TANZANIA TOURS AND SAFARIS

Tanzania is a country in East Africa which boasts three of Africa’s Seven Natural Wonders as well as the  highest mountain and the largest and deepest lake on the continent. It’s a bucket list destination promising travellers a feast of breathtaking scenery, incredible wildlife sightings and a rich cultural experience. Your 1st choice for Tanzania Tours and Safaris - MoAfrika Tours

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The United Republic of Tanzania is a sovereign state of East Africa and falls within the African Great Lakes Region. It borders Kenya and Uganda to the north; Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west; Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the south; and the Indian Ocean to the east. Mount Kilimanjaro lies in north-eastern Tanzania.

The country has a population of some 55 million people made up of several ethnic, linguistic and religious groups. It’s not a wealthy country and many of its local inhabitants live in abject poverty or, at least, struggle to survive on their meagre earnings. However, the country is rich in natural resources and tourism is the lifeblood of Tanzania.

Three of Africa’s Great Lakes fall partly within Tanzania. Lake Victoria lies in the north-western region and is Africa’s largest lake. Lake Tanganyika is the continents deepest lake and renowned for its unique fish species. The Zanzibar Archipelago is the hot and humid eastern shoreline and, although often thought of as an independent country, is very much part of the fabric of the country.

The mighty Kalambo waterfall is found in the southwestern region of Rukwa and is the second-largest uninterrupted fall in Africa. The Menai Bay Conservation Area falls within the Zanzibar Archipelago and is the continent’s largest protected marine area. It is also the site of Africa’s highest points as well as one of its lowest. Mount Kilimanjaro towers 5 895 metres above sea level and the floor of Lake Tanganyika is 352 metres below sea level.

From a cultural perspective, Tanzania is one of the most diverse nations in Africa with over 100 different languages spoken. Swahili is one of the stronger language groups and English is spoken widely in the popular tourism belts.

Tanzania is a compound unity of two states; Tanganyika and Zanzibar. The name ‘Tanganyika’ is derived from the Swahili words tanga meaning ‘sail’ and nyika meaning ‘uninhabited plain or wilderness’. It creates a beautiful symbolism which aptly describes the vastness of the region; sail in the wilderness.

Zanzibar is derived from the local word Zenji meaning ‘black’ and the Arabic word barr meaning ‘coast or shore’.

The creation of the United Republic of Tanzania followed Tanganyika’s independence from British rule and the unification of Zanzibar. The diverse spectrum of tribes and language groups have been allowed the freedom to celebrate and safeguard their cultural heritage and ethnic divisions are rare in Tanzania. On the whole, Tanzania is a case study in political stability for the African continent.

More than a third of Tanzania’s land is set aside as protected wilderness or marine conservation zones. There are 16 national parks in the country as well as a number of protected game and forest reserves. The biodiversity of Tanzania is staggering and many regions are home to some of the most endangered and rare animal and plant species. Many amphibians and reptile species are strictly endemic to Tanzania and are included in the International Union of Conservation of Nature’s Red List.

Tanzania’s economy is heavily reliant on agriculture and the country is a breadbasket for tea, coffee and maize production. Tourism contributes some 17% to the country’s GDP and offers employment to one out of 10 people (11%).

The vast majority of tourists visit Zanzibar and the ‘northern circuit’ of Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, and Mount Kilimanjaro. The Serengeti tops the list as the most popular tourist destination in Tanzania, followed by Lake Manyara National Park and Tarangire National Park.

Poor infrastructure investment and poor quality water supply and sanitation continue to plague the growth and prosperity of Tanzania. Many utilities are barely able to cover their operation and maintenance costs through revenues because of low tariffs and poor efficiency.

Avoid drinking tap water; only drink bottled water provided by your hotel or safari lodge. And when travelling solo around Tanzania, anticipate problems with transportation and poor road infrastructure.

Malaria in Tanzania is one of the leading causes of death, in particular it is a major risk for children aged 6 months to 5 years. Travellers visiting the major tourist destinations in Tanzania and Zanzibar should take precautions to avoid contracting malaria. This includes taking anti-malaria tablets as well as liberally applying mosquito repellant in the evenings when mosquitos are most active.

