Wherever you go in Tanzania, opportunities abound for getting to know the country's people and cultures. Meet red-cloaked Maasai warriors. Spend time with semi-nomadic Barabaig near Mt Hanang. Experience the hospitality of a local meal and the rhythms of traditional dance. Chat and barter at local markets. More than anything else, it is the Tanzanian people – with their characteristic warmth and politeness, and the dignity and beauty of their cultures – that make visiting Tanzania so memorable. Chances are you'll want to come back for more, to which most Tanzanians will say ‘karibu tena’ (welcome again).
BEST TIME TO VISIT TANZANIA
The best time to visit Tanzania depends on what wildlife you’d like to spot. The country’s seasons and wildlife numbers are dictated by the rains, so you’ll have a slightly different experience depending on when you choose to visit. Tanzania’s headline attraction is the Great Migration, which occurs year-round across the Serengeti. Many people flock here between July and September for a chance to witness huge herds of wildebeest and zebra crossing the Mara River — panic ensues as they try to avoid the jaws of crocodiles and other predators waiting to pounce. You’ll see lots of vehicles in the park at this time of year, though.
Tanzania’s ‘green season’, between November and March, is much quieter. While there’s a chance of rain showers, it’s a fantastic time for birdwatching as migratory species arrive in their thousands. You’ll also see Great Migration herds with their newly born calves. The only time we tend to avoid Tanzania is between April and May, when heavy rains can disrupt wildlife viewing.
"The best time to visit Tanzania is from July to October when the country is at its driest. This coincides with the migration river crossings, however, all the parks offer amazing wildlife sightings at this time as the grasses and bush are at their least dense."
GETTING TO TANZANIA
Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) is situated 46km/29mi east of Arusha, the gateway of Tanzania’s most popular Northern Safari Circuit. Tanzania’s main airport is Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) located 13km/8mi southwest of Dar es Salaam. The latter is the entry-point for visitors to the southern parks. Moving on from Arusha or Dar es Salaam, you can fly or drive between reserves. Some domestic flights out of Arusha will leave from Kilimanjaro International Airport, but most flights to reserves leave from the much smaller Arusha Airport (ARK) located 8km/5mi west of town. However you choose to travel, in most cases, your local tour operator will pick you up from the airport and arrange all further transportation as part of your safari package.
Passport, Visa & Other Entry Requirements
Entry requirements can change, so please contact your local Tanzania embassy to verify the information below is current.
- A passport is required for all foreign visitors and has to be valid for at least six months.
- Passports must have a clean and a full visa page for endorsement.
- When arriving from a yellow-fever-infected country in Africa or the Americas a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required.
- Citizens of most countries require a visa. A list of countries that don't need a visa is available.
- Visas are best obtained in advance through an official online visa-application portal, but they can also be obtained through your local Tanzania Embassy or High Commission.
- Visas can also be obtained on arrival but this is a lengthy process that can take one to two hours.
GETTING AROUND TANZANIA
If you are visiting a number of parks and reserves in Tanzania, you can either drive or fly between them. Roads in most of the wilderness areas are in poor condition and unmarked, and self-driving is not recommended. Operators will supply you with a driver who doubles as an informal guide; alternatively, you can arrange to fly to your destination and utilize a car and driver supplied by the lodgings. Elsewhere in Tanzania, towns and cities are linked by a steady stream of buses and dala-dalas (minibuses), and in the cities, there is public transport in the way of buses, dala-dalas, taxis, and, in some places, bicycles or tuk-tuks.
By Plane - If you can afford it, getting around Tanzania by plane is the quickest and most comfortable option. There are a few domestic airlines that link the most popular safari destinations and provide services to the coast. Some of the more upmarket safari lodges have their own airstrips and use small planes operated by private air charter companies to ferry their guests in, which is a good alternative to long drives on dusty roads.
