Bordered by Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, and the Indian Ocean, Tanzania is the size of Texas and Oklahoma combined. Tanzania sits between Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, and Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake, and is interrupted twice by the Great Rift Valley. Located within such a dramatic setting, Tanzania has much to offer visitors. The people and the economy are as diverse as the landscape, with around 120 tribes and gold mining, coffee, tea, cotton, and tourism contributing to the economy.
Few countries can match the area of land Tanzania has set aside for wildlife conservation. In addition to the Serengeti National Park, other national parks, game reserves, and conservation areas total over one sixth of the country's land mass. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania's most famous wildlife reserve, is the staging ground for the last great migration on earth. Serengeti translates into Endless Plain in Masai, and is home to millions of plains game as they prepare to embark on, or return from, their five-hundred-mile migratory circuit. Big game can also be spotted in some of the more recognized areas such as Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ruaha, the Selous Game Reserve, World Heritage Site Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, Gombe Stream (where Jane Goodall researched the chimpanzee), Mahale (also known for its chimpanzee population), and Mount Kilimanjaro.
In Tanzania, visitors can wake up to the peaceful sound of waves lapping only steps from their beachfront home and spend the afternoon snorkeling the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Tanzania's coastal areas conjure up exotic names like Mafia Island, Pemba, Mnemba, Chumbe Island Coral Park, Zanzibar, and Dar es Salaam.
Wildlife lovers can marvel at the great expanse and wonder of the Serengeti while walking with the Masai and listening to their stories. The adventurous can climb Kilimanjaro, hike through the wilderness, explore Olduvai Gorge and Ngorongoro Crater, or camp under the stars.
Mount Kilimanjaro is the only mountain in the world that is not a part of a mountain range, but rather a combination of three volcanic centers. The best time to climb is January to March or June to December, though November and December are often wet and July to August is cold. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is not an easy task; however, it is more accessible to a wider range of climbers than most of the world's taller peaks.
Rains in Tanzania fall heavily between April and May, with shorter rains late October to November. International flights arrive in either Dar es Salaam or Kilimanjaro.