Tanzania is an East African gem, attracting all kinds of travellers with its beautiful landscapes, vibrant culture and awe-inspiring wildlife encounters.
But, what are the best things to do in Tanzania?
From the crystalline waters of Chemka Hot Springs to the towering summit of Kilimanjaro, each experience promises an exhilarating experience of this East African nation. Whether it’s the thrill of a safari at Arusha National Park or the serene luxury of Crater Lodge &Beyond, Tanzania offers a spectrum of escapades that cater to every adventurer’s desires.
Keep reading for a complete list of the best things to do in Tanzania – straight from locals who know the region best!
Here is a quick summary:
10 of the Best Things to do in Tanzania
Here are the top 10 immersive experiences that define Tanzania’s allure.
1. Swimming in the Blue Waters of Chemka (Kikuletwa) Hot Springs
A mere 1.5-hour journey from both Arusha and nearby Moshi Town lies a hidden gem in Tanzania—an oasis waiting to be discovered. Here, amidst this jungle sanctuary, crystal-clear waters invite you to unwind, offering an array of activities from relaxing all day to embracing the thrill of rope swings, tire tubing, and even adventurous tree jumps.
Fed by the pristine waters originating from Kilimanjaro, the enchanting Chemka Hot Springs, located approximately 40 kilometers from Moshi in the village of Chemka, present an idyllic retreat. Whether before or after a Kilimanjaro hike or a safari expedition, this natural wonder is a must-visit destination.
2. Conquer the Summit of Kilimanjaro
Towering as the highest freestanding mountain on the African continent and one of the Seven Summits, this majestic peak offers a challenge and a reward unlike any other. Climbing Kilimanjaro isn’t just a physical feat, but an incredible adventure that rewards you with breathtaking views and an unparalleled sense of accomplishment.
Kilimanjaro isn’t a technical climb, but rather a trek that demands physical endurance, mental resilience, and a spirit of adventure. The journey to its summit—Uhuru Peak—evolves through distinct ecological zones, from lush rainforests to alpine deserts, and finally to the snow-capped summit.
Several routes, each with its own characteristics, wind their way to the top. The popular routes like Machame, Marangu, Lemosho, and Rongai offer diverse landscapes and experiences, allowing climbers to choose based on their preferences for scenery, difficulty, and acclimatization.
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro mandates the company of experienced local guides, like Marvin Derichs from Altezza Travel, a rule strictly enforced by park rangers. These guides are not just pathfinders; they offer a cultural and historical journey that enriches the trek.
With their expertise, hikers gain insights into Kilimanjaro’s diverse flora, fauna, and local communities residing in its shadow. Beyond leading the way, guides share vibrant stories, highlighting the mountain’s ecological marvels and the traditions of the indigenous Chagga people, turning the climb into an immersive exploration of the mountain’s natural wonders and cultural significance.
Check out our guide: Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro (For Non-Mountain Climbers)
3. Safari at Arusha National Park
Arusha National Park offers a unique safari with walking explorations, where visitors get up close to wildlife under ranger guidance. Set against the backdrop of Mount Meru, this compact park boasts diverse ecosystems—lush forests to sweeping savannahs—teeming with giraffes, zebras, buffalos, and antelopes.
What makes it distinctive? The chance for serene kayaking adventures on the Momella Lakes, providing an intimate perspective of wildlife. The scenic beauty of the active volcano, Mount Meru, complements the safari experience. It’s an adventure filled with nature’s vibrant sights and sounds, promising an intimate yet diverse safari encounter unlike any other in Tanzania.
4. Explore Ngorongoro and Serengeti National Parks
Explore Ngorongoro and Serengeti National Parks on a thrilling safari, offering glimpses of the rare rhino among Africa’s Big 5. The parks are a haven for diverse wildlife like lions, elephants, leopards, and buffalos. The adventure becomes even more captivating with the opportunity to spot the elusive rhino.
