Tanzania Africa is located just south of Kenya in East Africa, and is a destination filled with diversity and natural splendor. Tanzania safaris are some of the best in Africa, and experiencing Tanzania culture in locations from the modern cities to the pastoral tribal life is both fascinating and rewarding. In Tanzania travel can yield so many new experiences that will amaze and delight.
Tanzania culture has developed through many influences. Along the Indian Ocean Coast and in Zanzibar, the predominantly Muslim Swahili people have added their influences from the east, which arrived with Arab traders long before Europeans set foot in the region. There are influences from the coutry's colonial past - German, Portuguese, and British. More recent immigrants, especially from India, have also left their mark. There are more than 120 indigenous tribes in Tanzania, most of which no longer live traditionally. Although tribalism has caused conflict in some other sub-Saharan Africa countries, the newly-independent country (1961) successfully promoted the idea of being one people. There is little friction between tribes, and intermarriage is common. A few of the tribes in Tanzania still live traditionally, the most notable being the proud Maasai, who spread across the border into Kenya. This is the "exotic" Tanzania culture that many visitors seek and experience - usually around the area of Serengeti National Park and around the Ngorongoro Crater.
Most people learn their own tribal language (Maasai, Chagga, Iraqw, etc) - sometimes two languagess if their parents are from two groups. Education is compulsory from age five or six, and the schools teach both English and Swahili. This means almost everyone you meet will speak at least three languages. Swahili is the lingua franca throughout a large poortion of East Africa. It is an invented language created with a combination of Arabic and Bantu - with a smattering of words from English, Portuguese, and Hindi.
Likely the most popular reasons for visiting are the Tanzania safaris. Home to some of the greatest wildlife spectacles in the world, and blessed with a diverse geography that includes everything from perpetually snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro (the continent's highest peak) and beautiful Rift Valley lakes to the glistening beaches of Zanzibar and the vast plains of Serengeti National Park. Most visitors experience their Tanzania safaris in what is called the "northern circuit" that includes the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, and Tarangire National Park. However there are other less-visited parks and reserves in the south, including the Selous and Ruaha. By far the biggest draw for Tanzania tourism (and for Kenya as well) is the famous Great migration that occurs between the Serengeti and the Maasai Mara in Kenya throughout the year, with the peak period being the dramatic river crossings at the border, which occur in June/July and September/October. Many people will combine the countries of Kenya and Tanzania into a single safari. Some will add a Kilimanjaro climb and/or end with a few days on a Zanibar beach.
In most of Tanzania travel (especially on the tourist routes) is quite safe. In the larger cities of Arusha and Dar es Salaam, you should be aware of pickpockets and petty theft - just as you would in any unfamiliar city in your home country. Wildlife areas are also safe, so long as you follow the common sense guidelines you are given by your guides and lodge staff. A walk alone in the bush after dark, for instance, would be foolhardy. All visitors, especially women, should be more conscious of modest dress in Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam, where the Muslim culture frowns on immodest dress. If you are at one of the many beach resorts in Zanzibar, skimpy clothing is fine - though most resorts don't allow bathing costume in the dining rooms in the evening.
Most flights into Tanzania Africa land at Kilimanjaro International Airport (most accessible to the northern safari circuit) and Julius Nyerere International in Dar Es Salaam (most accessible to Zanzibar). Almost all safaris are booked as all-inclusive tours well in advance of arrival. These may or may not include international airfare, but usually include everything else - land transportation, internal flights, virtually all meals, and the services of an experience professional driver-guide who is fluent in English.