A herd of African elephants and the Mount Kilimanjaro in the background, Tanzania

Things to do in  Tanzania

The lion sleeps tonight

If you want to see wildlife, you’re in the right place. Tanzania is among Africa's most popular safari destinations, with 22 national parks, endless things to do, and all sorts of wild beasts, including giraffes, zebras, hippos, rhinos, and lions. Tanzania is also the site of the tallest mountain in Africa—Mount Kilimanjaro—a bucket list destination for many hikers and climbers. And when you’re done with the parks, you can zip over to Zanzibar, Tanzania’s spice island, for your fill of white-sand beaches and gorgeous old architecture.

Top 15 attractions in Tanzania

Stone Town

The oldest part of Zanzibar City and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Stone Town is best known for its blend of European, African, Arabic, and Asian architecture, as well as its lively food scene and coastal cool. From towering minarets and white stone houses to cobbled market streets, every turn offers something to snap, making this island old town a must-see for any new arrival.More

Lake Manyara National Park

If you want to see many birds and mammals in one spot, you've come to the right place. This national park in northern Tanzania provides a refuge not only to mammals such as buffalo and zebras but also to all sorts of birds, particularly flamingos. The park protects Lake Manyara and its surrounding lands and is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.More

Tarangire National Park

Spread out over around 1,100 square miles (2,850 square kilometers) in Northern Tanzania's Manyara Region, Tarangire National Park is among the best places in the region to spot elephants. Other creatures frequently spotted in the park include cheetahs, oryx, and around 550 different species of bird.More

Jozani-Chwaka Bay National Park

Often referred to simply as the Jozani forest, Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park is Zanzibar's only national park. The big draw for many visitors is the chance to spot endemic red colobus monkeys, though there are plenty of other creatures in the park, from bush babies (galagos) to leopards.More

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Protecting the Ngorongoro Crater, the world's largest intact caldera, the UNESCO-listed Ngorongoro Conservation Area is known for its wildlife density. A game drive in the park heightens your chances of spotting creatures ranging from zebras and gazelles to lions and wild hunting dogs. If you're lucky, you may spot an elusive black rhino.More

Meserani Snake Park

Just outside of Arusha, snakes and reptiles are the main draw at Meserani Snake Park, which houses creatures ranging from puff adders to baby crocodiles. It’s also home to a campsite, Maasai cultural museum, craft market, and a bar decked with memorabilia and snake-themed decor. It’s not just a tourist attraction, though—the snake bite clinic provides an important service to the local community.More

Ol Doinyo Lengai (Mountain of God)

North of Arusha, near the Gregory Rift and Lake Natron, Ol Doinyo Lengai, or the "Mountain of God," is notable as the only place on earth to erupt a unique type of thinner, less viscose (and therefore faster flowing) magma known as natrocarbonatite, which is initially black or brown and turns white as snow as it cools.More

Arusha National Park

A short drive from Arusha, this compact park is an exceptional place to see wildlife, such as giraffes and zebras, both on foot and from the comfort of a safari vehicle. The park is also home to Mount Meru, a popular hiking destination and the second-highest mountain in Tanzania after Kilimanjaro.More

Nungwi Mnarani Aquarium and Marine Turtle Conservation Lagoon

Located on Zanzibar’s northernmost beach, Nungwi Mnarani Aquarium is home to the Marine Turtle Conservation Lagoon, a community-led project aimed at safeguarding sea turtles. Visit to see hawksbill and green turtles in a tidal pool, learn about marine life in the Indian Ocean, and even take part in the center’s ongoing release program.More

Mount Kilimanjaro

Africa's tallest peak has been attracting intrepid travelers for generations, and many people come to Tanzania specifically to hike to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Standing at 5,895 meters (19,341 feet), this volcanic mountain rewards ambitious hikers with incredible views over the savannah, not to mention major bragging rights.More

Mount Meru

Tanzania's second-highest mountain (after Kilimanjaro), Mount Meru attracts hikers with its easy and moderate trails and its outstanding scenery. Its location in the heart of Arusha National Park makes it an easy-to-reach destination for travelers staying in the nearby city of Arusha. It gets fewer crowds than Kilimanjaro.More

