Tanzania is a country of nearly a million square kms, most of which is the cooler interior plateau, with unreliable rainfall. This was a problem for agriculture, but good enough for the expansive game reserves for which the country has become famous. Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Kilimanjaro - these are names that conjure up wonderful memories for many travelers. These areas symbolize an Africa that has been in many places destroyed.
Mount Kilimanjaro is just south of the Equator, yet at its peak of nearly 6000m, thick snow mantles the highest point on the continent of Africa, and now a much sought-after climbing challenge. Huge permanent glaciers flow from the summit, while spectacular views and ice formations, as well as a sense of achievement, are full reward for the hiker.
5 to 6 days for a reasonably fit person is the standard time for the climb, which is always guided by very expert and experienced local mountaineers. The challenge should not be underestimated however, and medical advice should be sought before visitors tackle this tough climb.
A less challenging time is to be had in the vast plains of the Serengeti - a game reserve of no less than 12950 sq. km - or the crater of Ngorongoro, where excellent lodges offer comfort and game viewing that is hard to surpass. Olduvai Gorge, with its archaeological window into early mankind, is nearby, as well as Lake Manyara with its forests and shimmering flocks of flamingos.
The Serengeti is bounded by both the Masawa Game Reserve, and the Masai Mara Reserve of southern Kenya - making this eco system complex and relatively undisturbed. 500m bird species have been spotted in the system, and the only problem that faces a photographer is taking enough film! Especially if you are lucky enough to do a Safari at dawn in a Hot Air Baloon, an unforgettable ride over the lanscape as it awakens.
There are many other wonderful game reserves, like Tsavo West National Park (which joins with Tsavo East in Kenya) the Gombe Stream Chimpanzee National Park on the shores of Lake Tanganyika just north of Kigoma, so the choice is very wide. A few days in the game reserves, and then a flight or ferry ride to Zanzibar - what a perfect holiday to escape the blues of the Northern climes!