Tanzania is a country situated in East Africa region. A country with plenty of wildlife. But did you know that there are other exciting things to do besides safaris? Let’s explore some fun exciting things to do in Tanzania.
Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain on the African continent and the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Located in North East Tanzania, the majestic mountain can also be seen from the Amboseli National Park in Kenya. The mountain is vast in its ecological system and is a habitat to different species of plants and animals. Kilimanjaro is a very popular tourist destination for climbers and mountaineers. Actually it’s almost in a bucket list for many people in the world. Being a popular challenge for climbers, it’s visited by more than twenty thousand climbers annually who attempt to make it to Uhuru peak. It takes climbers six days on average to reach the peak. However, success rate varies due to many factors.
Uhuru Peak, Mount Kilimanjaro highest peak. Credits: Pixabay
This mountain has been climbed by people from all walks of life. Anne Lorimor, 89-year-old woman and a non – professional climber, trekked Kilimanjaro in just nine days. While Boyd Keats, seven-year-old boy is the youngest climber to conquer this mountain. This shows you that nothing is impossible. Reaching the mountains peak has been described as life changing by many climbers. It gives the climber a sense of fulfilment and creates a lifetime’s worth of memories.
The Great Rift Valley
The Great Rift Valley is a natural wonder of the world. A geological trench, approximately 6,000 kilometers in length, that runs from northern Syria in Southwest Asia to central Mozambique in East Africa. The Great Rift Valley is populated by huge escarpments, vast lakes and beautiful vistas. Tanzania has a wonderful portion of the Great Rift Valley which is absolutely breathtaking. In eastern Africa, the valley divides into two, the Western Rift Valley and the Eastern Rift Valley.
The Western Rift is edged by majestic mountains and contains the Rift Valley lakes, which include some of the deepest lakes in the world (up to 1,470 metres deep at Lake Tanganyika). Lake Victoria, the second largest area freshwater lake in the world, is considered part of the Rift Valley system although it actually lies between the two branches. All of the African Great Lakes were formed as the result of the rift, and most lie within it. The Eastern Rift features vast mineral lakes such as Lake Natron and is bordered by the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro.
It is also there that we find some remarkable Tanzanian Volcanoes such as the Ngorongoro. The East Africa Rift Valley is a great example of how many natural systems can be intertwined. This unique geological setting should be high on any nature lovers list of geologic marvels to visit.
The Ngorongoro Crater is a breathtaking natural wonder and one of the World Heritage sites. A deep volcanic crater formed when a giant volcano exploded and collapsed some three million years ago. It is the largest un flooded and unbroken caldera in the world. It’s about 20kms across, 600 meters deep and 300 sq kms in area. Had it not become the world’s sixth-largest unbroken caldera, then what is now known as the Ngorongoro crater could have been a towering volcanic mountain, as high as Kilimanjaro. The crater is the flagship tourism feature for the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
A view of Ngorongoro Crater. Credits: Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority
The crater basin is covered by open short grass plains with fresh and brackish water lakes, marshes, swamps, and two patches of Acacia woodland. The undulating plains to the west are grass-covered with occasional Umbrella Acacia and Commiphora Africana trees. Blackthorn Acacia and Zebrawood dominate in the drier conditions beside Lake Eyasi. These extensive grasslands and bush are rich, relatively untouched by cultivation, and support very large animal populations. Apart from the main caldera, Ngorongoro also has two other volcanic craters: Olmoti and Empakai, the former famous for its stunning waterfalls, and the latter holding a deep lake and lush, green walls. Some scenes from the Oscar winning Out of Africa and John Wayne’s Hatari were filmed in Ngorongoro.
OLDUPAI GORGE (OLDUVAI)
Ever wondered where it all started, for us humans? Heheee. Well if you have, a visit to the birthplace of all humankind will certainly be a high point of your Tanzanian safari.
Oldupai (Olduvai) Gorge, a stone’s throw from the Serengeti and Ngororgoro Crater, is where discovery was made of the earliest known specimens of the human genus. Olduvai is a misspelling of Oldupai, a Maasai word for a wild sisal plant that grows in the area. The gorge is located in the Great Rift Valley, between the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park.
Oldepai Gorge http://www.olduvai-gorge.org/ is also known as the cradle of civilization. The place where the Leakey’s (Mary & Louise)discovered Hominid evidence. This significant finding established the fact that humans evolved in Africa. Excavations, yielded four different kinds of hominid, showing a gradual increase in brain size and in the complexity of their stone tools. The excavation sites have been preserved for public viewing and work continues during the dry seasons, coordinated by the Department of Antiquities. One may visit Oldupai at all times of the year. At the top of the Gorge there is small museum. The Olduvai Gorge Museum and visitors center offer numerous educational exhibits, including fossils and artifacts of human ancestors and skeletons of many extinct animals who shared their world. Thus, Oldupai makes the Ngorongoro Conservation Area an important place in the world for the study of human origins and human evolution.
So in your next trip to Tanzania make sure to include a couple of these places to add extra dimension and meaning to your holiday. Tanzania has been open for business with major airlines still operating, successful elections and is ready for you!