When you heard the word Tanzania, you may think of safari, Serengeti, and wild animals. However, there are more things to do in Tanzania aside from these lovely components that will be discussed later in this guide.
Tanzania is so much more than game drives, iconic African sunsets, and the home of Africa’s highest mountain – Kilimanjaro. It’s also the birthplace of Freddy Mercury (the lead singer of Queen), home to the largest crab in the world, tree-climbing lions, and the only volcano currently erupting carbonatite lava.
Tanzania is also an ideal post-Covid travel destination. Tanzania travel restrictions are minimal and only require a negative 72-hour PCR test and a Traveller’s Surveillance Form. No two-week mandatory quarantine is required!
If that’s not enough to tempt you to buy a flight to Tanzania and visit, the rest of this list will. Ready Freddie? Here are ten reasons to visit Tanzania!
1. The great wildebeest migration
One doesn’t come to Tanzania without going on safari – at least once. The country is home to a plethora of wildlife experiences, but the creme de la creme? The Great Wildebeest Migration. This annual wildebeest migration is the largest animal migration in the world.
Each year between June and October, two million wildebeest, zebra, and Thomson’s Gazelle make the dangerous roundtrip between Tanzania’s Serengeti and Kenya’s Masaai Mara national parks in search of water.
Along the way, the animals have to side-step hungry crocodiles in rivers, big cats waiting to pounce, and hyenas waiting to pick off the weak and youngWith so much action, it’s not surprising the annual migration has been dubbed “the greatest wildlife show on earth”.
The Great Wildebeest Migration FAQs:
- What’s the best time to see the great wildebeest migration? July and August Where is the migration in Tanzania? In Serengeti National Park
- What causes the great wildebeest migration? The East Africa
- When is the best time for calving season during the great wildebeest migration? February
2. Climbing mount Kilimanjaro
Tanzania is home to quite a few world records.
- The largest animal migration in the world.
- The largest crab in the world.
- The only volcano currently erupting carbonatite lava.
And the country’s crowning glory? Mount Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest peak and one of the world’s Seven Summits.
Each year, approximately 35,000 people attempt the trek to watch the sunrise from the Rooftop of Africa. However, it’s no easy feat.
Things like altitude sickness and not choosing the best route for Kilimanjaro stop many trekkers from making it to the top.
But for those that do, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Along the way, you’ll trek past five climate zones which give the mountain vastly different landscapes the higher up you go. And if you’re lucky, you might spot herds of elephants and other wildlife around the base!
The ultimate hiking trip in Africa and a mini safari? Yes, please!
Want to join the ranks of successful Mount Kili trekkers? Check out our resources to help you train, pack, and plan your trip:
- The Ultimate Training Guide for Mount Kilimanjaro
- How to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro the Responsible Way
- What to Pack for Mount Kilimanjaro
- Why We Recommend Crampons for Every Kilimanjaro Trekker
- The Best Time to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro: 3 Things You Need to Consider
- How to Choose the Best Kilimanjaro Operator
3. Stone town
If you don’t automatically associate Tanzania with safaris, you most likely have Zanzibar on the brain. The island lies 35km off the coast of the mainland and forms part of the Zanzibar archipelago. On the eastern shores, you’ll find a seafront promenade lined with a mesmerizing mix of Arabic, Persian, Indian, and British architecture. This is Stone Town.
A UNESCO world heritage site that dates back to the 16th-century. Once the home of sultans and an ancient spice trading hub, it’s now a city frozen in time.
Stay in old merchant’s houses like the Emerson Spice Hotel – the former home of the last Swahili ruler of Zanzibar. Get lost exploring the winding alleyways and visit important historical sites like Tippu Tip’s house, the Shiv Shakti Hindu temple, and the Old Fort.
And when hunger hits, stop by the food stalls at Darajani Market or grab dinner at the Forodhani Gardens night market in Stone Town.
Read More: 5 Best Things to Do in Stone Town, Zanzibar
4. The Ngorongoro Crater
If you’re looking for some of the most famous places to visit in Tanzania, then the Ngorongoro Crater deserves a spot on your bucket list.
This huge volcanic crater is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts thousands of animals to its permanent supply of water, Lake Magadi.
Pack your tele-zoom lens and a pair of binoculars, and you can spend hours spotting lions, elephants, flamingos, hippos, and rhino in Ngorongoro…the list is almost endless! Not a big enough reason to draw you here?
Here’s a quick-fire round of what makes the Ngorongoro Crater one of the best things to do in Tanzania:
- It’s the largest intact ancient caldera in the world.
- It’s nearly three million years old.
- The volcano was one of the tallest mountains in the world before it erupted and collapsed.
- It’s one of the New Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.
- The Ngorongoro Crater size is 264 square kilometers.
- It has a fertility mountain! The Maasai believe climbing Ol Doinyo Lengai (Mountain of God) can help women who are having difficulty conceiving.
5. The maasai culture
Beyond the natural beauty, one of the biggest reasons to visit Tanzania is the culture. And most notably, the Maasai people.
