Discover the Best of Tanzania: 15 Must-See Attractions and Exciting Things to Do

Tanzania, a remarkable destination for safari travel, stands out as one of the most extraordinary spots on the planet. This East African country boasts an abundance of stunning landscapes and a thriving wildlife population that captivates visitors from around the globe. Sharing borders with Kenya and Zambia, Tanzania proudly holds the title of being the largest country in East Africa, offering a vast expanse of natural wonders to explore. Within its borders, over 120 ethnic groups coexist harmoniously, contributing to the country’s rich cultural tapestry.

Nestled near the renowned Serengeti National Park, you’ll find the Maasai people, a semi-nomadic tribe known for their intricate clothing designs and unwavering commitment to their ancestral customs. Interacting with the Maasai tribe provides an enlightening experience, offering a glimpse into their traditional way of life that has stood the test of time.

Tanzania’s fame extends beyond its cultural diversity, as it boasts a plethora of tourist attractions that leave visitors in awe. The crown jewel of Tanzania is undeniably Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain. Scaling its majestic heights is a dream come true for adventure enthusiasts and provides breathtaking vistas from its summit. Additionally, Tanzania hosts the awe-inspiring phenomenon known as the Great Migration, where millions of mammals, including wildebeests and zebras, embark on a treacherous journey across the Serengeti plains, showcasing the circle of life in all its glory.

Embarking on a grand safari in Tanzania presents the opportunity to witness some of the most magnificent creatures on Earth up close and personal. Lions, elephants, giraffes, and hippos roam freely within the country’s numerous national parks, allowing for unforgettable wildlife encounters. For nature enthusiasts, exploring the diverse landscapes on foot through exhilarating hikes is a must-do activity in Tanzania. These expeditions not only offer a chance to witness endemic and endangered species but also provide a deep connection with the pristine natural surroundings.

A journey to Tanzania guarantees a truly unique and memorable experience that will leave an indelible mark on your heart. From the captivating wildlife encounters to the vibrant cultures, Tanzania’s allure is unmatched. Immerse yourself in the wonders of this remarkable country and create memories that will last a lifetime, You can check ivisa for visa requirements for Tanzania.

Katavi National Park

1. Katavi National Park

Katavi National Park, situated as an extension of the magnificent Rift Valley, is a true gem in Tanzania’s wilderness. Renowned for its vast herds of buffalo, this park holds the distinction of being home to one of the largest buffalo populations in the world.

However, Katavi National Park offers much more than just buffaloes. Within its untouched and remote landscapes, you’ll discover a tapestry of natural wonders. Picture hippo-filled rivers meandering through the pristine wilderness, crocodiles basking in the sun, lush forests teeming with life, and expansive grasslands stretching as far as the eye can see. It’s no wonder that adventurers from around the globe flock to Katavi National Park to experience the awe-inspiring power of nature. Amidst this breathtaking scenery, one iconic sight stands out—the legendary tamarind tree.

According to local legends, the spirit of Katabi, a renowned huntsman, resides within the ancient branches of the tamarind tree. To this day, locals pay homage to this legendary hunter by offering gifts and tributes to the revered tree.

One of the most sought-after activities in Katavi National Park is game viewing, allowing visitors to witness the majesty of some of the largest land animals on Earth. At the extraordinary Katavi Wildlife Camp, a unique accommodation seamlessly blending into the plains, you can immerse yourself in the world of buffaloes and lions as they traverse the vast expanse of the Katuma Plains. This extraordinary experience is bound to leave an indelible mark on your soul—a memory that can never be rivaled.

Lake Victoria

2. Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria, one of the illustrious African Great Lakes, holds the distinction of being the world’s largest tropical lake and the second-largest freshwater lake by surface area. Its shimmering waters span across the borders of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, adorning the landscape near the renowned Serengeti National Park. Within this expansive lake lie a collection of picturesque archipelagos, with Rubondo Island National Park standing as one of its top attractions.

