Destinations

Cultural Tourism Programs.

Welcome to some of the fascinating areas in Tanzania , with its cultural art facts where you can experience real African life and enjoy the beautiful scenery of green mountains, wide plains and the dramatic Rift Valley

What is Cultural Tourism

In many areas, rural life is an attraction on its own. Carefully cultivated plots and lush tropical vegetation form a backdrop for simple traditional houses. Women in colorful dresses carry buckets of water and bunches of firewood back home. Villagers participate in development projects, from irrigation systems to primary schools. The people are willing to receive tourists and show them daily life, culture and scenery in their villages. They see tourism as an activity that can create employment and generate income, which can be used for improving their living conditions.

Cultural tourism refers to a form of tourism in which local people are closely involved. They design and organize the tours, show tourists aspects of the area in which they live and of their daily life. During the tours, local people often show their development projects, like irrigation and soil conservation activities or income generating projects of women’s groups. Visitors leave the area feeling they have made new friends and with information on the many positive developments going on in rural Tanzania.

Just the name, Zanzibar, evokes dreams of romance and mystery and the reality will not disappoint the traveller bored with mass tourism and seeking an enlightening and enjoyable holiday experience. Zanzibar- the name includes the main island, Unguja,and its sister island, Pemba- has for centuries attracted seafarers and adventurers from around the world. Now it welcome a new generation of explorers-those who have come to marvel at the rich heritage, reflected in the architecture and the culture of the people.

For this is where Arabia meets the Africa. Visit Zanzibarís historic Stone Town, where the Sultans once ruled. Relax on one of 25 dazzling white, palm- Fringed beaches, where the azure water of the Indian Ocean beckon swimmers, divers, fishermen and water sports enthusiasts alike. Breathe in the fragrant scents of cloves, Vanilla, Cardamom and Nutmeg, and discover why Zanzibar is called the Spice Island.

Explore the forests, with the their rare flora and fauna. Or visit some of the ancient, archaeological sites. Spend a few days here after a Safari on the African mainland or, better still allocate a week or two and immerse yourself in the Magic that is Zanzibar.†

A MELTING POT OF CULTURES

Zanzibarís colourful history is a Saga of travellers and traders, raiders and colonisers. Sumerians, Assyrians, Egypt ions, Malays, Phoenicians, Indians, Chinese, Persians,

Portuguese, Dutch and the British, each leaving behind a legacy of their stay. From the

island the great European explorers- Burton, Speke, Living stone, Stanley- set off for their voyages of discovery into the great African hinterland†

THE BEACHES

Brilliant white beaches lapped by the warm Waters of the Indian Ocean provide the perfect place to relax,Soak up the Sun and take a break from some busy sightseeing. Modern resorts nestle in the shade of Coconut palms, providing Comfortable retreats. The beaches area a paradise. Here are picturesque fishing

villages where the people live a simple way of life,unchanged though the years. Just south of Zanzibar Town are Fuji Beach and Chuini Beach, which both offer facilities for a ranger of water sports, while† to the North there is Mangapwani where the noise is likely to be the Sound of the Ocean. On the northern tip of the

island is Nungwi, where visitors can watch fishermanís boats being built here or swim in the coral lagoons. On Zanzibarís north-east cost are the beaches of Matemwe, Mapenzi, Kiwenga and Uroa, with their wide stretches of uncrowned Sand and opportunities to explore the underwater World. Other well- developed- Pingwe, Bwejuu and Jambian are to be found no the

South eastern Cost. As well as water sports there are also opportunities for fishing or for observing the activities of the local fisherman.

Mount Meru is an active stratovolcano located 70 kilometres (43 mi) west of Mount Kilimanjaro in the nation of Tanzania. At a height of 4,565 metres (14,977 ft), it is visible from Mt Kilimanjaro on a clear day,[4] and is the ninth or tenth highest mountain in Africa, dependent on definition. Much of its bulk was lost about 8,000[citation needed] years ago due to an eastward volcanic blast, similar to the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in the U.S. state of Washington. Mount Meru most recently had a minor eruption in 1910.[2] The several small cones and craters seen in the vicinity probably reflect numerous episodes of volcanic activity.

Mount Meru is the topographic centerpiece of Arusha National Park. Its fertile slopes rise above the surrounding savanna and support a forest that hosts diversewildlife, including nearly 400 species of birds, and also monkeys and leopards.

Location and size

The Park is located on the Northern Tanzania, near the town of Moshi. Its size is 1668 sq km 641 sq miles).

Getting there

It is just 128 km (80 miles) from Arusha; about one hour’s drive from Kilimanjaro airport.

