Things to do in Tanzania

Our top activities in Tanzania

Game drives

From the epic expanse of the Serengeti to the self-contained basin of the Ngorongoro Crater, a Tanzanian safari is as close as you can get to playing a starring role in the Lion King. The Big Five can be found here – the crater being the most likely place to tick them all off – but it’s the Great Migration that draws so many to this part of the world.

Andrew Appleyard, from our supplier Exodus, explains why this is one of his favourite things to do in Tanzania: “For me, it is one of the top five wildlife sights in the world, it’s quite unbelievable. You can see the migration from miles away as there’s a huge spiral of vultures in the sky where the river crossings are. You’ve got the huge Nile crocodiles there which only actually eat twice a year – during the river crossings. They have one of the lowest metabolism rates of any animal. They’ll bury the wildebeest or zebra in log jams in the river so they nicely soften up, then just tear the meat off. You can actually smell it from quite a long way off – all the carcasses on the river.”

For wildlife fans who fancy something a little different, the southern parks have populations of African wild dog, a rare creature with strangely pretty “painted fur”. Or head to the shores of Lake Tanganyika to track chimpanzees.


The Maasai live throughout the north – and a walking safari with a Maasai guide is an eye-opening experience as they reveal not just animal tracks and traces, but medicinal plants and the secrets of the savannah that come with a lifetime of living in the bush. Contrast this with the Swahili culture of the coast, or the Datooga with their distinctive facial tattoos. Just be sure to travel with an ethical operator.


Standing guard over the plains of the Serengeti, Kili is visible for miles, an unexpected, snow-capped backdrop to the Big Five. There are six official routes – but we highly recommend the longer trails, which allow more time to acclimatise to the almost 6,000m altitude – meaning you’re more likely to make it to the peak. The porters and guides are fantastic, the hearty food will keep you going – and our hand-picked tours are committed to ensuring your safety as well as the welfare of the local staff.


Trade Winds, Spice Routes and Persian, Omani and Swahili traders have put Tanzania’s coastline and archipelagos on travelers’ maps for centuries. But happily, today the draws are not slaves or spices – but sea and sand.

Zanzibar is the biggest and best-known of all Tanzania’s islands; its Indian Ocean beaches are some of the best places to kick back after a dusty week on safari – or scaling the chilly heights of Kilimanjaro. Break up your beach days with trips to the atmospheric alleyways of Stone Town or the protected Jozani forest, which shelters endemic red colobus monkeys.

Mafia and Pemba Islands are a secluded divers’ paradise, with green turtles, whale sharks and pristine reefs found offshore. Few visitors sail across to these islands, so you’ll have their exquisite beaches virtually to yourself – shares with the odd fisherman and an occasional turtle hatchling. Chumbe is quieter still – a private island with no more than 14 guests at any one time. True castaway bliss.
Photo credits: [Game drives: David Berkowitz] [Culture- Maasai women: jjmusgrove] [Kilimanjaro: Kyle Taylor] [Beaches - Pemba Island: benitolinares]
Written by Vicki Brown
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