Tanzania Safari-Everything You Need To Know
With over 100 languages to sample from, a Tanzania Safari is truly remarkable. Tanzania is mountainous and densely forested in the north-east, where Mount Kilimanjaro is located. Three of Africa’s Great Lakes are partly within Tanzania. To the north and west lie Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, and Lake Tanganyika, the continent’s deepest lake, known for its unique species of fish.Click here to Read More
The eastern shore is hot and humid, with the Zanzibar Archipelago just offshore. The Kalambo water falls in the southwestern region of Rukwa are the second highest uninterrupted fall in Africa and are located near the south-eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika on the border with Zambia. The Menai Bay Conservation Area is Zanzibar’s largest marine protected area.
Tanzania is also very rich in culture and has very diverse wildlife. Not only will you find a variety of birds and animals in the parks, but also colourful flowers, butterflies and reptiles. For avid divers there is a vibrant underwater world of marine life to be explored on the reefs of the Indian Ocean.
You can also get to sample different cultures and tribes found in East Africa such as the Maasai, Meru, Chagga and Iraqw people.
The icing on the cake is however Mt. Kilimanjaro which is It is the highest mountain in Africa, about 4,900 metres (16,100 ft) from its base to 5,895 metres (19,341 ft.) above sea level. The first people known to have reached the summit of the mountain were Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller in 1889. The mountain is part of the Kilimanjaro National Park and is a major climbing destination. The mountain has been the subject of many scientific studies because of its shrinking glaciers and disappearing ice fields.
So with all this is to offer, where do you start a Tanzania Safari from?
Well it should definitely start from Serengeti National Park. Located in the Mara and Simiyu regions, it is famous for its annual migration of over 1.5 million white-bearded (or brindled) wildebeest and 250,000 zebra and for its numerous Nile crocodile and honey badger.
The park covers 14,750 square kilometres (5,700 sq mi) of grassland plains, savanna, riverine forest, and woodlands. The park lies in northwestern Tanzania, bordered to the north by the Kenyan border, where it is continuous with the Maasai Mara National Reserve. To the southeast of the park is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, to the southwest lies Maswa Game Reserve, to the west are the Ikorongo and Grumeti Game Reserves, and to the northeast and east lies the Loliondo Game Control Area. Together, these areas form the larger Serengeti ecosystem.
It is divided into 3 regions which harbour different sets of wildlife. There is-
Serengeti plains: the almost treeless grassland of the south is the most emblematic scenery of the park. This is where the wildebeest breed, as they remain in the plains from December to May. Other hoofed animals – zebra, gazelle, impala, hartebeest, topi, buffalo, waterbuck – also occur in huge numbers during the wet season. “Kopjes” are granite florations that are very common in the region, and they are great observation posts for predators, as well as a refuge for hyrax and pythons.
Western corridor: the black clay soil covers the savannah of this region. The Grumeti River and its gallery forests are home to Nile crocodiles, patas monkeys, hippopotamus, and martial eagles. The migration passes through from May to July.
Northern Serengeti: the landscape is dominated by open woodlands (predominantly Commiphora) and hills, ranging from Seronera in the south to the Mara River on the Kenyan border. Apart from the migratory wildebeest and zebra (which occur from July to August, and in November), this is the best place to find elephant, giraffe, and dik dik.
Again what is a Tanzania Safari without a visit to Olduvai Gorge, the cradle of humankind and the beginning of evolution. A steep-sided ravine in the Great Rift Valley that stretches across East Africa, it is about 48 km (30 mi) long, and is located in the eastern Serengeti Plains in the Arusha Region not far, about 45 kilometres (28 miles), from Laetoli, another important archaeological site of early human occupation. The British/Kenyan paleoanthropologist-archeologist team Mary and Louis Leakey established and developed the excavation and research programs at Olduvai Gorge which achieved great advances of human knowledge and world-renowned status.
Homo habilis, probably the first early human species, occupied Olduvai Gorge approximately 1.9 million years ago (mya); then came a contemporary australopithecine, Paranthropus boisei, 1.8 mya, then Homo erectus, 1.2 mya. Homo sapiens are dated to have occupied the site 17,000 years ago.
The site is significant in showing the increasing developmental and social complexities in the earliest humans, or hominins, largely as revealed in the production and use of stone tools. And prior to tools, the evidence of scavenging and hunting—highlighted by the presence of gnaw marks that predate cut marks—and of the ratio of meat versus plant material in the early hominin diet. The collecting of tools and animal remains in a central area is evidence of developing social interaction and communal activity. All these factors indicate increase in cognitive capacities at the beginning of the period of hominids transitioning to hominin—that is, to human—form and behavior.
