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Welcome to my Tanzania Bucket List!

Everyone who knows me knows that Tanzania holds a very special place in my heart. Even though I’ve spent more than 4 weeks total in the country, there is still so much I haven’t seen and so many places I want to go. Tanzania is known for the Serengeti, and most people who visit plan to go on safari. Of course, you absolutely should! But Tanzania is also a coastal country with beautiful beaches on the Indian Ocean studded with 5-star resorts. It is home to the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. There are more than 100 distinct tribes and cultures to explore. And it is the birthplace of some of the most popular music on the African continent.

Where is Tanzania?

Tanzania is located on the African east coast and borders the Indian Ocean with a coastline approximately 1,424 kilometers (885 mi) long. Tanzania is just south of the equator and borders Lake Victoria (north) and Lake Tanganyika (west). Tanzania is surrounded by Kenya and Uganda (north), Rwanda, Burundi, and The Democratic Republic of the Congo (west), and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique (south).

For all the adventures that nature provides in Tanzania, my favorite reason to go is the people. Tanzania, especially the east coast, is incredibly diverse. You will find countless ethnicities and religions represented, making it an interesting place for visiting, especially when it comes to eating! The people are incredibly welcoming and happy to have you visit.

When you go to Tanzania, be respectful of their modest culture. Women should wear pants or longer skirts in most areas. If you wear a tank top or a shirt with spaghetti straps, you should also keep a shawl or scarf with you to cover your shoulders when in public. Men should wear pants in most places, and shorts only when going out casually or in tourist areas.

Before visiting any culture that is different than yours, be sure to research acceptable customs to be sure not to offend. Be part of the culture, and not just a visitor to it. This will always ensure a much more pleasant and safe adventure.

And now, my Tanzania Bucket List! Some of these I want to do, and some, I want to do again!

There are many amazing things to do in Tanzania. You could take a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti. You can see the ‘Big 5″ on safari. You can even climb Mount Kilimanjaro! Here are a few things you may have never heard about before, even if you’ve been to TZ!

What are your Tanzania bucket list items? Let me know what I have been missing out on in the comments!

 

Visit (and EAT at!) Forodhani Gardens

At sunset in Stone Town, on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar, Forodhani Gardens comes to life. Just along the sea near the Old Fort, food vendors set up spectacular displays of Swahili and Zanzibari delicacies, especially seafood and meat skewers, cassava, samosas, and rich and delicious sugar cane juice. Pictured here is my dinner; traditional salad with a mixture of shark and chicken.

The vibe is light, like an evening cookout. Dhow ships float in the Indian Ocean, just off the shore. Brave teens jump from the seawall into the warm, salty water below. Music floats in the night air, and you may even see some date-night dancing in the square. It’s truly a cultural experience that will leave your belly and your heart full, and in love with Stone Town, Zanzibar.

Take a Swim at Kikuletwa Hot Springs

Kikuletwa Hot Springs is located near the base of Mount Kilimanjaro, about 90 minutes from Moshi and 2 hours from Arusha. The hot springs, known as ‘maji moto’ in Kiswahili (literally translated ‘hot water’), is a popular tourist destination for the relaxation it offers. The idyllic oasis is magically blue in color and you can easily see to the bottom through the sparkling, clear water. Relax in the water or get adventurous on the rope swing. Even non-swimmers can enjoy with the use of an inner tube. Check out this video made by a recent visitor!

Stay at Singita

Singita is a luxury hotel brand with properties spanning 4 countries: Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. From tented camps along rivers set in some of the world’s most beautiful savannahs to the most fabulous resort destinations, Singita has something for everyone – everyone with a good amount of pocket change, that is. While Singita properties are among the most expensive in Africa, they are truly world-class, offering accommodations and food that will stun and surprise. But the real selling feature is location.

Every Singita property gives me goosebumps. But Singita Sasakwa Lodge brings tears to my eyes. A picture, or in this case, a video, speaks a million words. So take a peek at this video to see all Singita has to offer. This is one to definitely add to your dream Tanzania bucket list!

