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10 little known gems in Tanzania

Njombe Forest

10 less-known tourist attractions in Tanzania

Tanzania is fast bouncing back from the COVID-19 economic crisis to one of the most visited countries in the world. This is because the Swahili nation has a lot of tourist attractions including its famous historical sites, game reserves and National Parks.

Despite the popular Mountain Kilimanjaro, Serengeti Park, and Ngorongoro Crater, there are amazing natural and man-made sites that you must see during your tour in the country.

These are gems that even residents in the country are not very familiar with that will give you a breath-taking experience:

  1. Magoroto Forest Getaway

This rainforest is located in the East Usambara Mountains, stretching all the way to Southern Kenya. Popularly known as an oasis of calmness, tranquility, and natural beauty, Magoroto has the best view and is remarked as a haven for lovers of outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, and camping. with friends, family. They serve Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and accommodation.

Located just 12 km from Muheza Town, a 45 mins drive it is an amazing tropical rainforest with a man-made Lake, a wonderful view of nature, and a view of Mombasa Town.

  1. Kikuletwa Hotspring in Moshi

This is a natural hot water spring that charges about 5,000/= Tshs. entrance fee for Tanzanian residents and about 10,000/= Tanzanian Shillings (10 USD) for non-Tanzanians.

The Hotspring has turquoise blue and crystal clear water for refreshment. You can drive from Arusha to Boma N’gombe by car, daladala or Bajaj. There is a forest, river beds, acacia trees, and more.

Kikuletwa hotspring has been there for generations but only a few people know it hence among the least visited attractions in Tanzania.

  1. Lake Chala, Moshi

This is a place where you’ll get to hear amazing sounds of birds, breath fresh air, and enjoy a wonderful view of plants & trees of Chala.

Lake Chala is a crater lake located at the border of Tanzania and Kenya. It is more than 250k years old and is 98m deep.

The lake has a minimum human intervention and a hotel to suit the bar. Tourists can enjoy camping, kayaking, and swimming activities.

  1. Msimbati Beach, Mtwara

Msimbati Beach is a beautiful, remote, 15-km long beach located within the offshore of Mnazi Bay Marine Reserve at Old Boma, in Mikindani, Mtwara.

A ride to this area from Dar will take 6-8 hours in a 4X4. You will enjoy activities such as snorkelling and swimming, while a walk along the beach will take about 90 mins.

There is a hotel that serves lunch and dinner, and you can also hire snorkel gear from the gift shop.

For a day safari, you need to carry your suncream, sunglasses and light clothing for sun protection. If you want to spend the night camping, it is important to bring your own camping equipment.

  1. Kondoa Irangi

Mostly, Tanzanians learn about this historical site since elementary school but the majority neither pay attention to it nor visit the area. It is said to have ancient rock paintings, and drawings of the early man, aged more than 2000 years old.

The site is surrounded by members of the Maasai-Rangi tribe who have lived in the semidesert for generations.

When you visit this site, you will get to see the Kisese II Rock shelter (middle-late stone age) and Mungomi wa Kolo (Kolo 1) site.

Furthermore, the site has its own Tourism Programme that includes Rock Painting Tour (2-5 hours), Royal Village Tour (2-5 hours), Village Biking Tour (2-4 hours), Ntomoko water Drops Tour (Sambwa Hill), Kondoa Town Tour (2-5 hours), Canoeing at lake Munguri (2-3 hours), Traditional Honey Harvesting (1-4 hours) and meeting a Traditional Healer (2 hours).

Not what you expected, right?

  1. Uluguru Mountains

It’s a normal for any road traveller to Dodoma (capital city) or anywhere in the western/southern countryside to see the Uluguru mountains as they pass Morogoro Town. However, there is more to the mountains than the usual free view of the peaks.

swimming at waterfallIf you love Mountain Climbing, Hiking, or bike riding and at the same time want to swim in waterfalls and eat some strawberries, this is the place to be. It will take you a total drive of 3 hours drive from Dar es salaam, giving you ample time to enjoy a tour of the place.

An ideal tour includes camping, beautiful view of birds, and tour to the source of streams and rivers that form Ruvu which supplies water to Dar es salaam.

Locals are Matrilineal based tribe, Waluguru, have been living for years with reptiles and rare amphibians that are found nowhere else in the world.

The mountain has a short to long biking, and up to 6-8 hours hiking to the Luparaga peak which stands at about 2150m above sea level. From this peak,  you’ll get to see the Kinole waterfalls.

  1. Rubondo Island

Rubondo IslandThis is a small island located at lake Victoria in the Geita Region with one of the best camping sites in Tanzania.

The island is popular for fishing and bird enthusiasts, but tourists find camping more refreshing. You can enjoy game drives, walks around the island, boating, enjoy views of wildlife and dangerous animals as well as village visits.

Rubondo is among the least visited national parks in Tanzania, with very few visitors even during the peak period from July through February.

When you need a camping site with just a deluxe safari tier-2 camp, 8 cottages, and a treehouse with utmost privacy, visit Rubondo Island.

  1. Kilwa Ruins Tour (Kilwa Kisiwani)

Everybody knows Kilwa, but not many people really know what’s in there. This place is popularly known as the Old Town for business. The town traded with their own money with 35 medieval trading communities.

There are remains of the Great Mosque, Sultan’s palace, his Tombstones, and Jimbizi Beach.

A tour of the place includes a visit to the Kisiwani and Songo Mnara islands which are old stone towns found to be cradles of the Swahili culture and the starting point of Islamization of the East coast of Africa.

The place has the crenulated Gereza-Fort at the harbour that was built by the Portuguese during the arrival of Vasco da Gamma in 1952

  1. Pope Potwe in Mafia Island

The Mafia Island has amazing beaches and a big blue Mafia island diving Centre but most of the visitors don’t know the island has a whale shark (Potwe) which causes no harm and is photo-friendly It even loves playing with you in the sea.

Potwe is named as the good Pope for his generosity and gentleness at the sea, one of endangered creatures that WWF is currently supporting to ensure its survival.

The place is located at Kilindoni District, just a few kilometers from Rufiji, near the gates of Mafia Island Marine Park (MIMP) that has nice hotel lodges and amazing beaches to enjoy, enjoy cool breeze and snorkeling.

  1. Njombe Forest (Kitulo Reserve)

Njombe ForestThis forest has more than 30 different kinds of flowers that are found only in the area, attracting a variety of unique birds.

The Forest is located just 78 km from Mbeya City and can easily be accessed from Zambia through Tunduma and from Malawi through Kalonga by road.

Njombe forest was discovered as early as 1878 by Explorer Fredrick Elton who was just passing by. By 1960, FAO occupied the place for wheat farming and livestock keeping but later, the place became a cow farm till recently.

Njombe Forest reserveIt was named the Njombe National Reserve in 2005 and includes the livestock farm, Livingstone Forest, Numbi hill, and the rest of the cultural area.

Visitors get to see a new kind of chimpanzee, Lophocebus Kipunji, a fantastic Flat Surface, hills, mountains, waterfalls, and mostly the Cedar Trees that are 50 metres tall.

In conclusion, Tanzania is rich in nature, historical sites, and places to explore, enjoy, and create a lifetime of memories that are not as well known as the Serengeti and Mt. Kilimanjaro. Apart from the 10 mentioned above, there is also the Old Bagamoyo Town which has wonderful beaches, plenty of historical sites, and non-changing cultural sites such as Nyumba ya Mungu (Mbeya) and Saanane islands (Ukerewe). Whether you love adventure, fun, or have a natural inclination towards nature, there are plenty of little known gems that are at the bottom list of tour guides yet worth a visit.