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Serengeti, Tanzania
Serengeti, Tanzania by Hu Chen on Unsplash.

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Tanzania Travel Notes

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Tanzania Travel and Tourism on Travel Notes


Tanzania, the land of the Serengeti, Mount Kilimanjaro, and the breathtaking Spice Islands, is a country that ignites the imagination and stirs the soul.

About Tanzania

Tanzania is a popular tourist destination known for its wildlife and natural beauty, including the famous Serengeti and the chance to see the 'big five'.

Countries neighbouring Tanzania: Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.


Travel Map Mapping Tanzania

Map of Tanzania

Map of Tanzania

Tanzania is a fascinating country with a diverse cultural heritage, stunning natural landscapes, and abundant wildlife, making it a popular destination for travellers and adventurers alike.

Dodoma is the current capital of Tanzania, where the government offices are located; while the largest city and economic hub of Tanzania is Dar es Salaam, the country's former capital.

Tanzania Overview

Tanzania, officially known as the United Republic of Tanzania, is a country located in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south, and the Indian Ocean to the east.


Like many developing countries, Tanzania faces several challenges, including poverty, inadequate infrastructure, healthcare issues, and environmental degradation.

Efforts are ongoing to address these challenges and promote sustainable development in Tanzania.

Culture and Ethnicity

Tanzania is home to over 120 ethnic groups, with the largest being the Sukuma, Chagga, Haya, Nyamwezi, and Hehe.

Swahili is the official language, and English is widely spoken, particularly in government and business.

The country's culture is rich and diverse, influenced by its various ethnic groups and historical interactions with Arab, European, and Indian traders.


Tanzania's economy is primarily based on agriculture, which accounts for a significant portion of its GDP and employment.

Major exports include gold, coffee, tea, cashew nuts, and tobacco.

Tourism also plays a crucial role in the economy, with millions of visitors drawn to Tanzania's national parks, wildlife reserves, and cultural heritage sites each year.


Tanzania is known for its diverse geography, which includes the vast plains of the Serengeti National Park, home to the great wildebeest migration, and the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa.

Other notable geographic features include the tropical islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, as well as Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa by surface area.


Tanzania has a rich history, with evidence of human habitation dating back over two million years.

The area was influenced by various empires and civilisations, including the Arabs, Portuguese, Germans, and British.

Tanzania gained independence from Britain in 1961, merging with Zanzibar in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania.

Wildlife and Conservation

Tanzania is renowned for its rich biodiversity and is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including the 'Big Five' (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros).

The country has numerous national parks and conservation areas dedicated to preserving its natural heritage, such as the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Selous Game Reserve.

Visiting Tanzania

From exploring stunning national parks and wildlife reserves to immersing yourself in vibrant culture and history, a visit to Tanzania has plenty to offer adventurous travellers.

Whether you're seeking adventure in the wild or relaxation on the beach, Tanzania offers a wide range of experiences that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

Community-based Tourism

Consider participating in community-based tourism initiatives that support local communities and promote sustainable development.

Engage in cultural exchanges, homestays, and community projects to contribute positively to the areas you visit.

Cultural Experiences

Tanzania boasts a diverse cultural landscape, influenced by its numerous ethnic groups and historical interactions.

Visit local markets, interact with Maasai tribespeople, and partake in traditional dances and ceremonies to gain insight into Tanzanian culture and way of life.

Historical Sites

Explore the historical sites of Tanzania, including Bagamoyo, a former slave port, and Kilwa Kisiwani, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its Swahili ruins.

Learn about Tanzania's colonial past at sites such as the Old Boma in Dar es Salaam.

Mount Kilimanjaro

If you're up for a challenge, consider climbing Mount Kilimanjaro; Africa's highest peak.

The trek to the summit takes you through diverse ecosystems, from lush rainforests to alpine deserts, culminating in breathtaking views from Uhuru Peak.

