The beautiful country of Tanzania is situated in East Africa, between the countries of Kenya and Mozambique, and bordering the Indian Ocean. Between Africa’s highest mountain, (Kilimanjaro) and Africa’s largest lake (Victoria) lies one of the best game viewing areas on the continent. This region includes the world’s largest un-flooded intact volcanic caldera (Ngorongoro) and the most famous wildlife park (the Serengeti), as well as Masai and Bushmen tribes, the Spice Islands of Zanzibar and Pemba. World famous for its spectacular wildlife, visitors from around the world dream of one day experiencing its treasures. Whilst the enormous migrations of wildebeest and zebra across the Serengeti Plains are the most well known attraction in the north, the superb Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park in the central and southern sections of Tanzania are less known, yet are some of the most magnificent wildlife sanctuaries in Africa.
Tanzania is an excitingly diverse country, with her breath-taking mountain ranges, deep lakes, beautiful coastline, rich wildlife and vibrant cities – some of Africa ‘s most awesome natural attractions. This is a vast country, there is something for everyone here!
In terms of landscapes and attractions, the regions are quite different. East Africa boasts Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain, the Serengeti Plains/Maasai Mara ecosystem and the Ngorongoro Crater. East Africa offers herds of zebras and wildebeests in the hundreds of thousands.
The annual migration between the Maasai Mara in the north and Tanzania’s Serengeti in the south is a spectacle unequalled anywhere on earth today. The most common safari vehicle in East Africa is the mini-van with its pop-up roof, whereby passengers stand up to take pictures while peering out of the roof or sit in the enclosed vans.
Covering about 10,000 square miles of land teeming with life, the Serengeti is home not only to some of the most diverse wildlife on this planet, but the start and finish line for one of the world’s last great migrations. Those lucky enough to travel here see wild animals in their purest state.
After the rains of April and May the vegetation is lush, but as the dry season sets in it gradually dies back and wildlife becomes easier to spot. Temperatures are ideal – warm days sandwiched between refreshing mornings and evenings. This is the best time of year to visit the southern parks or to experience a chimpanzee safari at Mahale Greystoke. The Great Wildebeest Migration arrives in the northern Serengeti in July so you might be lucky enough to witness a crossing. Be sure to unwind off the coast of Tanzania, on the Spice Island of Zanzibar, after such a thrilling wildlife safari!
Short rains in November refresh the savannah, but are followed by a dry spell that withers the grasses again, drawing jaw-dropping congregations of game to waterholes. Synchronized wildebeest calving on the short grass plains of the southern Serengeti in January and February represents a bonanza for predators – and wildlife photographers. With the parks less crowded, it’s also a great opportunity to concentrate on resident wildlife in the Ngorongoro Crater and the flamboyant Great Rift Valley lakes flamingo. Humidity on Zanzibar climbs in February, so it’s worth a visit in December or January.
Tanzania experiences two rainfall peaks each year: the short rains (or “Vuli”) in November, and the long rains (or “Masika”) in April and May. The rains – and the resulting new grass growth – are of course the main drivers of the Great Wildebeest Migration. During April and May, the herds move north within the Serengeti, through Seronera and towards the Western Corridor. November sees the wildebeest return from the Masai Mara into the northeastern Serengeti. It’s always worth noting that exact rainfall periods – and migration patterns – can of course vary from year to year.
The climate is tropical and coastal areas are hot and humid, while the northwestern highlands are cool and temperate. There are two rainy seasons; the short rains are generally from October to December, while the long rains last from March to June. The central plateau tends to be dry and arid throughout the year.
To gain entry into Tanzania, US citizens and most other nationalities will need a passport and visa. The passport must be valid for six months after the intended length of stay.
Visas can be obtained prior to departure from the USA or at your point of entry into Tanzania. If you have enough time before your trip, we recommend applying for your visa in advance.
The visa cost for US citizens is $100. More information can be found: Tanzania Embassy – USA
If you didn’t obtain your visa in advance, you can get one upon arrival at JRO. The process is fairly easy. You just need to fill out a form, wait in line, pay the required fee, have them take a photo of you (yes this is a great photo after your long flight) and place it in your passport.
Alternatively, if you are flying into Nairobi —Jomo Kenyatta International Airport—and taking a shuttle to Moshi, you can secure your visa at the Tanzanian border. The shuttle service will stop at the border. You can enter the office and pick up your visa there
Tanzania is a developing East African nation noted for its history of stability and astounding natural beauty. A robust tourism industry provides all levels of tourist amenities, although higher-end facilities are concentrated mainly in the cities and selected game parks. The United Republic of Tanzania was formed in 1964 with the union of the mainland country of Tanganyika and the Zanzibar archipelago, which includes the islands of Unguja and Pemba. Unguja is the much larger and populous of the two islands and is commonly referred to as Zanzibar. The main city of Zanzibar is known as Stone Town. Although part of the union government, Zanzibar has its own president, court system, and legislature, and exercises considerable autonomy. The U.S. Embassy is in Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam, the location of most government offices, all embassies, and the commercial center of the country.
Tanzania’s currency is the Tanzanian shilling (TZS).
KiSwahili and English are the official languages and spoken by most people living in Tanzania; as well as this, there are many ethnic groups, speaking localize languages and dialects.
Sun block lotion, sunglasses, hats and insect repellents are essential. Binoculars are an absolute must!