Tanzania travel

Tanzania travel

Tanzania proper was established in 1964, when the British-controlled UN trust territory of Tanganyika, and the British protectorate of Zanzibar, gained independence. The two nascent states joined together to form one united country, and Tanzanians have lived peacefully together ever since.

Still, Tanzania’s history began much earlier than its statehood. Known to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the entire world, Tanzania bursts with history and culture far beyond its natural beauty. Sultans, Germans and British have all taken turns at ruling the nation, and walking the streets of Tanzania’s more urban centers, one will see the unique architecture and language that comes with such a distinct history.

Tanzania Tours, Tickets, Activities & Things To Do

Now home to more than 100 ethnic groups, Tanzania has been able to avoid some of the ethnic and political struggles experienced in its neighboring countries, and visitors will note its welcoming and laid-back attitude. The country is divided fairly evenly among Muslim, Christian and indigenous people, with a slight predominance of Muslim communities in the coastal areas, and Zanzibar.

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Tanzania’s topography is as diverse as its many cultures, and its wildlife. In the northeast, the country has mountainous terrain, with the most famous peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, capped with snow the entire year. In the north and west, visitors will find some of the deepest and largest lakes in Africa, Tanganyika and Victoria. In the center, large plateaus and plains are the norm, while the East, which borders the Indian Ocean, is largely hot and humid.

With 25 percent of the country made up of national parks and other conservation areas, Tanzania has protected more of its land and wildlife than any country in all of Africa. In fact, one of its reserves, Sealous Game Reserve, is larger than the entire country of Denmark and actually covers some 5 percent of the entire country. Though the area is teaming with wildlife (elephants and rhinos), it’s not teaming with crowds. The park is so remote that it is most easily accessed by aircraft, allowing you to explore Africa’s impressive wildlife in the most intimate of settings.

Because conserving the wildlife is so important, most national parks in Tanzania do not allow visitors to explore the parks by foot. Exceptions include Mahale Mountains, Gombe Stream National Parks, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Arusha and Kilimanjaro, though you may need to plan the walking portion of your trip in advance. Visitors will find that gaming reserves tend to offer more access, as they are governed by fewer rules than the national parks within the country.

Tourism is an increasingly important part of the Tanzania economy, with more than 600,000 visitors entering the country in 2009. Still, the country is working hard to market some of its less popular and less developed attractions. These include wildlife parks in the south and west; some of the countries amazing mountain ranges; and arts and culture in smaller villages throughout the country. The country’s goal is to reach 1 million visitors in 2010.

Tanzania is still a primarily agricultural economy; agriculture employs some 80 percent of the country’s workforce. Still, nascent industries like textiles and telecommunications are emerging, as is a small but increasingly popular wine industry, the only in East Africa.

Though there are specific rainy and dry seasons in Tanzania, temperatures throughout the country tend to stay fairly moderate throughout the year. In addition, both wet and dry seasons offer certain advantages, depending on your planned itinerary. For instance, crowds (and prices) tend to be lower during the rainy season, so if you’re short on budget (or on patience), this might be a great time to visit. Still, wet weather means that some roads may be washed out and some parks may be closed; keep this in mind if you plan on seeing the country by car. In general, consider the following when planning your trip:

Best time to climb Kilimanjaro: January, February or September (when the weather is warm and dry)
Best time to safari: June to November (animals begin to gather around watering holes formed in rainy months)
Best time to go to the beaches: Between July and October (less rain and fewer crowds)
Best time to view a mass migration: February to March, when millions of wildebeest and zebras begin to make their annual trek, the largest known mass movement of land mammals in the world.

Tanzania’s abundant wildlife makes it one of Africa’s most popular safari destinations. Still, safaris can range from basic (using tents and self-catering) to high-end (featuring luxury lodging and tented camp sites). In fact, some lodges in the Serengeti can cost up to US$1500/person per night. Even “budget” trips can cost up to $300/night when accounting for park entry fees and guides. Long story short, expect to spend a considerable amount of money on your African adventure.

When choosing a tour operator and safari package, be sure to consider both the company’s reputation and the type of safari you’re looking for. Types of safaris include:

Luxury lodge
If you prefer to have the luxuries of home (en-suite bathrooms, comfortable beds, pools, dining) throughout your safari journey, these top-dollar tours are for you. Luxury trips are usually all-inclusive, with hotel staff planning transportation within the country, meaning limited stress and maximum comfort.

Bush camp safari
If simple (and affordable) is your style, you may enjoy bush camping, which allows you to stay in tents the heart of nature.

Walking safari
If you like to get up close to the wildlife, consider a walking safari, where a guide will take you on foot through parts of the park, teaching you how to use your senses to locate different animals. You may choose a long walk (three to four days) or a one-day trip based at a luxury hotel.

Safari and beach combination
If you love nature but also love lounging beach-side, a beach safari combination might be right for you. It allows you to end your trip at a beautiful beach on the Indian Ocean along the Tanzanian coast.

Small-group safaris
If you’re looking for an adventure but don’t have the time or resources to plan an entire trip yourself, consider a small group (12-16 person) safari, where you can travel as a single or couple, getting to know other adventures during your trip.

Wilderness safari
If you’re looking to experience the most remote areas of the African wilderness, consider this type of trip. Though more difficult to get to (often requiring small plane transportation), they can be an incredibly rewarding experience, allowing you to see nature in its purest form.

Cultural safari
If you’d like to learn more about Tanzania’s many cultures, as well as its animals, a cultural safari would be a great choice, as it has a larger emphasis on meeting local people, and learning about their customs.

Conservation/volunteer trip
If you want to make a difference during your stay, consider a volunteer trip, which allows you to spend time with local organizations helping to maintain Tanzania’s rich ecosystems.

Family safari
If you’re traveling with children, you will want to make sure your safari is family-friendly. Though numerous operators offer this type of package, many also stipulate that children must be at least 5 years old to attend. In addition, some parks do not admit children under age 7.

Because they can be very difficult to get around, self-drive safaris aren’t recommended in Tanzania, although they are popular in other parts of Africa.

In general, deluxe and luxury resorts will be found in the more heavily-visited Northern Circuit.

Before selecting a provider, be sure to check reviews and ratings from other travelers; doing your due diligence early will prevent any disappointments later on in your trip.

Date posted: 5th October, 2018

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