Tanzania An African escapade

There aren’t a lot of places in the world that could knock the wind out of your lungs. Everything is either too commercialised, “too touched” that it has lost its essence or too overexposed to tourists, that it doesn’t serve any other purpose than a bucket list item on the itinerary. Traveling is for perspective, for exposure, for adventure and for a few days of the cultural confusion you experience after the awkward amalgamation of your origin and the place you are visiting. Tanzania keeps the spirit of traveling alive – the jaw-dropping panoramic views, the endless oases of green in national parks, the realest and closest you can be to wildlife and the adventure of the wilderness. And how did we ever forget to mention the beaches? They can feed the escapism you need on a holiday. Tanzania is solo backpacker’s fancy, the perfect destination for a family holiday or serves as the realm to take endless aimless strolls, finding your way through unknown lands, nurturing the explorer in you.

Winning against Kilimanjaro

The highest lone standing mountain in the world and the highest peak in Africa, a truly picturesque view, you could either lay on the grass under the shade of the mountain or you could put on your big boy/girl boots and climb it. Needless to say, do so if you have the physical fitness and the mountain climbing expertise to do this. The climb takes about eight to 10 days, it’s is the most extreme of extreme sports, you know the kind that you regret five minutes into it and would do it again without a shadow of a doubt once it’s over. Also, imagine what the view must be like, do it for the view. The climbing expedition starts in Moshi and if you plan on coming out triumphant in the face of Kilimanjaro, then get friendly with Moshi, because you’ll be spending a couple of days here. Immerse in the magic of the loud music that Materuni Waterfalls make, is there anything wilder than nature anyway? You can also visit the Materuni village and see the coffee tour but more so, experience the hospitality of the Chagga people. A short hike away, is the Chemka Hot Springs, let them wash away the atrocities of life.

Safari: Quintessentially African

The essence of a Tanzanian holiday is the safari; you experience the majesty of jungles and the might of the wildlife the way it should be – uncontrolled, bona fide and a little daunting – there’s no safety of watching the almighty king of the jungle from behind the cages. It’s their territory and their rules – which makes it all the more fun to live through the closest encounter you might have with the animal kingdom. Start in Arusha and onto Serengati, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Parks. Arusha has a bustling night life, finger licking street stalls that you could happily feed off with chips mayai and chicken and epic retail therapy off the streets at the Maasai Market. Indulge in the carefree evenings lazying at the foot of Mount Meru or summon the adrenaline junkie in you and go on to climb it. Word of caution: please be prepared and packed as required by a mountain climber.

Lake Manyara: Dreamy stopovers

Traveling comes with a few too many hours of driving across the country, it could deplete energy levels but not if you could rejuvenate and get back in travel-mode with pit stops along the way. And honestly, that’s how one travels in the real sense. Amassing experiences on the road rather than sticking to schedule written in stone and adhered to for dear life. On the way Serengati and Ngorongoro Crater, is something like a reflection of paradise – thick, green jungles all the way to the horizon, with flamingoes going about business on their slender pink legs and the graceful strut, and elephants and lions all peacefully (except when they’re hungry) co-existing in their natural habitat. Find a nice spot, one that offers panoramic views of the jungle and more, and let the quiet of the jungle overwhelm you. It’s a disrespectfully understated tourist spot, you should do it justice. Thank me later.

Fun fact: the lions in Lake Manyara have finally learnt how to climb trees. A rarity you can find here.

Panoramic beauty: Usambara Mountains

If you’re up for a trekking and hiking and don’t mind sweating it, then the Usambara Mountains are an escape for an explorer’s soul. Enjoy the ascension, the 360 degree view from the mountains, the welcome of what may be called the friendliest of people in Tanzania and the chill of the mountains. If you’re lucky and the day is clear, then you can see the faded form of the Kilimanjaro somewhere near the horizon. The vegetation ruffling loudly to the billowing winds add symphony to the background and it’s all you’ll need to complete the day.

Reminisce the Stone Town

Beautifully and meticulously preserved history for over two centuries, Stone Town is culturally infused and a must-see in Zanzibar. Winding streets with grand Arabian homes, that have been cared for despite being exposed to all the elements is quite the sight. The circular domes, the towers pointing skywards and the brass-studded wooden doors all Instagram a little too well – most of the towns and buildings have been transformed into museums and tourist spots. Spend the day exploring (and photographing) the Stone Town, it’s many churches and more, washed in sunlight.

Lake Victoria

Bordering three countries, Lake Victoria is the largest freshwater lake and so much more than just a body of water that feeds neighbouring villages. The sand on the bank is a warm shade of gold, the warmth of the day is a sweet sunny escape and the water is most beautifully azure coloured. The site is another sad affair, since tourists seem to miss it out, but hey, that means no overcrowded flocks of tourist in the way of your day at the beach. Surrounding towns have islands where wildlife flourishes in their natural habitat. If you want to get even closer to nature, go island hopping for the rawest experience of nature cruisin’.•