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A popular travel destination and one of the most remarkable countries in Africa, Tanzania is home to various unique locations that cover mountains, grasslands, and coastal regions. In their tour to Tanzania, most travelers put the Serengeti National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro as their must-visit places, but there is more to the country than these two popular destinations. Here are the 10 best places to visit in Tanzania:

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1. Mount Kilimanjaro

A group of porters walking towards Mount Kilianjaro.
Experience the challenge of Kilimanjaro with a team of skilled porters, ready to guide you to the summit.

It goes without saying that Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the best places to visit in Tanzania. Standing 5,895m above sea level, it is the tallest free-standing mountain on earth and the most iconic landmark of Tanzania. It has three volcanic cones, Shira, Mawenzi, and Kibo on which the highest summit, Uhuru Peak, is located. It is the perfect site for climbers and thrill seekers.

Quick facts & tips

  • Best time to climb Kilimanjaro: January through mid-March and mid-June through October.
  • Peak tourist season: January to February and July to September.
  • High season: March (low tourist traffic), June, July, and August.
  • Popular routes: Machame route, Lemosho route, Marangu route, Shira route.
  • Location: Kilimanjaro region, Tanzania.
  • Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano.
  • To prevent altitude sickness while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, acclimate properly by gradually ascending and giving your body time to adjust to the changing altitude.

2. Serengeti National Park

Hot air balloon in Serengeti, one of the best places to visit in Tanzania.
Hot air balloon in Serengeti, one of the best places to visit in Tanzania.

The Serengeti National Park is another popular destination that most travelers make it a point of visiting while in Tanzania. The name ‘Serengeti’ is derived from the Maasai word ‘Siringit’, which means ‘endless plains’. True to its name, the Serengeti National Park is an extensive treeless plain that covers over 14,763 square kilometers of savanna grassland, overflowing with wildlife. The park is home to over 4,000 lions, 1,000 leopards, and 2 million ungulates, among many other animals. It is one of the world’s top safari destinations. Many travelers visit the park to witness the Great Wildebeest Migration, where over 1.5 million wildebeest migrate between Serengeti and Masai Mara in Kenya.

Quick facts & tips

  • Peak tourist season: May to July.
  • High season: January to February and June to October.
  • Popular activities: Guided nature walks, night game drive.
  • Location: Eastern Mara Region and Northeastern Simiyu Region, North-central Tanzania.
  • Take a Serengeti National Park safari between April and June to experience the annual wildebeest migration.
  • Catching the wildebeest migration is tricky since animals do not keep to schedule. So, plan your trip during the peak migration season (usually April to July) and stay informed of the latest migration updates and patterns.

Other popular national parks for safari in Tanzania:

3. Zanzibar

Zanzibar signbiard
Head to Zanzibar and immerse yourself in the stunning beaches, rich culture, and vibrant atmosphere.

Zanzibar is a renowned beach holiday destination in Tanzania. Two significant islands of Unguja and Pemba make Zanzibar, and they are blessed with stunning grassy plains, lush vegetation, and coconut tree thickets overlooking beautiful coral reefs. A Zanzibar tour offers everything one expects from a perfect beach resort, from the sun-kissed pristine beaches to water-based activities to scrumptious seafood.

Quick facts & tips

  • Peak tourist season: July to September.
  • High season: Most time of the year except March to May.
  • Popular activities: Diving, fishing, riding a dala dala.
  • Location: 40 km East off-coast from mainland Tanzania.
  • There are more than 25 beautiful beaches in Zanzibar.
  • Explore the famous spice farms of Zanzibar, which play a crucial role in maintaining the island's economy.
  • Some of the islands in Zanzibar have pickpockets, so you must be careful with your belongings.

4. Stone Town

The architectural beauty of Stone Town captured in a picture.
Discover the historic charm of Stone Town, Zanzibar, where African, Arabian, and Indian influences converge to create a unique blend of architectural beauty.

Stone Town is an old place most famous for its architecture full of Persian, Indian, Arab, and European elements. The place is also popular for its two main markets, Darajani and Forodhani, where you can find excellent traditional dishes, spice, jewelry, and all kinds of trinkets and bibelots. When visiting Stone town, do not forget to visit the Palace Museum, House of Wonders, and Anglican Cathedral.

Quick facts & tips

  • Popular activities: Shopping in the Darajani Market, strolling through the City Hall.
  • Location: Zanzibar, Tanzania.
  • Visit the Old Fort, an incredible 17th-century building that perfectly captures the architecture of the time.
  • Explore the Mtoni Palace Ruins to witness the remnants of the former palace built by Sultan Sayyid Said, the first Sultan of Zanzibar.
  • Stone Town is a high-risk malaria location, so take necessary precautions, such as using insect repellent and sleeping under a mosquito net.

5. Mafia Island

Western Reef Egrets in Mafia Island, one of the best places in Tanzania.
Admire the elegance of the Western Reef Egrets as they thrive in the rich ecosystems of Mafia Island, a true sanctuary for bird lovers.

Mafia Island, also called Chole Shamba, is a part of the Zanzibar Archipelago and a dreamy beachside destination. It is popular among tourists for its tranquil setting. The place has great snorkeling and diving spots, which draw people from all over the world. If you are into water sports, the best time to visit Mafia Island is between October and March. The island is also popular among birdwatchers.

Quick facts & tips

  • Popular activities: Snorkeling and birdwatching.
  • Location: Zanzibar, Tanzania.
  • Mafia Island was an important trading site for the Turkish, Chinese, and Omanis.
  • Go birdwatching in the mangroves of Mafia island as they have several unique birds, like the Terek sandpipers, Western reef egrets, etc.

