Why should I visit Tanzania?
Here are the top 5 reasons you should visit Tanzania:
• First and foremost – Experience the great Wildebeest migration
• Climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain.
• Visit the Masaai people group
• Experience Zanzibar with its culture and beaches
• Ngorongoro Crater
It is very difficult to select only 5 reasons why you should visit Tanzania as the country has so much to offer. I have however selected these 5, as the bulk of the 1.3 million tourists that visit Tanzania each year, cannot all be wrong. I however prefer more off-the-beaten-track destinations like Selous Game Reserve, Mahale National Park, Ruaha National Park, Mafia, Pemba and Mnemba islands and quite a few other little islands dotted around Zanzibar. There is something to suit everyone’s taste, but not always everyone’s budget.
What is the best time of the year to visit Tanzania?
The best time to visit Tanzania depends on why you are travelling to Tanzania. If you want the experience the great migration in the Serengeti, June and July are the best months to visit. If you want see the vast herds spread out over the green Serengeti plains, where they give birth to their young, January & February are the best months. The best time to visit the Ruaha National Park, Selous Game Reserve, Tarangire, Katavi and Mahale Mountains National Parks, the dry season (June to October) is the best month to travel.
As Tanzania is just below the equator, it does not experience the 4 normal seasons. Its year is made up of the short rains (November), long rains (March to May) and the dry seasons in between.
Which places should I include in my visit?
For the Safari enthusiasts, Tanzania has 16 national parks and 17 game reserves. About 40% of the country is protected in some way.
The National Parks include: Serengeti National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Tarangire National Park, Arusha National Park, Ngorongoro Crater & Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Ruaha National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, Katavi National Park, Mahale National Park, Saadani National Park and Rubondo National Park.
Game Reserves include the Selous, still quite untouched.
How long should I visit Tanzania for?
For a short visit the Tanzania I would suggest two options:
1. A combination of Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti
2. A bush and beach combination of Zanzibar and the Selous
For a longer visit to Tanzania I suggest:
1. Lake Manyara National Park combine with Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti with perhaps and extension to Mahale National Park
2. A circuit of The Selous, Ruaha, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro & the Serengeti.
You can always add on a beach and cultural option after the safari trip to just relax.
What is the weather like in Tanzania?
Zanzibar and the coastal areas are hot and humid and average daily temperatures hover in the 30°C range. October to March is the hottest period. Sea breezes, however, temper the regions’ climate and June to September is coolest with temperatures falling to 25°C. In the Kilimanjaro area, temperatures vary from 15°C in May-August period to 22°C over December – March. As you head to the peaks of Kilimanjaro, temperatures can drop to below freezing, especially at night.
The climate is temperate in the northern national parks. The central plateau suffers a dry and arid climate with hot days and cool nights. The highlands in the south and northeast are cool and temperate. For the country as a whole, the hottest months are October to February. The long rains fall between March and May and the shorter wet season falls in November.
Do I need a visa to travel to Tanzania?
All visitors require a visa except citizens of some African and commonwealth countries. It is advisable to obtain visa’s in advance from Tanzania Embassies and High Commissions as some airlines may require it before allowing you to board. But you can also be issued with a visa on arrival at Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro international airports and at the Namanga Gate on the Kenya/Tanzania border. Passports must be valid for at least six months.
What are the health requirements for the Tanzania?
Malaria is a risk in Tanzania. There is however less of a risk in the highlands. We suggest that you consult your doctor as to what anti-malaria medication to take as we strongly recommend that you do so. To minimise the risk of contracting malaria, wear long trousers and cover your arms in the evening as well as applying mosquito repellent.
Yellow fever vaccination is required if you are coming from an endemic country. The following vaccinations are recommended, but not compulsory:
- Hepatitis A & B;
- Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (TDAP)
- Meningococcal meningitis; and
- Cholera vaccinations.
- Measles, mumps & rubella (MMR)
There is a risk of contracting Bilhazia in some of the lakes and rivers.
