Brendan Proctor

A Tanzanian safari is probably one of the most iconic holidays you can take. And it lives up to the hype in a big way – spectacular scenery, abundant varied wildlife, and the rare opportunity to experience truly unspoilt wilderness.  

But travelling to Tanzania is a feat and while a trip designed around a once-in-a-lifetime safari sojourn is more than worth it, it also makes a lot of sense to plan beyond this leg of the journey and maximize your time in Africa by exploring other destinations and experiences. 

While still within the borders of Tanzania, add on a different type of wildlife experience post safari on the savannah. Mahale National Park – an area of mountainous rainforest rising from the sandy shores of Lake Tanganyika – is one of the least visited and most beautiful parks in Africa. It is here that you can have one of the world’s best chimpanzee encounters, thanks to the large group of relatively habituated chimps who have become accustomed to humans due to the extended presence of researchers, making them much more relaxed in the presence of people and less likely to startle and flee.

Continuing along the theme of primates, consider a detour from your Tanzanian base next to venture either to Uganda or Rwanda in order to experience the majesty and poignancy of encountering the endangered mountain gorilla in one of the last places on earth it lives in the wild. Requiring a hike through dense and beautiful jungle in either Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda or Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda to reach them, gorilla trekking allows you to watch a family of this rarest subspecies of gorilla from a close distance, while contributing to their conservation (the revenue brought in from gorilla-centric tourism plays a large role in ensuring their protection and survival). 

Once you’ve got the adventure component of your trip under your belt, why not put in some beach time and spend the last few days winding down on a tropical island? Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania is an excellent option and offers a balance of idyllic coastal setting and complex history and culture. This unique mix of attributes can best be seen in Stone Town – the old part of Zanzibar City. Its architecture – which dates back to the 19th century and which reflects diverse influences ranging from Arab to Persian, Indian and European – prompted the town to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. These striking buildings, as well as a vibrant market culture and winding alleyways make it a joy to explore. Should deserted beaches be more your speed however, Zanzibar has these in abundance – just commandeer a hammock and kick back. 

Also conducive to low-key relaxation, the Lamu Archipelago is located off the northern part of the Kenyan coast, and consists of a number of small islands, the most popular of which is the unspoilt Lamu Island. Besides offering some of the most beautiful of Kenya’s beaches, Lamu Island also offers a laid-back experience, as well as markets and historical sites to explore that reflect the island’s unique culture and history. 

Chat to Safari365’s expert team about designing your itinerary – from your chosen route and preferred activities to the best places to stay in each location.