THE BLOG

Tanzania - The Top Five Reasons to Visit

17/12/2014 13:16 | Updated 15 February 2015
  • Marc Harris Travel Writer and director of Africa Odyssey

Whether you're after adventure, awesome sandy beaches, wilderness, diving, or big game safaris - there is one country that has it all: Tanzania is one of the few African countries blessed with miles of coastline and some of the best game parks on the planet. 2014-12-16-MTAyMjI2.jpg

1 The Ngorongoro Crater was once a volcano supposedly taller than Kilimanjaro, which would have made it an extraordinary beast. The gaping hole left in the landscape as a result of the eruption from this super volcano is 20 kilometres across with 600 metre high walls. The ash from the explosion is the cause of the lush plains to the west - which we now know as the Serengeti. Not only is the crater one of nature's greatest visual monuments, but Africa's Big Five can be found within it. 2014-12-16-MjMxMTg3.jpg

2 The Serengeti. This leads us on to arguably Africa's most well-known and iconic safari parks: the Serengeti. Flat topped acacias punctuate the short grass plains that stretch as far as the eye can see - this is classic Africa. Home to the highest concentration of predators anywhere in Africa, the Serengeti is also the location for the largest Migration of animals on the planet; the famous Wildebeest Migration. July through till October is the most famous moment of this year long cycle, when they run the watery gauntlet across the Mara river while crocs snap at their heels.

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3 The Western and Southern safari parks. As well as the well-known areas, Tanzania has several extraordinarily remote safari parks in the South and the West. The lack of human activity in these parks (Selous, Ruaha, Katavi) means that the animals here behave unlike anywhere else on the planet - hundreds of hippos living next door to hundreds of crocodiles, in what can only be described as a prehistoric scene, and Katavi gets a scant 200 visitors per year. In the far west lie the Mahale mountains; where you can trek and visit the 'M' Clan of wild chimpanzees who live in the jungles. There are no roads into this park - you access the lodges by dhow along Lake Tanganyika. Truly magical.

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4 Zanzibar
is famous for its vibrant mix of cultures and history as much as its glorious sandy beaches. Founded on the spice trade and silk routes of old, Stone town is both eclectic and eccentric and still retains an "old world" charm that is harder and harder to find. The activities on Zanzibar are endless... from visiting traditional spice farms, swimming with wild dolphins, trips around the historic stone town, to visiting its many offshore islands, Zanzibar never disappoints!

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5 Mount Kilimanjaro is the largest free-standing mountain in the world. It towers over the surrounding land at 5,895 metres above sea level and is composed of three distinct volcanic cones: Kibo, the highest; Mawenzi and Shira. Mawenzi and Shira are extinct, while Kibo could erupt again. The last major eruption has been dated to between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago. Today it is one of the most popular mountains to climb in the world and has a high success rate, given that there are several routes to the summit; direct or meandering - some which burn the legs, others that burn the lungs.

Tanzania is an amazing destination that once discovered will draw you back time and time again.