Tanzania-is an East African country known for its vast wilderness areas. They include the plains of Serengeti National Park, a safari mecca populated by the “big five” game (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino), and Kilimanjaro National Park, home to Africa’s highest mountain. Offshore lie the tropical islands of Zanzibar, with Arabic influences, and Mafia, with a marine park home to whale sharks and coral reefs.
Trip Planning: The planning stage of your trip can be instrumental in its success and an enjoyable part of the experience itself. You have a world of options...and plenty to consider.
Entry and Exit formalities: Visitors must hold a passport valid for at least six months & beyond at the time of entering the country. Some nationalities can obtain visa on arrival and for nationalities who requires visa please refer to the Tanzanian consulate website: https://www.immigration.go.tz
Transportation: Figuring out how to get around is one of your biggest pre-trip decisions. Get our holiday expert best advice on deciding between your options.
Based on your trip itinerary, our experts will help you choose wisely. You'll also find a wealth of practical travel tips.
Money: Use your money wisely. Know the best time to use cash or card — and how to avoid unnecessary fees either way — as well as tipping etiquette.
Phones and Technology: Phones and other smart devices can be huge time-savers...or expensive distractions. Get our tips for making the best use of technology during your trip, and for calling home with or without your own phone.
Packing Light: On your trip you'll meet two kinds of travelers: those who pack light and those who wish they had.
Sleeping and Eating: Your hotel and restaurant choices can be a matter-of-face chore…or they can provide rich opportunities to connect with locals and their culture.
Health & Hygiene: Take comfort: Doctors, hospitals, launderettes, and bathrooms aren’t that different. Dealing with them can even be part of the fun of travel.
Sightseeing & Activities: Once you're on the ground, the real fun begins…but it pays to have a thoughtful plan. Our experts will help you get oriented to your surroundings, use your sightseeing hours wisely, and find your way off the beaten path.
Things to see & do:
Dar es Salaam-a major city and commercial port on Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coast, grew from a fishing village. The open-air Village Museum has re-created the traditional homes of local and other Tanzanian tribes and hosts tribal dancing. It’s part of the National Museum, which offers Tanzanian history exhibits, including the fossils of human ancestors found by anthropologist Louis Leakey.
Zanzibar City-the capital and largest city of Zanzibar, in Tanzania. It is located on the west coast of Unguja, the main island of the Zanzibar Archipelago, roughly due north of Dar es Salaam across the Zanzibar Channel.
Stone Town of Zanzibar-also known as Mji Mkongwe, is the old part of Zanzibar City, the main city of Zanzibar, in Tanzania. The newer portion of the city is known as Ng'ambo, Swahili for 'the other side'. Stone Town is located on the western coast of Unguja, the main island of the Zanzibar Archipelago.
Arusha-a city in East Africa's Tanzania, located at the base of volcanic Mt. Meru. It's a gateway to safari destinations and to Africa's highest peak, 5,895m Mt. Kilimanjaro, lying some 100 kilometers northeast. To the west lies Serengeti National Park, home to wildlife including lions, rhinoceros, giraffes and leopards. Annual migrations feature huge herds of wildebeests crossing its plains.
Serengeti National Park-in northern Tanzania, is known for its massive annual migration of wildebeest and zebra. Seeking new pasture, the herds move north from their breeding grounds in the grassy southern plains. Many cross the marshy western corridor’s crocodile-infested Grumeti River. Others veer northeast to the Lobo Hills, home to black eagles. Black rhinos inhabit the granite outcrops of the Moru Kopjes.
Mwanza-a port city on the shore of Lake Victoria, in northern Tanzania. It's ringed by green hills. They city is known for unusual rock formations like Bismarck Rock, near the Kamanga Ferry Terminal. In the center of town are colonial buildings like the crumbling hilltop Dr. Robert Koch's House. The 1935 Indian Public Library, mosques and Hindu temples reflect Indian influence. The Makoroboi area is full of shops.
Mbeya-a city in southwest Tanzania. It sits at the base of soaring Loleza Peak, between the Mbeya and Poroto mountain ranges. On the town's outskirts is Lake Ngozi, a huge crater lake surrounded by dense forest rich in birdlife. Kitulo Plateau National Park, southeast of the city, is known for its colorful wild flowers. Farther south is Matema Beach, a resort town on the shores of the vast, fish-filled Lake Nyasa.
Tanga-a port city in northeast Tanzania. Covering large swaths of coastline, Tanga Coelacanth Marine Park shelters prehistoric coelacanth fish and manatee-like dugongs. Within the park, Tanga Bay is home to Toten Island, with its ruined mosques and German colonial buildings. Tongoni village has centuries-old, ruined tombs. Northwest of Tanga, the limestone Amboni Caves are filled with stalagmites and stalactites.
