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Tanzania Travel Guide

Africa's Great Migration The Great Migration link
Nature's drama of survival of the fittest plays out on the plains of the Serengeti National Park and Masai Mara Reserve every year

        Touring Tanzania

Tanzania at a Glance

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National Parks and Reserves - Tanzania is home to Serengeti National Park with its abundance of predators, plains game and the Great Migration. Mahale Mountains and Gombe Stream National Parks protect Tanzania's wild chimpanzees. Ruaha National Park and Selous Game Reserve provide wilderness, wildlife and outstanding safari experiences.

Mount Kilimanjaro - is the world's highest free standing mountain, a glacier-capped extinct volcano looming 19,336 feet (5,895 m) above the African plains. Several routes up Kilimanjaro to the "roof of Africa" are all walkable, but are definitely only for the very fit.

Spice Islands - The Spice Islands off the Indian Ocean coast include exotic Zanzibar. Once a trading post for the slave trade, Zanzibar's is renowned for its white plam lined sandy beaches and plantations of spices. The islands' coral reefs attract divers from around the world.

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Tanzania's Game Reserves

Tanzania's Game Reserves

Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire, Ruaha, Selous, Gombe Stream, Mahale and Manyara Reserves and National Parks.
Tanzania's Beaches and Islands
Warm Indian Ocean waters, idyllic beaches, diving over coral reefs and the romance of Spice Islands rich in history.
Tanzania's Mt. Kilimanjaro Mount Kilimanjaro
The highest walkable and free standing mountain in the world, just 200 miles (325 Km) from the equator.

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Olduvai Gorge

Special Interest Activities





Quickstart Guide to Tanzania Travel

Tanzania has a history of human habitation dating back over 2 million years. Ancient hominoid fossils have been found in Olduvai (Oldupai) Gorge located in the Eastern Serengeti region of northern Tanzania, with many paleontological discoveries by the Leakey family. This region is often referred to as the "cradle of mankind (or humankind)" and is famous for the discovery of the Laetoli hominid footprints in 1976, thought to be over 3.6 million years old.

The ancient volcanic caldera that is now Ngorongoro Crater provides refuge to some of Tanzania’s richest concentrations of wildlife including the endangered black rhino and black-maned lions.

The city of Dar es Salaam is the gateway to the Indian Ocean and to the world, with numerous international flights arriving daily. Short hopper flights and ferries take visitors to the idyllic Spice islands of Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia island where miles of sun drenched beaches and coral reefs beckon. The Spice Islands are a relaxing and adventure addition to end off a safari on the mainland of Tanzania.

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Serengeti National Park

Tanzania is committed to the preservation of it natural resources and wildlife, a commitment that has produced marvels such as the Serengeti National Park, home to an approximate three million large mammals roaming wild as nature intended. This enormous park adjoins in the north with the Masai Mara in Kenya and encompasses 9,175 square miles (24,000 KM2) of African savanna and woodlands.

The Serengeti and neighboring Masai Mara are the focus of a great annual migration of wildebeest and zebra. From December to April, close to a million wildebeest gather on the nutritious short-grass plains below the Ngorongoro Crater and the calves are born over the short calving season. As the plains grasses are depleted, columns of wildebeest move westwards in search of new pastures. The migrating herds then move northwards, into the grasslands of the Masai Mara. With the onset of the rains in November and December, the wildebeest herds move back to the replensihed grazing of Tanzania's short grass plains. Predators such as lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena pursue the migrating herds. This amazing natural spectacle will make a lasting impression. Witness the thrill of a chase between predator and antelope on a migration safari.

Serengeti on safari

Serengeti National Park: Elephant Sandbath (left); Migrating Zebra Herds (right)

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Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest intact caldera, 12 miles across and 2,000 feet deep (20km x 600m). Ngorongoro is located between the Serengeti and Lake Manyara, in northern Tanzania. Lodges and camps are built high on the crater rim, providing the traveler a breathtaking view into and over the crater. Resident herds number at least 25,000 wildebeest and zebra. Predators include lion and large numbers of hyena. It is also one of the best places in Tanzania to see black rhino and magnificent black-maned male lions. Colorful flamingoes and a variety of other water birds frequent the soda lake on the crater floor.

Ngorongoro wildlife

Wildlife is Prolific on the Crater Floor of Ngorongoro


Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Park

Lake Manyara lies only 80 miles (130 km) from Arusha and is a great destination for walking safaris and canoe excursions. Something to look out for would definitely be the famous tree climbing lions that are quite at home in the woodlands and forests of Lake Manyara. Just south of the Lake is Tarangire National Park where ornithologists will enjoy great sightings of a variety of birds of prey around May through October. Ancient Baobab trees grow in Acacia woodlands and herds of elephant roam the park, gathering along the river’s edge in the dry season with zebra, eland, buffalo, leopard and other wildlife.

