With such a perfect Location, perched on the edge of the African continent, and facing the Indian Ocean, Tanzaniaís weather and climate leaves nothing to be desired. Warm and sunny days are followed by cool and balmy nights, and whether youíre on safari on the Serengeti plains or enjoying the tropical beaches of Zanzibar, the temperatures are always welcoming and gentle. Consult Weather and Climate to find out when the best times to visit are, and learn more about the monsoon winds and seasonal rains.

But sun-filled and beautiful days are not all that Tanzania has to offer. On the contrary, the countryís borders hold a vast number of people and tribes whose varied cultures and traditions make up the rich tapestry that is Tanzanian culture. Read on to learn more about the Masaai culture and the customs of the Swahili Coast.

Although Tanzania is a country rich in culture and traditions, itís history is also one of treasured heritage and pride. From the early days of mankind’s history, man has called the land of Tanzania home – its verdant mountains, its scrubland plains. Find out more about our countryís rich history, from the arrival of merchants and traders on the Swahili Coast to the peaceful political climate that exists today.

Tanzanians enjoy a climate of freedom and peace in our daily lives, and value community and togetherness very highly. Religion is an expression of community and culture, and one that binds us all as citizens to our country and to the people around us. Tanzanians practice Christianity, Islam, and traditional African religions in tolerance and understanding.

Religion defines our community and our sense of identity, but culturally, we are all Tanzanians. Our culture and our traditions can be seen in the everything we surround ourselves with and the handicrafts that are the specialties of our country. Visitors to Tanzania will find the section on Shopping immensely useful in helping them decide what to bring back for their friends and loved ones from our amazing country.

Why visit Kenya ?

Arusha: the safari capital of East Africa. The small district of Arusha is the gateway to the great gameparks of the north and is the hub of Tanzania’s buoyant safari industry.

Nestling at the foot of Mount Meru, the town of Arusha is the first stop on the northern safari circuit. Bustling and vibrant, the streets are filled with 4X4 game viewing vehicles criss-crossing the pot-holed roads. Masai warriors in full regalia stroll around, mingling with tourists in crisp khaki, fresh off the plane from Europe or the United States.

Arusha National Park is very small, only 137 sq km, but the scenery is stunning, with the lofty peaks of Mount Meru, afromontane forests, craters and the Momela lakes. Only half an hour’s drive from Arusha, the park is usually forgotten in the rush to reach the Serengeti, but it is certainly worth a visit, especially for bird-lovers; over 570 bird species have been recorded.

Visitors to Arusha National Park can also climb Mount Meru. At 15,000 feet, it’s the fifth highest mountain in Africa and the ascent to the summit is a tough four day hike. On the way you’ll pass herds of buffalo and giraffe and look for colobus monkeys in the trees. At the summit, you can watch the sun rise behind Kilimanjaro.

To most travellers, Dar es Salaam is just a convenient port of call on the way to more exotic destinations of Zanzibar, the game parks, Pemba or Mafia Islands. This is a great pity, because ìDarî, as it is affectionately called by aficionados of the city, is a fascinating rabbit warren of a tropical port, often surprising the unwary wanderer with scenes of breathtaking beauty.

While Dodoma has been (somewhat absurdly) appointed as the capital of Tanzania, Dar is the real capital, a hustling, bustling seaport that straddles some of the most important sea routes on earth.

The city itself is an eclectic mix of Swahili, German, Asian and British architecture, reflecting its colonial past and more recent history. It is a relatively new city ñ Sultan Majid bin Said, then the sultan of Zanzibar, saw the potential of Dar as a deepwater port because of its strategic position at the centre of the East African coast.

Wandering the streets of Dar is nowhere more rewarding than in the Asian business district, along India Street and the intersecting Indira Ghandi Street. Here the flavours and smells are of a little Bombay, and if thereís anything you need to buy for your holiday, this is where youíll find it.