Morogoro is a city, with a population of 305,840, in the eastern part of Tanzania, 196 kilometres west of Dar es Salaam, the country's largest city and commercial centre, and 260 kilometres east of Dodoma, the country's capital city. Morogoro is the capital of the Morogoro Region.
Moshi-a town in northern Tanzania, near the Kenyan border. It's known as a gateway to Kilimanjaro National Park, home to Africa's highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro. Trails run up the mountain’s cloud-ringed, snow-capped dome, through alpine forests and meadows home to elephants and leopards. One of Tanzania's major coffee-producing hubs, Moshi is known for its coffee farms and auctions.
Tabora-the capital of Tanzania's Tabora Region and is classified as a municipality by the Tanzanian government. It is also the administrative seat of Tabora Urban District.
Kigoma-a city and lake port in northwestern Tanzania, on the northeastern shores of Lake Tanganyika and close to the border with Burundi and The Democratic Republic of the Congo. It serves as the capital for the surrounding Kigoma Region.
Mtwara-the capital city of Mtwara Region in southeastern Tanzania. In the 1940s, it was planned and constructed as the export facility for the disastrous Tanganyika groundnut scheme, but was somewhat neglected when the scheme was abandoned in 1951.
Iringa-a town in central Tanzania. It sits on a cliff overlooking the Ruaha River Valley, in the Southern Highlands region. The town center has German colonial buildings and a popular market. The Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery memorializes soldiers who died in local battles during WWI and WWII. From Gangilonga Rock, which was once an important chieftain meeting spot, views stretch over the town.
Musoma-a city in north west of Tanzania. It is the capital of Mara Region, one of the administrative Regions of Tanzania. It also serves as the administrative centre of Musoma Rural District and Musoma Urban District.
Bagamoyo-Tanzania, is a town founded at the end of the 18th century, though it is an extension of a much older settlement, Kaole. It was the capital of German East Africa and was one of the most important trading ports along the East African coast along the west of the Indian Ocean.
Shinyanga-also known as Shinyanga Mjini in the local Swahili language, is a city in northern Tanzania. The city is the location of the regional headquarters of Shinyanga Region as well as the district headquarters of Shinyanga Urban District. The region and district are named after the town.
Songea-the capital of Ruvuma Region in southwestern Tanzania. It is located along the A19 road. The city has a population of approximately 203,309, and it is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Songea.
Lindi Town-a southern Tanzanian coastal town and regional capital of Lindi Region located at the far end of Lindi Bay, on the Indian Ocean in southeastern Tanzania.
Babati Rural District-a district of Manyara Region of Tanzania, East Africa. The administrative capital of the district is Babati town, 172 km south of Arusha. The district covers an area of 6,069 km², a large proportion of which is covered by the water bodies of Lake Babati, Lake Burunge and Lake Manyara.
Bukoba-a city, with a population of 128,796, situated in the north west of The United Republic of Tanzania on the south western shores of Lake Victoria. It is the capital of the Kagera region, and the administrative seat for Bukoba Urban District.
Singida-a town in central Tanzania. The town is the location of the regional headquarters of Singida Region as well as the district headquarters of Singida Urban District. The region and district are named after the town.
Nansio-a small town and ward on the island of Ukerewe, Lake Victoria, in Tanzania. It is a port of entry for passenger and freight shipping services from Mwanza.
Kariakoo-a ward in the Ilala District of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It has a population of 9,405. The name derives from a corruption of the British "Carrier Corps", that used to be based in this area. Today, Kariakoo is mainly known for its extensive market, that spans several city blocks.
Musoma Urban District-one of the seven districts of Mara Region of Tanzania. Its administrative centre is the town of Musoma. The district is bordered to the north by Lake Victoria and to the south by Butiama District.
Kahama Urban District-one of the five districts of the Shinyanga Region of Tanzania. Its administrative centre is the town of Kahama. It is bordered to the north and south by Kahama Rural District, to the east by Nzega District and to the west by Bukombe District.
Njombe-a town in southern Tanzania. It is the regional capital of Njombe Region as well as the district headquarter of Njombe Rural District and Njombe Urban District. It is located at nearly 2000 meters of altitude on the eastern edge of the Kipengere Range and has the reputation of being a cold town.
Mikumi-a town in the Morogoro Region of Tanzania, adjacent to Mikumi National Park. It is at the crossroads to the Great Ruaha River valley and Kilombero sugar factory, and the southern highland regions of Iringa and Mbeya. It is near the larger town of Kidodi.
Ilembula-a town and ward in Wanging'ombe district in the Njombe Region of the Tanzanian Southern Highlands.
