As I set out on my journey to Tanzania, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of exhilaration and freedom. This East African gem is not only home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes and wildlife but also offers a chance to immerse oneself in its rich culture and history.
From the flamingos on the shores of Lake Natron to the towering peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro, my experiences in Tanzania have left an indelible mark on my heart and mind, urging me to share with you the 13 best places I had the privilege to visit.
Each destination I explored brought with it a new sense of wonder and adventure, allowing me to experience the true essence of freedom.
Tours & Things to do hand-picked by our insiders
Whether it was standing in awe of the majestic Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano or witnessing the Great Migration in the Serengeti, I felt an unbridled sense of connection to this incredible land and its people.
Join me as I recount my unforgettable journey to the 13 best places to visit in Tanzania; perhaps, you too will be inspired to embark on your own African adventure.
- Tanzania is a diverse and stunningly beautiful country with a rich culture and history.
- From Lake Natron’s flamingos to Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit, Tanzania offers unforgettable experiences for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike.
- The Usambara Mountains are an undiscovered gem that offers endless opportunities for exploration and encounters with local wildlife.
- Zanzibar is a tropical paradise with pristine beaches, crystal clear waters, and a unique blend of African, Arab, Indian, and European influences.
1. Lake Natron & Flamingos
Y’all won’t believe it, but Lake Natron is home to one of the largest Flamingo populations in the world, with over 2.5 million of these stunning birds thriving in its salty waters!
The lake itself is a breathtaking sight, with its vibrant red and orange hues, due to the high evaporation rates, which leave behind a unique mineral mixture.
Upon arriving, I was completely blown away by the surrounding scenery, with giraffes, zebras, and wildebeest roaming the nearby plains.
Not only did I have the pleasure of witnessing the beauty of the lake, but I also got to experience one of the most epic sunsets of my life, as the clouds turned into a cotton candy color and wildebeest wandered around in the distance.
Now, you might be wondering how these flamingos can survive in such a deadly environment, but the truth is, the lake’s harsh conditions actually protect them from predators and allow them to flourish.
These elegant birds have adapted to feed on the unique algae found in the water, which sustains them and gives them their famous pink color.
As I watched the flamingos gracefully fly and feed around the lake, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of freedom and awe at the resilience of nature.
It’s truly inspiring to witness this incredible spectacle, where life not only survives but thrives in one of the most inhospitable places on Earth.
But Lake Natron is not the only wonder to behold in this region, as the sacred Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano, also known as the ‘Mountain of God,’ looms majestically nearby.
2. Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano (Mountain of God)
You’ll find the Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano, known as the Mountain of God, to be an unforgettable and awe-inspiring adventure that challenges you physically and rewards you with breathtaking views.
The climb begins at midnight and takes you straight up the side of the volcano, requiring you to crawl on your hands and knees towards the end due to the steepness.
As the sun rises, you’ll be standing on the volcano’s rim, witnessing the massive crater filled with black bubbling lava, said to be some of the coldest in the realm.
Not only does the crater captivate you with its raw power and beauty, but the surrounding views of the landscape extending forever, bathed in the sun’s golden light, will leave you speechless.
As you hike along the volcano’s rim, you’ll encounter the most powerful views you’ve ever seen in your life, reminiscent of the Lion King quote where Mufasa tells Simba, “Everything the light touches is our kingdom.”
After about two hours on the top, your guide will recommend heading back down to avoid the midday sun.
The descent is equally beautiful, and by the time you reach your car, you’ll have completed a 12-hour journey that is both physically challenging and incredibly rewarding.
Hands down, the Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano is one of the most unforgettable and awe-inspiring experiences you can have in Tanzania.
Now, let’s move on to explore the beauty of Arusha and the mesmerizing Nparu Waterfall.
3. Arusha & Napuru Waterfall
In Arusha, you’ll find yourself surrounded by lush greenery and cooler temperatures, making it the perfect spot to explore the enchanting Napuru Waterfall.
Just a short drive from the city, the waterfall is nestled within the Maru forest, offering an incredible opportunity to experience Tanzania’s natural beauty up close.
As you hike through the trails of Arusha National Park, you’ll be amazed by the towering trees and vibrant vegetation that create a true Garden of Eden atmosphere.
The 30-minute hike to reach the waterfall is relatively easy, but the breathtaking views you’ll encounter along the way make every step worth it.
Descending through a stunning stone gorge, you’ll finally arrive at the majestic Napuru Waterfall. Its sheer height and cascading waters will leave you in awe, and the serene atmosphere provides the perfect backdrop for relaxation and reflection.
If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of an FPV drone capturing mesmerizing slow-motion shots of the falls, adding a touch of magic to the experience.
