Best things to see and do
• Serengeti National Park: Africa's finest and best known game-viewing destination is the oldest and largest national park in Tanzania. If you are interested in seeing lots of lions and other predators, elephants, giraffes, gazelles or even the annual migration comprising millions of wildebeest, zebras and other grazing animals, the Serengeti is the place to go! Check my insider tips below.
• Ngorongoro Crater: The world’s largest intact volcanic caldera is a natural wonder that hosts some of Africa’s densest large mammal populations. The views from the rim are breathtaking and inside the 260 km² crater floor, 600m below, it’s getting even better! Many tourists visit the area as part of a longer safari because it is situated southeast of the Serengeti along the road to Arusha. If you are travelling on a budget it might be best to do a 2 day/1 night-safari to Ngorongoro out of Arusha and skip Serengeti National Park. For more information visit www.ngorongorocrater.org
• Kilimanjaro National Park: Climbing Kilimanjaro is a fantastic adventure that attracts thousands of visitors every year. There are six different routes leading to the summit, the Uhuru Peak at 5,895m. On each you pass five vegetation zones, from the rainforest all the way up to the amazing ice desert of the arctic zone at an altitude above 5,000m. Simply a fantastic experience! For more information, see my insider tips below.
• Lake Tanganyika & Mahale Mountains NP: The little-visited west of Tanzania offers beautiful scenery and the possibility to track habituated chimpanzees in the wild.
Mahale Mountains National Park right on the shore of Lake Tanganyika is a hidden treasure and can be called a world-class upmarket fly-in destination that is difficult to access by public transport. But it’s possible! If you want to know how - see the detailed information below!
• Zanzibar Island: Zanzibar in front of Tanzania’s east coast consists of two big islands of which one is named Zanzibar Island and the other one Pemba. Zanzibar Island is a perfect way to round off an exhausting safari or Kilimanjaro climb. Stone Town, with its traditional Swahili atmosphere is a beautiful place for culture and food lovers. For others, it’s the turquoise sea and the coral reefs, which offer great diving and snorkeling. Palm-fringed white sand beaches invite to relax and sunbath. If you want to party make sure to visit Nungwi on the northern end of the island. If you like it more quiet the east coast might be a good choice.
Tips: I stayed at a place called Baby Bush Lodge next to Kiwengwa which was very nice with a beautiful sandbank in front of the beach. Next to Bwejuu I stayed at a place called “Mustapha’s Place”. This hostel run by very welcoming Rasta men is probably the greatest chill out spot on the planet. You should definitely check it out when being around!!
03.12.2016 - Chris
Insider Tips for
11.12.2016 - Chris
You can find hundreds of tour operators on the internet as well as in the nearby city of Arusha that offer a wide range of single or multi-day safaris with accommodation options from camping up to luxury lodges. Most visitors only spend a day or two in the park, thus the southern part (Seronera), which is closest to the city of Arusha (airport), gets pretty crowded. Therefore it is advisable to spend some more money on a multi-day camping safari arranged by tour operators that have specialized in more offbeat areas in the north next to the Kenyan border. Here you find the Serengeti you have always been dreaming of. But be warned - no matter which kind of safari you book - it's not a cheap backpacker adventure! The cheapest option at all is a self-drive safari with a hired vehicle arranged in Arusha or booked on the internet in advance. Still, the long-term experiences of the safari guides along with their mutual assistance in finding the best spots should not be underestimated!
I went on a 6 day camping safari with Tanzania Experience that started in Arusha and included visits to the Tarangire National Park, Lake Natron, Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano, the African Rift Valley, Ngare Sero Masai Village, the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and Mto wa Mbu village before returning to Arusha again. One of my greatest weeks ever! If you are interested check out my video and photo gallery to get some impressions. :)
Insider Tips for
11.12.2016 - Chris
The climb requires no special skills. It is basically a long uphill hike, though it becomes quite tough towards the summit especially on the last two days. Usually it takes at least five days to reach the Uhuru Peak with overnight stays in either proper huts or tents. Any reasonably fit person can make it to the top but two things are essential:
1. your genetic predisposition to get along with low air pressure in high altitudes which can be quite dangerous.
2. your mental strength allowing you to continue walking slowly uphill for many hours in darkness.
When visiting the Kilimanjaro, try to avoid the long rainy season, from the end of March to early June, and the shorter one, from November through the beginning of December. It is not possible to just walk up the mountain on your own so you need to arrange a guide in advance. There are many tour operators based in Moshi, Arusha or international ones found on the internet that provide two guides, a cook, a waiter and many porters that carry all the necessary equipment and also your personal luggage (besides your daypack) from camp to camp. For many people climbing Kilimanjaro is a once in a lifetime experience. However there is no such thing as a cheap Kilimanjaro climb. Expect to pay at least 1200 euros/dollars for five days per person! The different routes which start from all sides of the mountain vary in popularity and accommodation facilities. Climbers can choose between the following options that differ in length:
In 2015 I chose Machame route and have to admit that the announced “crowds” of climbers did not annoy me too much. Some parts of the hike like the Barranco Wall were quite busy but others much less. The scenery is gorgeous and the climb turned out to be a fantastic adventure. Machame is good for acclimatization because in the evenings your camp is situated at lower altitudes than your hike has been during the day. My tour operator Tanzania Experience was very professional. They provided very good equipment, comfortable mattresses to sleep on, great food, a very nice team and competent guides. I would definitely recommend them! If you are interested check out the video of my climb! The following website might be interesting for more detailed information on the different routes: https://www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/kilimanjaro-routes-overview/
If your budget doesn’t allow climbing Kilimanjaro check out the options of climbing Mt. Meru which is frequently used as an acclimatization climb before heading for Kilimanjaro. It’s a 4,565m high volcano also in northern Tanzania with great scenery and lots of wildlife around. Much cheaper!
Insider Tips for
Mahale Mountains NP
11.12.2016 - Chris
If you want to get here on a low budget travel overland from elsewhere in Tanzania all the way to the town of Kigoma at Lake Tanganyika. Then board the MV Liemba (world’s oldest operating passenger ship) to Lugosa and walk 15km along the lakeshore to Kalelani or further Bilenge. Alternatively just ask a local fisherman to take you there for a few bucks. There is no accommodation in Kalelani though camping on the beach is considered to be safe. From there you can go on a day-trip to the park, paying only park entrance fees for one day. Spending the nights either side of your chimp walk at the Mahale Park Rest Camp in Bilenge would mean paying for two days. All chimp trekking activities and fees must be paid in Bilenge.
Chimp trekking is also possible in Gombe National Park further north along the shore of Lake Tanganyika. Since it’s situated very close to Kigoma it’s much easier to reach. Unfortunately I have not visited these places due to a lack of time. By train it takes you about 40 hours from Dar Es Salaam to Kigoma. The use of public transport from the main tourist areas in the north of the country is not much faster. Fly-ins with charter planes are probably far beyond your travel budget as we are talking about a couple of thousand euros/dollars for this kind of Chimp-Packages! But if you can reach the area on your own this is going to be an unforgettable experience!