Ifakara-a small rural town in the Kilombero District, Morogoro Region, south central Tanzania. It is the headquarters of the Kilombero District-administration and the main trading centre for Kilombero and Ulanga districts.
Karatu District is one of the seven districts in the Arusha Region of Tanzania. It is bordered by the Ngorongoro District to the north, the Shinyanga Region to the west, the Monduli District to the east, and the Manyara Region to the south and southeast.
Chake-Chake-a city located on the Tanzanian island of Pemba. It is in the centre of a deep indentation in the west coast called Chake-Chake Bay. Chake-Chake is the capital of Pemba Island, and the seat of Pemba's court. Pemba's only airport is 7 km south-east of Chake-Chake.
The Serengeti ecosystem-is a geographical region in Africa, spanning northern Tanzania. The protected area within the region includes approximately 30,000 km² of land, including the Serengeti National Park and several game reserves.
Lake Manyara-the seventh-largest lake of Tanzania by surface area, at 470-square-kilometre. It is a shallow, alkaline lake in the Natron-Manyara-Balangida branch of the East African Rift in Manyara Region in Tanzania.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area-Although most famed for its wildlife-filled centrepiece, Ngorongoro Crater, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) in Tanzania’s north is a wonderful destination in its own right, with rugged, scenic trekking and terrain varying from steep escarpments and grassy ridges to dense forests and volcanic peaks. There are no set routes, which makes for many possibilities. These include an overnight hike taking in the grassy summit and shallow crater of Olmoti peak and the breathtakingly beautiful crater lake of Empakaai; a day-hike up Makarot peak (3130m), complete with grasslands and wide views; and, a five-day walk from the northern edge of Ngorongoro Crater via lake-filled Empakaai Crater to the summit of the still-active Ol Doinyo Lengai, just outside the NCA’s boundaries. There is no infrastructure, and for overnight hikes most people use donkeys or vehicle support to carry water and supplies.
Mount Kilimanjaro-a dormant volcano in Tanzania. It has three volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. It is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest single free-standing mountain in the world: 5,895 metres above sea level and about 4,900 metres above its plateau base.
Zanzibar-The very name brings to mind salty sea breezes that carry the taste of exotic spices. Floating in electric blue waters off the east coast of Tanzania, this island has become synonymous with divine honeymoon hideaways. So wide is the appeal of this beach paradise that few people ever pause to consider that there might be more to Tanzanian beach life.
Wildlife-People come to East Africa to see the Big Five. But how about turtles lumbering up moonlit beaches? Rainbow clouds of tropical fish? Or teeth-gnashing sharks and flocks of gaudy birds? With world-class diving, a fantastic roll call of birds and a couple of marine national parks (Mnazi Bay-Ruvula Estuary Marine Park and Mafia Island Marine Park), coastal Tanzania is no slouch in the wildlife department.
Mahale Mountains National Park-In addition to being one of the best places in the world for up-close encounters with chimpanzees, Mahale Mountains National Park, nestled on the Lake Tanganyikan shoreline in western Tanzania, is absolutely stunning. Forested mountains cascade down to the lake shore, the mist-covered peak of Mount Nkungwe rises up in the background and crystal-clear waters teeming with fish lap against white sand coves.
Mount Nkungwe-The brooding peak of 2462m-high Mount Nkungwe is eminently climbable and makes a fine adventure. Depending on the time of year, you may need to hack your way through high grass and brush for part of the climb, but the remoteness and the stillness are wonderful. Elephants, giraffes and even lions wander around the eastern slopes of the mountain, and it is essential to be accompanied by an armed guide, although encounters with these animals are rare.
Katavi National Park- A 40km south of Mpanda in Tanzania. The best feature of this scarcely known and rarely visited national park is the series of mud baths along the Katuma River, where Katavi's 4000 hippos pack together like seal colonies during the height of the dry season. There's a lot of action under such crowded conditions, including territorial males engaging in dramatic bloody battles on a daily basis.
Mount Kilimanjaro-Part hike, part slog and part high-altitude trek, the journey to the peak of this iconic mountain -- the world's tallest free-standing volcano -- lures thousands of trekkers each year. Beginning amid lush stands of banana on Kilimanjaro's heavily cultivated lower slopes, the climb continues up through dense, dripping rainforest to alpine meadows and crosses a barren lunar landscape to the twin summits of Kibo and Mawenzi. The final stage -- the ascent up a steep, slippery scree slope -- typically begins around midnight, culminating with sunrise views from the summit over the plains far below. Kilimanjaro's cold, wet conditions and its altitude (5896m) make trekking here a serious undertaking. To aid acclimatization, plan on at least a seven day round trip for a summit attempt.
