Visiting Africa is something everyone should do in their lifetime. Rarely will you find such stunning visuals and landscape, simply unavailable on any other continent. One of the best places to really soak in Africa is Tanzania. From classic safaris, as seen on GosheniSafaris, to majestic Mount Kilimanjaro rising over the Serengeti, Tanzania has so much to offer that you will want to come back as soon as you can for a repeat visit.
When to Visit
The best time to visit Tanzania is during the dry season, lasting from June to October since there is the least chance of rain then. Although you won’t make a mistake going at any other time since the country is blessed with a pleasant climate all year. Still, during the winter months, there is a chance that you will have to postpone some outdoor activity due to rains, so it is better not to chance it.
Getting into Country
Tanzania has three international airports: Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salam, Abeid Amani Karume International Airport in the Zanzibar Archipelago on Unguja Island, and Kilimanjaro International Airport in the north of the country, near the cities of Arusha and Moshi. The choice will depend on your final destination.
If you are going for a safari on the Northern Circuit, then Kilimanjaro is your best choice. If you are going for a vacation on the beaches of Zanzibar, then you should use Abeid Amani Karume International Airport. For a full experience, we would recommend g arriving at Kilimanjaro and then traveling your way south, leaving the country via Zanzibar airport.
An alternative route is landing at Kenia’s Nairobi International Airport, which is just a short shuttle ride from Arusha and Moshi.
Keep in mind that Tanzania requires most of the foreign nationals to obtain a visa before entering the country. Although it isn’t listed as a Yellow Fever endemic country, it is possible that immigration will ask you for a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate. Getting a vaccine is always recommended before going to that part of the world.
Moving through Tanzania
One of the biggest gripes tourists have with Tanzania is the awful condition of the country’s roads. The traffic network is limited to big cities and even popular tourist destinations lack quality road connections. That makes it almost impossible to drive around the country on your own. If you are going on an organized safari trip, the agency will provide you with a driver and an off-road vehicle, which is the only suitable transport in most of the country.
The second option is using domestic flights. There are several airlines that operate in Tanzania and frequently fly between the biggest population centers. There are even private runways in some high-end safari lodges that can be used by charter planes.
Although the country has two major railways and the trains operate regularly, it is not recommended to use them. The passenger cars are old and not kept to the highest standards of hygiene. They are often overcrowded and people bring with them livestock and agricultural products for sale on local markets. Also, theft is a rather big problem.
What to Visit
When you are spending a limited time in Tanzania, the most excruciating part is deciding what to see and visit. Here are some of our recommendations.
Safari in Serengeti
Serengeti in the local Massai language means Endless Plains. Stretching 30,000 km2 (12,000 sq mi), Serengeti is the most iconic part of Africa. There are over 500 birds and 70 large mammal species living there. Serengeti is the home of Massai, a fierce warrior tribe that historically avoided hunting wildlife and survived on raising cattle. Massailand encompasses most of Serengeti. While there, you can observe massive wildebeest migrations across the plains, if you arrive during the dry season. Make sure to visit Ngorongoro Crater, a collapsed volcano from two million years ago and one of the largest calderas in the world.
Magnificent sugar-white beaches of Zanzibar islands draw thousands of tourists every year. Both Pemba and Unguja don’t lack for luxury accommodations and you can’t go wrong with choosing either for your vacation destination. Warm turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, white sands, palms, and mangroves paint an idyllic picture, ideal for relaxation and getting away from the world.
See Stone Town
Stone Town is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is the oldest part of Zanzibar City, the largest city in the Zanzibar archipelago. It was founded by Portuguese traders in the 15th century, who maintained trading routes with India and Persia. While the city lost its status as a major trading hub, it retained the special mystique of a place where various cultures meet and mix together.
Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
No visit to Tanzania can be complete without a hike to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. The climb isn’t easy but will allow you to stand on top of Africa at 5,895 meters (19,341 ft). The climb can take up to five days, but only the most experienced climbers should attempt it. If going all the way to the top it too much, there are several other hiking routes to choose from, different in length and difficulty. Kilimanjaro is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, meaning it isn’t a part of a mountain range. The fact that Kilimanjaro stands alone like a colossus rising above the plains of Serengeti, topped with snow, only adds to its allure and magic.
Visit Selous Game Reserve
Selous Game Reserve is the oldest game reserve in Africa. It is also the largest one, twice as big as Switzerland. It has been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. Despite its attractions, far fewer tourists visit it, since the vast majority opts for northern parks of Serengeti and Tarange. This means that you won’t have to suffer hordes of tourists trampling around and scaring the wildlife and you will be able to enjoy the park almost by yourself.