Tanzania Tourism Destinations


JF-Expert Member
Sep 26, 2011
Tanzania [1] is the one of countries in the world which has many tourism destinations. According to Tanzania Tourism [2][3] destination places are grouped in the following groups:-

  • Conservation Areas
  • Forest Reserves
  • Game Controlled Areas
  • Game Reserves
  • Gorges, Caves and Rocks
  • Historical Sites
  • Islands and Beaches
  • Lakes and Rivers
  • Marine Parks and Reserves
  • Mountains and Highlands
  • National Parks
  • Spiritual Sites
  • Towns and Cities
  • Wildlife Management Areas
  • World Heritage Sites
Conservation Areas
Conservation areas are locations which receive protection because of their recognised natural, ecological and/or cultural values. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area covers 8,292 square kilometers. It is one of the three divisions that comprise Ngorongoro District in Arusha Region.

NCA was established in 1959 by the NCA Ordinance No 413 of 1959 as a multiple land use area, designated to promote the conservation of natural resources, safeguard the interests of NCA indigenous residents and promote tourism. NCA is a unique protected area in the whole of Africa where conservation of natural resources in integrated with human development.

The main feature of the NCA include the Ngorongoro Crater, The Serengeti Plains that support about 2.0 millions migratory wildlife species of the Serengeti Mara-ecosystem (TAWIRI, 2003) and the catchment forest; the Northern Highland Forest Reserve (NHFR) known as ‘Entim Olturot’ in Maa language. Other important features found in the NCA are the archaeological and palaeontological site located at Oldupai Gorge and the early human foot-prints that were discovered at Alaitole in Ngarusi area. Because of these particular features and the harmonious co-existence between wildlife and people that has existed for many years, NCA was accorded the status of a World Heritage Site and listed as one of the International Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Reserve Programme.

Forest Reserves
The forests of the Tanzania are among the most important for biodiversity conservation in Africa. They are also home to communities of poor people who need to use natural resources to survive.

Tanzania’s ancient forests and other natural features are among the core of the country’s attraction for tourists. Carefully managed development of forest-based tourism will ensure the economic and commercial benefits of Tanzania’s unique forest environment are realised, while conservation values are protected.

The Tanzania Forest Service (TFS) has been given the mandate for the management of national forest reserves (natural and plantations), bee reserves and forest and bee resources on general lands. TFS as an Executive Agency will enhance the management and conservation of forest and bee resources for sustainable supply of quality forest and bee products and services. The Forest and Beekeeping Division will remain with the responsibilities of development of the forest policy, laws and regulations and overseeing their implementation in the sector.

The TFS was established to enhance the management and conservation of forest and bee resources. This includes scaling up management activities related to mapping and demarcating forest reserves and improving protection capacity of local forest managers; increasing production capacity of plantations, which will also address national wood fuel energy needs; and improve capacity to record and and capture the value of the forest and beekeeping sector to the GDP.

Game Controlled Areas (GCA’s)
Game Controlled Areas (GCA’s) are another type of protected areas provided for in the Wildlife Conservation Act (WCA). But unlike the Game Reserves, land and resource uses in GCA’s other than wildlife are not restricted under the law; residence, cultivation, and livestock keeping are all unrestricted.

Large tracts of Tanzania outside the network of National Parks and Ngorongoro Conservation Area are devoted to wildlife conservation. Two other categories of conservation are allowed under, the Wildlife Conservation Act of 1074. These are Game Reserves and Game Controlled Areas. in Game Controlled Areas, human settlement and the grazing of livestock are unrestricted, but hunting of wildlife is only permitted under licence.

Because GCA’s allow residence and human activity and were created on areas of traditional use and settlement, many GCA’s are entirely overlapping with customarily managed village lands. In GCA’s, tourist hunting administered by the Wildlife Division and resident hunting managed by the districts is the primary form of wildlife use.

Tanzania has 38 Game Controlled Areas (GCA) and part of the game controlled areas include Selous, Rungwa, Moyowosi, Serengeti, Burigi, Malagarasi, Moyowosi, Nikonga, Kigosi, Loliondo

Game Reserves
Game Reserves, on the other hand, are managed by the Tanzania Department of Wildlife, and are generally developed for tourism and hunting, putting them nearer the extreme adventure category of Tanzanian attractions. Large and extensive, some reserves also contain sections set aside for hunting concessions.

Activities related to consumptive and non consumptive tourism, research and education are permitted.

There are 17 Game Reserves in the country including the Selous, Moyowosi, Kigosi, Mkomazi, Usangu, Lukwila-Lumesule, Msangesi and Ugalla.

Game reserves are areas of land set aside for conservation purposes. Many game reserves are located in Africa. Most are open to the public, and tourists commonly take sightseeing safaris.

