15 Best Tourist Destinations in Tanzania 2021

Tanzania a unique tourist destination in the world, endowed with a vast and spectacular range of tourist attractions. It is a land of many wonders of an un-paralleled diversity of fauna and flora.

Kilimanjaro, the highest permanently snow-capped free-standing mountain in Africa, the exotic Islands of Zanzibar, the finest game sanctuaries of Serengeti, Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, Ruaha, Selous, and the Marine Park of Mafia Island are only a few of the living examples.

The scenery, topography, rich culture, and amicable people provide excellent cultural tourism, beach holidays, honeymooning, game hunting, historical and archaeological ventures, and the best wildlife photographic safaris in the world. Tanzania has 15 national parks, 29 game reserves, 40 controlled conservation areas, and marine parks located throughout the country. Here are the 15 best places to visit in Tanzania

1. Serengeti National Park: Overall Best Tourist Destination in Tanzania

15 Best Tourist Destinations in Tanzania 2021

The most famous animal reserve globally, the Serengeti National Park, listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco, covers an area of ​​15,000 km square. The Serengeti is also part of an even larger ecosystem that stretches out to the Masai Mara in the north and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the west. The whole is around 25,000 km2, on which the animals live in complete freedom.

The Serengeti National Park is undoubtedly the highlight of a safari in northern Tanzania, with its landscapes that evoke the myth of wild Africa and its endless expanses. The park can be visited all year round as the wildlife is abundant. However, you have to choose your place to stay according to the seasons.

The park is famous for its periodic migrations. It is estimated that more than two million wildebeests, zebras, and antelopes undertake the perilous journey of migration in search of water and green pastures.

2. Mount Kilimanjaro: Top Rated Tourist Destination in Tanzania

15 Best Tourist Destinations in Tanzania 2021

At around 5895m, Mount Kilimanjaro towers over the plains of Eastern Africa and is one of the most iconic volcanoes in the world. As Africa’s highest peak, it is always on the lists of those visiting the continent keen on walking and mountaineering.

The slopes themselves are fairly innocuous, and so it is usually the altitude that is the issue for most, with the starting point at around 1,400m and the average climbing time is around 3 days.

Located to the east of Arusha and north of the small town of Moshi, Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the most iconic sights in Africa (if the cloud is not there and if you are looking from Amboseli National Park in Kenya!).

To go ahead and climb this towering peak is an endurance test worthy of anyone and is the reason why many thousands of travelers flock here every year.

Roughly speaking, the volcano comprises a central core with the slopes on its western flank running down to the Shira Plateau. On the right-hand side, the crater’s slopes run down and back up to the peak of Mawenzi at around 5,100m. While this peak is rarely attempted, it is possible to spend a night at the Mawenzi Tarn that sits in the peak’s shadow.

Most of the climbs up to the summit take between 4 to 7 nights, with the likelihood of summiting increasing significantly with time and a recommended 5 or 6 nights. The walking itself is fairly simple, with an average day consisting of around 4-5 hours of walking to a slightly higher altitude to spend time acclimatizing.

3. Ngorongoro Conservation Area

15 Best Tourist Destinations in Tanzania 2021

Extending over 8,300km2, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a vast region classified as World Heritage by UNESCO. Its geography is characterized by its dormant craters and volcanoes to the east and immense plains contiguous to Serengeti Park’s west.

Above all, the conservation area is unique for its special status as a protected area where wildlife coexists with humans. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area’s discovery is intimately linked to the proud Maasai warriors dressed in their traditional clothes and armed with their only spear, whose villages of huts surrounded by thorny shrubs dot the superb landscapes of the region.

The Ngorongoro Crater is located at the eastern entrance to the conservation area. Formed by the explosion of an active volcano as large as Kilimanjaro and by its cone’s collapse, the crater rises today to 2,285 meters. It contains the largest caldera globally, with its 260 km2 and its diameter of about 18 km.

4. Mahale Mountains National Park

15 Best Tourist Destinations in Tanzania 2021

Remote, magical Mahale has steep, lush forests, lakeside beaches, and Africa’s best chimpanzee safaris.

In the extreme west of Tanzania are two national parks that aren’t well known: Mahale Mountains National Park and Katavi National Park. These reserves are exceedingly remote, tricky to access, and costly to visit – but they’re very different from anything else in Tanzania and totally magical. Mahale is also probably the best place in the world for chimp safaris!

The lakeshore here is a beach of the finest powder-white sand, behind which rises a range of imposing mountains, clad in verdant tropical vegetation. Big electric-blue butterflies flit above the streams, and the forest is alive with sound.

It’s not only beautiful, but it also harbors Tanzania’s densest population of primates: yellow baboon, red colobus, blue, red-tailed, and vervet monkeys are never far away – and then, of course, there are the chimpanzees.

5. Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

15 Best Tourist Destinations in Tanzania 2021

The Selous Game Reserve is the largest protected game reserve on the African continent, covering 54,600 square kilometers comprised of a vast wilderness with forests, grassy plains, mountains, and open woodlands.

This reserve was named after Frederick Selous Courtney, who was a great hunter and explorer. Selous Safari Holidays are highly recommended as in size, and this reserve is twice the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and three times Kruger National Park in South Africa.

This reserve was established in 1922, and in 1982 it was declared a UNESCO world heritage site thanks to its rich diversity of wildlife and uninterrupted nature.

6. Ruaha National Park

15 Best Tourist Destinations in Tanzania 2021

In southern Tanzania’s heart, the Ruaha National Park has a hot, dry climate and dramatic scenery. The great Ruaha River runs along the southeast border, tumbling over boulders and flanked by riparian woodland. Away from the river, there are baobab forests, open grasslands, and fresh springs.

The game is prolific with ungulates, including impala, waterbuck, bushbuck, giraffe, zebra, and buffalo. Both greater and lesser kudu are present, as well as roan and sable antelope.

There is large pride of lion, often twenty or more, spotted and striped hyena, several wild dogs, and leopard packs. The birdlife is particularly colorful and sitting in camp, and it’s not unusual to spot many species such as emerald spotted doves, brown parrots, and crested barbets.

Activities in Ruaha focus on game drives, particularly rewarding in the dry season when the game congregates at the river. With only a few camps in the park, visitor numbers are few, and it’s unspoiled and peaceful.

7. Zanzibar Island

15 Best Tourist Destinations in Tanzania 2021

Made famous for its spices and the slave trade of the 19th century, Zanzibar Island is much more than a stopping point on an itinerary and can be seen as a destination in itself.

The island offers a unique combination of outstanding beaches along its eastern edge, interesting activities, such as visiting a working spice farm, and the cultural delights of Stone Town, with Arabian fortresses and minarets.

Roughly speaking, the island is a fairly undeveloped affair with only around 5 main roads, all leading back to the main town, Zanzibar, on its western edge. This simplicity makes it the perfect destination for those looking to explore a little as, should you reach the beach, you know you have gone wrong!

For those that are a little restless, there is a small forest in the interior called Jozani that has indigenous red colobus monkeys. The spice tours in one of the small farms just outside Zanzibar Town are a fascinating glimpse into why this island has become so famous.

8. Pemba Island

15 Best Tourist Destinations in Tanzania 2021

Still classed as part of the Zanzibar Archipelago, 40km north of the main island of Zanzibar (Unguja), Pemba Island is slightly smaller and much more rural than the more popular Zanzibar holidays on the main island.

While Zanzibar is relatively flat, Pemba’s hills and escarpments are green and picturesque; colored by the rich greens of ten types of mangoes and many hundreds of clove trees supported the fortunes of this island of spice.

Although Pemba is surrounded by a fine coral reef and pristine seas, its shores are also flanked with dense mangrove forests, and the best beaches take a bit of hunting out and getting to. Generally, however, the beaches here are nowhere near as good as Zanzibar’s.

9. Mafia Island

15 Best Tourist Destinations in Tanzania 2021

Mafia Island is the most culturally original and environmentally natural of Tanzania’s Indian Ocean islands, visited by the few who know its charms and desire a special adventure.

The key aspect of being a tourist in Mafia Island is that everything is accessible and reasonable. It offers the complete island experience from intense activity to complete laid-back, feet-up bliss. It’s therefore not surprising we get so many honeymooners to our hotels and lodges.

While Mafia is a water paradise, we like to point out its many other attractions and interests: its people and their lives, history and archaeology (there are a thousand years of history here), unique marine and birdlife, plants, and all the many beaches and sandbanks, mangrove forest inlets, coral islets that make it so beautiful.

10. Lake Manyara National Park

15 Best Tourist Destinations in Tanzania 2021

The setting for the earliest Tarzan films, verdant Lake Manyara National Park, was once described by Ernest Hemingway as “The loveliest I have seen in Africa.”

Lake Manyara National Park is an unspoiled paradise of groundwater forest fed by underground springs and teeming with wildlife such as elephants, hippos, giraffes, buffaloes, antelopes, etc., the largest baboon troupes in Africa.

But it’s most iconic attraction is undoubtedly its tree-climbing lions, and people flock from all over the world to see these iconic predators lounging in the trees.

Game-viewing is best between July and October, while bird-watchers will find the best conditions between November and June.

11. Arusha National Park

15 Best Tourist Destinations in Tanzania 2021

Arusha National Park is a small charming park located in the northeast of Tanzania. It is near the city of Arusha and provides great views of Mount Kilimanjaro. The park is a scenic and diverse park which offers a wide range of animal and plant species.

