Here Are The Best Cities in Tanzania Suitable or Tourism And Vacations
1. Arusha City in Tanzania: The Best Tourism City
Formerly the site of a German military base in colonial times, Arusha is one of Tanzania’s fastest growing cities. Located halfway between Cape Town and Cairo, the city is perfectly suited to give you easy access to Tanzania’s most spectacular wilderness areas, such as Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, Tarangire, and many others.
The exceptional proximity to the prime wilderness areas has earned the city the nickname of “Safari Town,” and every day, you will see safari vehicles with visitors who are just beginning their northern circuit safari experience, making Arusha the center of tourism in Tanzania.
Located at the base of Mount Meru, the city gives you endless views of this iconic mountain, as well as Mount Kilimanjaro. From Arusha and Moshi, you can easily access and climb these two majestic peaks with Uhuru Trails by AfricanMecca or spend the day at Arusha National Park or even the west plains Kilimanjaro National Park for a game drive tour of the Amboseli ecosystem.
In addition to safari tourism, Arusha is also known for being an important business center. Its role in diplomatic affairs is represented by the International Criminal Tribunal’s presence for many governments in East Africa. You will also find an intriguing blend of Arusha cultures, such as Swahili, Indians, Europeans, Americans, and local native peoples like the Waarusha.
With so many cultures in one metropolis, you also have the chance to sample foods from around the world, as well as local favorites. Arusha offers street cafes, restaurants, and bars to savor African and international cuisine, wines, and beers. The convenient shops, Maasai Market, farmers market, museums, and historic sites within the city allow you to explore almost endlessly.
Local communities offer their wares and produce at the street markets, and you may even participate in workshops to learn traditional skills, such as Makonde carving. To learn more about the native peoples in the region, you may choose one of many Arusha cultural programs that are available, or you may spend some time working with the community programs that support efforts to enhance the quality of life for Tanzanians.
2. Dar Es Salaam City In Tanzania: The Best City To Stay On Your Way
Dar es Salaam – the peaceful haven of Tanzania was unceremoniously inaugurated around the early 1860s by Sultan Majid bin Said of Zanzibar, who initiated a harbor town close to the fishing settlement of Mzizima. Its expansion was accelerated twenty years later when the colonial German East Africa Company set up a base and began using it as their managerial and business headquarters.
After the First World War, the British seized control of the metropolis, and soon two distinct areas were set up a little apart from the town’s heart, one Colonial Europeans and the other Native Africans. Separate boroughs also had a section of immigrant Hindustani traders living in it.
And as a result of trade relations and opportunities Dar es Salaam had with Arabia and Hindustan, the township organically fused a unique ethnic background with African, Arabic, Colonial, and Indian cultures. Today, Dar es Salaam is a bustling city, proud of its rich heritage (read more on tour activities) and a vital center for commerce and administration. It is also the lifeline of Tanzania’s transportation network.
The Julius Nyerere Airport of Dar es Salaam is the country’s main airport, and the city’s harbor serves as a trading hub and the nation’s shipping connection to the world. The Chinese constructed TAZARA railway lines also serve the city, and many of the major highways of Tanzania begin from Dar es Salaam.
The city also has a thriving industrial region that manufactures goods for distribution within and out of the country. It is Tanzania’s largest city, and like any other international commercial city, you will see restaurants, bars, hotels, resorts, banks, international embassies, business establishments, and administrative offices.
The town sees visitors from all around the world, every year, for business and leisure. The remnants of its history like monuments and colonial architecture provide an attraction for touring, and it also serves as a springboard for AfricanMecca holidayers to Tanzania’s many wildlife sanctuaries, parks and reserves such as Mikumi, Selous, Ruaha, Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Katavi, Mahale Mountains, Gombe and many more. Yet others visit for the warm tropical climate, enjoy the beaches, and the warm hospitality that is so characteristic of Tanzania.
