Combining show-stopping wildlife experiences, a fusion of architectural influences, and flawless beaches, there are truly a lot of things to do in Tanzania!
Tanzania is a destination that will leave you swooning, drooling, and planning your next trip back before your vacation ends. This is East Africa’s jewel.
Wondering what to do in Tanzania? The possibilities are endless, regardless of whether you come during the rainy season or the dry season.
From trekking to the top of one of the world’s Seven Summits or hiking up Mount Meru to witnessing the annual wildebeest migration and visiting historical monuments, Tanzania has something for every kind of traveler. Or are you looking for a beautiful beach to kick back and relax on? Zanzibar Island has you covered.
Below, you’ll find a roundup of the top things to do in Tanzania, with a mix of the best tourist attractions and off-the-beaten-path destinations.
1. Hike mount Kilimanjaro
What’s a visit to Tanzania without seeing the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro?
One of the iconic things to do in Tanzania is visit and climb Mount Kilimanjaro. This landmark deserves to be on your must-see list. Looming 5,895 meters over Tsavo, Africa’s highest peak has captured travelers’ hearts and imaginations for centuries.
Officially a World Heritage Site, it’s made up of three volcanic cones (Shire, Kibo, and Mawenzi). The highest point is Uhuru Peak, one of the Seven Summits of the world. Don’t worry, dear traveler, Kibo is a dormant volcano that hasn’t had volcanic activity for hundreds of years.
Each year, hundreds of hikers travel to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and stand on the Rooftop of Africa at sunrise.
And with almost every kind of ecological system found on the mountain (rainforest to moorland to an arctic summit) and its slopes home to herds of elephants, eland, and leopards – it’s a once-in-a-lifetime trek.
Read More: The Ultimate Training Guide for Mount Kilimanjaro
2. Watch the great migration in Serengeti National Park
Want to watch predators like lions and wild dogs in action? You can’t go wrong with a Serengeti safari.
If you’ve spent any time on Pinterest or Instagram, you’ve probably stumbled across drool-worthy images from Serengeti National Park.
Home to the spectacular annual migration of wildebeest (the longest overland migration in the world), over 1.5 million wildebeest, zebra, and other buck travel a total of 800 km (500 miles) between Tanzania’s Serengeti and Kenya’s Maasai Mara. The huge herds move as one through land and is certainly a marvel to witness.
The natural phenomena only began in the 1960s, earning it the moniker of “The Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth.”
Unsurprisingly then, it’s one of the top things to see in Tanzania and a chance to witness the circle of life.
Read More: When is the Best Time to See the Great Migration?
3. Explore Zanzibar's beaches
When it comes to the top things to do in Tanzania, Zanzibar’s beaches are scene-stealers.
The island (also known as Unguja) is famous for its incredible coastline. Picture soft, white sandy beaches, and clear turquoise water for as far as the eye can see.
Soak up the sun on the mainland at one of the luxury beach resorts or hop onto a traditional Dhow boat and stay on one of the other Spice Islands in the Zanzibar archipelago.
Chumbe, and Mnemba Island are all fantastic options for a beach holiday in Zanzibar. Expect underwater adventures, pristine coastlines, majestic coral reefs, and glimpses of the slow-moving whale sharks.
Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Zanzibar’s Seasons and Tides
4. Go on safari in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area
While Zanzibar is known for its beaches, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area has phenomenal wildlife encounters.
Once one of the tallest mountains in the world before exploding and collapsing, The Ngorongoro Crater holds the title for the world’s largest inactive, intact, and unfilled volcanic caldera.
On the crater floor, you can spot thousands of animals like:
- Thomson’s gazelles
With an abundance of birdlife in the area, the crater is one of the best bird-watching destinations in Tanzania. Around Lake Magadi, you can watch giant flocks of flamingos and pelicans look for food and breed.
The best time to visit? Book your Ngorongoro Crater safari between March and June, and you’ll have prime seats for the breeding season.
For an unforgettable Tanzania safari that you’ll rave about for years, make sure the Ngorongoro Crater holds a firm spot on your itinerary.
5. See tree-climbing lions in Lake Manyara National Park
Ever seen a lion climb a tree?
Well, travel to Tanzania’s Lake Manyara National Park. Tree climbing lions are the norm here, along with the world’s largest concentration of baboons.
Located between the Great Rift Valley and Lake Manyara, the park dates back to 1960, when it was established to protect the vast herds of elephants and 400 bird species that flock to its alkaline shores.
Crammed with incredible wildlife sightings, grassy plains, marshlands, and acacia woodlands, this spot is a must-see in Tanzania for any safari lover.
