Tanzania wasn’t a popular tourist destination in 1981 when Thomson Safaris was founded, but owners Judi Wineland and Rick Thomson knew it was a special place that they wanted to share with others. Now, more than 35 years later, tourism has grown significantly, and their love for the country has grown even greater.
Why should you visit Tanzania? Here’s what makes the country the ultimate bucket list destination.
1. Tanzania has an unparalleled population of lions.
Tanzania has more lions than Kenya, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa combined. In the Serengeti National Park alone, there are 3,000 lions – more than Kenya has in its entire country!
2. …and wild chimps.
Mahale Mountains National Park in Tanzania has the largest population of wild chimpanzees in Africa.
3. …and birds.
Tanzania has about 1,100 bird species, and more than 500 of them can be seen in the Serengeti National Park.
4. A famous activist performed research in Tanzania.
Dr. Jane Goodall studied chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park, located on the west side of the country.
5. Tanzania is home to Africa’s tallest mountain.
At 19,341 feet, Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa and the tallest free standing mountain on earth.
6. …and tallest trees.
The tallest tree in all of Africa was discovered on Mount Kilimanjaro. At 265 feet, the Entandrophragma excelsum towers above trekkers (though it may seem small in comparison to its surroundings!).
7. Lake Tanganyika has a few claims to fame.
The world’s longest freshwater lake, Lake Tanganyika is a popular tourist destination in Tanzania. It’s also the second oldest freshwater lake in the world, second largest by volume, and the second deepest.
8. Tanzania is home to the largest mammal migration on earth.
The Serengeti National Park and the Serengeti eco system span 12,000 square miles and is the site of the Great Migration of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles.
9. Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa.
At 364,900 square miles, it is the largest country in East Africa, and 13th largest in all of Africa.
10. Tanzania is the birthplace of a rock legend.
Queen fans, rejoice! Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar, the famous spice island in the Indian Ocean.
11. The Ngorongoro Crater is home to the world’s densest population of wildlife.
There are approximately 25,000 animals in a crater that’s just 100 square miles. That’s 250 animals per mile! It’s also the largest unbroken caldera on earth.
12. Tanzania has 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara, Serengeti National Park, Selous Game Reserve, Kilimanjaro National Park, Stone Town of Zanzibar, and Kondoa Rock-Art Sites.
13. Tanzania is home to the continent’s largest game reserve.
Selous Game Reserve is the largest game reserve in all of Africa, at 50,000 square kilometers.
14. Tanzania has over 30% of its land mass protected.
To put this in perspective, the U.S. has about 17%.
15. Tanzania is a gem…literally.
Tanzanite is a blue/violet stone that is more than a thousand times rarer than a diamond. It’s found exclusively in Tanzania.