By Car - Driving in Tanzania can be dangerous because everyone does pretty much as they please, and traffic in Dar es Salaam is especially chaotic. The roads are not always well maintained and frequent potholes are a problem, so keep your speed down and avoid driving at night because of the danger of domestic and wild animals on the road. Many of the roads in rural areas and in the parks and reserves are not tarred, so a four-wheel-drive vehicle is essential, particularly in the wet seasons, when these roads often become impassable. If you're confident that you can hold your own on Tanzanian roads, you can either book a car at your country of origin from one of the large agencies or contact them once you arrive.
By Train - There are two railways that cross Tanzania and offer three to four services per week. Clean bedding is provided for cars with sleeping berths, and there are dining cars. However, the rolling stock is very old and dirty, and the trains get very crowded with not only people, but sacks of vegetables and livestock. Thefts are common (stewards even hand you a piece of wood to jam your window so it can't be opened from outside during night stops), and it takes an inordinate amount of time to get around. Traveling by bus is generally safer, quicker, and cheaper. If you insist on traveling by rail, you should opt for first class, always lock your door, and never leave your possessions unguarded.
By Bus - If you're on a budget, buses are the best and cheapest way to travel. Large buses and dala-dala crisscross the country and link the major towns, and longer routes link Dar es Salaam with Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya. Some of the vehicles are quite old, can be driven rather recklessly, and can be overcrowded.
By Taxi, Tuk-Tuk & Boda-Boda
Regular taxis are found easily on the street and outside hotels. Tuk-tuks can be used over short distances in the beach resorts along the coast. Boda-bodas are a cheap and fun way to travel over short distances, but you need to hang on tightly. With all of these, prices should be negotiated before setting off.
WHERE TO STAY IN TANZANIA
- Riu Palace Zanzibar - All Inclusive
Riu Palace Zanzibar - All Inclusive features luxurious accommodation with private terraces offering Indian Ocean views. Facilities include an outdoor pool, private beach with watersports and a dive centre. The spa provides massages and a steam bath. Each unit features air-conditioning. Some are set right on Nungwi Beach and have a private pool, hot tub and garden. Drinks are served at the beach bar and sunset terrace. Riu Palace Zanzibar - All Inclusive offers an all inclusive concept, where you can enjoy buffet breakfasts with show-cooking stations, there are two theme restaurants that serve exquisite dishes. And you can enjoy the best snacks and appetisers, in ours bars, also with fantastics cocktails. Indoor public areas feature chandeliers, free Wi-Fi throughout and regular entertainment. Kayaking, Stand up paddle surfing are included. Also you can enjoy activities and live shows and music. Set on Zanzibar’s north-west coast, Riu Palace Zanzibar - All Inclusive is 55 km from Stone Town.
Situated in the Kendwa Beach district of Kendwa, Zuri Zanzibar offers accommodation with a private beach area and free WiFi. The property boasts an outdoor swimming pool, garden, terrace and a bar. All the rooms have air conditioning and are fitted with a wardrobe, a desk and a flat screen TV. All the units also have a seating area while some have pool views and a garden view. Zuri Zanzibar serves a continental breakfast daily. Maischa Restaurant that is located within the property specializes in Middle Eastern cuisines. Snorkelling is among the activities that guests can enjoy near Zuri Zanzibar. Coral Reefs Snorkel is a 9-minute walk from the resort.
- Reef & Beach Resort Jambiani Zanzibar
Situated along a white sand beach, Reef & Beach Resort Jambiani Zanzibar features a swimming pool, sun loungers and a restaurant. The jetty, which extends into the Indian Ocean, hosts a lounge and bar area. The spacious, air-conditioned rooms all come with Zanzibar-style furniture. They also include an electric kettle. Each en suite bathroom is equipped with a shower. Guests can relax on the beach or in the swimming pool. A variety of massages are offered at the spa. The restaurant serves a variety of African, Indian and seafood cuisine. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the resort. Reef & Beach Resort Jambiani Zanzibar is located 7 km from Jambiani village and 32 km from Jozani Forest. Stone Town is 60 km away and Zanzibar International Airport is 62 km away.
