About Tanzania Travel
Arusha: The town of Arusha in northern Tanzania rests just below Mount Meru on the eastern edge of the eastern branch of the Great Rift Valley. It is the jumping off point for many of Tanzania’s natural icons – Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, Tarangire and Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Ngorongoro Crater: Ngorongoro Conservation Area includes expanses of highland plains, scrub bush and forests that cover more than 5,100 square miles. The crater is the largest intact caldera, an ancient collapsed volcano, in the world. This giant bowl has been called ‘Africa’s Eden.’ Indeed, most of East Africa’s common species are found here. Only indigenous tribes such as the Maasai are allowed to live here. The descent into the crater passes through rainforest and thick vegetation before emerging onto the grassy plains of the crater floor.
Olduvai Gorge: Between the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti is the noted site of Olduvai Gorge. In the 1950s, the Leakey family made the first of many discoveries when they found hominoid remains of a skeleton dating back 1.8 million years. They unearthed three distinct hominoid species and a series of footprints estimated at 3.7 million years old. This is one of the oldest sites of hominoid habitation yet discovered.
Serengeti: The Serengeti ecosystem in northwestern Tanzania extends into southwestern Kenya. These vast plains bear witness to the largest and longest overland migration in the world. Nearly two million herbivores – wildebeest, zebra, and various antelope species – travel in a great circular migration from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara and back again; over 1,800 miles each year in search of rain-ripened grass. The region incorporates several national parks and game reserves that protect about 70 species of large mammals and 500 species of birds.
Lake Manyara National Park: On the edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park encompasses forests, bush plains, cliffs and hot springs. The alkaline soda of the lake attracts huge numbers of bird species such as yellow-billed stork, African grey hornbill, African paradise flycatcher and blue-naped moosebird as well as enormous numbers of pink flamingo. Hippo, banded mongoose, blue monkey, impala, leopard, warthog and lion inhabit the park as well as the largest concentration of baboons found anywhere. One family group can include up to 300 individuals.
Tarangire National Park: The park is home to great herds of elephant. During the dry season, up to 300 can be found along the dry river bed, digging for underground streams, while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest and eland flock to the remaining pools. During the rainy season, the animals spread out over 12,500 square miles. The swamps serve as host to 550 bird varieties. The park extends into two game-controlled areas so the wildlife can move freely.
Zanzibar: Part of Tanzania, two large islands, Unguja and Pemba, plus numerous smaller islands make up the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, just 15 to 30 miles off the mainland. The capital is Zanzibar City on Unguja. The old quarter, known as Stone Town, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where remarkably little has changed in 200 years. Its labyrinth of narrow streets, bustling bazaars and mosques are fascinating to discover. The grandness of the old Arab houses can be seen in the brass-studded, intricately carved, wooden doors, of which there are some 500 different examples. Zanzibar also invites travelers for a relaxing break with more than 25 beaches, some so peaceful the only noise is the sound of the ocean.
Selous Game Reserve & Ruaha National Park: Seldom visited, Selous Game Reserve is Africa’s largest protected wildlife reserve, covering more than five percent of Tanzania. Dense wilderness mixed with open plains provide habitat for elephant, which some sources estimate at 65,000, black rhino, cheetah, giraffe, hippo and crocodile. Its remoteness makes this sanctuary one of the untouched gems of Tanzania. This is the place to encounter the Africa of old, far from paved roads and souvenir shops. Boating and hiking safaris are possible within the reserve. Like Selous, Ruaha National Park’s isolation attracts those seeking an old-world safari experience. Ruaha River is the focus of life here. Along its banks, game viewing is spectacular. Hippo and crocodile are plentiful as are elephant, buffalo, gazelle and over 400 bird species. Predators include lion, cheetah, leopard, hyena and the endangered African wild dog.
Mt. Kilimanjaro: The ‘rooftop of Africa,’ Kilimanjaro has three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawenzi and Shirahe. Hiking the famed mountain is the adventure of a lifetime for many who come here. At 19,340 feet, Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is surrounded by Kilimanjaro National Park. Its ecosystems range from lowland forests to alpine meadows to barren rock and ice near the top. With planning, nearly everyone from first-timers to seasoned climbers can scale the peak.
Dar es Salaam: On the Indian Ocean coast, Dar es Salaam is the capital of Tanzania. Remnants of its colonial past, both German and British, can still be seen in the landmarks and architecture of the city. The National Museum, Village Museum, historical landmarks and colorful markets dot the city center and waterfront. Dar es Salaam serves as a gateway to Southern Tanzania.
Undiscovered Southern Tanzania: Southern Tanzania includes some of the country’s most remote and pristine parks, including Mikumi, where the camp sits on a rocky kopje on a flood plain. The park is rich in birds and big game, including rare wild dog, sable and greater kudu. Uzungwa Mountain National Park contains the most biodiversity in a chain of a dozen mountains that make up the Eastern Arc Mountains. Uzungwa has been dubbed the African Galapagos for the trove of endemic plants and animals. The park is best known for its walking and hiking trails. Giant elephant shrew, rare red colobus monkey, water buffalo, elephant, leopard, and reptiles such as chameleon and snakes inhabit the park. This is one of the top ten forests for bird conservation in Africa. Katavi National Park is another scarcely traveled treasure. Fewer visitors combined with high concentrations of animals make these parks extraordinary safari destinations. The Southern Highlands offers a glimpse of rural life in Tanzania. A large private estate offers golf, fly fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, bird watching and nature walks in an incomparable setting.
Suggested Tanzania Tour Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive Arusha, Tanzania
Day 2: Arusha / Ngorongoro Crater
Day 3: Ngorongoro Crater
Day 4: Ngorongoro Crater / Olduvai Gorge / Serengeti Plains
Day 5: Serengeti Plains
Day 6: Serengeti Plains
Day 7: Serengeti / Arusha / Depart
Custom Travel Options
Lake Manyara National Park (2 days)
The lake’s alkaline soda attracts huge numbers and varieties of birds, including impressive flocks of pink flamingo; and it has the largest concentration of baboons found anywhere.
Tarangire National Park (3 days)
This park is known for its great elephant herds, and can be easily combined with the northern circuit that features Ngorongoro and the Serengeti Plains.
Zanzibar (4 days)
The islands boast more than 25 beaches. The old city of Stone Town with its winding alleys, bustling bazaars and mosques, has changed little in 200 years.
Selous Game Reserve & Ruaha National Park (5-6 days)
Ruaha's 10,000 elephants represent the largest population of any East African park. Selous is the largest reserve in East Africa.
Kilimanjaro Treks (6 days)
The ‘rooftop of Africa,’ Kilimanjaro, at 19,340 feet, rewards those who climb it with panoramic views of the great Rift Valley and the Maasai Steppe.
Undiscovered Tanzania (9 days)
Dar es Salaam, capital city, serves as a gateway to southern Tanzania and its remote reserves and national parks.