There are a number of reasons travellers choose to visit Tanzania but the 5 most popular destinations offer an abundance of exotic encounters and wild natural wonders. From the famous Great Migration and endless sea of flamingos in the national parks of Tanzania to the exotic tropical beaches of the serene coastline and spice mecca of Stone Town in Zanzibar; you’ll collect a treasure-trove of memories to cherish forever.

Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is an inactive volcano which lies on the north-eastern side of Tanzania, close to the Kenya border. It’s the highest mountain peak in Africa and the world’s highest free-standing mountain. Its famous for its magnificent snow-capped peak and presents an unrivalled hiking challenge for the world’s outdoor adventure enthusiasts.

Approximately 25 000 people attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro annually and about two-thirds are successful. Altitude sickness is the most common reason climbers turn back or, tragically, lose their lives on the great mountain peak. The mountain rises over 6 000 metres above the vast African savanna plains and was first summited in 1889.

Mount Kilimanjaro has three volcanic cones; Mawenzi and Shira are extinct but Kibo is dormant and could one day erupt again. The most recent activity was about 200 years ago and the last major eruption was some 360 000 years ago.

The Kilimanjaro biosphere is extremely diverse; hikers start off in the low-lying cultivated farmlands and progress upwards through a lush rain forest and onwards through heath, moorland and alpine desert eco-zones to the arctic summit.

A major concern is the mountain’s snow caps are diminishing and some 80 percent of their icy mass has been lost since 1912. Environmentalists predict Mount Kilimanjaro could be completely free of its snow cap within the next 20 years. To prevent soil erosion, almost 5 million trees have been planted around the base of the gigantic mountain.

The majority of international tourists fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport for amazing safari tours of major destinations in the northern region of Tanzania. It’s the ‘Gateway to Africa’s Wildlife Heritage’ and the first stop on your journey to Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, Arusha National Park, Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park

Kilimanjaro International Airport is located in the Arusha Region which is one of Tanzania’s 31 administrative regions. Arusha is the largest city in the region and where you’ll spend your first night on a safari tour of Tanzania.

The present area of Arusha Region used to be Maasai land. This is still the dominant community in the area and their influence can be seen in much of the region’s rich cultural heritage, town names and cuisine.

The Great Rift Valley runs north-to-south through the middle of the Arusha Region. Oldonyo Lengai - meaning ‘Mountain of God’ in the Maasai language - is an active volcano found north of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It’s also home to Mount Meru which is the second-highest mountain in Tanzania after Mount Kilimanjaro. Other geographical features include the Monduli mountains, Mount Loolmalasin, Mount Longido and the Olduvai Gorge. Book your Tanzania Safari and Tour Today.

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park is the sixth largest national park in Tanzania. It’s located in the Manyara Region and gets its name from the Tarangire River which crosses the national park. The river is the lifeblood of the region and the only primary source of fresh water for wild animals during the annual dry season.

A large part of the Great Migration takes place within the Tarangire wilderness corridor; when thousands of wildebeest and zebras migrate in the dry season and congregate in wetland plains of Tarangire National Park.

The fauna and flora of Tarangire National Park is highly diverse; the area spans some 2 850 square kilometres and is a lush mix of acacia woodland, commiphora-combretum woodland, seasonally-flooded savanna grasslands and ancient baobab trees. In particular, the region is renowned for its large population of elephants and high density of baobab trees.

The best time to visit Tarangire National Park is between June and November during the dry season. You can expect to see vast herds of zebra, wildebeest and Cape buffalo along with the rest of the Big 5 and the usual congregation of antelope, giraffe and predators such as wild dog and hyena as well as lion and leopard. A special sighting is the highly endangered black rhino.

Tarangire National Park is heaven for bird lovers; it’s home to more than 550 bird species, many of them endemic to the region or endangered and rare species.

