Going on safari in Tanzania

Mkomazi National Park in Tanzania
A rhino at Mkomazi National Park in Tanzania. PHOTO/FILE
Tanzania, the largest country in East Africa, is home to three of Africa’s most popular destinations; namely Mount Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti and Zanzibar.

The country is also home to some of the best national parks and wildlife reserves in Africa – making it one of the continent’s most sought after game safari destinations.

Some of the most visited attractions in Tanzania include the Selous National Park (one of the biggest national parks in the world), Kilimanjaro National Park, Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

While on Tanzania safari, most people find it worthwhile to tour the coasts and islands of the country – with Zanzibar Island and Mafia Island being the most sought-after destinations along the region.

Zanzibar, a quintessential spice island, is popular among divers and marine sports enthusiasts as well as lovers of spices. Indeed most of those who have been to Zanzibar commonly agree that a visit to the island is incomplete without going for a Zanzibar spice tour.

On the other hand, Mafia Island – situated further south – is popular among nature lovers as it hosts a uniquely diverse ecology. The waters surrounding the island are home to mangrove forests, incredibly beautiful coral reefs, sea grass beds as well as inter-tidal flats. The southern half of Mafia Island has been declared a marine park.

Tanzania can be visited during all seasons, but your schedule should be based on the focus of your trip. For example, if you plan to climb Mount Kilimanjaro then you should schedule your trip between the country’s main wet seasons (March – May and November-January).

The coast off Tanzania gets extremely hot during the summer (between late November and March) with temperatures rising above 30°C, and a visit to the region is not recommended during this period.

Quick Facts About Tanzania:
Time: GMT/UTC + 3
Population: 37.6 million
Area: 945,097 sq km
Seasons: Long rains (April -May); short rains (Nov-Dec); hot and dry (Oct-March)
Telephone: +255
Major city: Dar es Salaam
Visa: Most visitors to Tanzania must have visas
Languages: Kiswahili, English
Highest point: Mt Kilimanjaro (5896m)
Lowest point: Floor of Lake Tanganyika (358m below sea level)
Currency: Tanzania shillings (Tsh)