3. Zanzibar Island: The Home of Tourism in Africa
Zanzibar Island is not a paradise for tourists because of its harsh climate and dangerous sand. This island offers a unique kind of holiday experience for its visitors who explore the beautiful beaches of this island. The white sandy beaches are very inviting, making it the ideal place for those who want to spend their honeymoon on this island.
The beautiful sunsets also add to the romantic mood of the island, making the area very romantic. The island’s white sandy beaches have a wonderful backdrop with the gentle breeze and beautiful scenery, which give you the perfect mood to spend your vacation on this lovely island.
If you are looking for a nice getaway from your busy schedule, Zanzibar is the ideal place for you. You can easily relax on the beaches of this island and enjoy the soothing sunsets while being serenaded by the beautiful sounds of the ocean.
The island is known for its beauty, and this is what you will get on Zanzibar Island. There are so many different things to do on this island, such as enjoying the beautiful beaches, shopping on the beach, or just enjoying the beach’s warm water. When you stay on this island, you can easily enjoy the various attractions and activities provided by the local hotels or resorts.
If you want to explore the different attractions and activities that Zanzibar has to offer, you can start by renting a camper van. You will get a great view of the beach from the camper van, which will allow you to take a closer look at the sandy beaches. You can also enjoy other activities like snorkeling, which gives you the chance to explore this island’s underwater life.
You can also enjoy sailing, which is very popular among visitors to this place. You can do other things in Zanzibar, including diving and snorkeling, which allow you to enjoy the ocean without spending a lot of money. There are many other activities that you can enjoy when you visit Zanzibar Island and enjoy all the natural attractions and activities that Zanzibar has to offer.
4. Mafia Island
With the Rufiji River Delta on the western mainland of Tanzania and the expansive Indian Ocean on the east, Mafia Island has the distinction of hosting an incredible diversity of aquatic life, flora, and fauna. The horseshoe-shaped bay’s tepid, sheltered waters are a superb habitat for an unbroken line of coral reef that houses an astonishing 460 species of fish.
This reef runs from Kifinge (Forbes Bay) on the north to Tutia in the south. Onshore, the coast is rich with forests of fruit trees, mangroves, baobabs, and palms that host bushbabies, wild pigs, small antelopes, monkeys, and interestingly, small numbers of hippos, and also varied tropical birds.
When vacationing on Mafia Island with AfricanMecca, you could explore the first marine park of Tanzania, the Mafia Island Marine Park, spread over an area of 317 square miles (822 square kilometers). Or spend time on the stunning pristine white beaches washed by the crystal azure waters of the Indian Ocean (read more on when is the best time to go to Mafia).
Accessible from mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar Island, Mafia features in historical accounts of the 8th century that speak of the island being used as a stopover by traders plying routes between Kilwa and Zanzibar and to Madagascar and Mozambique. The Omani merchants called it “Morfiyeh,” meaning “collection” in relation to the archipelago, while the Swahili dubbed it “mahali pa afya,” meaning “a healthy abode.”
The present-day term, Mafia, is a derivative of these names. This little island has not changed much over the centuries. As you will see on your exploratory trip to East Africa, its casual, relaxed atmosphere is preserved by intense community efforts even today. They have also preserved remnants of that primeval era, and there are different archeological sites you can check out.
5. Bagamoyo Tanzania
Visit Bagamoyo for a cultural, historical, and seashore tour, and you will be struck by the serenity of this town, having experienced a brutal past. Time seems to have passed it and left it untouched but hurt. Today, the Ruvu River still flows peacefully beside it into the Indian Ocean. White sand seashores and gently swaying palms in the sea breeze add to the charm of this fishing town.
To explore the enchanting water worlds around Bagamoyo, visit its beaches and island in the vicinity. Lazy Lagoon Island is one such private locale with gorgeous beaches and eco-friendly accommodation. Lookout to the ocean, and you will see the fishing craft of traditional Swahili design, the wooden dhows, side by side with ngalawas, a subtle reminder of the town’s rich, varied culture.
