Travel to Tanzania
When to visit
The popular northern safari circuit is worthwhile throughout the year. In order to see the wildebeest migration, however, you need to research which part of this vast ecosystem it will be passing through when you visit. The southern and western safari circuits are best over June to October. Zanzibar is to be avoided over the stormy months of April, May and November.
Visas and paperwork
US citizens whose passport is valid for six more months (or longer) can obtain a single-entry tourist visa upon arrival at any international airport.
Did You Know?
Did You Know?
A striking botanical feature of Ruaha is the ancient baobabs, also known as upside-down trees, that stud its semi-arid plains and rocky slopes. Distinguished
by its massive bulbous trunk and contorted branches that reach up into the sky like inverted roots, the baobab is perhaps the most unmistakable of African
trees, and one of the longest living, with the oldest radiocarbon-dated specimen being almost 2,500 years old.
At a Glance/Highlights
- Arguably the world’s finest safari destination, Serengeti National Park is known for its high density of lions and as the setting for the annual migration of two million wildebeest. It is the linchpin of Tanzania’s peerless northern safari circuit, which also incorporates Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara National Park and Tarangire National Park.
- The relatively off-the-beaten-track southern safari circuit hinges on two of Africa’s largest protected areas. Nyerere National Park (Selous Game Reserve) hosts all the Big Five and runs thrilling boat trips on the Rufiji River, while baobab-studded Ruaha National Park is renowned for its diversity of large carnivores, antelope and birds.
- Less well known than their northern and southern counterparts, the trio of national parks comprising Tanzania’s remote western safari circuit are no less thrilling. Chimpanzee tracking is the main attraction of Mahale Mountains and Gombe Stream, while Katavi is East Africa’s most untrammeled savannah safari destination.
- The multi-day hike to the snowcapped 19,341ft summit of Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain, is a ‘must do’ for hardened peak-baggers.
- The highlight of Tanzania’s long tropical Indian Ocean is the offshore island of Zanzibar: here you’ll find a string of idyllic palm-lined beaches, coral reefs that offer world class snorkeling and diving, and the historic and atmospheric Stone Town.
With a quarter of its surface area dedicated to national parks and other protected areas, Tanzania is one of the world’s most ecologically proactive countries. Safari-wise, pride of place goes to the world-famous Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. Other big-name attractions include snow-capped Kilimanjaro, the ‘spice island’ of Zanzibar, and chimp-researcher Jane Goodall’s former tramping ground at Gombe Stream. As diverse culturally as it is ecologically, Tanzania ranks among Africa’s most enduringly stable countries, a circumstance reflected in the warm welcome invariably accorded to visitors.
Three airports are used regularly by international carriers with linking flights to the USA. Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) is most convenient for the Serengeti, Kilimanjaro and other sites in northern Tanzania. Zanzibar’s Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ) is best for Zanzibar itself. Dar es Salaam’s Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) is ideal for road safaris to the southern circuit. Regular domestic flights connect all three airports to each other and most other places of interest in Tanzania.
Health and safety
Malaria is present in most parts of Tanzania, so take prophylactic drugs and cover up at night. In most other respects, it is a very safe country, though it would be inadvisable to walk around Arusha or Dar es Salaam after dark unless you’re accompanied by a local who knows their way around.