Another historical site to visit while in Tanzania is Mtoni palace on the western shore of Zanzibar. It is one of the oldest buildings of Zanzibar and it was the largest palace on the island during the reign of Sultan Sayyid Said, who moved the capital of his Omani empire form Muscat to Zanzibar during the first half of the 19th century. At that time, over a thousand people lived in the palace and its direct surroundings. But around the 1880s the palace was abandoned and fell into ruin.
Although severely deteriorated, Mtoni Palace still offers visitors a glimpse into the world of the Arabian royalty once living there.
Entering the palace from the coast line, one steps into the former reception hall.
To learn more about Tanzanian culture and all it has to offer, then a visit to Cultural Heritage in Arusha is the best bet to capture everything all once.
Cultural Heritage is a unique cultural centre on the outskirts of Arusha. They have curio shops, a jewellery boutique, a tanzanite and precious stone counter, a restaurant, bargain centre and outstanding commercial art gallery. They also have a vast array of ornaments, jewellery, antiques and local crafts to cater for any budget. High quality clothing, textiles, accessories, books and spices can also be found onsite at Oneway and the Spice Centre.
Their exquisite collection of precious and semi-precious stones – including rubies, emeralds, tsavorite, diamonds, sapphires and opals – is unrivalled across the continent. Of these, the most highly treasured is tanzanite – a rare blue/violet stone found only in Tanzania, for which they have an international reputation. You can purchase loose stones, select from the various ranges of handmade jewellery or work with the different jewellers and designers to create your own unique piece.
A Tanzania Safari is also not complete without a picnic outing at Kikuletwa hot springs in Moshi. An oasis surrounded by sprawling fig trees, in the middle of this semi-arid landscape, it symbolizes crystal clear water bubbling from underground caves, giving the impression that it is boiling, hence the name “Hot Springs”.
It’s the ideal site for some sandwiches and some cold beers and the water is completely refreshing inviting you to take a dip.
As for the adrenaline junkies, then a trek to the magnificent Mt. Kilimanjaro is definitely worth sampling. Follow in the boot prints of some of the world’s most famed explorers and mountaineers, hiking through lush rainforests and alpine deserts, across glaciers by day and sleeping closer to the stars than you ever dreamed. Approximately 34 KM and destined to take at least 8 days, tag along friends or family and test your resilience and persistence.
You can also choose to spend your days at the beach, sun bathing and snorkeling at Pemba Island. Situated about 50 kilometers (31 mi) to the north of Unguja, the largest island of the archipelago. In 1964, Zanzibar was united with the former colony of Tanganyika to form Tanzania. It lies 50 kilometres (31 mi) east of mainland Tanzania, across the Pemba Channel. Together with Mafia Island (south of Unguja), these islands form the Spice Islands (not to be confused with the Maluku Islands of Indonesia). You can also take the time to learn about cloves which are in plenty there.
Some places to stay include Misali Sunset beach hotel and Pemba Crown hotel. The former is an annexe of Amaan Bungalows, a large backpacker lodge on the Northern tip of Zanzibar.
The Lodge offers 20 newly built luxury Seafront Villas, all with sea view, spacious and private with a large en-suite bathroom.
A secluded sun terrace faces a spectacular Ocean sunset.
Each intimate en-suite Sea View Room at this peaceful boutique hotel is tastefully fitted with a combination of multi-functional shuttered, handcrafted, wooden louver doors, electric ceiling fans, air conditioning, hair dryer and a spectacular view of the Indian Ocean.
We can also not forget the ever vibrant Dar nightlife. Some of the popular ones include High Spirit lounge bar and Savannah Lounge and bar. Located on the top of the IT Mall building, High Spirit Lounge Bar gives off a cool, modern vibe, with disco lights helping you shine on the dance floor and beautiful views of the ocean to frame a flirtatious meeting. With excellent Mediterranean cuisine and a solid selection of both wine and beer, this open air rooftop is the perfect place to sit back and unwind beneath the stars.
Savannah Lounge is located on the third floor of the JB Belmont Hotel, Savannah Lounge & Bar is one of the more extravagant spots in town to grab a drink; they’re well known for their impressive cocktails, as well as a great selection of spirits, champagnes and fine wines. Sports fans will find plenty of screens playing the big matches here, and music fans will find plenty to keep them entertained between the dance floor, the live music from the Bora Bora band, and the bar’s karaoke nights.