10 Things to Do in Tanzania for a Memorable African Vacation in 2024

The wanderlust in you summons a trip to this East African gem. From wildlife adventures for adrenaline junkies to a series of culturally-rich islands, towns, and countryside habitats, Tanzania’s timeless aesthetic keeps the traveler in you alive.

Beyond natural wonders, this region brings together a series of interconnected African cultures that feed your curiosity about such communities.

Massai warriors, guardians of age-old customs, sustainable community living circles, and cheery local markets with antiques you won’t find on your usual travels – Tanzania has plenty to offer.

We’ll discuss 10 top things to do in Tanzania and some tips to destine your vacation a spot in those travel diaries.

Brief About Tanzania

Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa and sits a little south of the equator. The people of this African nation are committed to conserving its ecosystems to let the past coexist with modern changes. Catch the famous Big Five wildlife stars in action or explore the terrains of Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. The country’s wildlife catalog will rediscover your appreciation for nature.

Travelers indulge in a slow travel form of adventures unfolding in Tanzania. Move from floating hot air balloons with surreal landscape views to mobile camps that guarantee a safeguarded peek into how the animal ecosystem thrives.

Here are four facts about Tanzania you probably didn’t know:

  • Friendly Hadza Tribes: They are among the last remaining hunter-gatherer tribes globally. 
  • Chaga’s Underground Homes: These now secluded underground homes under Mt. Kilimanjaro were defensive fortresses against Maasai raids. 
  • Land of Butterflies: Visit the biodiversity hotspot of the Usambara Mountains to view over half of Tanzania’s 1,000 butterfly species.
  • An abundance of African Blackwood: Also called Mpingo trees, their wood is renowned for making woodwind instruments like oboes and bagpipes.

Let’s discuss some entertaining things to do in Tanzania!

10 Best Things to do in Tanzania in 2024

Welcome the sound of “Jumbo” as locals greet you with jolly faces! Here’s a list of 10 exciting activities to do in Tanzania.

Climb to the Top of Mt. Kilimanjaro

Africa’s tallest peak calls all trekkers for a thrilling ascent above the Tanzanian landscape. Don’t sweat about the technicalities; the locals have made the trek accessible to amateur trekkers through non-technical routes.

The climb to the summit navigates you across five distinct climate zones. Expect rainforests, the cultivation zone, the alpine desert zone, and also the arctic summit zone! Keep your mind fresh, as you’ll learn a great deal about ecological diversity and the need for nature’s conservation.  

Once you conquer the Uhuru peak, expect jaw-dropping views of shiny glaciers (if you’re lucky), the crater’s lunar landscape, and the never-ending plains of Africa. Be sure to befriend local climbers and the best Kilimanjaro tour operators to boost your cultural understanding of Mt. Kilimanjaro from a Tanzanian perspective.

Ideally, pack your hiking bags with a mindset of sustainable trekking! This, coupled with your sense of personal achievement, makes for an applaudable first-time trek to Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Explore this 6-day trek through Umbwe to the top of the Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Blues of Zanzibar

An archipelago off the coast of this nation, Zanzibar’s shores will leave you in awe of popular remote islands. You can swim or snorkel in turquoise waters or simply roll around the white sandy beaches; culture shocks will inevitably keep pouring in. Also, the best time to visit Zanzibar is ideally between June and October.

Swallow the sight of Zanzibar island’s abundant coral reefs and go underwater to watch little aquatic ecosystems thrive in a world of their own. Put on your daring hat as you’ll be diving in deep waters. Your guides will educate you on marine conservation practices in the region.

What’s best is how the island’s vibrant history blends in a variety of influences. Expect starkly distinct sub-cultures like that of Persians, Indians, and Arabs. If you’re not much of the icebreaker, go sightseeing along the Stone Town’s architecture or assemble a local crew to row the traditional dhow boats.

Don’t forget to register for exotic Zanzibar tours, including spice farm tours that explain the island’s role in the global spice trade.

Serengeti National Park

Easily the epitome of African wilderness, the Great Migration is only one among the dozens of things to do in Serengeti. This annual movement showcases the royal sight of 1+ million wildebeests and thousands of zebras migrating clockwise from the rugged habitats of Serengeti to Masai Mara.

