Best Places To Visit In Tanzania
Tanzania is truly blessed with incredible diversity be it mainland or the series of big and small islands. From its unique cultural spots like Zanzibar to its Maasai heritage, it really is a country which is diverse and stunning. To help you decide where you should go, I decided to put together a guide on the best places to visit in Tanzania. As a strong contender for the richest country in Africa, Tanzania has the facilities and infrastructure to cater for the international traveller. It comprises a host of attractions and lesser known sights that should not be missed.
To help me with presenting you with the best possible options, I reached out to other bloggers who generously chipped in. Here is a list of best places to visit in Tanzania be it beach, diving or safari.
Best Places For Safari In Tanzania
You are never far from a game drive in Tanzania no matter where you are and animals are just absolutely gorgeous, they don’t let you get bored for a split second. Out of the many national parks, reserves and conservancies, I have selected the best one’s for you below.
Check my Tanzania Safari Guide for complete information to make your safari absolutely perfect.
Contributed by Joanna from The World In My Pocket
Serengeti National Park is one of Tanzania’s finest places to go on a safari but also to experience the great wildebeest migration, when hundreds of thousands of animals move towards greener areas to find water and food, when the dry season arrives. The best time to see the Great Migration is between July and early October.
Most budgets safaris in Tanzania will go to Serengeti National Park, as it has one of the most affordable entry fees. Whilst theoretically you could go to Serengeti on your own if you rent a car, it is not recommended. The National Park is so large that you wouldn’t know where to drive to find animals. Also, during the wet season you need a vehicle equipped with 4W and access to a radio network in case you get stuck in the mud. By going to Serengeti with an organised safari you will also get a guide who has a trained eye to spot animals and who knows there the lions like to gather for example.
Serengeti National Park is one of the best places to spot four out of the big five. When it comes to the fifth, the rhino, the best place to see it is Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It is recommended to spend at least 2 days in Serengeti, in order to see a variety of its wildlife, including lions, hippos and crocodiles. Take in consideration that from Moshi and Arusha it takes almost the entire day to drive to Serengeti.
The entrance fee for Serengeti National Park is 60$ per day for non-citizens. If you are going on your own, add to this the price for accommodation and also food. There are no places to buy food or petrol in the National Park so, if you decide to go without a group, pack accordingly.
Fun Fact: Maasai Mara and Serengeti are the same eco system but called different names based on the country they are in.
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One of the best destinations to visit in Tanzania is the famous Ngorongoro crater. Like many other places this park too is a game reserve. There is a great opportunity to see all kinds of animals – hippos, lions, elephants, even rhino even though they are hard to spot. Ngorongoro has several lakes and springs that makes absolutely amazing view and should not be missed.
To get there is relatively easy – especially because it is not possible to do self-drive. It is necessary to have a guide there. You can find plenty of tour companies either in Moshi or Arusha. Both cities in the northern Tanzania offer a lot of tailored tours, it is even possible to find budget safari. Most of the time the tours start in Arusha and then the guide would get you to the park reserve. Most of people would spend there one or two days before they would move to another reserve – most commonly the Serengeti.
Ngorongoro is the largest inactive volcanic crater and caldera in the entire world. So big in fact that it has its own weather system with a set of clouds almost always present at the level of rim of the crater. It is a magical place with lots of animals from hippos and lions to leopards and buffaloes. To find out more check out my 3 Day Tanzania safari for more information.
Tarangire National Park
Contributed by Dani Ramos from No Hurry To Get Home
Tarangire National Park is one of the best things to do near Moshi if you’re visiting Tanzania for its unrivaled epic wildlife experiences. Not only does the park see far fewer visitors than its nearby rivals like Serengeti and Ngorongoro national parks, but visiting is a lot more easy-going on your wallet if you’re traveling on a budget and don’t necessarily want to spend thousands on a safari.
Another cool thing about it? Tarangire is home to the largest concentration of elephants in the world, so you’re guaranteed plenty of sightings even if you just visit the park for a day. The park also boasts hundreds of tree-climbing lions and an incredible array of wildlife which you will get the chance to spot as soon as you drive past the entrance. Another aspect that makes Tarangire National Park so special is its baobab trees, which can reach up to 30 meters in height!
Tip: There’s an enormous waterhole right there where animals congregate to drink water and it looks like a scene straight out of the Lion King.
You can visit Tarangire on your own if you have a rental car while traveling Tanzania, but for a much better (and safer experience), hiring an organized safari tour is a much better option. Day trips are inexpensive and will give you the chance to spot a ton of wildlife. If you have the time, I recommend booking an overnight trip so you can fully experience the bush in this park of northern Tanzania. Check out more details here.
