With its spicy meld of Indian, Arabic and European cultures, the mere mention of Zanzibar conjures up exotic images and awakens the senses. In the island’s capital, Stone Town, visit the Darajani spice market, watch the dhow builders at work and meander the town’s labyrinthine alleys to shop for antiques and carvings in the shops and bazaars. Off Mnemba Island – a tiny atoll off Zanzibar’s east coast which has been declared a marine conservation area – dugong and whale sharks feed in the limpid waters. Learn to dive for a chance to see them up close, or simply kayak and snorkel around the teeming reefs. Kite surfing and wind surfing are popular in the shallow waters off Pemba Island, still largely undeveloped and redolent with the scent of the cloves which are grown here. If all this action sounds like too much effort, take a scenic dhow cruise to a secluded beach to enjoy a romantic picnic or do absolutely nothing on a paradisiacal island beach.
Tanzania's biggest spectacle arrives in the form of the Great Migration, as over two million wildebeest, zebras and gazelles swarm like ants across the Serengeti’s plains. Try gliding over the Serengeti at dawn in a hot air balloon with a Champagne bush breakfast to follow, or share a lantern-lit bush picnic. At Serengeti Bushtops – one of Tanzania’s most luxurious camps – guests can enjoy a massage under the trees to the sound of the surrounding wildlife, with haute cuisine and fine wine always on the menu. Carnivores and plains game roam the 350,000 acres of the Grumeti Reserve, adjacent to the Serengeti’s Western Corridor. It’s a place to be at one with nature, to saddle up and join a horseback safari to visit some of the reserve’s most romantic and remote spots.
At 5,895 metres high it is classed in climbing parlance as ‘extreme’, but can be ascended via a choice of routes, varying in duration and level of difficulty. From Uhuru Point, the actual summit, or Gillman’s Point on the crater lip, the views are stupendous.
In the Ngorongoro Crater, home to the densest population of lion in the world, there’s the opportunity to track the prides as they roam the crater floor. The critically endangered black rhinoceros also dwells in the caldera along with zebra, eland and more, with leopard and elephant often sighted on the crater rim.
Bird watchers will thrill to the sight of the pink flamingos and pelicans that cover the alkaline waters of Lake Manyara, one of the country’s smallest but most diverse National Parks.