Tanzania is, without a doubt, a fabulous introduction to Africa and all things safari. It’s the largest country in East Africa, and almost a third of the vast lands are protected for game viewing so safari opportunities are endless and always exciting. As soon as you have chosen the best time to visit Tanzania, you are up for game drives galore. But don’t be fooled into thinking that a safari is all you can do in Tanzania. What about sleeping in an underwater room on Pemba Island, exploring ancient baobab trees or going on a traditional spice tour in Zanzibar?
Here’s a list of the top 5 non-safari experiences in Tanzania.
Ngorongoro forest hike in the Ngorongoro Crater
With limited vehicle access you can walk through areas of the Ngorongoro forest that surrounds the famous Crater that are totally untouched. Explore spectacular waterfalls, hundreds of species of colourful and rare birds and the incredible “Elephant Caves”. The elephants dig into the earth with their tusks to get to the vitamin rich soil, and in so doing, carve fascinating caves and patterns in the hillside. If you are feeling more energetic you can also ascend the crater wall, and from the top you are rewarded with spectacular views across the crater floor.
Explore ancient baobab trees in Ruaha National Park
Ruaha’s dramatic landscape is dominated by hills thick with towering baobab trees, some of them hundreds of years old. The call it the “upside tree” as it wiry top reaches for the sky looking much like its roots. Baobab’s produce a delicious fruit who’s spongy seeds are rich with vitamins that boast an array of health benefits. The powder extracted from these seeds is expensive over the counter, but free in Ruaha. It’s also excellent for munching on during long bush walks if you need an energy boost!
Sleep under water on Pemba Island
Pemba island was quickly made famous when The Manta Resort installed a unique floating room with an underwater bedroom. And you can believe all the hype because floating out above the coral reef on your own “private island” is exciting enough, but sleeping four metres under water surrounded by colourful marine life really brings this ocean holiday to a new level. Share your morning coffee with vibrant and energetic reef fish, breakfast on the top deck followed by a dip in the warm Indian ocean.
Boot cruise on the Rufiji in Selous
The Rufiji river is the life force of the Selous and it winds its way through valleys and across the floodplains, giving life to the otherwise dry but beautiful Selous wilderness. A boat cruise along the river allows you a ground level perspective of wallowing hippos, cruising crocodiles and a myriad of birds and wildlife as they wander down to the river bank to drink. On your afternoon cruise, make sure to pack a coolbox and then park off on a sand bank to watch the sun set. Perfect!
Spice Tour in Zanzibar
Zanzibar, an integral part of the “Spice Islands” was traditionally a major stop off for traders importing spices from India to the West. The spice trade grew over the years and today you can take a Spice Tour from Stone Town to see, smell and taste delicious spices used in everyday cooking such as cinnamon, clove, cardamom, nutmeg and more. You will learn the history of the trade and growing spices on the island, medicinal uses and how to combine them to produce mouth watering Swahili dishes.