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Tanzania & Zanzibar Pic-article
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Mt Kilimanjaro – Almost straddling the Tanzanian and Kenyan border sits the imposing, conical Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak at 5,895m. This amazing picture captures a wildebeest (or gnu) in the foreground with ‘Kili’ dominating the backdrop. Ever since Tanganyika (modern day Tanzania) regained independence from British rule in 1961, the peak was renamed Uhuru or the ‘Freedom Peak’ in Swahili. Experienced climbers deem the Machame route the easiest march up to the summit and its recommended hikers take around 6 days to conquer the mountain to allow acclimatisation to high altitude and over exertion. That said, the fastest ascent was recorded by a super fit Italian chap called Bruno Brunod in a lung bursting 5 hours 38 minutes!
Zanzibar – The definition of tropical sumptuousness. Situated just 15 miles off mainland Tanzania, Zanzibar and neighbouring Pemba Island typify an Indian Ocean paradise with white squeaky sands, turquoise seas and balmy temperatures. Zanzibar is also nicknamed the Spice Island and boasts a thriving fishing industry with old wooden dhows complete with bright white triangular sails still used to this day. Another unique fact is that Zanzibar was also the birthplace of Queen lead singer showman Freddie Mercury!
The Masai People – The semi nomadic people of Kenya and Northern Tanzania are easily recognisable world-wide due to their colourful blanket wraps, their intricate jewellery, stretched earlobe piercings and lean figures sheperding their cattle herds across the plains. A man’s wealth is judged by the amount of cattle (usually goats or cows) and the amount of children he has!
Serengeti National Park – At 5,700 sq miles, the Serengeti is so big its divided up into north, south, east and western corridors, each one supporting a huge array of wildlife including the famous ‘big 5’ of lion, elephant, buffalo, cheetah and the elusive rhino. The name derives from the Masai words ‘seren’ meaning endless and ‘geti’ meaning plain, certainly a place where you’d want a full tank of diesel and a very robust 4×4 vehicle. Sprawling across these plains you’ll find close to 2million wildebeest performing their annual migration (accompanied by plenty of zebra too!) with hungry lions and lurking crocodiles in hot pursuit.
Ngorongoro Crater – A definite 7th wonder of the world. The crater (or world’s largest unbroken caldera if you please) is 20km in diameter, 600m high and equates to 300 sq km of protected wilderness and makes for an awesome wildlife viewing experience. The Ngorongoro crater is home to wildebeest, zebra, gazelle, buffalo, eland, kongoni and warthogs who all fear daily attacks from the craters predators – lions, leopards and cheetahs do the chasing whilst the hyena’s and the vultures can be seen tidying up the mess.
Stone Town – Classified as a UNESCO world heritage site, Stone Town is a fascinating place to visit on Zanzibar. Built on the foundations of the slave trade (visit the Tippu Tip museum, a notorious slave trader) and culturally sculpted by countless influences from sea-faring merchants from across Arabia and eastern Asia, you can spend hours winding your way around narrow alleyways easily convinced that the year could still be 1850. Keep an eye out for the ornate wooden doors – Indian merchants brought the tradition of studded doors, the more ornate the richer you looked and intricately carved. It’s an amazing old Stone Town and a must-see on any Tanzanian itinerary.
Olduvai Gorge – As the saying goes ‘It began in Africa’ and according to skilled archeologists who unearthed the first humanoid footprint at Olduvai Gorge on the edge of the Serengeti, our now very modern, technologically advanced existence did probably originate in Africa! There is an excellent museum housed in a mud hut, full of fossils and explanations about the evolutionary significance of the area.
Selous National Park – Another huge game reserve (the biggest in Africa) situated in the south eastern corner of Tanzania, many wildlife junkies consider Selous to have the best game viewing in Africa without the camera clicking masses. Tourists tend to fly in to the area which keeps costs high but crowds low with less than 2,000 visiting each year. It truly is a Tanzanian secret.
The following images used in this pic-article are sourced from Flickr.com and used under the creative commons licence: