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Tanzania Safari Blog

February 12, 2015

The Cadogan guide to Tanzania

Filed under: A guide to Tanzania,An Introduction — Tanzania Odyssey @ 7:21 pm

We are justifiably proud of our expertise when it comes to the best of Tanzania and Zanzibar.

cadoganVery few tour operators have anything like as many days in-country as we do, and when out in Tanzania, we don’t just visit the good stuff. We also have a wealth of knowledge about the country’s less visited areas that do not feature on our site.  We have all contributed to this growing database over the years but we have within our ranks an expert amongst experts, our director Annabel, writer of the Cadogan guide to Tanzania. After a quick scan through her book we think you’ll agree – few people know Tanzania better than her! If you have an interest in the road less travelled, you will find it sated by her fantastic guide.

To see all the chapters simply click on the Guidebook category on the toolbar to the right.

As well as information on some of Tanzania’s lesser visited areas, the guide provides a background to some of the areas we do recommend as well as a brief history. Even though we plan your trip to perfection and provide all the necessary information, it’s still nice to come with a little local knowledge – you may find it enriches your travelling experience!

For those who prefer a hard copy, you can still buy the second edition at Amazon or you can wait til we finish the 3rd edition!

To see all the chapters simply click on the Guidebook category on the toolbar to the right.

February 23, 2017

Under the Sea Safari in Zanzibar

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 1:02 pm

Sebastian from The Little Mermaid had a point, especially if you’re talking about the undersea world around a paradise island like Zanzibar.

Zanzibar’s beaches are a picturesque sight to behold; however the true beauty of the island lies under the ocean surface. Named as the ‘world’s leading dive destination’ in the 2015 World Travel Awards, it’s definitely worth taking the plunge and exploring the wild beneath Zanzibar’s waves.

The island receives the majority of its tourism through watersport inspired holidays. While scuba-diving may seem a little adventurous for some travelers, we’re here to tell you that it’s not nearly as difficult as most people imagine. Anybody who knows how to swim can complete an open-water diving course in just 3 days…and then you’re ready to explore the ocean’s wonders!

Situated just off the northeast coast near Matwmwe, Mneba Atoll Marine Reserve is one Zanzibar’s most popular diving sites. Declared a Marine Conservation Area, itis home to an abundance of sea life and is a breeding ground for green turtles, which can often be seen swimming in the shallows.

Other than turtles, Mneba is famous for the dolphins that like to join you as you snorkel or dive. During the migrating season, one might even spot whale sharks or humpback whales in the distance.  This dive is not one  to be missed if you are planning a dive trip to Zanzibar.

While it may be tempting to spend your time lazing in sun on Zanzibar’s white sand beaches, an ‘under the sea safari’ is well worth getting your feet wet for and is guaranteed to make your trip an unforgettable one.

© The Manta Resort

In addition to having some of the most spectacular diving and snorkeling opportunities, Zanzibar also has some of the most stunning accommodation options, ranging from rustic beach lodges, to upscale resorts and spas. Take a look at our Zanzibar lodge index for more information and inspiration: http://www.tanzaniaodyssey.com/tanzania/zanzibar

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February 6, 2017

Fire at Ras Nungwi

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tanzania Odyssey @ 11:26 am

It is with great sadness that we announce that Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel has been destroyed by a fire. The fire started at a neighbouring property on the morning of 4 February 2017, and stoked by strong winds, engulfed our hotel causing catastrophic damage. Mercifully, everyone was evacuated without injury, thanks in large part to the dedicated efforts of the hotel’s management and staff.

Ras Nungwi was a much-loved, award-winning hotel established some 20 years ago and we are devastated by this great loss. It is going to take some time to assess the options and plan for the future but we hope that Ras Nungwi will re-open in due course. Thank you for the kind messages of sympathy and support. It means a lot to us.

January 13, 2017

5 Reasons to Travel to Tanzania in 2017

The start of a new year is the perfect excuse to start planning new adventures.