A vast expanse of flat savannah grasses stretching from horizon to horizon, broken only by an occasional gnarled acacia and rocky kopje, the Serengeti has some of the highest wildlife concentrations in the whole of Africa. Year round it is one of the best safari holiday destinations to see the “big five”; elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo, whilst the central Seronera area of the Serengeti has one of the continent’s densest populations of the elusive leopard.

The short grasses on the Serengeti plains makes it easier to see many of the smaller animals that are always present in the African bush but seldom observed. Fascinating creatures such as aardwolf, porcupines, badgers, jackals, mongooses, meerkats and pangolins can all be sighted.

Adding to the resident wildlife is the annual migration of the wildebeest. Their journey starts in December in the southern Serengeti and finally leaves the northern Serengeti in early August, heading into Kenya. Vast numbers of zebra, giraffe, buffalo, eland and gazelle species also get caught up in the wildebeest throng. Keeping them company is a travelling band of predators and scavengers taking full advantage of the extra food on offer.

Ngorongoro is famous around the globe as an echo of Eden. It is a 12-mile (19 km) wide volcanic crater, ringed with towering walls and sheltering forests, grasslands, fresh springs, a large lake, and a dazzling abundance of animals of all sorts. The sunken cone of the extinct volcano serves as a natural cradle for the wildlife, which remains in the vicinity year-round. Most of the activity is within the crater that is popular for bird watching, photography, walking safaris, and game viewing from a vehicle (4 wheel drive).

There are 25,000 larger animals within the crater itself, mostly Zebra and wildebeest. However, this is undoubtedly the best place to see black rhino in Tanzania as well as prides of lion that include the magnificent

black-maned males. There are lots of colourful flamingos and a variety of other water birds around the soda lake on the crater floor.

More than a 100 species of bird not found in the Serengeti have been found in the crater. Other game: leopard, cheetah, hyena, elephants, warthog, impala, buffalo, hartebeest, eland and lots of other members of the antelope family and smaller mammals of sorts.

Olduvai Gorge
This truly magical place is home to Olduvai Gorge, where the Leakeys discovered the hominoid remains of a 1.8 million year old skeleton of Australopithecus boisei, one of the distinct links of the human evolutionary chain. In a small canyon just north of the crater, the Leakeys and their team of international archaeologists unearthed the ruins of at least three distinct hominoid species, and also came upon a complete series of hominoid footprints estimated to be over 3.7 million years old. Evacuated fossils show that the area is one of the oldest sites of hominoid habitation in the world.

Ol Donyo Lengai
Overlooking Lake Natron and the bushland of Kenya to the north, Ol Donyo Lengai, which means ëthe home of Godí in Masaai, is an active volcano and one of Tanzaniaís most spectacular and undiscovered climbs. The volcano erupts sporadically, sending small streams of grey lava down the crater rim and spitting hot ash high into the air. The climb, undertaken overnight so hikers can experience sunrise over the Rift Valley escarpment, is highly challenging.

Located beneath the cliffs of the Manyara Escarpment, on the edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park offers varied ecosystems, incredible bird life, and breathtaking views. Located on the way to Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, Lake Manyara National Park is well worth a stop in its own right. Its ground water forests, bush plains, baobob strewn cliffs, and algae-streaked hot springs offer incredible ecological variety in a small area, rich in wildlife and incredible numbers of birds.

The alkaline soda of Lake Manyara is home to an incredible array of bird life that thrives on its brackish waters. Pink flamingo stoop and graze by the thousands, colourful specks against the grey minerals of the lake shore. Yellow-billed storks swoop and corkscrew on thermal winds rising up from the escarpment, and herons flap their wings against the sun-drenched sky. Even reluctant bird-watchers will find something to watch and marvel at within the national park.

Lake Manyaraís famous tree-climbing lions are another reason to pay this park a visit. The only kind of their species in the world, they make the ancient mahogany and elegant acacias their home during the rainy season, and are a well-known but rather rare feature of the northern park. In addition to the lions, the national park is also home to the largest concentration of baboons anywhere in the world — a fact that makes for interesting game viewing of large families of the primates.