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Mt Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro (“Kili”) is the highest free-standing mountain in the world and has Africa’s highest peak, rising to 19,336 feet (5,895 meters). Hikers need to be fit and healthy before taking on this mountain and several routes to the summit offer 5 to 8 day hikes. The Marangu Route, also called the Coca Cola route, is the most frequented. It travels over gentle slopes on the eastern side of the mountain and takes 4-5 days to complete.

For those hikers preferring to avoid the busier routes and willing to take on something a little more challenging, Mweka or Umbwe routes provide alternative options. These are not frequently used routes probably because they are quite a bit more strenuous.

Definitely a consideration however would be the Machame route, nicknamed the whisky route, with breathtaking views along the way. Like a good whisky, the views are savored by every hiker who is privileged enough to get this opportunity. It is more strenuous than the Marangu route but still very popular.

Approaching the summit of Kilimanjaro

Ascent to the Summit: Mount Kilimanjaro

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Selous Game Reserve

Selous Game Reserve is larger than the Serengeti and is home to the largest population of buffalo in Africa. Its landscape is as diverse as its wildlife, with volcanic springs, lakes and channels along the Great Ruaha and Rufiji rivers. Walking safaris are available at some lodges (accompanied by an armed game ranger), which allow the visitor the opportunity to see some of the 2,000 plant species and 350 different bird species in Selous. Selous is also famous for its large herds of elephant, countless hippopotamus and rare sightings of rhino.

Selous - hippo and African Wild Dog

Selous Game Reserve: Hippo Pod in the Rufiji River (left); Endangered African Wild Dog (right)


Gombe Stream NP and Mahale Mountains Reserve

Gombe Stream National Park, located on Tanzania’s western border along the shores of Lake Tanganyika, was founded to protect its chimpanzee population - and made famous by Dr. Jane Goodall. This is a habitat of towering palms and jungle with intertwining vines, no roads and no electricity. The forest canopy also provides a home to Sykes monkeys, yellow baboons, red tails and colobus monkeys.

To the south of Gombe lies Mahale Mountains Reserve. Gombe and Mahale were both created to conserve the primate species that live here. Both provide close encounters with chimpanzees on foot safaris – and are a photographer’s paradise with jungles, woodlands, grasslands, sunsets over Lake Tanganyika and of course the primates.

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A short distance offshore of Tanzania, the Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar is the largest of several islands collectively known to early explorers as the Spice Islands. It was once the centre of trade to East Africa and the last to abolish the slave trade.

Today Zanzibar and is an exotic vacation destination of white palm fringed sandy beaches, where vanilla, cinnamon, cloves and other spices are still grown in the spice plantations. The exotic ambiance and wide variety of activities available make it a romantic and popular choice for honeymoon couples. Visit Islamic ruins and snorkel or scuba dive off the many coral reefs. Activities include deep sea fishing, water sports and haggling for carvings at the market. Visitors soon work up a healthy appetite to enjoy the local cuisine. Many fine restaurants offer a wide menu from pizza, seafood or something a little more local with a pinch of spice

Zanzibar's pristine beaches

Zanzibar's White Sands and Coral Shores , Tanzania


The People of Tanzania

Tanzanians are a unique population mix. There are 100 or more different tribal groups, mostly of Bantu origin and the Maasai people of the northeast who are non-Bantu. Zanzibar and Pemba islands have a strong Arab speaking population, made up of Shirazia (from Persia), Arabs, Comorians (from the Comore Islands) and Bantu from the mainland.

Religious faiths in Tanzania include Christian, Islam and Hindu followers. However there are still tribes who have never deviated from their ancestral faith, including the Maasai people. They worship their god Engai and his messiah Kingdong’oi. They believe that their priests are descendants of the messiah.

People of Tanzania


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10 More Things
to do in and around Tanzania

 1 Dive the coral reefs of the Spice Islands (snorkeling or scuba diving)
 2 Visit Olduvai Gorge where hominoid fossils dating back 2 million years have been found
 3 Climb to the Roof of Africa. Mount Kilamanjaro is the highest peak in Africa and the highest walkable mountain in the world
 4 Visit the Mahale Mountains chimpanzee reserve - off the beaten and worth the visit
 5 Ujiji near Lake Tanganika is home to a small museum to commemorate the famous day that Henry Stanley eventually encountered missionary David Livingstone
 6 Visit Selous in the south for water-based or walking safari
 7 Experience the great migration of wildebeest and zebra in the Serengeti National Park
 8 Visit a fresh food or fish market in Zanzibar’s historic Stone Town
 9 Rise before dawn for a hot air balloon safari over the Serengeti National Park
10 Look out for tree climbing lions when visiting Lake Manyara National Park near Arusha

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