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Where to Visit in Tanzania.

Tanzania offers a wide range of activities for travellers including walking, fly-in and driving safaris, bird watching, star gazing, hiking, mountain climbing, swimming, snorkelling and diving.

Mt.Kilimanjaro (UNESCO World Heritage Site):

World’s tallest free-standing mountain with 3 peaks, one of which –Uhuru peak (Uhuru: Swahili for freedom)- stands at 5,895 metres and stretches to 1,668 km² just 20km south of the Tanzanian-Kenyan border and is part of the Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park. Kilimanjaro, is an extinct volcano that is covered in over 2 square kilometres of snow/ ice despite being only 321 kilometres from the equator. On the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro you will find the mountainous forest that is inhabited by elephants, leopards, porcupines, Hyrax, baboons, bush-babies and even Aardvarks.

With all its grandeur, climbing Kilimanjaro is uncomplicated and one of the more accessible high summits. With more than 10 routes, 6 of the routes will allow you to summit and if you are more inclined to more challenging mountaineering, you can opt for the other routes. Two of the routes that will lead you to the summit provide camping sites and are steep and tough but fairly straightforward and will reward you with amazing scenery. The other route is accommodated, having dormitory-style huts and is amongst the oldest routes. The best time to climb Kilimanjaro is in the dry season which is July – October but you can also climb any time of the year.

Amongst the attractions Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park offers is a tour to some of the coffee plantations that are grown on the slopes of Kilimanjaro. There are large amounts of Arabica produced on these slopes which has ranked Tanzania in the top 20 top coffee producers in the world.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area (UNESCO World Heritage Site):

Covering an expanse of 8,292 km² in the Northern part of Tanzania, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is where you will find one of the world’s largest calderas, the Ngorongoro Crater. At 20km wide, this magnificent collapsed volcano is 600 metres deep and its floor extends to 300km². A site every tourist must visit (and one of the most visited sites in Tanzania) particularly for game viewing, is home to a rich profile of flora and fauna. With one of the high population densities of lions, you will have incredible sightings of the Black Rhino. The Ngorongoro crater holds 4,000 buffalos, 7,000 Wildebeests, 4,000 Zebra, 3,000 Eland and a plethora of other animals such as leopards, hyenas and rare wild dogs.

The Serengeti National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site):

A natural World Heritage Site since 1981 and a protected area since 1940, the Serengeti National Park is a 14,763km² stretch of savannah that forms part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The Serengeti is where you can witness the largest and only remaining migration in the world, with the largest concentration of animals and where millions of animals embark on a natural phenomenon also known as the Great Migration. 1.1 million wildebeests, over half a million zebra and thousands of gazelles trek in the dry season and cross the Kenya-Tanzania border between the Maasai Mara and the Serengeti in a circular pattern searching for water and food in an area where it is a rare resource (with their only supply being seasonal lakes and rivers/ streams and sparse vegetation). As these herds travel in search for food and water, predators such as lions, hyenas and leopard ensue in their own pursuit for provisions, creating the largest concentration of large predators in the world.
In February when it is calving season and 8,000 wildebeests are born in a window period of one month, you can travel to the Serengeti to see nature unfolding at its best with the beginning of the life cycle of what will become part of the Great Migration.

The Serengeti is a highly recommended site to visit that should be done without haste, with varying activities to take up such as game drives, hot air balloon safaris, walking safaris and Maasai rock painting. Although you can visit the Serengeti any time of the year and manage great sightings, the best time to visit is in the rainy season between December and May where most animal concentrations are south of the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Olduvai Gorge:

The most renowned archaeological site in East Africa, in the eastern parts of the Serengeti and forming part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, is a 49km long ravine that is 90 metres deep. Here, more than 60 archaeological discoveries have been made over the years revealing fossils that are between 15,000 years to over 2 million years old that have made Olduvai Gorge (otherwise known as Oldupai) a very important site in the studies of human origins and evolution. A 1.8 million years old ape-like skull was discovered here along with hominid (human-like) footprints which are believed to date back over 3.5 million years ago. All of the findings are representative of the earliest signs of the existence of mankind in the world. This part of the Ngorongoro can be visited any time of the year where you will be able to visit the excavation sites, visit the Oldupai Museum (located at the top of the gorge) and even shop from a variety of Maasai souvenirs.

The Stone Town (UNESCO World Heritage Site - Cultural):

The ancient city of Stone Town lies on the western coast of Unguja (the main island and capital of the Zanzibari archipelago) showcases Arab, Indian and Persian influences in its architecture and culture. Surrounded by the ocean to the south, west and north, the alleys are cobbled and houses built out of coral stone ( hence the name; Stone Town) which are adorned with large, intricately carved and brass studded wooden doors known as Zanzibar Doors. When in the Stone Town you will be able to go on a Stone Town Tour which takes you through these alleys, giving accounts of the historical background and significance of the buildings and doors and will lead you to the colourful and vibrant fruit and fish market. You can also stop over along your way to sample spicy sweet or savoury foods and the large variety of fresh tropical fruits.

Your Stone Town Tour will encompass visits to the House of Wonders, The Palace Museum and the Old Fort

Chumbe Island:

Just 12 km South of Zanzibar Town, Chumbe Island is a national marine park acclaimed by the UN for its effective and successful operation under ecotourism. You can visit Chumbe and stay at their ecolodge (or go on a day visit) with its 120 year-old light house and mosque and explore their forest reserve. Chumbe also boasts itself with and incredible marine park. You can go diving or snorkelling in one of the world’s best diving sites where 400 species of fish, hundreds of species of corals, Manta Rays, and the regular schools of dolphins swim about the waters.

Jozani - Chwaka Bay National Park:

A thousand hectares of natural forest, formerly a home of the extinct Zanzibar Leoppard lies a wild sanctuary 30km South East of the Stone Town. When visiting Jozani forest you will be able to trek the nature trail (a journey that will last an hour) and explore the diverse animal life including the Red Colobus Monkeys (one of the world’s most endangered and rarest species) the Blue Sykes monkeys, 40 species of birds and more than 40 species of butterflies. At the end of your trail you can park off at a restaurant for a refresher and a snack or a meal.

White Sands, Crystal Clear Water:

Zanzibar is famous for its beautiful beaches. Once you have explored the town you can drive up to the north west coast of the island to Kendwa. Spacious stretch of white pristine beach where you can swim at any time of the day or night that is sure to provide you with a tranquil experience, and a lovely reef that is ideal for snorkelling and diving. Just 30kms north of Kendwa, in Nungwi you will find numerous operators that offer thrilling water sport gear and lessons.

3 Annual Festivals:

Depending on which time of the year you visit Zanzibar, you may just be visiting during one of the 3 annual festivals; The Busara Music Festival (African & Continental music, February), The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF – July) and the Jahazi Literary Art and Jazz Festival (September). Your tour operator will be sure to make arrangements for you to join in on the festivities.

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