Interesting features

Kilimanjaro, by any name, is a metaphor for the compelling beauty of East Africa. When you see it, you understand why. Not only is this the highest peak on the African continent; it is also the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, rising in breathtaking isolation from the surrounding coastal scrubland – elevation around 900 metres – to an imperious 5,895 metres (19,336 feet).

Kilimanjaro, the name itself is a mystery wreathed in clouds. It might mean Mountain of Light, Mountain of Greatness or Mountain of Caravans. Or it might not. The local people, the Wachagga, don’t even have a name for the whole massif, only Kipoo (now known as Kibo) for the familiar snowy peak that stands imperious, overseer of the continent, and the summit of Africa. Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s most accessible high summits, a beacon for visitors from around the world. Most climbers reach the crater rim with little more than a walking stick, proper clothing and determination. And those who reach Uhuru Point, the actual summit, or Gillman’s Point on the lip of the crater, will have earned their climbing certificates.

What to do

Six usual trekking routes to the summit and other more-demanding mountaineering routes, day or overnight hikes on the Shira plateau; nature trails on the lower reaches; trout fishing; visit the beautiful Chala crater lake on the mountain’s southeastern slopes.

When to go

During the clearest and warmest conditions from December to February; but also dry (and colder) from July-September.

Accommodation

There is huts and campsites on the mountain; several hotels and campsites outside the park in the village of Marangu and town of Moshi.

NOTE:

Climb slowly to increase your acclimatization time and maximize your chances of reaching the summit.

To avoid altitude sickness, allow a minimum of five nights, preferably even more for the climb. Take your time and enjoy the beauty of the mountainKili

Lake Tanganyika is an African Great Lake. It is estimated to be the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest, in both cases, after only Lake Baikal inSiberia;[3] it is also the world’s longest freshwater lake. The lake is divided among four countries – Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, and Zambia, with Tanzania (46%) and the DRC (40%) possessing the majority of the lake. The water flows into the Congo River system and ultimately into the Atlantic Ocean.

Set deep in the heart of the African interior, inaccessible by road and only 100km (60 miles) south of where Stanley uttered that immortal greeting ìDoctor Livingstone, I presumeî, is a scene reminiscent of an Indian Ocean island beach idyll.

Silky white coves hem in the azure waters of Lake Tanganyika, overshadowed by a chain of wild, jungle-draped peaks towering almost 2km above the shore: the remote and mysterious Mahale Mountains.

Mahale Mountains, like its northerly neighbour Gombe Stream, is home to some of Africaís last remaining wild chimpanzees: a population of roughly 800, habituated to human visitors by a Japanese research project founded in the 1960s. Tracking the chimps of Mahale is a magical experience. The guide’s eyes pick out last night’s nests – shadowy clumps high in a gallery of trees crowding the sky. Scraps of half-eaten fruit and fresh dung become valuable clues, leading deeper into the forest. Butterflies flit in the dappled sunlight.

Then suddenly you are in their midst: preening each other’s glossy coats in concentrated huddles, squabbling noisily, or bounding into the trees to swing effortlessly between the vines.

The area is also known as Nkungwe, after the park’s largest mountain, held sacred by the local Tongwe people, and at 2,460 metres (8,069 ft) the highest of the six prominent points that make up the Mahale Range.

And while chimpanzees are the star attraction, the slopes support a diverse forest fauna, including readily observed troops of red colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys, and a kaleidoscopic array of colourful forest birds.

You can trace the Tongwe people’s ancient pilgrimage to the mountain spirits, hiking through the montane rainforest belt ñ home to an endemic race of Angola colobus monkey – to high grassy ridges chequered with alpine bamboo. Then bathe in the impossibly clear waters of the worldís longest, second-deepest and least-polluted freshwater lake ñ harbouring an estimated 1,000 fish species – before returning as you came, by boat.

Isolated, untrammelled and seldom visited, Katavi is a true wilderness, providing the few intrepid souls who make it there with a thrilling taste of Africa as it must have been a century ago.

Tanzania’s third largest national park, it lies in the remote southwest of the country, within a truncated arm of the Rift Valley that terminates in the shallow, brooding expanse of Lake Rukwa.

The bulk of Katavi supports a hypnotically featureless cover of tangled brachystegia woodland, home to substantial but elusive populations of the localised eland, sable and roan antelopes. But the main focus for game viewing within the park is the Katuma River and associated floodplains such as the seasonal Lakes Katavi and Chada. During the rainy season, these lush, marshy lakes are a haven for myriad waterbirds, and they also support Tanzaniaís densest concentrations of hippo and crocodile.

