10 Bucket-List Experiences in Tanzania – Travel Guide

Tanzania Travel Guide: 10 Bucket-List Experiences in East Africa

Lastly, observe the animals with your eyes and not just with your camera, take the early morning or late afternoon game drive safari, watch the sausage trees to see leopards, choose Mnemba when planning to see dolphins, have a bit of cash with you to tip and bring gifts for the children.

Visiting Tanzania during COVID-19

We had been longing to do a safari in Africa together for a while and we were looking for a safe country with diverse landscapes and a rich wildlife. With its famous national parks, the Kilimanjaro peak and the beautiful island of Zanzibar – Tanzania sounded like the perfect African country!

What’s more, Tanzania was one of the only countries in the world still welcoming tourists with a very low rate of COVID-19. We decided to do a short but intense safari across three of Tanzania’s national parks: Tarangire National Park, Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

You can read our Tanzania Safari Travel Guide for more info. During our five days we had the chance to explore several African landscapes and meet lots of animals in their natural environment. Then we had a six day rest in Zanzibar – enjoying the white sand and warm waters of the ocean.

Our Best Experiences in Tanzania

All the national parks we visited were different. But our favourite one was Serengeti National Park. Here we had the chance to sleep for two nights in luxury tents right in the heart of the park. Hearing the footsteps of wild animals walking around our tent at night was just an amazing experience!

Another special moment was when we met a family of 50 elephants in Serengeti before sunset. The light was wonderful as the sun was low and our pickup was surrounded by the elephants crossing the road in front of us and behind us. These incredible experiences will stay with us forever.

Top 10 Things To Do in Tanzania

Our impression of Tanzania was that it was a welcoming country. The people were proud to show us their land and strived to protect the wildlife and environment. The landscapes are amazing too. Every 100kms it changes from dry to wet, mountain to plain, village to savannah!

There are so many amazing things to do in Tanzania. You will never have a dull moment in the gem of East Africa! Below are our top 10 recommendations for your visit – whether you go for five days or 30.

1. Visit the Incredible National Parks of Tanzania

Without a doubt the first thing that should be on your Tanzania bucket-list is seeing a national park or two. We spent five days exploring three amazing national parks – Tarangire National Park, Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. We would highly recommend all three!

Driving through the national parks on a safari tour is such an awesome time. You are always screening the horizon and landscape looking out for animals and birds. Hopefully you will be lucky enough to spot a leopard which was one of our favourite animals that we saw in Tanzania.

2. Meet the Amazing Local People of Tanzania

The culture of Tanzania is rich and surprising. Tanzanian people are a mix of Christian, Muslim and Maasai traditions, all living together in harmony.

Around the national parks we saw many Maasai tribes still living the traditional way – walking barefoot in the bush, guiding their flock of goats to greener lands and protecting them from lion attacks with spears! Meeting these wonderful people will be a highlight of your trip to Africa.

3. Enjoy a Tanzanian Sunset in the Savannah

We have all seen those famous photos of African sunsets in the savannah with an orange sun sinking into the horizon with characteristic trees perking out of the ground. It’s such a marvellous thing to see and totally takes your breath away. Be sure to capture as many photos as possible!

4. Wake up at 5am to See Lions Hunt for Food

Serengeti National Park is one of the best places in Tanzania to see lions. Especially the Seronera region of central Serengeti. Make sure you get the opportunity to wake up early on your safari (at 5am) to see the female lions go hunting. Seeing these animals hunt in their natural habitat is amazing.

5. Camp in a Tent and Listen to the Wildlife at Night

Most safari companies in Tanzania offer camping in tents and believe us – it’s a magical experience! Listening to the wildlife around your tent at night can be scary but it’s also wonderful. You can do this at places like Lake Manyara National Park, Tarangire National Park and Serengeti.

6. Take in the Unique (Pungent) Smell of Hippos

Hippos can be found throughout Tanzania – in the lakes, rivers and wetlands. Whether it be at Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro or Serengeti – seeing hippos is a unique experience. But the smell of hippos will stay with you for a while. You can even smell them before you see them!

7. Swim with Dolphins at Mnemba Reef, Zanzibar

Mnemba Reef – sometimes referred to as Mnemba Island or Mnemba Atoll – is home to beautiful clear waters and a plethora of dolphins. Go snorkelling with dolphins and tick this activity off your bucket-list! You will also get the chance to see colourful corals and tropical marine life.

8. Drink a “Dawa” – The Local Medicine Cocktail

Dawa is a local “medicine” cocktail which is a mix of konyagi, honey and lime. The term in Swahili means “magic potion” and is said to have powers to cure all of your ails – whatever they may be! So make sure you try this.

9. Walk the Shallow Tidal Lagoons in Zanzibar

Zanzibar has these amazing shallow tidal lagoons where you can walk through at low tide to enjoy short-lived turquoise lagoons. They are fantastic places to walk in the afternoon after a day of adventures on the island. Take in a majestic sunset and wander through the lagoons.

10. Hike to the Top of Mount Kilimanjaro

Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro is something we missed but it’s an absolute must-do! This mountain is instantly recognisable as it rises from the forests and scrubland of Tanzania. While the hike is not easy, the reward at the top is worth it. You will find more on the Trek to Kilimanjaro on our blog.

Need to Know Before you Go

We must admit that during our safari we didn’t experience much of the Tanzanian food, as most of our meals were takeaway boxes in the pickup. But in Zanzibar we tried delicious food like seafood BBQ and meals with Indian Ocean influences. Make sure you try the food in Stone Town!

In terms of accommodation, some of the best places we stayed at were Sound of Silence in Serengeti National Park, Lions Paw Camp in Ngorongoro National Park, SeVi Boutique Hotel Zanzibar and Zanistar Lodge in the south of Zanzibar. We highly recommend all of these places!

Lastly, observe the animals with your eyes and not just with your camera, take the early morning or late afternoon game drive safari, watch the sausage trees to see leopards, choose Mnemba when planning to see dolphins, have a bit of cash with you to tip and bring gifts for the children.

Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoy visiting Tanzania as much as we did! Feel free to reach out if you have questions or would like more info.