TUI Blue Bahari Zanzibar is a luxurious resort set on the beach of Kiwengwa on the North East Coast of Zanzibar. The resort is nestled in exotic gardens on the beachfront at Pwani Machangani overlooking the the Indian Ocean. The property offers a dedicated kids club and features Dream Spa which provides oriental treatments. There is also a watersport and diving center. Every room is fitted with luxury furnishings and has a spacious private terrace. It comes equipped with a satellite TV, minibar and tea-and-coffee-making facilities.The private bathroom has a shower and free toiletries are provided. Guests have a choice of 5 different restaurants at TUI Blue Bahari Zanzibar, all offering a variety of dining options, and 3 bars for refreshing beverages. There are 2 swimming pools with a children area for relaxation and there is a water sports centre for sports such as catamaran and windsurfing. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the resort. Stone Town International Airport is 45 km away.
Zanzibar Bay Resort offers beachfront accommodation. The property boasts an outdoor swimming pool and a spa and wellness centre. Guests can relax in the garden or have a drink at the bar. All units have air conditioning and are fitted with a flat screen TV and electric kettle. While all rooms have a balcony, some enjoy garden views while some enjoy sea views. The rooms are complete with a private bathroom with free toiletries. A buffet breakfast is available daily at the property. The onsite restaurant specializes in local, African and international cuisines as well as seafood options. Speaking German, English, French and Dutch, the staff at the property are available to help guests with all their queries. The nearest airport, Abeid Amani Karume International Airport, is about 37 km from the property. Zanzibar Bay Resort offers airport shuttle services upon request.
- DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Zanzibar - Nungwi
Located on a white sandy beach on the northern tip of Zanzibar, this DoubleTree Resort offers luxurious rooms with ocean views. The lush tropical gardens contain an outdoor pool and bar. Each room is air-conditioned and equipped with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. The beds are surrounded by a mosquito net and the private bathrooms come stocked with free toiletries. Free Wi-Fi is provided. Breakfast is served daily in the Ngalawa Restaurant which also offers cocktails and live entertainment in the night time. Guests can also make a reservation at the Fisherman Bar and Grill to sample local and international cuisine. Our wellness center offers relaxing treatment daily, check for exciting packages and for a more active day, fishing, snorkeling, buggy rides and scuba diving are available. DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Zanzibar - Nungwi is only a 5-minute walk into the centre of the Nungwi Village.
Set on its own stretch of white sand beach, The Residence Zanzibar is a 55-minute drive from Zanzibar City. The property boasts a garden and offers free WiFi to its guests. Adults can enjoy a relaxing drink at the Jetty Lounge Bar. Each villa at the property comes with views of the gardens and the pool while some have ocean views. The units also feature air conditioning and each has its own private pool and flat screen TV with satellite channels. You will also find a minibar and coffee maker in each The Residence Zanzibar villa. The units also have a private bathroom with free toiletries. Guests can enjoy an American breakfast served daily at the property. There are also two restaurants on site as well as butler service on request. The accommodation also boasts a glass walled swimming pool spa and wellness centre and a fitness centre. Area activities include snorkeling, visits to the Jozani Forest Reserve and dolphin safaris. The village of Kizimkazi is only 20 minutes away by car. Abeid Amani Karume International Airport is set 57 km from The Residence Zanzibar. The property offers airport shuttle service upon request.
- Tulia Zanzibar Unique Beach Resort
Offering an outdoor pool with waterslides, Tulia Zanzibar Unique Beach Resort is located in Pongwe, 27 km from Zanzibar City. The resort has a private beach area with beach service. The modern and elegantly decorated rooms are fitted with a private terrace, minibar and Nespresso machine. Each unit features a seating area where you can relax. Certain units include views of the sea or garden. Every room is equipped with a private bathroom fitted with a bath or shower. Extras include bathrobes and slippers. The resort boasts an a la carte all inclusive concept with respect to individual taste and wishes. Each guest will get both way private airport transfer, complimentary one hour massage once per stay and unlimited complimentary Yoga classes during the stay. Nungwi is 36 km from Tulia Zanzibar Unique Beach Resort while Kendwa is 34 km from the property. Kisauni Airport is 29 km away.
