Until you have seen it, it is incredible difficult to describe the Serengeti to someone, with its vast open grasslands, animals as far as the eye can see for some reason the sky just seems bigger there (I told you it was difficult to describe). Recently the World Travel Awards published their results and Tanzania was voted Africa’s Leading Destination so in this blog we thought we’d take a look at Tanzania and what makes it so special, and have a look at a few other places to visit besides the famous Serengeti.
Let’s start in the Serengeti, home to the great migration. Few experiences compare to being surrounded by over a million animals as they continually move to find the best grazing areas and with them come the countless predators that are looking to gorge themselves before the migration moves on. This natural spectacle is both thriving and profoundly moving. You also find amazing lodges within Serengeti and some of our favorites being the mobile camps, that follow the migration to make sure you are always part of the action. There is something quite incredible about lying in your tent at night (and I don’t mean a tent from your local outdoor store either) and hearing thousands of wildebeest move and feed around you. Even when the migration is not close to where you are staying, there always seems to be animals everywhere and action around every corner.
Some of the lesser known parks such as Selous and Ruaha offer an exceptional wildlife experience and can be slightly easier on the bank account. Ruaha is Tanzania’s largest national park and is relatively unknown, named after the Great Ruaha River that serves as a lifeline for the animals of the park in the dry season. The banks of the Ruaha are a permanent hunting ground for lion, leopard, cheetah, jackal, hyena and the rare and endangered African wild dog. Selous Game Reserve boasts an enticing mix of abundant wildlife and varied terrain to explore. Game viewing here is rewarding, with good numbers of wild dog, lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and more than 400 species of bird. With a variety of different safari activities such as boat and walking safaris as well as traditional safaris, it makes each day here feel very different.
The Ngorogoro Crater is as unique as it is incredible. Your drive from the airport to get to the lodge will take you up the back of the crater and up onto the edge, and once you get your first view down onto the crater floor is a feeling you will probably never forget. Staying on the edge of the Crater at andBeyond Ngorogoro Crater lodge is quite the experience, but the real fun happens when you head down onto the crater floor and you are surrounded by approximately 25000 animals that call this crater home. The backdrop of the crater walls makes for some stunning photographic opportunities as you see the animals wander through the grasslands on the crater floor towards the lake.
For me, Lake Manyara is a ‘must do’ in Tanzania. Besides the thousands of flamingos that call this lake their home, the game viewing is wonderful with a chance of seeing tree climbing lions, the birding is exceptional and the hospitality and andBeyond Lake Manyara lodge is world class. The rooms are built up in the trees so you will wake up and feel as if you are in the canopy of the trees and if you are lucky enough, you could have herds of elephants feeding below your room.
The people, firstly the Maasai people of East Africa, live in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania along the Great Rift Valley. They’re well known for the special red cloth they wear, which is called a Shuka, and their highly energetic customs, once considered fierce warriors and feared by all the tribes in the area. They openly welcome visitors to the area to experience their culture and lifestyle first hand. If you have ever been lucky enough to visit Tanzania you would agree that they are some of the nicest, friendliest people in the world, helpful and always smiling and this combines to make the hospitality experience unbeatable from the moment you step off the plane.
Zanzibar was voted the best beach destination in Africa by the same awards, World Travel Awards. This tropical paradise is exactly what you would expect, white sandy beaches, warm turquoise water and if you time it right, really well made cocktails. Spend your days here relaxing on the beach, taking in the history of Stone Town, sunset set cruises and scuba diving. One of our favorite hotels to stay in on the main land is Zuri Zanzibar, and if you feel like the private island treatment, you just can’t beat andBeyond Mnemba Island. Zanzibar is one of the most incredible destinations on the continent of Africa.
Tanzania is truly an incredible place to visit, from overnighting in Arusha when you arrive, visiting coffee plantations with Kilimanjaro as a backdrop, then choose from some of the best lodges in Africa with arguable the best game viewing on the continent. Have a look at our sample itinerary – Tanzania & Zanzibar, have a look at and if anything sparks your interest, just contact us.