruaha or even taking a trip to the coast.
Best time to visit Mount Kilimanjaro
Although the weather conditions on the Kilimanjaro are somewhat uneven all year round, the most recommended time for hiking the mountain is from July to October when it is warm and the skies are clear. Well this is quite different from other seasons of the year particularly April to May as well as November to mid December when the area is experiencing rain for the trails are muddy, the fog is thick and the ice is thicker. Such months should be avoided because they not only register the least chances of summiting the mountain but also put the climbers’ life at risk. We greatly recommend that when visiting Kilimanjaro you contact your ground operator for a detailed and more current weather prediction.
Best time to visit Ruaha National Park
The month of June to October is the most recommended time to visit the park. At this time it is dry the weather is cooler and the vegetation is thinner making game viewing easier. Similar to The Selous game reserve, the wild dogs in the park den from the month of June to August and big cats and lions can easily be seen. This season is also a very good time to engage in a walking Safari since the grass is shorter and the temperatures are more conducive. For people interested in engaging in walking safaris kichaka frontier camp and kwihala camp are the most recommended accommodations.
By the month of November, the rains have started and several migratory birds are flying in. this season goes on until March with the level of humidity being quite high. The majority of the accommodations in the park are closed due to poor accessibility for that reason we recommend that you contact your ground tour operator handler before making your reservation.
Top 10 destinations to visit in Tanzania
Tanzania is best known for its remarkable views of wildlife and having the highest mountain on the continent – Kilimanjaro; which make it a very popular destination. Below we have highlighted the top 10 tourist destinations you must visit on your next trip to Tanzania
- Serengeti National Park
This beautiful Park is most popularly known for its large number of big mammals across the African continent and it is rated among the top favorite holiday destinations in Africa. Serengeti is popular among holidaymakers especially for the wildebeest migration that takes place every year which includes nearly 2,000 animals majorly wildebeests and zebras. The month of May is considered to be one of the most favorable times to go to this park since it is very dry and the vegetation thin so the migrating herd starts matching in large numbers in search for fresh pastures
- Ngorongoro conservation area
The spectacular Ngorongoro crater was formed about 3 million years ago as a result of a volcano erupting and collapsing. The 600 and over high slopes of the crater form as an enclosure for the large number of wild animals living on the crater floor. This is among the few places on the African continent where you get an opportunity to see the black rhino. Unique about the crater is that the native maasai people of this area are allowed to graze their cattle on the crater floor hence sharing pastures with a different wild herbivores living here.
- Mount Kilimanjaro
The Kilimanjaro Mountain found in the eastern part of the country close to the border of Tanzania and Kenya is an inactive volcano standing at the height of 5892 meters above sea level. This is the highest mountain in Africa as well as the highest free standing mountain in the whole world. Despite its location close to the equator the summit of this mountain is covered by snow. It offers different routes along which its summit can be attempted. A very large number of mountaineers visit Mount Kili to take on this challenge
The beautiful island is an archipelago comprised of different Islands. It offers beautiful coastal beaches which makes it a perfect destination to enjoy a beach holiday. The island is surrounded with a colorful garden of corals which attracts different tropical fish and other Marine creatures making it an ideal destination for snorkeling and scuba diving as well.
For centuries this island has been a significant trading hub as well as a meeting point for different cultures including Arabs, Indians and Africans Stone Town is among the significant tourist attractions found on this island that offers beautiful ancient architecture, vibrant markets and very hospitable people.
- Lake Manyara
This National Park is best known for its rich birdlife. During the wet season the lake attracts as many as 300 different types of migratory birds among which are thousands of pink colored flamingos. When the dry season kicks in, most of the park areas are very dry and the few remaining water sources attract large mammals such as giraffes, hippos, wildebeests and elephants making it a perfect place to enjoy game drives
- Mafia Island
This Island is part of the Spice Islands and has a population of approximately 40,000 people. It is a very beautiful and peaceful place with instances of organized crime are hardly ever recorded. every year thousands of scuba divers, snorkelers, game fishers and holidaymakers interested in unwinding on white sand beaches visit this island which also prides in a variety a lavish hotels and resorts
- Tarangire National Park
This National Park is regarded as a bird watchers’ Paradise thanks to its great diversity of more than 540 recorded here. The park is also well-known for its large population of elephants, the unique tree-climbing lions as well as the baobab trees. When you visit you won’t fail to notice the massive termite mounds founding the park
- Selous Game Reserve
This is regarded as the largest designated wildlife reserve in the country it is home to a very large number of savanna animals living in very large numbers which cannot be compared to any other across the continent. However because of its large size, the animals are scattered across the vast plains. There are various activities that you can enjoy in this reserve among which are walking safaris, boat rides on River Fuji, helicopter tours and game drives.
- Ruaha National Park
This is the largest National Park in Tanzania. the park is home to a large number different animals including bat eared foxes, elephants, wild dogs jackals, giraffes, cheetahs, zebras, leopards and Impalas this is among the best destinations to give you an authentic up-close experience of wild Africa and this is mainly because most areas in the park are pristine and untouched. The remote location of the Park offers holidaymakers an opportunity to escape from the large crowd normally found in the more popular wildlife parks especially during the peak tourist season.
Also referred to as the Green Island it is found within the Indian Ocean and forms part of the Zanzibar archipelago. This is a very popular destination amongst divers who travel from different parts of the world to explore the breathtaking marine life that surrounds this island.