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Published: August 30th 2008
In the same way that people around the world associate mounties, mountains and hockey with Canada, I expect Mount Kilimanjaro, large animals and the Maasai often come to mind when people think of Tanzania. These are, of course, what tourism in this country is built on - elephants, giraffes and exotic safaris. Along with mining and agriculture, tourism in Tanzania is one of the three largest sectors of the economy and generates more foreign exchange than any other industry here.
In recognition I expect of the importance and value of the environment and ecology of this country, Tanzania has protected more than 25% of its landmass in conservation areas. According to my reading that is a substantially higher percentage than any other country in the world.
For most tourists there are two regions of Tanzania that are of interest. The most popular is called the northern circuit and includes the Serengeti Plain, the Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, Tarangire and Arusha National Parks, Mount Kilimanjaro and the Usumbara Mountains. All these features are in a band across the northern part of the country that is adjacent to the border with Kenya. The city of Arusha is the principal service centre
for the northern circuit. The second most popular area is along the coast in the vicinity of Dar es Salaam where there are a number of beautiful beaches and of course the islands of Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia. These are beautiful, exotic places with pristine beaches, wonderful snorkeling and fascinating spice plantations. The southern circuit, which is not as widely traveled, includes Ruaha National Park which is almost due south of Dodoma where we live, Mikumi National Park which is within a day’s drive of Dar es Salaam, the Selous Game Reserve and Udzungwa National Park, both southwest of Dar. There are other less traveled parks and reserves in the west of the country along Lake Tanganyika.
While Gerry and I have been to the north of the country and visited Arusha we found the cost of visiting Serengeti and Ngorongoro to be too pricy for us. We have been able, however, to visit Zanzibar, and enjoy safaris in Mikumi and Ruaha National Parks. The pictures in our blog this time are from those visits we have made as tourists.
Tourism, pers se, really doesn’t seem to happen much where we live in Dodoma. Since living here for
a year now, I have met only one group of tourists, apart of course from my brother and his wife and our daughter, all of whom came to visit us. The tourists I met in Dodoma were a group of six, twenty-something South Africans who were cycling from Cairo to Cape Town. Now does that not sound like fun? It was all I could do not to join them. (Actually, they were slightly more fit and far better equipped than I will ever be so I might have had a little trouble keeping up.)
Tanzania has a great deal to offer the tourist - beautiful scenery, interesting and different cultural experiences and a range of accommodation from five star hotels to back packing safaris. So, while there is of course so much more to this country than what most tourists see, the industry is providing a great number of jobs, a great deal of income and a positive face to the rest of the world. No doubt it will continue to be a large contributor to the economy and further development of Tanzania.
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