Rubondo Island National Park, Africa’s largest island national park, is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. Its flourishing environment provides a sanctuary for giraffes, elephants, wild chimpanzees, and a myriad of other fascinating animals. The park’s diverse habitats make it ideal for activities such as walking safaris, canoeing adventures, and immersive jungle safaris.

Udzungwa Mountains National Park

3. Udzungwa Mountains National Park

Nestled between the Morogoro and Iringa regions, Udzungwa Mountains National Park is a true jewel in the crown of the Eastern Arc Mountains. This national park boasts thriving ecosystems brimming with diverse species, captivating nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers alike.

Step foot into Udzungwa Mountains National Park, and you’ll be greeted by a tapestry of enchanting landscapes. From the miombo forest to the misty mountain forests, from the verdant tropical rainforest to the expansive steppe and grasslands, this park has it all. Every corner is a sanctuary of natural wonders, from cascading waterfalls to towering peaks, dense forests to sprawling plains, and an abundance of unique plant and animal species.

One of the park’s most notable distinctions is its significant population of rare monkey species, including the highly endangered Sanje-Crested Mangabey. Witnessing these remarkable primates in their natural habitat is a privilege that attracts nature lovers from far and wide. For avid mountaineers, conquering the highest peaks of Mwanihana and Luhomero presents an exhilarating challenge, rewarding them with breathtaking panoramic views. As you traverse the park, don’t forget to bring your swimsuit and take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear pools beneath the waterfalls. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage by witnessing traditional dances, learning about native craftsmanship, or indulging in bird watching to spot endemic species like the Rufous Winged Sunbird and Udzungwa Forest Patridge.

Among the many captivating waterfalls, Sonje Waterfalls stands out as a must-visit destination. Embarking on the hike to this magnificent cascade is a sought-after adventure for travelers. While the trail may be moderately challenging in length, the awe-inspiring sight of the falls and the chance to take a revitalizing swim in its waters make every step worthwhile.

Arusha Cultural Heritage Centre

4. Arusha Cultural Heritage Centre

Nestled in the embrace of the Great Rift Valley lies the city of Arusha, renowned as the safari capital. Amidst the bustling streets of this vibrant city, the Arusha Cultural Heritage Centre stands as a testament to the region’s rich cultural tapestry.

Distinguished as the first of its kind in Africa, the center has garnered a reputation for its impressive collection of artifacts and unique architectural design. One of its buildings even mimics the iconic silhouette of Uhuru Peak, the highest point of Mount Kilimanjaro. As you wander through the extensive exhibits, you’ll be captivated by the beauty of Verdite carvings, renowned African sculptures, exquisite antiques, cultural masks, and the rare gemstone known as Tanzanite. Within the center, you’ll also find a dedicated section showcasing the distinctive woodcarvings of the Makonde tribe, renowned for their mastery in crafting exquisite pieces from ebony.

Adjacent to the Arusha Cultural Heritage Centre, the bustling market of Soko Mujinja awaits, inviting you to explore its vibrant stalls filled with fresh local goods and produce. It’s the perfect place to immerse yourself in the local culture and bring home a piece of the authentic Tanzanian experience.

Gombe Stream National Park

5. Gombe Stream National Park

Less than an hour away from Kigoma, the capital of the Kigoma region, lies the captivating Gombe Stream National Park. Despite its relatively small size, this park rivals its larger counterparts in popularity, thanks to its rich primate population and a legacy intertwined with the renowned primatologist, Jane Goodall.

Gombe Stream National Park stands as a testament to Jane Goodall’s groundbreaking research on chimpanzees and other primates. It was within the lush forests of this park that Goodall began her studies, laying the foundation for some of the most well-known research in her field. Unsurprisingly, the main attraction of Gombe Stream National Park is its extraordinary diversity of primates. Visitors from around the world flock to this park for a chance to glimpse chimpanzees, vervet monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, and olive baboons in their natural habitat. Witnessing these majestic creatures up close, observing their intricate social interactions, and marveling at their acrobatic feats as they swing through the trees is an unforgettable experience.

