Tanzania is by far one of the best places to travel to in Africa, and for good reasons too! The country is bursting with a rich variety of culture, wildlife, unbelievable destinations, and activities that are sure to leave you with some lasting memories. Tanzania is a place to experience at least once in your life, so much so that we found it rather impossible to fit everything in a top 10 list! We feel this place can take you on an incredibly unique journey like none other and is worth immersing yourself in.
Having said that, here’s our Top 10 picks!
1. Take a Safari Trip!
One of the first things you learn about Tanzania is that it’s quite famous for the national parks found throughout the country. You’ll find parks that are prominent for their own reasons. Serengeti, for example, is called home to the great migration, hosting birds, plants, and animals of all kinds.
Ngorongoro, on the other hand, is one that allows nature to run free for all the exotic and endangered species it holds such as the black rhino.
Honestly, we could have our own Top 10 list just for the Safari Parks in Tanzania alone! So, it’s definitely worth looking into before you go.
2. Make the Climb for Kilimanjaro
It’s called the roof of Africa for a reason, and once you’re up there, you know you’re in for one heck of a view!
Be warned though, it’s no easy feat and careful planning of supplies, routes, and guides is highly recommended researching up on beforehand. All this makes conquering the mountain all the more of an admirable feat and the second you get up there, expect being rewarded with a view to beat of the ever so vast African landscape. The hike up is as enjoyable and (relatively) easy, be sure to soak up all the experience this mountain throws at you.
We’ve had the opportunity to make our own trip up there and you can read more about it here.
3. Chill out at Zanzibar
Of course, if you’re not the adventure type there’s always something else Tanzania can offer. Zanzibar is one of those places where you’ll find just about everything from relaxing beaches overlooking the calm cyan Indian ocean to the narrow streets bursting with life.
One of the best places to visit would be the ever enchanting stone town. Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 2000 and easily explored on foot, this is the place to visit for architecture fans where Middle Eastern and Indian influences meet African design philosophy, creating something truly special.
Other activities here include surfing the southeast coast, cycling, or just relaxing at one of the many beaches where you can sit and stare at the mesmerizing waters for hours on end.
4. Go Kanga Shopping
It wouldn’t be a trip to Africa if you don’t have clothing souvenirs to show for it, right?
For those not in the know, a kanga is a rectangular piece of clothing typical in the African culture. What’s so unique about them is that they can act as a sort of walking WhatsApp status for you. From their eye-catching color and stunning patterns to the message they display, there’s a kanga for every occasion, movement, or thought imaginable right down to your current mood.
One can spend hours just browsing these fabrics and they’ll still surprise you by the sheer variety of them. Kangas can be found all over the country and often on sale.
5. Explore the Cuisine
Adventure, wildlife, and sites isn’t all Tanzania has to offer. The food is a mix of cultural influences coming together and creating something special, ranging from vegetables and fruits, to meats and sometimes both at once!
Some of the best and most mouthwatering dishes can be found here. The ugali, which can be called a national dish of sorts, is prepared dough served with either beans, vegetables, and sauce containing fish.
The chapatti bread is another local favorite, which borrows some Indian influences and adds its own twist.
By the end of every meal, you can expect to be served with a whole bowl of freshly cut juicy fruits and chai (tea) to cap off your evening.
6. Grab a Mask
For years, masks have had a significance in African culture, history, religion, and tradition. Tanzania is no exception to this influence. With their elongated shapes, sharp teeth, and colorful paint, there’s something about them that’s oddly satisfying.
One such place is in Mwenge Woodcarvers Market (Dar es Salaam) where you’ll find hundreds of shops with their woodwork out on display. Here you’ll find shops hosting collections of masks from all over the continent along with their history and use.
If you’re a history buff, it’s definitely worth checking out.
7. Stay in the Iraqw Village
Are you in for some first-hand experience on what it’s like to live in a village in Africa? Iraqw has you covered! This small village, inhabited by the tribe of the same name is ever hospitable to traveling tourists and would gladly receive you and will ever so happily teach you about their history, culture, and way of life.
The general experience here is a humbling one, which feels like stepping into a different time somewhere in the past where people still live in mud houses supported with sticks and straws.
Getting there would require a bit of hiking, but once there you’ll be greeted by the sea of people living there who welcome you even for a homestay. It is recommended to bring a translator along as not many people speak or understand English, but once you have a conversation rolling you’ll be glad you brought one.
8. Leap Back 3 Million Years in Olduvai
Unknown to many, Tanzania hosts the earliest recorded human footprints in history. Yup, it’s true!
Discovered in the 1970’s, scientists have gone on to find not just bones, but tools made of stone all of which date back millions of years. Olduvai is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
For protection purposes, the actual site has been covered up, but you can still visit the Olduvai Gorge Museum which holds molds of the actual prints and other artifacts.
9. Visit the Kilwa Kisiwani Ruins.
Once one of the most important centers of one of the greatest empires in East Africa; hauntingly beautiful is what describes this island.
Known as the Island of the Fish, this was once a wealthy port which was fundamental for trade in the region, but now stands in ruins. This island hosts the oldest standing mosque in the region with countless arches and pillars supporting the impressive 16 domes on top of them. Another place to visit would be the highest building overlooking the entire place, known as the Husuni Kubwa.
Do note that you’ll need to obtain permission from the authorities before you go there. Once granted permission, you’ll have to take a traditional boat to shore.
10. Overlook the Great Rift Valley
One of the geological wonders of the world and for good reasons, scientists to this day still debate on how rifting comes about. One thing is for sure though, it gave us something to marvel at. It’s called great for a reason, spanning over 4,000 miles (6500km) this is where amazing natural scenery like lakes and planes meet Africa’s wildlife from rhino’s to countless flamingos.
This massive valley hosts everything in its vast palm. Dining at one of the lodges overlooking it, absorbed in the wilderness of it all, will surely be a highlight of your African journey.
Think we missed something? Feel free to let us know in the comments below and join our Acanela Expeditioners Facebook page to share your own stories and experiences to inspire other travelers looking for adventure!