Tanzania

Filled with names that are familiar and yet exotic, Tanzania is a land of African promise that manages to deliver on both lazy beach holidays and action packed adventure trails. The majesty Mount Kilimanjaro provides the mysterious backdrop to all the wild beauty, with its distant snow capped peaks glistening against the barren lands of the Serengeti.

Whatever you want from Africa, Tanzania can deliver, the waters surrounding Zanzibar and the fishing villages along Lake Victoria are accessible amid their distant beauty, whilst the northern Maasai tribes proudly cling to their heritage as they guide you through their homeland, and yet the lands are free from the tribal issues that can affect parts of Africa, making this idyllic land one of the best choices in which to chase your African dream.

If you are looking for a break on a budget then Tanzania has a huge selection of low cost guesthouses with fairly basic facilities, these are generally clean and perfectly adequate, but the low cost of some of the more luxurious hotels may make the temptation to go a little bit more upmarket hard to resist.

If you do opt to stay on the beautiful island of Zanzibar then the Mbweni Ruins Hotel is particularly well recommended, set in its own scented gardens overlooking the water, the hotel has a private jetty with dhows that are available to transport you around the island. The feel of this hotel is one of tranquillity and peace, with its former use as a mission school adding to the charm and sense of history that surrounds you.

Tanzania has a variety of regional dishes all of which depend on locally grown and sourced foods, the restaurant culture may not be highly developed but many of the hotels serve excellent food and welcome casual diners, street food is popular and usually of a high standard as long as caution is exercised – the variety of meat differs quite radically to the UK diet and although perfect for those who are open to new experiences may not be to everyone’s taste.

The number one reason to visit any of Africa has to be the abundance of land animals but Tanzania also has some of the world’s best dive areas; huge coral reefs stretch from the equator up and around the African coast to provide some of the most diverse marine life imaginable.

The best places for this ultimate diving experience are the islands off the coast, particularly those of Zanzibar and Pemba although there are some excellent centres along the mainland at Dar es Salaam; the dive schools are of a high quality and employ English speaking staff, ensuring that safety standards are always upheld. Those that prefer a more sedate break will find the remote white sandy beaches of these coastal resorts to be the perfect exotic idyll, to relax and while away the stresses of life.

Depending on the purpose of your visit there are two distinct times of year that are perfect for the tourist, if you are less interested in the safari aspect of your visit then the best time to visit is the end of the rainy season, the weather is at its best with pleasantly warm days and cooler evenings, however as the water is plentiful the animals are generally dispersed making safari holidays much less productive.

The best time of year for the wildlife is during January and February as this is migration time for many of the grazing beasts (notably the wildebeest), which move in their thousands; the sight is unbelievable – as unfortunately is the heat, so extra care should be taken.

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