Tanzania is famous for the ‘’safari experience’’ most often associated with the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti Plain with a guarantee of seeing many of the iconic animals associated with Africa. There is a drawback; it is rarely cheap to book a safari and independent travel is not possible. If you are on a budget but still want to enjoy Tanzania without spending a fortune, there are a few less conventional experiences that you might like to consider. Here are just a few ideas.
Chimpanzee tracking in Gombe Stream National Park
Jane Goodall arrived on the banks of Lake Tanganyika on the western border of the Country in her 20s and almost 60 years on, the chimpanzee sanctuary that has been established in a small area of land at Gombe is world famous. The Park which was established a few years after Jane’s arrival is fairly inaccessible so you will have to spend money to get there or accept the basic transport infrastructure of slow rail or dirt road. You will be richly rewarded if you do.
The terrain is valley and forest with guided walks available to see the chimps as well as other primates and an impressive range of birdlife. The chimps are used to human presence, so they are unlikely to hide from view.
Visiting local tribes in Tanzania
There are more than 100 different tribes in Tanzania with the Maasai by far the most famous and numerous. cattle herders living off the blood and milk that they provide. The days when manhood depended on a teenager killing a lion have now gone so you will not see any activity like that, but men can herd the cattle while women repair walls with dung, gather wood and collect water. The water containers are wrapped on their backs, a little like backpacking. You can learn to make their beaded jewelry and are likely to be entertained by ceremonial dances.
Some tribes are still allowed to hunt; ask about visiting the Hadzabe Bushmen and join them on a hunt for small animals such as birds, antelope and others. You also get to see how they make bows and arrows and join the women foraging for fruit and root vegetables which are an excellent source of water.
Visit the Stone Age Sites
Early human life is thought to have begun in East Africa. There are some Stone Age sites that you can visit while in the Country. Tools and fossils were found in Isimila Gorge in 1951. The tools have been aged between 60,000 and 100,000 years old.
Meanwhile, the fossils are of animals long since extinct, but distantly related to today’s wildlife; giraffe and hippo are good examples. A small museum is located on the site with more information.
Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
The experience of going from the hot plains up to the summit of Africa’s highest mountain, located in Northern Tanzania, is something you will never forget. It is a well-worn trail with guides to help you to a height of almost 6,000 meters.
You do not need to be a mountaineer to get up into the snowcapped regions and reach the summit, but you will have to be fit. You can expect the climb and descent to take at least six days and there are established places on the climb to stop overnight.
Make sure you are properly equipped, with suitable clothing and footwear and with sufficient food and water and you are going to have an adventure.
Canoe the Coastal Waters
Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coastline is wonderful; nice beaches that has warm waters with abundant marine life. You can stay at a resort hotel but if you want to learn about what the coastal region is all about, there are established canoe and kayak routes that provide for a different perspective.
Local guides are inexpensive with canoes and kayaks available for hire. There is no pressure on time so you can paddle along at the pace you wish. The quiet bays along the coastline are lovely while offshore there are islands though too distant for you to canoe under your own steam. However, if you take a ferry out to Zanzibar, Pemba or Mafia, you can hire canoes or kayak while you are there.
You do not need to spend a fortune to enjoy Tanzania and go home with great memories and a camera full of interesting images. These ideas provide some options for you away from the established safari parks that you can enjoy if you are on a budget in Tanzania.