You may know the saying (or the song) Hakuna Matata from the Lion King. Have you ever wondered what it meant?
Translated, it means something like “no worries”, “no problem” or “everything will be fine”. It stands for the inner feeling of taking things easy and taking life as it comes.
And hakuna matata is the way of life in Tanzania. A trip to Tanzania is varied, exciting and often unpredictable – a real African adventure.
Even if you keep aside wildlife viewing, it is one of the few countries in Africa where visitors can go mountain climbing and hiking, scuba diving and snorkeling, while also lounging on the beach. These opportunities make Tanzania the best that Africa has to offer.
Below you will find ten reasons why a trip to Tanzania is so worthwhile.
Table of Contents
- Mosaic of African culture
- Island paradise Zanzibar
- Time out at Lake Victoria
- Adventure being on the road
- Breathtaking natural diversity
- Fragrant coffee and tea plantations
- Kilimanjaro’s Ways
- Exciting safari adventures
- Lively streets and markets
- The History of German East Africa
Mosaic of African culture
The young Maasai in their red robes, colorful beaded jewelry and shoes made from old motorbike tires are a common sight in touristy parts of Tanzania.
Although only just under three percent of the more than 50 million inhabitants of Tanzania belong to this ethnic group, you will encounter them almost everywhere.
Whether Maasai, Sukuma, Makonde or Chagga – the tribes are now represented throughout the country, the boundaries of their habitats dissolved.
Only occasionally do they live a secluded life, like the hunter-gatherers of the Hadzabe Bushman people.
However, they are all proud of their origins. With over 130 peoples speaking 125 different languages, it is remarkable that the sense of belonging of the individual tribes does not bring any conflicts.
On the contrary, it strengthens their identity and makes Tanzania a diverse community with an extraordinary welcoming culture!
Island paradise Zanzibar
A Caribbean paradise on African soil with Arabian flair – that’s the best way to describe the beautiful Zanzibar archipelago off the Tanzanian coast. With its uniqueness and diversity, the archipelago offers a few absolute Tanzania highlights.
The fine white sand beaches can easily compete with the most beautiful in the world – turquoise water, shallow, crashing waves and coconut palms that bend in the warm breeze.
Children playing, women collecting shells or men searching for octopuses can often be seen on the coast.
The view of the sea also always offers one or two small dhows with white sails, on which the locals go about their traditional fishing.
Tips for your stay in Zanzibar:
- Stunning Beaches : Nakupenda, Nungwi and Paje are considered the most beautiful stretches of beach on the main island of Ugunja.
- Unesco World Heritage Site Stone Town : The ruins of the coral limestone buildings and houses in Zanzibar City enchant with a style mix of European, African and Arabic architecture.
- Zanzibar’s culinary art : At the Forodhani Food Market you can try out the oriental-African cuisine. We recommend grilled fish, marinated meat skewers and a soup of the culinary master class: The Urojo Zanzibar-Mix soup made of mango puree, tamarind and various toppings is a real taste experience.
- Dancing under the stars : Almost every Saturday after the full moon, the Kendwa Rocks Hotel hosts the Zanzibar Full Moon Party, to which the whole island is invited.
Time out at Lake Victoria
With an area of around 69,000 square kilometers, Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the third largest in the world.
As at the sea, the sun sets in a bright red on the horizon over the water in the evening, until the stars begin to twinkle over Africa in the black sky.
The gentle splashing of the shallow freshwater waves has a calming effect and helps you fall asleep quickly after a night in a tent.
During the day you can explore the lake by boat or canoe, watch the traditional fishermen at work or observe the many different animals in Rubondo Island National Park.
With a little luck you will also discover a few hippos in the reeds!
Adventure being on the road
A trip to Tanzania is not difficult – a trip through Tanzania is a bit more. With unpaved roads, public transport options that redefine the western sense of transport and clocks that always run a little slower, being on the road in Tanzania is a very special experience and every now and then a real adventure.
Exciting flights in a small Cessna plane bring you through the air and on the streets you mainly have the choice between a Piki-Piki, the typical motorcycle taxi, and a Dala-Dala, which is more than cuddly.
In both cases you get very close to the Tanzanians and get to know the African sense of togetherness in a special way.
Breathtaking natural diversity
With 16 national parks, the highest mountains and the largest lake in Africa, Tanzania is a country of superlative landscapes.
Wide bush landscapes and tropical forests, huge waterfalls and winding mangrove swamps, lush green mountains and snow-capped peaks – the natural diversity knows no bounds. And we are not just referring to Kilimanjaro.
And so its impressive hiking trails lead you far away from civilization to the most beautiful places in the country.
Tips for unforgettable moments while hiking:
- Udzungwa National Park : The view from the highest plateau of the Sanje Waterfalls is breathtaking. The water falls 170 meters over three levels. Hike here with a private tour guide through the partly tropical rainforest while the guide shows you some of the almost 2,500 species of plants, 400 species of birds and six different species of monkeys.