Mikumi National Park

6. Mikumi National Park

As the fourth largest national park in Tanzania, Mikumi National Park holds a well-deserved reputation as a wildlife haven. Situated near Morogoro, this park serves as a gateway between the bustling city of Dar es Salaam and the charming town of Iringa, famous for its Neema Crafts Centre and intricately woven baskets.

At the heart of Mikumi National Park lies the magnificent Mkata Floodplain, a proud centerpiece brimming with scenic horizons and grazing wildlife. Zebras and giraffes gracefully roam the grasslands, while waterholes attract hippos, herds of water buffalo, and elephants seeking respite from the African sun. Although the park may not be home to rhinos, it doesn’t detract from the fact that Mikumi National Park is among the best safari destinations in the country.

Stone Town

7. Stone Town

Transport yourself to the enchanting island of Zanzibar, known as the “Spice Island” for its vibrant spice farming industry. On this mesmerizing island, you’ll discover the historic Stone Town, a place steeped in a thousand years of captivating history.

Stone Town stands as a living testament to the rich cultural heritage that has shaped Zanzibar over the centuries. The architecture and design of this ancient city bear influences from Persian, Arabian, and European cultures, creating a unique fusion of styles that captivates visitors. As you explore the labyrinthine streets of Stone Town on foot, you’ll be captivated by the intricate wood-carved Zanzibari doors adorning the buildings. Make sure to visit the Palace Museum, a grand white palace that once served as the residence of the sultan during the 19th century, situated along Stone Town’s picturesque waterfront. The experience of strolling through the cobbled streets, absorbing the vibrant atmosphere, and observing the comings and goings of ships at the bustling harbor is truly unparalleled.

Arusha National Park

8. Arusha National Park

Spanning across a dormant volcano and boasting the second-highest mountain in Tanzania, Mount Meru, Arusha National Park is a treasure trove of natural wonders. Notably, it is home to the world’s largest population of giraffes, adding a unique charm to this diverse national park.

Arusha National Park is a haven of biodiversity, showcasing wildlife species not commonly found in the northern circuit of national parks. Its diverse ecosystems encompass alpine meadows, sprawling savannahs, and lush rainforests. While exploring this remarkable park, keep your eyes peeled for magnificent sightings such as the African fish eagle, playful white colobus monkeys, elusive leopards, graceful red duikers, nimble bushbucks, and lively blue monkeys.

Beyond its wildlife, Arusha National Park beckons mountaineers and hikers seeking an adventure. The summit of Mount Meru presents a thrilling challenge, typically taking three to four days to conquer via the Momella route. For those seeking a different perspective, canoeing across the park’s numerous lakes offers a unique vantage point to observe wildlife in action.

Serengeti National Park

9. Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park, renowned for its awe-inspiring landscapes and immortalized in countless documentaries, is a true gem nestled in the Mara region. This extraordinary park is most notably recognized as the sanctuary of the Great Migration—an epic annual journey where millions of herbivores, such as gazelles and zebras, traverse the Serengeti while their predator counterparts shadow their every move.

With an ecosystem that stands as one of the oldest on Earth, the Serengeti attracts globetrotters from far and wide who yearn to witness the sheer magnificence of the Great Migration. As impalas, elands, ostriches, and wildebeests gather on the flourishing plains, the Serengeti becomes a vibrant tapestry of life.

The optimal time to visit Serengeti National Park for witnessing the migration remains a topic of debate, as the herds perpetually chase the evergreen grasslands. However, the peak season generally aligns with the dry season, spanning from late June to October. During this time, as the grasslands dry out and the wildebeest and zebras congregate in colossal armies, an awe-inspiring spectacle of wildlife unfolds before your eyes.

