Tanzania is a country with many tourist attractions. More than 44 per cent of Tanzania’s land area is covered with game reserves and national parks. There are 16 national parks, 29 game reserves, 40 controlled conservation areas and marine parks. Tanzania is also home to the famous Roof of Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro.
Towns and Cities
Besides the obvious natural attractions Tanzania has to offer, the country’s towns and cities also make pleasant stops, with plenty to do and see. Many of Tanzania’s coastal cities were founded as port towns from which valuable goods were transported across the Indian Ocean by sailing dhows. On the mainland, many inland towns were important rest stops for trade caravans on their way to Central Africa or Lake Victoria, or returning back to the East African coast. In the northern highlands, many small towns were founded by the Germans as centres for colonial administration and agriculture. Today, Tanzania’s towns and cities still specialize in trade and agriculture, and are the centres of economic activities in their regions. Besides their obvious importance for the country’s local economy, the towns and cities of Tanzania have many historical and cultural sites of interest to visitors.
Islands and Beaches
The coast of Tanzania is perhaps most famous for the Zanzibar Archipelago, a cluster of islands that saw the growth and survival of Swahili civilisation and trade until the mid-twentieth century. Zanzibar enchants and beguiles with its oriental mystique and forgotten exoticism — the very name evokes the Spice Islands and the dhow trade, sultans and palaces built of limestone and corals against the palm trees and the crashing surf. But there’s more to the islands of Tanzania than just Zanzibar. Throughout the archipelago, deserted islands and sandbars beckon and abound. Some have slave caves and colonial graves, others have the ruins of sultan’s palaces and stately plantations.
In Pemba, villages steeped in culture and traditions which preserve the Swahili way of life, almost oblivious to the world around them. On the islands of Mafia, old trading towns line the walkway to abandoned ports and the gentle sea. Throughout the Swahili Coast, diving, swimming, and snorkeling offer superb vistas of thriving coral and marine life. Whether you’re content to stay on the mainland coast, or want to venture off into the atolls and islands of the Indian Ocean, the Tanzanian coast is a place of untouched beauty and enchantment.
The lakes of Tanzania are varied in what they offer to the potential visitors. On soda lakes like Lake Manyara and Lake Natron, wildlife gather on the desolate salt flats and shimmering views reminds of one of a lunar landscape which at sunset descends into shades of various pastels. The soda lakes are alkaline and brackish, home to large populations of pink flamingos, storks and herons. Bird-watching and game viewings are popular activities, but must be done from a distance as the soda flats along the lake shore are difficult to walk or drive in. Still, a visit to the soda lakes of Tanzania is an unforgettable experience. Game still thrive along their unpopulated shores and the sheer ethereal beauty of the water, coloured silver and white by the mineral deposits, is an unforgettable part of the African experience.
Towns and industries take full advantage of the freshwater lakes in the region, the largest of which is Lake Victoria to the northwest of the country. Fishing has long been a mainstay of residents who live around the natural resources, and transport across Tanzania’s many African borders is also an economically profitable activity. Because of the easy supply of freshwater irrigation, Tanzanians also farm the areas around freshwater lakes extensively, and both subsistence and cash crops are grown around their shores. Visitors to the freshwater lakes can embark on fishing trips, hikes, swim and enjoy the rich bird and fish life that surrounds the water. In many populated areas, cultural tourism programs are also popular.