Don’t miss the chance to visit this captivating natural wonder if you’re in Arusha – it’s a must-see day trip that will leave a lasting impression.
And as you continue your Tanzanian journey, brace yourself for the awe-inspiring Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa, waiting to be conquered.
4. Mount Kilimanjaro (Tallest Mountain in Africa)
Scaling the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain, is an exhilarating experience that’ll leave you breathless not just from the altitude, but from the awe-inspiring beauty surrounding you.
As the tallest mountain in Africa, with an elevation of 5895 meters, Kilimanjaro stands as a testament to Tanzania’s diverse and stunning landscape. You’ll hike this magnificent peak through lush rainforests, heather and moorlands, alpine deserts, and finally, the Arctic zone as you reach the summit.
The opportunity to conquer such a diverse and iconic mountain speaks to the adventurer in all of us, and the sense of accomplishment upon reaching the top is unparalleled.
During my visit to Tanzania, I was fortunate enough to explore the base of Mount Kilimanjaro, and I was captivated by the vibrant rainforest teeming with life. The hike through the forest alone was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I can only imagine the thrill of continuing on to summit the mountain.
Although I didn’t have the chance to scale Kilimanjaro during this trip, it’s definitely on my bucket list for a future adventure.
For anyone seeking freedom from the mundane and a chance to connect with the breathtaking beauty of nature, a trek up Mount Kilimanjaro is an experience not to be missed. And while you’re in the area, don’t forget to explore Mount Meru, another incredible mountain Tanzania offers. Book a tour!
5. Mount Meru
Don’t let Mount Meru’s lesser-known status fool you; this stunning dormant volcano offers a more intimate and affordable trekking experience compared to its more famous neighbor, Kilimanjaro.
As Tanzania’s second tallest mountain, Mount Meru stands at an impressive 4,562 meters and takes about three to four days to summit.
While on a Tanzania safari, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to hike through the diverse climate zones and witness the breathtaking views from the top.
The best part? There were far fewer people, allowing me to connect with nature and soak in the awe-inspiring scenery truly.
Hiking up Mount Meru was an unforgettable experience, as each day brought new landscapes and challenges.
The summit itself is absolutely spectacular, offering a unique perspective of Kilimanjaro in the distance.
The sense of accomplishment and freedom I felt was indescribable as the sun rose over the horizon.
If you’re looking for an underrated and less crowded adventure in Tanzania, Mount Meru should definitely be on your list.
But don’t stop there – continue exploring the country’s diverse landscapes by venturing to the lush Usambara Mountains, which promise more unforgettable experiences and stunning views.
You’ll be blown away by the breathtaking beauty of the Usambara Mountains, an undiscovered gem in Tanzania that offers endless opportunities for adventure and exploration.
As you drive six hours from Arusha to the quaint town of Lushoto, you’ll be greeted by lush green landscapes and the promise of an unforgettable experience.
My buddy Jackson Groves hiked over 80 kilometers through these mountains, starting from Lushoto and ending in Matai, and his video in the description below will surely inspire you to embark on your own journey through this incredible region.
During my time exploring the Usambara Mountains, I had the chance to visit some spectacular viewpoints, such as the Irente Viewpoint, which offers jaw-dropping views of the verdant mountains. I also ventured to the town of Mambo, where the Mambo Viewpoint provides another phenomenal vantage point to take in the awe-inspiring scenery.
Along the way, I encountered the local wildlife, including playful monkeys and the elusive chameleon. Whether you choose to hire a local guide or brave the trek on your own, the Usambara Mountains of Tanzania are truly a must-visit destination for those seeking adventure and a taste of unspoiled nature.
Now, let’s move on to the enchanting island of Zanzibar, another incredible place to explore in Tanzania.
7. Zanzibar – Best Places To Visit In Tanzania
It’s hard to believe that Zanzibar, a tropical paradise just 25 kilometers off Tanzania’s coast, boasts over 500 species of marine life and is home to some of the world’s most pristine coral reefs.
This archipelago, consisting of two main islands, is a haven for those who love crystal clear waters, white sand beaches, and the ultimate tropical vibes.
I have got the chance to explore the wonders of Zanzibar Island and lose myself in the maze-like streets of Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with fascinating history and culture.
During my visit, I basked in the sun on the shores of Zanzibar’s stunning beaches, dive into its vibrant underwater world, and immersed myself in the unique blend of African, Arab, Indian, and European influences that make this island so special.
I was so overjoyed to experience the warmth of Zanzibar’s people and indulge in the mouthwatering local cuisine, especially the seafood dishes freshly caught from the surrounding waters.