- Sandies Baobab Beach Zanzibar
Sandies Baobab Beach Zanzibar is located in Nungwi and features air-conditioned rooms. A private beach area and an outdoor swimming pool are offered. Guests can sample international and Mediterranean dishes at the on-site restaurant. Guests can access free WiFi in public areas. Every room includes a private bathroom with a shower and a hair dryer. Breakfast is available each morning and includes continental and buffet options. Snorkelling is among the activities that guests can enjoy near Sandies Baobab Beach Zanzibar. The accommodation can conveniently provide information at the reception to help guests to get around the area. Nungwi Mnarani Aquarium is 1.6 km away from the property.
Located on Kendwa Beach and surrounded by lush gardens, Kendwa Rocks Hotel offers rooms and suites with views of the Indian Ocean or the garden. Zanzibar Town is 1 hour drive away. Featuring local furnishings, all rooms and suites are equipped with air conditioning, a fan, en-suite bathroom, digital safe box and mosquito nets. The double and twin rooms are located upstairs and offer balconies, looking towards the sea. The more spacious suites have a seating area and a verandah with sea views. There are also some rooms with a view to the garden. The bathrooms are fitted with a shower and free toiletries. Breakfast is served in the morning. Kendwa Rocks also has a restaurant serving Swahili and International cuisine. A variety of exotic cocktails and refreshments can be enjoyed at the Mermaid Bar. On selected evenings, the hotel offers live music and evening entertainment. An array of activities can be enjoyed on site or in the surroundings, including diving, volleyball, snorkelling and canoeing. Kisauni Airport is 60 km away and airport shuttles can be arranged on request for a fee.
Located a minute from the beach. The property features a swimming pool and free WiFi. Guests can relax on one of the sundecks around the pool or relax in the exotic garden, nightlife from Nungwi can be discovered after only a 20-minute walk along the beach. Guests can enjoy meals at the onsite restaurant, the property also features a bar. The newly renovated rooms are equipped with a mosquito net, air-conditioning, bathroom and access to a private balcony or terrace. Guests can enjoy sea and pool views from some of the rooms as well as the restaurant area. Aluna Nungwi has a 24-hour front desk and can assist you with the organisation of trips and excursions. An array of leisure activities can be enjoyed in the surroundings, including snorkeling trips, sunset cruises, cycling, paragliding, diving and fishing. Kisauni Airport is 64 km away and airport transfers can be arranged.
Offering a year-round outdoor pool ,a spa centre and a diving centre in the neighbouring hotel, Zanzibar Queen Hotel is set in Matemwe in the Zanzibar Region. The hotel has a barbecue and water sports facilities, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant. Free WiFi is offered throughout the property and free private parking is available on site. Some rooms include a seating area where you can relax. Some units have views of the sea or pool. You will find a 24-hour front desk and gift shop at the property. A number of activities are offered in the area, such as snorkelling and diving. Mnemba Island is 6 km from Zanzibar Queen Hotel, while Muyuni Beach is 7 km away. Abeid Amani Karume International Airport is 43 km from the property.
PLACES TO VISIT & THINGS TO DO IN TANZANIA
Tanzania is an amazing country, rich in wildlife, culture, history and exquisite natural scenery. From the lakes of the Great Rift Valley to the endless plains of the Serengeti and the coral reefs of Zanzibar, there is something for everyone to cross off their bucket list. Here are the list of Turisti-Info to the Places to visit & things to do that visitors to the country should not miss.
Even those who have experienced a wildlife safari before should not miss the opportunity for a fabulous game drive. There are plenty of parks and reserves to choose from, ranging from the world-renowned Serengeti, to pretty Tarangire, and the small but beautiful Arusha National Park. While all offer scores of wildlife, Tarangire is most often chosen for its large elephant populations, while Arusha features exquisite scenery that is second to none. The UNESCO World Heritage site of the Serengeti is, of course, one of Africa’s most iconic wildlife destinations, famed for its large populations of predators and annual wildebeest and zebra migration.