Mount Meru-Often lost in the shadow of nearby Mount Kilimanjaro, 4566m-high Meru -- Tanzania's second-highest peak – also offers a highly scenic trek to the top. The ascent route starts in grassland and lush forest on the mountain's lower slopes, rising up through picturesque glades and finishing with a dramatic and exhilarating walk along the knife edge of volcanic Meru's crater rim. Meru is smaller than Kilimanjaro, and a trek can be done comfortably in four days, three nights. However, do not underestimate the mountain: its steepness, sheer drop-offs on the final ascent and the effects of altitude make it an almost equally challenging climb. Mount Meru is part of Arusha National Park, and all climbers must be accompanied by a park ranger, which can be arranged at the entry gate.
Udzungwa Mountains-Rushing waterfalls, steep slopes, 10 species of primates and a wealth of unique bird and plant species are the highlights of hiking in the seldom-visited Udzungwa Mountains, located about a six hour's drive southwest of Dar es Salaam. Infrastructure is rudimentary (you will need to bring your own tent and supplies), and the trail network is limited. But the night-time symphony of forest insects, the burbling of streams and views down over the Kilombero plains make up for the hassle. Despite relatively easy access (the main park gate is just 60km south of the highway along a decent road), the Udzungwas remain very much off the beaten path, and hikers will often have trails to themselves. Recommended hikes include the two-night, three-day climb up Mwanihana Peak (2080m) and the challenging six-day trail to Luhombero Peak (2579m), the highest point in the park.
Kitulo National Park-Tanzania's southwestern corner is this gem of a park, full of flower-clad meadows and secluded valleys. It is especially famed for the more than 40 species of orchids that carpet its grassy expanses, together with irises, aloes, geraniums and many more. The December to April rainy season, when the park explodes in a profusion of colour, is the best time to visit. But even during the dry months of June through September, wildflowers dot the meadows and shades of blue and violet blanket hills that roll into the horizon. The closest major town to Kitulo is Mbeya, about 90km to the west, where you can organise transport up to the 2600m Kitulo Plateau and the park entry gate.
Kilwa Kisiwani-The small island of Kilwa Kisiwani, located about 300km south of Dar es Salaam, was once the seat of sultans and the centre of a vast trading network that linked the old Shona kingdoms and gold fields of Zimbabwe with Persia, India and China. Sail on a dhow from the mainland to the Unesco World Heritage Site, and explore the well-preserved ruins of one of the most significant groups of Swahili buildings on the East African coast. The buildings date from the 12th to the 19th centuries, and some have been beautifully rehabilitated. The 15th-century Great Mosque, once the largest mosque in the region, has still-intact columns and graceful vaulted roofing. Nearby is a well-preserved smaller mosque, also dating to the early 15th century.
Mafia Archipelago-is an ideal destination for relaxing and getting acquainted with the Swahili coast. Stroll along sandy lanes through coconut palms on the main island of Mafia. Explore tiny Chole Island, with its atmospheric 19th-century ruins and the wonderful Chole Mjini Eco-Lodge. Take a dhow across to Jibondo – an island famed for its boat builders -- or to lush Juani, with ruins, water birds and green turtle nesting sites. Or sail out for a morning of snorkelling around Mange, a pristine sandbank populated only by sand crabs and water birds and surrounded by clear, aqua waters.
Rubondo Island National Park-Fish eagles circle overhead. Herons and storks wade in the shallows. Sitatungas hide among the reeds and small waves lap gently on the sand. Rubondo Island, nestled in the southwestern corner of Lake Victoria, is one of Tanzania's least-visited national parks and also one of its most tranquil. Spend days bird watching, walking and hippo- and croc-spotting. At night, listen as a symphony of insects, bats and other night creatures fills the star-studded darkness.
Pangani-Sleepy Pangani town may not look like much today. But, in its mid 19th-century heyday, it was a terminus of the caravan route from Lake Tanganyika, a major export point for slaves and ivory, and one of the largest ports between the city of Bagamoyo and Mombasa, Kenya. In the old part of town, near the Pangani River, a few buildings from the German colonial era and old houses of Indian traders bear cobwebbed witness to this part of history. In addition to its historical appeal, Pangani is a convenient jumping-off point for many other nearby attractions. Fine, palm-fringed beaches run for kilometres north and south of town. Zanzibar Island, visible on clear days across the channel, is a short flight or boat ride away, and Saadani National Park, a two-hour's drive south, makes for an easy overnight excursion. An hour's drive north of Pangani are the Tongoni ruins, which include the largest collection of Shirazi pillar-style tombs (most dating to the 14th or 15th centuries) on the East African coast.