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7 Best Places to Visit in Tanzania on Safari

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Prison Island, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Zanzibar, Tanzania

The best places to visit in Tanzania can make your safari dreams come true or showcase world-class beaches.

While famous for its wildlife, Tanzania offers so much more, with each new place an opportunity to experience local culture or uncover the natural world. Explore ancient human history, search the wilderness for signs of life, trek to the top of a mountain, or lounge beside the sapphire Indian Ocean.

Tanzania offers adventure or relaxation, with our list exploring some of the best places to visit, no matter your preferences.

  1. 1. Mount Kilimanjaro
  2. 2. Serengeti National Park
  3. 3. Zanzibar
  4. 4. Lake Manyara National Park
  5. 5. Mafia Island
  6. 6. Ruaha National Park
  7. 7. Olduvai Gorge
  8. Explore the Best Places to Visit in Tanzania

1. Mount Kilimanjaro

Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano and Maasai village in Tanzania

Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano and Maasai village in Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro is an icon of the African landscape. The highest peak on the continent reaches over 19,340 feet above sea level and has a surrounding region unlike anywhere else in the country. Unlike other areas of Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro is sought-after as a place to explore rather than witness.

The peak towers over the surrounding farmland and rainforest, alpine meadows and lunar plateaus. Many animals graze in the wilderness below, including elephants, monkeys, and leopards, while visitors can also meet Maasai communities, search for thundering waterfalls, or bask in natural hot springs fed by volcanic activity.

Highlights: Maasai villages • Kikuletwa hot springs • Materuni Waterfalls • Lake Chala • Mount Kilimanjaro

Recommended length of stay: 4-5 days

2. Serengeti National Park

The Great Migration at Serengeti National Park in Tanzania

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

The Serengeti is one of the most well-known places to visit in Tanzania. It supports an incredible ecosystem in which millions of animals live or pass through each year, enjoying its grasslands and water.

From the annual wildebeest migration to the dynamic collection of endemic and migratory bird species, Africa’s Big Five to luxury accommodations that overlook sweeping plains, the Serengeti is a unique environment that exceeds expectations of what a safari could be.

You can cross the plains on our Serengeti safaris or see wildlife spectacles unfold on our Tanzania Great Migration safaris.

Highlights: Africa’s Big Five • Zebra and wildebeest • Seronera River Valley • The Great Migration • Retina Hippo Pool • Night game drive

Recommended length of stay: 4-5 days

3. Zanzibar

Aerial view of beach in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Zanzibar, Tanzania

The island off the coast of Dar es Salaam takes less than two hours to reach by ferry and unveils a completely different side to Tanzania. With marvelous white-sand beaches that lead to turquoise waters, the island is a tropical paradise, accentuated by the historic streets of Stone Town.

The largest city on the island has a unique history. It presents the ambiance of a medieval city in North Africa, where cobblestone lanes lead to hidden markets, colorful doors, and artisan crafts. With spice plantations, antique forts, and luxurious accommodations, Zanzibar is unlike anywhere else in Tanzania.

To discover what is possible on your Tanzania trip to Zanzibar, explore our sample Zanzibar vacation packages.

Highlights: Stone Town • House of Wonders • Forodhani Gardens • Old Dispensary • Old Fort • Beaches

Recommended length of stay: 3-4 days

4. Lake Manyara National Park

Lion resting on tree at Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania

Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania

Bird life, including a remarkable number of flamingos, and the highest concentration of baboons in the world make Lake Manyara National Park a popular and unforgettable place to visit. Whether by car, canoe, or mountain bike, visitors can explore the landscape from a unique perspective in search of elephants or hippos lounging in the water.

Lions climb trees to avoid the flood plains, giving them better viewpoints for a hunt. The landscape exemplifies the drama of the Great Rift Valley as it edges the western border of the park. With evergreen forest, sweeping savanna, and lush marshland, Lake Manyara National Park allows wildlife to thrive, resulting in one of the world’s most dense populations of large mammals.

You can see many of the top animals of Tanzania on a trip that includes Lake Manyara National Park safaris.

Highlights: Elephant herds • Tree-climbing lions • Flamingos • Tree-top walkway • Birding • Mountain bike tours • canoe safaris

Recommended length of stay: 2-3 days

5. Mafia Island

Aerial view of Pole Pole Resort and beach in Mafia Island, Tanzania

Mafia Island, Tanzania

Mafia Island is naturally opulent. The surrounding marine park is the largest protected marine area in the Indian Ocean, supporting mangroves, a coral reef, and unique marine channels.

Villages use the surrounding resources, while the nearly 400 tropical fish species support the developed ecosystem. With a commitment to sustainable practices and conservation, the turquoise water, white-sand beaches, and coral gardens provide endless opportunities for exploration or relaxation.

Highlights: Snorkel • Scuba • Beaches • Coral gardens • Deep-sea fishing • Whale sharks • Kilindoni Market • Chole Island

Recommended length of stay: 3-4 days

6. Ruaha National Park

Giraffe at Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

Exploring Tanzania allows you to uncover a location with as many treasures as a famous destination, but without the crowds, and Ruaha National Park does exactly this.

While the Serengeti may have more acclaim, Ruaha National Park remains the country’s treasured secret, with more than 7,800 square miles of protected area that acts as a vital water source for wildlife during the dry season. Baobab trees, acacia woodlands, open grasslands, and rolling hills are home to a wide variety, including an abundance of lions and one of the few cheetah populations in East Africa.

Birding, hot-air balloon rides, and exceptional accommodations make Ruaha National Park a thrilling example of why visitors should travel beyond Tanzania’s famous corners.

Highlights: Birding • Walking safaris • Hot-air balloon safari • Nyanya rock paintings • Natural pillars of Isimila • Mkwawa Museum • Lions • Cheetahs

Recommended length of stay: 4-5 days

7. Olduvai Gorge

Jeep going through Cradle of Mankind in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania

Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania

The Olduvai Gorge is a marvelous place to explore natural history and paleoanthropological finds that demonstrate the long lineage of human existence on the continent.

With famous footprints of a man, woman, and child spanning nearly two million years, fragments of bone offering information on early humankind, and the rising cliffs of the Great Rift Valley, the area can feel captivating and mysterious.

From the unique volcanic ash dunes known as the Shifting Sands to a museum that displays ancient artifacts of early humankind, the layers of history in and around Olduvai Gorge share a common thread with the modern world and offer an eye-opening experience.

Highlights: Olduvai Gorge Museum • Shifting Sands • Laetoli hominid footprints

Recommended length of stay: 1-2 days

Explore the Best Places to Visit in Tanzania

Beach in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Zanzibar, Tanzania

Rich with history and wildlife, beaches and spices, Tanzania is a world-class safari destination and so much more. Climb to the highest peak on the African continent, witness tree-climbing lions, or view some of the oldest hominid footprints ever discovered. Brimming with beauty, history, and nature, Tanzania is a perfect destination for any type of traveler.

Find inspiration for your custom-tailored trip with our featured Tanzania safaris. For more destination information, explore the best time to visit Tanzania and our Tanzania safari guide.

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