 

Take a Sunset Safari

Have you ever seen photos of the sun setting behind Mount Kilimanjaro? Would you like to be the person taking those photos? Get on the Moshi Sunset Bus just south of Mount Kilimanjaro, and as the sun begins to descend, climb up on top to enjoy the view (and a beer if it strikes your fancy!).

My friend Peter of Peter Chris Safari hosts this bohemian adventure out of Moshi, TZ. Where hippie meets adventurer, Peter and his friends are just the perfect people to show you a good time in Northern Tanzania.

Why Peter Chris Safari company? Because according to the reviews, everyone who travels with Peter becomes his friend. And for me, making friends wherever I go is also on my bucket list. Check out his Facebook page here! As a bonus, Peter and his team can also take you to Kikuletwa Hot Springs! It’s a bucket list 2-for-1!

 

 

Swim in the Ocean off Prison Island

Prison Island (more accurately called, Changu Island) is a small tourist island off the coast of Tanzania, usually accessed by way of Zanzibar. Zanzibar is a large island off the coast of Tanzania, and while it was once its own nation, it is now legally a part of Tanzania. Prison Island is the kind of place you see in travel magazine pages. The water is deep turquoise and warm. It is so beautifully clear! While the island once consisted of a prison thought to hold unruly slaves during the East Africa slave trade era, it is now home to a protected colony of giant sea turtles, some more than 190 years old!

If you venture to Prison Island, take a trusted guide and ask for your stay to be a few hours in length, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the water. The glorious beach, incredible view, and gentle ocean waves will feel like a dream come true.

 

 

Sleep with the Fishes in an Underwater Hotel

Pemba Island, off the coast of Northern Tanzania, is home to The Manta Resort, an award-winning hotel that lays claim to the “Underwater Room.” Tethered to the ocean floor, the Underwater Room is a three-level private hotel experience that gives guests the opportunity to sleep with the fishes, so-to-speak. The bedroom is submerged below the sea, allowing guests views of the ocean floor and marine life all around them. Guests can swim in the water surrounding the floating room, and enjoy sunbathing on the open roof top.

 

**Image found on The Manta Resort website

 

 

Stay on Thanda Island

Thanda Island is a small, private marine reserve off the coast of Central Tanzania. The most magical part of this experience is the word ‘private.’ It truly is. When you stay at the luxury villas, no other guests (except you and a dozen or so of your friends) will be on the island. The experience Thanda Island offers you is incredibly unique, and you will pay handsomely for it…  a minimum 5-night stay is valued at $125,000 USD and includes helicopter transfer, spa treatments, alcohol and other food and drinks, jet skiing, and even swimming with whale sharks, plus a whole lot more. Check out their rate sheet (most updated at the time of posting) here.

**Image found on the Thanda Island website

 

Explore Magoroto Forest Estate

High in the Usambara Mountains of northern Tanzania sits Magoroto Forest Estate. Historically, the property was a palm oil farm and factory. Today, it is a haven for adventurous guests. Activities include swimming in the freshwater lake, boating, fishing, mountain biking, hiking, and more. The real magic happens after sunset when guests enjoy bonfires, music, and a spirit or two while enjoying the gorgeous property and night sky. You can stay in the house on the property or rent campsites on the water which are move-in ready upon arrival. The price is more than affordable for this dreamy spot, and many travel companies will have great weekend packages that include transportation from Dar es Salaam and other nearby cities. Check out this 60-second look at the magnificent Magoroto.

 

What am I missing? What have you heard about Tanzania that you MUST do?
Tell me in the comments and share this post with another Tanzania lover in your life!

 

Thinking of visiting Tanzania?

Helpful information before visiting Tanzania:

I highly recommend traveling with Curious on Tanzania who’s founder, Justa, took care of the details of my last trip to Dar es Salaam. You can join one of Justa’s pre-curated adventures, or have her plan you a unique itinerary.

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