Tanzania vacation guide: all you need to understand

With over one third of its land dedicated as national parks or reserves, starring the Big Five and the Great Wildebeest Migration, it’s no wonder Tanzania is considered Africa’s classic safari destination for first-timers and connoisseurs alike. But East Africa’s country that is largest is way more than that. You are able to summit snow-capped Kilimanjaro, the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, or follow Jane Goodall’s footsteps tracking chimps when you look at the Gombe Stream National that is remote Park. Dive pristine reefs off Indian Ocean islands, discover cultures that are diverse cuisines with Swahili, Indian and Arab impacts or simply just chill on postcard-perfect shores with sand as soft as white pepper.

Travel constraints and entry needs

Tanzania’s latest travel advisory states totally vaccinated travellers have to provide their particular vaccination certificates on arrival. You can pay around $10 to get a rapid antigen test on arrival if you’re not fully vaccinated, you’ll need a PCR test within 72 hours before departure, or. You should also complete a* that is( in 24 hours or less before arrival. On making Tanzania, consult with your airline/country of arrival to see if a test is required by them. You’ll need to wear a mask if visiting a testing centre. Visas are required for British travellers, which can be obtained online or on arrival.

Best time to go

Safaris are best in the season that is dry as soon as the grasses tend to be reduced and wildlife could easily be seen, therefore between Summer and October in Tanzania’s Northern and south safari circuits. And also this coincides utilizing the river that is renowned of the Great Migration in Serengeti, making it the busiest and most expensive time to visit. As an alternative, visit the Serengeti that is southern in whenever some 200,000 calves tend to be created. Kilimanjaro has reached its that is best and busiest – from late June to September too, but December to March can also bring good conditions for climbing.

Top regions and cities

Serengeti National Park

The star of African safaris, Serengeti means ‘endless plains,’ an name that is apt a national playground spanning 14,763sqkm, fabled for its Great Migration. You’ll witness up to two million wildebeest and zebra traversing the savannah that is vast their never-ending quest for fresh fodder. They cross rivers bubbling with eager, evil-looking crocs to reach Kenya’s Maasai Mara, then repeat the ordeal on their return as they stampede northwards. This phenomenon that is frenzied predators aplenty, along with crowds of tourists, so book your stay way in advance. Choose from a range of accommodation types – from eye-wateringly expensive but camps that are classy Singita’s Faru Faru to your nationwide Park’s standard huts and campsites. For many of the greatest cat that is big in Africa, head east to the Soit le Motonyi area and the fabulous Namiri Plains camp.

Ngorongoro Crater

Part of the Northern Circuit that includes Serengeti and the smaller parks of Lake Manyara and Tarangire, Ngorongoro is home to a staggering 30,000 animals. It’s the world’s largest caldera that is intact calculating 260sq kilometer and also the huge Five clique (eles, buffalo, lions, leopards, and rhinos) wander the crater flooring, encircled by remarkable escarpments plummeting 600 metres through the rim. Your closest resort hotels and lodges lie from the rim: the quirky and ridiculously sumptuous &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge and also the far easier Rhino Lodge, which aids the area Maasai, tend to be both near to the gate, providing you with morning that is early ahead of the hordes of visitors.

Zanzibar Island

If you want to wallow on beautiful beaches that are palm-fringed sail in to the sunset on dhow cruises, or overindulge at full-moon functions, then check out the Indian Ocean utopia of Zanzibar. While you’re here, examine the superb diving out around Mnemba Island and snorkel above the pristine coral reefs of Chumbe Island, kitesurf on Paje Beach or visit the friendly fishing villages of Matemwe and Jambiani.

Beyond the beaches, in Jozani Forest, you can spot endangered colobus that is red discovered just on Zanzibar, and trip aromatic spruce plantations (it’s not known as The Spice isles for absolutely nothing). Uncover the heart-rending slave-trade record when you look at the labyrinthine roads of old rock Town, after the capital of Oman. And also at dusk, enjoy a beer that is cool the bars around Kelele Square watching footie on the beach below, before savouring sizzling kebabs from Forodhani’s lively food market.


Towering 5,895 metres above sea level, Kilimanjaro’s summit is a magnet for keen hikers: you’ll never forget standing on Uhuru Point as breaks over Africa dawn. Yearly, some 35,000 climbers weave their particular means round the seven roads, beginning in rainforests and closing at glaciers capping the continent’s mountain that is highest. Don’t be fooled: it might look like a molehill that is ginormous does not require technical abilities, but Kili is a killer. Take the time to acclimatise to your not enough air and give a wide berth to the quickest, most affordable, lung-busting Marangu route (taking several times). Alternatively, make the scenic Lemosho/Shira that is eight-day trail the more remote Northern Circuit lasting nine days: the longer your trek, the better your chances of summitting.

Best under-the-radar destinations

Ruaha National Park

If raw wilderness is your thing, head to Ruaha. Together with Nyerere (formerly Selous Game Reserve), Mikumi and Udzungwa National Parks, it forms the country’s little-visited Southern Circuit. Ruaha is home to 10 per cent of Africa’s lions, East Africa’s population that is largest of elephants and lots of packages of unusual crazy puppies. You won’t see visitors that are many aside from safari connoisseurs in the know. All to yourself with just a handful of lodges, it feels as if you have Ruaha’s vast savannahs, rolling hills, golden sand rivers and groves of baobabs. Attempt the brand new Usangu Expedition Camp when you look at the south that is remote hands-on conservation work with a touch of luxury.

