Tanzania Parks & Coastline
Recently voted the "Best Safari Country in Africa"
An unparalleled 38% of Tanzania’s surface area has been set aside for conservation purposes and with areas like Serengeti National Park and the famous Ngorongoro Crater, it is the best safari destination in Africa.
Tanzania is one of Africa’s most peaceful and stable countries, which makes it an ideal choice for both first-time visitors and old timers.
Below are some must see destinations for your trip.
Serengeti National Park
Serengeti is Tanzania's most popular national park - a world heritage site and one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Africa. The Serengeti is famed for its annual migration, when hundreds of thousands of zebra and Thomson’s gazelle join more than 3 million wildebeest on their trek to find fresh grazing. Even when the migration is quiet, the Serengeti offers arguably the most scintillating game viewing in Africa. It has been voted the best African Safari Park year on year.
Teeming with wildlife including great herds of buffalo and elephant, towers of giraffe and thousands of eland, topi, kongoni, impala and Grant’s gazelle, as well as a vast population of birds. The spectacle of predator versus prey dominates Tanzania’s greatest park, which boasts the largest lion population in Africa. Lion prides feast on the abundance of plain grazers, while solitary leopards haunt the acacia trees lining the Seronera River and a high density of cheetahs prowl the South Eastern plains.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
The Ngorongoro Crater is the best place in Tanzania to see the big five, due to the shape and size of this incredible natural landscape. The Crater is the world’s largest inactive volcano caldera and its beauty is awe-inspiring. A healthy population of black rhino and some of the largest tusker elephants left in Africa today are highlights. The Crater is also home to strong populations of lion, leopard and hyena along with good herds of non-migrating wildebeest, buffalo and zebra. Other wildlife you will find here include serval cats, cheetah, jackal, Grant's and Thomson's gazelle, flamingo, bat eared foxes, and approximately 400 species of bird.
Once you have finished your game drive in the Crater there are many activities within Ngorongoro Conservation Area including walking, visiting a Maasai village and Olduvai Gorge. Tanzania is often referred to as the “Cradle of Mankind” due to the discovery of the earliest known humans at Olduvai Gorge. It is one of the most famous archeological sites in the world and well worth a visit.
Tarangire National Park
Often overshadowed by The Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire has immense concentrations of game in the peak months (July-February) and a fraction of the visitors that go to any of the other northern parks. The game viewing is superb and the atmosphere and habitat is completely different from the other parks.
Tarangire is surprisingly large, giving visitors more space and the most intimate game-viewing environment of all the parks in the region. Tarangire is a sanctuary for an incredibly large elephant population and animals congregate along the Tarangire River, which provides the only permanent water supply in the area. Majestic baobab trees and interesting landscapes are a feature of the park, as well as a great diversity of wildlife including lion, leopard, cheetah and over 6000 elephant.
Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara is a beautiful, scenic park on the road from Arusha to the Ngorongoro Crater. The lake itself takes up much of the park leaving a strip of land running down its shores where game concentrates. Famous for its tree-climbing lions, flamingos, breathtaking scenery and the soda-ash lake in the centre, giving reason enough to visit here for a day, especially during the wet months (March-June) when elephants can be found enjoying the lush surroundings.
At the lowest point of the Rift Valley in East Africa sits the shallow soda lake, Lake Natron. The lake is highly alkaline and is an ideal environment for flamingos to feed and to breed while enjoying relative security from predators, thus the lake is home to more than 2 million of the birds. Every evening thousands of pink flamingos fly overhead, exposing the deep garnet feathers under their wings.
In addition to seeing these amazing birds, you can hike to the beautiful waterfalls in the area, or for those wanting a little more adventure, try hiking the active volcano of Ol Doinyo L’Engai, or ‘Mountain of God’ in the Maasai language. The summit of this strato-volcano is 2,962 metres above sea level, and affords direct views into the caldera of Tanzania’s only officially certified active volcano, and the world’s only carbonatite volcano. This is an extremely challenging hike because it is steep and covered in volcanic ash, which feels like walking in soft sand. The hike can take anywhere between 8-12 hours and is done during the night so you can experience an amazing sunrise at the summit.