With June to October being the best time to visit, I’ll be sure to plan my trip during this period to avoid the rainy season and make the most of all the island has to offer.
As I look back to my Zanzibar adventure, I can’t help but reminiscence the freedom and bliss this tropical paradise will bring.
The breathtaking Lake Manyara National Park is next on my list of Tanzanian must-sees. Book a safari!
8. Lake Manyara National Park
After the amazing experience in Zanzibar, I couldn’t wait to explore more of Tanzania’s best places. My next adventure took me to the captivating Lake Manyara National Park, which is about a three-hour drive from Arusha.
This mesmerizing park is home to a vast lake teeming with diverse wildlife, and the most intriguing of all, the tree-climbing lions.
Lake Manyara National Park is truly one of the best places to visit in Tanzania, offering a unique opportunity to witness the majestic lions lounging on tree branches.
The park is also a haven for birdwatchers, with its rich variety of bird species, including the vibrant pink flamingos. My stay at the enchanting Migombani Campsite, just outside the park, added to the surreal experience.
Perched high up in the valley, the campsite offered a breathtaking view of Lake Manyara, while the refreshing pool served as the perfect spot to unwind after a day of exploring. The sense of freedom and connection with nature in this serene environment was truly unforgettable.
Let’s move on to another awe-inspiring destination, the Ngorongoro Crater.
9. Ngorongoro Crater
Venturing into the awe-inspiring Ngorongoro Crater, you’ll immerse yourself in a world of stunning natural beauty and unparalleled wildlife diversity. This massive caldera, the largest intact one in the world, spans over 16 kilometers wide, providing a sanctuary for countless safari animals.
As I descended the 600 meters to the crater floor, I marveled at the sheer expanse of this natural wonder in Tanzania. The lush greenery, sparkling blue lakes, and vast plains were teeming with life, making it an unforgettable experience.
Throughout my time in the Ngorongoro Crater, I was fortunate enough to witness an array of wildlife, including elephants, lions, and even a rare black rhino. The conservation area is carefully maintained, ensuring the habitat remains wild and undisturbed for the animals that call it home.
The awe-inspiring landscape and the incredible assortment of wildlife made my visit to the Ngorongoro Crater an experience I will cherish forever. As I left this breathtaking haven, I couldn’t help but look forward to my next adventure in Tanzania: the Serengeti National Park.
10. Serengeti National Park
After an unforgettable experience at the Ngorongoro Crater, I couldn’t wait to explore the next destination on my Tanzanian adventure: the Serengeti National Park. Known for its incredible wildlife and breathtaking landscapes, I knew I was in for a treat.
The Serengeti National Park is truly a sight to behold. I was fortunate enough to witness the Great Migration, where millions of wildebeests thundered across the plains in a spectacular display of nature’s power. The park is also home to prides of lions, lazing on rocky outcrops, making me feel like I was in a real-life version of The Lion King.
The cost of visiting the Serengeti may be steep, but I can assure you, it’s worth every penny.
Now, let’s talk about the different lodging options available in this majestic park.
11. Serengeti Lodging (Tent vs Luxury)
Embracing the Serengeti’s captivating beauty, you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice when it comes to lodging options. Ranging from cozy tents to luxurious resorts that feel like a dream woven into the fabric of nature itself.
If you’re on a budget, a tinted campsite offers the perfect blend of comfort and adventure. Allowing you to immerse yourself in the wilderness while still having a safe space to retreat to.
On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find a multitude of opulent options, such as the Four Seasons. Where you can indulge in the magic of the Serengeti from the comfort of your lavish room, complete with awe-inspiring views of zebras, cape buffalo, and impalas.
During my stay at the Four Seasons, what truly stood out was how seamlessly the resort integrated itself with the surrounding environment. Creating an unforgettable experience where encounters with wildlife were a delightful norm.
Relaxing by the pool, I marveled at the water hole that attracted a plethora of animals, making for a truly one-of-a-kind experience. Whether you choose a tent or luxury accommodation, Serengeti lodging options cater to your every desire. Allowing you to revel in the breathtaking beauty that is Tanzania’s crown jewel.
As you continue exploring the Serengeti, consider taking to the skies with an unforgettable balloon safari.
Soaring above the Serengeti in a hot air balloon is an unforgettable adventure that’ll leave you speechless as you take in the stunning landscape and spot wildlife from an entirely new perspective. My Serengeti balloon safari with Serengeti Balloon Safari was one of the best places to visit in Tanzania.
