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Many people dream of taking an exotic African safari someday but are intimidated by accessibility, cost, and political stability. Tanzania is one of the oldest inhabited places on earth, and it is home to one of the most fascinating balances between wildlife, people, and land in the world. Although Tanzania is best known for its wild safaris, there are lots of other things to see and do on a trip to Tanzania. These are some of the most unforgettable travel experiences you can plan to have in Tanzania.
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Take a Safari in the Serengeti
What Is It? Serengeti National Park stretches over 13,000 square kilometers and is the place to see some of the world’s most exotic wildlife and most beautiful sunsets.
Why Do It? It is a quintessential experience to have in Tanzania. Some of your best chances of photographing zebras, wildebeests, and lions will be here. Local tour operators have designed safaris to cater to a wide variety of interests and outdoor skill abilities.
Good to Know: You can also combine your safari experience with mountain climbing, relaxing beach stops, and off-the-beaten-track tours.
Explore Other Reserves and Conservation Areas
What Is It? The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is next to the Serengeti and is home to the world’s largest crater.
Why Do It? You can find nearly every species of East African wildlife in this park and stay overnight in one of the area’s lodges or campsites. Head to southern Tanzania to visit Africa’s largest reserve, the Selous Game Reserve, which is a World Heritage Site with elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and other native animals.
Good to Know: Consider taking a swamp boat tour through the Selous for great views. Other parks to check out include Katavi in the west, Ruaha National Park in the south, and Tarangire National Park in the north.
Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro
What Is It? Mt. Kilimanjaro stands 5,896 meters tall and takes most people at least six days to reach the summit.
Why Do It? One of the most adventurous things in the world you can do, hiking to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania is a bucket-list-worthy experience.
Good to Know: Although no special climbing equipment is required, many Mt. Kilimanjaro trips fail because trekkers are in inadequate shape, wear improper clothing, and don’t bring enough food and water.
Take a Ferry to Zanzibar
What Is It? Hop aboard a ferry to visit Zanzibar, one of the best places to explore local culture and relax on the beaches near Tanzania.
Why Do It? Zanzibar is famous for its local markets, spices, and historical areas, and beautiful beaches. You can take a walk along the ancient winding streets and take in the busy bazaars and mosques along the way.
Good to Know: Stone Town is one of the most popular places to explore in Zanzibar.
Observe Chimpanzees in the Mahale Mountains
What Is It? One of the best places to observe chimpanzees in their natural habitat is in the Mahale Mountains of Tanzania.
Why Do It? These chimps live near the clear waters of Lake Tanganyika, and their home has become one of the newest tourist destinations in the area.
Good to Know: Approximately 1,000 chimpanzees live in this region and other primates, including baboons and the red colobus, can be seen here too.
Go Diving Around Pemba Island
What Is It? Pemba Island is located in the Indian Ocean as part of the Spice Islands, and it is also a popular diving spot near Tanzania.
Why Do It? Pemba tends to be less crowded than nearby Zanzibar, which becomes packed with tourists during peak times.
Good to Know: This is a beautiful place to go diving and explore the colorful coral reefs and the abundant marine line below the water’s surface.
Watch Migratory Birds at Lake Manyara
What Is It? Bird watchers flock to Lake Manyara, home to about 300 different species of migratory birds in Tanzania.
Why Do It? Thousands of flamingos inhabit the area around Lake Manyara and it is one of the most popular birds to photograph.
Good to Know: When the dry season rolls around, this lake dries up and becomes a place to spot elephants, giraffes and hippos.
Canoe the Coastal Waters
What Is It? The best way to explore the coastal waters of Tanzania is to hire a local guide who’s experienced in kayak and canoe routes.
Why Do It? Get some exercise and paddle at your own pace as you soak in the atmosphere of life in Tanzania.
Good to Know: Excursions in Lake Manyara include canoeing past thousands of pink flamingos, while the freshwater lakes of the Momela Lakes offer views of lush forests and the crater of Mt. Meru looming in the distance.
Visit the Stone Age Sites
What Is It? Isimila Gorge, located near Iringa, is where Stone Age tools and fossilized bones were discovered in 1951.
Why Do It? Tools found at this site are believed to be 60,000 to 100,000 years old. These fossils belong to extinct mammals that were related to the modern-day giraffe and hippos.
Good to Know: Take a moment to browse the small museum onsite and consider hiring a guide to access the main pillar area.
Experience Local City Life in Arusha
What Is It? Arusha is a city in northern Tanzania that provides an authentic glimpse into local city life in Tanzania.
Why Do It? You’ll find this city at the foothills of Mt. Meru with fields of coffee, maize, beans, and wheat all around.
Good to Know: These crops are sold in Arusha’s food markets on the city streets, so pick up some fresh produce to snack on while you explore the town.