A game reserve is more than just a piece of land or a place to keep wildlife; it is a place where ecosystems are protected and conservation is a key. Indigenous wildlife in its natural habitat makes for an ideal situation as this helps in providing an environment where growth in numbers at a natural rate can occur.

Some game reserves boast more than one ecosystem, sometimes even five, ranging from valley bushveld, savannah grassland and fynbos to riverine forest and acacia woodland; this provides a dramatic improvement on the types of wildlife that are present and the numerous species of birds that thrive on in these environments.

The biggest attraction is the Big Five game (Africa) - rhinoceros, elephant, buffalo, leopard and lion, named so because of the difficulty in hunting them and not their size, which is why the leopard is on the list and the hippopotamus is not

Gorges, Caves & Rocks
As we know Gorges are deep ravines between pairs of escarpments or cliffs and are most often carved landscape by the erosive activity of a river over geologic timescales, while Caves are natural opening or cavity within the earth, generally extending from the earth's surface to beyond the zone of light

Tanzania is well endowed with abundant significant cultural heritage resources which range from the Pliocene period about four million years a go to present time which are: Historical sites; Historical towns; Traditional Settlements; Historic Buildings; Sites with special memories; Archaeological or Paleontological sites a well as Natural Features and Structures

According to currently available research findings show that Tanzania has 128 areas which have been published on the National Gazette, though there are more than 500 areas recorded to have significance of cultural heritage resources.

Three sites among the sixteen (16) which are Kondoa Rock Art site, the Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara, and Olduvai Gorge are inscribed on the World Heritage list.

OL KARIEN GORGE A visit to Ol Karien Gorge is referred by many visitors as a spectacular trip. The scenery is prehistoric. Huge mountains, canyons and spectacular rock formations dominate the wide meandering valleys. Geologically it is an amazing site with the great canyon slicing through the earth-the gorge is naturally inviting!

Olkarien gorge is one of spectacular landform in the eastern edge of the Gol Mountains in the Serengeti eco-system. The main attraction of the gorge is the colonies of the highest flying birds ‘the Ruppell’s Griffon Vultures’. These highly social vultures of the Serengeti, makes large nests of sticks and have been breeding their chicks here for thousands of years. When thermal currents start to develop enough lift in the mornings, The Ruppel’s Griffon Vultures are seen slowly leaving the roost and continue soaring around the gorge. The Ruppel’s Vultures flies to the West for up to 90 miles searching for the great Serengeti herds and stays in the air for almost seven hours patrolling for animal carcasses. The gorge provides a unique and safe nesting for almost a hundred bird species. On mid day, the gorge is also used by the Maasai warriors who herd their animals to drink water at the wells dug below. Visitors to this mystical gorge experience a classic example of natural interaction between man and wildlife in a natural setting

Historical Sites
Historical sites in Tanzania provide a clear insight into the past and help us learn about human history dated 2 million years back

Tanzania Historical Sites are marvels of engineering, also give us a clear picture on how our ancient cultures were, with such “primitive” tools, manage to make things like Stonehenge or the rock paintings which they made purposely for their survival. All this portrait their skill and desire. For those interested in history and culture travel to Tanzania below is the list of different historical sites they can visit.

Historical places gives people, a clear picture about our ancient cultures, primitive working tools like Stone tools, and our ancestors art work. You will find good example of the ancient art at the Rock Paintings of Kondoa Irangi Tanzania, others are

Apart from the famous Kondoa Irangi rock paintings, Tanzania has other attracting for historians as well as other visitors historical places. These include; Kaole ruins, Ismila Stone Age site, Engaruka ruins, Mikindani, Ngorongoro Conservation area, and many other sites within the country. The government of Tanzania is doing all it can to preserve and promote these sites for sustainable use.

The Division of Antiquities in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism is responsible for conservation, preservation, protection and management of cultural heritage resources and sites in Tanzania, its obligation is protection to objects or structures, which are of archaeological, palaentological, historic, architectural, artistic, ethnological or scientific interest.

Tanzania is well endowed with abundant significant cultural heritage resources which range from the Pliocene period about four million years ago to present time. These resources are categorized into seven groups as follows:-