Ngorongoro Crater

10. Ngorongoro Crater

Once a colossal volcano that reigned supreme over the landscape, the Ngorongoro Crater now stands as the world’s largest intact caldera. Believed to have once surpassed the height of Africa’s loftiest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, the Ngorongoro Crater experienced a cataclysmic eruption that ultimately led to its collapse.

Situated near the town of Karatu in the Eastern Great Rift Valley, this geological marvel boasts a remarkable age of nearly three million years, giving rise to one of the most lush wildlife habitats on the entire planet. Towering walls ascend to the heavens, surpassing the heights of towering skyscrapers, while sprawling forests, cascading waterfalls, and expansive marshlands stretch out within.

The steep sides of the Ngorongoro Crater have transformed into a natural enclosure, sheltering a diverse array of wild animals and solidifying its reputation as one of Tanzania’s most spectacular attractions. Today, it is also one of the best places in Africa to catch a glimpse of the endangered Black Rhino.

At first glance, the crater may appear devoid of life from its rim, but within its depths, an abundance of wildlife thrives. Elephants roam freely, joined by an array of fascinating creatures like baboons and leopards, creating an unparalleled experience for visitors.

Mount Kilimanjaro

11. Mount Kilimanjaro

Standing tall as a dormant volcano, Mount Kilimanjaro proudly claims the title of Africa’s highest mountain and the world’s tallest free-standing mountain. Located near Moshi, Arusha, this majestic peak acts as a magnet, luring adventurers and nature enthusiasts from every corner of the globe. Its snow-capped summit pierces the sky, while grasslands encompass its base, setting the stage for a truly remarkable hiking challenge.

Whether you’re an avid hiker, a lover of nature, an outdoor enthusiast, or a seasoned mountaineer, Mount Kilimanjaro beckons you to conquer its heights. As one of the renowned Seven Summits—designating it as the highest peak in its continent—ascending Mount Kilimanjaro promises an unforgettable journey, where the thrill of the climb and the triumphant accomplishment of reaching the summit intertwine.

Remarkably, the youngest person to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit was a mere six years old, while the oldest was a remarkable 89. These achievements stand as a testament to the fact that if they could accomplish this feat, so can you.

Lake Manyara

12. Lake Manyara

Nestled near the town of Mto Wa Mbu, Lake Manyara is the home of Tanzania’s smallest national park, aptly named Lake Manyara National Park. This enchanting location was established with the primary purpose of safeguarding and preserving elephants from the looming threat of poaching.

Lake Manyara’s thriving ecosystem revolves around its picturesque waters, nourishing the park’s abundant herds of elephants, wildebeests, waterbucks, impalas, warthogs, zebras, and even vibrant flocks of pink flamingos. Birdwatching enthusiasts are in for a treat, as the area is frequented by over 400 bird species, making it a haven for avian diversity.

Surrounding Lake Manyara, visitors can witness the extraordinary sight of tree-climbing lions—a phenomenon for which the park is renowned. Unlike their counterparts across Africa, these lions exhibit a distinct behavior of lazing and snoozing in the embrace of acacia and other trees, adding an element of wonder to an already captivating experience.

Another highlight of visiting Tanzania is immersing yourself in the vibrant culture of the local Maasai people. These ancient inhabitants, known as the Maasai, have been constructing their traditional homesteads for thousands of years. Dressed in their vibrant red shuka garments and brandishing spears, Maasai warriors offer an authentic glimpse into their way of life. Don’t miss the opportunity to join a Maasai warrior for a run, share a traditional meal of corn polenta, and witness their mesmerizing leaping dance, which often involves enthusiastic participation from both the Maasai and curious tourists alike.

Zanzibar Beaches

13. Zanzibar Beaches

Zanzibar, the captivating island that extends beyond its historic Stone Town, is renowned for its breathtaking beaches, drawing throngs of tourists year after year.

One of the most spectacular beaches in Zanzibar is nestled along its southern coast—Kizimkazi Beach. This idyllic haven allures visitors with the frequent sightings of bottlenose dolphins, as well as prime conditions for diving and snorkeling alongside an array of native marine species.