The Ngorongoro Crater is a magnificent ancient volcanic caldera that teems with wildlife and verdant vegetation. Here, visitors can enjoy a classic ‘Big Five’ safari experience as game-viewing is plentiful and easy. The crater has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is said to hold one of the largest densities of mammals in Africa. A variety of flora can be found within its compact area that attracts an enormous diversity of game; the only exceptions being giraffe and impala that are thought to not frequent the crater due to the lack of open woodlands on which to graze.
The Maasai are a semi-nomadic tribe, among the original inhabitants of Northern Tanzania, who have lived in the Serengeti according to traditional customs for thousands of years. They are a proud warrior race that is often admired for their striking looks, dramatic red clothes and beautiful beaded jewellery. A cultural trip into their lives will reveal all sorts of interesting facts, such as the legends of the Maasai warriors and why ritual song and dance are so important to the tribe. Make sure you book a visit through a reputable establishment to ensure an authentic tribal experience.
The Zanzibar Archipelago is located within the calm, azure waters of the Indian Ocean, just off the coast of Tanzania. It is a region that has seemingly stood still in time where colourful, quaint villages mingle with aromatic spice markets, old architecture, fishing boats, rice plantations and gorgeous sandy beaches. Its tropical climate means that just about every day is a beach day with the reefs around the island ideal for snorkelling and a large variety of watersports. Swim with dolphins, explore rustic fish markets and admire the history of the eclectic melting pot that is Zanzibar.
- Hop onto a hot-air balloon
One of the most unique and breathtaking ways of uncovering the panoramic beauty of Tanzania is by taking to the skies in a hot-air balloon. These fabulous trips usually take place at dawn when the air is still and the soft light of a new day pans over the plains, boasting quintessential images of Africa that simply cannot be matched. The aerial tour allows you to truly comprehend the size of the animal herds that graze the savannah plains, and photographic opportunities from this vantage point are absolutely amazing. End the trip with a Champagne breakfast for an extra special touch.
- Enter the eerie silence of Lake Natron
For an out-of-this-world experience, head to Lake Natron in the Arusha region of Tanzania. This shallow, salt and soda lake has high levels of alkalinity that result in the water concentrating into a caustic alkaline brine. This in turn attracts salt-loving micro-organisms that give the lake its characteristic pinky-red hue. The temperature of the water often hovers around an astounding 60°C (140°F) making it inhospitable to all but a few living creatures. Natron is also the only regular breeding ground in East Africa for the lesser flamingo.
Rated as one of the world’s most spectacular natural events, the wildebeest migration across the Serengeti is one show not to miss. The annual event sees millions of wildebeest and zebra, followed by antelope, and, of course predators, migrate in a clockwise direction around the Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem. Rainfall patterns dictate exactly when the migration will take place, but the action usually starts hotting up in May. It reaches its peak in July when the animals risk their lives and put themselves at the mercy of thousands of Nile crocodiles in order to cross rivers and get to the rich grazing in the northern Serengeti.
Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa as well as the biggest tropical freshwater lake in the world. It is shared between Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, with the former retaining the lion’s share of the lake. It makes for a refreshing break from the wildlife safari circuits and maddening crowds, offering peace and relaxation. Explore the waterside charm of the little towns along the shore and the subsistence communities who live in relative isolation.
The enormous diversity of landscape and flora that stretches across Tanzania makes it an excellent bird watching location that will delight ornithologists with rare and endemic sightings. Over 1,000 species have been recorded in the country and among those that are endemic, the most spectacular are thought to be the Udzungwa forest-partridge, Mrs Moreau’s warbler, Loveridge’s sunbird, and the Usambara eagle-owl. Look out for pretty pink and white flamingos that frequent the lakes and visit the quiet and immaculate Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania for a flurry of fabulous feathers.
