Adventurous Things To Do In Tanzania, Africa

Adventurous Things To Do In Tanzania, Africa

March 15, 2024 0 By Kerry

Tanzania is, quite frankly, an adventurer’s dream. Home to the tallest peak on the African continent, you’ll discover hidden waterfalls only accessible by hiking through the forest, active volcanoes, a vast diversity of wildlife and remote tribes; there’s something to ignite the adventurous spark in everyone.

However, spanning 945,087 km², this magical country is vast, so planning your trip can be daunting. In this travel guide, I will give you my top recommendations for adventurous things to do in Tanzania. So, if you have a little fire in your heart, this is for you!

Go on a Walking Safari on Ngorongoro Crater Rim

Ngorongoro Crater is one of the best things to do in Tanzania and it is one of the country’s most famous natural landmarks. This vast intact caldera of a long-extinct volcano is a paradise for wildlife living in abundance on the crater floor. Whilst most visitors opt for a game drive within the crater, hikes around the rim provide a completely different experience.

Whether you embark on a half-day or multi-day walking safari on the Ngorongoro Crater rim, the experience will undoubtedly stay with you for the rest of your life.

Things to do in Tanzania - Explore the  Ngorongoro crater

Accompanied by an armed ranger, you hike along the crater rim, constantly looking for animals and birds, with only the splendour of the crater floor that lies below in the distance to distract you. On foot, you can recognise animal tracks and may encounter many animals like elephants, zebras, giraffes and various antelope species. Of course, you can never discount the possibility of stumbling across any of the big cats – the ultimate thrill for any adventure seeker.

Unlike viewing wildlife from within the safety of a vehicle, exploring the African bush on foot not knowing what lies ahead, adds an extra element of adventure and excitement. It just doesn’t get closer to nature than this!

Aside from the rich wildlife, the panoramic scenery of the crater, with the saline flamingo-infested Lake Magadi in the middle, is a sight to behold.

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Snorkel off the Coast of Zanzibar Island

Tanzania may be primarily known for its natural beauty and spectacular wildlife. Still, it has other treasures hidden beneath the crystal waters of the Indian Ocean that lap its shores and the islands of Zanzibar.

Things to do in Tanzania - snorkel around the zanzibar islands

The Zanzibar Archipelago consists of three main islands and countless other islets, providing some of the most sublime snorkelling destinations found anywhere in the world. While some spots may be overcrowded at times, there are miles of secluded beaches and coves without a soul in sight. 

The islands are surrounded by colourful coral reefs barely a few metres from the shore, teeming with marine life, perfect for complete novices and for the more experienced divers. Amongst the shallows, you’ll find colourful clownfish, parrotfish, surgeons, angelfish, Moorish idols and the beautiful but deadly lionfish that all look hand-painted by an artist. Deeper out, you may encounter giant grouper and turtles cruising along the reefs while predators like barracuda, trevallies and whitetip reef sharks hover gently in mid-water.

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All in all, if you’re wondering what to do in Tanzania, Zanzibar is a snorkeler’s or scuba divers mecca. 

Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

Summiting Africa’s tallest mountain must surely be on the bucket lists of many adventurous, thrill-seeking visitors to Tanzania. Standing 5895 metres above sea level and not part of any mountain range, “Kili” is also the world’s tallest free-standing mountain. Climbing involves trudging through multi-zone ecosystems of open savannah, tropical rainforest and alpine deserts with arctic conditions towards the summit.

Things to do in Tanzania - climb mount kilimanjaro

Although no rock climbing is involved, the 5-7 day uphill hike is no walk in the park, requiring a relatively moderate level of fitness, stamina and some serious planning and preparation. Fatigue, lack of oxygen and altitude sickness affect everyone to a degree and many miles are covered during the small morning hours in total darkness. The oxygen level diminishes drastically as you ascend, leaving only half the oxygen at the summit than at sea level. 

But the sense of achievement, the camaraderie and the spectacular views along the way and from the summit are genuinely unforgettable, making the climb worth every aching muscle. Some may even say this is one of the craziest things to do in Tanzania, and it is certainly unique.

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Visit the Deadly Lake Natron

The “deadliest lake in the world” is enough to draw the attention of any adventure-spirited visitor to Tanzania. And yet, despite its notorious title, it is stunning and is home to two million lesser flamingos which come to nest here each year. Other wildlife know to keep well away, so the flamingos have chosen this spot as a safe place to raise their young. 