Who are the Maasai? They are one of the last remaining indigenous tribes in East Africa and are known around the world for their distinct culture.
An estimated one million Maasai live between Kenya and Tanzania, and a visit to one of the tribes is a cultural highlight for any traveller.
These semi-nomadic people are known for their warriors, dancing, and intricate ceremonies, easily recognizable with striking red blankets and colorful beaded jewelry.
Combine your safari trip with a village visit and learn about the Maasai way of life, Maasai traditions, and tap into their deep understanding of living in harmony with nature.
6. Selous Game Reserve
Nyerere is one of the best places to visit in Tanzania if you want a more secluded and off-the-beaten-track safari experience.
The park boasts the impressive title of the largest national park in Africa, covering an area of 30,000 square kilometers! But the accolades don’t stop there.
Nyerere became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. Its dramatic landscapes, diversity, and wildlife corridor with Mozambique’s Niassa Reserve make it one of Africa’s most important wilderness areas.
The best time to experience Nyerere in all its glory? July through October. The April and May rains are over, and the animals congregate in huge numbers around the dwindling watering holes.
Top tip: Be sure to sign up for a walking safari! Nyerere is one of the few national parks to allow hiking, giving you a unique opportunity to explore Tanzania’s natural heritage without a safari vehicle.
7. Snorkelling and diving in Zanzibar
Zanzibar isn’t only a beach destination – it’s home to some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling in the world. Its beautiful beaches offer turquoise water to explore, with coral reefs under the surface.
Get your PADI Open Water qualification and explore The Spice Islands’ 30+ dive sites. With warm waters all year round, you can swim past underwater shipwrecks and try to spot the 500-something marine species found here. But the real star of the show? The world-famous Mnemba Atoll.
It’s one of the best places to dive in Zanzibar and see the ocean’s biggest fish – the whale shark. Besides these gentle giants, the atoll is also home to endangered sea turtles, dolphins, and neon-tinted tropical fish. If it’s an unbeatable diving experience you’re looking for, Zanzibar is a must-visit.
8. The food in Tanzania
Tanzania may be known for its seemingly endless safari destinations, but its food is an underrated part of the country. Foodies will have plenty of things to try with a mix of traditional, Arabic, and Indian cuisine influences.
Nibble your way through the rich culture by trying popular foods in Tanzania like the classic Zanzibar pizza dish. It’s top-notch street food full of savory and sweet fillings like meat or chocolate and banana.
Other dishes like biryani and pilau are delicious reminders of Tanzania’s history. The Indian-inspired rice dish was brought to the country by Indian migrant workers. Since then, the locals have given it a Swahili twist turning it into some of the best food in Tanzania. Feeling hungry yet?
9. Great rift valley
If none of these reasons to visit Tanzania has you reaching for your passport yet, the Great Rift Valley will change your mind.
This natural wonder of the world is one of Tanzania’s top natural attractions. Along the 6,000 km geological trench (which runs from northern Syria to central Mozambique), you’ll find majestic mountains and some of the deepest lakes in the world.
Some of the top attractions in Tanzania are found here, including:
- Mount Kilimanjaro
- Lake Natron
- Ngorongoro, Empakai, Olmoti and Lengai volcanoes
While the area is vast, it’s a geologic marvel which deserves a prime spot on your Tanzania itinerary.
10. Visit Gombe National Park’s chimpanzee
Gombe National Park is a wildlife lover’s dream. Despite it being one of Tanzania’s smaller and lesser-known national parks, it’s home to an important part of world history.
Long story short, Jane Goodall came here in 1960 to start her ground-breaking research on chimpanzees in Tanzania. Her work turned into the longest-running behavioural research program in the world, and it’s still going on today.
If you want to see the 150 chimpanzees that call Gombe home, head out to the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika (the world’s second deepest lake). Here, you’ll take a boat to reach the park and go on guided walks into the forest.
May to October is the best time to visit Gombe for photos and hiking, while the rainy season (November to May) is when the vegetation is lush, and the waterfalls are in full force.
Other notable mentions:
- Lake Manyara National Park
- Tarangire National Park
- Mount Meru
- Ruaha National Park
- Pemba Island
- Arusha National Park
Curate your ultimate Tanzania vacation
Want help planning a trip to Tanzania, Africa’s visual masterpiece?
Speak to our Tanzania travel experts, and let’s turn your Tanzania wish list into reality.
When you travel with us, you can be sure to experience:
– The best game-viewing in the world: we know Tanzania’s national parks like the back of our hand, and whether you want to see the “Big Five” (elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard and rhino) or get up close and personal with more unusual species like giraffes, zebras and wildebeests, we’ll create a Tanzania safari that’s perfect for you.
– The most stunning scenery: from the snow-capped peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro to the endless plains of the Serengeti and everything in between, Tanzania is a feast for the eyes.
– A huge variety of experiences: whether you’re looking for an action-packed safari or a more relaxed beach holiday, we can tailor-make your perfect trip.
If you’re ready to start planning your Tanzania adventure, get in touch with our travel experts today. We can’t wait to show you our amazing country!