How can I travel around Tanzania?
The network of tar roads connecting the main cities is reasonable, but once you stray off these roads travel becomes much more difficult. Car rental, transfers, buses and light aircraft transfers are the main means of transport. For short distance, within towns, the dalla dalla (shared taxi) will get you where you want to go. While rail travel is possible, it is of uncertain standard.
TOP TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Click on the tabs above giving you great information on the best Tanzania has to offer, namely:
The Ngorongoro Crater
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Lake Manyara National Park
The Selous Game Reserve
Other National Parks
Whether it be the migration or any other type of safari, call Q2 Travel to arrange your safari of a lifetime.
GENERAL INFO & HISTORY
Geographically Tanzania is made up of islands, the coastal plains and the highlands of the interior plateau. The Great Rift Valley runs through central Tanzania adding to the variety and beauty of the country. Tanzania is also home to Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro. Dar es Salaam is it capital and boasts one of Africa’s bussiest ports which serve as an entry point for goods that end up in Malawi, Zambia, Burundi, Rwanda & Uganda.
More of Tanzania (over 40%) is set aside for National Parks and Game reserves than any other safari destination in the world. These areas are placed in trust to benefit those than come after us and include pristine coral reefs, Crater Highlands and wildlife reserves. Scenery is diverse and varied including volcanic peaks, forests and savannah with their attending wildlife which includes the Big 5 (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino) plus wild dog and cheetah.
With the second largest number of bird species in Africa (approx. 1500), the largest animal population in Africa and over the thousand plant species, Tanzania is ranked as one of the top 4 naturally diverse countries on earth. If the above weren’t enough, the country’s rich ethnic diversity, hiking options, snorkelling, diving, kite surfing and fishing just makes your holiday that much more varied and special.
Masaai People Group
No the above is not the incorrect spelling. It was the British settlers that adopted the incorrect spelling. Masaai, the correct spelling, means people speaking maa. They are a special people with unique traditions. The Masaai warrior, wearing red cloth and having long hair is the iconic image that comes to mind.
Inhabiting large areas of southern Kenya and northern Tanzania, that includes the Ngorongoro Conservation area and the Masai Mara, the tribe follows ancient traditions, passed down by word of mouth through the centuries, to this day. They live in huts that are clustered around a central boma where the animals are kept at night to protect them against predators. The huts are made of primitive materials and include wood, mud and dung. The iconic red material and jewellery is worn by both men and women. The jewellery is made the way it was centuries ago using wire and colourful beads. The colours have meaning and identify the social status of the wearer.
Keeping their livestock safe is essential as they represent the status and wealth of owner, indeed their one god, Enkai, entrusted to them all the cattle on earth. The Masaai people are this shepherds that move from area to area to find the best grazing for their livestock.
The history of Tanzania is both colourful and varied and the more modern mention of market places in the area dates back to the Greek and Roma empires. This is backed up the discovery of Roman-era coins that were found along the coast.
The Swahili language and culture spread from northern Kenya into the coastal area of Tanzania. These Swahili towns, Kilwa being the most powerful and prosperous, acted as a conduit for goods between the interior of East Africa and its trade partners throughout the Indian Ocean.
Following Vasco da Gama’s arrival on the cost in 1498, the Portuguese captured Zanzibar in 1505 and remained in control of the island until the early 18th century. Control changed hands when the local coastal peoples, aided by the Omani Arabs, managed to drive out the Portuguese from the area north of the Ruvuma River, the current border between Mozambique and Tanzania. The conquering Arabs claimed the strip along the coast and Seyyid Said, an Omani Sultan made Zanzibar his capital city in 1840, thus Zanzibar became the centre of the Arab slave trade.
