Africa has its own seasons. From November to April, while American and European families are donning winter coats and pushing through winter’s wrath, the great plains of the Serengeti are springing to life with fresh green growth on hardy acacias and lofty crotons and flaming red blooms on ubiquitous tulip trees.
This is called “the Green Season,” and it contrasts from Africa’s peak safari season, from July to September, in some dramatic ways – making it Africa’s “Secret Season” for the wealth of rare natural treasure to be discovered. Tanzania is a land of Edens within this drama, bringing the wildlife spectacles to be found at Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park in the north as well as the Ruaha and Selous Game Reserves in the south. Lake Manyara, with scenery Ernest Hemingway called “the loveliest I had seen in Africa” remains as it was – a frame of exploding pinks against blinding blotches black stripes as flamingoes nest, herons light and zebra, wildebeest and giraffes cool off in the equatorial sun. Mt. Kilimanjaro looms in the distance on a clear day as the highest (19,341-foot) mountain on the continent and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world.
All of this is within reach of Arusha, fast becoming one of the top MICE locations in Africa. The Arusha International Conference Centre is a spectacular custom-built facility with the capacity to host up to 10,000 delegates.
“We are steadily preparing the country for the big time when it comes to business tourism,” says Arusha ICC CEO Elishilia D. Kaaya in an interview with AfricaLive.net. “Arusha is home to some of the most acclaimed natural sites in the world and our center is closely associated with these amazing sites because of our proximity to them. We want people to think about these wonders of the world whenever the Arusha International Conference Centre is mentioned.”
The development of the industry in Tanzania will see continued investment in infrastructure and facilities with new conference centers developing close to the country’s main tourist and business hubs such as Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam.
For those who want to mix meetings with a magical immersion in Tanzania’s natural beauty, there is no shortage of luxury safaris that can fill the bill. Top names familiar to US travelers include Micato Safaris, African Travel, Collette, Globus, Gate One, Goway, SITA, Intrepid, Tauck, Travcoa and many more. They manage group travel, private travel, super-luxury travel, even jet safaris. Choices come into play for the level of luxury and lodging rather than animal sightings. In Tanzania, the Big Five conquests come with the territory.
It’s worth noting that the Trump administration made headlines recently with proposed new travel bans for six countries, including Tanzania. However as of this writing, the bans have not yet been officially put in effect, and only apply to certain visas for travel inbound to the US. And as always, before traveling it’s best to check with the State Department for any details about travel documentation.
Access to Tanzania has been boosted in recent years by the return of national carrier Air Tanzania in 2016, which was able to establish direct flights from Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Travelers can now fly easily into airfields near Kilimanjaro and the other three national park zones as well as Zanzibar – the Spice Islands, all well worth the exploration.
If Tanzania were to delve into the top five reasons to visit, it might look something like this:
- Wildlife Safaris: The great migrations, Ngorongoro Crater National Park that is home to the largest volcanic crater on earth with the largest concentration of varied wildlife to be found on the planet – and all this comes with the comforts and luxuries of five-star travel.
- Beaches: The soft sand littorals along the rims of Zanzibar and Pemba are laced with luxury lairs that open to the warm Indian Ocean, just a stone’s throw from the medieval alleys of Stonetown where century-old giant roaming tortoises blend with aromatic cafes and notion shops.
- Mountain Climbing: While conquering the highest mountain in Africa is always on the list, smaller mountains such as Mountain Meru and Lake Natron’s The Mountain of God also beckon.
- Balloon Safaris: Gliding over the Serengeti at sunrise? Bucket list.
- Exotic Foods: Dishes in Tanzania take on a piquant blend of Middle Eastern, Indian and Sub-Sahara. A little ugali, some curried fish, some local nuts and fruits and a lot of spices. Get used to the scent of cloves in Zanzibar.
Top Resorts in Tanzania.
Tanzania has been in the resort business for some 80 years as royals and celebrities found Africa’s wilds to be a regular interest, if not an addiction. These range from comfortable permanent tented camps with decked out quarters that include attached bathrooms, hot baths, libraries, even Internet, all on a remote scape where lions roar and elephants make occasional entrances.