Lake Eyasi is a soda lake located at the southwest corner of Ngorongoro Crater in the conservation area highlands. The Hadzabe Bushmen live in this region, as do the Datoga and Mbulu tribes. A visit with the bushmen is very worthwhile - they will show you their way of life and you have the opportunity to go hunting with them. They survive entirely off the bush and by bow hunting. Everything they use is made from local materials, including their bows, which are strung with giraffe tendon, and their arrows, which are coated in lethal poison. Their language resembles that of the Kalahari Bushmen, which has a range of clicking noises, rather than speech.
This is an incredible way to experience a lifestyle very different from your own and gain insight into a very special local culture.
Standing at 19,336 feet (5,895 metres), Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa and the largest freestanding mountain in the world. It is also one of the world's only summits of similar height that can be accessed by a wide range of hikers of different fitness levels and without technical skill.
Kilimanjaro is a once in a lifetime experience and a draw for mountaineers and thrill-seekers the world over. The park itself displays an astounding variety of environments. At lower altitudes, the mountain forest provides a home for primates, birdlife and unique, delicate, flowers. Climb higher and the forest is overtaken by moorland topography. Higher still and you will come into the alpine desert zone. Finally, the ascent takes you to a glacier of snow and ice, where you stand, on the roof of Africa.
With its peak at 4562m, Mount Meru is the fifth highest mountain on the African continent and the second highest in Tanzania. Around 250,000 years ago, a massive volcanic explosion swept away the entire eastern flank of the mountain and left it with the distinctive appearance it has today. The last eruption was in 1910.
An ascent of Mount Meru passes through different areas of vegetation. Forest in the lower part gives way to a dense mountain rainforest which finally turns into bush. Towards the top of the mountain, the vegetation turns to moorland which is replaced by sweeping alpine deserts above. As flora changes, fauna does the same. The mountain is located in Arusha National Park and during the ascent you may see large mammals such as elephants and buffaloes, but could also be lucky enough to encounter rarely sighted leopards.
Ruaha National Park
Ruaha National Park is the largest national park in Tanzania. The park is part of a more extensive ecosystem, which includes Rungwa Game Reserve, Usangu Game Reserve, and several other protected areas. The name of the park is derived from the Great Ruaha River, which flows along its southeastern margin and is the focus for game-viewing. The park is a birdwatching paradise with more than 571 species, some of them known to be migrants from within and outside Africa.Ruaha is believed to have a higher concentration of elephants than any National Park in East Africa. Magnificent mammals like Kudu, Sable and Roan antelopes can easily be spotted in the Miombo woodland areas and the park is a habitat for endangered wild dogs. Other animals that may be seen include lions, leopards, cheetah, giraffes, zebras, elands, impala, bat eared foxes and jackals. Apart from large animals, the park also harbours a number of reptiles and amphibians such as crocodiles, poisonous and non-poisonous snakes, monitor lizards, agama lizards and frogs. Characterised by semi-arid vegetation, baobab trees, acacia and other species, over 1,650 plant species that have been identified.
Selous Game Reserve
Africa’s largest game reserve is one of its most scenic wildlife destinations; the Selous is utterly beautiful. The beauty of the park is matched by the quality of a safari here; boating, walking and fly camping compliment standard game driving in thriving wildlife areas. An outrageously good safari park and an essential component of any southern circuit itinerary.
The Selous is a superb safari destination for both family safaris and African honeymoons, all the better for the ease of getting there and the lack of crowds.
The Northern section of Selous is home to a network of channels and lagoons that run off the Rufiji River. This lush landscape provides a water supply for the region’s game and towards the end of the dry season the concentration of animals around these water sources is phenomenal. It is here, around the river and lakes, that the majority of the camps are based; successfully relying on the animal’s need for water to provide spectacular game viewing opportunities.
The sheer volume of game in Selous is outstanding with statistics putting most parks in Africa to shame. Elephant, buffalo and lion are ‘arguably’ found in no greater numbers year round anywhere on the planet. But it is the Selous’ reputation as the last true stronghold for African wild dog that draws the enthusiast.
