How To Plan a Trip to Tanzania

Planning a trip to Africa is an adventure of a lifetime, and Tanzania is the world's favorite spot for short and long term safaris. Located midway on the continent's east coast, your first stop is Kilimanjaro International Airport. Flight services are mainly within Africa, but Western travelers may use KLM for frequent departures out of Amsterdam.

The terrain in Tanzania is rugged and mountainous, and the climate is hot all year round. Located on the southern side of the Equator, Tanzania's summers are in reverse, reaching peak temperatures between November and February.

Tanzania is host to some of Africa's largest wildlife in a land teeming with buffalo, elephants, lions, wildebeests, zebras, gazelle and rhinos. Some of the best wildlife viewing is had in the Great Rift Valley and onward to the basin area of Ngorongoro Crater. From this point, take in breathtaking views of a snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro, or you may opt for a hiking tour to the mountain's summit. To fully appreciate this unspoiled land, prepare to stay at least four nights. Safari by vehicle is operated during daytime hours only, and you'll sleep under the stars by night.

For the ultimate adventure for the physically fit, local tour guides will assist you with a climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro. Try the scenic pathways of the Marangu Route, where the trail passes from forest to moorland, host to some of Africa's most beautiful flora and fauna. Accommodation for the climb is combined with camping and modest Mandara huts, equipped with hot meals and flushing toilets. As your climb progresses, you will need additional layers of clothing, as the temperatures towards the peak can reach freezing overnight. Your guide will instruct you for your necessary supplies and keep your trek in pace at about five to seven hours per day.

The night before your trek, you will check in to the Keys Hotel at the bottom of the mountain. There, you will be briefed by your guide and your excess luggage will be placed into storage. The hike begins at dawn, and you may stretch your stay as many days as you'd like to have on Kilimanjaro. The opportunity for photography is fantastic with thick, swirling clouds surrounding the wildlife, lush forests and open plains.

Once you reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, you'll sign your name at Marangu gate to receive your certificate of completion. Hikers who reach Gilman's Point receive a green certificate and feisty climbers that make it to Uhuru Peak have won a gold certificate.

The people of Tanzania are warm, friendly and always ready to lend a helping hand. Whether you're a Kilimanjaro mountain climber or jeep safari trekker, this is a wonderful African country you will want to visit again. Tanzania vacations are flexible, with itineraries for every budget and activity level. Check with your local travel agent to customize a tailor made package for you.


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