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Climbing Kilimanjaro

Tanzania is an East African country that is bordered by Kenya and Uganda in the North; Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the West; and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique in the South. It is the 31st largest country in the world and the 13th largest in Africa. Like many African countries, Tanzania has had a tumultuous history which has included occupation and control of the South-East of the country by the Portuguese from 1506 through to 1699, significant Arab slave trade activity throughout the 19th century, colonization by Imperial Germany in the late 19th century and eventually British rule under the League of Nations.

At the end 1961 British rule came to an end and the transition to independence begun under the leadership of Julius Nyerere. After difficult economic times in the 1970s and 80s which included infrastructural partnerships with China and significant borrowing from the International Monetary Fund, the country has slowly started to develop. Tanzania is a one party dominant state with its economy heavily based on agriculture, which accounts for more than 25% of gross domestic product, provides 85% of exports, and employs 80% of the workforce. On your trip to Kilimanjaro you will undoubtedly notice significant subsistence farming activities of sorghum and maize which occur in the foothills of Kilimanjaro National Park and around the towns of Moshi and Arusha.

The total population of Tanzania is just short of 45 million and is made up from more than 120 ethnic groups each with varying cultures and languages. The demographic diversity of the country is mirrored by breath-taking fauna, flora and geographical variety. Not only does Tanzania house the highest free-standing mountain in the world, but it is home to the majestic Lake Victoria, beautiful Serengeti plains, Ngorongoro Crater and the marine wonderland of Zanzibar.

Tanzania National Parks

Tanzanian National parks exist for the primary role of conservation of the great wealth for present and future generation. These National Parks include the:

1. Arusha National Park
2. Gombe Stream National Park
3. Katavi National Park
4. Kilimanjaro National Park
5. Kitulo National Park
6. Mahale Mountains National Park
7. Lake Manyara National Park
8. Mikumi National Park
9. Mkomazi National Park
10. Ruaha National Park
11. Rubondo Island National Park
12. Saadani National Park
13. Serengeti National Park
14. Tarangire National Park
15. Udzungwa National Park

The country is also known for some of the earliest fossil records of our ancestors, and some believe mankind began in Tanzania.

NOTE: It is highly recommended that you tack on to the end of your Kilimanjaro trekking itinerary a Serengeti safari, visit to the Ngorongoro Crater or a Zanzibar Island excursion.

The Tanzania Experience

Tanzania is the quintessential, definitive Africa of your dreams. And who wouldn’t want to visit a place where the names of its legendary travel destinations roll off the tongue like an incantation: Zanzibar, Serengeti, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Victoria, the Rift Valley, the Ngorongoro Crater, and Olduvai Gorge, “the Cradle of Humankind.”

Great plains abound with legions of game, snow-capped mountains soar above dusty valleys, rain forests teem with monkeys and birds, beaches are covered in sand as soft and white as talcum powder, and coral reefs host myriads of jewel-like tropical fish. Although Tanzania’s economy—one of the poorest in the world—depends heavily on agriculture, which accounts for almost half of its GDP, it has more land (more than 25%) devoted to national parks and game reserves than any other wildlife destination in the world. Everything from pristine coral reefs to the Crater highlands, remote game reserves, and the famous national parks are protected by government law and placed in trust for future generations.

There are two circuits you can follow in Tanzania: the conventional northern tourist circuit, which includes the Arusha National Park, Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, or the lesser traveled southern tourist circuit of Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha, Mahale, and Gombe national parks among others. You’ll be amply rewarded for the often lengthy traveling to these southern locations by having the places much more to yourself and usually at cheaper rates.

It does not stop there!

Rising from the sandy shores of Lake Tanganyika, the forested Gombe Stream and Mahale Mountains National Parks vie with each other as the best place in the world to track wild chimpanzees. Closer to the coast, the isolated massifs of the Underprivileged Eastern Arc Mountains have been dubbed the ‘African Galapagos’ in recognition of their wealth of endemic plants and animals. And Tanzania’s daunting natural variety is mirrored by a cultural diversity, embracing 120 distinct tribes: from the iconic Maasai Pastoralists of the Rift Valley, to the Arab-influenced Swahili of the coast, to the Hadzabee hunter-gatherers of Lake Eyasi.

So, how to define the experience offered by a country with highlights as unique and diverse as Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar, Lake Tanganyika, Serengeti and Selous? An experience that might for some entail long days hiking in sub-zero conditions on the upper slopes of Africa’s most alluring peaks; for others a once-in-a-lifetime safari followed by a sojourn on an idyllic Indian Ocean beach; for others still the thrill of eyeballing habituated chimpanzees, or diving in the spectacular offshore reefs around Mafia, or backpacking through the time-warped ports and crumbling ruins of the half-forgotten south coast?

Well, the one thing that does bind Tanzania’s diverse attractions is, of course, its people, who take justifiable pride in their deeply ingrained national mood of tolerance and peacefulness. Indeed, Tanzania, for all its ethnic diversity, is practically unique in Africa in having navigated a succession of modern political hurdles – the transformation from colonial dependency to independent nation, from socialist state to free-market economy, from mono-partyism to fully-fledged democracy – without ever experiencing sustained civil or ethnic unrest.