2017 is set to be a great year for tourism in Tanzania. Its vast wilderness areas give a sense of the unexplored, and its wildlife offering is world-class; making it one of the most beloved and captivating safari destinations in the world.

Here are 5 reasons why you should spend your holiday in Tanzania in 2017:

1. Experience the Great Migration

The Wildebeest Migration is something that every traveler should experience at least once. A movement of more than one million wildebeest, plus hundreds of thousands of other animals, this annual procession is often the singular reason many travelers go on safari to Africa and Tanzania offers the absolute best opportunity to see this massive movement of animals.

2. Epic Hiking Opportunities

Tanzania is home to Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa. However, despite being 5895m tall, you don’t necessarily need to be a mountaineer to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. In fact, all of the trails are walking trails and most people with a reasonable level of fitness are able to make the summit within 8 days. Alternatively, the volcanic slopes to Ol Doinyo Lengai and Empakai Crater in the Ngorongoro also offer excellent hiking opportunities.

3. Ngoronogoro Crater

Periods of ancient volcanic activity are responsible for the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest intact caldera, and a wildlife sanctuary with some of the highest predator densities in Africa. The Ngorongoro Crater is the best place in Tanzania to see ‘The Big Five’.

4. Explore Stone Town in Zanzibar

Situated in the cultural heart of Zanzibar, Stone Town is a fascinating living monument to the history of East Africa. The ancient maze of narrow streets that make up Zanzibar’s ‘Old Town’ are now a web of markets, shops and craft centres, and an extraordinary place to explore.

© Helen Suk

5. Soak up the sun in Zanzibar

Fringed by the brilliant blue and beautifully warm Indian Ocean; Zanzibar has some of the most achingly gorgeous white sand beaches in the world. The water is teaming with life making it a brilliant destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. Whether opting for beach-shack-chic accommodation or a deluxe resort, the island has something for everyone and is the perfect end to a dusty safari.

Contact us to start planning your perfect tailor-made Tanzania safari.

December 23, 2016

Safari in Style: Luxury Activities to do in Tanzania

Filed under: A guide to Tanzania — Tags: , , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 7:57 am

Going on safari to Tanzania may not seem like a luxury option for travellers who prefer to explore in comfort, however, believe it or not, there are many ways to incorporate a little bit (or a lot) of luxury into your safari. Here are a few of our favourite luxury safari activities:

Hot Air Balloons:

There is arguably no better way to see the Serengeti than from the air. While game drives and scenic walks might let you see these areas up close, there’s nothing quite like viewing them from the skies. This safari experience is, quite literally, on a whole new level.

Hot Air Balloon Safari Serengeti

Wine Tastings:

Tanzania may not have much of an international reputation when it comes to wine, but it is actually the second largest producer of wine in Sub-Saharan Africa after South Africa. The humidity in Tanzania’s Dodoma region is perfect for growing grapes and the wine from this area has been praised by connoisseurs in the wine industry.

Dining on Safari

Luxury Lodging:

From meru style tents with glittering chandeliers, to private islands in the Indian Ocean; accommodation on safari can offer you luxury lodging options you never knew were possible on a safari. Just take a look at our lodge index if you don’t believe us!

Glamping in Siwandu Tents

Sundowner Cruise:

At the end of a long day on safari, nothing beats lazily drifting down a river with a drink in hand as the sun slowly dips below the horizon. Alternatively, in Zanzibar you can enjoy a sunset Dhow cruise along the coast of this island paradise.

Sunset Dhow Cruise in Zanzibar

Decadent Dining:

Luxury lodges tend to employ the most amazing, professional chefs and enjoy feeding their guests about 5 times a day. Put it this way, you definitely won’t be returning from safari any slimmer.

Safari Dining in Tanzania

Aah bliss! If this sounds like your kind of safari, get in touch with us and we’ll help you plan the perfect trip with all the creature comforts you could ever wish for.

November 24, 2016

The Ultimate List of Tanzania Resources

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Travelling to Tanzania? Here’s a list of resources to help you plan your trip:

Tanzania Tourist Board: The Tanzania Tourist Board provides up-to-date and accurate information for travellers interested in exploring Tanzania, including links to specific locations, travel advice, and historical and cultural background on this diverse country.

