The country of Tanzania is an adventurer’s paradise. From safaris to mountain climbing and beyond, the great outdoors of Africa beckon. To those with a hardy spirit, this is the trip of a lifetime. Following are five things not to miss when visiting this country.
1. Mount Kilimanjaro
Often referred to as the roof of Africa, this mountain reaches an elevation of 19,340 feet and is the highest point on the continent. One of the coveted seven summits, it is arguably the easiest to climb. With no technical skills required, anyone with a good level of fitness and a strong will can stand on top the summit.
2. Serengeti National Park
Where would National Geographic or the wild kingdom be without the Serengeti? This national park more than any other is the signature of the continent and country. Although it reaches across national borders, Tanzania touts it as its most frequented tourist destination.
3. Lake Manyara National Park
This national park is often passed by in an effort to reach the Serengeti. For those who do stop, this smaller forested site brings the visitor up close and personal with all of the large mammals. In addition, the large lake is home to hundreds of thousands of birds, including the colorful pink flamingos that make their home here.
4. Ngorongoro Crater
This crater could easily be coined as The Land That Time Forgot. Only accessible by a steep drive down into the crater, the ancient volcanic cone forms a natural fence that keeps animals both in and out. Here, you can see a microcosm of Tanzania’s wildlife. This is a close as you will come to a zoo without dividing barriers. It is most often visited to get glimpse of the black rhinoceros, and all of the other big five must-see mammals make their home here, as well.
5. Swahili People
Displayed on tourist brochures as often as the great sites of Africa, the people of the Swahili tribe have populated Tanzania and Central Africa for centuries. Today, these proud people most reflect the U.S.’s Native Americans prior to the gambling boom. Although many men and women have assimilated themselves into the country’s mainstream, many still make their living herding cattle and goats. Villages abound throughout Tanzania and are open to visit. Most give a history of the tribe and their customs.
To all who make the decision to visit Tanzania, I encourage you not to miss any of the above five. However, I would challenge you to explore this great country and develop a list of your own. Above all, bring a good camera and a sense of adventure!