Nature-lovers should take some time to embrace the peace and solitude of the Olmoti Crater. Here, the grassy floor offers good grazing for eland, buffalo and reedbuck and there is also a picturesque waterfall to admire. The remote and pristine location is one of the lesser frequented tourist destinations and perfect for an unhurried nature hike. The 3,700m (12,139ft) high crater is also home to a wide variety of nectar-feeding birds, such as the Golden-winged and the Eastern Double-collared sunbirds, malachite and the Mountain greenbul. Olmoti Crater can be accessed via the Maasai village of Nainokanoka, and you will be accompanied by an armed ranger to ensure your safety.
Take a break on the wild side and explore the stunning wilderness of the Usambara Mountain Reserve, an ancient Eastern Arc chain located about 5 kilometres (3 miles) from Lushoto town. This remote region of East Africa is mostly covered with forest reserve with spectacular views of the Mkomazi and Handeni plains and Mount Kilimanjaro on the horizon. Numerous waterfalls, hikes in the forest, and an arboretum are among the beautiful attractions.
Rumoured to be a haven for smugglers, Pangani is a village that the rest of the world has seemingly passed by. Overgrown with lush tropical vegetation, the quiet streets can be explored at an uninterrupted and leisurely pace. The town was once a grand port serving China and Arabia with slaves, ivory and spices but today is a beautiful mess of age-old fig tress and crumbling ruins, peppered with a few hotels and resorts.
This fishing village on the southern coast of Tanzania was once a walled city and epitomises traditional Zanzibarian life, full of rich culture and surrounded by warm and welcoming people. Slow is the way to go here in order to take in the idyllic beach surrounds and the clear blue waters of Menai Bay. Bottle nose dolphins are a big attraction and those that are lucky may even get to swim with them.
- Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Once a gigantic volcano, this panoramic area is now a protected world heritage site and one of the most popular and visited destinations in Tanzania. Here wildlife and the Maasai live together peacefully in the abundant caldera where water is never scarce and food is easy to come by. The Ngorongoro crater is considered one of the world’s most astonishing natural wonders and no list of scenic African landscapes would be complete without it.
This exquisite natural forest is one of the last remaining sanctuaries in the world for the characterful red colobus monkey, and is filled with gorgeous mahogany trees and lush mangrove swamps. The natural wonder of the park attracts a large number of tourists every year and is fabulous for a day trip, allowing visitors to lose themselves in the forest-like environment and learn more about the funny and interesting habits of primates.
The Tarangire ecosystem is one of the most lively and diverse in Tanzania with over 700 lions, 450 bird species, and one of the highest concentrations of elephants in the world. The park is also a beautiful sight to behold with constantly changing scenery, where grassy savannas flow into vast, verdant swamps and enormous termite mounds litter the landscape. Giant baobabs offer shade to animals such as large herds of zebra and buffalo that flock to the banks of the Tarangire River during the dry season.
Located on the northern shores of Zanzibar, Nungwi’s palm fringed coastline and warm ocean water is what island holidays are all about. This little slice of paradise blends together all the elements of a perfect beach getaway, where soft white sand shimmers in the sun and is offset fabulously against the sparkling blue sea. Traditional dhows dot the shoreline and colourful coral reefs fringe the island.
This dramatic and scenic park is the largest in Tanzania, holding a reputation as one of the country’s best kept game viewing secrets with a wild and unrushed feel that sets it apart from other reserves. It is well known for its varied and beautiful landscape that includes rolling hills, open plains, enormous baobab trees, and the great Ruaha River. The remote and essentially untouched wilderness sweeps across a gorgeous countryside where age old trees stud the hills and rocky escarpments add a touch of drama to the skyline.
Tanzania is one of the most important tea producing countries in Africa, making a sizable contribution to global production every year. The country’s warm subtropical climate and seasonal rains provide ideal conditions to grow tea, and plantations are found mainly in the high lying areas where the air is cooler and more precipitation falls. The lush and scenic mountainous surrounds are a gorgeous sight to behold.
