Tanzania is world-renowned for its safari tours. For the most part, these safaris tend to focus more on wildlife, especially big mammals. Given the popularity of safaris in Tanzania, it might seem like there are no other activities to do when visiting Tanzania, but the truth is, wildlife is only one of many aspects of Tanzania’s attractions, diversity, and beauty.
While there is no doubt that the wildlife safaris is such an incredible experience, Tanzania rewards its visitors with so much more than just game drives. There are lots of wonderful attractions to see and places to make your visit in Tanzania as thrilling as possible. The best part is that you can combine them with wildlife tours or visit them in the afternoon or evening after game drives.
If you are planning a safari to Tanzania and wondering what you can do besides a safari, there are many amazing things to do. These include: summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro to trekking chimps, watching the dolphins, cultural encounters, beach tours, waterfalls chasing, visiting lakes and historic sights. Now let’s discuss best 13 non-safari things you can do in Tanzania.
Besides the wildlife watching, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is one of the most popular activities in Tanzania. It is a significant tourist attraction in Tanzania, and the tallest mountain in the entire continent. Thousands of visitors attempt to get to Uhuru peak, the highest of its three peaks each year.
On the way to the top hikers are rewarded varied flora, dramatic scenery including gorges, scenic landscapes such as Shira Plateau, et cetera. The hike is strenuous, but with good preparation, both amateur and experience hikers can successfully summit Mt. Kilimanajro.
For those who want to have a culturally rich experience, Tanzania is so diverse and she will give more than you dreamed of. Cultural tours will take you to traditional villages where you will get the opportunity to meet with the indigenous tribes and learn about their homesteads, customs, traditions and food.
Generally, the Maasais are the most likely community you will come across while in Tanzania during your regular safari, given that they live close to the most popular Tanzania national parks. But there are many more indigenous tribes in Tanzania that will offer fascinating insight into Tanzania’s history and culture.
For example, Hadzabe Tribe, an indigenous community living along the shores of Lake Eyasi in Tanzania, are gatherers and hunters. A visit to the Hadzabe Tribe will give you a chance to see their traditional dressing and dances, and their caves. Other interesting indigenous tribes to visit in Tanzania are the Datoga, Iraqwi, Sukuma and Chagga, to mention a few.
If you are looking to try something outside the traditional bush safaris, Chimpanzee Trekking would be an interesting thing to do in Tanzania. There are only two destinations that you can see Chimpanzees up-close in the wild in Tanzania, the Mahale Mountains National Park and Gombe Stream National Park. Located in Western Tanzania, these two parks lie on the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika close to the Malawian border. Despite being remote and the least popular parks in Tanzania, they give visitors perfect opportunity to track some of the world’s most interesting and endangered primates.
In the lowlands of tropical rainforest of Mahale Mountains, you will get to encounter families of habituated chimps in their natural environment. Besides tracking the chimps, you will get to see many apes such as Blue monkeys, Baboons, Colobus monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys and Vervet monkeys. Other animals that call these parks home include Lions, Zebras, Giraffes, antelopes, Buffalos and many bird species.
If you are looking for an exciting and unique way of exploring Tanzania, dolphin watching tours is an experience that you should add to your bucket list. This interesting trip takes you to Zanzibar Island, one of the finest destinations to watch dolphins in East Africa. In particular, Kizimkazi, a lovely bay in South Coast of Zanzibar, is one of the best places to spot the dolphins in their natural environment in Tanzania. Some of the dolphin species found here include Bottlenose dolphins, Humpback dolphins, and Spinner dolphins. Mnemba Island Reef and Fumba Peninsula are also great destinations for dolphin sightings.
If you love whales, Maafia Island in Chole Bay is the place to be. It is the only destination in Tanzania where you can watch the annual whale sharks’ migration. The best time to watch the whales is from October to February. With November and December being the peak season and sightings of whales on the shores is more feasible. Humpback whale is the most common whale species found in these warm tropical waters of Indian Ocean.
Tanzania’s coastline is endowed with many beautiful, white sandy beaches. Beach holidays are ideal for visitors who want to spend some time enjoying the cool ocean breeze or water sport activities. In Zanzibar there is a wide range of idyllic beaches to choose from, including Nugwi, Panje, Kendwa, Unguja, Pemba Island, Nakupenda Beach, Mnemba Island, Mafia Island and Pongwe Beach.
The beaches are warm and clean with many varied leisure activities available for watersport enthusiasts. They include surfing, snorkeling, diving, boating and swimming. You will get an opportunity to see magnificent sea life such as thriving coral reefs, turtles, dolphins, and different fish species.
While Zanzibar is particularly good for beach tours, there are many more incredible beaches all over the country. So, if you don’t get enough time to hop to Zanzibar, don’t worry. In the North Coast of Mainland Tanzania there are many beaches too such as Bangamoyo Beach, Pangani Beach, Sange Beach, Kipepeo Beach, Matema Beach, Saadani Beach, and Ushongo Beach.
