While the Serengeti is the star attraction, there are many things to do in Tanzania besides viewing the wildlife. Although, you have to do that when you go! Here are some things that will entice you to make your next Adventure an African Adventure in Tanzania.
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Things to do in Tanzania
Tanzania is one of our favourite countries in all of Africa. People welcome you with open arms yelling “Jambo” and everyone always seems to have a huge smile on their face. The landscape is lush and beautiful, the energy was vibrant and exciting and the wildlife is second to none.
1. Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
Our number one pick for adventure in Tanzania is to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro. To climb to the roof of Africa to Uhuru Peak and look out over the Furtwängler Glacier is an awe inspiring sight.
Climbing the Machame Route gives you an extra day to acclimate to the elevation and it is considered the most scenic route. You will have an excellent chance of reaching the summit of one of the most famous climbs on earth. At 5895 metres, it is a feat to be proud of when you reach the summit. Don’t miss this trek of a lifetime.
Hot Tip: Book in Moshi with Kessey Brothers. We went with them, booked the day we landed in Kilimanjaro Airport and loved every minute of our tour. Read More about our climb up Kilimanjaro
2. Safari in the Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Park is Africa’s number 1 wildlife destination. And with good reason! Every year over a million wildebeest migrate over its great plains alongside thousands of the other herbivores of Africa during the Great Migration. Besides the Wildebeest, you’ll see impalla, gazelle and zebras roaming freely among the Big Five as they migrate between the Serengeti and the Masai Mara in neighboring Kenya spanning.
Don’t limit yourself to migration season only though. Visiting the Serengeti offers amazing wildlife viewing year round as you spy lions, cheetahs, elephants and leopards living in their natural habitats on the vast African plains.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the greatest places in the world to view wildlife in their natural habitat.Read More
3. Scuba Dive in Zanzibar
No trip is complete without island time and Zanzibar is paradise on earth. This beautiful island is located in the Indian Ocean and is surrounded by turquoise waters just waiting to welcome you.
This spice island is not only beautiful above its turquoise water with its white sand beaches, is beautiful below the water’s surface. Considered to have the best diving on the entire east coast of Africa, snorkellers will also be satisfied with what they will see. Read More. Make your way to the north of the island to Nungwoi and snorkel only 800 metres off the coast at the Kendwa Reef.
4. Explorer the Beaches of Zanzibar
Zanzibar has the most beautiful beaches in the world. While visiting Stone Town gives a feel of old Arabia, the beaches transport you to paradise. Beaches to hang out in Zanzibar include: Nungwi, Paje, Jambiani, Matemwe and more. Check out the best beaches in Zanzibar.
5. Stone Town – Birthplace of Freddie Mercury
Zanzibar is known for its beaches and turquoise water, but walking around Stone Town makes for an interesting day.
Freddie Mercury of Queen was born in Zanzibar and it was a highlight for us to see the door to his house and to visit Mercury’s bar for a drink. Okay, so maybe I am too much of a Queen fan there are a lot of other things to do in this UNESCO World Heritage town.
It was once the king of the spice trade and sadly the slave trade. Walk through the narrow alleyways and marvel at the famous Zanzibar doors, (Freddie Mercurie’s old house has a door saying Mercurie’s house) smell the spices and visit the old fort and night markets.
Hot tip: Stone towns stone maze streets get very hot. Choose accommodation on the waterfront to keep cool.
6. Gombe Stream National Park
Located on the north Shore of Lake Tanganyika, Gombe Stream is a protected area made famous by Jane Goodall.
Hire a guide to take you to trek and see the famous chimpanzees of the area. You are almost guaranteed a sighting of our closest cousins.
Besides the chimpanzees, you’ll also be able to see olive baboons and red colobus, redtail and blue monkeys.
7. Marvel at the Rift Valley
The Great Rift Valley spans from Lebanon all the way through Africa through Tanzania to where it ends in Mozambique.
It is a beautiful vast site in Tanzania housing the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti.