6. Mount Meru

Picture of Mount Meru, Tanzania, taken right before sunset.
Climb to new heights with a journey to Mount Meru, Tanzania's second-highest peak, offering breathtaking views for hikers and climbers.

Most travelers visiting Tanzania make it a point to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and, in the process, miss out on a more relaxed trip to Mount Meru. Also known as “Kilimanjaro’s little brother”, Meru is stunning in its own right. Standing at 4,565m above sea level, it is the fifth-tallest mountain in Africa and the second-tallest in Tanzania. Mount Meru is part of Arusha National Park and boasts incredible views and plenty of wildlife sighting opportunities. Climbing Mount Meru is also an excellent way to warm up before you take on the mighty Kilimanjaro.

Quick facts & tips

  • Best time to climb: Between June and October.
  • Peak tourist season: June through August.
  • High season: Between June and February.
  • Location: Arusha Region, Tanzania.
  • Mount Meru is a dormant volcano.
  • Although easier to climb than Mount Kilimanjaro, climbing Mount Meru is still decently hard, so if you are not at least an average hiker, do not attempt to climb it without proper months of training.

7. Dar es Salaam

Skyscrapers in Dar Es Salaam, the capital city of Tanzania.
Explore the bustling city of Dar Es Salaam, where modern skyscrapers and vibrant culture coexist to create a unique and dynamic urban landscape.

The largest city and former capital of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam is the epicenter of the country’s art and culture scene. There are many sights to tour in Dar es Salaam. History buffs, for instance, can visit the National Museum of Tanzania to learn about the history of Tanzania. Other attractions in Dar es Salam include Mbudya Island, Bongoyo Island, and Kivukoni Fish Market.

Quick facts & tips

  • Popular activities: Day-time sightseeing, experiencing the city’s nightlife.
  • Location: Indian Ocean Coast, Tanzania.
  • Dar Es Salaam is the financial hub of Tanzania.
  • It is known for its seafood and music, so exploring the popular restaurants and resorts there is a good option.
  • It has some beautiful Tinga Tinga art pieces that you can add to your collection.

8. Prison Island

The entire prison island in one frame.
Uncover the rich history of Prison Island, located just off the coast of Zanzibar, where slaves were once held and now it is home to the giant tortoises and a museum.

Tanzania’s Prison Island, also called Changuu Island, is relatively small, measuring 800m in length and 230m in breadth. British First Minister Lloyd Mathews purchased the island in 1893 with the intention of building a prison on it. While the prison facility never served its true purpose, the island was used as a quarantine station. Before Ganguu earned the moniker of Prison Island, it used to be a place to hold enslaved people in transit. Today, Prison Island is a popular holiday spot in Tanzania, known for its government-owned resort, water sports, and various endangered tortoise species.

Quick facts & tips

  • Popular activities: Boat trip.
  • Location: Zanzibar, Tanzania.
  • Prison Island offers a great snorkeling experience.
  • Relax and sunbathe peacefully on the small sandy beach on Prison Island.
  • Enjoy the beautiful view of giant tortoises that you may never find elsewhere.

9. Lake Eyasi

Lake eyasi during dry season.
Go birdwatching to take in the scenic view of Lake Eyasi during the dry season.

Lake Eyasi tour should definitely be on your bucket list while visiting Tanzania. It is the largest water body in the Arusha region and a shallow salt lake on the floor of the Great Rift Valley. Lake Eyasi offers a unique first-hand experience of culture, even when compared with other popular sites. Several tribes inhabit Lake Eyasi, most of whom have lived here for thousands of years. An example is the Hadzabe people, hunter-gatherers who have lived her for the past 10,000 years, bow-hunting and gathering honey and local fruits.

Quick facts & tips

  • Popular activities: Hiking, birdwatching.
  • Location: Arusha, Tanzania.
  • Lake Eyasi is estimated to be over 65 million years old.
  • It has a surreal landscape during the dry season, which makes it a perfect time for nature lovers to visit the lake.

10. Usambara Mountains

A portion of the Usambara Mountains.
Take a journey through the breathtaking Usambara Mountains, located in northern Tanzania, known for its stunning landscapes.

Usambara Mountains in Tanga region of Tanzania is the place where you will find authentic tropical experience. The mountains have two sub-ranges, the East Usambaras and the West Usambaras, which are higher than its eastern counterpart, with the highest peaks reaching 2,440m. The mountains are lush green and covered with tropical rainforests, comprising many unique animal and plant species that you can only find here. Amani Nature Reserve and Mazumbai Forest Reserve are among the popular sites to visit here.

Quick facts & tips

  • Best time to climb: Between June and November.
  • Peak tourist season: June to October.
  • High season: October to March.
  • Popular activities: Swimming in the Mkuzi Waterfalls, trekking.
  • Location: Lushoto District, Tanga region, Northeastern Tanzania.
  • The Usambara mountains were formed nearly 2 million years ago.
  • Observe the beautiful valleys from the Magamba viewpoint at an altitude of 1,850 m, when climbing Usambara.

Tanzania is one of the major destinations for travel enthusiasts due to the various fun sites it has to offer. Apart from the 10 Best Places to Visit in Tanzania, you should also take note of other lesser-known destinations, including Iringa, Moshi, and Lake Natron.

Check out our articles on the best national parks you can visit in Tanzania and the best things to do in Tanzania for inspiration.

Or go through our Tanzania travel guide for information on topics like what to do in Tanzania for a seamless and enjoyable experience.

You can also reach out to our local travel experts to plan a customized trip to Tanzania.

Published by Supriya Rayamajhi, updated on May 30, 2023

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