Tanganyika was the name given to the area that was eventually to become Tanzania, only in 1920. Tanganyika was the playground of many explorers and where the famous words, Dr Livingstone, I presume? were spoken by Henry Morton Stanley when he “found” David Livingstone near Lake Tanganyika. The Belgians, British and Germans, developed rules on how colonies and protectorates were to be established, the end result being that Germany was given control of all the land east of Lake Tanganyika. With scant attention to local traditions and structures, German East Africa, stamped their authority on the region. This however resulted in railways and roads being built to aid trade in the region. The uprisings of 1891-1894 and the Maji Maji resistance to German rule, all of which were defeated by the Germans, resulted in over 120 000 Africans being killed in war or starving to death.
It was shortly thereafter that World War I broke out. The British and Belgians fought the Germans in Tanganyika until December 1917 when the last of the German forces crossed the Ruvuma River into Mozambique. Following the Treaty of Versailles, the British assumed control of Tanganyika which lead to it being called Tanganyika Territory in 1920. Under the British, local rule, in various forms, was established. Julius Nyerere became of the unofficial members of the Legislative Council in 1948 and he would go on to lead TANU (Tanganyika African National Union) and become the first president of Tanganyika. During this period the railway line between Tabora and Mwanza & Moshi to Arusha were opened and more hospitals were opened as a result of the British efforts to fight the sleeping sickness (carried by the Tsetse fly), malaria and Bilhazia.
After the World War II (1947), during which 100,000 people from Tanganyika joined the Allied Forces, Tanganyika became a UN (United Nations) trust territory under British control. The UN was used to put extra pressure on Britain for political progress. It is on 1 May 1961 that self-government started by TANU who had won the 3 recent Legislative Council elections
Zanzibar Island (Unguja) and Pemba Island form what is today known as Zanzibar. In the early 20th century, Zanzibar supplied 90% of the world’s cloves, all due to Sultan Seyyid Said, who encouraged the development of clove plantations and used local slave labour to do so. Very quickly Pemba and Zanzibar became known as the Spice Islands due to their world-renowned trade in spices, with ships coming from as far as the USA. While Britain first got involved in Zanzibar to try to bring and end to slavery it was only on signing the Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty in 1890 that Zanzibar came under British rule. The British ruled through a Sultan until 1957 when elections of the Legislative Council were held.
The United Republic of Tanzania & Zanzibar came into being on the 26th April 1964 and it became the United Republic of Tanzania on the 29th October of the same year. The name Tanzania pulls aspects from both Tanganyika and Zanzibar. In 1977, Julius Nyrere merged TANU and the Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP) to form the Chama cha Mapinduzi CCM Revolutionary Party (CCN)
Nyrere believed that a one-party system was required to achieve national unity. This lead to the establishment of Kiswahili as the national language and African socialism. This philosophy sought to de-emphasize urban areas and promote rural industrial development and expanded the state control throughout the economy. Corruption, inefficient bureaucracy and high taxes damaged the economy enormously leading to an economic collapse in 1979.
In 1990, groups within Zanzibar, having seen their vibrant economy decimated by socialism, demanded a referendum, but to no avail.
As is the sad story of most African nations, the corrupt and ineffective governing party continued to win the elections. The elections in Zanzibar in 2001 were contested and lead to 35 peopl being killed and 600 injured when government forces gunned them down in the streets.
Tanzania is now a multi-party state with a two term limit on the Presidency and enjoys political stability. The Tanzanian government have embarked on pro-investment and pro-growth policies, developing the private sector, adherence to law, anti-corruption drives, job creation and human capital development to bring the country to its full potential.
With only 4% of the land being arable, agriculture making up 40% of GDP and 85% of exports, it is no wonder that Tanzania ranks amongst the poorest countries in the world. Industry, by-in-large is concentrated in processing agriculture products and producing light consumer goods. Tourism is one of the shining lights of the economy, accounting for an estimated 17.5% of GDP and growing at about 25% per annum.
The Tanzanian Shilling (Tsh) is the local unit of currency. The US$ is widely accepted at tourist establishments, but for buying local goods, it is good to have the local currency. You will receive change from the locals only in the local currency