Outdoor Adventures

Beyond safari and trekking, Tanzania offers a range of outdoor activities, including snorkelling, diving, and kite surfing along its coastline.

Embark on a hiking or biking excursion in the Usambara Mountains or go birdwatching in the wetlands of Lake Manyara.

Safari Adventures

Tanzania is synonymous with safari experiences, and there are several world-renowned national parks and game reserves to explore.

The Serengeti National Park is famous for the great wildebeest migration, where millions of animals traverse the plains in search of greener pastures when the rains come.

Other must-visit parks include the Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire National Park, and Selous Game Reserve.

Zanzibar Archipelago

Escape to the idyllic islands of Zanzibar and Pemba for pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and rich cultural heritage.

Explore historic Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, wander through spice plantations, and unwind on the white sandy beaches.

Practical Considerations

When planning your trip to Tanzania, be sure to research visa requirements, healthcare precautions (such as malaria prophylaxis), and seasonal considerations for optimal wildlife viewing or climbing conditions.

It's also essential to respect local customs and traditions during your visit.

Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam is the country's largest city, and principal seaport.

The name in Arabic means haven of peace; founded as a summer residence of the sultan of Zanzibar, in the 1860s.

Map of Dar es Salaam

Map of Dar es Salaam

German colonialists developed Dar es Salaam in the late 19th century and made it their capital of German East Africa.

The British took over control in 1916, and it became the capital of a newly independent Tanganyika in 1961, and continued as the seat of administration when Tanganyika and Zanzibar were merged to form Tanzania in 1964.

Travel by Train

The Railway extends inland from Dar es Salaam to Arusha in the north, to Lake Tanganyika, to Mwanza on Lake Victoria, and to Zambia.

A railway also runs to the Indian Ocean ports of Tanga in Tanzania, and Mombassa in Kenya.

Where to Stay in Tanzania

Tanzania accommodation options vary from budget to luxury hotels, exclusive safari lodges, villas and cottages.

The coastal city of Dar es Salaam, has some of the best hotels in Tanzania.

Hotels in Dar es Salaam.

About Tanzania

Tanzania was formed by the federation of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, in 1964. The histories of the two areas are quite different.

The United Republic of Tanzania also includes the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, and other offshore islands in the Indian Ocean.

When dividing the area up among themselves, in the late 1800s, the Germans and the British ignored the claims to parts of Tanganyika by the sultan of Zanzibar.

The start of World War I disrupted the great plans Germany had for its part of East Africa, and the British eventually took control of the area.

Tanganyika gained independence in 1961, and after an abortive coup in January 1964, the Tanganyikan president, Julius Nyerere, held discussions with Prime Minister Karume of Zanzibar; in an attempt to strengthen his government against revolutionary violence.

The Formation of Tanzania

The talks led to the formation of Tanzania, in April 1964. Despite the change in name, the two areas remained fundamentally different.

Tanzania experimented with socialism, supported other African liberation movements. Although it maintained good relations with the West, Tanzania moved closer in philosophy and practice to the Communist-bloc countries; China helping out with aid.

Economic reform programmes and a move towards a multiparty system began in the early nineties.

Tanzania Attractions

Top tourist destinations in Tanzania are Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park, Zanzibar and Pemba islands, Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park, Mafia Island, and Mount Meru.

Tanzanian Language and Culture

The official languages of Tanzania are Swahili and English, although many Tanzanians continue to speak the language of their ethnic group.

There is a strong tradition of education through storytelling in Tanzania, and many people listen to regular soap operas on the radio.

An especially gripping story is the one about Mashaka, a lorry driver who has a girlfriend in every town. Some 6 million people a week tune in to listen to Mashaka's plight. His health is failing; a message about promiscuity and the risk of contracting the Aids virus.


Africa's highest mountain (5,895 m or 19,340 ft) is in north-eastern Tanzania, near the border with Kenya.

Kilimanjaro Trekking Guide.

