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Wonders of Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro, symbol of Tanzania
Mount Kilimanjaro, symbol of Tanzania / Chris73, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

This large country is very diverse, has unforgettable scenery and many world-famous landmarks. Highlights of Tanzania are:

  • Unique ecosystems. The better known Serengeti plains are too large to be included here, but Tanzania has other amazing ecosystems such as the giant groundsels of Mount Kilimanjaro and the islands of unique tropical forest in the mountains, such as the forest in the Usambara Mountains.
  • Early human finds. World’s most important site for the exploration of the origin of humans is located in Tanzania – Oldupai Gorge contains remains of extinct early human species, very old stone tools.
  • Historical trading towns. In Tanzania are found ruins and even living towns that hold the heritage of medieval Muslim and later European trading posts. The best known and most interesting one is Stone Town of Zanzibar.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 25 wonders of Tanzania

Geological wonders

Mount Kilimanjaro


The largest free-standing volcanic mass in the world. Also – the highest mountain in Africa, 5,895 m high. The volcano rises 4,877 m above the surrounding plain. Summit has a permanent glacier that is quickly disappearing. Mount Kilimanjaro includes several unique ecosystems, such as the highest cloud forest in Africa at 4,100 m height and stands of Dendrosenecio plants.

Dendrosenecio kilimanjari woodland, Tanzania
Dendrosenecio kilimanjari woodland / Thomson Safaris Tanzania, Katie Cordes, / CC BY 2.0
Ol Doinyo Lengai


The only known carbonatite volcano in the world (except for the neighboring Kerimasi volcano). The volcano produces natrocarbonatite lava with nearly unique minerals – nyerereite and gregoryite. Lava flows at very low temperatures at 500 – 600 ° C. Carbonates react with the moisture of the atmosphere and quickly turn white, creating a unique volcanic landscape. Here inside the steep cone forms a new, nearly unique lava cave with enormous stalactites made of fragile natrocarbonatite.

Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano, Tanzania
Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano / Richard Mortel, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Kalambo Falls


221 – 235 m tall, single plunge waterfall. The second tallest uninterrupted fall in Africa. Important archaeological site – a site of human settlement since 300 000 BC, starting from Acheulian culture.

Kalambo Falls, Zambia
Kalambo Falls / , Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
Merelani Hills – the only find of tanzanite


World’s only find of tanzanite – unusual, deep blue gemstone.

Daraja la Mungu (Bridge of God)


Spectacular natural bridge over Kiwira River.

Chemka Hot Springs


Powerful thermal spring, a beloved place for swimming.

Isimila sandstone formations (Korongo)


Group of tall and often – thin – sandstone pillars forming a unique landscape. Pillars are up to 10 m tall. On this site have been found numerous Acheulian stone tools (some 300 thousand years old) and remnants of prehistoric animals.

Kihansi Falls


Waterfall with several cascades, total height up to 280 m. The tallest cascade is in the middle. The stream is weakened and often interrupted by the Kihansi dam upstreams. At the base of the falls lived endemic species of amphibian – Kihansi Spray Toad (Nectophrynoides asperginis), it has been eliminated in nature by the dam.

Biological wonders

Ngorongoro Crater


The largest volcanic caldera in the world, up to 610 m deep and 260 km² large. It is an area of an exceptional concentration of wild animals, with 25,000 large animals living in the crater.

Oldupai Gorge (Olduvai Gorge)


World’s most important source of information about the development of early humans. Paranthropus boisei lived here some 2.4 – 1.4 million years ago, Homo habilis – some 1.9 million years ago, Homo erectus – 1.2 million years ago, Homo sapiens – 17,000 years ago. Here were discovered some of the oldest stone tools in the world, signs of hunting.

Oldupai Gorge, Tanzania
Oldupai Gorge / Noel Feans, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0
Udzungwa Mountains


Mountains with a high number of endemic species, including Iringa Red Colobus, Sanje Crested Mangabey, Grey-faced Sengi. Hundreds of plant species are found only here.

Lake Natron flamingo colony


The largest colony of lesser flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor) in the world, a major part of c. 2,5 million birds stay in this lake.