The park’s ultra-huge savannas are set against acacia trees that are brimming with wildlife activity. You’ll be amazed at how innovatively the national park protects the ecosystem through sustainable tourism.

Don’t think twice before booking a Serengeti safari package! January to March are perfect months to visit since it’s calving season. That means the big cats are out on the loose, looking to hunt prey. Consider saving some time for Central Serengeti since the Seronera River Valley offers a blend of wildlife from the grassy south and the wooded north.

Kilwa Kisiwani UNESCO Heritage Site

This UNESCO world heritage is tucked away off Tanzania’s southern coast. Nearby settlements put forth a hospitality experience you can’t miss. The Swahili Coast’s popular tales will seem more enchanting than ever once you sing along to their tunes and learn about their trade-time hardships.

Spend time at the ruins of this once-medieval city. The Great Mosque and the Palace of Husuni Kubwa educate visitors on East Africa’s pre-colonial trade empire and deep-rooted Islamic culture.

You’ll also notice how the community preserves its archaeological beauties without affecting travelers’ touring experience.

Get a glimpse into the slow lifestyle of the thousand-something locals who fish for a living and scout coral stones for entertainment during low tide. Once you’re done cooling off, head to Masoko Pwani, Kipatimu Caves, and the Selous Game Reserve.

Ngorongoro Crater

No one who visits Tanzania misses the world’s biggest intact volcanic caldera. Although in a relatively confined setting, this crater is home to 50,000+ animals. You’ll find the Big Five and an endless variety of animals strolling and hunting with their innovative tactical attack plans.

Spare some time for the crater’s lush landscapes and water sources, which are natural enclosures for wildlife. Also, get into cultural interactions with the Maasai people to watch how traditional ways of living coexist with wildlife conservation efforts.

Be observant as you drive through the Lodoare gate and move upwards towards Oldeani Forest. The crater view presents a delightful sight of yellow and green hues alongside plains.

While the Tanzania crater safari will leave you spellbound, the birdlife hosts everything from flamingos to Egyptian vultures and kori bustards. Keep your cameras rolling!

Climb Ol Doinyo Lengai

Ol Doinyo Lengai is proudly called the “Mountain of God” by the Massai people. It’s the only natrocarbonatite volcano on earth and holds a high level of geological significance. While the climb tests your bodily and spiritual endurance, it culminates in views of the Great Rift Valley and the ash cone towering over the landscape.

Remember, don’t give up since the summit holds the majestic sights of Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Mount Meru, and Mt. Kilimanjaro. Try to plan for a less cloudy day for interrupted views of these four spectacles.

It could easily be the steepest trek you have done, with 1,600 meters of elevation in only five kilometers. The entire inclined trail typically takes 6-8 hours. We recommend staying at either of the Maasai villages or lake-side lodges to double-check the weather conditions before your ascent.

Coast of Pemba

If you’re looking for beachy and island things to do in Tanzania, the Coast of Pemba’s green hills, clove plantations, and underwater expeditions are a treat. These shores and inroads are less traveled upon than in the mass tourism frequenting its sister island, Zanzibar.

Participate in diving and snorkeling adventures to watch the Indian Ocean’s best coral reefs bloom away to glory. Enquire with sustainable travel organizations about a trip into the Pemba Channel. The collection of exotic aquatic creatures like reef sharks, manta rays, and occasional whales keeps you amazed throughout your Tanzanian vacation.

Opt for educational experiences that lift the lid on less-discovered habitats of birds like the Pemba Flying Fox. This giant fruit bat’s face resembles a fox, and its bronze-orange fur gives it a fairly distinctive personality.

What’s more, this island is separated from mainland Zanzibar and Tanzania! It also holds a reputation for juju traditional medicines, giving it the tag of a “magic” island.

Gombe Stream National Park

This national park is located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. Imagine taking a stroll at Jane Goodall’s groundbreaking chimpanzee research site. Find proof of her study on chimpanzee behavior as you observe these animals bonding in their natural habitat. After all, they’re our closest relatives in the animal kingdom.