It’s a popular first-stop destination in Tanzania as it’s located a scenic 2-hour drive from Arusha and a mere 70 kilometres from Lake Manyara National Park. It’s often overshadowed as a tourist destination in Tanzania by the famous Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater but Tarangire National Park is a welcome surprise for those veering off the beaten path to pay it a visit. It has huge concentrations of animals in the peak months and a fraction of the visitor numbers compared to the more popular national parks.Book your Tanzania Safari and Tour Today.

Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park is a natural corridor which spans the Arusha Region and Manyara Region; consisting of a narrow strip of beautiful wilderness which runs between the Gregory Rift Wall to the west and Lake Manyara to the east.

The 330 square-kilometres of pristine bushveld is a combination of arid land, woodland forests and a soda-lake which covers as much as 200 square kilometres of the national park in the wet season. It’s almost non-existent in the dry season.

Lake Manyara National Park is famous for the thousands of flamingoes which inhabit the lake during the wet season, creating a lush pink carpet over the dry arid land. The bird life is prolific with more than 400 species in the region, most of them remain in the nature reserve throughout the year. Avid bird watchers can expect to tick at least 100 different bird species on any given day.

In addition to liberal sightings of the Big 5 which includes elephants, buffalo, rhino, lion and leopard; guests will see large numbers of antelope and an abundance of the common species. One of the most exciting sightings is the tree-climbing lions of Lake Manyara National Park. They’ve adopted a highly unique habit of lounging in trees when they’re not on a hunt.

Ngorongoro Crater

The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and affectionately known as the ‘Garden of Eden’ because of its dramatic beauty and extremely diverse fauna and flora. It was once a towering mountain thought to be as high and as impressive as Mount Kilimanjaro but 2.5 million years it became the largest volcanic caldera when the mountain top collapsed.

Today, the volcanic crater is a natural amphitheatre with walls towering some 2 000 feet above the crater floor. The region is teeming with game and bird life is prolific. The rich soil and abundant water resources offer wildlife the perfect wilderness haven and most stay in the area all year round.

The Ngorongoro Crater varies in height from between 4 500 and 5 800 metres. It’s 610 metres deep and spans some 260 square kilometres. It’s estimated that about 40 000 people live in the conservation area and share the land with about 30 000 animals which include elephant, buffalo, leopard, cheetah, hyena and an array of antelope. It’s also the best place in Africa to see the endangered black rhino and black-maned male lions.

You’ll find giraffe on the outside of the crater but not in the crater itself as the sides are too steep for them to walk down.

It was listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1979 largely because it’s one of the most important prehistoric sites in the world. Fossils discovered in the Ngorongoro Crater are said to be the earliest known evidence of the human species.

Tourism to the crater region is restricted to limit environmental damage. About 450 000 people visit the Ngorongoro Crater every year and they all need to obtain a permit to enter the crater and gorge. It’s easily accessible from the Arusha Region and a 2-hour scenic drive from Kilimanjaro International Airport.

A feature of the Ngorongoro Crater is Lake Magadi which is a seasonal salt lake which lies in the centre of the crater. Munge Stream is the main water source draining into salt lake; the Lerai Stream drains the humid forests to the south of the crater and feeds the Lerai Forest on the crater flour.

Another major water source in the crater is the Ngoitokitok Spring near the eastern crater wall. This a popular tourist destination with a beautiful picnic site which is open to tourists. Game viewing is excellent, particularly in the dry season because it’s an important water point for the animals.Book your Tanzania Safari and Tour Today.

Olduvai Gorge is found in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and is considered to be the seat of humanity after the earliest known specimens of the human genus, Homo habilis, were found in the area. Olduvai Gorge is a steep-sided ravine in the Great Rift Valley and was named by the Maasai people after the wild sisal plant growing in the area (known as ‘Oldupaai’).

Ngorongoro Crater is renowned for its dense population of East African lions; numbering 62 in the early 2000s. Unfortunately, the lion population is significantly inbred because few outsiders enter the local gene pool and very few male lions ‘migrate’ out of the crater to find a mate. Those that do enter often face the wrath of the territorial male lions and are chased out.

