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Tanzania

Tanzania

When one thinks of an African safari, there’s a good chance that images of Tanzania with its great plains, acacia trees, animals and Mount Kilimanjaro will most likely come to mind. Not only is Tanzania home to the Serengeti, considered by many to be Africa's finest safari park, but it's renowned the world over for the 'Great Migration' of 2.5 million wildebeest and zebra. Tanzania's most well known wildlife areas are located in what is called the northern safari circuit, which is made up of the Serengeti, Lake Manyara & Tarangire National Parks and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Approximately 38 percent of Tanzania's land area is set aside in protected areas for conservation, which is one of the world's highest percentage. Tanzania is home to Mt. Kilimanjaro, which is the highest point in Africa and one of only two mountains on the continent that has glaciers (the other is Mount Kenya); bordered by three of the largest lakes on the continent: Lake Victoria (the world's second-largest freshwater lake) in the north, Lake Tanganyika (the world's second deepest) in the west, and Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) in the southwest. Tanzania is very diverse with over 120 ethnic groups present, the largest being the Sukuma representing around 16% of the population. Most Tanzanians can speak both Swahili and a local language; and also English if educated.

Location: Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Kenya and Mozambique

Border countries (8): North (Kenya and Uganda), South (Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique), East (Indian Ocean) and West (Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Area: 947,300 sq km (365,754 sq mi) includes the islands of Mafia, Pemba, and Zanzibar

Comparative: Slightly larger than twice the size of California

Population: 52,482,726 Million (ranked 27th in the world)

Religions: Christian 61.4%, Muslim 35.2%, folk religion 1.8%, other 0.2%, unaffiliated 1.4%

Languages: Kiswahili or Swahili (official), English (official, primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education), Arabic (widely spoken in Zanzibar)

UNESCO World Heritage Sites (7): Kondoa Rock-Art Sites (2006), Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara (1981), Stone Town of Zanzibar (2000), Kilimanjaro National Park (1987), Selous Game Reserve (1982), Serengeti National Park (1981) and Ngorongoro Conservation Area (1979

 

Popular Destinations in Tanzania

Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National ParkThe Serengeti is not only the top safari destination in Tanzania, but it’s considered by many to be the premier safari park in all of Africa. It's known around the world due to the 'Great Migration', where an estimated 2.5 million grazing animals — made up primarily of wildebeest and zebra, move in a clockwise rotation around the vast 12,000 sq. mile (30,000 sq. km) Serengeti ecosystem in search of water and food. The precise timing of the migration is entirely dependent upon the rainfall patterns each year. These grazing animals are also joined by the large resident populations of herbivores made up of impala, cape buffalo, giraffe, warthog, elephant and upwards of 500 species of birds. Adding drama to the already extraordinary spectacle — the predators of the Serengeti, most notably lions, hyenas, cheetahs, leopards and also numerous scavengers, are all along their clockwise migratory route. The word Serengeti comes from the Maasai word 'Siringlit', meaning 'the place where land runs on forever' and refers to the grassy plains which make up about a third of the park. It is these grasslands and savannahs that ensure that the area is jam-packed full of game at anytime of the year.

 

Ngorongoro Conservation Area & Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Crater The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is approximately 3,200 sq miles and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The centerpiece of the conservation area is the famous Ngorongoro Crater, the largest unflooded and intact volcanic caldera in the world, which was formed by the same immense geological upheavals as the Great Rift Valley, and once was a mountain as high as Kilimanjaro. Over 3 million years ago, the Crater exploded covering the Serengeti in ash and its crater floor sank leaving the rim to form a natural enclosure 2,000 feet high. The rich pasture and permanent water source in the crater is a natural sanctuary for over 25,000 animals, including the endangered black rhino, the Ngorongoro Lion (known for its jagged looking mane and larger size due to the bounty of game in the area), wildebeest, zebra, eland and so many other animals and a myriad of bird life, estimated at around 285 species strong. The Ngorongoro Crater received the designation of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, and has been described as the best self-contained safari destination in the world and a microcosm of East Africa, enclosing in one place - grasslands, forests, wetlands and slopes.

 

Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National ParkLake Manyara National Park is one of Tanzania's smaller parks and offers a microcosm of the safari experience to be found in Tanzania. The diverse landscape includes lush ground water forest hosting baboons, monkeys and canopy dwelling birdlife. The grassy floodplains play home to large elephant and buffalo populations, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, birds of prey, flamingo, hippo and tree climbing lions that inhabit the woodland that nestles between the lake and the Rift Valley. In addition to the wildlife, upwards of 270 species of birds have been recorded within the park.

 

 

 

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National ParkNamed after the Tarangire River that intersects it, Tarangire National Park is the 6th largest park in Tanzania at 2850 sq km and renowned for its large herds of elephants, enormous termite hills and majestic baobab trees that dot the gentle rolling countryside. These mystic and spectacular trees of every shape and colour, seemingly dwarf the animals that feed beneath them. Considered one of the best kept secrets of Tanzania's northern safari circuit (Serengeti & Lake Manyara National Parks and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area), Tarangire is said to have the second largest concentration of game after the Ngorongoro Crater. Animals one may see include large migratory herds of wildebeest, zebras and cape buffalo during the dry season (June to November), as well as other common animals such as waterbuck, giraffe, impala and over 490 species of birds . Tarangire predators include lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena and African wild dogs — though rare.

 

Zanzibar

ZanzibarWhen one mentions Zanzibar — visions of sun, turquoise seas, coral reefs, white sandy beaches, history and of course spices usually come to mind. Zanzibar is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, 40 km (25 mi) off Tanzania’s coast made up of two main islands — Unguia (known internationally as Zanzibar), Pemba and several other islets. Zanzibar is home to the capital city of Zanzibar City and Stone Town its historic center, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and said to be the only functioning ancient town in East Africa. The history of Zanzibar would be incomplete without the cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper and many other spices which brought the Sultans of Oman and the beginnings of the infamous slave trade to the island. Time appears to stand still in the fabled Stone Town with its bustling market, ornately carved and studded doors and winding alleyways. Important architectural features include the House of Wonders, the Palace Museum (People's Palace), the Old dispensary of Zanzibar and the Arab Fort. Stone Town has many excellent gift shops with plenty of souvenirs and handicrafts to choose from. Being located close to the equator, the islands are warm year round with average high temperatures between 28C (82F) and 33C (91F)  .The coral reefs that surround the east coast of the island are rich in marine diversity, and make Zanzibar an ideal location for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Tanzania Travel Options

Tanzania Safari | Tanzania Safari Tours | Women Only Tanzania Safari Tours | Couples Only Tanzania Safari Tours | Custom Tanzania Safari

Cruising | Rail Journeys

 

Sources: CIA 2017, UNESCO 2017