Kendwa Beach and Nungwi Beach are equally popular choices for beach enthusiasts. Both locations offer pristine settings for a myriad of water activities. Nungwi Beach, with its tranquil ambiance, invites sun worshippers to bask in its warmth and explore the crystalline waters. On the other hand, Kendwa Beach exudes a more lively atmosphere, thanks to its beach bars and scattered resorts, including the remarkable Bravo Kendwa Beach Resort, where the soothing sounds of the ocean lull you into a state of serenity.

Ruaha National Park

14. Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park, located west of Iringa in Tanzania, holds a significant place in the country’s conservation efforts. Once the largest national park in Tanzania, it now ranks as the second largest after the expansion of Nyerere National Park. However, what sets Ruaha apart from other parks is its serene and undisturbed atmosphere, attracting fewer crowds of tourists. This peaceful environment allows visitors to witness the abundant wildlife in its natural habitat without disturbance or interruption.

Renowned for its remarkable biodiversity, Ruaha National Park is home to a variety of extraordinary species. It proudly hosts approximately 10% of the world’s lion population, contributing to the park’s allure. Additionally, the park boasts the largest population of elephants in East Africa, a sight that never fails to inspire awe. Exploring Ruaha National Park also unveils the presence of rare antelope species, including Lichtenstein’s hartebeest and sable antelope, adding to the park’s unique appeal.

Game viewing is a highly sought-after activity in Ruaha National Park. As you venture through the park’s expansive landscapes, you may encounter an array of captivating wildlife. From elusive black-backed jackals and graceful cheetahs to majestic lions and fascinating bat-eared foxes, the park is a treasure trove of animal encounters. Of course, the sighting of elephants, often roaming freely across the park, is a truly remarkable experience.

Beyond its wildlife wonders, Ruaha National Park offers a cultural aspect that adds depth to any visit. Engaging in cultural tours allows visitors to immerse themselves in the local heritage, traditions, and history of the Hehe people. These tours provide an opportunity to witness the skilled craftsmanship of the Hehe community, learn about their agricultural practices, and gain insights into their rich stories and past.

Selous Game Reserve

15. Selous Game Reserve

Formerly known as the Selous Game Reserve, Nyerere National Park takes its place as Tanzania’s largest national park. It holds the distinction of being one of the world’s biggest national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, attracting adventurers from far and wide. Accessible by plane from Dar es Salaam, a scenic 6-7 hour drive, or an unforgettable 4-5 hour train ride on the renowned TAZARA (Tanzania Zambia Railway), reaching Nyerere National Park is an adventure in itself. The train journey from Sar es Salaam offers captivating vistas of Tanzania’s thriving wilderness, building anticipation for the wildlife encounters that lie ahead.

Carved out from the vast Selous Game Reserve, Nyerere National Park encompasses an expansive area with an abundance of diverse wildlife species. The park is renowned for its impressive concentration of big cats, with lions and cheetahs prowling its grounds, presenting an awe-inspiring spectacle for visitors.

Within the vast landscapes of Nyerere National Park, visitors can witness not only the grandeur of big cats but also a plethora of other iconic wildlife. Majestic rhinos, imposing elephants, graceful wildebeests, and majestic Elands are among the captivating creatures that can be observed, creating an unparalleled safari experience in Tanzania. Whether you choose a boat safari, a thrilling game drive, a serene hot air balloon ride, or a captivating walking safari, Nyerere National Park promises unforgettable encounters with nature. For the intrepid and adventurous, embarking on a walking safari through the Selous Game Reserve offers a truly immersive and one-of-a-kind experience.

In addition to the wildlife adventures, visitors to Nyerere National Park can also engage in nature hikes accompanied by professional tour guides, allowing them to appreciate the park’s natural beauty up close. Furthermore, a traditional visit to one of the local nomadic tribes provides a unique opportunity to experience their way of life and gain a deeper understanding of their culture.

Originally posted 2023-07-13 09:56:12.