Tanzania is the perfect destination, for a safari, if you wish to visit Africa, that is Africa proper. What makes Tanzania special is this is a land with no tribalism; there is no conflict just an inherent love for peace. People are friendly and welcoming; yes I know every travel book and every travel agency claim that for almost every destination around the world. However, I have lived in many countries in Africa and have traveled to many more countries outside Africa; I can state first hand that the people of Tanzania are the friendliest I have met anywhere.
Tanzania is home to 125 ethnic groups bound together by a common language; Swahili. This was the achievement of the first president of Tanzania Julius Nyerere. The Swahili language bound the country together into a single identity. This has helped to make Tanzania the personification of the peaceful and friendly destination.
Tanzania, since independence has known that the National Parks are a vital part of its future. The government has therefore looked after this lovely country and kept it pristine and unspoiled for the visitors who venture into this corner of East Africa.
Over 28% of the land, over one million square kilometers is set aside as forty-eight National Parks and Game Reserves. There are also numerous Marine Reserves along the coast line that offer some of the best diving in the world. The beaches are white; the coast is exotic and spiced with a rich history.
Lodges and beds are strictly regulated in the game parks. This spares the tourist the disappointment of having several cars surrounding every lion kill; here in Tanzania you truly experience the wildness of Africa. In sub-Sahara Africa Tanzania is without rival. The parks and reserves here contain the largest concentration of animals found anywhere in the world. Including the wildebeest migration the world’s last remaining great migration.
Humans – especially tourists flock together. This display manifests in the game parks; most people wanting to be in the Serengeti and almost everyone concentrating in one area – the Central Serengeti. The Serengeti is huge yet most tourists are concentrated into one area on this vast park. Plan your safari carefully; look for an operator who is interested in more than making a quick profit out of a dull safari itinerary.
There are other National Parks here with high concentrations of animals that boast just one lodge. Imagine that; a whole slice of Africa all to yourself. I doubt you could find that in Kenya, well maybe in the north of the country but Kenya has troublesome neighbors and northern Kenya although wonderfully wild is also notoriously unsafe.
The place to have the true out of Africa experience is Tanzania. It has the parks, it has the animals in huge numbers and it has the peace and security that no other African Country can offer. If you want a safari, a proper safari than Tanzania is the only real option.
Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Tanzania
- Mount Kilimanjaro, Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania
- Olduvai Gorge, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
- Ol Doinyo Lengai, Arusha, Tanzania
- Pemba Island, Pemba Island, Zanzibar Archipelago, Tanzania
- Ngurdoto Crater, Arusha, Tanzenia
- National Museum, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
- Village Museum, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
- Usambara Mountains, Arusha, Tanzana
- Marahubi Palace, Stone Town, Zanzibar, Zanzibar Archipelago, Tanzania
- Mount Kibo, Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania
Towns and Cities
Today Tanzania’s towns and cities still specialize in trade and agriculture and are the centers of economic activity in their regions. Besides their obvious importance for the country’s local economy, the towns and cities of Tanzania have many historical and cultural suites of interest to visitors.
Located in the northern highlands of Tanzania, between the twin peaks of mt Meru and mt Kilimanjaro, Arusha is the safari capital of the country. Guests embarking on the popular northern safari circuit all stop in the ‘Geneva of Africa’ to prepare for their journeys into the African bush. From its two-lane streets, the dramatic crater of mt Meru stands over the town like a majestic sentinel, its crater strewn with thick clouds, its slopes dark with verdant forests. Arusha’s ideal location near the major national parks and its highland setting makes it a peaceful idyll of relaxation before the start of an exciting journey.
Built by the Germans as a centre for colonial administration in the early twentieth century, arusha was a sleepy town with a garrison stationed at the old boma and a few shops around a grassy roundabout. From its back water status amidst the farmlands and plantations of northern Tanzania, today arusha is one of the country’s most prosperous towns. The site for the United Nations criminal tribunal on the Rwandan genocide and the headquarters of the tripartite commission for East African cooperation, Arusha is a major center of Tanzanian diplomacy and international relations.
