I first visited Tanzania in 2006. During that time, something got under my skin that has stayed with me ever since. It wasn’t one particular thing that stuck out as memorable, but a combination. There are so many cool things to do in Tanzania. It is one of the safest countries in Africa and its people are laid-back and accepting. With gorgeous beaches, adventure opportunities and, of course, vast amounts of wildlife. Here are 11 reasons why you should make it Tanzania your next destination.

#1 Go on a safari

Going on a safari is just how you imagine it to be. Driving around in a jeep, searching for animals in vast nature. And, of course, the famous savannah sunrises that never fail to impress. Tanzania’s varied landscapes and thriving wildlife make it the best country for a safari.

Nogrongoro Sunrise

#2 Swim with whale sharks

If you are looking for things to do in Tanzania that are a bit special, look no further than Mafia Island. This chilled little Island offers a relaxing stay and a chance to swim with the docile whale sharks, an experience that will stay with you forever.

#3 Get lost in Stone Town

I loved exploring the uneven stone walkways of Zanzibar Island’s capital, Stone Town. This muslim city feels like it belongs in the Middle East and not off the coast of Tanzania. It offers one of the best places to shop for crafts and souvenirs.

Stone Town streets

#4 Hike in the Usambara Mountains

The Usambara region is lush and tropical. Base yourself at Tumaini Hostel in Loshoto (tumaini@elct-ned.org, $15 per couple per night) where you can comfortably do day hikes. Alternatively, you can find a guide to take you on a multi day trek going from village to village. 

#5 Make friends with a giant tortoise

Off Zanzibar is Prison Island, a place with a brutal history that is now home to friendly giant tortoise. These creatures live up to 200 years old and love a good scratch under the chin.

Giant tortoise on Prison Island

#6 See the Hadza tribe hunting

The tribe culture in Tanzania is part of the reason why its people are so fascinating. Lots of visitors think of the Maasai, many of whom still live a traditional way of life. But you can also visit the lesser known Hadza tibe in Lake Eyasi who still hunt for their food. They will invite you to join them on a hunting session…if you can keep up.

#7 Eat in Addis in Dar

Addis in Dar is one of the most memorable restaurants I have ever eaten in. The food was phenomenal. Enjoy traditional Ethiopian cuisine served on huge sharing plates while sat in a beautiful candle lit roof terrace.

Things to do in Tanzania; Addis in Dar

#8 Attend a Sunday service

Attending a Sunday service is one of the top things to do in Tanzania. Many of the locals are religious and, in true Tanzanian style, like to express their faith through song and dance. Azania Front Lutheran Church in Dar has a wonderful choir and offers english Sunday morning services.

#9 Catch turtles hatching on secluded beaches

You don’t have to head to one of the Islands to find a nice beach. Pangani offers a beautiful stretch of palm tree lined beaches. They are quiet, peaceful and come without the hassle of sellers. Check out SeaSense for information on when you can catch turtles laying and hatching.

Pangani beach, Tanzania

#10 See Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain. It’s sad to think that in just a few years, the glacier on the peak would have melted away completely. See it before it is too late. For the adventurous, you can try climbing the notorious summit. Mt Meru, the second highest peek in the country, also offers good trekking.

#11 Spend time with the people of Tanzania

The Tanzanian people are relaxed, accepting and have a great sense of humour. One of the best things to do in Tanzania is simply to spend time with the locals. Find a remote village or tribe, head to the lesser explored South and find a host family. You won’t regret it.

Volunteer in Tanzania

Enjoyed 11 things to do in Tanzania? You might also like:
African safari; a complete guide
Zanzibar on a budget; my top tips
Swimming with whale sharks on Mafia Island