Tanzania's Hidden Treasures
Tanzania – a Swahili paradise. Located in East Africa, it has everything that you can ever dream of – from white beaches, crystal clear waters, jungle deep forests, mountainous landscapes to grazing elephants and leopards. This country truly lets you have it all. There are also seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites within Tanzania and almost one-third of the country is protected, holding one-fifth of Africa’s large mammals.
A lot of African countries struggle with the concept of sustainability in the midst of political unrests and economic issues. Nevertheless, more and more hotels and tour operators in Tanzania are trying hard to act as sustainable as possible.
What people often forget is that Tanzania is a big country and in order to travel in a sustainable matter you have to pick and choose what kind of adventure you are craving! But that is exactly what we love about Tanzania; you cannot get enough of it! We’ve been to Tanzania twice already – both times we actually traveled with our mothers! Natascha traveled the Serengeti & Zanzibar and I traveled Kilimanjaro (specifically the Maasai Tribe) & Zanzibar.
We’ll surely be going back for a few more times thanks to the incredibly welcoming culture and fascinating landscapes. Next time we’ll be traveling with the specialist in sustainable travel for Tanzania: Off Season Adventures.
Now without further ado, here’s an overview of what to experience and eat, and where to stay.
What to experience:
- Leopard spotting in the Serengeti.
- A Gin&Tonic sundowner – try Konyagi: a popular, cheap, and monstrously strong gin! For a classic sundowner stick to good old Hendrick’s Gin.
- Waking up for a 6am sunrise to see tip of the Kilimanjaro.
- Exploring the Zanzibar underwater world.
- Living and learning with the Maasai Tribe.
What to eat:
- Ugali – stiff dough made out of cornmeal, cassava flour and sorghum. Mostly served as a side dish.
- Nyama Choma – barbeque meat. What the South Africans like to call a braii.
- Mandazi – something for the sweet tooth, a little bit like a doughnut.
Eating national food is a simple way to contribute to sustainable travel as crops are planted locally rather than being imported. Rather than eating rice in Africa, which is hard to grow because of the limited rain, one can eat staple foods made out of corn, such as ugali.
Where to stay:
From locally built Maasai huts to solar panel electricity and daily set menus, there is little that doesn’t make a sustainable heart beat twice! Their locally planted house garden provides some of the ingredients needed for the daily menu and meat is only served occasionally. On top of that, everyone that works at the lodge is from the local neighborhood and the profits go straight back into the founder’s charity, which focuses on local hospitals and education centers. Find out more or donate to Africa Amini Lama. For our German speaking readers – I can only recommend reading the founders, Dr. Christine Wallner’s, auto-biography Mama Alama – Die Weisse Heilerin.
The architecture and location of Sunshine Marine Lodge has created natural air ventilation, avoiding the use of air condition units as a whole. A daily set menu, often with fresh-caught fish, ensures that as many ingredients as possible are locally harvested. Oh, and the amazing smelling organic soup that was offered to you in your room needs to get its mention!
Nomad Tanzania’s breathtaking camp has its own borehole for water, which eliminates travel to get water from other sources; grey water is drained safely. Shampoos and toiletries are environmentally friendly to avoid damage to the environment from the grey water coming from rooms. This year, Nomad is making all their camps completely plastic free, reusing wine bottles to store water in camp cars and in camps.