SAFARIS

Tanzania

Tanzania has whatever you are dreaming about - be it tropical islands, climbing the highest mountain in Africa, diving for marine treasures or watching the annual migration of plains game.

Tanzania boasts some of the most romantic and tropical beaches in Africa - Zanzibar and Pemba. Zanzibar Stone Town was once home to Sultans and explorers and is the land of exotic spices, azure waters and white sandy beaches.

The Tanzania people are friendly and interesting, and there are more than 130 ethnic groups. Perhaps one of the most memorable sights is seeing a lone red-robed Masai warrior stalking the parched plains with his cattle or goats. Despite there being so many different cultures, Tanzania has had a peaceful history and an enviable political stability compared to some of its neighboring countries.

Almost 25% of Tanzania is designated as national parks and game reserves -- from the Serengeti in the north, which sweeps uninterrupted from neighboring Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve, to Selous in the south, with its long distances and large variety of animals. No area is more protected, by geography as well as by permit, than the Ngorongoro Crater, whose steep walls create a separate ecosystem with its own representative collection of animals. Combined, the crater, Serengeti and the Masai Mara represent one of the world's most important ecosystems, and it is estimated that some 3 million large animals inhabit this region. Many of them move around the plains of East Africa on the annual wildebeest migration, the largest movement of animals on Earth. Because these spaces are protected -- and because they are so wild -- the best way to see them is by guided tour, locally known as safari, which in Kiswahili means journey.

Although most visitors spend their time in the wildlife areas, travelers should make time for Tanzania's other attractions as well. The country boasts Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa and the only mountain in the world that can simply be walked up. There are white-sand beaches on the Indian Ocean along the mainland coast. Then there are the impossibly exotic, evocative islands of the Zanzibar archipelago, with their intriguing culture, architecture, watersports and wide range of beach accommodations. Tanzania's smaller, less-known parks are dedicated to not only big game but forests and mountain ranges, primates and birds, and the marine life along the coast.