  • - Archaeological or Paleontological sites such Olduvai Gorge, Laetoli Footprint, Isimila Stone Age site, Engaruka Ruins;
  • - Historical sites such as Kaole Ruins, Kunduchi Ruins, Kilwa Kisiwani Ruins, Songo Mnara Ruins;
  • - Historical towns such as Bagamoyo, Kilwa Kivinje, Mikindani;
  • - Traditional Settlements such as Kalenga in Iringa and Bweranyange in Kagera;
  • - Historic Buildings like Colonial Administrative Buildings (BOMAs) in many Districts in Tanzania;
  • - Sites with special memories like Colonialists Cemetery, Cemeteries of World War I and II and Defensive Walls;
  • - Natural Features and Structures such as Mbozi Meteorite, Amboni Caves and Kondoa Rock Art Shelters to name only a few.
Islands and Beaches
Tanzania has a number of Tanzania than just Zanzibar at in the India Ocean. 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. The Mafia island, old trading towns line the walkway to abandoned ports and the gentle sea. Also there are other famous Island in Victoria Lake like Saa Nane "The Park" which is located 2km Southwest of Mwanza city centre, which lies in the Gulf of Lake Victoria (Latitude 2.5 S and Longitude 32 E). Robondo Island, an important breeding ground for both migratory birds and fish species (especially Tilapia and Nile perch) as for a long time it stood to be the only area in the waters of Lake Victoria which was well protected and preserved. There are also Ukerewe and Ukara Island.

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.

In its mainland, Tanzania has also a number of Islands which some has been protected as National Parks. Among them are Rubondo National Park, an important breeding ground for both migratory birds and fish species (especially Tilapia and Nile perch) as for a long time it stood to be the only area in the waters of Lake Victoria which was well protected and preserved, Saa Nane “The Park” which is located 2km Southwest of Mwanza city centre, which lies in the Gulf of Lake Victoria (Latitude 2.5 S and Longitude 32 E) and Ukerewe island.

Lakes and Rivers
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.

Marine Parks and Reserves
Not only is Tanzania the number one destination for safaris, its endless coral reefs in the crystalline waters of the Indian Ocean offer some of the best diving and snorkelling in the world.

The archipelago of islands off the coast of Tanzania and Zanzibar are surrounded by coral reefs and are home to an amazing array of wildlife and unique ecosystems, as well as providing shelter, sustenance and employment for local people.

From Mafia Island Marine Park, an unspoiled, uncommercialised island, where local people go about their traditional businesses in a way (as far as one can tell) they have done for centuries, to Maziwe Island Marine Reserve, which only appears during low tide, Tanzania’s marine parks and reserves are exceptionally rich in their diversity of cultural, coral, fish, bird and plant life. In order to protect and manage these areas from over fishing, mangrove deforestation, and coral mining, the following marine parks and reserves have been established and can be visited for day trips and longer stays.

The Marine Parks and Reserves Authority was established under the Marine Parks an reserve Act Number 29 of 1994, to oversee the management and administration of marine parks and reserves to ensure sustainable use of the marine resources. The Marine Parks and Reserves Authority currently manages: a. Dar Marine Reserves - located in Dar es Salaam region. Four marine DSM reserves, Bongoyo Island Marine Reserve Mbudya Island Marine Reserve Pangavini Island Marine Reserve Funguyasini Marine Reserve b. Maziwi Island Marine Reserves - located in Pangani district (Tanga region). c. Mafia Island Marine Park - located in Coast Region. d. Mnazi Bay - Ruvuma Estuary Marine Park (MREMP) located in Mtwara Region. e. Transfrontier Conservation Area encompassing (TFCA) Southern Regions and areas bordering Lake Nyasa in the countries like Malawi and Zambia.

Mountain and Highlands
Tanzania’s numerous parks and reserves offer many climbing options for an avid explorer. The most frequent expeditions are obviously to Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru, but there are other destinations such as the Crater Highlands.

Although Mt. Kilimanjaro tops the list as Africa’s most famous — and highest — mountain, Tanzania boasts many other mountain ranges and attractive peaks. Most of the country’s mountains and volcanoes are located in the north and east of the country. They vary from the dramatic crater of Mt. Meru and the active volcano of Ol Donyo Lengai to tamer options like the Usambara Mountains and comparatively gentle slopes of the Crater Highlands.

Hiking trips and mountain climbing in Tanzania is becoming a popular option for visitors not content to observe the country from the back of a game viewing vehicle. Instead, adventurous types are taking advantage of the many trails and peaks Tanzania has to offer.

National Parks
The Tanganyika National Parks[4] Ordinance CAP [412] of 1959 established the organization now known as Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), and Serengeti became the first National Park. Conservation in Tanzania is governed by the Wildlife Conservation Act of 1974, which allows the Government to establish protected areas and outlines how these are to be organized and managed.

National Parks represent the highest level of resource protection that can be provided. By February 2008, TANAPA had grown to 16 national parks, with plans to expand existing parks. Conservation of eco-systems in all areas designated as national parks is the core business of the organisation.

Nature-based or wildlife tourism is the main source of income that is ploughed back for management, regulation, and fulfilment of all organisational mandates in the national parks.

The primary role of Tanzania’ national parks is conservation. The 16 national parks, many of which form the core of a much larger protected ecosystem, have been set aside to preserve the country’s rich natural heritage, and to provide secure breeding grounds where its fauna and flora can thrive, safe from the conflicting interests of a growing human population.

