Situated on the Indian Ocean on Africa’s east coast, Tanzania is rapidly achieving status as one of Southern Africa’s top tourist go-to places. Its attractions are as varied as its climate, which changes from tropical at the coast to temperate in the highlands.
Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and reputed to be the highest freestanding mountain in the world at 5 895m, is a magnet for adventure travellers of all ages. Thousands of climbers attempt it each year, although not all make it to Uhuru Peak, the snow-capped highest point. If it’s on your client’s bucket list, however, make sure they use reputable guides and have the necessary equipment and levels of fitness.
Tanzania is also home to some of the world’s greatest wildlife parks and game reserves, including the Serengeti National Park, where the natural world’s “Greatest Show on Earth” – the wildebeest migration of millions of animals – takes place annually.
Although July and August are the best months for seeing the migration when the animals are forced to pour across the Grumeti River, you’ll still see tens of thousands of wildebeest on the Serengeti savannah from late November and December onwards, followed by attendant predators of lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena and jackal.
The Ngorongoro Crater, the largest (another superlative!) intact caldera in the world, is one of Africa’s most spectacular sights. You descend steeply from its rim through mist-shrouded slopes into the bottom of the 610m-deep crater below where, with the exception of giraffe and impala, almost every other species of African plains game is in abundance, as well as a high density of predators such as lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena and jackal. The crater gets very crowded in high season so make sure your clients are at the gate at early-morning opening time.
Another memorable experience is a visit to the nearby Lake Manyara National Park, with its thousands of flamingos and tree-climbing lions.
The World Heritage Site of the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania’s south, at 50 000km2 one of the biggest parks in the world and the biggest protected area in Africa, doesn’t have the reputation or developed infrastructure of the more famous Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, but your clients will see huge numbers of big game and birds, without scores of other vehicles.
The exotic island of Zanzibar, often referred to as the “Spice Island”, a melting pot of African, Arab, Indian and European cultures for over a millennium, is a totally different world. Stone Town, another World Heritage Site and its historic centre – so-called because most of its old buildings are made out of coral stone – is a maze of twisting alleyways, old houses, intricately carved wooden doors and balustrades, bazaars and mosques.
Zanzibar was one of East Africa’s most notorious slave-trading ports, and the house where explorer and missionary Dr David Livingstone conducted his campaign for the abolition of slavery, is well worth a visit. It was in the little village of Ujiji, a notorious Arab slaving market in the west of Tanzania, that American journalist Henry Morton Stanley finally met David Livingstone after months of searching, with the historic greeting, “Dr Livingstone, I presume?”
Your clients can also visit the poignant former Stone Town slave market; the beautiful Anglican Cathedral with its crucifix alleged to be made from the tree under which Dr Livingstone was buried; or, for something more modern, the house where the late Freddie Mercury, singer of British band Queen, was born.
The gorgeous beaches, warm blue seas, pristine coral reefs, teeming marine life and fabulous choice of water sports in Zanzibar and its neighbouring tropical islands are also magnets for tourists.
Zanzibar has some of the best snorkelling and scuba diving in the world, with over 25 different fabulous dive sites. Your clients may spot over 400 different types of reef fish, dolphins, turtles and other marine life in and about the colourful coral reefs that surround the archipelago. There’s accommodation for all pockets, from five-star resorts, comfortable B&Bs and self-catering villas and apartments, to beach chalets and camping facilities.
There’s still much more to Tanzania – for example, Olduvai Gorge, home of some of the world’s earliest hominin fossils; Lake Victoria, with a surface area of 70 000km2 the second largest freshwater lake in the world and Africa’s largest; Gombe Stream National Park, where Jane Goodall famously habituated wild chimpanzees; and many other inviting destinations.