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Intimate lodges backed by extraordinary game drives are the highlights of Tanzania safari which makes ranks it among the leading romantic and magical safaris across the world. Get marveled by the astounding rolling hills, expansive plains, and home to elephants, wildebeest, zebra, lions, and more.
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The Great Migration, the Serengeti, Zanzibar, Ngorongoro Crater? Tanzania isn’t short of world-famous attractions. But every Tanzanian adventure will also, invariably, scratch deep below the surface. This is a country that’s full of surprises, unique moments, and personal experiences that will indelibly mark your journey.
A cacophonous soundtrack welcomes you to Lake Manyara, a provocative national park that’s home to more than 400 bird species. Hornbills shout from the treetops, eagles soar on the thermals, while kingfishers share the lake with huge pods of hippos. This small park is nearly two-thirds water, and consequently draws a huge crowd of wild characters. Giraffes and antelopes roam the floodplains, while the dense forests are home to raucous baboons, stealthy lions, and marauding elephants.
Tanzania’s landscapes have no fences or boundaries. Lions, leopards, elephants, hippos – all roam freely and without inhibition. So now it’s time to get out of your vehicle and explore this wilderness on foot. Don’t be too concerned: the Maasai tribespeople have coexisted with the wildlife here for millennia, and the warrior-guides use their intimate knowledge of the environment to keep you safe while taking you close to the action.
Take an atmospheric journey through the meandering alleyways of Zanzibar’s Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site with 1,200 years of living history. Barbecued squid sizzles on street barbecues, locals gather around a game of dominoes and the symphonic call to prayer sails across ancient rooftops. The labyrinthine streets are barely wide enough for a donkey, yet they’re packed with secrets: colorful Indian temples, fragrant chai vendors, grand Persian baths, decaying Portuguese cathedrals, and – always – the welcoming smiles of the Zanzibari people.
Almost all of Tanzania showcases untouched Africa, but head south to the Selous Game Reserve and the Katavi and Ruaha National Parks and you step into another, eminently wilder world. All three reserves are larger than many countries, and you’ll almost certainly be alone with nature in these raw and rugged areas. The Selous is Africa’s largest game reserve and one of the world’s largest unspoiled wildernesses, its 54,600 square kilometers home to the continent’s largest populations of elephants and wild dogs – and huge numbers of buffalos, hippos, crocodiles and lions.
The Zanzibar Archipelago has been igniting the imagination of travelers for over a thousand years – and it still keeps offering more. Exclusive lodges carefully blend romance with seclusion, offering private white sand beaches and hidden bungalows. Great seafood banquets are served over lingering sunsets, monkeys swing through the jungle, and an incomparably personal experience awaits. The island has recently again made headlines with the opening of Africa’s first underwater hotel room at the Manta Resort on Pemba Island.
Weave your way through the enchanting forests of Gombe and the Mahale Mountains, home to some of the world’s last remaining troupes of wild chimpanzees. Mothers skip along the trail, babies clinging to their bellies. Males shout and squabble, while inquisitive individuals take a keen interest in you. Habituated through five decades of study and exposure to humans, these creatures are remarkably relaxed with visitors – enabling both sides to admire the 98% of genes they share with each other.
Tanzania is a huge country just south of the equator. It’s always warm or hot and the weather is dictated by the annual cycles of rains. Precisely when to go will depend on your specific interests, such as the best time for a beach vacation or following the Great Migration.
As a general rule, the weather can be divided into four seasons. Go back two generations and the Maasai tribesmen could accurately predict exactly when the storms would start. However, the weather is becoming more unpredictable, and there can be significant overlaps between the seasons.
A long dry season runs from June to mid-October. This offers the best weather for visitors, particularly for anyone who isn’t suited to the tropics. It’s the coolest time of year, with nighttime temperatures dipping into the 60s, and the mercury only starting to get above 80 degrees from September onwards. Beach destinations are idyllic and wildlife spotting is easy, as the larger game congregates around rivers and waterholes. However, the great wildebeest migration will largely have passed north into Kenya by this time.
Sporadic showers mark the climate from late October to December. These are known as the “short rains” and certainly don’t happen every day or everywhere. Zanzibar and the coast aren’t really affected by them. Temperatures gradually rise into the 80s and this is also generally a very good time to experience any of Tanzania’s natural wonders.