Be brave enough to go for mini treks amid the dense forests. You’ll spot other primates like olive baboons and red colobus monkeys hopping and scotching across trees.

Sunset boat safaris, cultural encounters, nature picnics, or wildlife observation – you’re in for an immersive experience.

Be sure to book a spot in advance, as the Gombe Stream National Park is careful to keep the visitors-to-chimpanzee ratio in favor of the animals.

Thanda Island

This award-winning private island has stolen the limelight through its idealistic blend of luxury and isolation. Get into the Shungimbili Island Marine Reserve and hire a locked and loaded boathouse to accompany your marine activities.

The Olofsson family has named the island after the Zulu word “love”. Their admiration for the ecosystem is evident in how they protect endangered sea turtles camping on Thanda Island’s shores. 

Forbes rates this as the most environmentally friendly hotel globally. Even better, once booked, the entire island is yours.

The following factors will carve this location into your travel journal:

Outdoor showers for a starry bathing setup

Tropical outdoor gardens with exotic plants

Swimming pools and sports courts shaded by palm trees

Second-largest solar farm in Tanzania

350-metre private luxury property

Plantation-house design

Outdoor wooden veranda dining area and a glass-rimmed pool

Indoor wooden furniture crafted from the island’s trees

Glimpse of the Great Migration

This is undoubtedly considered the most spectacular wildlife show on earth. Each visual is iconic, from the calving at Ngorongoro Conservation Area to the sights of the river crossing later in the year.

Picture the sight of countless wildebeest jumping across a river brimming with crocodiles. You also get to watch zebras and Thompson gazelle make their path through the plains of Serengeti and Masai Mara.

Gaze into slowly evolving progressions made by starving predators. The whole shift of these animals from drier lands to greener, vaster areas is a sight to behold.

Overall, this migratory path allows two periods of observation. One, where the wildebeests are lost in grazing, and second, when the action of killing and defending advances the nature of wildlife.

All in all, capture all the pictures you want, but don’t forget to live in the moment. The collective visual and sensory offerings of the African wilderness will make you revisit it again and again.

Tips to Plan Your Tour to Tanzania

Here are some tips when planning what things you’d like to do in Tanzania:

  1. Indulge in Cultural Exchanges

What sets Tanzanian lands apart is the depth of cultural diversity they hold. Find your way to tiny villages and cultural hubs that emphasize spreading knowledge of traditional crafts, gastronomy, and settlements.

Enquire about cultural exchange weekends, during which you can teach English or other skills in exchange for lessons on wildlife conservation or caretaking.

  1. Time Your Vacation Mindfully

Aim for the dry season of June to October if your primary purpose is to experience wildlife safaris. The sparse vegetation, lesser rainfall, and clearer skies make it perfect for spotting animals. If climbing and beachy areas are your thing, opt for January to March and December to February, respectively.

Lastly, if you’re traveling for bird-watching spots, plan for November to April. That’s when migratory birds enter from Europe and North Africa.

  1. Choose Suitable Accommodation

The price of your stay is determined by its proximity to wildlife spots and the level of luxury and comfort you desire. Research well to find spots to camp in the forests or on the outskirts.

If luxury is your thing, look for premium tented camps or boutique African lodges.

  1. Pack Responsibly

You’ll be entering an ecosystem vulnerable to the downsides of metropolitan habits. Be cautious when you pack in clothing, daily essentials, and other camping gear.

The agenda is to avoid microplastics and chemical-infused products that can interfere with the freshwater bodies animals depend on. We also recommend plenty of sunscreen, mosquito repellent, and a few smartphone applications that recognize all sorts of flora and fauna in Tanzania.

Key Takeaways

You’re in for a Tanzanian safari adventure beyond what you can imagine. Expect the unexpected as you drive along the captivating fields of Serengeti and the striking Ngorongoro Crater. Don’t hesitate to request personalized safaris according to your sighting preferences.

Our team guarantees to stay loyal to the pillar of sustainable tourism through extensive support for local communities and businesses.

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