Tanzania

Tanzania is a country rich in natural wonders, traditions and culture. It is home to a range of diverse landscapes including, sweeping plains, tropical rain forests, mountains, lakes and beautiful beaches. Tanzania is the ideal destination for any type of visitor, whether your interest is game viewing on safari, climbing Africa’s highest peak or relaxing on the exotic beaches of Zanzibar – Tanzania has it all!

An unparalleled one-quarter of Tanzania’s surface area has been set aside for conservation purposes and with areas like Serengeti National Park and the famous Ngorongoro Crater, it is the best safari destination in Africa.

Places to visit

Serengeti National Park

Serengeti is Tanzania’s most popular national park – a world heritage site and one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Africa. The Serengeti is famed for its annual migration, when hundreds of thousands of zebra and Thomson’s gazelle join more than 1 million wildebeest on their trek for fresh grazing. Yet even when the migration is quiet, the Serengeti offers arguably the most scintillating game viewing in Africa! Teeming with wildlife including great herds of buffalo, groups of elephant and giraffe, and thousands of eland, topi, kongoni, impala and Grant’s gazelle, as well as vast population of birds.

The spectacle of predator versus prey dominates Tanzania’s greatest park boasting the largest lion population in Africa. Lion prides feast on the abundance of plain grazers, while solitary leopards haunt the acacia trees lining the Seronera River and a high density of cheetahs prowl the South Eastern plains.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The Ngorongoro Crater is the best place in Tanzania to see the big five and due to the shape and size of this incredible natural landscape. The Crater is the world’s largest inactive volcano caldera and its beauty is awe-inspiring. A healthy population of black rhino and some of the largest tusker elephants left in Africa today are highlights, as well as the Crater being home to strong populations of lion, leopard and hyena along with good herds of non- migrating wildebeest, buffalo and zebra. Other game in the Crater include: serval cat, cheetah, jackal, Grant’s and Thompson’s gazelle, flamingo and bat eared foxes, along with approximately 400 species of bird.

Once you have finished your game drive in the Crater there are many activities within Ngorongoro Conservation Area including walking, visiting the Maasai and Olduvai Gorge. Tanzania is often referred to as the “Cradle of Mankind” due to the discovery of the earliest known humans at Olduvai Gorge. It is one of the most famous archeological sites in the world and well worth a visit.

Tarangire National Park

Often overshadowed by the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire has immense concentrations of game in the peak months (July-February) and a fraction of the visitors that go to any of the other Northern parks. The game viewing is superb and the atmosphere and habitat is completely different from the other parks. Tarangire is surprisingly large, giving visitors more space and a more intimate game-viewing environment of all the parks in the region. Tarangire is a sanctuary for an incredibly large elephant population and animals congregate along the Tarangire River, which provides the only permanent water supply in the area. Majestic baobab trees and interesting landscapes are a feature of the park, as well as a great diversity of wildlife including lion, leopard, cheetah and over 6000 elephant.

Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara is a beautiful, scenic park on the road from Arusha to the Ngorongoro Crater. The lake itself takes up much of the park leaving a strip of land running down its shores where game concentrates. Famous for its tree-climbing lions, flamingos, breathtaking scenery and the soda-ash lake in the centre makes it reason enough to visit here for a day, especially in the wet months where the elephants are enjoying the lush surroundings.

Lake Natron

At the lowest point of the Rift valley in East Africa sits the shallow soda lake of Lake Natron. The lake is highly alkaline and is an ideal environment for flamingos to feed and to breed while enjoying relative security from predators, thus the lake is home to more than 2 million of the birds. Every evening thousands of pink flamingos fly overhead, exposing the deep garnet feathers under their wings. In addition to seeing these amazing birds, you can hike to the beautiful waterfalls in the area or for those wanting a little more adventure, you can try hiking the active volcano of Oldoinyo Lengai. “Oldoinyo Lengai” means “The Mountain of God” in the Maasai language. The summit of this strato-volcano is 2962 metres above sea level, and affords direct views into the caldera of Tanzania’s only officially certified active volcano, and the world’s only carbonatite volcano. This is an extremely challenging hike because it is quite steep and covered in volcano ash, which is like walking in soft sand. The hike can take anywhere between 8-12 hours and is done during the night so you can experience an amazing sunrise at the summit.