Tanzania has also, over the past 20 years, emerged from comparative obscurity to stand as one of Africa’s most dynamic and popular travel destinations a land whose staggering natural variety is complemented by the innate hospitality of the people who live there.

How to define the Tanzanian experience? Surprisingly easy, really. It can be encapsulated in a single word, one that visitors will hear a dozen times daily, no matter where they travel in Tanzania, or how they go about it: the smiling, heartfelt Swahili greeting of “Karibu!” – Welcome!

Tanzania Tourist Attractions

Lake Ngozi Mbeya

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Lake Ngozi & Crater Thrilling Crater Lake in Southern Highlands of Tanzania. Standing as the second largest Crater Lake in Africa, Ngozi Lake is the leading tourist attraction in Rungwe district pulling hundreds of visitors each year. The lake is located about 38 kilometers...

Mahale Mountains National Park

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About Mahale Mountains National Park In Mahale, the chimpanzees are the star attraction. There are roughly 800 chimps in the park, of which about 60 individuals are very habituated to people. The research and habituation in Mahale is a Japanese project that goes back as long as...

Birds Watching Safaris

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Tanzania Birds Watching Tour Tanzania is one of Africa’s best birding destinations. It has one of the largest species lists of any African country: over 1,100 of which over 800 species are resident and nearly 200 are regular migrants. 22 species are endemic to Tanzania and...

Saanane National Park

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About Saanane National Park Saa Nane Island was named after its previous owner, Mzee Saanane Chawandi, a fisherman who turned into a farmer and later shifted to another island (after being compensated) to pave the way for conservation efforts in the early 1960’s. The...

Gombe Stream National Park

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About Gombe National Park Gombe Stream is one of the best places in Africa to track chimpanzees. First researched in the 60’s by Jane Goodall, the primates are remarkably habituated. The experience is unforgettable. Size: 52 km² / 20 mi² Altitude: 767-1606 m /...

Mkomazi National Park

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About Mkomazi National Park Although Mkomazi doesn’t offer as much game viewing when compared to other parks in Tanzania, the wild scenery compensates for it with mountains rising in every direction. Size:3245 km² / 1240 mi² Altitude: 225-1531 m / 738-5023 ft Set...

Lake Natron & Oldoinyo Lengai

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About Lake Natron Surface elevation: 610 m Catchment area: 932 km² Area: 1,040 km² Lake type: Salt lake Lake Natron is a salt and soda lake in the Arusha Region of northern Tanzania. The lake is close to the Kenyan border and is in the Gregory Rift, which is the eastern...

Saadani National Park

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About Saadani National Park Saadani is where the beach meets the bush. It is the only park in East Africa with an Indian Ocean beachfront and the one place where those idle hours of sunbathing might be interrupted by an elephant strolling past, or animals coming to drink at the...

Bagamoyo – Tanzania

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About Bagamoyo Bagamoyo played various historical roles in Tanzania. Apart from being a slave and ivory port, it was also a German headquarter in 1891. Explorers such as Burton, Speke, Grant, Livingston and Stanley all passed in this town. Attractions of interest tell the story...

Olduvai Gorge & Laetoli

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Olduvai Gorge & Laetoli Over the last thirty years or so, it has become increasingly apparent that Africa is probably the “Cradle of Mankind”. From Africa they spread out to populate the rest of Earth. Remains of the earliest humans were found in Olduvai Gorge....

Lake Manyara National Park

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Lake Manyara National Park Size: 330 km² / 130 mi² Altitude-953-1445 m / 3127-4741 ft Lake Manyara NP is a small park at the base of the Rift Valley escarpment. Its groundwater forest offers a nice change of scenery from the more savannah dominated parks. Although the...

Arusha National Park

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About Arusha National Park Size:552 km² / 212 mi² Altitude: 1340-1839 m / 4396-6033 ft Though very accessible, Arusha NP isn’t on many safari itineraries. This is mainly because it doesn’t offer a chance of seeing the Big Five. The park is at the base of...

Ngorongoro Crater & Conservation Area

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The Ngorongoro Crater Size: 8228 km² -3176 mi² Altitude-1009-3645 m -3310-11959 ft A visit to the Ngorongoro Crater is an experience of a lifetime. There are few places that have wildlife densities and variety on this level. It is not unusual to see the Big Five in one...

Udzungwa National Park

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About Udzungwa Mountains National Park: Size: 1,990 sq km (770 sq miles). Location: Five hours (350 km/215 miles) from Dar es Salaam; 65 km (40 miles) southwest of Mikumi. Brooding and primeval, the forests of Udzungwa seem positively enchanted: a verdant refuge of...