The Serengeti easily ranks among the most recognised and popular wilderness areas in the world. Each day presents a different image of Africa at its classical best, with grassy plains that stretch on forever. The area pulsates with tension and energy as the plains and valleys are a favoured hunting ground for predators all through the year. The region is also famous for its picturesque beauty and birdlife and brings the magic of Africa to life.
WHERE TO EAT IN TANZANIA
Having a love affair with food is easy in Tanzania where international flavours blend fantastically with locally inspired recipes, and finding a tasty meal doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. The country’s island of Zanzibar is also known as the Spice Island so expect to be treated with an explosion of treats to tantilise your palate. Here are some of the top spots and tastes that foodies won’t want to miss.
For a feast of flavour, head to Forodhani Gardens where the evening food markets offer all the tastes of Zanzibar. This small and historic park is located in the heart of Stone Town and is the perfect spot to get to know the locals better and try some great food with a distinctly Zanzibarian flair.
This outdoor café serves traditional Arabic brews in a small courtyard in the heart of Stone Town. It’s also a popular gathering spot where Stone Town’s residents come to drink coffee, nibble traditional peanut brittle, play board games, and discuss politics. Be sure to come here early in the morning if you want to interact with the local community while you grab your coffee. With a casual atmosphere and a great view of the busy streets at the city center, it’s the perfect place to relax and people watch.
- Emerson Spice Rooftop Teahouse
This stunning restaurant combines a culinary rainbow of tastes and spices with Zanzibari cooking and the freshest seafood to serve up a match made in heaven. If you’re looking to impress your significant other then best head down to Emerson Spice, where the sensual atmosphere and rooftop views are almost as good as what arrives on the plate. The exotic and beautifully restored old merchant’s building houses two restaurants, and each one will add some spice to your evening.
- Street food in Stone Town
Meat-loving foodies can spend hours in culinary heaven as they roam the food markets of Tanzania. One of the most popular street foods is nyama chomawhich loosely translates to “grilled meat.” It is prepared by taking freshly cut cubes of meat and slow roasting them on a grid over hot coals. Be warned that the meat is not always fish or chicken, but could also be goat. Often these skewers of succulent, char-grilled meat are served with ugaliand a variety of other side dishes.
Calling it ‘pizza’ for want of a better word, this combination of veg, egg, mayo and dough all fried to perfection is arguably one of Tanzania's most popular street foods. It’s a gastronomic snack that you just shouldn’t miss out on when in Stone Town and can be easily found at a street side food stall.
Kick off your day on the right note with a good, strong espresso accompanied by a delightfully sweet pancake or savoury wrap. This little gem is located on the scenic island of Paje, surrounded by turquoise blue sea and white sand. The relaxed, island style vibe and awesome beach views are just the ticket to get you in a holiday mood, while the excellent coffee helps chase away any tiredness from the party the night before.
For the most delicious Ethiopian food outside of Ethiopia head towards Addis in Dar, a terraced garden on the eastern edge of the colonial era Regent’s Estate. Enjoy traditional rituals such as washing your hands on entry and eating around a small round table as you choose your main dishes and sides. Vegetable options such as ek alicha wot (chickpeas sautéed in piquant spices) are particularly flavorsome, while meat lovers can feast on kitfo (raw minced beef and spiced butter) and yebeg alicha wot (slow-cooked lamb). End off a fantastic meal with traditional Ethiopian coffee or some honeyed wine while enjoying the still of the African night.
No-one can say they have properly experienced island life on Zanzibar without trying a fresh, local coconut. Look out for the young men in Stone Town who wander around pulling bamboo carts filled with this delicious fruit. Make sure you get them to cut the coconut open for you with their handy machetes as there’s no other way to get to the inner white fruit that’s nestled inside the hard outer husk. Straight off the tree and into your mouth with freshness guaranteed.
