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If you are looking for a great African adventure, look no farther than Tanzania. The country teems with wildlife, it hosts fine safaris, and, of course, it possesses a jewel in Mount Kilimanjaro. The Kilimanjaro National Park tops the list of Tanzania’s amazing sites; there are also the Tarangire and Lake Manyara national parks, the latter of which houses the Tanzania Great Rift Valley; the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, declared a World Heritage Site in 1978, and the Serengeti National Park, which boasts the greatest concentration of wildlife, as more than 3 million large animals migrate to the area each year. Tanzania also boasts a gorgeous coastline. This country is a must whether you are of the adventurous type or just want to indulge in leisurely activities.
The Top 10: What to Do in Tanzania
1. Zanzibar International Film Festival:
Also known as ZIFF, this is East Africa’s largest film, art, and music festival. The two-week-long carnival boasts the best parties on the island, featuring live music and dancing.
2. Diving and Snorkeling:
These activities are abundant off both the Tanzanian coast and the surrounding islands. Large coral reefs with tropical fish and whale sharks attract world-class divers from all over the world. If you are a beginner or a seasoned pro, be sure to check out some of the finest unbleached coral in the Indian Ocean.
3. Hot-Air Balloon Ride at the Serengeti National Park:
Though somewhat expensive, this sophisticated mode of touring the park begins with spectacular views of natural beauty and wildlife and ends elegantly with a glass of champagne in the middle of the African bush. We urge you: Do not forget your camera!
4. Stone Town:
The heart and soul of Zanzibar, Stone Town hasn’t changed much in the past 200 years. Once one of the most important trading ports on the Indian Ocean, Stone Town became a center for wealthy traders, who built grand houses with elaborate wooden doors. Visit Livingstone’s old house, the Palace Museum, the Arab Fort, and the bazaar, and take time to wander along the narrow streets and alleyways to get a feel of this historic town.
5. Mount Kilimanjaro:
Whether you prefer standing at a distance and looking up at this massive mound of earth or tickling its back while hiking along its ridges, Mount Kilimanjaro is a site not to be missed. For the adventurous, the climb takes about five days and leads you through thick forests, peaceful grasslands, glaciers, and rocky terrain. Consider the climb only if you can call yourself an experienced climber; beginners should not attempt to summit Kilimanjaro. Be sure to plan your trip thoroughly with a guide if you plan on making the climb.
6. The Great Rift Valley:
A number of national parks play host to this famous geological attraction. The Great Rift Valley runs to just over 5,400 miles and features lakes, volcanoes, and steep gorges. It also attracts a vast array of water wildlife, such as flamingos and pelicans.
7. Deep-Sea Fishing:
The waters off the Tanzanian coast are rich in big-game fish, like marlin, tuna, swordfish, and barracuda. We recommend arranging a trip with a local lodge, as guides will know the local waters the best. Half-day and daylong trips can be arranged for small and large groups. If you’re an avid fisher, you’re in luck: these waters are still relatively unknown.
8. Ngorongoro Crater:
This giant crater, stretching over 12 miles (19.3 kilometers,) was created after a volcano collapsed. The rim of the crater has excellent game viewing, and travelers can take a safari in the crater’s bottom.
9. Serengeti National Park:
If you want an authentic African safari experience, head for the Serengeti. It is no doubt one of the most visited of the national parks in Tanzania. The park is enormous, and you can tailor your trip to your wilderness comfort level. Its creators aimed to preserve the world’s largest migration path, so check with your travel guide to make sure you are in the right place at the right time for the best viewing.
10. Lake Victoria:
The largest lake in Africa (and the second-largest in the world), Victoria is nearly 27,000 square miles (43,452 kilometers) wide. While you’re there, visit Owen Falls (on the Ugandan side of the lake) and check out a few of the world’s most spectacular varieties of fish. Worn out from the hustle and bustle of the traditional African safari? you will find a quiet and peaceful alternative along Lake Victoria’s shoreline.
When to Go
We recommend visiting Tanzania between January and March: the clear days are perfect for game viewing, and the warm nights are ideal for a dip in the Indian Ocean. Tanzania has two rainy seasons: the period from mid-March to the end of May is known as the masika rain season. The second season is known as the vuli season; it occurs intermittently throughout November and parts of December and January. During the vuli season, showers arrive in the morning and are sometimes interrupted with clear weather.
If you’re planning to travel on safari, check with lodges to determine the best travel periods especially if you are looking to spot particular animals, as migratory patterns may differ among various groups of wildlife. We do not suggest traveling during April and May, because of the rain.