The existing park system protects a number of internationally recognised bastions of biodiversity and World Heritage sites, thereby redressing the balance for those areas of the country affected by deforestation, agriculture and urbanisation. The gazetting of Saadani and Kitulo National Parks in 2002 expanded this network to include coastal and montane habitats formerly accorded a lower level of protection.

Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) is also currently acquiring further land to expand certain parks, and to raise the status of traditional migration corridors connecting protected areas.

By choosing to visit Tanzania you are supporting a developing country’s extraordinary investment in the future. In spite of population pressures, Tanzania has dedicated more than 46,348.9 square kilometres to national parks. Including other reserves, conservation areas and marine parks, Tanzania has accorded some form of formal protection to more than one-third of its territory – a far higher proportion than most of the world’s wealthier nations.

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.

Dar es Salaam, the main city that most visitors will encounter and the arrival point for most visitors off their international flight.Dar is also the nearest location to the safari circuits in the South of the country, as well as being next door to Zanzibar.

In the North of Tanzania, the far more rural town of Arusha is the start point for most safaris to the North of the country. Both are fast-growing commercial centers, but each has its own character; Arusha maintains its fresh, rural face in the abundant and fertile plains at the foot of Kilimanjaro and Dar lurches forwards, incredibly fast-growing, traffic-filled and excited by the modern age, while traditional fishing dhows still dock at its bay and tradition markets thrive on the roadsides.

Popular Tourist Towns and Cities includes Arusha, Bagamoyo, Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Iringa, Karatu, Kigoma, Kilwa, Mbeya, Mikindani, Morogoro, Moshi, Mtwara, Musoma, Mwanza, Njombe, Pangani, Tabora, Tanga

Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs)
A Wildlife Management Area (WMA)[5] is an area of communal land set aside exclusively as habitat for wildlife by member villages.

Following the principles of community-based natural resource management (CBNRM), the key underlying assumption of the WMA concept is that providing local communities with economic benefits and involving them in management will promote both long-term health of wildlife and habitat and rural economic development.

Communities will thus have a vested interest in the conservation of natural resources because they benefit directly from their sustainable management. WMAs were formally adopted as an approach for involving communities in wildlife management. WMAs can provide local residents with benefits through associated enterprises that use either wildlife or other natural resources in the WMA. Before the introduction of the WMA approach, there were no legal frameworks for communities to participate in wildlife management, although individual villages could, on a small scale and in an ad hoc manner, enter into business contracts with the private sector. Without fences controlling movement of large iconic African mammals such as elephants, zebras and lions, multiple villages preserving large tracts of land together are able to collectively capitalize on potential tourism opportunities and more effectively protect wildlife in the area. Such ventures had few safeguards to ensure economic or environmental sustainability. WMAs allow communities to secure user rights to the wildlife resources on their land, and the legal framework allows communities to benefit directly from any enterprise that is based on wildlife.

In 2003 Tanzania established 16 pilot Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), with the aim of enhancing conservation and poverty alleviation through sustainable utilization of natural resources.

Currently there are 38 Wildlife Management Area - WMAs countrywide at different stages of development of which 17 WMAs namely: i) Tunduru (NALIKA), ii) Liwale (MAGINGO), iii) Ngarambe/Tapika (MUNGATA), iv) Wami-Mbiki (WAMI-MBIKI SOCIETY), v) Pawaga-ldodi (MBOMIPA), vi) Ipole (JUHIWAI), vii) Uyumbu (UWIMA), viii) Burunge (JUHIBU), ix) Ikona (JUHIWAIKO), x) Enduimet (ENDUIMET), xi) Mbarang’andu (MBARANG’ANDU), xii) Ukutu(JUKUMU), xiii) Makame (INDEMA), xiv) Makao (JUHIWAPOMA), xv) Kimbande (KIMBANDE), xvi) Kisungule (KISUNGULE) xvii) Chingoli (CHINGOLI).

World Heritage Sites
Among African countries, Tanzania’s tally of seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites is exceeded only by Ethiopia and South Africa. Five of these - Ngorongoro, Kilimanjaro, Selous, Serengeti and Zanzibar Stone Town - are household names, but two lesser-known sites on this prestigious global roll call deserve greater recognition.

Kilwa Kisiwani, an offshore island south of Dar es Salaam, supports the haunting ruins of the most important of the Swahili city-states that flourished as a result of the medieval gold trade between Africa and Arabia - indeed, the 14th century globetrotter Ibn Buttata called Kilwa ‘one of the most beautiful and well-constructed towns in the world’.

The Kondoa Rock Art Site, inscribed as recently as 2006, consists of 150-plus painted rock shelters in the vicinity of Kolo in the central Rift Valley. Some of these exquisitely crafted panels are thousands of years old, and several can be visited as an extension to the Northern TZ safari circuit
Tanzania the only snow land in Africa
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