Traveling to Tanzania For The First Time? These are the Best Places To Visit

From snow-capped peaks to safaris and paradise-like islands, Tanzania is reveling in its status of being a hot destination for both luxurious and adventurous travelers. With the help of the experts at Sababu Safaris here are some spots you should definitely consider including in your itinerary:

NORTHERN CIRCUIT

Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Park offers the classic African safari setting. The migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra starts here. The vast expanse of grasslands makes the Serengeti a fantastic for spot to potentially witness a lion or cheetah kill because you can see the whole spectacle clearly. The best time to go is between July and October, but you can't really go wrong any time of the year. A hot-air balloon ride at dawn is a truly magnificent experience.

Tarangire National Park
During dry season Tarangire has one of Tanzania's highest concentrations of wildlife. It's an excellent location for those who love watching elephants, zebra, giraffe, impala, and wildebeest. Tarangire is also a good place to enjoy walking safaris and an excellent birding destination. Be ready to swat tsetse flies here, at certain times of the year they can get annoying.

Lake Manyara
This national park is located in both the Arusha and Manyara regions of Tanzania. It’s known as an excellent place to spot wildlife, especially flamingos. If you visit during the wet season you’ll get to see around 300 different species of migratory birds but when the lake waters turn into mud-flats during the dry season you can also see elephants, hippos and giraffe.

Ngorongoro Crater and Conservation Area
The Ngorongoro Conservation area borders the Serengeti and includes the world's largest intact caldera which contains almost every species of wildlife found in East Africa, including the extremely rare black rhino. Here you'll witness some of the densest population of wildlife in the world and it's an amazing place to take memorable photos. The Maasai still live within the conservation area, and it's also home to Oldupai where some of the man's earliest remains have been found.

Lake Natron
A soda lake at the base of the active Ol Donyo Lengai volcano (the only volcano in the world to produce black lava), the area around Lake Natron is often described as having a desolate and almost lunar beauty. Lake Natron is found in the northern part of Tanzania, close to the Kenyan border. It is the most important breeding site for Lesser Flamingos in the world. They are able to overcome the strong alkaline content of the lake, and flock to its shallow waters annually to breed and feed on the lake's blue-green algae.

Mount Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro, at 5.895m (19,336 ft) the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, is actually a dormant volcano with three volcanic cones (Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira). It’s also a beautiful and imposing place where you’ll get to see many diverse levels of flora and fauna. There are agricultural fields at the base of the mountain followed by rainforests, fresh meadows, desert and when you finally reach the top, you have chance of seeing snow.

ZANZIBAR

Zanzibar is one of Tanzania's top destinations because of its fascinating past and its beautiful beaches. Famous for its spices, Zanzibar used to be a slave trading post under its Arab rulers. Zanzibar's capital, Stone Town, is a World Heritage site and contains beautiful houses, a Sultan's palace, narrow alleyways and plenty of mosques. Some of the nearby islands offer paradise for the luxury traveler with Mnemba Island being idyllic for a romantic vacation.

Mnemba Island
You couldn’t get any more beautiful and romantic than this tiny heart-shaped island. Mnemba is just off the East coast of Zanzibar and caters to the luxury traveler. With its beautiful lodge style accommodations Mnemba is the perfect place for a romantic getaway. The surrounding waters are also full of marine life with regular sightings of large schools of fish, turtles and dolphins. If you’re not staying on the island, you can easily take a day trip and snorkel along its beautiful beaches.

Mafia Island
With fewer than 1,000 visitors per year, Mafia Island is an undiscovered Tanzanian gem with a Swahili culture unspoiled by tourism. It is one of the best places to snorkel, deep-sea fish or dive in Africa. Most of the island and its beaches have been designated as a marine park. You can watch whale sharks, turtles, and many other species of wildlife.

WESTERN TANZANIA

Mahale Mountains National Park
Located on the shoreline of Lake Tanganyika, Mahale Mountains National Park is one of the best places in the world for close encounters with chimpanzees. It’s also a beautiful place where green forested mountains cascade down to the lake shore, clear waters lap against white sand coves and Mount Nkungwe can be seen in the background. Besides the large chimp population the mountains are also home to other primates.

Katavi National Park
Katavi is one of the top wildlife destination in Africa. It is beautiful, unspoiled and full of animals but is located in the very remote Western part of Tanzania, which makes it great to visit if you're looking for a unique safari experience. There are only two camps and you can only get there via light aircraft. Katavi is best to visit from June to October (dry season) when the pools can be filled with thousands of hippos.

  

SOUTHERN TANZANIA

Ruaha National Park
Ruaha is remote and full of wildlife. There are lions, cheetah, leopard, and almost every other African mammal you'd like to see, particularly elephants. The park is home to the Great Ruaha River and during the dry season (from July to December) you can enjoy some spectacular game viewing.

Selous Game Reserve
The Selous is Africa's largest reserve, a world heritage site, and not as crowded as the Serengeti. Among its wildlife you will see lots of hippos, crocodiles, elephants, cheetahs, black rhinos and African hunting dogs. The Selous swamps, rivers and wetlands allow travelers to go on their safari by boat, which is a big attraction but walking safaris are also popular and you can enjoy night drives as well. Accommodations are limited but they all offer a very intimate and unique safari experience.

Denise Brown