Ngorongoro Tanzania: This is the ultimate guide to the Ngorongoro Crater. Arguably the biggest tourist attraction in Tanzania, there is a lot people need to know when travelling to this brilliant destination. This site includes information ranging from where to go, when to go and how to get there.

Lonely Planet: Lonely Planet is a great all round travel resource site that offers some solid advice for travelling to Tanzania. In addition to the helpful tips on visas and health requirements, there are also some interesting blogs by travel writers sharing their experience.

Zanzibar.net: If you’re thinking of including the island paradise of Zanzibar in your Tanzania safari, this is a good site to visit to find out what’s on offer, as well as lots of useful, accurate and up-to-date information for travellers, including accommodation, maps and information on the weather.

World Travel Guide: This site provides a comprehensive guide to Tanzania, including information about the language, culture, history, attractions, airports and everything else you can think of.

About Travel: This is another great all round guide with a comprehensive section about travelling to Tanzania. What’s different about this site is that it includes some useful tips for avoiding common travel scams.

Helen in Wanderlust: This is a lovely travel blog by a solo female traveller, Helen. Helen describes her trip to Tanzania in detail and includes some practical budget advice for fellow travellers.

Project Visa: Everything you need to know with regards to visas and embassy information.

Female Traveller: This site addresses the specific needs of female travellers and provides advice for women abroad.

World Nomads: Travel insurance options, as well as tips and advice for your trip.

Air Tanzania: Air Tanzania is the flag carrier airline of Tanzania based in Dar es Salaam with its hub at Julius Nyerere International Airport.

Tanzania Odyssey: Of course, we saved the best for last. We are experts on all things Tanzania and can help you plan your perfect safari to this amazing country.

November 10, 2016

Tanzania’s first Treetop Walkway:

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tanzania Odyssey @ 2:40 pm
Get ready for Tanzania’s first Treetop Walkway
Woohoo… after years of building, the Treetop Walkway in Manyara opens this saturday!
Unique perspective
This walkway takes you on a sky-high adventure through the beautiful forest of Lake Manyara. Walk among the treetops and experience untouched nature and wildlife from a unique perspective.

Bird’s eye view of the forest
This 370m airwalk starts with a short board-walk that gradually rises from ground level up through the canopy where you reach a height of 18m off the ground. Each of the 10 supension bridges end on a viewing deck situated around tree trunks. The treetop platforms are perfect places to stop and enjoy life in the canopy amongst butterflies, monkeys and birds. Get a unique birds-eye view of the world around you.

Nature lovers & adventure seekers
This walkway is one of the longest treetop walkways in Africa and a great outdoor activity for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Families, couples, individuals and groups are all welcome.

Experience nature like never before!

A perfect opportunity for you guests to experience this airwalk while the guide sorts out all the park fee payments.
Opening: 12th November 2016
Location: ‘old gate’ in the beginning of Lake Manyara
Opening hours: 6:30 am – 5 pm
Duration: about 1 hour
Price: RACK $47 per person ( (incl. Tanapa fee $17,70 and 18% VAT)

November 2, 2016

Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild – Moli and Noelle, Ruaha, Tanzania

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tanzania Odyssey @ 10:56 am

Reposted from Radio Times

by David Butcher
The best tip in Fogle’s adventure this week involves a bag of ash. Ben’s host in a remote corner of Tanzania is veteran guide Andrew “Moli” Molinari, who walks through the bush with a little pouch of ash wrapped in cloth.

Fogle assumes this is to mask their scent, but it turns out to be simpler: a tiny shake of the bag releases a fine ash that drifts in the slightest breeze and shows which way it’s blowing – vital for staying downwind of elephants.

