ARUSHA, Tanzania -- Standing in the shadow of Kenya, its
better-known brother to the north, Tanzania is a country rich in
history, animal diversity and expansive national parks.
boasts the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro at 19,340
feet; the famous Serengeti Plains, home to the world's largest
yearly migration of zebras, wildebeests and gazelles, and Olduvai
Gorge, the site where archaeological excavations have uncovered
rich artifacts and fossils dating back nearly 2 million years.
Despite these well-known attractions, Tanzania has managed to
escape the crowds of tourists that are found in some of its
Below, a highlight of
Tanzania's offerings:Lake Manyara National Park is home to buffalo, hippos,
giraffes, impala, zebras and the world famous tree-climbing lions.
This park is also known for its kaleidoscope of birdlife, including
large flocks of flamingos. Average stay is one day.Ngorongoro Crater is known as the Eighth Wonder of the World,
and this game reserve is often compared to Noah's Ark and the
Garden of Eden. It is the largest self-contained "zoo" packed with
almost every species of wildlife found in East Africa: including
lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalo and zebras. Once a volcano that
rivaled the size of Mount Kilimanjaro, the cone collapsed about 2.5
million years ago, creating the world's largest caldera, measuring
12 miles wide and 1,500 feet deep. Two days are suggested
here.Olduvai Gorge made headlines around the world in 1959 when the
Leakys discovered fossil fragments of the skull of one of the
ancestors of homo sapiens. The remains were dated back to 1.8
million years. Then in 1979 Mary Leaky discovered footprints of
upright man dating back 3.5 million years. Today, a small museum
stands at the site and travelers can venture down into the gorge to
see the excavation digs. An afternoon is ample to explore the
area.Serengeti National Park is one of the world's last great
wildlife refuges. Nowhere else in the world will one see such a
concentration of zebras, wildebeests, gazelles and antelope. Equal
in size to Northern Ireland, the park contains an estimated 3
million large animals, most of which take part in the world's
largest seasonal migration. The annual wildebeest migration is
triggered by the rains in November. A balloon ride, complete with a
champagne breakfast, is an add-on offered by many tour operators.
At least two days are suggested for the Serengeti.
For a list of tour operators and to request brochures to
Tanzania, go to www.wwb.com on the Web.
Tanzania at a glance
Capital: Dar es Salaam
Currency: Tanzanian shillings. U.S. dollars widely accepted.
Language: Swahili and English
Health: Yellow Fever vaccination required upon entry.
Anti-malaria pills recommended.
People: 26 million with over 120 African tribes
Best time to go: June to September is the cooler season. The
long rains are from March to June and the short rains are between
October and December. The hottest months are between October and
Best time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro: August to November
Web sites: Africa Online, www.africaonline.co.tz; Lonely Planet Tanzania, www.lonelyplanet.com.au/dest/afr/tan.htm; Maps, www.lib.utexas.edu/Libs/PCL/Map_collection/africa.html