Mafia Island

Mafia is how you imagine Zanzibar might have been before tourism hit. Quieter, smaller, but with fewer beaches, it oozes Swahili culture and is still relatively undeveloped, with a handful of lodges dotted around Chole Bay. Come here to dive within the Mafia Island Marine Park, which protects over 450 species of tropical fish, sharks and dolphins, and 50 types of coral. The island’s guests that are special moving whale sharks. You are able to swim by using these mild leaders for the Indian Ocean from to March – at up to 12 metres long, with some 350 rows of teeth, they eat only plankton and are perfectly safe.

Rubondo october Island National Park

Uninhabited by humans, this emerald that is extraordinary lying from the southern shores of Lake Victoria is an unlikely house to chimpanzees, giraffes, elephants and unusual sitatunga antelopes. The chimps had been reintroduced right here when you look at the sixties, rescued from captivity, with elephants and giraffes relocated later on. While there’s no guarantee you’ll see our cousins that are primate you can help habituate them to people by going out and about with their trackers. Be prepared: chimps are restless creatures and need that is you’ll be fit to steadfastly keep up using them. Instead, decide to try bird viewing, seafood for enormous perch that is nileweighing up to 100kg), take drives and walks around the island or boat trips on the lake. There’s just one camp here, lying on the lakeshore, but with crocs and hippos bobbing in the water, don’t think about going even for a swim.

Best activities to do

Take a walk on Serengeti’s Wild SideWayo AfricaEven when you look at the level of migration season, you can easily prevent Serengeti’s crowds of people by walking and camping with its Wilderness Zones with

. it is perhaps not that is too basic have proper beds, private outdoor bathrooms with compost loos and good, old-fashioned bucket showers, hearty meals cooked by your chef, and superb guides who know exactly what to do should you meet a lion on your stroll…

Zanzibar’s Sauti za Busara Swahili Music and Cultural Festival

For four days in February, Zanzibar buzzes to the beats of Swahili music from all over Africa in Stone Town’s atmospheric Old Fort. A parade and beach parties too up to 400 performers cover everything from traditional Taraab and spiritual music to fusion, urban and hip hop, with fringe events. Some 20,000 men and women come for the vibe.

Gems of Arusha

Arusha, Tanzania’s 3rd city that is largest, is its safari capital and the hub for most northern circuit operators. If you have a day to spare here, ignore the irritating touts that are safari-selling just take a trip regarding the Tanzanite Enjoy. The museum describes the annals and procedure of mining this gem that is rare unique to Tanzania, that glistens in shades of blue, violet, or burgundy. Buy the article that is genuine: hawkers and stores sell “gemstones” but beware the cons.

Getting around

Scheduled routes with Precision Air, Coastal Aviation and Auric Air, amongst others, needs one to all of the safari that is main island destinations, with a good network around the country. Safaris booked through a tour operator shall feature a 4WD and driver/guide to just take you around and between spots. Express buses drive between Arusha, Moshi (the town that is nearest to Kilimanjaro) and Dar es Salaam. Local dala-dalas (minibuses) are everywhere but are usually jam-packed and sometimes precarious. Self-drive is also an option. Several ferries run between Dar and Zanzibar and other islands but be aware there have been some tragic accidents in the past, so travel with reputable companies – and never by dhow.

How to get there

Tanzania’s two main airports are Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro International Airport, halfway between Arusha and Moshi, which is the option that is best for many travellers. Routes differ hugely on expense and length, without any options that are direct Tanzania from London. Kenyan Airways and Ethiopian Airlines offer the value that is best for the money consequently they are the fastest, via Nairobi and Addis Ababa correspondingly, with Turkish Airlines additionally a contender. Etihad and Qatar Airways may also be options that are good flights to Zanzibar, via Dubai and Doha respectively.

Money-saving tip

Don’t get fixed on seeing the Great Migration’s frenzied and river that is often ferocious to and through the Maasai Mara – costs skyrocket when you look at the Serengeti from Summer to October. Alternatively, get as soon as the wildebeest that is noisy have left the beautiful northern area and you’ll have time and space to appreciate all the other animals at a fraction of the cost.


What’s the weather like?

Tanzania’s weather is generally pleasant and tropical, without huge variations in temperatures through the year. The short rains usually come in November and December, with the long rains in March to May, although locals say the rains are more erratic now due to warming that is global. Kilimanjaro is often cool from the summit – prepare for liquid containers to freeze. The shore could possibly get hot and gluey, achieving around 33 levels, in addition to mercury does not descend a lot of even during the night.

What time area can it be in?

GMT + 3 hours

just what money do i would like?

Tanzanian shillings.

just what language is talked?

KiSwahili and English would be the languages that are official English is widely spoken other than in the more remote areas.

Is it safe?

Tanzania is safe if you follow usual precautions: be careful if you’re walking at night, especially in cities and some beaches. On safari, respect the animals always and follow your guide’s instructions whether you’re in a car or by foot. On Kili treks, beverage loads of liquids and allow your guide determine if you’re feeling unwell – descending may be the way that is safest to recoup from high-altitude nausea.(*)

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