It’s a nice piece of bushcraft, but it doesn’t stop them having a very close encounter with an angry-looking tusker. Full marks to the camera crew for holding their ground…

Adventurer Ben travels to Tanzania to meet Yorkshire-born Andrew Molinaro and his Californian wife Noelle, a couple who decided to leave city life behind and set up their own business as safari guides. Living side by side with some of the planet’s most fearsome animals, Ben learns more about their nomadic lifestyle as they head out on expeditions to chart areas of the Ruaha National Park.

October 26, 2016

10 Fascinating Facts about Tanzania

10 Weird Facts about Tanzania
Known for its exotic wildlife, rich culture and ancient cities, Tanzania has become a popular destination for travellers.

However, while the Great Migration, Mount Kilimanjaro and the island paradise of Zanzibar may be its most popular attractions, there are tons of interesting facts about Tanzania that most people are completely unaware of.

Here are 10 fascinating facts about Tanzania that you probably didn’t know:

1. Tanzania plays a vital role in helping us understand our own evolution as the earliest human skull in the world, dating back 2 million years, was discovered in Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania by the famous East Africa archaeologist, Dr. Leakey.

2. Tanzania is the home to the largest crab in the world, the coconut crab. It is also apparently one of the tastiest crabs in the world.

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3. Freddie Mercury, the famous late songwriter and vocalist for the rock band ‘Queen’ was born in Zanzibar, Tanzania.

4. Almost every type of ecological system can be found on Mount Kilimanjaro. This includes cultivated land, rain forest, heath, moorland, alpine desert, and an arctic summit.

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5. The shortest war in history was fought in 1896 in Tanzania between the United Kingdom and Zanzibar. It lasted only 45 minutes.

6. The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is one of the oldest ecosystems on the planet and little has changed in the park in over 1 million years. It boasts a diversity of flora and fauna that is unavailable anywhere else in the world.

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7. The Serengeti is home to the the Ol Doinyo Lengai; the only volcano on the planet that is currently erupting carbonatite lava. This mineral rich carbonate lava is washed down to the plains where it fertilizes the land.

8. Lake Manyara National Park, in Tanzania, was the first park to become famous for being home to tree-climbing lions.

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9. Tanzania is one of the last remaining places when the possibility of discovering a new species still exists. In 2003, a new monkey, the kipunji, was discovered and is extremely rare with a population of only about one thousand animals.

10. Zanzibar has its own leopard population. Known as the Zanzibar Leopard (Panthera pardus adersi), they are endemic to the island and are assumed by some authorities to be extinct or very nearly so.

There you have it! 10 extra reasons to travel to the fascinating, diverse and unique country of Tanzania.

September 30, 2016

Alien Igloos, Lions and Leopards

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tanzania Odyssey @ 12:53 pm

Shake, shake, bang. The car jerks down another dip on the dirt track; fine volcanic dust swirls up in our wake. As it clears, moon-white faces appear brightly in the distance. They move closer, revealing three young girls with spirals and geometric patterns painted thickly onto their skin in chalk.

I’m in North Tanzania, on my way to stay at a new lodge tucked up in its highlands, well away from the tourist hullabaloo that concentrates around the country’s famous Ngorongoro Crater. Here, 22km north-east of one of Africa’s biggest tourist attractions, there are no other lodges; just wide, open land where the Maasai roam, their lives seemingly little changed.

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A view over the Highlands camp near Ngorongoro Crater (Asilia Africa)

As we pull up at the camp, after a three-hour drive from Lake Manyara Airport, the air is notably cooler – we’re now 2,670 metres above sea level. Overgrown grassy paths, flanked with swathes of wild flowers, lead us to a scattering of almond-coloured, bulbous domes peeking over the vegetation. There are eight of these unusual, alien-looking tented pods spread across the hillside. It’s like I came looking for a safari, but found a sci-fi set instead.

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Inside the main lounge of The Highlands camp (Asilia Africa)

The camp is within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a Unesco World Heritage Site and multiple land use area, where protected wildlife wanders freely among the Maasai, who number 50,000 here. While it’s Ngorongoro Crater that draws crowds for the incredible concentration of wildlife within, there’s also a wealth of under-explored riches outside its rim.