Prehistoric sites represent an incredibly important pathway in understanding the early man and human evolution. Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania is one of such treasures. In addition to being one of the most famous archeological sites in East Africa for scientists, it is also popular with tourists because of its close proximity to major wildlife habitats in Tanzania, such as Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
With fossils remains dating back to over a million years ago, the Olduvai Gorge has some of the oldest artifacts which support the evidence that the early man used tools during the stone age period. So if you have a keen interest in early human history, visit Olduvai Gorge and learn more about the stone tools discovered here. Visitors can also visit the small onsite Olduvai Gorge Museum. Apart from Olduvai Gorge, other prehistoric sites in Tanzania include Laetoli Footprints, and Nasera Rocks.
If you are looking for an alternative thing to do in Tanzania other than safaris, visiting museums is a perfect choice. There are tens of museums across Tanzania, so whatever you are interested in learning about, be it arts, culture or history, there is a museum that suits your needs. Each museum has its own unique and amazing artifacts on display. Inside these museums, you will find a variety of exhibits reflecting the history, arts and culture of this beautiful country.
Touring Tanzania’s top museums, such as The National Museum of Tanzania and House of Culture, Village Museum, Arusha Declaration Museum, Old Boma Museum, The Palace Museum, Peace Memorial Museum and The Tanzanite Experience is a great way to learn about the cultural heritage and history of this country.
There are several monuments in Tanzania. And they all represent an important part of the country’s history. Visitors will get a wealth of history by visiting these iconic monuments, which include Askari Monuments, Uhuru Torch, Kondoa Irangi Rock Art Site and Arusha Declaration Monument.
Historic sites are other places you can learn about Tanzania’s history. From the well-preserved ancient ruins to historical buildings, this tour will take you to some of Tanzania’s hidden gems. The Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani, Fukuchani Ruins, Mtoni Palace Ruins, Kaole Ruins, Old Fort of Zanzibar, Mangapwani Slave Chamber and Engaruka are some of the historic sites you can visit in Tanzania.
If you are looking for a unique thing to do in Tanzania, city tours are your best bet. Visitors will find many amazing things to see and do in Tanzania cities and towns, which include Dar-es-salaam, Arusha, Zanzibar and Moshi. Depending on the city you are visiting, you will get opportunities to explore different islands, local markets, cultural centers and art galleries, amazing architecture, botanical gardens, beaches, nightlife, street food and mountains.
Besides the national parks and reserves, Tanzania is blessed with an abundance of lakes, both freshwater and saline lakes. Some are small, others are big, but they are all pretty. Lake Tanganyika, Lake Victoria, Lake Manyara, Lake Natron and Lake Nyasa, are just some lakes you can’t miss during your tour to Tanzania. Besides being picturesque, Tanzania’s lakes offer superb leisure activities such as boating, fishing, surfing, and photography. In addition to water sport activities, these lakes are great for watching sunset and different varieties of fish, including endemic cichlid species. The lakes also offer some fantastic opportunities for bird enthusiasts.
Visiting waterfalls is one of the most exciting non-safari things you can do during your Tanzanian holiday. Tanzania is home to many splendid waterfalls which can be found all over the country. They are some of the least explored attractions, making them great places to enjoy nature away from the crowds. Waterfall hikes in villages give you an opportunity to interact with locals going on with their daily lives.
Some of the most stunning falls in Tanzania include Kalambo Waterfalls, Cave Falls, Materuni Waterfalls, Engare Sero Waterfall, Olmoti Crater Waterfalls, Sanje Waterfalls, Themi Waterfalls, and Marangu Waterfalls. You can photograph the cascading waterfalls or just enjoy their calming splash.
Explore the country’s natural attractions while sampling its culinary delights. Tanzania’s local cuisine is so diverse and flavorful. Tanzania food tours will give you a chance to try different local cuisine, street food and drinks while enjoying the opportunity to interact with residents.
If you are a foodie or just curious about the cuisine of Tanzania, Stone Town in Zanzibar is a must visit during your safari. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers exceptional guided culinary tours in Darajani Market. Here you will get an opportunity to taste the varied Swahili cuisine, including pilau, chapati, and biryani. Food tasting tours are also available in mainland Tanzania where visitors can try different traditional dishes and street food such as ugali, ndizi-nyama, mshikaki and samosa.
The wide range of spice plantations found in this part of Tanzania makes Zanzibar a great place to enjoy spice tours. Zanzibar spice farms are especially prevalent in Stone Town.
This half-day guided spice tour brings you out into the spice plantation fields and gives you an amazing opportunity to see a wide range of spices and seasonal fruits and grown here. You’ll also have time to learn about the history and origin of the spices, medicinal properties of some of these spices and how Tanzania’s cuisine incorporates them in different foods and drinks. Some spices you will find during your Zanzibar spice tour include cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, pepper, coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger oregano, lemongrass, and turmeric. Depending on the season you visit, you can see tropical fruits such pineapples, jackfruit, papaya, and bananas.
In addition to visiting the well-known wildlife destinations in Tanzania, you will also find some interesting things to do other than safaris and Regal African Safaris can make it happen for you in the best way possible.