Tanzania is one of the greatest safari destinations in Africa, covering a diverse selection of landscapes. It's home to the Big Five (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, and rhino), which were trophies for game hunters in the past but today are popular sights on a game drive. About 25% of Tanzania is occupied by parks and reserves, and ocean life is protected in a number of marine parks.

The country's most popular parks, known as the Northern Circuit -- Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire, and Lake Manyara -- and the two big mountains, Kilimanjaro and Meru, are most easily accessed from the town of Arusha, dubbed the safari capital of Tanzania. Almost all Northern Circuit safaris start and finish here. Arusha is actually closer to Nairobi than Dar, so visitors going to only the Northern Circuit may want to consider flying into Nairobi instead, from where there are regular shuttle buses or flights to Tanzania.

Tanzania is also home to archaeological sites such as the Olduvai Gorge, where traces of early man were discovered, as well as historical coastal towns where the Swahili way of life can be experienced. The impossibly atmospheric island of Zanzibar is steeped in culture and history and has unpolluted beaches, and there is excellent diving on the reefs around the islands of Pemba and Mafia. Tanzania is also home to Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa and the tallest in the world that can be walked up.

Climbing Kili

Between Arusha and Zanzibar, visitors have the option of climbing Kilimanjaro, or Kili, as it's affectionately known, and there are plenty of tour operators to choose from in and around Moshi. The highest point in Africa is the Uhuru Peak, at 5,895m (19,336 ft.), which is one of seven summits of Kilimanjaro. There are a number of climbs to choose from, with various levels of difficulty. The three easiest routes -- Marangu, Rongai, and Machame -- can be climbed by anyone in good health and require no mountaineering experience, although acclimatization and altitude sickness must be taken into consideration. Allow at least 5 days for the climb, with a night on either side in Moshi (this will tack on another week to your existing schedule).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.