It is during the dry season, when the floodwaters retreat, that Katavi truly comes into its own. The Katuma, reduced to a shallow, muddy trickle, forms the only source of drinking water for miles around, and the flanking floodplains support game concentrations that defy belief. An estimated 4,000 elephants might converge on the area, together with several herds of 1,000-plus buffalo, while an abundance of giraffe, zebra, impala and reedbuck provide easy pickings for the numerous lion prides and spotted hyena clans whose territories converge on the floodplains.

Kataviís most singular wildlife spectacle is provided by its hippos. Towards the end of the dry season, up to 200 individuals might flop together in any riverine pool of sufficient depth. And as more hippos gather in one place, so does male rivalry heat up ñ bloody territorial fights are an everyday occurrence, with the vanquished male forced to lurk hapless on the open plains until it gathers sufficient confidence to mount another challenge.

An excited whoop erupts from deep in the forest, boosted immediately by a dozen other voices, rising in volume and tempo and pitch to a frenzied shrieking crescendo. It is the famous ‘pant-hoot’ call: a bonding ritual that allows the participants to identify each other through their individual vocal stylisations. To the human listener, walking through the ancient forests of Gombe Stream, this spine-chilling outburst is also an indicator of imminent visual contact with man’s closest genetic relative: the chimpanzee.

Gombe is the smallest of Tanzania’s national parks: a fragile strip of chimpanzee habitat straddling the steep slopes and river valleys that hem in the sandy northern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Its chimpanzees – habituated to human visitors – were made famous by the pioneering work of Jane Goodall, who in 1960 founded a behavioural research program that now stands as the longest-running study of its kind in the world. The matriarch Fifi, the last surviving member of the original community, only three-years old when Goodall first set foot in Gombe, is still regularly seen by visitors.

Chimpanzees share about 98% of their genes with humans, and no scientific expertise is required to distinguish between the individual repertoires of pants, hoots and screams that define the celebrities, the powerbrokers, and the supporting characters. Perhaps you will see a flicker of understanding when you look into a chimp’s eyes, assessing you in return – a look of apparent recognition across the narrowest of species barriers.

The most visible of Gombe’s other mammals are also primates. A troop of beachcomber olive baboons, under study since the 1960s, is exceptionally habituated, while red-tailed and red colobus monkeys – the latter regularly hunted by chimps – stick to the forest canopy.

The park’s 200-odd bird species range from the iconic fish eagle to the jewel-like Peter’s twinspots that hop tamely around the visitors’ centre.

After dusk, a dazzling night sky is complemented by the lanterns of hundreds of small wooden boats, bobbing on the lake like a sprawling city.

About Gombe Stream National Park

Size: 52 sq km (20 sq miles), Tanzania’s smallest park.
Location: 16 km (10 miles) north of Kigoma on the shore of Lake Tanganyika in western Tanzania.

Getting there

Kigoma is connected to Dar and Arusha by scheduled flights, to Dar and Mwanza by a slow rail service, to Mwanza, Dar and Mbeya by rough dirt roads, and to Mpulungu in Zambia by a weekly ferry.
From Kigoma, local lake-taxis take up to three hours to reach Gombe, or motorboats can be chartered, taking less than one hour.

What to do

Chimpanzee trekking; hiking, swimming and snorkelling;
visit the site of Henry Stanley’s famous “Dr Livingstone I presume” at Ujiji near Kigoma, and watch the renowned dhow builders at work. .

When to go

The chimps don’t roam as far in the wet season (February-June, November-mid December) so may be easier to find;
better picture opportunities in the dry (July-October and late December).

Ruaha National Park is the largest national park in Tanzania. It covers an area of about 22,000 km². It is located in the middle of Tanzania about 130 km from Iringa. The park is part of a more extensive ecosystem which includes Rungwa Game Reserve, Usangu Game Reserve, and several other protected areas.

The name of the park is derived from the Great Ruaha River, which flows along its south-eastern margin and is the focus for game-viewing. The park can be reached by car via Iringa and there is an airstrip at Msembe, park headquarters.

The creation of a national park in this area was first proposed in 1949 by the Senior Game Ranger in Mbeya, George Rushby. In 1951 it was gazetted by the British colonial authorities as an extension of the neighbouring Rungwa Game Reserve. People living in the new protected area were subsequently forced to move out. In 1964 it was excised from the game reserve and elevated to full park status. In 2008 it was extended to incorporate the former Usangu Wildlife Management Area, in the upper Ruaha catchment, making Ruaha the largest National Park in Africa.