Stay at the Kilimamoja Lodge for the very best view of this massive valley you’ll have anywhere.
8. Visit the Iraqw Village
The Iraqw Village located near the town of Karatu, not far from the Ngorongoro crater was a highlight for us when visiting Tanzania.
This tribe hails from Ethiopia and opens its doors to tourists where they teach you about their customs, language and way of life. If you are going to visit one village in Tanzania, this is it!
9. Oldupai Gorge (Olduvai Gorge)
Oldepai Gorge is known as the cradle of civilization. In the 1970s Mary and Louise Leakey discovered the existence of the first human species dating back 3 million years. This significant finding established the fact that humans evolved in Africa.
10. Take a Balloon Safari
If you are up for a splurge, there is nothing better than taking a hot air balloon over the Serengeti Plains.
See wildlife from above and have a great adventure flying over Africa. Balloon flights end with champagne and breakfast starting your day off right!
Be prepared balloon safaris on the Serengeti go as high as $600 but if it’s your once-in-a-lifetime trip, it’s worth every penny.
11. Tarangire National Park
It may not be the largest or most famous park of Tanzania, but the Tarangire National Park packs a punch.
It was in Tarangire that we had some of our most unique animal encounters in Tanzania. From ostriches mating to lions in a tree, Tarangire is an excellent spot to see African animals.
By staying inside the park at the Sopa Lodge, we had the opportunity to look out over the plains and marvel at wildlife coming in at sunrise and sunset.
We went on Safari to Tanzania with Go Ahead Tours, check out their website for Tanzania safari adventures.
12. Nogorngoro Crater
It’s the largest unbroken caldera in the world that is not submerged in water and it houses 45,000 animals living in harmony.
Visiting the Ngorongoro Crater is a beautiful experience watching wildlife within the volcano. Within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Massive herds of wildebeest, zebras, Impala, buffalos, and elephants roam the landscape. You will come across a lion or two and if you are lucky, a rhino may cross your path.
13. Visit a Maasai Village
You cannot visit East Africa without visiting a Maasai Tribe.
The original nomads and Maasai warriors will welcome you into their villages showing you how they make fire while putting on performances and jumping high in the air.
Their majestic voices will win you over and you won’t be able to leave without digging deep into your wallets to buy a souvenir.
Be prepared: The Maasai have been running tours for decades and know the art of the deal. They’ll quote high prices but you can barter.
14. Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria is the source of the White Nile and it is the largest lake in Africa. It is the second largest freshwater lake in the world after Lake Superior. Bordered by Kenya and Uganda, this lake is not to be missed when visiting Tanzania.
It is one of the least visited places in Tanzania, but you can take boat trips and do some amazing bird watching on its shores. A suggested boat tour is to book a trip between Bukoba and Mwanza on the MV Victoria.
15. Lake Manyara National Park
For a more popular bird watching destination Lake Manyara is the place to be.
This alkaline lake is famous for its pink flamingo population. But aside from the thousands of migrating flamingoes, you also see storks, kingfishers and eagles. It’s not just for the birds though, we were mesmerized by the baboon colony walking en masse like Planet of the Apes to the forest and the statue-like giraffes reflections in the water.
15. Arusha Cultural Centre
Located in Arusha the cultural centre is a new attraction housing African art and paintings.
It’s a fascinating walk through African culture all in a tranquil setting. Sip cappuccinos on the terrace or browse the gift shops.
16. Shanga Village
Also located in Arush, the Shanga Village is a project that helps disabled people hone their skills selling arts and crafts.
The workshop lets you walk through to enjoy artisans at work and learn how they make glass ornaments, tapestries and clothing. You can buy jewelry or other crafts to support the project that runs on a sustainable model of recycling materials.
17. Arusha National Park
Mount Meru is the second highest mountain in Tanzania and people come to Arusha National Park to climb this mountain. Mount Meru is a thousand meters lower than Kilimanjaro, but it is also beautiful. The free standing volcano rises 4,566m high into the sky. When trekking here you need an armed ranger as there is an abundance of wildlife that could put you in a bit of a pickle if you were on your own.