Brooding and primeval, the forests of Udzungwa seem positively enchanted. A verdant refuge of sunshine-dappled glades enclosed by 30 metre (100 foot) high trees, their buttresses layered with fungi, lichens, mosses and ferns. Its closed-canopy forest spans altitudes of 250 metres (820 feet) to above 2,000 metres (6,560 ft) without interruption.
Although not a conventional game viewing destination, Udzungwa is a magnet for hikers. An excellent network of forest trails includes the popular half-day ramble to Sanje Waterfall, which plunges 170 metres (550 feet) through a misty spray into the forested valley below.
The more challenging two-night Mwanihana Trail leads to the high plateau, with its panoramic views over the surrounding sugar plantations, before ascending to Mwanihana peak, the second-highest point in the range.
Ornithologists are attracted to Udzungwa for an avian wealth embracing more than 400 species, from the lovely and readily-located green-headed oriole to more than a dozen secretive Eastern Arc endemics. Four bird species are peculiar to Udzungwa, including the forest partridge. Of six primate species recorded, the Iringa red colobus and Sanje Crested Mangabey both occur nowhere else in the world. Undoubtedly, this great forest has yet to reveal all its treasures. Ongoing scientific exploration will surely add to its diverse catalogue of endemics.
Mikumi National Park
Mikumi National Park is Tanzania’s fourth-biggest national park and the most accessible from Dar es Salaam, making a perfect safari destination for those with less time to travel.
Situated between the Uluguru and Lumango Mountains, Mikumi is one of the most reliable places in Tanzania for sightings of eland, the world's largest antelope. The equally impressive greater kudu and sable antelope can be found in the Miombo woodland-covered foothills of the mountains that rise from the park's borders. Interesting rock formations can be seen close to the northern boundary of the park and the Mkata plains are by far the best place for game viewing. The park is famous for its healthy populations of elephants and buffaloes, easily spotted out on the plains and the tamarind trees are a favourite spot for elephants and giraffes who spend hours munching their way through the fruits.
Gombe National Park
Gombe is the smallest of Tanzania’s national parks, a fragile strip of chimpanzee habitat straddling the steep slopes and river valleys that hem in the sandy northern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Its chimpanzees are habituated to human visitors and were made famous by the pioneering work of Doctor Jane Goodall, who founded a behavioural research programme in Gombe, now the longest-running study of its kind in the world. Chimpanzees share about 98% of their genes with humans. Perhaps you will see a flicker of understanding when you look into a chimp’s eyes!
The most visible of Gombe’s other mammals are also primates. A troop of beachcomber olive baboons is exceptionally habituated, while red-tailed and red colobus monkeys stick to the forest canopy. The park’s 200-odd bird species range from the iconic fish eagle to the jewel-like Peter’s twin spots that hop tamely around the visitors’ centre. After dusk, a dazzling night sky is complemented by the lanterns of hundreds of small wooden boats, bobbing on the lake like a sprawling city.
Mahale Mountains National Park
Located in the remote western part of the country, Mahale Mountains National Park is one of the most picturesque places in Tanzania. The park borders Lake Tanganyika, one of the oldest and deepest lakes in the world.
Getting to the park is an adventure as it is accessible only by air and boat. There are no roads, only forest paths through lush vegetation. Not only a hiker’s paradise, but also a chimpanzee paradise. Mahale is a haven for primates, with chimpanzee trekking being one of the prime reasons for a visit. The park is teeming with life, rivers and waterfalls are everywhere and around the shoreline of the lake, are the most unspoilt white sandy beaches anyone could imagine.
Zanzibar is the ultimate beach experience, with its fascinating historical Stone Town, interesting culture and magnificent beaches.
Stone Town is one of the oldest living Swahili towns in East Africa. It's unique winding, narrow streets are adorned with beautiful buildings and intricately carved wooden doors, famous in the area. Established by Arab slave and spice traders in the early 19th century, Stone Town is the cultural heart of Zanzibar. It's a UNESCO World Heritage site, which has enabled some of the beautiful houses to benefit from needed renovation.
