Arusha is surrounded by some of Africa's most famous landscapes and national parks. Beautifully situated below Mount Meru on the eastern edge of the eastern branch of the Great Rift Valley, the city has a temperate climate due to its position on the slopes of Mount Meru. It is close to Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, Olduvai Gorge, Tarangire National Park, and Mount Kilimanjaro, as well as having its own Arusha National Park on Mount Meru.
The primary industry of the region is agriculture, with large vegetable and flower producers sending high-quality produce to Europe. Small-scale agriculture was badly affected by the coffee crisis of recent years and is now largely subsistence farming. Arusha has several factories including a brewery, tyre and fibreboard plant, and a large pharmaceuticals maker.
Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti National Park is the most photographed and filmed game reserves in Africa. With an incredibly dense population of wildlife and never-ending rolling plains, the Serengeti offers an authentic and idyllic wilderness safari. This is the Africa many of us dream of: an abundance of wildlife, beauty, tranquillity and endless clear, summer days. The Serengeti National Park is located in Tanzania and is over 14 763 square kilometres in size. The park can be divided into three parts, according to their vegetation; the Serengeti Plains, the Western Corridor, and the Northern Serengeti. The Serengeti is a conservation area; people are prohibited from living in the park unless they are part of park or tourist lodge staff.
The parks huge wildlife population and annual migration is its greatest claim to fame. Around October, over 1.5 million herbivores travel from the northern hills toward the southern plains, crossing the Mara River, in pursuit of the rains and is a true site to behold as many predators snatch up prey along the way; a spectacle of predator verses prey. In April, they then return to the north through the west, once again crossing the Mara River. This phenomenon is sometimes called the Circular Migration. Over 250 000 wildebeest alone will die along the journey from Tanzania to Masai Mara Reserve in upper Kenya, a total of 800 km. Death is often caused by injury, exhaustion, or predation.
Approximately 70 larger mammal and some 500 avifauna species are found in the Serengeti. This high diversity in terms of species is a function of diverse habitats ranging from riverine forests, swamps, kopjes, grasslands and woodlands. Blue Wildebeests, gazelles, zebras and buffalos are some of the commonly found large mammals in the region.
The Ngorongoro area is part of the Serengeti ecosystem, and to the north-west it adjoins the Serengeti NP and is contiguous with the southern Serengeti plains. These plains also extend to the north into the unprotected Loliondo division and are kept open to wildlife through transhuman pastoralism practiced by Masai. The south and west of the area are volcanic highlands and the southern andeastern boundaries are approximately defined by the rim of the Great Rift Valley wall, which also prevents animal migration in these directions.
In order to explore the park and see everything that it has to offer, we’ll take you on an 4X4 safari along its back roads, allowing you to see the more hidden gems of the park.
Ngorongoro crater tours are essential part of any visit to Tanzania. This UNESCO world heritage site holds a wealth of fascinating areas of interest for historians and the general public. Some of the oldest hominid remains have been found near the crater as well as artefacts dating back to early human evolution. The animal life is abundant with some of the best game viewing in the whole of Africa, and the craters amazing historical footprint extends into the animal kingdom too with fossilised remains having previously been found. Hominid hunter gatherers inhabited the area three million years ago, being replaced by pastoralists a few thousand years ago. The Masai took control of the area in the 1800s through a series of battles with the local tribes and have inhabited the area ever since. Today the area is run as a multi-purpose reserve which allows subsistence farming and limited dwelling.
Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, and is made up of several small islands, forming an archipelago. The islands lie between 25km and 50km off the coast of mainland Africa, and have become a popular tourist destination in recent decades. With African, Arab and Portuguese influences, Zanzibar is alive with a vibrant culture and diverse people. The largest and main island of Zanzibar is Unguja, which is unofficially known as Zanzibar amongst locals, the other smaller islands are known by their names. This island is lie six degrees below the equator and is approximately 108km long and 32km wide. Zanzibar was once a separate state with a long trading history within the Arab world; it united with Tanganyika to form Tanzania in 1964 and still enjoys a high degree of autonomy within the union. The capital of Zanzibar, located on the island of Unguja, is Zanzibar City and its historic centre, known as Stone Town, is a World Heritage Site.
Zanzibar’s main industries are spices, raffia and tourism. Zanzibar is also the home of the extremely endangered Red Colobus Monkey.The word “Zanzibar” probably derives from the Persian, Zangi-bar (“coast of the blacks”). However, the name could also have been derived from the Arabic Zayn Z’al Barr (“fair is this land”). “Zanzibar” often refers especially to Unguja Island and is sometimes referred to as the “Spice Islands,” though this term is more commonly associated with the Maluku Islands in Indonesia.
Tourists are drawn to the beautiful, pristine beaches of Zanzibar and for the incredibly diving opportunities that the fringing coral reefs offer off the coast. The historical and unique architecture of Stone Town is another enticing attraction of Zanzibar holidays, as guests have the opportunity to explore the ancient buildings and evidence of a thriving historical world. Stone Town is claimed by many to be the only historical functioning town in East Africa, fusing tradition and modernity gently together.
The temperatures are hot in the summers and mild in the winter; however throughout the year gentle sea breezes cool down the islands. The long rainy season is between April and May, however during the rest of the year, Zanzibar is a tropical paradise.
Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam (Arabic translation: “harbour of peace”), formerly Mzizima, is the largest city in Tanzania. With a population estimated around 2,500,000, it is also the country’s richest city and an important economic centre. Though Dar es Salaam lost its official status a scapital city to Dodoma in the mid-1970s, it remains the centre of the permanent central government and continues to serve as the capital for the surrounding Dar es Salaam Region.
In 1859, Albert Roscher of Hamburg became the first European to land in Mzizima (“healthy town”). In 1866 Sultan Seyyid Majid of Zanzibar gave it its present name. Dar es Salaam fell into decline after Majid’s death in 1870 but was revived in 1887, when the German East Africa Company established a station there. The town’s growth was facilitated by its role as the administrative and commercial centre of German East Africa and industrial expansion resulting from the construction of the Central Railway Line in the early 1900s.
Being situated so close to the equator and the warm Indian ocean, the city experiences generally tropical climatic conditions, typified by hot and humid weather throughout much of the year. Annual rainfall is approximately 1,100 mm and in a normal year there are two distinct rainy seasons: "the long rains", which fall during April and May and "the short rains", which fall during October and November.
The busy main streets and colourful markets enchant each visitor who goes to Dar es Salaam – it’s quite an unforgettable scene. Dar as Salaam is rich in history and there are various museums to be visited like the Village Museum and the National Museum which has two million year old exhibits from Oldupai Gorge. You will find many Arabic shops and restaurants in this city and to the north and south sides of the city also good beaches. The white sands of South Beach are situated on the Kigamboni Peninsula and are only a short ferry ride away.
Visitors can wander the streets and visit the numerous markets like the Kivukoni fish market. You can also visit the Botanical Gardens and shop for various crafts at the Nyumba ya Sanaa arts centre. At Bagamoyo you can see 13th century Kaole Islamic ruins and watch wooden dhow sailing boats being built and unwind on the gorgeous beach. Karikoo Market is where you go to, to bargain on anything from textiles to tropical fruit and this market is massive and alive every day of the year!