Tanzania is arguably one of Africa's best-kept secrets, being less well know than Kenya, despite the fact that it is home to Kilimanjaro - Africa's highest mountain, and three largest lakes in Africa - Lake Malawi, Lake Tanganyika and Victoria. These lakes boasts the worlds greatest diversity of fish species.
Natural highlights of Tanzania include, Ngorongoro Crater - the largest intact caldera in the world, Olduvai Gorge - said to the birthplace of man, the 20 million year old Great Rift Valley and the vast game-filled plains of the Serengeti.
The Annual Great Migration of millions of herbivores is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and can be viewed at various Tanzanian and Kenyan locations throughout the year. More that 25 % of Tanzania is dedicated to conservation areas, protecting over 20 % of Africa's largest mammals, 35 species of antelope and 1.5 million wildebeest.
It is possible to view the 'Big Nine' in Tanzania, elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion, leopard, cheetah, hippo, zebra and giraffe - plus the famous 'Jane Goodall' chimpanzees on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. Tanzania boats over 1000 bird species, with Lake Manyara National Park alone being home to more than 400. The people of Tanzania are courteous, sincere, friendly and hospitable, making visitors feel very welcome.
If a line had to be drawn around one place in Africa that contained the highest, longest or largest geographical giants, one could only choose Tanzania. About a quarter of the country is officially protected - a monumental tribute to its natural wealth. Tanzania stretches from volcanoes in the crater highlands along the Great Rift Valley to the tropical Indian Ocean, home to the spice islands of Zanzibar.
Stand in awe as over two million herbivores cross the Serengeti, a grassland the size of the Netherlands. Marvel at Eden-like Ngorongoro Crater, the world's largest unbroken caldera. Discover the mystery of our ancestors at Olduvai Gorge.
Snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro towers over Tanzania's northern border with Kenya, while Lake Victoria sparkles in the far north and Lake Tanganyika forms a watery western border with Zaire and Zambia. Tanzania has an exceptionally diverse population of over 30 million people, consisting of 120 tribal groupings.
Tanzania has whatever you are dreaming about - be it tropical islands, climbing the highest mountain in Africa, diving for marine treasures or watching the annual migration of plains game Tanzania is without doubt one of the most exciting countries in the world.
Tanzania boasts some of the most romantic and tropical beaches in Africa - Zanzibar and Pemba. Zanzibar Stone Town was once home to Sultans and explorers and is the land of exotic spices, azure waters and white sandy beaches.
Why you should visit the home of the migration?
- Tanzania is home to the three largest lakes in Africa - Lake Malawi, Tanganyika and Victoria
- More than 25 % of Tanzania is dedicated to conservation areas, protecting over 20 % of Africa's largest mammals, 35 species of antelope and 1.5 million wildebeest
- Tanzania boasts over 1000 bird species
- It is easy to combine an exciting big game safari with a relaxing beach extension
- Tanzanite, a highly desirable gemstone, is found only in Tanzania.
In Tanzania you can discover the Africa of your wildest dreams - from the dramatic Rift Valley and its soda lakes, to snow-capped Kilimanjaro on the Equator, gigantic Lake Victoria and the magical spice island of Zanzibar.
The great Serengeti National Park is host to the annual migration of nearly 2 million wildebeest and zebra - an awesome wildlife spectacle. Covering nearly 15 000 square km, the Serengeti is a grassland of astounding beauty and size, with lion, cheetah, elephant and gazelle. This is the park of legends and dreams.
Officially, the park is 14 763kmē, but there are no fences and the actual range stretches way past the borders, into Kenya's Masai Mara, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the Maswa Game Reserve in the south-west, the Grumeti and Ikorongo Controlled Areas in the west and the Western Corridor, stretching almost to the shores of Lake Victoria.
Simply put, at the right time of the year, the Serengeti is Africa's most spectacular wildlife experience. Anyone who has ever been there at the height of the migration will never forget it: day and night, it is an endless cacophony of grunting wildebeest, barking zebra, and the squeals of baby wildebeest being born and being hunted down by the ever-present predators.
To the east of the Serengeti, the slopes of Ngorongoro crater rise up to over 2 300 meters above sea level. A World Heritage Site, Ngorongoro Caldera shelters one of the most beautiful wildlife havens on earth. In the 8 300 square km Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Massai and their cattle exist with wildlife, whilst at nearby Olduvai Gorge, visitors can marvel at the site where ancient man roamed 4 million years ago This is quite possibly the most famous of all Africa's conservation areas and is worth visiting at least once in a lifetime.
It is the largest intact volcanic caldera in the world, and some scientists maintain that before it erupted, it stood higher than Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa. Covering a mere 260kmē, the 600 metre deep crater is home to a permanent population of more than 30 000 animals, and is one of the only places in Africa where you stand a very good chance of seeing the 'big five' (lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant) in the course of a morning or evening's game drive. Unique to the crater is that the local Maasai graze their cattle on the floor, and it is not unusual to see Maasai cattle and buffalo grazing together, with a lion kill just a few hundred metres away.
Set against the Great Rift Valley, is scenic Lake Manyara National Park, famous for it's remarkable tree climbing Lions. Fever tree forests flank Lake Manyara's shores, whilst thousands of pelicans and flamingos congregate in it's tranquil waters. This is one of the most diverse of Tanzania's national parks, a tiny (325kmē) combination of Rift Valley lake, dense woodlands and steep mountainside. Made famous by elephant researcher, Dr Ian Douglas Hamilton in his book, 'Among the Elephants', Manyara was established specifically to protect the elephant herds that have made the area world-renowned.