Travel out to the beaches and you will enjoy relaxing on pristine white sand looking out over the clear blue Indian Ocean. There are a wide range of activities for the more adventurous traveller, including water sports, kite-surfing, sunset cruises, snorkelling or diving tours.
Pemba's terrain is hilly and lushly vegetated, while much of the coast is lined with mangroves and lagoons, interspersed with idyllic beaches and islets. Offshore coral reefs offer some of East Africa's best diving. Pemba remains largely 'undiscovered', and you'll still have the majority of places to yourself, a big part of the island's appeal!
Mafia Island is the most culturally and environmentally unspoilt of Tanzania’s Indian Ocean islands, visited by the few who know its charms and desire a special adventure. Offering a complete island experience, from intense activity to laid-back, feet-up bliss, it’s no surprise that many honeymooners choose to visit!
What’s the climate like in Tanzania?
Tanzania has a pleasant tropical climate but has large regional variations influenced by several factors, including altitude. Tanzania is too close to the equator to experience real winter and summer. There is, however, a dry and wet season. Long rains happen during April and May whilst ‘short rains’ are common in November. For other months of the year, we mostly enjoy clear blue skies!
Temperatures in winter (June-August) will average around 20-25°C during the day, whilst in summer (December-February) they average around 30-35°C. Coastal areas experience higher humidity and Mount Kilimanjaro will be much colder due to the elevation.
What vaccinations do I need for travelling in Tanzania?
There are a number of recommended vaccines, plus malaria prophylaxis, that your doctor is likely to suggest before travel. Yellow Fever vaccination is only mandatory if travelling from an infected country or passing through an infected country and stopping for more than 12 hours. This information can change regularly, therefore please make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic to get the most up to date recommendations.
Do I need a visa to travel in Tanzania?
Foreign nationals require a tourist visa to enter Tanzania. Please apply and pay online using https://eservices.immigration.go.tz/visa. Be aware this process can take up to 2 to 3 weeks. Whilst visas are available at the airport upon arrival, obtaining your visa and paying in cash this way can cause unnecessary delays. Visas cost USD$100 per person for American passport holders or USD$50 per person for other nationalities. You must have at least six months validity remaining on your passport.
What currency do I need?
For most tourism activities in Tanzania USD$ are accepted. Please note only notes printed after 2010 can be used. Notes printed before this are not accepted in Tanzania, and in fact most of Africa. Tanzanian Shillings will be required in restaurants, markets and for taxis. Please do not bring travellers cheques as these are difficult to exchange and incur a high fee.
How can I exchange currency?
You can exchange cash at bureaus at the airport on arrival or at banks in major towns. ATM’s dispense Tanzanian Shillings only and often have a low maximum withdrawal amount and charge high transaction fees. If you intend to use an ATM or card please ensure your bank is aware you are travelling in order to avoid any unnecessary security measures being imposed on your account. Cards are only really accepted at larger hotels and supermarkets. Shillings are a soft currency which you will not be able to change it back once you leave Tanzania.
What electrical sockets do you use in Tanzania?
In Tanzania the voltage is 230 and the frequency is 50Hz. For charging cameras, phones, etc, you will need a British plug adaptor, with three rectangular pins. On Zanzibar, some European managed resorts, use a European plug with two round pins.
It is customary to tip your guides/crew when on safari or other activities such as Mount Kilimanjaro. Suggested tipping amounts will be advised at time of booking. Even though tipping is not culturally expected it is good to leave some loose change at restaurants or in other service situations.
Export of goods and products
It is strictly prohibited to export shells, natural artifacts, and local flora and fauna, even if purchased from a shop. This is closely monitored at airports and borders. Purchasing cow horns or any other animal parts are allowed if you receive an exportation permit from the Ministry of Agriculture.
Ivory products - a CITES permit is legally required to purchase and export. However, due to ethical and environmental concerns, we strongly discourage our clients or visitors from supporting the ivory trade. In Tanzania, the population of elephants has reached devasting low levels due to ruthless poaching. We thank you for your consideration in preserving our precious natural resources.