Things to do in Tanzania - visit the deadly lake natron wildlife

Its waters are fed by hot volcanic springs laden with salt and highly alkaline caustic minerals known as natron, resulting in algal and bacteria blooms, which give it its strange and unworldly reddish colour. Needless to say, the waters are toxic to touch or drink, and any unfortunate bird that lands in it soon dies and becomes mummified. The sight of the Flamingos alone though makes a day trip to Lake Natron this one of the top activities in Tanzania.

Hike to Tululusia Waterfall in Arusha National Park

Situated in the Arusha National Park on the slopes of Mount Meru, a short hike to Tululusia Waterfall may be taken from the Momella Gate or a welcome stopover on your way back from the volcano mountain.

The walk to the falls takes about half an hour and is under the guidance of an armed guard. Along the way, buffalo, giraffe, warthog, bushbuck, various antelope, troops of colobus monkeys and a wide variety of exotic birds may be encountered.

Once you enter the thicket, the thunderous sound of the fall will guide you to it. Cutting its way through the soft volcanic rock over the millennia, the small river squeezes into a narrow cave-like formation, dropping vertically for 28 metres into a small pool at the bottom. The rocky walls provide a nesting haven for hundreds of red-winged starlings.

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Go on Safari in the Serengeti

One of the most popular things to do in Tanzania has got to be an unforgettable safari in the SerengetiA landscape comprising nearly 15 000 kms² crammed with wildlife, including the Big Five, and where the world’s most significant animal migration occurs, makes the Serengeti a dream destination for serious wildlife lovers.

The vast savannahs, rolling hills and dense woodlands are home to 4000 lions, 1000 leopards and 500 cheetahs, as well as hyenas, elephants, buffalos, zebras, giraffes, millions of wildebeest and numerous antelope and bird species. Serengeti provides its visitors arguably their best chance of spying on all of Africa’s big cats. Witnessing a kill at close range may not be for the faint-hearted, but it’s undoubtedly a most thrilling experience.

Things to do in Tanzania - see the lions during a safari on the Serengeti

The great migration of the Serengeti is an adventure all on its own. Feeling the thunderous vibration of millions of wildebeest, zebra and antelope racing past, is not easily forgotten. The river crossings, particularly at the crocodile-infested Mara River, provide the most excitement, perhaps anywhere in the natural world.

Serengeti is vast, requiring you to spend a few days there to truly appreciate its splendour. A visit to the Serengeti can easily fit into a 7 day safari. Numerous lodges offer accommodation and a wide range of tailor-made safari options to leave you in awe.

You can even turn the adventure up a notch with a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti. What better way to explore Tanzania than with a wildlife enounter from the air as well as the ground.

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Search for Chimpanzees in the Mahale Mountains

The Mahale Mountains may not be the easiest or the cheapest destination to get to, but they can certainly provide some of the most rewarding experiences of the African bush. They are situated in western Tanzania, close to the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika, within the Mahale Mountains National Park. The mostly hilly and densely forested terrain is home to a wide array of animal and bird species and the country’s highest concentration of wild chimpanzees. And they are the main reason visitors undertake such long journeys to come here.

Lodges along the lakeshore provide accommodation and there are guided walking treks through the jungle to observe these lovable and fascinating creatures in their wild habitat at close range. It doesn’t take long to realise why they are our closest relatives, having been recorded using tools to forage and eating certain medicinal plants to remove internal parasites and treat infections. 

Things to do in Tanzania - search for chimpanzees in the Mahale Mountains

The treks can be challenging, trudging through dense vegetation for several hours on some steep trails. Constant high humidity makes the hikes a little more demanding.

The only ways of getting there are by air and by boat. Charter flights operate to and from the Kalilani airstrip, a few kilometres from the lodges, and can be expensive. Most visitors come by boat instead from Kigoma, about 150 km to the north, with the trip taking around 6-10 hours, depending on the type of craft.

Adventurous Things to Do in Tanzania in Summary 

As you may have already gathered, much of Tanzania’s wealth lies in its natural beauty and wildlife, both on land and under the water. For the adventurous-minded, standing on the roof of Africa on the summit of Kilimanjaro, coming face to face with a lion while on foot, or with a whitetip shark beneath the waves of the Indian Ocean will all raise your adrenaline level somewhat and leaving those memories forever embedded in your mind. I hope you have found inspiration in this list of some of the most adventurous things to do in Tanzania, and I’d love to hear about your trip in the comments! 

If you like the thought of safari then check out the best safari’s in Africa for more inspiration.

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