Lake Eyasi

Lake Eyasi is a soda lake located at the southwest corner of Ngorongoro Crater in the conservation area highlands. The Hadzabe Bushmen live in this region, as do the Datoga and Mbulu tribes. A visit with the Bushmen is well worthwhile – they will show you their way of life and you have the opportunity to go hunting with them. They survive entirely off the bush and by bow hunting. Everything they use is made from local materials, including their bows, which are strung with giraffe tendon, and their arrows, which are coated in lethal poison. Their language resembles that of Kalahari Bushmen tribe, which has a range of clicking noises, rather than speech. This is an incredible way to experience a lifestyle very different your own and gain insight into a very special local culture.

Mt Kilimanjaro

Standing at 19,336 feet (5,895 metres), Mt Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa and the largest freestanding mountain in the world. It is also one of the world’s only summits of similar height that can be accessed by a wide range of hikers of different fitness levels and preparedness. Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro is a once in a lifetime experience and a draw for mountaineers and thrill-seekers the world over.

The park itself displays an astounding variety of environments. At lower altitudes, the mountain forest provides a home for elephants, buffalo and primates. Climb higher and the forest is overtaken by moorland topography. Higher still and you will come into the alpine desert zone. Finally, the ascent takes you to a glacier of snow and ice, where you stand, on the roof of Africa.

East Africa Safari Experts can help you prepare for this amazing adventure!

Zanzibar

Zanzibar is the ultimate beach experience, with its fascinating historical Stone Town, interesting culture and magnificent beaches. Stone Town is one of the oldest living Swahili towns in East Africa. It’s unique winding, narrow streets are adorned with beautiful buildings and intricately carved wooden doors, famous in the area. Established by Arab slave and spice traders in the early 19th century, Stone Town is the cultural heart of Zanzibar. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site, which has enabled some of the beautiful houses to get much needed renovation. Travel out to the beaches and you will enjoy relaxing on the pristine white sand looking out over the clear blue Indian Ocean. There are a wide range of activities for the more adventurous traveller including water sports, sunset cruises, snorkelling or diving tours.

Itineraries

Tanzania has something for everyone. Whether you want to have the thrill of safari, the challenge of climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, the joy of relaxing on the beaches of Zanzibar or a combination of these, we can create the perfect itinerary for your trip.

Safari

Tanzania has incredible variety for safari within the Northern Parks.  You have the open plains in Tarangire National Park and Serengeti National Park.  The famous Ngorongoro Crater, often referred to as the “eighth wonder of the world” and the lush forests of Lake Manyara National Park.  Tanzania is home to the largest animal migration in the world, which can be seen between Nov-July, but also hosts one of the world’s largest animal populations and is undoubtedly the best game viewing destination. Recently voted the “world’s best safari destination” Tanzania offers everything you need for safari as well as other activities such as walking safaris and cultural visits.

Mt Kilimanjaro

Climb the highest and most famous summit in Africa. Mt Kilimanjaro stands at 5895 meters above sea level, but you don’t need to be an experienced mountain climber to reach its peak. To reach the summit, you need to be in a fit and healthy state with a good all-round condition, strong will power and determination. East Africa Safari Experts can help you prepare for this amazing experience. There are 6 routes that can be hiked – click on the links to see itineraries for 2 of our most popular options.

There are many routes available to climb Mt Kilimanjaro so we can tailor make a package that suits your time frame, budget and fitness level.

Beach

There is no better way to complete your experience in Tanzania than with some relaxing days on the beautiful island of Zanzibar.  Spend your time enjoying the resorts, day tours, water sports or a visit to the historical Stone Town.  East Africa Safari Experts can put together a Zanzibar extension package to suit your budget and amount of time you have.

