With its mountains, rugged terrain and Indian Ocean coastline, there’s plenty for the activity enthusiasts in Tanzania.
Hot air balloon safaris in the Serengeti and Tarangire National Parks, and over Lake Manyara, provide an exciting vantage point for viewing the wildlife beneath.
Budget camping, as opposed to fly camping at luxurious lodges, involves travelling with all necessary equipment, setting up camp and, perhaps, cooking your own meals. Very economical – and great fun.
Explore the bush on the back of the “ship of the desert”!
Canoe safaris in Arusha or Lake Manyara National Parks offer an ideal opportunity to get close to the wildlife, while kayaking on the many lakes, are exciting and fun.
The Amboni Caves, just north of Tanga, form the most extensive cave system in East Africa. There are ten caves with chambers up to 13 metres high which support stalactites and stalagmites. It is essential cavers go in pairs, with a guide, as there have been fatalities when people have explored on their own. The caves are home to a great many bats.
The waters of the Indian Ocean, particularly those off the mainland coast and around Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia Islands, provide superb opportunities for scuba divers. The coral reefs, teeming with colourful fish, can be explored on diving expeditions for both beginners and experts. Encounters with dolphins and turtles add to the wonder of this underwater world.
The rivers and lakes of Tanzania offer anglers ample opportunity to cast for trout; fish for tilapia or giant Nile perch; or battle with tiger fish.
Some of the richest sports fishing seas are to be found off the Tanzanian mainland. Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia islands, and the Kilwa coast, were the haunts of Ernest Hemingway and amongst the record- breaking prizes to be caught are barracuda, broadbill, dorado, giant trevally, kingfish, mako, sailfish, yellowfin tuna, wahoo black, blue and striped marlin and tiger and other shark.
Tanzania cannot be considered the most renowned of golf destinations but courses can be found in Arusha and Dar es Salaam. The first nine holes of a new 18-hole championship course, built to USGA specifications, near Kilimanjaro, are already open with the second nine ready by December 2015. Zanzibar’s first golf course (a 9 hole/18 tee course) is situated at Sea Cliff Resort.
Equestrian safaris and horseback expeditions allow horse-lovers the experience of riding across unfenced wilderness in Arusha National Park, or private game ranches, in close contact with the wildlife. Riders will often see a wide variety of plains animals and encounters with elephant are a common occurrence in the Manyara and West Kilimanjaro areas. It is surprising how close one can sometimes come to these animals when on horseback, while on occasions it is possible to canter alongside herds of giraffe or wildebeest and zebra.
Jet-skiing is available at several coastal hotels.
Cycling up mountains and down valleys; through deserts and forests; and close to herds of giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and other antelope is an exciting experience.
For climbers, the major draw is the 5,869 metre (19,340 ft.) Mount Kilimanjaro, covered in greater detail elsewhere in this publication. However, Mount Meru, another volcanic peak reaching 4,560 metres, is also a popular climb, partly because of the lovely flora and fauna which can be observed on the way to the top. It takes about two days to climb this, Africa’s fifth highest peak while Ol Donyo Lengai, coupled with a visit to Lake Natron at the base of the volcano, is another favoured climb.
Tanzania’s huge lakes with their offshore islands are ideal for a leisurely sail on a converted dhow or banana boat or aboard a luxury catamaran, lake cruiser or yacht.
Enjoy the waters of the Indian Ocean, and view the marine-life, from a different perspective, by sea kayaking to sand islands, hidden beaches, bird-filled mangrove creeks and tiny fishing villages unreachable by road.
In addition to the much publicised Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru and Ol Donyo Lengai treks there are numerous other trails on Mount Hanang, Africa’s ninth highest mountain, and in the Udzungwa and Usambara Mountains. The Kitulo Plateau in particular – with its incredible floral displays, unique bird life and rare butterflies is also well known as a hiker’s paradise.
Tanzania’s coast, islands and lakes provide the perfect setting for a wide variety of water sports. Canoeing and kayaking; catamaran sailing; jet-skiing; kite-boarding and kite-surfing; scuba diving; snorkeling; surfing; water skiing; windsurfing and yachting.