Ruaha is famous for its large population of Elephants. Presently about 10.000 are roaming the park. Ruaha National Park is also a true birdwatchers paradise: 436 species have been identified of an estimated total of 475. Among the resident birds are different species of Hornbills, Kingfishers and Sunbirds. Also many migrants visit Ruaha, e.g. the White Stork

Other special animals in Ruaha are: the African Wild Dog and Sable Antelope. Rhinoceros were last been sighted in 1982 and are probably extinct in the park due to poaching.

The best times to visit for predators and large mammals is the dry season (May–December) and for birds and flowers, the wet season (January–April).

With an area of more than 45,000 sq km, larger than many European countries, Selous is the largest game reserve in Africa. It is part of an extensive 155,000sqkms Selous Niassa ecosystem of uninhabited miombo woodland that extends between southern Tanzania and northern Mozambique. The reserve and the greater ecosystem lie at the core of the greatest surviving African wilderness, which supports a healthy and large wildlife population.

Selous ranks as one of East Africas most alluring and satisfying safari destination. With a mere handful number of lodges in a vast 50,000sqkms wilderness, Selous offers one of Africas remotest, wildest and untrammeled wilderness.

The reserves natural vegetation mostly consists of miombo woodland and is bisected into two disproportionate parts by Tanzanias largest river- Rufiji, which runs through the reserve from west to east. Numerous narrow streams connect the Rufiji river to 5 pretty small lakes, and these are the areas that provide the best game viewing opportunities in the dry months.

Besides the normal species, Selous is also famous for offering the unique opportunity of viewing rare and endangered species in large numbers. Mammals such as the African wild dog and the black Rhinoceros, which are completely extinct in other parks and very few in some, are found in healthy numbers in Selous. Another interesting feature of Selous compared to other parks in Africa is about its lions. Not only they have darker coats and less hirsute manes compared to their counterparts elsewhere in East Africa, but they evidently rely on an unusual opportunistic diurnal hunting strategy making Selous the best place for witnessing a lion kill.

Game Concentration

Wildlife in Selous is abundant and the areas by the river and small lakes provide the best viewing opportunities in the dry months. With elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebras and other antelopes numbering in the thousands, game viewing activities are full of excitement and very rewarding.

Large predators include: lion, leopard, wild dog and spotted hyena. Other mammals include: elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, sable, roan, impala, bushbuck, waterbuck, wildebeest, greater kudu, puku, hartebeest and eland. The rivers are full of hippo and crocodile.

Selous also supports an abundant birdlife population. Some prominent species include: yellow-billed stork, white-crowned and spur-winged plovers, various small waders, pied and malachite kingfishers, African skimmer, fish eagle, palm-nut vulture, carmine and white-throated bee-eater, trumpeter hornbill, purple-crested turaco, malgasy squacco heron and fishing owl.

Time to visit

Selous is practically impossible for game drives in the rainy season and some areas of the reserve are completely inaccessible. All the lodges close down their operations in the months of March and reopen in June. The best time to visit selous are in the dry season between June and February.

Activities

Besides the normal game drives in 4×4 vehicles, the most interesting and equally rewarding activity are the boat rides along the Rufiji river. The gigantic crocodiles, the conferences of grunting hippos, the characteristic water birds along the river and the herds of elephant, buffalo and giraffe coming down for water together with a brilliant red sun setting behind the tall palm and baobab trees as a backdrop, makes these boat rides one of the most exciting experiences of your Selous safari.

Other activities include guided walks with armed rangers close to nature and fly camping, which gives you the unique experience of sleeping next to the river and lakes and where the only thing that separates you from the close by hippo, crocodile and lion- is a mosquito net!

Accessibility

Selous is very accessible nowadays from most of the tourist points in Tanzania. Though the most convenient and viable way is flying, one can also reach the reserve by driving or by using the Tazara railway line. There are a number of short airstrips in the different parts of the reserve where light aircrafts can land. A number of small aircraft operators provide daily schedules to Selous from Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Arusha and other national parks.

Duration

Considering the logistics of the park, the important attractions and the game viewing opportunities we suggest you spend at least 3 nights in Selous. This should provide you ample time to cover most of the important areas in the reserve. However for those interested in fly camping and walking safaris, a few extras days will prove to be a good investment.

Recommendation

Selous definitely stands out amongst the game reserves that Africa has to offer in terms of abundant wildlife and untrammeled wilderness. And the fact that it is easily accessible from practically any tourist point in Tanzania, should make Selous a must place to visit in your Tanzania safari program. A few days in this reserve will give you a very different experience of what Africa, out of its unlimited natural resources, can offer. This is indeed one destination that will prove to be worth every penny you spent.