Many know the East African country of Tanzania for the Great Migration at Serengeti National Park, but there's so much history and wilderness to explore within this diverse region.
Around the country there are several national parks, home to the largest concentration of wildlife in Africa. On the coast are some of the world’s most riveting islands and warm waters, and under those waters is a world of oceanic wonder, filled with colors and depth. In the cities, the buildings tell stories of battles and conquest, depression and victory. You’ll need a lifetime to explore it all, but as you start your journey, here is our list of top things to do in Tanzania.
Zanzibar is Africa’s paradise, with warm sky-blue waters gently lapping shores of fine white sand that stretch for miles – the stuff dreams are made of. But wait until you explore what lies beneath. Schools of colorful fish, frolicking bottlenose and spinner dolphins and majestic whale sharks deftly glide in and around the captivating, kaleidoscopic coral reef.
Planning tip: The waters around Mnemba Island and Kizimkazi Beach are the best places on the archipelago for aquatic adventures, although any of the numerous beaches offer wonderful opportunities.
Very little on earth speaks magic like surveying the endless plains of the Serengeti. The Maasai people have called this region home for centuries, and they have lived side by side with an extraordinary array of fauna and flora unlike anything else in the world.
At dawn, when the hot-air balloon is fired up, the sun surfaces slowly into view and the balloon rises to greet the color-streaked clouds. Below, thousands of antelope, warthogs, zebras, lions, rhinos and elephants wander about as they start their day.
Planning tip: The Great Migration takes place from May to September, and this might just be the perfect place to watch it.
Mt Kilimanjaro is Africa’s tallest mountain and a thirst trap for adventure junkies. There’s truly nothing more exciting than making your summit at Uhuru Peak (uhuru means "freedom" in KiSwahili), which stands at 5895m (19,341ft) on Kibo’s crater rim.
Planning tips: The average summit duration is five days, although some routes may take a few days longer depending on terrain, foot traffic and stops to take in the scenery. There are approximately eight possible routes to Uhuru Peak, Marangu and Rongai being the easier ones. Machame, Shira and Lemosho have proved to be more difficult, but there’s very little else that shouts victory quite like planting your feet on Africa’s highest point.
The Manta Resort's Underwater Room is a wooden structure anchored on the Indian Ocean floor, just off the coast of Pemba island. In the midst of calm cerulean waters, this edifice almost appears
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Compelling books on travel inspire readers to not only learn about destinations and cultures across the globe, but also, lock in that bucket list trip they’ve been dreaming about. As most travelers can attest, exploring a new locale keeps the brain sharp, curiosities peaked, and humanity intact. Much may be gleaned through reading the memoirs, poems, and true tales of adventurers; seeing beautiful photography; and following writers down the rabbit hole, through verdant valleys, and up and over mountain peaks.
How to Travel Better is a new monthly column with Condé Nast Traveler’s sustainability editor Juliet Kinsman. In this series, Juliet introduces us to the sustainability heroes she meets, signposts the experiences that are enhancing our world, and shares the little and big ways we can all travel better.
Tanzania is a fantastic family-friendly destination in waiting. Whether you’re here on safari to see the country’s astonishing portfolio of animals or looking to laze by a beach along the country’s Indian Ocean shore, Tanzania does family travel particularly well.
A detailed analysis of 2,494 reviews written by safari-goers and African travel experts was carried out to determine the 50 best safari parks on the continent. And the winner is once again Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, which is Africa’s top safari park for 2023.
With wild safari experiences, grasslands, rainforests, woodlands and savannah plains in abundance, Tanzania has a lot of different landscapes to explore. And perhaps the best way to get around is by car.
The majority of travelers visiting Tanzania are here to enjoy the wilderness of the African bush, so the roads connecting destinations on the popular Northern Circuit – linking the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Kilimanjaro National Park, and a string of other sights and wildlife reserves – are well-maintained.
From witnessing wildebeests and zebras gallop across Serengeti National Park as part of the Great Migration to trekking volcanoes or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the best attractions in Tanzania are big, bold and beautiful.
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