Today, Bagamoyo is inhabited by Arabian descent families, the Kwere, Zaramo, Zigua, and the Swahili, who are dominant. As you explore the rural metropolis, it reveals to you its myriad secrets, and one by one, you will uncover the many facets of its rich history. Originally a sleepy settlement of fisherfolk, it was founded into a town in the late 18th century.
Soon it developed into a busy trade center with Omani Arabs and Indian merchants setting up bases here. Next to arrive were the Germans, who named it their East African Administrative Capital. Bagamoyo served as a stopover for cargo caravans transporting goods from the interiors of Africa to Zanzibar’s trade markets.
The trains carried a varied range of products such as ivory, dried meats, ebony, coconut kernels, and a host of other natural items. But the most notorious cargo transported were the slaves, most of which were bound for working in the spice and clove plantations of Zanzibar and others “exported out.” At the height of Bagamoyo’s time, some 50,000 – 75,000 slaves were transported every year.
Bagamoyo takes its name from the Kiswahili phrase, “crush down your heart,” so described by the slaves because they were never to see their homes again.
And ironically, the caravan travelers called it Bwagamoyo, “to throw off melancholy.” The town has buildings used as temporary housing for the slaves, and you can see them standing even today. As you visit the many historical sites and structures on your Bagamoyo tour with AfricanMecca, they will speak to you of how successfully trade flourished here and of the demised opulence of its inhabitants.
Bagamoyo’s Old Town has edifices with hand-carved Swahili door frames crafted out of wood that was a statement of affluence and identity. You can also see the restored Old Fort, built by the Baluchis and later auxiliary by Omani Arabs. Having changed ownership many times, the fort had the distinction of being used by the Germans as a defense post for their East African colony.
6. Pemba Island
A beautiful, verdant jewel set in the shimmering romantic azure of the Indian Ocean is the Pemba Island dubbed “El Huthera” or The Green by early Omani sailors. Although located to the north of Zanzibar, a mere 50 miles (80 kilometers) away, Pemba has managed to retain her laid-back charm, unlike the bustle of her more massive sister island. She is still unspoiled by modern civilization, and here you will find very few modes of transport.
There are limited accommodations here for your barefoot beach vacation, and the best night-time activity is to fall asleep underneath the twinkling heavens and to the scents of cloves augmented by the cool ocean breezes while being serenaded by the calls of resident fauna, from vervet monkeys, bushbabies to tropical birds. Pemba Island has a hilly landscape and is densely covered with vegetation, another contrast to Zanzibar.
Spend your days while on your Tanzania island holiday in this verdant expanse by exploring the Ngezi Forest Reserve with its unusual denizens of the tiny market bazaar festooned with exotic fruits like durian, fenesi, and shoki-shoki. Bite into one and savor its taste to the sound of friendly amusement from the vendors as they watch your reactions to unfamiliar tastes.
Sit with them for a while, and they will be happy to share with you the exciting history of this much-coveted island. As you will learn on your day tour of Pemba, it is said that in the 17th century, the Sultan of Muscat, present-day Oman, was entirely captivated by the beauty of the isles and chose to move his rule to Zanzibar so he could control the Spice Islands. The coming of the colonial British Empire sowed the seeds to separate the natives of Zanzibar and Muscat’s sovereigns, allowing them to be protectorate rulers of the archipelago.
Arab dhows with their white triangular sails would be seen in the ocean’s waters carrying cloves, textiles, silver, and wood between Arabian Peninsula, India, and the Spice Islands. It is not difficult to imagine their charm because you can see them sailing between the Wete township on Pemba and Shimoni in Kenya or Mozambique.
But the fascinating aspect of Pemba Island is its incredible beaches with their powdery soft pristine white sands and amazingly clear waters. Here, when on your dream marine trip with AfricanMecca, you can explore the stunning underwater kingdom of colorful coral reefs and their even more vibrant inhabitants, each more enchanting than the other.