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The Empakai Crater is a quieter spot for enjoying the wildlife (Asilia Africa)

“Our guests visit the Ngorongoro Crater but also Empakai and Olmoti, two less well-known craters we’re close to,” Victor, the lodge’s manager, explains. “We call them the silent craters because no visitors go there.” This is a volatile and restless land where tectonic plates shifted more than two million years ago, ripping apart Earth’s crust. Volcanoes lifted their fiery heads, before some collapsed to create the peppering of calderas that now surround us.

One morning, after looking out at glorious uninterrupted mountain views over a big breakfast on the lodge’s terrace, we head off to explore Empakai Crater. We go with an armed ranger (it’s compulsory) as well as our Maasai guide, Lenganasa, because unlike in the Ngorongoro Crater, where you are vehicle-bound, we can be footloose and fancy-free. As footloose as you can be with unpredictable buffalo around, anyhow.  Looking down into the crater from the top, it resembles a big washing basin with a lake as its centrepiece, fringed with shimmering white salt. We clamber down through the forest cloaking the crater’s steep walls. At the bottom, flamingos lift their wings, flashing salmon-pink feathers. Decorated morans (young Maasai warriors) sit among herds of cows.

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Flamingos, zebras and wildebeest in Tanzania’s northern highlands (Asilia Africa)

After the one-hour climb back up we return to camp by car. Outside, hills sweep down into wide plains sprinkled with clusters of Maasai bomas (livestock enclosures). Buttercup-gold light bathes zeals of zebras and the open land accentuates kori bustards, yellow-billed kites and golden-winged sunbirds. Herds of cattle are dwarfed by the expanse. Each herd circles around a burst of colour: the Maasai’s red checkered shukas (traditional garments) jolt the landscape.

Back at the lodge nights are cosy. Although the days are warm, temperatures at night can drop as low as -1C. Early evening one of the housekeepers – a large percentage of the lodge’s staff are Maasai – lights fires in the wood burners (each dome has its own) and the enormous beds are warmed with soft, faux-fur-covered hot water bottles.

The lodge is the latest from the well-respected South Africa-based safari company Asilia, and it ushers in a new species of safari camp. While in the beginning I found the “alien igloos” a little too at odds with the ancient land rising up around them, once I get used to the contemporary design there is much to love.

After a delicious supper of grilled beef we are escorted back to our tent by one of the camp’s friendly night-duty guards. “There’s a leopard often seen in the camp,” Victor explains. Solar lights, which hang from shepherd hooks, trail up the hill, lighting the way.

Inside the pods, animal skins cover the floor and photographs of Maasai life adorn the walls. The fronts of the tents are made of strong clear plastic, so in the mornings you can admire the sweeping views stretching out before you without leaving the bed.

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You can enjoy sunrise without leaving your bed (Asilia Africa)

Next morning, Olmoti Crater entails another beautiful walk and has a waterfall tumbling down its sheer sides. Climbing back up, we are excited to pass fresh lion prints. Chameleons clamber in the grasses and old man’s beard hangs from the trees. At the top we lie in the sunshine, and steppe eagles soar so close I can see their markings. We watch cows tramping down the hills like large armies. They head to the spring water which flows along the crater bottom, their steady advance relaxing to watch.

Despite my preference for safaris without crowds, we spend one day in the Ngorongoro Crater. There’s a reason why more than 400,000 people visit per year. It’s one of the world’s largest unbroken calderas, and its walls form a natural enclosure for one of the biggest concentrations of wild animals on earth. “The problem is there’s no limit on the number of vehicles that can enter,” Lenganasa explains. But fortunately our lodge is closest to the Lemala entrance, quieter than the alternative Lodoare gate on the crater’s opposite (and busier) side.

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Lions are prevalent in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (Asilia Africa)

We see zebra stallions fighting and ostriches streaking past rhino. Lions are everywhere; we watch them mate (the male roaring right by us after he rolls over), a lioness stealthily stalking a wildebeest, and a huge pride sleeping soundly, all stretched out by a stream. We count 27 spotted hyenas, their humped backs dramatic against the big sky, mingling with grey crowned cranes, jazzy with their red throats and golden mohicans. One corner of the grassland is forested, full of beautiful yellow-barked acacia trees and herds of elephants.