Additionally, the awe-inspiring views from King Lion’s vantage point are nothing short of spectacular. The vastness of the Serengeti and the rich biodiversity of Ngorongoro Crater unfold before your eyes, presenting an enthralling safari experience, promising encounters with remarkable wildlife and stunning vistas that etch unforgettable memories.
5. Soar High on a Balloon Safari with a Champagne Breakfast
Experience the thrill of a balloon safari in Tarangire or Serengeti, drifting over the sprawling savannah. As you glide above the stunning landscape, witness the vibrant wildlife below, including elephants, lions, and zebras, in their natural habitat. A champagne breakfast upon landing adds to the adventure, a luxurious touch to a memorable experience.
The hot air balloon provides a unique perspective, granting panoramic views of the endless plains and the dynamic interactions of wildlife. It’s an enchanting escapade, offering a bird’s-eye view of Africa’s untamed beauty and an exhilarating start to the day with a touch of elegance in the heart of the wilderness.
6. Unwind at andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
Relax and rejuvenate at andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, an opulent retreat amidst the stunning Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The lodge offers an indulgent experience, with elegant suites perched on the crater’s rim, providing breathtaking views of the magnificent landscape.
Enjoy the comfy rooms that mix luxury with African vibes. Taste amazing food and receive great service that matches the beautiful scenery. The lodge’s design is inspired by Maasai homes and has fancy interiors. Relaxing here is like being totally involved in a serene space surrounded by Ngorongoro’s amazing nature—a great place to relax after a day of adventure.
7. Unearth Mysteries at Lake Natron Park and Ol-Doinyo Lengai
Discover the wonders of Lake Natron Park and Ol-Doinyo Lengai, a captivating part of Tanzania. Witness the park’s famous lakes, known for their striking red hue, and maybe even trek up the Ol-Doinyo Lengai volcano. This active volcano offers a challenging yet thrilling climb.
Opt for a helicopter drop-off at the crater for an up-close encounter with this natural marvel. The mysteries unfold as you explore these unique landscapes, feeling the earth’s pulse beneath your feet and absorbing the raw beauty of these remarkable, lesser-known Tanzanian treasures.
8. Get a Taste of Local Culture at Materuni Waterfall
At Materuni Waterfall, get a taste of local culture in Tanzania. Enjoy a vibrant show put on by the locals and even learn to make your own cup of coffee from scratch. The waterfall itself is stunning, offering a serene backdrop for your cultural experience.
Take in the stories and traditions shared by the community living near the waterfall. It’s a place where you can soak up the local vibe, experience the beauty of nature, and learn a bit about the lives of the people in this part of Tanzania.
9. Swim with Whale Sharks on Mafia Island
Dive into an incredible adventure by swimming with whale sharks on Mafia Island in Tanzania. These gentle giants of the sea invite you to share their world in the crystal-clear waters. Join a thrilling swim alongside these magnificent creatures, witnessing their grace and peaceful nature.
The island offers a rare chance to experience these majestic beings up close in their natural habitat. It’s an awe-inspiring encounter, offering an unforgettable opportunity to be a part of the remarkable marine life and create cherished memories in the beautiful, tranquil waters surrounding Mafia Island.
10. Discover Underwater Wonders at Pemba Island’s Coral Reefs
Dive into the stunning coral reefs of Pemba Island in Tanzania for an underwater paradise. These vibrant and diverse reefs boast breathtaking beauty and abundant marine life. Enjoy the tranquility of the clear waters and the perfect visibility, away from the bustling crowds.
Explore the magical world beneath the surface, encountering colorful fish, dazzling corals, and a variety of sea creatures. It’s an exceptional experience, where you’ll find peace and marvel at the unspoiled marine wonderland, making Pemba Island a hidden gem for snorkelers and divers seeking to immerse themselves in the beauty of the ocean.
Related read: Day Trips from Zanzibar
Explore Tanzania at its Finest
Tanzania, a land of diverse landscapes and remarkable experiences, unveils its treasures in a unique and immersive way. From climbing Kilimanjaro to underwater wonders and cultural encounters, it offers a tapestry of adventures. Each adventure resonates, creating unforgettable memories in this captivating East African gem.