Or laze on the sands soaking up the warm tropical sun with cold drinks in hand. You are unlikely to be disturbed because there are very few beach visitors traveling on Pemba Island (read more on when is the best time to go).
You could spend your entire trip in complete tranquility, reveling in solitude thanks to the island’s sparse population. The Pembians have a quaint Swahili culture, having evolved untouched by outside influences. They are fiercely protective of it and seem to resist all attempts of modernization. This spirit has succeeded in preserving the storybook charm of the island. There are maritime masters, marooned sailors, and whispers of treasure hidden in the coastal valleys and hilly prominences. Natural treasures that can be uncovered by following ancient forested trails lead down to the turquoise seashore of the Indian Ocean.
7. Kilwa Town
A coastal region on the Indian Ocean, Kilwa is located about 186 miles (300 kilometers) from Dar es Salaam on Tanzania’s eastern coast. It is divided into small settlements that include Kilwa Masoko, Kivinje, and Kisiwani with Sanje Ya Kiti and Songo Mnara. Kilwa was once a prominent trading hub on Africa’s east coast. It was first established as a port of the Swahili civilization at the start of the 9th century and later served as a busy and very wealthy commercial center.
Africa’s natural treasures were very much in demand in the outside world. Yesteryear trading caravans carrying these valued commodities such as tusker ivory, rhino horn, bee wax, gum resins, sperm whales ambergris, shells from terrestrial tortoises and sea turtles, skins and furs as well as human slave cargo used the storehouses in Kilwa to stock them before they were transported to distant countries in wooden dhows.
Kilwa was also the meeting ground for traders traveling in Africa and carting commodities from regions neighboring Tanganyika. They brought precious gold reserves from Zimbabwe to Kilwa via Sofala that is now in Mozambique. Goods such as Indian linen and exquisite Chinese porcelain were also part of the commodities traded here and dispatched to other locations. Then there were the cowrie seashells, fiber cloth, and vibrant beads that were highly appreciated by the people living in Africa’s inner regions.
Kilwa Masoko is a principal town in the Kilwa district of Lindi and still has a lively market, though not the same scale as in its past. It is a peaceful town with stunning unadulterated beaches and is inhabited by many fishing communities in the region. Today, history devotees use it as a stopover when touring the Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara, both of which have been declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.
Other than these, Kilwa also has underwater archaeological sites that are sometimes explored by scientists from the British Institute in Eastern Africa, the University of St Andrews, and the University of Dar es Salaam. You will discover that there is a lot you can do on your Kilwa seashore tour with AfricanMecca.
Besides the historical sites, you could visit the different beaches and surrounding idyllic islands like Fanjove with their lush tropical flora. You could also explore the marine world around Kilwa by taking diving and snorkeling trips to its coral reefs and in the deep waters where you could spot dolphins and whales. If you are a seafood connoisseur, you cannot find a better locale than Kilwa.
Try the Indian Ocean’s freshest bounty in the form of lobster, prawns, octopus, crab, and calamari. Or better still, you could catch them yourself. The local fisherfolk will be happy to let you accompany them on one of their fishing forays and teach you their traditional techniques. There are also water routes that take you inland, and these are strategic sites for viewing hippos, crocodiles, and rarely, dugongs.
To view a more varied wildlife world, you could take a photographic safari to the premier Tanzanian reserves and parks such as Selous, Ruaha, Serengeti, Ngorongoro, to name a few. For a glimpse of Kilwa’s colonial history, do visit the Kilwa Kivinje on your antiquity trip. The Germans colonialists set up a governing base here during their time in Tanganyika – pre-Tanzania. For insight into the latest research being carried out, you could stop by at the KIYODEA Research Center.
8. Moshi Town
A growing rural town located on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, Moshi sits at an altitude of 700 (south) to 950 (north) meters above sea level. With fewer than 250,000 people, Moshi is the smallest municipality in Tanzania, covering less than 23 square miles (59 square kilometers). Initially, home to the ethnic people, Chagga, the German Army set up a base camp here in 1893.