January and February is the hottest and driest time of the year. Temperatures are somewhere between 75 and 90 degrees but the lack of humidity makes it manageable. This is arguably the best time of year for climbing Kilimanjaro, and for marveling at the Great Migration on the Southern Serengeti Plains.
March to May brings the “long rains”. Along the coast, tropical afternoon downpours arrive with an almost metronomic consistency. In the isolated national parks, they are much less predictable and flash flooding can occasionally occur. This is low season for tourists in Tanzania, although anyone braving the long rains will find that they have the national parks almost to themselves.
Integral to the Tanzanian experience is its wonderful array of accommodation. Safari lodges and camps harmoniously blend into the landscapes, almost always constructed from replenishable local materials. Private verandas overlook a procession of mammals drinking from local waterholes, lion roars filter through opulent canvas tents, and cute bungalows are hidden within palm tree plantations. In Tanzania, you’ll find the luxury and quality demanded by the most discerning of travelers. You’ll also discover that it’s often surrounded by elephants, perforated by nature’s soundtrack, and imbued with an individual style that makes every night memorable.
While Tanzania does have large hotels and international chains, the most common type of accommodation is in a lodge. These are often spread over immense grounds, ensuring that privacy and seclusion are on the agenda. Rooms usually come in the form of spacious bungalows, often featuring private balconies with phenomenal views over the surrounding landscape. “Eco-lodges” have recently become very popular in the industry – although Tanzania was offering them long before the term was even invented.
The word “camp” tends to cause faces to drop and negative thoughts to swirl. So let’s just clarify things. When on safari in Tanzania, a tented camp offers an opportunity to be completely immersed in nature. Extremely spacious canvas tents allow nature to sing a lullaby and provide an acoustic wake-up call. Many operators offer fully-staffed mobile camps, which enable you to visit some of the more remote reserves and concessions – and literally follow the migrating wildlife. These luxurious mobile outfits have facilities and standards that far surpass anything you could imagine in the wilderness, from hot showers and raised beds to proper toilets and private balconies. And they’re all incredibly charming and romantic.
Tanzania also revels in its ability to offer something totally unique. Private two-person camps are set up on the endless grasslands of the Serengeti. Sumptuous tree houses overlook waterholes in indigenous forests. Colonial farmhouses have been converted to offer discreet opulent experiences. Exclusive lodges are set in their own private concessions, meaning that just eight guests share a teeming animal kingdom that’s bigger than many US states. Whatever you’re looking for, let Zicasso wow you with a breathtaking range of accommodation options.
Visa and Passport Requirements
If you are a North American and European, you will require to have a visa before entering to Tanzania. You can easily get this from the country’s international airports or land borders. While making payments for this, make sure you have clean and recent US dollar bills. Bills bearing tears or marks, or bills dated pre-2006, may be subjected to rejections by customs.
You can call Tanzania a safe and hassle-free country wherein crime rates are minimal. When on a Tanzania safari, you should be more careful about being trampled by elephants then having something stolen. Never leave your kids or family members unattended on the beaches, and keep your valuable things like passport and wallets in the hotel safe. Try not to advertise your wealth in public as you may fall a prey to snatching. Avoid taking taxis in the dark and prefer to stay in the hotel after dark.
Tanzania is not a malaria-free country hence, you must take preventative measures to protect yourself against mosquito bites. Wear long sleeves and to cover your feet, limbs, and neck with insect repellent before dusk wherever and whenever you can.
Tanzania has some of the best medical facilities under the name of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. So, in case of any medical emergency, rush to the Kenyan capital and get yourself treated by the best doctors. Tap water in Tanzania is not safe to drink so, keep the bottled water with you all the time.
To interact with the Tanzanians, you will have to speak in their official language which is
Swahili. If you have watched “The Lion King”, you’ll already know a few words. However, there is no need to master this language because most of the Tanzania population know the English language which is also the de facto official language of Tanzania.
People in Tanzania are welcoming and often excited to share their stories. At Tanzania, you will always have an opportunity to learn and genuinely make new friends.
The Tanzanian people never wear watches on their hands. They predict time on the basis of sunset and sunrise. You will hear them saying things like “dinner will be ready at sunset” or “we will leave after dark”. So, do not panic if things happen a few minutes later or earlier than the scheduled time.
Visiting the Tanzania forests and parks is not like visiting a zoo. You can never guarantee what you’ll see. Animals are wild and free to roam across the Tanzanian lands so do not visit a park with any preconceptions of stroking lion cubs or kissing elephants. You might see them but that’s not guaranteed.
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