Lake Manyara National Park
Contributed by Rai from A Rai Of Light
There are countless reasons to visit a country as unique as Tanzania. A land of natural beauty, the area is home to some of the most well known parks and landmarks in Africa. One such example is Lake Manyara National Park. Encompassing an area of 325 sq km, this protected area can be found in the north of the country between Lake Manyara and the Great Rift Valley. It was established in 1960 to protect the elephant herds of the region. However, elephants are not the only wildlife the park is famous for.
It hosts an abundance of plant and animal species that include tree-climbing lions, buffalo, cheetahs, giraffe, and vervet monkey. It also has one of the highest concentrations of baboon in Africa. Amazing wildlife viewings are almost guaranteed at any time of the year, but is at its best during the dry season of July to October. During the wet season of November to May the park is transformed into a lush landscape. The park is easily reached from any of the major cities and getting here is seldom an issue for the independent traveller. It is also small enough that it can be seen in a day, although an additional day is recommended to get a good feel of the region. The country comprises a host of attractions and lesser known sights that should not be missed.
Lake Manyara is home to a huge number of bird species as well. It is very different from the rest of the national parks in Tanzania. Check out more about the beautiful Lake Manyara National Park here.
Best Beaches & Islands in Tanzania
Tanzania is uniquely blessed with stunning beaches and gorgeous islands, in fact all of the most beautiful islands in Eastern Africa lie within Tanzania. These islands are full of unspoiled beaches and perfect snorkelling and diving opportunities which are complete unparalleled.
Zanzibar is world famous not only due to its stunning beaches and stunning sunsets but also due to Freddie Mercury.There is so much to see and do here from partying to beach hopping. Check out more details here.
Pemba is the sister island of Zanzibar but a lot less famous. It has worked really well for Pemba island which is still in absolutely pristine condition. It is a perfect spot for diving and scattered around this island are beaches each with a different colour of water from emerald green to sapphire blue. Check out more details here.
Mafia island is a beautiful part of the world lost at sea. It is truly unique with very few tourists visiting. There is no lack of stunning beaches here but the real stars of the Mafia Island are the Whalesharks and Hump back whales. You won’t be disappointed meeting these gentle giants. It is another perfect spot for snorkelling and diving with hidden gems like the blue lagoon. Check out more details here.
Best Unique Experiences In Tanzania
Tanzania has a lot more to offer than just safari and beaches. I have listed the most favourite one I found or did below.
Contributed by Jessie Moore from Pocket Wanderings
Arusha National Park & Mount Meru
Mount Meru stand close to the Kilimanjaro and if you’re looking for a trip that won’t strain your budget or won’t consume that much time, this is the perfect place. It is set inside the Arusha National Park which is great for some safari as you climb to the mountain. It usually takes 3-4 days and you cannot do it without a guide and a ranger. You can also meet the Meru tribe for a day of exploring their lifestyle and culture or simple enjoy the view of this stunning mountain from Arusha.
Misali is a small island which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage list due to its unique eco system. It is home to stunning pristine beaches, some caves and it is considered to be one of the best snorkelling and diving sites in the entire world. It is relatively unknown and you cannot actually stay on the island but it is close to Pemba Island and a day trip is the best way to explore this place. You can check more details here.
Hazda Tribe of Lake Eyasi
One of the incredible attractions of Tanzania is the diversity of culture and traditions. Indeed, in addition to fantastic safari opportunities in parks like Serengeti or Ngorongoro Crater, the East African country is home to over 100 distinct ethnic groups and tribes. Among these tribes, the Hadzabe are considered one of the oldest, with a presence in Tanzania dating back for thousands of years.
The indigenous ethnic group has been primarily living around Lake Eyasi, with some groups on the Serengeti Plateau. The Hadza are among some of the last hunter-gatherers in Africa, living off the men’s traditional bow-hunting skills. Both men and women forage for fruits and wild edible plants, as well as for honey.
Lake Eyasi is a couple of hours’ drive from Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, making visiting the Hadzabe tribe a great addition to any Tanzania safari itinerary. Finding their camp is best done through an organized tour as camps move around depending on the seasons, the availability of food, and game within a given area. A knowledgeable guide will also bring understanding about the culture and traditions of the Hadzabe. Arrows are covered by different ointments, depending on the type of animals hunters are after. Harvesting honey is an unbelievable partnership between the Hadza and a wild bird, the Greater Honeyguide, which will lead the hunters to the beehive. The hunters feed on the honey, the bird on the beeswax.
Following the Hadza hunters and visiting their camps is a unique experience of traditional tribal life in Africa. Treasured moments into a disappearing way of life, a glimpse into time past.
I hope this article gives you some inspiration to choose the places you can visit your trip.