Also sometimes referred to by the locals as ‘chicken on a bonnet’ this restaurant rather unusually doubles as an auto repair workshop during the day. Don’t let that put you off the food though, as Khan's is said to dish up some of the best, traditional tastes of Africa. The eatery is located on a busy street in Arusha so there is plenty of people watching to do while you enjoy your meal. Communal seating and a friendly atmosphere makes this family run eatery an African experience not to be missed.
This dish is a favourite with Zanzibar locals and can be ordered in many restaurants on the island. The delicately cooked squid is given a uniquely spicy twist with the addition of rich curry powder and creamy coconut milk that combines to produce mind blowing flavours. Fresh and tender octopus is not always easy to come by so take advantage of its availability while you are in Zanzibar. For those travelling on a budget, this delicacy is also a popular street food.
This lively market can be found on the outskirts of Stone Town and is the place to go to purchase nearly any food type or ingredient from around the island. Besides an enormous assortment of spices there is also a fresh fish and meat market as well as other island delicacies. If you are thinking of putting together your own Zanzibar dish then this is definitely your one stop ingredient shop. Ready to eat food is also available.
WHERE TO SHOP IN TANZANIA
- Cultural Arts Centre Zanzibar
Organised by the dedicated Hamad and other local artists, with an emphasis on quality and distinctiveness, this arts centre and shop provide a refreshing change from the wooden animals and tinga-tinga art found elsewhere in Stone Town. On sale are stunning paintings in traditional and contemporary styles, plus jewellery, candles, soaps and craftware items, mostly made by local cooperatives around Zanzibar. Courses in soap-making, painting, screen-printing and so on are available here and at the connected Cultural Arts Gallery in the Old Fort.
What started as a small enterprise making beaded necklaces has branched into furniture, paper, clothing and many other products, mostly using recycled materials and made by workers with disabilities. The products are sold around the world, and a visit to the workshop and store, based at Arusha Coffee Lodge, is quite inspiring.
This wonderful community-run concern has taken the local tradition of bee-keeping and transformed it into an income-generating project. It's been so successful that you may have seen its honey on your breakfast table at one of the Serengeti's lodges. In addition to honey, it sells lip balm, soap and candles.
At this excellent workshop, artists with disabilities create world-class jewellery, sculptures, candles, stationery and other crafts from old glass, metal, car parts and other recycled materials. There’s a small shop on the grounds. Crafts can also be commissioned (and sent abroad), and Monday through Friday you can watch the artists at work.
This excellent centre is at the spot where Edward Saidi Tingatinga originally marketed his designs, and it’s still one of the best places to buy Tingatinga paintings and to watch the artists at work.
enga is a social enterprise offering Zanzibari entrepreneurs a platform (both online and in-store) from which to sell handmade products. And what products they are: bags and clutches in colourful graphic fabrics, laptop cases made from kite-surfing sails, beaded bracelets, natural beauty products and more. The main Jenga shop is on the Michamvi Peninsula, near Upendo and opposite The Rock. Jenga products are also sold in various hotels and restaurants in Michamvi, Paje and Bwejuu, and at other places along the southeast coast of Zanzibar Island.
This multifaith community project builds bridges between Zanzibar's minority Christians and the largely Muslim population through its sewing school and fashionable boutique. The result: stylish ladies' and children's summerwear in funky fabrics, plus cross-cultural friendships and economic independence. Danish fashion students help keep the line fresh and on-trend. The shop is opposite Zanzibar Coffee House, or you can buy online.
The phrase 'Aladdin's Cave' can be overused, but not here. Step inside for floor-to-ceiling displays of gifts and souvenirs, and browse with no pressure. Go into the next room and then the next to find antiques, ornaments, carvings and collectables. Need a clock? Or maybe a glass lantern, brass diving helmet or enamel cigarette advertisement? This is the place.
Dar es Salaam's biggest and busiest market occupies several city blocks and the former barracks of the British Carrier Corp. It heaves with people morning, noon and night and you can find virtually anything here. Take the usual precautions against pickpockets and don't come with expensive cameras or wearing jewellery.