East Africa is a hub of beautiful destinations. Tanzania – is a destination unlike any other. Rich in wildlife, culture, history and exquisite natural scenery – Tanzania is a must visit. While the allure of wild animals is a popular reason to travel to Tanzania, there is plenty more to do. From the powdery white sands to the tropical flora, to the lakes of the Great Rift Valley to the coral reefs of Zanzibar, there is something so much to see, do and experience. Here are the 7 places to explore in Tanzania.
For an out-of-this-world experience, head to Lake Natron in the Arusha region of Tanzania. This shallow, salt and soda lake has high levels of alkalinity that result in the water concentrating into a caustic alkaline brine. This in turn attracts salt-loving micro-organisms that give the lake its characteristic pinky-red hue. The temperature of the water often hovers around an astounding 60°C making it inhospitable to all but a few living creatures. Natron is also the only regular breeding ground in East Africa for the lesser flamingo.
Nature-lovers should take some time to embrace the peace and solitude of the Olmoti Crater. Here, the grassy floor offers good grazing for eland, buffalo and reedbuck and there is also a picturesque waterfall to admire. The remote and pristine location is one of the lesser frequented tourist destinations and perfect for an unhurried nature hike. The 3,700m high crater is also home to a wide variety of nectar-feeding birds, such as the Golden-winged and the Eastern Double-collared sunbirds, malachite and the Mountain greenbul. Olmoti Crater can be accessed via the Maasai village of Nainokanoka, and you will be accompanied by an armed ranger to ensure your safety.
The Zanzibar archipelago is located within the calm, azure waters of the Indian Ocean, just off the coast of Tanzania. It is a region that has seemingly stood still in time where colourful, quaint villages mingle with aromatic spice markets, old architecture, fishing boats, rice plantations and gorgeous sandy beaches. Its tropical climate means that just about every day is a beach day with the reefs around the island ideal for snorkelling and a large variety of watersports. Swim with dolphins, explore rustic fish markets and admire the history of the eclectic melting pot that is Zanzibar.
The Maasai are a semi-nomadic tribe, among the original inhabitants of Northern Tanzania, who have lived in the Serengeti according to traditional customs for thousands of years. They are a proud warrior race that is often admired for their striking looks, dramatic red clothes and beautiful beaded jewellery. A cultural trip into their lives will reveal all sorts of interesting facts, such as the legends of the Maasai warriors and why ritual song and dance are so important to the tribe. Make sure you book a visit through a reputable establishment to ensure an authentic tribal experience.
Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa as well as the biggest tropical freshwater lake in the world. It is shared between Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, with the former retaining the lion’s share of the lake. It makes for a refreshing break from the wildlife safari circuits and maddening crowds, offering peace and relaxation. Explore the waterside charm of the little towns along the shore and the subsistence communities who live in relative isolation.
The Ngorongoro Crater is a magnificent ancient volcanic caldera that teems with wildlife and verdant vegetation. Here, visitors can enjoy a classic ‘Big Five’ safari experience as game-viewing is plentiful and easy. The crater has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is said to hold one of the largest densities of mammals in Africa. A variety of flora can be found within its compact area that attracts an enormous diversity of game; the only exceptions being giraffe and impala that are thought to not frequent the crater due to the lack of open woodlands on which to graze.
Even those who have experienced a wildlife safari before should not miss the opportunity for a game drive. There are plenty of parks and reserves to choose from, like the world-renowned Serengeti, to pretty Tarangire, and the small but beautiful Arusha National Park. While all offer scores of wildlife, Tarangire is most often chosen for its large elephant populations. Arusha features exquisite scenery that is second to none. The UNESCO World Heritage site of the Serengeti is, of course, one of Africa’s most iconic wildlife destinations, famed for its large populations of predators and annual wildebeest and zebra migration.
What ever your plans are for 2020 – make sure to squeeze in a little rest and relaxation in Tanzania!