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Holidays in Tanzania

Comprising the largest chunk of East Africa, it’s hardly a surprise that Tanzania itself is a land of superlatives. It has Africa’s highest peak, Kilimanjaro, the continent’s biggest lake, Lake Victoria, and the wild Serengeti, which derives from the Maasai term for ‘endless plains’. Nearly all corners of Tanzania bristle with places fit for a luxury safari holiday.

The locations in its north are of bucket list-worthy proportions. Your first trip to the rolling grasslands of the vast Serengeti National Park is one that will stay with you forever, not to mention the epic spectacle of millions of wildebeest charging towards the Masai Mara in Kenya. Elsewhere, the green vistas of the Ngorongoro Crater are studded with stalking lions, while flamingos add a blush tinge to the lakes which pool the lush Great Rift Valley.

Western Tanzania is a safari dream, too, with Katavi National Park’s rivers and swamps brimming with crocodiles and hippos. The south is more off-the-beaten-track and on a good day, you’ll likely see more wildlife than humans among the rivers, plains and forests of Selous Game Reserve and neighbouring Ruaha National Park bustles with the country’s largest elephant population and over 400 species of bird. So, the question you’ll likely ask yourself when planning a holiday to Tanzania is not when to visit, but where?

Tanzania Highlights

1) Serengeti National Park

Just hearing the name Serengeti sparks an imagination filled with beasts charging across vast open bushlands and sunsets melting over dusty savannahs. The reality doesn’t disappoint and this epic landscape grips any traveller who visits, whether they catch a glimpse of lions, cheetahs and hippos stalking the plains on safari or witnessing possibly the planet’s greatest wildlife spectacle, where over a million wildebeest storm towards the Masai Mara. In the Serengeti, it feels like this ancient rhythm of wildlife has been this way forever, a mystical power that you can’t fail but be entranced by. Pure animal magic.

2. Ngorongoro Crater

Formed after a volcano the size of Mount Kilimanjaro erupted millennia ago, the UNESCO-listed Ngorongoro Crater is now the largest extinct caldera in the world. The view from above is majestic enough but slip down inside its slopes and you’re treated by a feast of wildlife. This natural emerald bowl cradles wildebeest, zebra, and the ‘Big Five’, while your ears are often pricked by the soundtrack of elephants trumpeting and lions roaring among the grassy swathes. It’s a place though, where even if there isn’t any wildlife in your eyeline, you’re captured by the utter beauty of the landscape.

3. Southern Tanzania

While Tanzania’s northern safari circuit attracts the lion’s share of wildlife-spotters, the southern end of the country arguably matches it. At just over 21,000 square miles, Selous Game Reserve is Africa’s largest and its size means a rich diversity of ecosystems, a place where hippos and crocodiles bathe in riverine marshland and wildebeests, impalas and wild dogs prowl the woodlands. Twin it with Ruaha National Park, a classic African vista where undulating plateaus are studded with baobab thickets and rock outcrops. Its striking scenes are filled with Tanzania’s biggest elephant population, along with ostriches, cheetahs and gazelles.

4. Western Tanzania

For a safari holiday that’s really off the beaten track, the western corner of Tanzania is where you’ll find it. Katavi National Park is a true wilderness, where thousands of elephants, buffalos and giraffes jostle for space in its floodplains, while hundreds of hippos soak up a watering hole like a giant public bath. Neighbouring Mahale Mountains National is a land of staggering beauty and well worth a visit. Here, lush forested peaks surge up from the vast Lake Tanganyika, a wild world where chimpanzees rule, along with giant pangolins, monkeys and a wide variety of birds. Best of all, you’ll likely have these pair of wildernesses all to yourself.

5. Zanzibar

The palm-swayed beaches of the Zanzibar archipelago are the perfect place for respite after time spent watching wildlife on mainland Tanzania. While its sands, people and waters are dreamy, it’s also a cultural crossroads of African-Arabian influences, reflected in its charming villages and tasty cuisine

TURQUOISE ISLAND OF THE MONTH: MATANGI PRIVATE ISLAND, FIJI

This privately owned 240-acre island enjoys an enviable location on a stunning, horseshoe-shaped island in Fiji's lesser known northern group of islands. A haven for divers, honeymooners and romantics, Matangi boasts virgin tropical rainforest, white sand beaches and volcanic rock faces rising from crystal clear waters and vibrant coral reefs.

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TURQUOISE ISLAND OF THE MONTH: MATANGI PRIVATE ISLAND, FIJI

This privately owned 240-acre island enjoys an enviable location on a stunning, horseshoe-shaped island in Fiji's lesser known northern group of islands. A haven for divers, honeymooners and romantics, Matangi boasts virgin tropical rainforest, white sand beaches and volcanic rock faces rising from crystal clear waters and vibrant coral reefs.