There are two distinct weather seasons in the region: the rainy season between November and April; and the dry season between May and October. The rainy season is a beautiful time to be in the Tanzania wild nature reserves because the vegetation is lush and verdant and the animals congregate in the short savanna grasslands to have their young. The dry season is the best time for game viewing because the game congregate around permanent water sources.

However, the best time to visit the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is between February and March so you can see the Great Migration and spectacular sightings of predators versus prey.

Serengeti National Park

More than a third of Tanzania’s land is allocated to wildlife conservation areas and the Serengeti National Park comprises the largest portion of the valuable protected wilderness eco-zones. The national park teems with game and bird life is prolific but it’s most famous for the annual Great Serengeti Migration which is one of the most spectacular wildlife sightings you’ll experience.

Millions of wildebeest trek across the vast savanna plains facing enormous hurdles such as river crossing, snapping crocodiles and hungry predators. The best time to visit the Serengeti National Park is in May when you should catch the annual Great Migration at its peak.

The Serengeti National Park lies in the northern belt of Tanzania and extends into the south-western corner of Kenya which is know as the Maasai Mara. It spans some 30 000 square kilometres and has secured the title of one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa for its magnificent wildlife show of the largest terrestrial mammal migration in the world. The Serengeti is also classified as one of the Ten Natural Travel Wonders of the World.

Each year at more or less the same time, a natural phenomenon occurs when vast herds of wildebeest begin to move from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the southern region of Tanzania and through the Serengeti National Park northwards to the Masai Mara reserve in Kenya. The animals migrate in search of better grazing and in their wake, follow hungry opportunist predators.

The wildebeest spend most of February on the short grass plains; grazing on the lush vegetation and giving birth to over 500 000 calves within a short 203 week period. When the rainy season ends towards mid-May, the animals start moving in a northwestern direction to areas adjacent to the Grumeti River where they remain until late June is the dry season on Tanzania. They cross the Grumeti and Mara rivers in a spectacular fashion which is world-renowned as one of the most incredible animals sightings.

The herds arrive in Kenya towards the end of July and early August where they wait out the dry season. When the rains start in November, the wildebeest reverse direction and begin the long trek south again to the savanna grasslands in the southeast of Tanzania. The animals are driven by an instinctive deep-seated rhythm which involves a frenzied 3-week ordeal of trekking and mating fulfilling an ancient pilgrimage to replenish the species in a brief population explosion.

The annual Great Serengeti Migration is both awe-inspiring and traumatic for visitors because it’s difficult to witness the frenetic crossings and see the younger and weaker wildebeest taken by crocodiles and other predators. Some 250 000 wildebeest die during the journey from Tanzania to the Maasai Mara National Park; usually from thirst, hunger, exhaustion or brought down by predators.

If you visit the Serengeti National Park at a different time of year and miss the Great Migration, you’re still in for a treat because you’re guaranteed incredible sightings of predators. The national park is home to over 3 000 lions, a 1 000 leopards and more than 8 000 spotted hyena. Wild dogs are scarce in the Serengeti mainly because of territorial conflict with lions and hyenas who steal their kills and kill their young.

The fauna and flora of the national park is highly diverse mainly because of the varied habitats which range from riverine forests and swamps to small rocky hilltops, endless savanna grasslands and thick woodlands. It’s home to the Big 5 which includes elephant, buffalo, rhino, leopard and lion and a vast array of antelope and the more common wildlife. Make a booking for your Tanzania Safari and Tour Today.

The name Serengeti was derived from the Maasai tribe; serengit means ‘endless plains’ or rather, “the place where the land runs on forever”.

The Maasai are an ancient nomadic tribe and an iconic presence in the region. They live in traditional Maasai villages adjacent to the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area; standing out in their distinctive tribal clothing which includes bright robes and beaded jewelry.

Many Maasai live as they have for centuries; disconnected from modern life and conveniences such as electricity, running water, cell phones and internet. They are primarily cattle farmers; measuring their wealth in terms of cattle and children.

ZANZIBAR

Zanzibar is an exotic blend of breathtaking coastal scenery, turquoise blue water and rich marine life. The island is located in the Indian Ocean and has been a sought-after tourist destination for decades. Many people mistakenly think of Zanzibar as an independent country but it is in fact a ‘semi-autonomous region’ of Tanzania.