These days Bagamoyo is a centre for dhow sailboat building on the Tanzanian coast. A quiet village with a few German colonial buildings still standing, it was once one of the most important trade ports on the east African coast, and the penultimate stop of ivory and slave caravan travelling on foot on their way from lake Tanganyika to Zanzibar. Missionaries active in abolishing slave trade made Bagamoyo a centre of their activities. The name ‘Bagamoyo’ means ‘lay down your heart’ in Kiswahili, and this is particularly poignant given that the town was stop on the mainland before captured slaves were sent to destinations unknown from Zanzibar, never to return.
DAR ES SALAAM
Dar es Salaam is Tanza baynia‘s largest city and economic capital. Located in a quiet off the Indian Ocean coast, the city has grown in economic importance to become a prosperous city in East African region. Its bustling harbor is the main port in Tanzania and its industrial area produces products for export and use through out the country. Government offices all have their bases in Dar es Salaam, and diplomatic missions and non-governmental organizations in the country all have a presence in this bustling city. During German occupation in the early 20th century, Dar es Salaam was a centre for colonial administration and the main contact point between the agricultural mainland and the world of trade and commerce in the Indian Ocean and Swahili coast. Remnants of colonial presence, both German and British, can still be seen in the land marks and architecture around the city. The national museum, the village museum and many colorful markets are well worthy a visit. Numerous historical landmarks, including st Joseph’s cathedral, the white father’s missionary house’ the Botanical gardens and the old state house make for an interesting walking tour around the waterfront and the city centre.
Located in the heartland of Tanzania; Dodoma is the nation’s official political capital and the seat of government in the country. Comparably much smaller and less developed than the country’ commercial centre Dar es Salaam, Dodoma remains a centre for national politics. Situated on the Eastern edge of the Southern highlands, the city is surrounded by a rich agricultural area and pleasant scenery. It a centre of Tanzania‘s wine industry and the Tanganyika vineyard company is actively promoting its products.
Historically, Dodoma was a stop over on the over land caravan route that travelled from the Swahili coast inlands towards Lake Tanganyika. Early in the 20th century, the city became a major point on the central line railway, which carried agricultural crops for export to the harbor in Dar es Salaam. In recent times the countries economic base has declined in favor of the coastal city, but in the early days of Tanzanian independence, there was a popular political motion to move the entire government to the town in the Southern highlands. These days, the government divides its time between the two cities.
Located in the southern highlands of Tanzania, near the country’s legislative capital of Dodoma and the agricultural centre of morogoro, Iringa is a pleasant small town and a focus of regional agriculture and production. Its streets are quiet and peaceful, and the market offers a colorful scene of traditional African culture. Iringa overlooks the little Ruaha River and is a popular stopping point for visitors to Ruaha National park.
Historically, Iringa was a centre of colonial administration. During German occupation, the German military constructed the town as a fortified defence against marauding Hehe tribal warriors intent on driving them out of the region. Gangilonga rock, a site just outside the town, is a legendary spot where the Hehe chief at that time, Mkwawa, met his people and decided vhow to fight the Germans. Iringa was also the site of several battles during the first and second world wars, and common wealth war graves are just located out of town.
The bustling town of Kigoma is the regional capital of western Tanzania and central port in the area. Located on the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika, Kigoma is surrounded by rugged mountains and forests that make it a pleasing and beautiful location. In past Kigoma has been in competition with nearby ujiji, but over the last decades, Kigoma has gained a strong economic foothold in the region and its port is of central importance to the activities of the area. Historically, the town was the final stop for the central railway built in the 20th century to transport agricultural goods from the African hinterland to the East African coast. The town makes a good over land base for visists and chimpanzee safaris to both Gombe stream National Park and Mahale Mountains National park.
Near the Zambian boarder deep in the southern highlands, the city of Mbeya is the agricultural capital in the country’s South west region. The Mbeya mountain range lies to the north, and the Poroto mountain range lies to the south east. Coffee, tea, bananas and cocoa all of which are grown in the region, are sent to Mbeya for packaging and transport. Mbeya’s location also makes it an ideal transit point with goods travelling by roads and railway between Tanzania and neighboring Zambia and Malawi.
In addition to its agricultural prosperity, Mbeya’s mineral wealth has attracted investment and provides the country with a good source of income. The town was originally founded in the 1930’s when gold was discovered and a ‘gold rush’ ensued. But instead of the supply running out, and Mbeya becoming the ghost town. Its mountain views and pleasant weather makes it a good stop over point for overland travelers heading south.
