Tanzania is a land of contrasts, a world where the wilderness of the Serengeti and its bustling plains bow before the mighty Kilimanjaro’s snow-laden crown. Further south, the verdant basin of the Ngorongoro Crater cradles a vibrant ecosystem, while beyond its parameters, endless coffee plantations churn out infinite quantities of the berry-like brew. To the east, teal-hued waters gently lap the Tanzanian shoreline and lazy ocean currents beckon visitors toward the Afro-Arab islands of Zanzibar, Pemba, and Mafia.
Home of the Big 5, Tanzania is also the stage for The Great Wildebeest Migration, which plays out partly on the vast plains of the Serengeti. Each year, over 1.5 million wildebeest, a fair number of gazelles, and small following of zebra seek better grazing areas. To the south of the Serengeti lies a wildlife trove, hidden in the volcanically-rich and fertile soil of the Ngorongoro Crater and the pink-tinged, flamingo-infested waters of Lake Natron.
Further east and beyond the coastline are Africa’s own spice islands. With a culture stemming from an amalgamation of Swahili and Arab influences, the palm frond-littered shorelines, pearly-white sands, and spice-rich markets of Pemba Island or the mystery around famous Stone Town residents such as Freddie Mercury and slave trader, Tippu Tip, are sure to entice visitors into staying a while longer.
- Africa’s tallest mountain, Kilimanjaro
- The great Serengeti ecosystem, setting of the Great Migration, borders Kenya and its Maasai Mara
- The largest and only intact caldera in the world is the Ngorongoro Crater
- A number of active and extinct volcanoes and exciting hikes to their peaks are available
- The islands of Zanzibar are within easy reach of the mainland with flights and ferries departing for Zanzibar and Pemba Island daily
Facts and Information
The Serengeti is home to the Great Migration and forms the world's greatest ecosystem with the Masai Mara Reserve. The Ngorongoro Crater is the world's largest unbroken caldera and before its volcano erupted, it housed Africa's highest mountain, towering over Mount Kilimanjaro. The Selous Game Reserve is the biggest wildlife area in the world and the Ruaha Reserve is not much smaller. Also don't forget about the island paradise of Zanzibar!
Tanzania is home to three of Africa's Great Lakes: Lake Victoria (world's largest tropical lake), Lake Tanganyika (second deepest in the world) and Lake Malawi (definitely the most beautiful and with the world's highest concentration of cichlid fish species). Throw in a number of significant rivers which all flow into the Indian Ocean, and it is little wonder that this fertile country is teeming with wildlife.
The country of Tanzania covers 945,087 sqkm (364,900 sq miles) and is located just below the equator on the east coast of Africa. It is bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi and the Republic of the Congo to the west and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the south. The Indian Ocean lies to the east. The Rift Valley runs through the country north to south. See our Tanzania map for a more detailed view.
People, Culture and Language
Tanzania has a population of 39.3 million and includes a mix of people, although the majority are of Bantu stock. There is relative harmony between the different ethnic groups, some of which include the Masaai, Hadzapi, Chagga and Gogo. Music is big here and the Tanzanian musicians have become some of the best artists in East Africa. The music includes a mix of outside and original Tanzanian culture. KiSwahili is the official language, although English is widely spoken. The term Swahili normally refers to the people while Kiswahili refers to the language. The popular religions here are Muslim, Christian, Hindu and African traditional beliefs.
Tanzanian cuisine has been largely influenced by Indian cuisine, since a large proportion of Khoja Indians migrated into Tanzania. It is unique and widely varied. For most Tanzanians, no meal is complete without a staple carbohydrate. Along the coast (Dar-es-salaam, Tanga, Bagamoyo, Zanzibar and Pemba), spicy foods are popular. In the mainland, common foods include rice, maize porridge, marinated beef, fish, Pilau and Biryani and vegetables such as okra, green peas, beans and cassava leaves. They snack on bread rolls, kebabs, samoosa, rice bread and patties and more. There are different local beverages for the various regions.
This prime game viewing country is considered to offer the finest safari experiences and wildlife spectacles anywhere on the planet. It has 40 national parks and game reserves, with 310 mammal species (including the Big 5), 960 species of birds and many amphibians and reptiles.
Climate and when to visit
Tanzania has a tropical climate with variations depending on altitude. In the higher regions temperatures can range from 10-20°C throughout the year whereas in the lower regions temperatures rarely fall beneath 20°C. Humidity increases closer to the coastal regions. The hottest period tends to be from November to February. The two main rainy seasons are between March to May and October and February.
The Tanzanian shilling is freely exchangeable. Most major facilities accept major credit cards; Visa and Master Card are the most widely accepted.
Vaccinations and Malaria
Vaccine recommendations are based on the best available risk information. Please note that the level of risk for vaccine-preventable diseases can change at any time. See a health-care provider at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for your vaccines to take effect and to start taking medicine to prevent malaria. The risk of malaria here is moderate but it is advised that you take a prescription antimalarial drug, use insect repellent, wear long pants and sleeves to prevent bites, and sleep in well-screened rooms. You are required to get a yellow fever vaccination as you may be asked for a certificate after departing Tanzania and arriving at other destinations.
Ordinary/ Tourist Visas can be acquired from any Tanzanian embassy, granting tourists/ visitors authorization to enter the country through designated entry points on the border, airports and harbour stations. However, a person coming from a country with no access to a Tanzanian embassy or where it is reasonably distant shall be issued a visa at the entry points in Tanzania on arrival.
Travelling to Tanzania
You should have no real difficulty getting to Tanzania as there are regular flights to Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro from South Africa, Europe and the United States. British Airways, KLM, Swiss Air, Air India, Egypt Air, Gulf Air, Kenya Airways and South African Airways (among others) fly into the cosmopolitan capital or Kilimanjaro International Airport, which is situated between Moshi and Arusha.
From either airport you can catch an internal flight to the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Zanzibar and most other destinations in Tanzania. Of course, the northern circuit of Tanzania is closer to Nairobi than Dar es Salaam so you can fly into the Kenyan capital and catch a flight or shuttle service from there.
We can organise a road transfer if you want to see the sights and sounds of the country first hand and you can hire a 4x4 to get off the beaten track and see the country yourself. There is also the option of travelling by train through this fascinating country or sailing down the coast from Kenya on a traditional dhow!
NB: We can organise everything from your international flights to your domestic charters or road transfers. Don't stress out about planning your journey - leave it to us and we will make it a pleasure.
Don't delay - contact us to plan your tailor-made trip!