Later, German colonialist occupiers also set up coffee plantations, developed farmhouses, and other dwellings. After World War 2, the British came to Tanzania as part of the League of Nations mandate and took over the properties and later returned their ownership to the local people at the time of independence.
Thus, Moshi has a robust colonial background that is apparent in the old buildings’ architecture that still stands today. Some of these have been restored to their original charm and converted into tourist lodges and hotels.
Moshi sees many guests due to its proximity to Kilimanjaro, and many trekkers on climbing expeditions to the mountain use the town as their basecamp either en-route to or coming from the many parks and wildlife sanctuaries that Tanzania is known for. Considered to be the cleanest township in all of Tanzania, Moshi has a serene, tranquil ambiance with Mount Kilimanjaro dominating its skyline.
Moshi takes its name from the Kiswahili word for “smoke,” possibly because Mount Kilimanjaro, a dormant volcano today, has been spewing gas in the past and present and because it is often covered with clouds and mist too. Owing to its volcanic soil and fed by the natural springs that run from the mountain glaciers, Moshi has lush vegetation and is the natural environ of numerous varieties of birds and butterflies (
9. Mwanza City
With over three million people, Mwanza is the second largest town in Tanzania and the center of economic activity in the lake region. Situated on the south shorelines of Lake Victoria, this charming town offers a relaxing place for your lake vacation. In northern Tanzania with AfricanMecca, where you relax while enjoying cool breezes, moderate year-round temperatures, and scenic vistas of the lake, including Bismarck Rock, a natural granite formation large, perfectly balanced rocks that have been eroded over thousands of years.
Small scale agriculture plays a vital role in the local economy. More than 85% of the industry residents and fishing are the second-largest economic support to the town. Mwanza is also an important center of transportation in the region, serving as a primary hub for bus routes and ferries to Bukoba and the island of Ukerewe. For your rural safari in Africa, Mwanza is conveniently located near the Lake Victoria islands of Ukerewe, Ukara, and Rubondo, and the town is only 2 hours from Serengeti – Ndabaka Gate. The combination of natural and cultural resources near the city means that your lake trip to Mwanza will be one of the best ways to experience the diversity of East Africa.
10. Iringa Town
Situated in the southern part of Tanzania, Iringa is a pleasant city to visit in Tanzania with a blasting territorial horticulture trade. It neglects the Little Ruaha River and is a mainstream halting point for guests to Ruaha National Park. Iringa was a focal point of pioneer organization during the German occupation. It is also the site of a few fights during the First and Second World Wars, and the Commonwealth War Graves can be discovered only outside of town. The Isimila Stone Age site, one of the most amazing places regarding East Africa, lies about 15km from the city and is virtually open.
11. Tanga City
For the perceiving visitor and valiant explorer, Tanga locale is a staggering diverse destination. At one time, another halting point, in rivalry with Pangani and Bagamoyo, for convoys on their way to the hinterland of Central Africa looking for ivory and slaves. Without a doubt, this famous city in Tanzania has a great deal to offer. It is a shockingly sheltered and amicable spot to travel, loaded up with the glorious scene, one of a kind culture and inviting individuals, the ideal goal for brave voyagers.
12. Mbeya City
Mbeya is a thriving town in southwest Tanzania that lies at the foothills of the towering Loleza Peak, between the Mbeya and Poroto mountain ranges. It owes its existence to the discovery of gold in the area and today is a significant trade and transit junction between Tanzania, Zambia, and Malawi. The mountainous area surrounding the town is covered with dense and verdant forests profuse with birdlife. Simultaneously, the Kitulo Plateau to the southeast of the city is a popular walking and hiking destination due to the beautiful wildflowers that blanket the landscape. The town is also located amidst a major coffee, banana, and tea farming region and home to the scenic Ngozi Crater Lake. Mbeya’s cold climate and scenic hillside surrounds make it a favorite spot for nature lovers.
A few points of interest