- Uluguru Mountains : Spectacularly overgrown and with a cooling mist draped over their peaks, the mountain range in the Morogoro region offers a fantastic escape from the hot and urban plains. Just follow the many paths and trails up, follow the local women or ask the residents of the small houses and children of the small schools up to the top.
- Usambara Mountains : This beautiful mountain range rises up in the north-east of Tanzania and inspires with fantastic views. You hike through picturesque mountain landscapes past cute villages and sleep in small inns or even in the huts of the locals on a multi-day tour. A popular and well-suited starting point for last-minute errands is the town of Lushoto.
Fragrant coffee and tea plantations
Lush coffee plantations instead of dusty savannas are almost unimaginable in dry Africa. But the mild climate around Kilimanjaro and the volcanic soil offer perfect conditions for growing the popular bean.
Also referred to as brown gold, the beans are processed into real world-class coffees in Tanzania. Everywhere in the country there are large coffee estates that you can visit and taste the types of coffee grown there.
Black and green tea is also grown in Tanzania.
If you are in the regions around Tanga in the northwest, Iringa in the southeast or in the beautiful Usambara Mountains, you can smell the scent of the plants from afar.
The full-bodied, spicy taste of the Tanzania AA Arabica coffee roast is very popular around the world and is ideal as a small gift for loved ones at home.
The highest mountain massif in Africa rises 5,895 meters.
It towers majestically over the endless expanses of golden Tanzanian grasslands and magically attracts mountaineers from all over the world with its breathtaking views over the continent.
You too should not miss this unforgettable trip through the 5 distinct ecosystems that exist on this mountain. Depending on your fitness level, there are different trails that all offer their own highlights.
The routes at a glance:
- Machame Route : This varied, most popular medium-difficulty route takes you up through rainforest, moor and rocky deserts after about 62 kilometers.
- Lemosho Route : Comparatively difficult and demanding, but particularly impressive in terms of landscape. The approximately 70 kilometers to the top lead through rainforest and interesting scrubland vegetation.
- Rongai Route : This approximately 73 km long and moderately difficult route offers fantastic views and a special variety of plant species with a rather constant landscape.
- Umbwe Route : As the most difficult, but also the shortest route at around 53 kilometers, this route to the summit is recommended for experienced mountaineers who are looking for a challenge.
- Marangu Route : This approximately 72-kilometer-long route has fewer steep paths, offers mountain huts for sleeping overnight and has wide views of different vegetation. It is considered the easiest, but you still scale the same height.
Exciting safari adventures
The lioness creeps slowly, crouching through the tall golden grass. She carefully stalks the small calf of the wildebeest herd and then everything suddenly happens very quickly. An exciting moment and you are very close when the mother brings home her prey.
This is Africa – once in a lifetime everyone should go in search of the Big Five, whether in South Africa or here in wild Tanzania.
While elephants, buffalo and lionesses are easy to find, the kings of the savannah often rest on high rocks or in dense bushes.
The endangered rhinos and leopards are also hiding there and are just as difficult to identify. Sometimes, however, they give it away because of their long patterned tail, which hangs from a branch on the tree.
The most beautiful national parks and their highlights at a glance:
- Serengeti : breathtaking savannah landscape, highest density of animals, wildebeest migration
- Ruaha National Park : Large herds of elephants, thousands of species of plants, ruins of Isimila
- Katavi National Park : Katuma and Katavi River, hikes, waterfalls, forests, swamps, tamarind trees, hippos, crocodiles
- Ngorongoro Crater : Impressive crater landscape, fantastic views, Olduvai Gorge with the oldest human bone finds
- Tarangire : Huge baobab trees, large herds of elephants, hundreds of bird species
- Selous National Park : large lakes and rivers, volcanoes and hot springs, impressive rock formations, African wild dogs
Lively streets and markets
Dar es Salaam is considered the secret capital of Tanzania.
The big cities thrive on their cultural diversity. Tribal followers in traditional robes stand next to hip students at the bus stop, as do smart businessmen next to mothers carrying their babies in colorful scarves.
There is still a lot going on in the smaller towns like Arusha and Iringa. After all, it is the mix of urban lifestyle and calming small-town flair that makes it so charming.
Here, cute cafes rub shoulders with modern bars and authentic corrugated iron markets, where locals offer ugali porridge, fast food like chipsi mayai fries omelet, and the unusual banana beer.
The History of German East Africa
Eye-catching clock towers in the middle of small traffic islands, magnificent colonial-style court and administration buildings and German-language inscriptions on old house walls and overgrown walls – remnants of old German East Africa can still be seen in Tanzania.
Like the Mkwawa Memorial Museum in Iringa or the Maji Maji Memorial Museum in Songea, museums and monuments across the country report on battles and conflicts between the German colonial power and the East African peoples, but also tell about the economic achievements and positive changes of this time.