What is there to see and do in Tanzania?

For most people, a holiday to an East African nation like Tanzania will mean only one thing – going on a safari. However, there is much more to be discovered in Tanzania if you are prepared to do a little travelling.

The following are some of the most popular things to see and do in the country, as well as one or two that you may not have thought of.

Go on a safari

Of course, we can’t ignore the incredible nature reserves that make safaris in Tanzania so special. As well as the Serengeti National Park, there is the Ngorongoro Crater Reserve and Tarangire National Park, to name just a couple.

All of these protected areas are full of amazing wildlife, including the big five of lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffaloes. There is a lot to look out for on a safari in Tanzania, which makes it a wonderful choice for animal lovers. Arguably the most impressive spectacle is the annual wildebeest migration through the Serengeti and into the neighbouring Maasai Mara in Kenya.

Discover history and culture

One thing that people don’t often associate Tanzania with is historical and cultural attractions, but there are some incredible sites to be discovered, particularly on Zanzibar. Stone Town, the capital of the islands, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the cultural diversity displayed in its architecture and its fascinating history.

The city was once an important trading port in East Africa, where everything from grain and ivory to slaves were traded. Among the reasons why it stands out is the range of cultures that have influenced its development.

In its early years, it was the Swahili civilisation that had the greatest impact, although many of the simple dwellings built during this time no longer exist. The arrival of the Portuguese brought the first of the European influences, with the British later adding their own touches.

However, it was the Omani Arabs who had the biggest impact on Stone Town’s appearance, with many of the buildings still retaining distinctly Arabic features in their design. Indian tradesmen, who emigrated to Zanzibar in the 19th century, also added to the mishmash of architectural styles, most notably ornate verandahs.

Wandering around Stone Town’s narrow, winding streets is therefore a real treat, as you never know what you may find around the next corner.

Climb a mountain

Tanzania is home to Africa’s highest summit – Mount Kilimanjaro – and climbing to the top of this peak is a big draw for many active travellers. Standing some 5,895 m high, Kilimanjaro is the highest walkable mountain in the world.

Climbing Kilimanjaro is a great challenge to undertake on holiday, but make sure that you allow at least six days to complete the trek – and this will depend on the route you choose. There are six ways to reach Uhuru Peak – Kilimanjaro’s highest point – with the Shira and Rongai trails among the best because they tend to be less crowded and more scenic than some of the other options.

Do remember, however, that despite being walkable, Kilimanjaro is not an easy trek. You should get in touch with your tour operator well in advance of your trip to find out what preparations you should make in the months leading up to your getaway. Some moderate physical training ahead of the hike is likely to make your climb all the more enjoyable.