South Nguru Mountains


These mountains are covered with pristine forests and are exceptionally rich with amphibians and reptiles – 92 known species in total. More than 10 of these species live only in this forest.

Dendrosenecio woodlands on Mt. Kilimanjaro


Just below the snow line of Mt. Kilimanjaro are located stands of highly unusual, up to 10 meters high plants that are endemic to Mt. Kilimanjaro: two species of Dendrosenecio.

Dendrosenecio kilimanjari, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
Dendrosenecio kilimanjari / Thomson Safaris Tanzania, / CC BY 2.0
Pugu Hills Forest


One of the most diverse and best-preserved East African coastal forests with a high number of endemic species in spite of its small size – some 10 km². Forest has one of the highest liana densities in the world. Trees here grow on one of the world’s largest kaolinite finds.

Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park

Zanzibar South

The largest remaining rainforest in Zanzibar, with many rare and endemic species and subspecies that are found only on Zanzibar Island, such as Zanzibar servaline genet (Genetta servalina archeri) and, possibly the legendary Zanzibar Leopard (Panthera pardus adersi).

Mlinga Forest Reserve


1,069 m high summit in East Usambara Mountains, covered with a unique ecosystem. The only grove of the tree Podocarpus latifolius in the world, 9 species of plants are found only here. A sacred site to local Washambaa people.

Archaeological wonders

Kondoa Rock Art Sites


Group of caves and rock shelters that contain some 150 – 450 panels of rock art. These panels are scattered over a rather large area. Paintings are up to 1,500 years old. Most paintings show unusually elongated people, animals, and hunting, many drawings have high artistic quality. Rituals and traditions of local people are still linked to some of these caves.

Kondoa Rock Art, Tanzania
Kondoa Rock Art / David Coulson, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Architecture and cultural wonders

Lake Ngozi


An enormous and picturesque crater lake. Locals consider this place to be magical, with many mysteries. According to local legends here lives a lake monster that comes out from the water on sunny days.

Palace Museum

Zanzibar Urban/West

Massive, ornate palace of the sultan, built in the late 19th century. Now it serves as a museum.

Palace of Sultan in Zanzibar Stone Town
Palace of Sultan in Zanzibar Stone Town / Vincent van Zeijst, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0
Stone Town of Zanzibar (Mji Mkongwe)

Zanzibar Urban/West

A historical trade town developed since the 1830ies, when stone houses started to replace the wooden houses of fishermen. Soon developed a unique city, blending local, European, Moorish, Arab, Indian, and Persian elements. Houses have numerous interesting architectural and design elements.

Tippu Tip's House, Zanzibar Stone town
Tippu Tip’s House, Zanzibar Stone town / Kent McElwee, / CC BY 2.0
Kilwa Kisiwani


Ruins of a medieval trade city that was founded in the 9th century AD. It became an important trading port that flourished in the 15th century AD. Abandoned since the 1840ies.

Great Mosque in Kilwa Kisiwani, Tanzania
Great Mosque in Kilwa Kisiwani / Claude McNab, Wikimedia Commons / public domain
Old Dispensary

Zanzibar Urban/West

Very ornate building, constructed in 1887 – 1894 as a charitable hospital for the poor.

Ukerewe albinos


The largest island in Victoria Lake. On the island lives a large population of albino Africans that have been abandoned here in early childhood by their families.

WorldYellow Recommended books

Tanzania – Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture

Culture Smart! provides essential information on attitudes, beliefs, and behavior in different countries, ensuring that you arrive at your destination aware of basic manners, common courtesies, and sensitive issues. These concise guides tell you what to expect, how to behave, and how to establish a rapport with your hosts. This inside knowledge will enable you to steer clear of embarrassing gaffes and mistakes, feel confident in unfamiliar situations, and develop trust, friendships, and successful business relationships.

The Rough Guide to Tanzania

The Rough Guide to Tanzania is the definitive guide to one of Africa’s most beautiful destinations, with clear maps and detailed coverage of all the best attractions from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to the exotic Indian Ocean beaches of Zanzibar. You’ll also find an in-depth and full-color guide to Tanzania’s spectacular wildlife and national parks, and the most accurate map of the magically labyrinthine Stone Town based on satellite imagery.

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