5 unmissable Tanzanian experiences for 2015

Misinformed fears about the threat of Ebola and the spike in terrorism in neighbouring Kenya have both taken their toll on Tanzania’s tourism so far this year, with tourist arrivals in 2015 down considerably from 2014. But with Ebola closer to London than it is to Tanzania, and with little chance of Kenya’s problems trickling across the border, in fact there is no better time than right now to experience stunning Tanzania without the crowds and in all its glory. Here are five of the best Tanzania experiences that you should be sure not to miss this year.

Climb Kilimanjaro

This has been on many a traveller’s bucket list since it was first summited by a European more than 120 years ago. The so-called Roof of Africa has lost none of its allure today. Unlike most of its other contemporaries on the Great 7 Summits list, a large part of Kilimanjaro’s popularity stems from the fact that it can be summited without climbing experience or equipment. The mountain is well-known for its incredible range of climate zones and ecological systems, including lush rainforests, other-worldly alpine deserts and the famous arctic summit. Some experts predict that Kilimanjaro’s striking glaciers will have entirely vanished within the next twenty years, so there really is no time like the present to conquer this astonishing natural wonder. Kilimanjaro-Experience offer the broadest range of different routes and very German attention to detail.

Kili

Witness the Greatest Show on Earth

The subheading says it all. The annual migration of more than a million wildebeest and a few hundred thousand zebra from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the northern plains of Kenya’s Masaai Mara is unlike anything else you’ll see. Anywhere. Ever. The Great Migration is one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. It’s an awe-inspiring, action-packed and sometimes tragic affair, with many of the migrating animals becoming prey for the numerous Nile crocodiles as they cross the Mara River. With so much prey around, the Serengeti’s big cats are particularly active during the migration too, and the abundance of big game in the park in general is staggering. To get a truly unique view of the migration and of this vast and stunningly beautiful park, book a morning hot air balloon safari and then cap it off with a champagne breakfast, all courtesy of Serengeti Balloon Safaris.

The migration

Visit some of the Northern Circuit’s lesser-known gems

Tanzania’s so-called Northern Circuit is best-known for the Serengeti and the adjoining Ngorongoro Conservation Area. But this famous and popular Tanzanian safari route also boasts some lesser-known gems such as Tarangire National Park and the remote Lake Natron. Tarangire has one of the highest population densities of elephant of any park in Africa, as well as a number of popular predators. The park’s vegetation is also striking, with giant baobabs interspersing thick ebony forests. This park is generally quiet and is a great place to enjoy the unadulterated bush experience of a luxury private camping safari, such as Tanzania-Experience’s Mobile Explorer Safari option. Lake Natron is just a few hours drive away but it feels like an entirely different world. The mirror-like surface of the lake is home to 2 million lesser flamingos and is presided over by an active volcano, which can be summited on an arduous one day hike.

Lake Natron

Enjoy the beaches and culture of Zanzibar

A Zanzibar beach break is the ideal way to relax after you’ve been on the road on safari for a while. This tropical island idyll boasts pristine white sandy beaches, lots of sun, the warm and crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean, fascinating coral reefs teeming with marine life, sumptuous fresh seafood, top-notch beachfront accommodation options and lots of history and culture. At the top of the pile for accommodation is The Palms, one of the world’s most romantic all-inclusive resorts according to Travel+Leisure magazine. For the beaches, the northeast island of Mnemba is often considered the best spot, though you’re pretty spoilt for choice. Another real highlight of this magical island is a visit to the fascinating and historic Stone Town to take in all its sights, sounds and smells.  Stone Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site characterized by interesting architecture of  coral stone buildings.

Zanzibar

See the chimpanzees of Gombe Stream National Park

This fragile chimpanzee habitat is the smallest national park in Tanzania and one of the most remote, but what it lacks in size and accessibility it more than makes up for in intrigue. Meandering along the steep slopes and river valleys close to the northern shore of the vast Lake Tanganyika, in many ways this beautiful park was put on the map when the famous conservationist Jane Goodall founded the Gombe Stream Research Center in 1965, with a view to advancing findings about chimpanzee behaviour.  You can see these remarkably intelligent and endangered creatures (who are now accustomed to human visitors) on guided chimpanzee treks, during which you will also experience the astonishing array of birdlife, waterfalls, lush forest vegetation and picturesque landscapes that the park has to offer. You can also swim and snorkel inside the park. The small and intimate Gombe Forest Lodge is the only lodge available inside the park.

Gombe Nat Park

Comments (5)

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  1. I didn’t know the Great Migration is one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. I would really love to witness it, the Greatest Show on Earth!!

  2. Tanzania? Oh yes please… I had that on a long list of places to go with the family all last year and we ended up going to Egypt instead. What’s funny and ironic here is that these places are on the same continent on which we live, yet we went further to go to Egypt and then missed out on Tanzania. We stopped at Lake Retba though, the pink lake. It’s worth seeing for sure, and now having read this again, I really need to make this a priority this year. Thank you for this beautiful reminder.

  3. Grace Blake says:

    LOVE this article! I am an Australian currently living in Botswana and couldn’t agree more with your comments around miscommunication! Tanzania is on my must see list this year and your guide has provided me with a few great places to start. Thank you!

  4. Abbas says:

    ZANZIBAR!!!
    Would love to do a Zanzibar trip…
    Any budget family accommodation available here?
    Would love to know..

  5. Anja says:

    Sitting on the rooftop of your safari car, doing nothing but observing nature to me is pure bliss. I happily recommend Savannah Tours for Tanzanian Safaris.

    Of course Kilimandscharo seems to be a ‘must do’ but I much preferred Mount Meru and Oldonyo Lengaai, which can easily be combined with a trip to Lake Natron.

    Same for Zanzibar: yes, definately worth a visit yet try not to get stuck there for too long, other smaller islands such as Mafia have much to offer too.

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