To the immediate south of Kenya, bordered by Rwanda and Burundi in the west, Mozambique to the south, and lined by the Indian Ocean on the East, Tanzania is the land of geographical superlatives within Africa. The highest peak – Mount Kilimanjaro, lowest point – the bed of Lake Tanganyika, and the largest lake – Lake Victoria, all lie here.
Tanzania is best known for its national parks that attract tourists from all across the world. So, if you are a wildlife enthusiast and love the outdoors, visit Tanzania.
The ecosystem of Serengeti houses the famous Serengeti National Park. Deriving its name from ‘serengit’ which in Maasai means a place where the land runs on forever, Serengeti is home to over a million white-bearded wildebeests, zebras, honey badgers, and crocodiles that migrate from the Nile. Tip: The place is also dotted with grasslands and ‘kopjes’ or rocks jutting out of the parent formation. On a normal day, you can see leopards and lions resting on these kopjes.
The Ngorongoro Crater is a declared World Heritage Site and probably one of the most popular tourist destinations in Tanzania. A large volcano erupted and collapsed on itself some million years ago. The resultant is a volcanic sinkhole where flora and fauna exists in all serenity. The crater is two thousand kilometres deep, and two hundred and sixty kilometres wide and happens to be the largest inactive and unscathed volcanic caldera in the entire world. Tip: Keep an eye out for the hook-lipped black rhinoceroses that inhabit the crater.
Tarangire National Park
The sixth largest national park in all of Tanzania, Tarangire derives its name from the river Tarangire that runs through it. The ecosystem is replete with waterbucks, zebras, wildebeests, dik diks, impalas, and many different species of primates. Tip: If you’re lucky you’ll probably catch a glimpse of the white giraffe that was spotted here in 2015.
Zanzibar is a beautiful archipelago off the coast of Tanzania. Zanzibar is not only geographically gifted but also has a rich political history. Its Stone Town is a World Heritage Site and used to be the former capital of Zanzibar Sultanate. This particular place has had several external influences – Arab, Persian, European, Indian, as well as Swahili which reflect in the town’s architecture. The Jozani Forest in Zanzibar is renowned for its red colobus monkeys. Tip: If swimming with dolphins has always been your dream, Zanzibar is where you’ll be able to realise it!
Last but not the least is the Kilimanjaro National Park. It houses the highest peak of Africa – Mount Kilimanjaro, which tourists come to see from all around the world. Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano with three cones – Shira, Kibo and Mawenzi. Because of its height, approximately nineteen thousand feet from sea level, Mount Kilimanjaro remains snow-capped throughout the year.
Things to do in Tanzania
Mount Kilimanjaro is extremely popular among trekkers and mountain climbers. There are six demarcated trekking routes along the mountain and depending on your expertise; it is a six to ten days long trek. Other than mountains, you could also go hiking in the untouched forest reserves of Ngorongoro.
Game drives, an element without which an African vacation is absolutely incomplete, can be taken along the Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Park.
Once you’re done with all the safaris and trekking, visit the sleepy town of Karatu, just off Ngorongoro. Though it might appear charmless at first, a few lazy strolls around the market and a relaxing cup of local coffee will give you the true taste of Africa.
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