Top places to visit in Tanzania. 12 places we think you will love.

From the Kilimanjaro to the Serengeti and Zanzibar, Tanzania is home to some of Africa's most well-known travel attractions. Because of these world-famous attractions and countless others that fly under the popularity radar, Tanzania attracts very many tourists each year.

Tanzania is a big country with so many national parks, towns, and tourist attractions. You could spend months and never see everything enough.

In this article, we are going to look at some of the most popular places you should consider visiting when you go on a safari to Tanzania. While not everything is going to excite you, we believe that this list will have enough exciting choices for you to pick from.

Best Places to Visit in Tanzania

1. Mount Kilimanjaro - Africa's Peak

mount Kilimanjaro

Rising 5,895 meters above sea level, Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa's tallest mountain and Tanzania's iconic image. For those who love climbing mountains and taking on challenges that will push your resolve, Kilimajaro is the mountain to climb.

Climbing from the lower slopes to the peak goes through various climate zones until you reach the snow-capped top. As you climb, you can be sure that the views of the plants, animals, and far into the distant horizon are going to breathe taking.

2. Olduvai Gorge

Olduvai Gorge is called the cradle of civilization because it is where the existence of the first human species was discovered. The remains date back 3 million years.

It is because of this discovery at Olduvai Gorge that it is now a well-established fact that humans evolved on the African continent. 

For its significance, Olduvai Gorge is a great place to visit even if you are not into history or archeology.

3. Gombe National Park

hunting chimp in Gombe np

While Gombe Stream National Park is a small National Park, its reputation is so big  - especially if you are into conservation as we are. This is where Jane Goodall started her research on Chimpanzees in the 1960s. You could say that most of what we know about chimpanzees was made possible because of this small park.

Aside from chimps, you can also see other primates and around 200 bird species. You can also do some hiking, swimming as well as explore the waterfalls.

4. Serengeti National Park

Serengeti Migration

The Serengeti is among the most well-known National parks in the whole of Africa. This is because of the annual great migration that comprises around 2 million total animals.

The Serengeti borders Kenya's Maasai Mara which hosts the massive herds once they migrate across the border. If the lion is your favorite African animal, you will be happy to know that the Serengeti holds the largest world population - with more than 30,000 lions. 

Besides lions, you will see plenty of elephants, rhinos, buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, hippo, cheetahs, and much more. It is the ultimate wilderness.

5. Ngorongoro Crater

Wilde Beest and Zebra in NgoroNgoro crate

The Ngorongoro crater is very popular for any visitors who want to see the thousands of African animals that graze on the crater's floor. The floor of the crater is blessed with a permanent supply of water and vegetation - which keep the animals in the crater all year round.

The Ngorongoro crater is the major feature of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This is because it is the world's largest intact, inactive, and unfilled volcanic caldera. The caldera is thought to have been formed around 3 million years ago.

6. Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park is very well known for its elephant concentrations - especially in the dry season. The large baobab trees dot the grassland landscape and enhance the wildlife and bird watching experience.

Tarangire is strategically located near Lake Manyara National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater which makes it easy to visit and combine with other wonderful experiences like the Ngorongoro Crater.

7. Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam is the largest city in East Africa and Tanzania's former capital city. Dar es Salaam is derived from Arabic and literally means "Place of Peace'.

Dar es Salaam's long history and location on the Indian ocean means that there is a big mix of cultures which can be seen in the building styles, the food, the music, and the wonderful beach life. You can also visit the museums and check out some of the fossil bones found at Olduvai Gorge.

If you are going to be visiting Zanzibar and the rest of the Islands, Dar es salaam is the hub and major sport before you go exploring the islands.

8. Selous Game Reserve

 

elephants drinking in selous game reserve

Selous Game Reserve is the largest protected area in Tanzania - and covers around 5% of Tanzania's land area. For comparison, this is bigger than Denmark.

The park has undisturbed nature and a great diversity of wild animals. Some of the animals you will see include elephants, rhino, hippo, lion, wild dog, zebras, and crocodiles.

The Rufiji river has an intricate network of channels and swamps, where animals gather for a drink, especially in the dry season.

9. Arusha - Safari Capital of Tanzania

If you are going on a Tanzania wildlife safari, you will definitely have a stopover in Arusha. Since Arusha is near Tanzania's northern Safari circuit, you can very easily add it at the start or the end of your safari.

Your stopover in Arusha is a good opportunity to learn about Tanzania's past history and present cultures. One of the places to check out is the Arusha Cultural Centre where you can see loads of Tanzanian art as well as get some souvenirs.

10. Zanzibar & Pemba Islands

zanzibar beach

Zanzibar has made its name as a top beach destination on the Indian ocean - sometimes people forget that it is part of Tanzania. 

Zanzibar's beautiful beaches of clear waters are great for any getaway (romantic or otherwise) and make for a great divers' paradise. Aside from the beaches and marine activity, Zanzibar's past prominence in the global spice trade (from centuries ago) has left so much history and culture to learn about.

If you are a fan of the band Queen, you will love visiting Freddie Mercury's childhood home in Stonetown.

11. Lake Manyara National Park

 

lake manyara tree climbing lions

Lake Manyara National park is located near Arusha and makes for a quick getaway or Safari addition. This is a great place for birders since it attracts more than 300 migratory bird species, especially in the wet season.

aside from the birds, you will also see wildlife such as hippos, elephants, giraffes, and the very well-loved tree-climbing lions.

12. Mount Meru

Mount meru in Arusha national park

Mount Meru is the second-highest mountain in Tanzania after Kilimanjaro and a major centerpiece of Arusha National park. Mount Meru is a dormant composite volcano that last erupted in 1910. The evidence of past eruptions can be seen in the several cones and craters within the vicinity - which makes for breathtaking views.

Mount Meru's steep slopes attract mountain climbers who want something tougher than Kilimajaro, while in Kilimanjaro's vicinity.

Closing Thoughts

Choosing a dozen places out of the whole of Tanzania is far from sufficient because of the number of attractions present in the country. These places are in no way numbered based on any order - because each person's level of enjoyment is based on their preference.

We know that for most safari holidays, very few people will have enough time to explore all the above areas. We suggest making a Tanzania bucket list and ticking off a few every time you can - and eventually, you will see it all.

We hope this was helpful and interesting, and that it made you want to go and see everything Tanzania has to offer. Feel free to ask us any further questions, about Tanzania (or any other African Destination). Our Safari partner in Tanzania can also help you to travel stress-free so that you can focus on your experience.