Kitulo Plateau National Park

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About the Kitulo Plateau National Park Size: 412.9 sq km (159 sq miles) Location: Southern Tanzania. The temporary park headquarters at Matamba are situated approximately 100km (60 miles) from Mbeya town. Locals refer to the Kitulo Plateau as Bustani ya Mungu – The Garden...

Zanzibar Excursions

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Zanzibar Island Excursions Zanzibar Island is so much more than sun and sea… Though the beaches are wonderful and relaxing, we also would like to show you more of the island, its people, history and culture. In order to give you an idea what can be done and seen, we have...

Ruaha National Park

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About Ruaha National Park Ruaha offers excellent wildlife viewing and is particularly good for spotting predators, including very large prides of lions and the endangered wild dogs. It also has outstanding wilderness appeal, with only a few exclusive luxury camps available. Size:...

Lake Eyasi

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About Lake Eyasi Lake Eyasi, lake, northern Tanzania. It lies west of Lake Manyara and approximately 95 miles (155 km) southwest of Arusha. At an elevation of about 3,400 feet (1,040 m), the lake covers an area of about 400 square miles (1,050 square km) and occupies the bottom...

Serengeti Migration

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GNUS Cruise – A Month-By-Month Guide to the Wildebeest Migration: It is rated as one of the world’s most spectacular natural events – every year over a million wildebeest, zebra and antelope migrate clockwise around the Serengeti/Masai Mara ecosystem, taking in...

Walking Tours

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Walking Tours Tanzania walking safaris are undoubtedly very rewarding experiences in Africa. It is explained as the best way to discover Africa on foot. This is because of its vast Un-spoilt wilderness areas thrilled with large concentrations of wildlife and awe-inspiring...

Kondoa Irangi Rock Paintings

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Kolo Village and History of Kolo Painting Kolo is a small village along the ‘highway from Arusha to Dodoma (Capital of Tanzania). It takes about 3 hours to get to Kolo from Arusha by 4 wheel drive (224km) and another 3 hours to get from Kolo to Dodoma (180km). The district...

Balloon Safaris

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Balloon Safari in Serengeti Serengeti Balloon safaris pioneered ballooning in Tanzania and commenced flying in the Serengeti National Park Launching at dawn, rising as the sun rises, you gently float over the plains of the magnificent Serengeti National Park. The Balloon Safari...

Treetop Walkway Lake Manyara

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Lake Manyara Treetop Walkway Experience nature like never before! Enjoy a guided bird’s-eye view of Manyara on Tanzania’s first treetop walkway (370m). It begins at ground level and climbs gently into the canopy, reaching a maximum height of 18m above the forest...

Pangani & Tanga

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About Pangani & Tanga Pangani Village, 52 km south of Tanga, is located at the point where the Pangani River empties itself into the Indian Ocean. The river passes through the north side of the village, separating the old buildings and the present-day market from the farms...

Tarangire National Park

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Tarangire National Park Size: 2850 km² / 1096 mi² Altitude: 982-1646 m / 3222-5400 ft Tarangire is one of the more seasonal parks in northern Tanzania with a lot of migratory movement within the greater Tarangire ecosystem. In the dry season, between June and October,...

Rubondo Island National Park

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About Rubondo Island National Park The largest island national park in Africa, Rubondo Island lies in the southern part of Lake Victoria (the second-largest lake in Africa!). The island is 26km in length, and varies in width from 3km to 10km. Uninhabited for decades, it has until...

Katavi National Park

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About Katavi National Park Katavi is pure wilderness. This classic dry-season park is completely off the beaten-track, but teeming with wildlife. Size: 4471 km² / 1727 mi² Altitude: 816-1634 m / 2677-5361 ft Isolated, untrammeled and seldom visited, Katavi is a true...

Selous Game Reserve

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About Selous Game Reserve Selous Game Reserve is one of Africa’s largest parks, but most of it has been set aside for hunting. The game viewing area open to the public is relatively small, but very rewarding with many predator sightings and excellent boat safaris on the...

Serengeti National Park

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Serengeti National Park Size: 14,763 sq km (5,700 sq miles). Location: 335km (208 miles) from Arusha, stretching north to Kenya and bordering Lake Victoria to the west. A million wildebeest… each one driven by the same ancient rhythm, fulfilling its instinctive role in the...

Lake Tanganyika

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About Lake Tanganyika Lake Tanganyika is one of the Great Rift Valley Lakes found on the western border of Tanzania, in East Africa. This massive expanse of water is the longest Lake in Africa (720 km long) and is the second deepest Lake in the world (1,470m) – second only...

Usambara Mountains

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About Usambara Mountains Situated in the north-east of Tanzania. With their wide vistas, cool climate, winding paths and picturesque villages, the Usambara’s are one of Tanzanian’s highlights.The Usambara’s are a part of the ancient Eastern Arc chain which...

Mikumi National Park

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About Mikumi National Park The open horizons and abundant wildlife of the Mkata Floodplain, the popular centerpiece of Mikumi, is often compared to the more famous Serengeti Plains. The park is very accessible by surfaced road from Dar es Salaam. Size: 3220 km² / 1250...