Tanzania is renowned as a hiking destination thanks to Mount Kilimanjaro, but this famous peak is far from the only place worth walking in the country. In fact, its national parks boast many fantastic trails that you can explore on foot.
To give you a taste of what to expect, here are a few of the top attractions that Tanzania offers trekkers.
The Ngorongoro Crater – the largest unbroken caldera on the planet – sits within the Ngorongoro conservation area, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spanning more than 800,000 hectares, this protected park has areas of savanna, woodland and highland plains, which means there are plenty of wildlife-watching opportunities.
One of the most important sites in the conservation area is the Olduvai Gorge, where evidence of prehistoric humans was discovered in 1959. This is also among the best spots for a hike, as you can reach the Olmoti Crater from here. This is smaller than the Ngorongoro Crater but is still home to a vast array of animals. Your walk will take you to the rim of the crater, from where you can look down over the forest to the plains below.
Another walk you should be certain to do is the trail that leads around the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater itself, as this will give you the best views of what’s often referred to as “the Garden of Eden”.
Animals to watch out for while you’re hiking in the Ngorongoro conservation area include wildebeests, black rhinos, zebras, Thomson’s gazelles, cheetahs, buffaloes, spotted hyenas, lions, elephants, ostriches, pelicans and two species (the greater and lesser) of flamingo.
Tarangire National Park
The Tarangire National Park – named after the river that flows through it – may not be the most famous of Tanzania’s game reserves, but it certainly competes in terms of the number and variety of animals you can see.
In fact, Tarangire boasts the highest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti. Elephants are particularly abundant here, so if you’re keen to see herds of pachyderms in the wild, this is the place to come to. In the dry season, elephants – along with many other animals – are drawn to the water sources in the park, which makes for unparalleled game viewing opportunities.
Buffaloes, impalas, zebras, wildebeests, elands and gazelles crowd around the water holes, as do herds of the unusual fringe-eared oryx and long-necked gerenuk. As you wander around the plains of Tarangire, keep an eye out for dwarf mongooses (especially around old termite mounds), pythons winding their way around tree branches and Kori bustards, which are the world’s heaviest flying birds.
Within Arusha National Park is Mount Meru – the fifth highest mountain in Africa at 4,566 m. Trekking on Meru’s slopes is an excellent challenge to round off your walking tour of Tanzania and it will give you spectacular views of its more famous cousin, Mount Kilimanjaro.
During your hike, you’ll pass through dense jungle and forest and areas of savanna before you reach the Kitoto view point, which is at 2,500 m. From here you can see across the rolling plains that stretch all the way to Kilimanjaro.
If all of this sounds like your kind of holiday, check out the tours available from operators like Explore Worldwide. Itineraries for trekking breaks in Tanzania will usually also include game drives in the Serengeti.