Country information

Country name: United Republic of Tanzania
Area: 943,000 sq km
Population: 44,928,923 (recorded at last census in 2012)
Capital: Dodoma
Borders: Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Time Zone: 3 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time
Religion: Mainland - Christian 30%, Muslim 35%, Indigenous beliefs 35%, Zanzibar – more than 99% Muslim
Languages: Swahili (official), English (official, primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education), Arabic (widely spoken in Zanzibar)
Dialing Code: +255

Lifestyle

Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world with approx 60% of the population living below the food poverty line of under USD$1.25 per day.

The Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare estimates that there are 2.5 million orphaned and vulnerable children in Tanzania.  Tourism has become one of the main sources of employment in the country thanks to the amazing national parks, conservation areas and beautiful beach islands.

The Directors of East Africa Safari Experts manage two orphanages in northern Tanzania and a percentage of profits from the business go directly to support these homes.  You can read more about these projects on our “Community Development” page.

By travelling to this amazing country through East Africa Safari Experts, you will be helping support the local economy, providing work to Tanzanians and helping us support our orphanages.

Best Time To Travel

Tanzania is a huge country with much regional variation in geography and climate plus two distinct rainy seasons, so the question of when to go depends on what it is that you want to experience.

The best time to go to Tanzania for the Serengeti Migration is between November and August but you’ll need to be in the right place at the right time.  During November they will be moving south through Serengeti and spend Dec/Jan/Feb in the area of Ndutu, which is between Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.  In March, they will start making their way through southern, then central and western, before finally reaching northern Serengeti by July/Aug.

General game viewing in the Serengeti and Tanzania’s other parks is at its peak during the June to October dry season or December to February.

Mount Kilimanjaro is best climbed either between June and October or January to March, while the best time to visit Tanzania’s coast, it’s anytime apart from the long rains in April/May.

Climate

Tanzania has a pleasant tropical climate but has large regional climatic variations influenced by several factors, including altitude.  Tanzania is too close to the equator to experience a real winter and summer. There is, however, a dry and wet season.  The “long rains” will happen during March-May whilst the “short rains” are common in November.  For other months of the year, it is mostly clear blue skies.  Temperatures in winter (June-August) will average around 20-25 degrees during the day, whilst in the summer (December-February) around 30-35 degrees.  The coastal areas will have a higher humidity than inland and Mt Kilimanjaro will be much colder due to the altitude.

Currency & ATM access

The main currency in Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling (Tsh).  USD is widely accepted in tourist areas however it must be USD notes printed on/after 2003.  Older notes printed before 2003 are not accepted in Tanzania or many other African countries.

In major towns you will have access to ATMs however they can be unreliable if requiring large amounts.  Most ATMs will only allow a maximum withdrawal amount of 400,000Tsh per transaction. Multiple transactions are allowed and based on your own bank’s daily withdrawal limits. However these can rack up large transaction fees.

Credit cards are not widely accepted, only at a few major tourist spots and large hotels.  Travelers cheques are not advised, as you will pay extremely high fees to cash them.

At the time of writing AUD$1 = TSH1,500.

Visa Information

Australian passport holders are required to have a Tourist Visa for Tanzania.  This can be organized in advance through a Tanzania Consulate however the easiest option is to get it upon arrival at the airport.  This will cost USD$50 however is subject to change.  You need to have your passport and USD cash (notes printed on/after 2003).

Electricity

In Tanzania, the voltage is 230 and the frequency is 50 Hz.  For charging cameras, phones etc, you will need a British plug adaptor, with the three rectangular blades.

Power outages are common in Tanzania therefore it’s worthwhile carrying a torch with you and always recharging appliances when the power is available.

Health/Vaccinations

It is important to visit your travel doctor before travelling to Africa, as there are a range of vaccinations he/she may recommend based on current information.

Currently, the only mandatory vaccination is Yellow Fever and you may be asked to produce the Yellow Fever vaccination certificate upon arrival into the country.  Other vaccinations that may be advisable are Hepatitis A/B, Tetanus, Typhoid and Cholera.

Taking a malaria prophylactic is also recommended and your doctor can advise which type is best suited for you.

Tipping

It is customary to tip your guides/crew when on safari or other activities like Mt Kilimanjaro.  Suggested tipping amounts will be advised at time of booking.

Even though tipping is not culturally expected it is good to leave some loose change at restaurants or in other service situations.