Keep an eye out for Colobus Monkeys which are easily spotted. You’ll also see buffalo, zebras and our personal favorite, warthogs.
Mafia Island, situated in the magnificent Indian Ocean off Tanzania’s coast, is a place of profound tranquility and natural beauty. Part of the Mafia Archipelago, the island is less frequented than Zanzibar or Pemba, making it an unspoiled paradise for visitors looking for serenity.
Spanning around 50 kilometers long and 15 kilometers across, Mafia Island has a rich history dating back to the 8th century with sleepy fishing villages, coconut groves, and sandy beaches. The island’s warm, clear waters harbor vibrant coral gardens, making it a premier destination for diving and snorkeling. It is also a nesting site for hawksbill and green turtles.
The island’s main attraction is the Mafia Island Marine Park, Tanzania’s first marine park, which encompasses a variety of ecosystems from coral reefs to mangrove forests and is home to a staggering array of marine life. It offers some of the richest reefs in the world, with over 50 types of coral and 400 species of fish identified so far, making it a dream for snorkelers and scuba divers.
The island is one of the few places in the world where you can experience the incredible spectacle of whale shark migration between October and March.
Pemba Island, part of Tanzania’s Zanzibar Archipelago, is a quieter and lesser-known sibling to the popular Zanzibar Island (Unguja),
Known as “The Green Island” in Arabic, its landscape is a lush tapestry of dense forests, mangroves, and verdant hills interspersed with traditional Ngezi villages.
Pemba’s agricultural affluence – particularly in clove production – has been its economic backbone, earning it the nickname “The Spice Island.” Visitors are often enticed by its rich aroma of spices, blending with the salt-tinged ocean air to create an unforgettable sensory experience.
Renowned for its unspoiled coral reefs, Pemba is a paradise for divers and snorkelers, teeming with an abundance of diverse marine life. Adventure seekers can explore the island’s untamed wilderness, hiking through the Ngezi Forest, home to many endemic species.
Visitors can delve into local traditions, learn about the island’s Swahili culture, and explore historical sites such as the 15th-century ruins at Ras Mkumbuu and the ancient walled city of Chake Chake.
Luxurious eco-resorts, like the Manta Resort, provide unrivaled relaxation experiences, including a unique underwater room.
Selous Game Reserve
Covering approximately 50,000 square kilometers, the Selous Game Reserve is one of the largest faunal reserves in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Located in southeastern Tanzania, Selous is known for its diverse landscapes, which include grassy plains, woodlands, swamps, and savannah. The mighty Rufiji River, the largest river in Tanzania, bisects the reserve and provides an essential water source to its abundant wildlife, creating a vibrant and dynamic ecosystem.
Renowned for its impressive wildlife concentrations, the reserve is home to some of the most significant populations of large mammals in Africa.
Visitors can expect to see a wide range of species, including elephants, black rhinos, African wild dogs, buffalos, hippos, crocodiles, and various species of antelope. It also hosts more than 350 species of birds, making it a paradise for bird watchers.
The reserve is unique in the sense that it allows for diverse safari experiences, including walking safaris, boating safaris on the Rufiji River, and classic game drives, providing different perspectives to view its stunning landscapes and wildlife.
18. Cycle the Country
If you want an epic adventure. Take a ride from Arusha in the north to Mbeya in the south. See everything that Tanzania has to offer from the seat of a bicycle. Ride through coffee plantations and lush countryside.
This is the Africa you have always dreamed of. Epic climbs through tropical forests, switching between paved roads and bumpy trails will challenge and excite you. Make your way to the Capital of the country Dodoma. See a Tanzania that other travellers never will and get to know the people of Tanzania up close and personal as you stop for a coke on the side of a highway.
Watch our video of the Best Things to do in Tanzania
And these are the best things to do in Tanzania that we’ve done. What did we miss? Let us know in the comments below.