It’s actually not an island but an archipelago of many islands. There are two larger islands in the group but the most important one is Unguja which is home to the capital of the archipelago, Zanzibar City. Stone Town is an iconic feature of the city but it’s not a town; it’s an historic section in Zanzibar City.

The history of Zanzibar is complex and traumatic with decades of bloody violence, slavery, short wars and British occupation. It was originally a Sultanate which is a territory or country ruled by a sultan. It was located along a significant trade route which formed part of the Africa-Asia slave and spice trade. It became a protectorate of Britain in 1890 which lasted until the island of Zanzibar became a constitutional monarchy in 1963.

At this point in history, Tanzania did not exist. The region we now call Tanzania was originally the Republic of Tanganyika. Following a bloody genocide called the Zanzibar Revolution, Zanzibar merged with mainland Tanganyika to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. It was later renamed the United Republic of Tanzania.Book your Zanzibar / Tanzania Safari and Tour Today.

Over centuries, Zanzibar has served as a trade centre for everything from spices to slaves. Today, Zanzibar is a multi-cultural blend of ethnic Swahili people who migrated from the mainland and a strong minority population of Asians who originate from India and Arab countries.

Zanzibar boasts world-class beach resorts splendidly positioned on the pristine coastline overlooking the warm Indian Ocean. The island has some of the best beaches in the world and this isn’t an exaggeration. A large part of a holiday to Zanzibar revolves around lazy days on the beach enjoying fun water sports but don’t miss the opportunity to soak up the island’s rich cultural heritage with a tour of the island’s historic trading centre.

A Stone Town & Spice Tour is a leisurely walk through the winding, narrow alleys which lead to centuries-old local bazaars. It’s an intriguing fusion of Arab and Indian cultures featuring the famous elaborately carved and decorated doors of Stone Town and authentic Zanzibar spice markets.

Stone Town is an interesting destination to explore from a cultural perspective but the ‘town’ has seen better days. It’s architecture has been described as ‘crumbling-chic’ although one can still appreciate its architectural heritage with 19th facades which embody a unique blend of Arab, Persian, Indian and European elements.

Another interesting attraction on a tour of Zanzibar is a guided nature hike through Jozani Forest, formerly known as Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park.  It’s the only national park in Zanzibar and home to the almost-extinct red Columbus monkey as well as the servaline genet and the Zanzibar leopard. A unique feature of Jozani Forest is the well-preserved mangrove forest.

Tourism is a major income-earner for Zanzibar but the island is also famous for its spices which includes cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper. In fact, Zanzibar is often called the Spice Island. The Stone Town & Spice Tour is very popular and one way to take yourself away from the wealthy coastal facilities and immerse yourself in the cultural heritage of Zanzibar. Book your Tanzania Safari and Tour Now.

Other popular attractions on a tour of Zanzibar include Prison Island which is a half-hour boat trip from Zanzibar City, and where slaves were detained; Palace Museum, otherwise known as the Sultan’s Palace; the House of Wonders which is an important and archaeological masterpiece in Stone Town; and the Old Fort located on the seafront adjacent to the famous Forodhani Gardens which was used to defend the island against attacks from the Portuguese.

To round off a perfect holiday in Zanzibar, treat yourself to a fine-dining experience at The Rock. This iconic restaurant is located on a large granite rock with panoramic views of the city’s main attractions. Guests have the choice of some of the finest seafood dishes found anywhere else on the island. You need to book well in advance because the restaurant only has 12 tables and it’s usually booked well in advance.

If you’re planning a dream beach holiday to Zanzibar, the best time is from June to October during the cool, dry months leading up to Spring. December to February are popular months because it’s hot and dry but the occasional tropical cyclone comes through at this time of year.

The best time to scuba dive off the coast of Zanzibar is in July/August and February/March.

Mid-March to late May and again in November is not recommended as this is the rainy season and there’s a risk you could miss out on glorious days on a hot beach when the thunderstorms arrive.

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