Travelling to Tanzania
Are you an explorer who loves to travel? If so the East African country of Tanzania has some of the most unique and varied landscapes you’ll ever see. Home to multiple of the best and biggest national parks in Africa, Tanzania sees millions of animals migrate across the land each year. Africa’s highest mountain and the tropical offshore islands of Zanzibar also reside here. This majestic place is an adventurer’s paradise! In 1964 Tanzania was formed as a sovereign state through the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. The Tanzanian Swahili society are culturally eclectic, largely homogenous and are well known for being friendly and polite to visitors.
Serengeti National Park
Located in Northern Tanzania The Serengeti National Park is the place I most want to go to in Tanzania, as it is one of the greatest wilderness areas in the world and is home to the big five – Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Buffaloes and Rhinoceroses. The park has 35,0000 visitors a year and almost 500 wild and exotic species live here, including Giraffes, Grant’s Gazelles and Impalas. The vast park is well-known for its annual migration of the Wildebeest and Zebras - you might want to plan your trip around this natural phenomenon. The best times to visit would be from January to February or June through September. You will need at least four days in The Serengeti to sufficiently enjoy all that the park has to offer.
There are a number of things to do in The Serengeti, such as game drives, walking safaris, night drives, horse riding and hot air balloon safaris. Game drives entail viewing the abundant wildlife from a 4x4 open Land Rover – a sure way to give you that epic classical safari feeling. The price for one individual to enter The Serengeti, will cost you approximately £43. There is a wide range of accommodation available in the park, from public camping to luxury lodges. The Savannas of the park are divided into regions, and each region highlights certain animals. The Seronera region is where you’ll have the best chance of spotting Leopards, Lions and Cheetahs, while Buffalo can be spotted across the width of the park. During the Wildebeest migration, you will find Elephants wherever the herd isn’t as they try and avoid noisy crowds. A safari to the broad plains of The Serengeti is the ultimate goal of every true wanderlust adventurer and is definitely on my bucket list. If you’re going to take a trip to Tanzania you HAVE to go to the Serengeti, I mean it would be rude not to seeing as its one of the world’s greatest natural spectacles!
Dreaming of sipping a Margarita or two on a beach overlooking the Indian ocean? Then Zanzibar is the place to be! Also known as Unguja, it is the main island in the Tanzanian archipelago of Zanzibar, located just 25km from the mainland coast Dar es Salaam. It is famous for its mix of exotic scenic beaches, famous spice plantations, history and diverse culture. Two of the best idyllic beaches to visit whilst in Zanzibar are Nungwi and Kendwa beach. Be sure to bring a swimming costume so you can snorkel in the warm tropical waters, where most of Zanzibar’s wonderful wildlife can be found. There are also some beautiful but rare creatures on the island, including the Zanzibar Leopard and Red Colobus Monkey which are both endangered species and are mainly spotted in the Jozani Forest. The island has two rainy seasons between March and May, and November through December. Therefore, if you’re looking for a hot summer with sandy beaches don’t visit in these months.
A fun fact about Zanzibar is that Freddy Mercury was born here and in Stone Town there are many tributes to him. Stone Town is a UNESCO world heritage site and is certainly a must see when visiting Zanzibar. It is prominent for its coral stone buildings, narrow streets, spice markets and elaborate wooden carvings in the doors of most buildings which reflect social status, religion and ethnicity. This town is the centre point of Zanzibar culture. If culture and diversity is what you’re looking for Zanzibar is definitely an amazing place to visit during your trip to Tanzania!
This astonishing dormant volcano is the tallest mountain in Africa and is the highest free-standing mountain in the world. 5895 metres above sea level, it is considered that this volcano could erupt again. However, do not worry too much as the last major eruption was 36,0000 years ago. Kilimanjaro was discovered in 1848, but the news that there were snow-capped mountains so close to the equator wasn’t believed until more than a decade later. It was first climbed successfully in 1889 by Hans Meyer, he had attempted to climb it twice before but failed.
To climb Mount Kilimanjaro, you can be young or old, experienced hikers or first-time adventurers. It is considered to be the easiest of the seven summits to ascent. It’s recommended that you take at least 7 days to hike the summit safely. The mountain has multiple routes to the peak, the most popular path is The Machame route. The prices to hike Kilimanjaro vary from approximately £395 - £795 depending on the route you choose. It is quite an expensive activity, but it’s such a massive achievement! Don’t forget to ask your guide to point out any wildlife, as there are over 140 species of mammals living there. Some common animals to spot on your journey are: Blue Monkeys and Bush Baby’s. You will additionally pass a wide variety of ecological zones including bushland, rainforest, heath, alpine desert and artic and you can see Elephants and Buffaloes on the lower levels. This is honestly the trip of a lifetime and for those of you who want to share your experience with social media and friends, there are a handful of locations where you’ll be able to get signal on the mountain!
Impressively, Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the second largest lake in the world! Lying mainly in Tanzania and Uganda, Lake Victoria is the chief reservoir to the River Nile and is a source of fresh drinking water, food and electricity for many. The lake was known as Ukerewe until it was renamed in honour of Queen Victoria by explorer John Hanning Speke in 1858. Lake Victoria is special as it is one of the only two places in East Africa to watch the sunset over the water without being on the coast. Therefore, this would be the most perfect place to come and watch as the red African sun sinks out of sight.
When visiting this enormous stretch of water, you will have the chance to explore the diversity of the local communities, as well as sighting some of Africa’s spectacular birdlife and wetland animals, such as the clawless Otter and the Sitatunga. The lake also supports Africa’s largest inland fishery. There are three island shores worth visiting at Lake Victoria: Ukerewe, Rubondo and Ukara island, as they are filled with history and culture. Tourist activities are available to do such as bird watching, fishing trips, hiking and boat rides - entailing a fun day out. It is not recommended to swim in the lake as you may contract Bilharzia, and let’s not forget that its home to a large population of Hippos and Crocodiles. Conveniently, the town Mwanza is located on the shore of Lake Victoria and there are many hotels to stay in including the Lukuba Island Lodge. This African gem is must see!
Top traditional Tanzanian foods to try…
Food isn’t the first thing you associate with Tanzania, but once you try these flavoursome dishes you will be pleasantly surprised! Ugali is considered to be Tanzania’s national dish, so this is a must eat for anyone wanting to explore the culture. It consists of a stiff dough prepared with cornmeal, served with meat, vegetables or bean sauce. The sign of a good Ugali is that it doesn’t stick to your fingers. Another favourite amongst the Swahili people is Wali, a starchy side dish of rice cooked in coconut milk and water. This creamy dish is usually served as an accompaniment to various curries or meats. The dish I most want to try when I visit Tanzania is the Zanzibar Pizza, as I have heard it is probably one of the most interesting and delicious things you will eat (and the fact that it has the word pizza in it!). It is made with a sheet of dough which is filled with onions, meat, peppers, a raw egg and maybe a slice of cheese, all wrapped into a sandwich sized pocket. It comes out crispy, chewy and like an oversized dumpling.
If you are a constant tea drinker like me, you will love Tanzania as tea is extremely popular, with the locals preferring Chai tea. Another favourite is coffee and beer. Local beers include Kibo Gold, Serengeti Lager and Tusker. Interestingly, they have a beer which is made out of bananas called Mbege, traditional to the Chaga’s.
Tanzania is such a magical place, filled with culture and iconic animals and I can’t wait to visit. I was able to get a better insight by completing The Tanzania Online Treasure Hunt by GG Treasure Hunts!!!