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The Muzungu’s top reasons to travel to Tanzania, the ‘soul of Africa’

Serena Inn, Stone Town, Zanzibar. Diary of a Muzungu, Swahili

This is why I travel… to sit at a table overlooking the beach at the Serena Inn, Stone Town, Zanzibar. Want a glass of mimosa? “You just have to ask.” Fresh frangipani flowers, custard apple juice, mimosa sparkling wine cocktail and ‘madafu’ coconut juice decorate the Diary of a Muzungu, Swahili-style!

It’s taken me a long time to finally visit Tanzania. There is so much that is familiarly East African, yet so many charming delights that are uniquely Tanzanian! Come explore with me…

Here are the muzungu’s top reasons for visiting Tanzania:

  • 1. Tanzania has 14 National Parks, 370 mammal species and over 1000 birds.
  • 2. Overdose on wildlife viewing at Ngorongoro Crater. Experience the Great Migration on the Serengeti, one of the ‘Seven Natural Wonders of Africa’ – watch it from a hot air balloon!
  • 3. Tanzania is the base for hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain
  • 4. Relax on Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coast. Go diving!
  • 5. Fly or take the ferry to the island archipelago of Zanzibar, famous for the islands’ white coral sand beaches
  • 6. Tour the historical cobbled streets and Arab-influenced Stone Town, Zanzibar, celebrated for its film and music festivals. No trip to Zanzibar is complete without a spice tour!
  • 7. There are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Tanzania including the Serengeti, Selous National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and Stone Town.
  • 8. Enjoy unusual fresh juices – such as coconut ‘madafu’ and custard apple
  • 9. Explore the Selous, Africa’s BIGGEST game reserve!
  • 10. Explore Dar es Salaam, East Africa’s second biggest port and a melting pot of African, Arabic and Indian influences.

“Jambo” – is the Swahili greeting for “welcome” which you will hear everywhere in friendly Tanzania.

Wolfgang Thome, Edgar Batte, Charlotte Beauvoisin, Solomon Oleny. Kilimanjaro Airport

Me and my awesome travel buddies! Tourism and aviation expert Prof. Wolfgang H. Thome and travel journos Edgar R. Batte & Solomon Mario Oleny, at Kilimanjaro International Airport

The Great Migration of one and a half million Wildebeest traverse the Mara River twice yearly between the Serengeti in Tanzania and Kenya’s Maasai Mara. Game-viewing includes huge buffalo herds, thousands of antelope, elephant and giraffe.

Serengeti wildebeest migration map

Serengeti wildebeest migration map. PHOTO

If you’re going to the Serengeti, treat yourself to a hot air balloon safari! It’s a huge adventure from start to finish. Get up at the crack of dawn to watch the balloon being inflated and jump in the basket, ready for the off. Watch the sun rise as your balloon moves silently across the savannah, following the wildlife below. It’s amazing what you can see up there! A champagne and breakfast in the bush are just one part of this fabulous experience.

One of Tanzania’s most popular attractions is the Ngorongoro Crater, known as “Africa’s Garden of Eden,” home to 30,000 animals including the rare black rhino and black-maned male lions.

Ngorongoro Crater. PHOTO www.tanzaniatourism

Ngorongoro Crater. See how the cloud kisses the rim of the crater! PHOTO www.tanzaniatourism

An aerial view of Mount Kilimanjaro, on our Precision Air flight from Dar es Salaam on the Tanzanian coast to Entebbe in Uganda. I am one lucky girl!

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, requires plenty of physical training and is on many people’s travel bucket list.

Gilman's Point, Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

This is my friend Apollo Makubuya at Gilman’s Point, Mt Kilimanjaro’s second highest peak. Get this far and you can truly call yourself a Kili climber! Uhuru Peak is Kili – and Africa’s – highest peak. Click on this image to read Apollo’s amazing story!

The classic views of Kilimanjaro’s snow-capped peak are taken from the Kenya side.

elephant Amboseli Kilimanjaro

The classic views of Kilimanjaro’s snow-capped peak are actually taken from the Kenya side. I took this photo of a lone elephant in Amboseli National Park, Kenya

Less visited, yet worth the detour is the dazzling Lake Natron, that boasts some of Africa’s most amazing scenery: rift escarpments, volcanoes and the vast multi-coloured soda lake.

Lake Natron soda lake, Tanzania

On the muzungu’s Tanzania bucket list: the naturally pink Lake Natron soda lake!

