Sit on a summit and watch sunrise over Africa, wake to the sounds of the sea or squint at the dazzling light of the Serengeti – this African favourite has a habit of capturing hearts. Touchdown in Dar es Salaam and fill up on fish, or sail to a spice island and smell the fresh cloves. Visit Swahili villages and buy traditional carvings, or enter Maasai bomas and drink chai with warriors. Experience the ultimate safari during the annual Great Migration, or balloon-ride over a lion pride and camp by a crater rim.
Lazing by the Indian Ocean, Tanzania’s biggest city is surprisingly laid-back. See cargo boats dock beside wooden dhows at the busy port and pinch your nose as you wander around the daily fish market. Pull up a stool and drink chai with a Maasai warrior, or take your shillings to Kariakoo Market and haggle for colourful kangas.
Stay in a seafront hotel and lay your towel on the city beaches, or book into a hostel and volunteer at an orphanage. To explore beyond the city, visit Mikumi National Park to spot zebra and buffalo, sail to the uninhabited shores of Bongoyo Island and relax beneath a beach banda, or catch a taxi to the Pugu Hills and seek out the bats.
Three degrees south of the equator, the summit of Africa rises from elephant-filled forests to a permanently snow-capped peak. Hiking to the top is on many a bucket-list but there’s plenty more to discover at the base, from Maasai tribes and Chagga culture, to teeming forests on the lower slopes.
Trekking up ‘Kili’ isn’t overly technical but thanks to the high-altitude, it isn’t an easy feat. Advance planning, decent guides and local porters buy you the best experience, and there’s a choice of trails to consider, including the classic Marangu path and the tougher Machame route. Set off in lush rainforest and hike to the heather zone, then continue across open moorland to an Alpine desert. After a week or so of uphill ascent, reach the peak at dawn for sunrise over Africa.
Watch a cheetah catch an early morning kill and listen for the cackle of hyenas. The endless plains of the Serengeti are home to the Big Five and the largest herds on the planet. Drive through the park and meet the full cast of the Lion King. Blow the budget on a balloon safari or join a mobile camp and follow more than a million wildebeest on the annual Great Migration.
Safari through the Serengeti to the Ngorongoro Crater – a collapsed volcano that’s popular with lions. Camp on the crater rim and set off on a dawn safari to find pink flamingos crowding the soda lakes and Masaai herdsmen tending their cattle. Take a walking tour through the basin and look for black rhinos.
Cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper – sit back and smell the spices. A boat ride from Dar es Salaam, the ancient trading island of Zanzibar feels a world away from mainland Tanzania. Join a spice tour to visit the plantations and learn how to harvest wild herbs. Wander around the coral-rag houses of Stone Town, creep down the alleyways and visit the former slave market.
Lay back on a white sand beach, crack open a coconut and glug a glass of sugarcane juice, or munch Zanzibar pizza and slurp spicy soup.
Charter a boat to an uninhabited islet, visit Prison Island or zip across the water to the greener, hillier and smaller island of Pemba. Meet traditional healers and learn the art of voodoo, or enjoy pristine beaches all to yourself and scuba dive in the Pemba Channel.