In my eyes, Tanzania is a country full of contrasts, but also has a huge potential. I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced so many stunning views in one place. Although I planned much more than I was actually able to do during my trip, I’d like to share with you the best things you can do in Tanzania. Accordingly, to me of course.
#1 Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro
With a height of 5,895 meters, Kilimanjaro remains the highest African peak. Also known as “the Roof of Africa”, it’s probably the most recognizable icon in East Africa representing the continent in the world. What can I say? It’s been my dream to climb it during my last visit in Tanzania, but the plan didn’t work out. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it – because you definitely should! From among the highest world peaks, Kilimanjaro is considered to be the easiest one. There must be something about it looking at how many people reach the top every year.
Although the climb is considered to be quite easy for a person doing sports regularly and you’ll be accompanied by a group of porters, you shouldn’t forget it’s still almost 6,000 meters climb. You will be exhausted and probably experience altitude sickness, but the feeling of excitement after reaching the highest point on African continent will make it up for you.
If you’re wondering how much does it cost to climb Kilimanjaro, from my experience I can tell you it’s impossible to go for less than $900 but this is the price you will get only if you arrange a climb directly in Moshi or Arusha. In case you organize it online, the price doubles or triples…depending on the tour company. If you want to read more about the climb, prices and how to avoid scams, read a post of Jonny of One Step 4 Ward. It helped me a lot with my preparations.
#2 Visit Zanzibar
Zanzibar – golden sun, white beaches and crystal blue water. Who doesn’t dream about a paradise like this. The island used to function as a separate country until, in 1963, it connected with Tanganyika forming a country we currently know as Tanzania. Zanzibar is a well-known and popular place for snorkeling/diving enthusiasts, mostly because of its clear waters.
#3 Take a Maasai cultural tour
For all cultural explorers, Maasai tour is a great chance to meet one of the most recognizable local tribes face to face. Maasai warriors will guide you through their everyday life – show you their paths and weapons, introduce you to local traditions and beliefs, and even take you for a bush excursion. In most cases, you’ll also have a chance to spend the night in the village, which may be simply unforgettable experience.
#4 Go wild and do a safari
I say Tanzania, you say…safari! Yes, this country is one of the best places in the world to observe wildlife. No doubts about it. You can choose one of the most popular spots, like Serengeti or Ngorongoro Crater, or less popular ones, like Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park, Katavi or Mahale Mountains National Parks.
#5 Take a coffee tour
In a village called Materuni, at the foot of Kilimanjaro, I experienced one of the best moments of my trip to East Africa. Let’s start with the fact that I love coffee. Is there any better tour for such person than a coffee experience tour? It takes around 30 minutes on matatu and then on a motorcycle taxi to get from Moshi to Materuni. Once you get there, you get a guide who shows you around. You pick fresh coffee beans from the plants, roast them, grind them and, eventually, prepare an aromatic drink. It costed me 30,000 Tsh plus tips for my guides (5,000 each).
Just take a look how much fun I had!
Oh, did I mention there’s a wonderful Materuni waterfall nearby? 🙂
#6 Learn Swahili
Karibu sana! This might be the most common phrase you hear in Tanzania. Swahili, having almost 50 million speakers all around the world, is the most widely spoken African language in the world. This means if you ever plan to travel in Africa, especially in the eastern part, it might be more than useful. You can learn some basics on your own, just like I did it, or live in Tanzania and sign up for Swahili classes. There’s bunch of language schools offering courses like this.
#7 See the Lake Victoria
With almost 89,000 square kilometers, Victoria Lake is the largest tropical lake in the world and the second largest freshwater lake by area. Rich in fauna and flora, it remains one of the main fishing point in the area and supplies locals with food. If you plan to stay at the lake, there are a few nice spots. The biggest, Mwanza and Musoma, located on the southern and eastern side, will fulfill your expectations if you’re looking for something more than a pure nature. On the other hand, Bukoba, being a small town located on the western side, is a good stopover point for those traveling towards Kampala.