Want a break from game drives and walking safaris?
Lake Manyara boasts the scenic Maji Moto hot springs. Relax near the idyllic oasis while feasting on local dishes like chips maiyai (a French omelet) and nyama choma (BBQ).
6. Go diving around Mafia Island
With a coastline you won’t believe, Mafia Island is known as one of the best places to go in Tanzania, but it’s what lies below the water’s surface that is the true showstopper.
Divers and snorkelers from around the world come here to explore the protected Mafia Island Marine Park.
Between October and March, you’ll have crystal-clear visibility for dives, giving you the opportunity to explore the coral gardens and spot over 400 species of fish.
Plus, the island is a breeding site for the endangered green turtle. Come here between February and July to watch the hatchlings break free from their nest, scurry into the ocean, and begin their adventure into the world.
7. Book a walking safari in Tarangire National Park
Safaris are among the top things to do in Tanzania. Sure, you could photograph the wildebeest migration and go home (like most visitors do).
But if you want to encounter more wildlife without the crowds, Tarangire National Park is the perfect safari destination for you.
Despite being one of the lesser-known game reserves in Tanzania, Tarangire gives the Serengeti a run for its money.
The park boasts herds of up to 300 elephants, 500 species of birds, and one of the highest concentrations of migratory wildlife in the dry season.
If that’s not enough to make you want to grab your telephoto zoom lens and take your safari attire out of storage, this will: Tarangire doesn’t only offer game drives.
You can stay at camps specializing in walking safaris (one of the best ways to experience the African bush). Along the way, you’ll trek past towering baobab trees, and you can visit ancient rock paintings in Kolo.
Looking for options? Check out these Tarangire tours.
8. Escape to Pemba Island
Pemba Island is a dreamy island getaway and is only a 30-minute flight from Zanzibar.
While it’s possible to make a day trip out of exploring the archipelago’s northernmost island, there’s something magical about spending a night or three here.
With a more laid back atmosphere than Zanzibar (and fewer tourists), Pemba is home to world-famous Indian Ocean dive sites.
When you’re not exploring the colorful coral gardens, head inland and conquer the island’s 1,000-meter peaks with your mountain bike.
Still not enough to entice you?
Just offshore from Pemba Island is Misali Island Beach. Located on an uninhabited tropical island, you can relax on the white sand beach, snorkel around the island, and, if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of nesting sea turtles.
Pemba Island is a true tropical retreat and, without a doubt, one of the best places to see in Tanzania.
9. Explore Zanzibar’s historic Stone town
If you’re heading to Zanzibar, one of the best places you can visit is Stone Town. It’s an absolute must-see for history buffs and travelers who want to learn about Tanzania’s unique culture.
Stone Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its fascinating architecture. As you walk down the cobbled streets, you’ll see a beautiful fusion of Arabic, Indian, European, and African architectural influences.
With most homes built in the 19th century, Stone Town is the world’s oldest functioning Swahili city. Over the years, important landmarks have been restored, giving travelers a glimpse into what life was like when Zanzibar was one of the most important Swahili trading towns.
To truly appreciate what you’re seeing, hire a guide from Easy Travel. While the intricately carved wooden doors, former homes of sultans, and ancient buildings are something to marvel at, without historical context, you miss out on the local stories, which is what makes visiting Stone Town so magical.
10. Go on a remote safari adventure in Selous Game Reserve
Rounding off the best things to do in Tanzania is the impressive Selous Game Reserve.
As the largest game reserve in Africa, it covers 5% of Tanzania’s total area and is approximately 4x bigger than the Serengeti. Yet despite its massive size and World Heritage status, it’s a secluded and off-the-beaten-track safari destination.
Adventurous travelers who venture into the remote region can explore the reserve on foot. Selous is one of the few big game reserves that allows hiking, giving you a unique opportunity to explore Tanzania’s landscapes from a different perspective.
With large wildlife numbers like 110,000 elephants and 4,000 lions (the highest concentration in Africa), you can expect a phenomenal game viewing experience.
Read More: What Happens on a Walking Safari
Book your dream Tanzania vacation
Tanzania is home to some of the most stunning landscapes and amazing wildlife on the planet, and whilst you may feel it is off the beaten track, it can be easily accessible via a number of flights from across the globe. Click here to check available flights and get in touch with us today to see how we can help plan your Tanzania experience of a lifetime.
Ready to start turning your Tanzania Pinterest board and Instagram “saved” folder into your reality? Speak to our Tanzania travel experts, and let’s start planning your dream Tanzania trip. We can guarantee you the best authentic experience East Africa has to offer.