Submitted by Heather Demars on July 30, 2016
Tanzania offers a lot of excitement for tourists. It houses the amazing peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, the legendary Serengeti Plains and the geological marvel that is the Ngorongoro Crater. The country also boasts one of the greatest shows on earth – the annual Wildebeest migration which will surely give a perfect Tanzanian Holiday. These destinations are popular among visitors and attract thousands of people to go to Tanzania.
The country also has some of the beautiful wilderness areas in Africa. The Selous Game Reserve which is one of the largest game reserves in the world and the Ruaha National Park can be visited here. You will also enjoy viewing chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park and in Mahale Mountains National Park.
If it is beaches that you are after, then Tanzania also has its shares of romantic and well-preserved pristine beaches. Top on the list is the amazing Zanzibar with its blue waters, exotic spices and fantastic architectures. Moving further, fascinating things will be discovered in Pemba and Mafia Island which is also a part of Zanzibar Archipelago.
Going south, be in awe of ancient rock paintings around Kolo village and witness the small fishing villages and small quiet islands of the Lake Victoria shoreline. There’s also the rarely visited wilderness of Katavi where you are likely to see hippos and buffaloes.
Set against the backdrop of a cultural medley where hundreds of ethnic groups affably mingle with each other, Tanzania offers an array of options for travelers. For centuries, it has remained unaffected and untouched of any tribal rivalries or political upheavals which make it all the more appealing for returning tourists and first-time visitors alike.
Wherever you decide to go, grab the opportunity to get to know and mingle with Tanzanians. Their warmth and kindness coupled with the beauty and dignity of their culture will be the highlight of any visit. Chances are you will keep coming back for more adventure and trips.
When to Travel
The country’s climate is typically mild with the varying temperatures in the highlands and lowlands. Highlands can have temperatures averaging just below 70°F and lowlands in the western, eastern and southern region of the country can have temperatures onwards of 85°F. Ideal temperature really for any vacation.
The modern capital of Addis Ababa has a healthy and pleasant climate all year round. The seasons are defined largely by rainfall, with a dry season from October to February and a light rainy season during the months of March to May. The heaviest rains normally falls from June to September, making the rest of the year an excellent time to vacation Ethiopia.
The dry season is the sunniest time of the year though even at the height of rainy season in July and August there are several hours per day of bright sunshine. After the rainy season, highlands are delightfully green and covered with wildflowers. It's a perfect time for some Ethiopia walking and hiking trips during this time of the year.
Cuisine and Drink
Tanzania’s large community of South Asian makes sure that there’s a great variety of restaurants offering cuisines from all parts of the globe. Eateries and restaurants near Hindu temples especially in Dar are recommended. You can also track where the local Indians eat and you will not be disappointed with the savory tastes of different delicacies.
Tourists can try the Mandazi which is a sweet doughnut-styled food that is mostly made fresh every morning. It makes a great snack coupled with a hot morning coffee. Another Tanzanian specialty that is loved by the locals is the Chips Mayai which are chips cooked in an omelet. They are served in most food stands in the country and are quite good when eaten with pili pili (hot sauce).
If you are looking for a dish that is really Tanzanian in all essence, then that will be Ugali, a polenta-style dish made with corn flour. It is coupled with cooked meat and some variety of stews. Types may vary from different regions in the country but some upscale restaurants and hotels serve ugali for tourists to taste. Street foods can be seen crowding the streets too. Best to try is the barbecued maize on the cob and chipped potato fries cooked over a large fire.
For drinks, there are varieties to choose from in any Tanzanian market. Tourists will definitely try the Konyagi which is a wonderful gin-like beverage sold only in Tanzania. Beers are also available in domestic and western style like the Kilimanjaro, Serengeti and Safari. There are also imports like Tusker, Stella Artois, and Castle. One local beer product you can find in the market is the so called banana-beer. In other parts of the country, a fermented bamboo juice called pombe is available as a tipple.
Fruit juices are commonly ordered in restaurants and hotels especially if they are in season. Some of them are passion fruit, orange and mango juices. Soft drinks will not miss the local scene with the famous local drink – the Stoney Tangawizi which is ginger ale.
Other popular beverages are Bitter Lemon, Orange Fanta, Soda Water, Tonic Water and the yogurt-like drink known as Lassi which can either be sweet and salty depending on your preference.
Sights of Tanzania
Witness the Great Wildebeest Migration
The country’s best attraction is the Annual Migration of Wildebeest. Tourists will be able to witness millions of animals that are migrating across the plains of Serengeti National Park. The event is best seen in a four wheel drive but another exciting alternative is also becoming popular. Treat yourself by getting a bird’s eye view of the migration from a hot air balloon sailing over green grasslands.
The Serengeti National Park may be famous for the annual migrations of Wildebeest but it also hosts a wide range of wildlife including warthogs, gazelle, water buck, leopards, lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants, hippopotamuses, crocodiles, zebra, buffalo and wildebeest as seen in numerous discovery channel episodes.
Hikers all over the world will go to Tanzania with the aim of conquering Africa’s highest peak – the Uhuru Peak in Mount Kilimanjaro. This is considered as a lifetime experience but due to its popularity, hikers and travelers should book this travel in advance. Honored by the local people and often a subject for many post cards, most people see Mount Kilimanjaro from afar. But tourists and travelers who choose the safari trip will have a hands-on experience with the proud legendary mountain.
Look for Chimpanzees in Mahale Mountains National Park
The chimps are sheltered in two rugged national parks located on the mountain slopes on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. The parks are reachable by boat from the town of Kigoma. The Gombe National Park and Mahale National Park excites visitors by letting them track chimpanzees on foot.
Southern Tanzania’s Secrets
The Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha and Katavi National Parks – all located at the southern part of Tanzania shares some of its secrets. They are some of Africa’s untouched yet very much accessible wilderness regions. Selous known as having one of the largest protected areas in the world boasts many big game and promises big thrills. There are thousands of animals and heartwarming sceneries in southern Tanzania that earns the country “the Next Big Thing” title in Africa.
Scuba Diving in Remote Islands
Unquestionably, the top island destination in Tanzania is Zanzibar. But aside from this well-visited islands are two neighboring islands worth seeing. Mafia and Pemba islands – this two tropical gems offer magnificent water sports. Diving, scuba diving and other island luxuries can be enjoyed here – all less the crowd. Also, the Mafia Island Marine Park just south of Zanzibar is one of the few areas where you can see whale sharks congregate annually. Daring tourists may even get to swim with the whale sharks.
Tanzania’s currency is the Tanzanian shilling (Tsh). The notes are in denominations of Tsh10, 000, 5000, 1000, 500 while the coins are in Tsh200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 shilling. The best currencies to bring in Tanzania are US dollars as well as Euros which can easily be changed. Currencies like Canadian dollars and Australian dollars may be accepted but are below the current rate.
Credit cards are commonly not accepted even in most upmarket hotels. Therefore, tourists should rely more on cash, Visa cards for withdrawing money in ATMs and travellers cheques. ATM machines can be found mostly in city centers and Msasani Peninsula. If in some cases, credit cards will be accepted it is likely to be charged with 5-10% commissions. Exchanging money is also easy across the country where banks and exchange bureaus are accessible in major towns and cities.