Our last day is spent strolling among the hills near the lodge and experiencing slivers of Maasai life up close. In other parts of Tanzania, meeting Maasai has become limited to fake encounters at a tourist boma – something The Highlands is thankfully determined not to replicate. Instead they organise for us to visit a family in their village.

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The semi-nomadic Maasai people live among the wildlife in the conservation area (Asilia Africa)

As we arrive Loosidan, a Maasai man with stretched ear lobes and a dagger at his waist, finishes placing his goats inside a kraal. Women wear striking necklaces, the colour of tropical birds, around their necks and have silver beaded chains sparkling from their ears. Loosidan ushers us inside his home – made from mud, cow dung and sticks. We sit chatting with him and his wife, while their children run around and my eyes adjust to the dark, smoky interior.

Suddenly we hear a truck pull up. Several morans jump out, their silver headpieces glinting, and one carries a blackened cooking pot. “They’ve just returned from spending a week in the forest,” Lenganasa says. “A group of them go to eat meat and medicinal roots. This tradition, called orpul, makes us strong.”

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Zebras are a common sight around the camp (Asilia Africa)

The majesty of these highlands is made all the more beautiful by this distinct and colourful culture. As we leave I take one last look back: the shukas and the setting sun all blaze red.

Travel essentials

Getting there

Kate Eshelby travelled with KLM (klm.com) from Heathrow to Kilimanjaro International Airport via Amsterdam. Connecting flights with Coastal Aviation (coastal.co.tz) take you on to Lake Manyara.

British passport holders require a visa to visit Tanzania, available at the airport (US$50).

Staying there

Kate Eshelby was hosted by Tanzania Odyssey 0208 704 1216 www.tanzaniaodyssey.com). Accommodation at The Highlands camp starts at US$760 per person per night, including full-board with house drinks and all activities. This excludes the Ngorongoro Conservation Area fees which are $70 per person for 24 hours and the crater descent fee which is $295 per vehicle. The Highlands camp only accepts children from the age of five. Children aged five to 18 are charged 50 per cent of the adult rate.

September 9, 2016

3 Reasons to Visit Tanzania

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tanzania Odyssey @ 11:53 am

“I love Tanzania because of the light, colours and life in almost every scene. Especially at dawn: the rising sun floods the cool grasslands with gold, school children walk along the roadsides and vendors set out their wares. And when nature surrounds you, there is exuberance everywhere: the largest of animals mingle with the most minute; birds of every size and colour soar and sing; trees and plants burst with flowers; landscapes are colourful and diverse. Mostly, though, it’s because of the equanimity, charm, dignity and welcome offered by so many Tanzanians.”
– Mary Fitzpatrick, Writer

There are countless reasons to visit a country as unique and beautiful as Tanzania, but if we had to narrow it down to three, our reasons would be: safari, beach and city:

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Safari:
Tanzania has 17 diverse National Parks including Sealous Game Reserve, Africa’s largest protected area, and the Serengeti National Park, which comes to life each year with the annual wildebeest migration. The Ngorongoro Crater is a must-see for its unbelievable geology, and abundance of wildlife. Then there’s Tarangire, Katavi, Ruaha and Arusha – all iconic African parks.

Beach:
From magical Pemba in the North, to the famous island of Zanzibar, Tanzania’s beaches are paradise on earth. The glorious Swahili coastline caters to every whim and snorkelling or scuba diving in these clear waters opens doors to a whole new world beneath the waves.

City:
Tanzania is unique and multi-cultural with many fascinating cities worth visiting. Dar es Salaam is the second largest trading port in East Africa and a trip there offers an interesting insight into the commercial hub of the country. For a more cultural experience, we recommend visiting Stone Town in the heart of Zanzibar.
Quite simply put, Tanzania has something for everybody to enjoy.

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