The entire experience began with an early morning start, waking up at 4 am and driving to the launching site. As the balloon filled up with hot air, I was amazed by its size – it was the third-largest hot air balloon model in the world! Climbing into the basket while it was still flat on the ground, I couldn’t help but feel a rush of excitement as the balloon slowly rotated to its upright position, holding a total of 16 passengers.
Once we were up in the air, the silence was surreal, only punctuated by the sound of the fire heating up the air. As we glided over the vast savannah, our eyes scanned the landscape for animals – we spotted hippos and a variety of other wildlife.
The highlight of the trip was ascending to a higher altitude, where we were greeted with a breathtaking 360-degree view of the Serengeti. After landing in the middle of the savannah, we celebrated our incredible journey with champagne and mango juice, followed by a luxurious full English breakfast in the bush.
I can’t recommend this experience enough – it’s truly an amazing way to see Tanzania’s natural beauty. As you continue your adventure, be prepared for even more unforgettable moments during your safari game drives.
13. Safari Game Drives
There’s nothing quite like the thrill of embarking on safari game drives, where you’re immersed in the breathtaking beauty of the Serengeti and its diverse wildlife, creating memories that’ll stay with you forever.
Tanzania’s vast landscapes and unique ecosystems provide the perfect backdrop for these unforgettable adventures as you traverse the open plains, rocky outcrops, and lush grasslands, witnessing firsthand the incredible array of animals that call this majestic region home.
From the powerful, regal lions lounging atop their Pride Rock-like kopjes to the swift, agile cheetahs stalking their prey across the short green grass, each day spent on safari game drives in Tanzania offers new discoveries and awe-inspiring moments that will leave you craving more.
One of the most magical aspects of these safari game drives is the opportunity to experience the Serengeti’s ever-changing moods as the landscape shifts from vast, sun-baked plains teeming with wildebeest and zebra to verdant, rainy-season panoramas filled with dramatic thunderstorms and vibrant, fiery sunsets.
The unpredictability of the weather only adds to the sense of adventure and freedom that comes with exploring this untamed wilderness as you navigate muddy roads and dodge torrential downpours, all in search of that perfect wildlife encounter or once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.
As you journey deeper into the heart of Tanzania’s Serengeti, you’ll find yourself completely captivated by the sights, sounds, and sensations of this extraordinary place, creating lasting memories of your safari game drives that will stay with you long after you’ve left this incredible corner of the world.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best time of year to visit Tanzania for optimal weather and wildlife experiences?
In my experience, Tanzania’s sweet spot lies between June and October – the dry season. Wildlife thrives, skies clear up, and I feel alive exploring the wonders of nature. I’d say it’s a perfect blend of adventure and freedom.
Are there any specific safety precautions or vaccinations recommended for travelers to Tanzania?
Before my trip to Tanzania, I made sure to get recommended vaccinations like yellow fever, hepatitis A, and typhoid. I also took precautions against malaria, and practiced safe food and water habits. Adventure awaits!
What cultural experiences or local cuisines should tourists try while visiting Tanzania?
When in Rome, do as the Romans do – in Tanzania, I immersed myself in local culture by attending traditional dance performances, visiting bustling markets, and savoring delicious Swahili dishes like chapati and nyama choma.
What is the most efficient mode of transportation for traveling between the various attractions in Tanzania?
In my experience, the most efficient mode of transportation in Tanzania is a combination of domestic flights and private car hires. This allows for quick travel between attractions while enjoying the scenic routes.
Are there any lesser-known, off-the-beaten-path destinations in Tanzania that are worth exploring?
Hidden gems are Tanzania’s best-kept secrets; I was awestruck by the enchanting Udzungwa Mountains National Park and the tranquil Pemba Island. They’re off-the-beaten-path, but these untamed paradises are worth every step.
In conclusion, my journey through Tanzania has been nothing short of spectacular. Every destination offered a unique experience, allowing me to immerse myself in this beautiful country’s diverse wildlife, fascinating landscapes, and rich culture.
I encourage you to explore Tanzania for yourself and witness the wonders it holds. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or a nature lover, this incredible place will surely leave you with unforgettable memories and a longing to return.
Hello, and welcome to Travel Crog, a site where I share my travel advice for your dream vacations. My name is Molly Martin, and I’m the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. I have a passion for travelling and exploring new destinations, and I want to inspire you to do the same. Six years ago, I left my job as an HR professional and embarked on a three-month trip around the world. It was an amazing experience that changed my life and perspective. Ever since then, I have been travelling as much as I can, and writing about the best things to do, see, and eat in every place I visit. Whether you’re looking for a city break, a beach getaway, or a mountain adventure, I have something for you. Travel is not only fun, but also empowering and enriching. Join me on my journey and discover the world with Travel Crog. My motto is: “Life is short, travel more.”