Christine, Digital Nomad, Travel Expert
Tanzania Travel Guide
The Tanzania Ultimate Travel Guide
Tanzania is almost synonymous with safari. But the country has so much to offer beyond its Savannah and plains.
Check out this travel guide that will make your Tanzania’s visit planning phase less painful;
The best attractions to visit in Tanzania
1. Serengeti National Park
Serengeti is among the oldest National Parks in Tanzania and a top safari destination in Africa. Spanning across 14 750 km² and being one of the top 10 largest national parks in the continent you can expect to tick most of the wildest creatures off your bucket list.
However, most tourists come to Serengeti for a rare sight that’s more than wildlife spotting – more like a pilgrimage.
The park adorns the famous Kenya’s Masaai Mara National Park and together, the two parks provide a backdrop to a phenomenon natural event; the Great migration.
Every year between July and October, wildebeests move up to the northern part of Serengeti ready to cross the Mara River for the search of greener pastures in the Kenyan plains.
The journey is literary survival for the fittest as the beasts dive into the crocodile-infested river and scramble their way into Kenya where predators such as lions, cheetahs, and leopards await.
You get a chance of seeing up to hundreds of wildebeests and zebras fight for survival.
2. Mount Kilimanjaro
Situated 205 miles south of the equator the tallest mountain in Africa offers a delightful voyage for the best part of the year.
It’s also the easiest summit (out of the world’s seven) to conquer probably due to Tanzania’s tropical climate with a defined dry and wet season which makes it possible to roughly predict the best time of the year to hike the mountain.
There is so much to see regardless of which of the seven routes you opt to follow; from volcanic waterholes to giant falls and incredibly wildlife-rich forests.
Also, weaving through the rocky terrain, you’ll pass across varying ecosystems; rainforest, alpine desert, and finally arctic. But the views along the way are the most captivating.
The best part is, you don’t have to be an avid climber to reach the summit. In fact, if you have a positive attitude, you’re moderately fit, and your body can adapt reasonably to altitude you can certainly reach the top of the highest freestanding mountain in the world!
3. Zanzibar Beaches
Located 15 miles off Tanzania’s mainland coast, Zanzibar beaches make for a great getaway after a challenging Kilimanjaro hike and it’s also a perfect post-safari relaxation hub.
The island is lined with miles of pearly white-sand beaches, clear waters and boasts nice warm temperatures throughout the year - perfect ingredients for an unforgettable East-African beach holiday.
The northern part of the island has the best beaches, especially for diving and snorkeling adventures. Some of the most popular beaches in Zanzibar include; Kendwa, Nungwi, Bwejuu, and Michamvi Beach.
4. Stone Town
For a dose of history, be sure to visit Stone Town for a day or two. At first glance, the city is old, super busy, and not exactly impressive but the history is definitely enthralling.
Locally known as Mji Mkongwe, this historical town offers you a glimpse into the past with a good display of colonial structures, ruins, narrow cobblestoned streets, massive cathedral churches, and incredibly rich culture.
The Arabs, Indians, and Europeans influences are still evident.
With a prison Island tour, spice tour, city tour, and lots of shops lines on walkways, there are more than enough activities to keep you occupied for a week!
You’ll also find open air-market and lots of shops where you can buy some souvenirs. But the highlight of your visit will probably be the Slave Market.
Stone Town was sadly booming with the slave trade between 1830 and 1863 where over 600,000 slaves were sold.
Today, the Christ Church Cathedral stands as a constant reminder to both locals and tourists of the atrocities that took place in this spot hundreds of years ago.
Stone Town might feel a little bit touristy but the history is too intriguing to be missed.
Also, a guide might be necessary because most streets are unnamed so it’s easy to lose your way or miss out on an important segment of history.
Major cities in Tanzania
· Dodoma – this is the capital city
· Dar es Salaam
The Best places to stay in Tanzania
Choosing a perfect place to stay in Tanzania will largely depend on the kind of adventure you’re aiming for. Whatever you settle for, make sure the location is in a decent neighborhood for safety reasons.
· Zuri Zanzibar hotel – for a secluded stay with easy access to the beach
From $300 per person sharing, per night
· Meliá Serengeti Lodge – great if you’re taking a safari
From $250 per person sharing, per night
· Protea Hotel by Marriott Dar es Salaam Oyster Bay
From $100 per night
· Planet Lodge, Arusha
From $100 per night
In East Africa, cheap and safe hardly work together. Although there are lots of cheap hostels across the major cities, they’re usually in areas where you can’t walk safely in the evenings.
Airbnbs can be a safer alternative especially if you’ll be staying with a local but even then, you should settle for a decent neighborhood.
How to get around in Tanzania
If you want to explore Tanzania at a leisurely pace the best way to get around is by car hire. The roads aren’t perfect so it helps to get a car with a driver (well-experienced driving on the local roads).
There are also a few app-based taxis such as ‘Twende App’ which provide cheap and convenient cab services.
If you’re on a shoestring budget, you can always hoop on a ‘Bodaboda’ (motorbike) for short distance ventures.
Travel Packing List and Tips for Tanzania
· Lightweight fabrics – the weather can be super hot
· Bug spray – this is an absolute necessity for a safari
· Toilet paper/wet wipes
· Depending on the areas you’re visiting, you might need anti-malaria medication. Be sure to check with your doctor before you leave.
· Do not drink tap water in Tanzania. Buy bottled water from reputable retailer shops.
Must-try food in Tanzania
· Nyama Choma
· Chipsi mayai
· Zanzibar Pizza
· Wali (Swahili rice)