Serengeti National Park

Tanzania's oldest and most iconic reserve, Serengeti National Park is a bucket list stop for any wildlife lover. Its 12,000-square-mile (30,000-square-kilometer) savannah is home to the highest concentration of large mammals on earth. Residents include Africa's Big Five game (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and African buffalos) and around 500 bird species.More

Olduvai Gorge

One of Tanzania's most important areas for archaeological research, the Olduvai Gorge first gained prominence when paleoanthropologists Mary and Louis Leakey discovered evidence of early human species in this area back in the 1930s. It's been an excavation site ever since, and has even been dubbed the “cradle of humankind.”More

Old Fort (Ngome Kongwe)

The oldest building in Stone Town, the Old Fort (also called the Arab Fort), is one of the city's top attractions. It originally served to protect Stone Town from attack and was later converted into a prison, but now it is a popular tourist attraction and event space.More

Mikumi National Park

Among the largest of Tanzania's many national parks, Mikumi National Park is an excellent place for a safari, owing to its size and proximity to Dar es Salaam. All sorts of creatures live here, including elands, wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, lions, baboons, and over 400 bird species.More

Top activities in Tanzania

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All about Tanzania

When to visit

The best time to visit Tanzania is during one of the two dry seasons: A shorter one runs from around December or January through February, and a longer dry season starts in June and goes well into October. However, these are also the busiest times to visit, which means crowds at the national parks, particularly in July and August, during the Great Migration. Visit in May for fewer crowds and usually only moderate rainfall.

Getting around

There are all sorts of ways to get around Tanzania. If you're getting from point to point within a city, you'll have your choice of options, including dalla dallas (shared minibusses), normal busses (depending on the destination), regular taxis, boda bodas (motorbike taxis), and auto-rickshaws, or tuk-tuks, known locally as bajajis. There are international airports in Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam and the Moshi/Arusha area, making for easy access to Kilimanjaro hikes and northern circuit safaris.

Traveler tips

Many travelers to Tanzania take home a bit of tanzanite, a semi-precious gem only mined in a small area near Kilimanjaro. You can pick it up at souvenir shops across the country, but you may feel more comfortable purchasing through the Tanzanite Experience, one of the most established sellers in Tanzania, with outlets across the north and in Zanzibar. They even have a mini museum at their Arusha location.


People Also Ask

What is Tanzania best known for?

Tanzania is best known for its natural areas, including Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, which protects the highest peak in Africa, and Serengeti National Park, which—along with Kenya’s Maasai Mara—is the site of the Great Migration. Zanzibar is also part of Tanzania and is famous for its beaches, architecture, and spices.

Is Tanzania tourist friendly?

Yes, Tanzania is tourist friendly. Tourism is among the major industries in the country, and many people visit Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, go on safaris, or both. Areas that attract tourists have developed infrastructure with excellent roads, plenty of restaurants, and various accommodation options.

Is Tanzania cheap to visit?

No, Tanzania is not cheap to visit, particularly compared to other countries in the region. While accommodation and meals cost less than in highly developed economies, safaris and national park entry fees can be steep. Outside of major tourist areas, however, prices are much lower.

Why is Tanzania so popular?

Tanzania is popular because it is home to some of the world’s most incredible safari areas, including the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. It’s also where you’ll find Mount Kilimanjaro, among the world’s best-known mountain-trekking destinations, and the tropical spice island of Zanzibar.

Can you wear shorts in Tanzania?

Yes, you can wear shorts in Tanzania, but you may not want to. If you’re on a walking safari or trekking Kilimanjaro, long trousers are a better option to protect your legs from mosquitoes and tsetse flies. Shorts are common on Zanzibar beaches but are better avoided in conservative Stonetown.

How many days do you need in Tanzania?

How much time you spend in Tanzania depends a lot on what you plan to do. If you’re hiking Kilimanjaro, you’ll need a little over a week, depending on your route, while travelers just visiting Zanzibar could be fine with only three days. Safari packages range from day trips to multi-day adventures.

Frequently Asked Questions
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