What makes Tanzania an ideal holiday spot?
The country is so diverse in its people, landscape and biodiversity. One day you can be in the mountains then be at the beach the next day. We have Zanzibar and Pemba islands, then coastal cities like Bagamoyo, Dar es Salaam, Kilwa and Mtwara. Tanzania also has an array of national parks and epic waterfalls. There is just so much to see and do!
Where do Tanzanians typically go for the holidays at the end of the year?
People like to go upcountry. If you go to Moshi right now, there is no traffic jam. In Tanzania, you can be stuck in traffic for hours and it gets really congested. Moshi is the land of Mt Kilimanjaro and has a lot of waterfalls such as Marangu, Kilasia and Materuni formed by water from the top of the mountain. While home to see their relatives, people from that region, for instance, could do so much more. You will also find Chemka Hot Springs there, a place that is also quite popular with people coming from Nairobi. It’s very scenic, there are tiny little fish that can give you a ‘fish pedicure’, and it’s a great place for swinging or diving. Contrary to the name, the water is actually more tepid that hot.
So what’s there to do in Moshi for someone who’s new to Tanzania?
Check out the culture. You can start with the Mangiameli remains in Old Moshi- he was one of the strongest chiefs in Kilimanjaro and an avid freedom fighter who met an untimely death, and a monument still stands to remember him. Try machalari which is a mixture of bananas and meat. The people here have a variety of ways of making bananas using recipes and techniques passed down through generations and that would be hard to replicate elsewhere. You can actually get a guide to go to the waterfalls or Chemka Hot Springs, try machalari and if you love beer, sample the local brew which is also made from bananas. You can do a day tour up Kilimanjaro from the Marangu gate to Mandara hut at 2700m above sea level- it’s a hike of about 8km which would take 5 hours. There is a crater lake called Chala which borders kenya, and here, you can do a family picnic.
What would you recommend to do in Zanzibar for families?
It has such a variety of food, and there is always a festival in full swing. The food market at Forodhani which now has a lot of kid games and competitions during festival season is a key spot. Check out Jozani National park for a trek which years ago had wildlife but now has red colobus monkeys which are only found here…kids would enjoy that. The Butterfly Center is a must-see. Swim with turtles at the aquarium in Nungwi, or just feed them. Feed the huge tortoises at Prison Island, which also has a lot of history, and is a great place for snorkelling. Go on a spice farm tour. Boot the popular Safari Blue whereby you leave in the morning, go to a sandbank, snorkel, have lunch and relax along the beach. You can try hundreds of beach activities. Hotels like Hotel Verde have become popular because they have dedicated acres of land to fun activities such as jet skiing, waterbiking, navigating an inflatable obstacle course, kayaking, thrill seeker tubing and much more.
Why do you recommend Lushoto for adventure seekers?
It’s on the highlands and is therefore very mountainous and scenic with an array of waterfalls. Hike to Magamba Nature Reserve- it’s a strenuous one so come prepared. Go to Maweni Farms for serenity…it’s a huge farm in the middle of a small forest with an . old German house which has now been transformed into a hotel. Hike up to Soni Waterfalls at whose base you can swim, dive or fish. Magoroto is very popular now. It’s great for friends and couples. For kids, it’s quite a hike and there aren’t a lot of activities up there. There is no network so you really connect with nature. There are decks where you can camp next to the lake, and when you unzip your tent in the morning, the view is spectacular. You can also go horse riding here. If you’re in Mombasa, you can cross through the Tanga border to experience it.
Break down some of your go-to national parks Tanzania has so many parks spread across the whole country.
Udzungwa Mountain National Park in Morogoro is ideal for hikers and has incredible sunsets. You can hike up, camp and descend the next day. Sanje Waterfall is very big and really beautiful. From Dar, go to Mikumi or Saadani National Park in Bagamoyo, or even Selous Game Reserve. From Arusha, Moshi or Kilimanjaro you can go to Tarangire, Manyara, Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. From the lake zone in Mwanza you can also go to Serengeti. We have a new a new one called Chato which is even easier to access from the lakeside. In Mbeya/Iringa, go Ruaha National Park for wildlife. Mkomazi Park is great for people from Tanga and Kilimajaro. Any Tanzanian can view some wildlife during the holiday season without necessarily having to cross the country. There is also Arusha National Park.
What’s one hidden gem you wish more people would explore?
In southern Tanzania there is a place called Mbeya, the land of hidden treasures, as I like to call it. It has a crater lake shaped like Africa called Ngozi, and getting there is quite a hike. Matema Beach which is in Lake Nyasa borders Malawi and here you can get a sunrise and sunset at the same time… it’s very beautiful. Kaporogo waterfalls, some of the biggest in the country, are located here. Kitulo National Park, referred to as the heavens garden, is a floral park so imagine just how breathtaking that is.
What’s your favourite thing to do in Arusha?
There is a meat market called Kwa Mrombo where people specifically go for different styles of choma. Arusha has the park, Mt Meru and Lake Duluti. It’s like a small Nairobi, which is why Nairobians like to go there to party.
Fahad runs a travel agency which you can find on instagram as @unziptanzania