With no mountaineering skills necessary to reach the summit, even non-climbers can experience the thrill of climbing one of the world’s greatest peaks.

Tanzania National Parks.

Northern Zone:
Arusha National Park, Kilimanjaro National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Mkomazi National Park and Tarangire National Park.

Eastern Zone:
Mikumi National Park, Nyerere National Park, Saadani National Park, Udzungwa Mountains National Park.

Southern Zone:
Katavi National Park, Kitulo National Park, Ruaha National Park.

Western Zone:
Burigi-Chato National Park, Gombe National Park, Ibanda-Kyerwa National Park, Kigosi National Park, Mahale Mountains National Park, Rubondo National Park, Rumanyika-Karagwe National Park, Saanane Island National Park, Serengeti National Park, Ugalla River National Park.

Serengeti National Park

Tanzania's popular national park, in the north of the country, is one of the last places in Africa where large animal migrations still occur.

During the wet season, the herds populate the south-eastern plains of the park; migrating westwards in the dry season into the woodland savannah of the Serengeti, and northwards to the grassland areas of neighbouring Kenya.

Safari in Northern Tanzania:
The magnificent collection of game sanctuaries to the north of the country, near the border with Kenya, is referred to as The Northern Circuit. This is the most popular and accessible wildlife safari route in Tanzania and one of the finest game viewing areas anywhere in the world.

The Serengeti region encompasses the Serengeti National Park itself, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Maswa Game Reserve, the Loliondo, Grumeti and Ikorongo Controlled Areas and the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. Over 90,000 tourists visit the Park each year.


Tanga is an important port on the Indian Ocean, near the border with Kenya.

You can relax on beaches around the bay, or visit Persian ruins from the 14th century, on an island in the harbour.

Nearby are the Amboni Caves (off the road to Lunga Lunga) and Sulphur Springs.

Tanganyika was where some of the earth's ancestors of human beings once lived. Their remains have been found in the Olduvai Gorge area, near Arusha.

Some 20km south of Tanga (on the road to Pangani) are the Tongoni Ruins; about 40 tombs believed to date from the 10th century.

Getting to Tanga

Buses run south from Mombasa via Lunga Lunga. There are also shared taxis and matatus from Lunga Lunga (about an hour), if you miss the direct connection and need to travel in stages. From Mombasa there are frequent buses to the border as well as matatus and shared taxis. There's quite a walk between the two border posts but you should be able to hitch a ride if there aren't any pick-ups around.

Tanga is also the ideal place to get a dhow to Pemba Island, north of Zanzibar.


Arusha, in north-east Tanzania, is a tourist gateway to Olduvai Gorge and the scenic national parks of northern Tanzania.

National Parks and Reserves in Tanzania

Tanzania has more land devoted to National Parks and game reserves than any other wildlife destination in the world. Everything from pristine coral reefs to the Crater Highlands, remote game reserves and the famous national parks are protected by government law and placed in trust for future generations to marvel at in wonder and awe.


This once small community in central Tanzania was enlarged in the 1980s to eventually replace Dar es-Salaam as the official capital.

Map of Dodoma

Map of Dodoma

Dodoma is connected with the main east-west railway, and a north-south trunk road.

Around Tanzania

Airlines and Airports:
The national airline is Air Tanzania. Airports serving Dar es-Salaam, Zanzibar city, and elsewhere provide domestic services and international connections.

Great Lakes

Three of Africa's great lakes are situated on the borders of Tanzania and partially within it: Lake Tanganyika in the western border, Lake Victoria in the north-west, and Lake Nyasa (Malawi) on the south-west.


The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kilwa Kiswani and Songo Mnara are found on two adjoining, small islands situated just off the coast of the town of Kilwa Masoko in south-eastern Tanzania.

Tanzania Maps and Travel Guides

Insight Guides Tanzania & Zanzibar Tanzania Safari Guide (Bradt Travel Guides)

Tanzania Travel Guides - Tanzania Maps.

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