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It could be statuesque Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,000 feet), a hominid fossil hunt, or the sight of 1.5 million migrating wildebeest found within Big Five friendly, Serengeti National Park (5,700 square miles) that defines your journey in Tanzania. Whichever direction you take across one of Africa’s colossal lands, be sure of this: sumptuous Zanzibar beaches, timeless peak-top views, and arresting wildlife will leave you panting.
With over 130 spoken languages, an abundance of wildlife, and tongue sizzling cuisine, Tanzania’s cultural shifts are complimented by a variety of epic outdoor activities. If it’s a safari expedition you’re after, a visit to Serengeti National Park or the Ngorongoro Crater provides a taste of the Tanzanian outdoors. Or visit the emerald green land of southern game reserve, Selous. No matter which shade of the wild you opt for, Tanzania will allow you to immerse yourself in the bush.
Tanzania’s unkept secret for a reason: the rock solid Mt Kilimanjaro’s (19,000 feet) skybound heights can appear endless. Hikers of little experience are welcome on a journey towards an otherworldly peak top. Several trails will rise you above Tanzanian lands that Hemingway once said made him “hungry for more.” The sight of three volcanic cones piercing a clouded skyline will leave you bewitched by this natural wonderland.
Translating to “endless plains” in Swahili, the word Serengeti aptly describes dreamy vistas that provide a home for droves of unique wildlife, including the Big Five—tree climbing lions, leopards, rhino, elephant and buffalo. If not enough, an annual wildebeest migration can be witnessed on the short-grass plains once November rains begin. Witness wild births, crocodiles, honey badgers, cheeky cheetahs and plenty more.
Located in northern Tanzania, the centerpiece of the Ngorongoro Conservation Center is the world’s largest caldera, the Ngorongoro Crater. 2,000 feet deep and covering 115 square miles, 25,000 animals—including black rhinoceros and the densest population of lions. For the archaeologist in you, Olduvai Gorge is a site where fossilized bones and stone tool discoveries date back to some of the earliest in humankind’s history.
With a land mass of 130 square miles, this national park sees pink flamingo feed from the soda lake’s algae waters in the wet season. Look up in admiration at approximately 400 bird species as troops of baboons deliver playful sounds. A short drive north is the town of Mto Wa Mbu, where all 120 of Tanzania’s tribes are represented. Take camp for the night and experience tribal culture.
75 miles southwest of Arusha, Tarangire National Park is a wildlife marvel full of thick-trunked Baobab trees that forest the landscape. Often overlooked in favor of Serengeti—but not to be overshadowed—the Tarangire is worth a visit during the dry season (June through October), and rewards you with views of rolling hills, sun-blistered mounds of termites, and animalistic encounters by the banks of the Tarangire River.
A twenty-minute flight from port city Dar Es Salaam is cinnamon, air-scented Zanzibar—an island of creamy white beaches that jut this divine coastline. Scuba dive in the Indian Ocean and discover magical creatures; swim with dolphins in the Menai Bay. A visit to Stone Town is a must if wishing to get a sense of Zanzibar’s cosmopolitan trade history. Be enriched by the fresh cuisine available in this idyllic getaway setting.
Desired location and preferred activities are important when you decide the best time to visit Tanzania. The unique geography and shifting climates mean that dry (June-October) and wet (November-December, March-May) seasons may influence where you wish to be. On the coast, heat and humidity are more common. The northwestern highlands are consistently cooler, with the central plateau dry and arid year-round. Prices for safaris will be influenced by season, and the weather will be influenced by land elevation. At wildlife parks, June through October (dry season) is often best for viewings, with wildebeest migration peaks in August and September. Due to a variety of hikes, Mt. Kilimanjaro has no real off-season. Zanzibar is fabulous all year (rainy season: March to May and November). Peak tourist season is July to March in the northern circuit.
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