Nestled at the base of mt Kilimanjaro, Moshi is the coffee-producing centre of the country. All around the town and on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, vast plantations of coffee blanket the area. Coffee is a main stay of life in Moshi, and the seasonal coffee auctions, where international bid for whole sale coffee, is an event not to be missed if you’re in town. Sugar plantations are also of central importance to the region’s economy and can be seen outside the town. Cultural tourism programmes can arrange short hikes and day trips to tribes and villages, and also tours of nearby coffee farms.
But the main reason visitors come to Moshi is to climb mountain whose thick clouds and snow capped peak tower over the entire agricultural towns. Climbing expeditions depart for Kilimanjaro national park early in the morning before the clouds that cluster daily around the mountain top have risen, and when the air is fresh and cool. Whether you’re in Moshi to the top of Africa or learn more about coffee growing and production, Moshi is a quiet haven of tranquil peace, its sedate streets offering a well welcome in a beautiful setting.
The city of Mwanza is the major Tanzanian port on Lake Victoria and a centre of economic importance in the region. The lake borders Uganda to the northwest and Kenya to the north east, and export and transport between the countries is a foundation of Mwanza’s economy. Around the city of Mwanza, the land is primarily devoted to agricultural enterprise. Tea, cotton, and coffee plantations throughout the area produce large volumes of cash crops that pass through Mwanza on their way to the market. For visitors, the city makes a good base from which to explore nearby Rubondo island national park and the western parts of the Serengeti. Rubonda island National Park offers pleasant day-hikes and bird watching around the lake shore. Mwanza’s proximity to the western Sersngeti makes it necessary to stop for visitors who want to experience a less busy part of the park and see the magic of the Serengeti without the parade of safari vehicles and seasonal crowds. Mwanza is also the area of the Sukuma tribe, the largest tribe in Tanzania, who have inhabited and farmed the region for centuries. Cultural tourism programs to their local villages and farms can be arranged through the local cultural centre.
One a centre of Swahili trade with the African mainland, the town of Pangani is now a sleepy back water that little remembers its days of splendor. An old German administrative Boma still stands behind a colonnade of all shade trees and the former prison, painted a fading ochre red, looks over the river’s lazy waters. Old houses along the main road offer lived-examples of colonial and traditional Swahili architecture, the buildings slowly crumbling against the monsoon winds. Visitors passing through the area would do well to explore what remains of the old town on foot. Even a short walk rewards visitors with a glimpse of quiet life in the old trading towns along the Swahili coast.
Zanzibar ‘s old quarter, also known as Zanzibar town, is a fascinating maze of narrow streets and alleyways which lead past numerous old houses and mosques, ornamented palaces, shops and bazaars. Many buildings in stone town date from the 19th century slave boom. Highlights include the magnificent House of wonders, the palace museum and the sea front market in Forodhani gardens. The town is situated along the waterfront and has a number of wonderful cafes and restaurants that overlook the sea and magnificent sunsets.
The sleepy town of Tabora, in the hinterland of western Tanzania remains a key transit in the country. The central line railway branches at Tabora to both kigoma and Mwanza, and visitors travelling by train often use tabora as a stopover point during their journeys. The regions around Tabora are famous for the honey they produce and large jerry cans and bottles of the famous nectar can be bought in the village market.
Historically, tabora was once a major trading point and stopover for caravans that connected lake Tanganyika and central Africa with the coastal towns of B AGAMOYO to the north east. Its former importance is illustrated by the fact that the infamous slave and ivory trader Tippu Tip, who lived during the 19th century, made the centre of his vast trading empire. The town was also an important mission station during early European exploration of Tanzania. Stanley and Livingstone stopped here on their journeys. During the German occupation, Tabora was one of the most populated and prosperous towns in the whole of East Africa.
The bustling port of Tanga is Tanzania’s secondary port after the urban centre of Dar es Salaam. ALTHOUGH the port is a centre of marine export, import and trade, the town of Tanga still has a quiet, laid-back feel to it, as if not much to it has changed over the decades. Indeed along the older sections of the town, examples of old colonial architecture and a few Arab houses still give testament to the area’s importance during the heyday of the Indian Ocean trade. The fish market and beaches make a pleasant stop during a day trip, and the city is a good place for buying supplies if you’re headed to one of the more remote areas of beaches on the Northern coast.