The unique (boutique?) island of Zanzibar, off Tanzania’s coast, has miles of white sandy beaches and tiny islands. It is an idyllic destination for snorkeling, coral reef diving, deep sea fishing (and the occasional wedding!)

swimming pool Zanzibar Serena Inn, Stone Town

Our swimming pool at the Zanzibar Serena Inn, Stone Town

Diary of a Muzungu. Serena Inn, Zanzibar, Tanzania

View from our breakfast table at the Serena Inn, Stone Town, Zanzibar. Diary of a Muzungu, Swahili-style

evening beach walk Stone Town, Zanzibar. Tanzania travel

Zanzibaris take an evening stroll on the public beach next to Stone Town

The House of Wonders – Beit el Ajaib.Stone Town, Zanzibar

The House of Wonders – Beit el Ajaib, Stone Town, Zanzibar

Stone Town, Zanzibar. Tanzania travel

Need to make a phone call? Stone Town, Zanzibar

tinga tinga art on sale in Stone Town, Zanzibar. Tanzania travel

Vibrant ‘tinga tinga’ traditional Tanzanian art on sale in Stone Town, Zanzibar

picture frames Stone Town, Zanzibar. Tanzania travel

Sea blue picture frames on sale outside a Stone Town shop, Zanzibar

Forodhani Gardens opposite Old Fort, Stone Town, Zanzibar. Tanzania travel

Forodhani Gardens opposite Old Fort, Stone Town, Zanzibar.

Big Body Spice Farm Zanzibar. Lipstick Fruit. Tanzania

Spice Girl (and Boys!) on our fantastic tour of the turmeric, cardamon, dorian fruit, vanilla and breadfruit gardens at Big Body Spice Farm in Zanzibar. Guess who’s wearing the Lipstick Fruit? Oh Zanzibar, how delicious you are!

The aroma of sensual spices, fresh seafood and Swahili fusion cuisine infuse Stone Town’s maze of courtyards. Music, film and dance are a major part of this town’s appeal.

Sauti za Busara music festival 2018, Zanzibar, Tanzania

The Sauti za Busara music festival 2018 will be held in Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania

The Selous is a wonderful wilderness of 48,000 square kilometres (approximately 20, 000 square miles). That is 5% of Tanzania, a country that is four times the size of the UK.

aerial view Rufiji river, Selous game reserve. Coastal Aviation

Aerial view of the Rufiji river, Selous game reserve. We flew with Coastal Aviation. WOW

This jaw-dropping scenery is under the most serious of threats. Tanzania presses on with hydroelectric dam on vast game reserve. “Stiegler Gorge dam on the Selous park, a world heritage site listed as ‘in danger’, will cause irreversible damage, say conservationists.” Click her to read the WWF’s – World Wide Fund For Nature – report into the proposed dam at Stiegler’s Gorge. An (avoidable) environmental nightmare beckons…

Serena.Selous game drive, Tanzania

My turn to drive… (I wish!) What a superb game drive we had, from the luxury tented Selous Serena Camp on to catch our own private boat for Serena Mivumo River Lodge….

lion lazing. Serena. Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania

No zoom lens required! En route we chanced upon a pride of five lions sleeping in the afternoon sun. Selous Game Reserve safari

Selous clouds and landscapes

I loved the open landscape – the many landscapes in fact – of the Selous. Keep reading Diary of a Muzungu for more safari stories from the Selous!

Buffalo herd. Selous Serena Camp safari. Diary of a Muzungu

A herd of 300 buffalo were just a few minutes drive from our base at Selous Serena Camp. What a sight (and a powerful smell too!)

Lion in afternoon sun. Selous Game Reserve. Serena safari

Lion sleeping in the afternoon sun in Selous Game Reserve. Exclusively ours: on an all day game drive, we only saw four other safari vehicles.

Did you know…?

Swahili is the official language of Tanzania but English is widely spoken.

Watch my short video: my view from the cockpit! We flew between Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam with Coastal Aviation.

We flew with Precision Air between Dar es Salaam on the Tanzanian coast and Entebbe in Uganda. The inaugural flight was July 2017.

The inaugural Precision Air flight Entebbe to Dar. July 1st. Wolfgang Thome

The inaugural Precision Air flight Entebbe to Dar. July 1st 2017. Aviation expert Wolfgang Thome captures every moment

inaugural Precision Air flight Entebbe to Dar. July 1st 2017. Wolfgang Thome

It’s an aviation custom that the inaugural flight is baptised on the tarmac! We took the first Precision Air flight from Entebbe to Dar es Salaam thanks to the wonderful Professor Wolfgang

Keep reading Diary of a Muzungu for more travel tips and adventures from across Tanzania and East Africa.