And it also has a rich diversity of landscapes. From lakes, waterfalls, and swamps to volcanos, mountains, and tropical rainforest – the ideal reserve for all kinds of animals.

The swamps, rainforest, and lakes attract many beautiful birds, including silvery-cheeked hornbill and thousands of pink-hued flamingos. This park is also the only place in northern Tanzania where you can easily spot the black-and-white colobus monkey.

12. Tarangire National Park

15 Best Tourist Destinations in Tanzania 2021

Tarangire National Park is the sixth-largest national park in Tanzania after Ruaha, Serengeti, Mikumi, Katavi, and Mkomazi. The national park is located in Manyara Region.

The park’s name originates from the Tarangire River that crosses through the park, being the only source of water for wild animals during dry seasons. During the dry season, thousands of animals migrate to the Tarangire National Park from Manyara National Park.

The Tarangire River has shriveled to a shadow of its wet season self. But it is choked with wildlife. Thirsty nomads have wandered hundreds of parched kilometers, knowing that here, always, there is water.

Herds of up to 300 elephants scratch the dry river bed for underground streams, while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest, and eland crowd the shrinking lagoons.

It’s the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem – a smorgasbord for predators – and the one place in Tanzania where dry-country antelope such as the stately fringe-eared Oryx and peculiar long-necked gerenuk are regularly observed.

During the rainy season, the seasonal visitors scatter over a 20,000 sq km range until they exhaust the green plains and the river calls once more. But Tarangire’s mobs of elephants are easily encountered, wet or dry.

The swamps tinged green year-round focus on 550 bird varieties, the most breeding species in one habitat anywhere in the world.

Tarangire’s pythons climb trees, as do its lions and leopards, lounging in the branches where the fruit of the sausage tree disguises the twitch of a tail.

13. Olduvai Gorge

15 Best Tourist Destinations in Tanzania 2021

Immerse yourself in ancient history at the fascinating palaeoanthropological site of Olduvai Gorge, one of the most important in the world. Set between the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park, the gorge makes a good stop if you’re traveling between the two, rewarding visitors with a presentation on its history, an excellent new museum with beautiful views – as well as the possibility of visiting an active dig.

Explore the different sections of the museum to discover the site’s history and learn about the various fossils to be found here. See a replica of the nearby Laetoli Footprints, which provide some of the earliest evidence of bipedalism.

Learn about the hominines and prehistoric mammals that lived in the area, and chat with a resident expert about the significance of the area and the current research. We found that it takes around an hour to explore the museum, but there is no time limit, and you can spend as much time looking around as you wish.

14. Forodhani Market

15 Best Tourist Destinations in Tanzania 2021

Forodhani Gardens is located inside Zanzibar’s historic Stone Town, along the main promenade by the seafront. You can find it easily by just walking towards the seafront, ask from your hotel or any local, or check the location from Google Maps. If you are already done either guided or independently touring Stone Town, you will know the location by heart.

Every night Forodhani Gardens at Stone Town turns into a busy street food market! Fresh seafood and local delicacies, such as Zanzibari pizza are sold at that time. Visitors walk by the seafront watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean while sampling street food.

Be sure to bring Tanzanian Shillings with you, and be prepared to barter if you want to avoid overpaying for your culinary exploration. The House of Wonders (Beit-Al-Ajaib) and the Old Fort are adjacent to Forodhani Gardens and may provide a nice pre-sunset excursion.

Remember that this is a street food market; therefore, you should follow your guts and be vigilant because the street food stalls do not match Western hygiene standards, and the cold chain might be broken. Be considerate of the risks of eating street food before diving in!

15. Bagamoyo Town

15 Best Tourist Destinations in Tanzania 2021

The town was the last stop for traders traveling from Lake Tanganyika to Zanzibar. Bagamoyo, bury my heart in KiSwahili, was a center for missionary activities. The town’s most important industry is the dhow sailboat building. Today Bagamoyo is Tanzania’s center for dhow building.

The town of Bagamoyo, situated on the East African coast a few kilometers north of Dar es Salaam, was a significant trading port for slaves and ivory. The town was the last stop for traders traveling from Lake Tanganyika to Zanzibar. Bagamoyo, “bury my heart” in KiSwahili, was a center for missionary activities. The town’s most important industry is the dhow sailboat building. Today Bagamoyo is Tanzania’s center for dhow building.

The town was the last stop for traders traveling from Lake Tanganyika to Zanzibar. Bagamoyo, bury my heart in KiSwahili, was a center for missionary activities. The town’s most important industry is the dhow sailboat building. Today Bagamoyo is Tanzania’s center for dhow building.

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