Tanzania: the stunning country in Africa that’s home to a plethora of natural beauty. Of course, there’s Mount Kilimanjaro, but there’s so much more to see than the usual tourist attractions. You will be amazed at all the wildlife you see there when you visit, not to mention the beautiful beaches and stunning sights.

There is a number of amazing cultural places you can go to while you’re in Tanzania, so instead of running to the usual museums or historical sights, check out these culture hotspots that you simply can’t miss.

1 ) Ngorongoro Crater Highland Region

Photo via Flickr

It’s impossible to visit Tanzania without seeing it’s most well-known indigenous warriors, known as the Maasai. When you get the chance to spend some time with these wonderful people you will be amazed by the beautiful simplicity of their lives. They live their lives in the most traditional way, on the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

This is the only place on the continent where the wildlife is fully protected for the Maasai. When you go there, you see so many wild creatures, and will be able immersed in the history of the Maasai people. Everywhere you’ll see men and women wrapped in blue, with white manacles around their necks and wrists. You can head to Maasai villages too, but of course remember to be respectful on your journey, and always ask for permission to take any photographs.

2 ) Stone Town

If you’d like to get a look at a way of life that’s different than our own, make a visit to Stone Town. Declared a UNESCO site in 2000, this old city is almost medieval in feeling. You will be amazed at the beautiful stone running throughout the town, along with the sparkling ocean set right nearby. And be careful not to get lost in the winding buildings!

Stone Town might be a popular tourist destination, but this isn’t a tourist attraction by any means. You won’t be exposed to a historical recreation. Instead, you can interact with real people as you take in the African men in long dresses and men on the shore.

3 ) Kilwa Ruins

Photo via Flickr

Set in southern Tanzania in the small island of Kilwa Kisiwani, these ruins are some of the most beautiful in the world. They trace all the way back to the 14th Century when Kilwa Kisiwani was the hub of a trade network linking Zimbabwe to Arabia and Asia.

These haunting ruins immediately grab your attention. It is impossible to look away when you see the dome-roofed mosques, the amazingly large palaces, and the ornate graves. Honestly, there’s no better place to get a real look at medieval Swahili architecture. UNESCO recognized this site in 1981.

4 ) Forodhani Gardens

If you’re a food lover you won’t resist tasting some of the local cuisine while your stay in Tanzania, and that is why you should head over to Forodhani Gardens. The evening food market there offers all the tastes of Zanzibar and is located right in the heart of Stone Town.

This makes it the perfect place for you to get to know the locals better while trying some specific Zanzibar food. If you’re looking for a real cultural experience, Forodhani Gardens is a great place to start.

5 ) The Wanyambo Festival

The Wanyambo Festival is for sure the event worth visiting. This is a wonderful opportunity to experience local culture if you’re taking your trip in January. You can watch the traditional dances, eat the wonderful food, and get lost in the music surrounding you.

People from all over Tanzania come to partake every year, so if you happen to be in Tanzania around January, there’s no way you can miss such a great opportunity to see the beauty of Wanyambo culture and crafts.

6 ) Darajani Market

Right on the outskirts of Stone Town, you can find Darajani Market. This place is not only lively, but has many food types and ingredients from all around the island too. If you want to take some food back to try cooking yourself, this is a great place to stock up on ingredients. You can find fresh fish and meat, and some other island delicacies too.

Darajani Market is a wonderful place to find everything you need to make your own Tanzanian cuisine. Certainly you’ll be exited to do some cooking with native ingredients, but if you’re a little clumsy and not experienced enough, you might want to try the ready to eat food instead. There are many good opportunities indeed!

7 ) Mwaka Kogwa: Shirazi New Year

If you’re in Tanzania in July, there’s no way that you can miss this 4-day New Year celebration. It’s rooted in the Zoroastrian traditions and the Shirazi calendar, including mock fights and burning a hut.

The Shirazis were the first foreign settlers in Zanzibar, so much of their culture was taken in by the Swahili people and adapted. You will be mesmerized by the culture as you will be watching men fight with banana stalks to help the New Year roll in. The women would walk around the fields wearing traditional garb, singing songs that will definitely get your attention.

Embrace the festivities yourself no matter where you are in Tanzania, since places all around the area hold festivals in celebration. The village of Makunduchi is where the festivities are best observed though. For sure, you will an amazing time!

8 ) The Hadzabe

When it comes to experiencing the history and traditions of Tanzania, you just have to check out the Hadzabe. These people are indigenous hunter gathers around Lake Eyasi. They continue to live a traditional life and aren’t shy about getting you involved too. The men are happy to take you hunting and let you participate in the preparation of weapons, but you can help the women prepare the homestead as well.

Try to spend some time doing both with the Hadzabe people. It would be an interesting experience just to get a glimpse of their culture and lifestyle, and, definitely, the impressions from getting involved into the certain activities of their everyday lives will be among the warmest and the most long lasting.

Planning a trip to Africa…?

Check out a few of my other Africa travel articles! 

The Top 12 Safest Countries in Africa For Your Bucket List

The 10 Best Music Festivals in Africa to Experience Before You Die

Thanks so much for reading!

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