Tarangire National Park has some of the highest population density of elephants anywhere in Tanzania, and its sparse vegetation, strewn with baobab and acacia trees, makes it a beautiful and special location. Located just a few hours drive from the town of Arusha, Tarangire is a popular stop for safaris travelling through the northern circuit on their way to Ngorongoro and the Serengeti. The park extends into two game controlled areas and the wildlife are allowed to move freely throughout.

Before the rains, droves of gazelle, wildebeest, zebra, and giraffes migrate to Tarangire National Parkís scrub plains where the last grazing land still remains. Tarangire offers unparalleled game viewing, and during the dry season elephants abound. Families of the pachyderms play around the ancient trunks of baobab trees and strip acacia bark from the thorn trees for their afternoon meal. Breathtaking views of the Masaai Steppe and the mountains to the south make a stop at Tarangire a memorable experience.

There are few natural environments more seductive than Mahale. It is achingly beautiful and unspoilt. Tropical mountains rise up from the pale sandy beaches of Lake Tanganyika, rivers tumble down waterfalls to the shoreline, through fairy-tale forest valleys, providing stunning hiking terrain. Over 90 unique species of fish swim meanwhile in the gin-clear waters of the lake.

The Mahale Mountains rise on the far western border of Tanzania, some 90 miles south of Kigoma. Arusha is 540 miles to the north-east. This is absolutely the best place in the world for tourists to view wild chimpanzees, and staggeringly beautiful besides. The Mahale Mountains lie on Lake Tanganyika on the far Western border of Tanzania. The park is 1613 square kms, rising up from the lakeshore through tropical forest to 2462 metres (7500 feet) at Nkungwe Peak. It is home to nine species of primate, including some 700-1000 chimps, forest antelopes, leopard and a great variety of birds and butterflies. There are no roads or cars for fifty miles. Getting there is by boat or on foot!

“…Mahale’s grand scale, isolated character, magnificent scenery and idyllic beaches make it a rewarding wilderness destination on any level.” Philip Briggs, Africa Geographic

The Chimpanzees
In Victorian times, it is estimated that as many as two million chimpanzees roamed wild through Africa. Estimates of the modern day population by contrast, range from 120,000 to 200,000. Being on the eastern extreme of their range, Tanzania is marginal in terms of significance in chimp numbers but holds the distinction of being the source of virtually all behavioural knowledge gathered to date on this primate species, and as is far and away the best place to experience close encounters with wild but accessible chimpanzees.

In the Mahale forest, activities concentrate on M group, currently an extended family of about fifty wild chimpanzees living in the valleys behind camp, which have been habituated to human contact by a Japanese primatologist research team. The project has been running for over 30 years now, and the chimpanzees therefore are very, very relaxed in the presence of humans. They are totally wild, but absolutely accessible. The habituated chimpanzees range over thirty square miles, are easily tracked by the skilled guides and trackers, and most visitors to camp will see them every day, after more, or less, hiking in the forest. The walking can be long, but is not over-strenuous. Most fit people under seventy can manage, and they’re rewarded by extraordinary encounters with their closest living relatives. The chimps ignore the intrusion and you will achieve an intimate insight into their daily life, where the mood varies from the Zen-like calm of family life and sexual politics, to the high-tension power struggles of the dominant males and the wild excitement of their hunts for Colobus monkeys.

The wilderness of Katavi National Park, located in the western area of Tanzania, is one of the most untouched areas of the entire country. It offers unspoilt wildlife viewing in the countryís third-largest national park, in a remote location far off the beaten track. The park is Africa at its most wild — unadulterated bush settings, spectacular views, and rich wildlife.

Kataviís dramatic scenery is as varied as it is pristine. Flood plains of thick reeds and dense waterways are home to a huge population of hippo and varied birdlife. In the woodlands to the west, forest canopies shroud herds of buffalo and elephant. Seasonal lakes fill with dirt coloured water after the rains and animals from all corners of the park descend on them to drink. The park is also home to the rare roan and sable antelope species, and is a must-see for the visitor intent on exploring the wilds of the continent.