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By Karen B. Hoffman

Two major events take place back to back in Tanzania in early December 2003, These are ATA's 7th Cultural and Ecotourism Symposium in Zanziibar and the Second African Peace Through Tourism Conference in Dar es Salaam. Tanzania, the largest country in East Africa - larger than Germany and France combined, is often said to be "the land of the ultimate safari," with more than 25% of the land protected and home to an estimated 20% of Africa's large mammals. Home of Mt. Kilimanjaro, highest mountain on the Continent, six World Heritage Sites (Kilimanjaro National Park; Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and Selous Game Preserve, largest in the world), Olduvai Gorge ("Cradle of Mankind"), the ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara, Stone Town of Zanzibar and now Bagamoyo. Already listed in the World Heritage Site's 2002 Watch List, Bagamoyo, if accepted, will be Tanzania's Seventh World Heritage Site. Tanzania's lakes are also famous, with Lake Victoria the World's second largest fresh water body and Lake Tanganyika the world's longest lake and second deepest.

Photos: Top - Dar es Salaam harbor. Above - Tourism Minister Zamia Hamdani Meghji escorting group of ATA delegates and TTB team at IATOS Adventure Travel Show in Chicago. Left - Tanzanite, the famous gemstones of Tanzania. Below - scenes from ATA International Congress in Arusha. Bottom - New York University student volunteers ;led by ATA member Eddies Bergman, working at Miracle Corners of the World project in Tanzania.

Targeting the American Market

According to Hon. Zakia Hamdani Meghji, MP, Tanzania's Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, America, generating close to 50,000 tourists in 2000 (although in the post 9/11 period, it dropped to 30,806 in 2002) annually, is the second largest market after Great Britain. "Tanzania recognizes that Americans are seeking new travel experiences, new places for adventure and cultural interchanges, and that the African Continent exudes a mystery and lure irresistible to the traveler seeking something beyond a more predictable, traditional sun, sea and sand vacation. Although Tanzania has that in abundance also, along 500 miles of Indian Ocean coastline, offshore islands and the spice islands of Zanzibar. But most important, Tanzania offers all this in a safe, English speaking, stable environment."

The growing increase in the Tanzania Tourist Board's (TTB) activities in the US Market is indicative of the strategic importance that this market plays in the country's global marketing plan. Peter Mwenguo, Managing Director, Tanzania Tourist Board noted that "Tanzania's determination to make America our number one tourist generating market is clearly indicated by our spring campaign in the US: a 20-person delegation from the public and private sectors participated for the first time ever in the International Adventure and Outdoor Sports Show (IATOS) in February at the Navy Pier in Chicago; Tanzania had its own booth and sponsored a coffee break at the Seatrade Convention in Miami in March; and TTB participated in the Regional Tourism Organization of Southern Africa's (RETOSA) recent five market North American Tour." The United States Ambassador to Tanzania, Robert V. Royall, appreciates the important role tourism plays in Tanzania. The American Embassy is assisting Tanzania's tourism stakeholders by having a dedicated staff member, Ms. Susan Campbell, focus on tourism development. Ms. Campbell, who was part of the Tanzania delegation to IATOS, emphasized "Tanzania has tremendous potential to further promote its 'cultural capital" and unrivaled natural resources. The adventure traveler, in particular, is resilient, sophisticated and attracted to the types of opportunities that Tanzania has to offer."

More US Gateways

TTB Marketing Manager, Amant Macha, pointed out that Tanzania's air access is better than ever with major carriers providing more frequent service from US gateways: This summer, KLM/Northwest, will increase its flight schedule from daily service into Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro, to nine flights a week, with adding a direct flight to Kilimanjaro Airport and an additional one to Dar es Salaam, all with daily service to Dar es Salaam and Arusha via Amsterdam; British Airways flies three times a week into Dar es Salaam via London;South African Airways flies three times a week from Atlanta and New York City via Johannesburg, into Dar es Salaam; and Ethiopian Airlines flies from Dulles (Baltimore/Washington DC) and Newark with twice weekly connections to Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro Arusha via Addis Ababa.

Mt. Kilimanjaro: The "Height of Adventure"

Standing south of the equator at 19,340 feet, crowned at the summit by huge permanent glaciers, the iconic "Kili" is Africa's highest mountain and highest freestanding mountain in the world. An IMAX film, "To the Roof of Africa" following the climb of six people up Mt. Kilimanjaro, was launched in spring 2001 in museum Imax theaters across the country. "This was an enormous boost to Tanzania Tourism," said Mwenguo. "In fact two tour operators in the markets where the IMAX film was shown, Boston-based Thomson Safaris and Houston-based Absolute Adventure Travel, created promotions and itineraries "in the footsteps" of the IMAX film climb.

Kilimanjaro Marathon: Intrepid runners looking for a real challenge, from the continent that exports the most famous marathon runners, can participate in the Kilimanjaro Marathon. The first one, was held this year on March 2, drew participants from Australia, Sweden, Denmark, Kenya, South Africa, as well as Tanzania. Expected to become an annual event, the 2004 Kilimanjaro Marathon hopes to expand its participation from North America. and will become an annual event.

Extreme Adventure &endash; Climbing Active Volcanoes
Not for beginners, 15,000 year-old Ol Doinyo Lengai, Tanzania's only active volcano, located at the southern end of Lake Natron on the Rift Valley floor in a remote corner of the country, is for those enamored of (and experienced in) extreme adventure. Climbers scale the fresh spatter cones (hornitos) and avoid the sudden spurts of fresh natrocarbonatite lava, at 1000 degrees Farenheit, roughly half as hot as more ordinary basalt lavas.

Water Sports and Big Game Fishing
Mafia Island, located on the Indian Ocean, a 30-minute flight from Dar es Salaam, is one of the most exciting big game fishing and diving locations in the world, and definitely qualifies as a "best kept secret." The virtually unfished waters off the island are abundant with a rich variety of fish of tremendous size and weight. Catches include marlin, sailfish, shark, tunny, kingfish, barracuda, snapper, rock cod, dolphin, horse mackerel, wahoo, five-fingered jack and fimbo. A new marine park features a spectacular variety of coral reefs and fish. A 20-minute flight north of Zanzibar is Pemba Island, separated from the Mainland by the 2,400-foot deep Pemba Channel. It is sought out for its pristine coral reefs and deep-sea fauna such as the great white shark and giant turtles.

National Parks: Authentic Africa &endash; Protected Africa

Foremost to Tanzania's development and tourism policy is an uncompromising approach to protecting the country's cherished environment and natural beauties. "We have a progressive environmental and conservation policy that is not only embedded in our constitution," said Mr Saleh Pamba, Director of Tourism at the Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism, "but it is also through the Hon. Meghji's leadership and efforts toward this end, that the awareness - we who live in Tanzania as well as all visitors &endash; that we all have a responsibility to protect tour tourist attractions and environment for the next generations to come."

Tanzania now has 13 National Parks in its famous game viewing circuits. And according to Mr. Gerald Bigurube, Acting Director General of Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), "American tourists are already the largest group of visitors in the parks." Saadani, the newest national park, is East Africa's only coastal wildlife sanctuary. Located on the Indian Ocean Coast 130 k north of Dar es Salaam, Sadaani provides the unique combination of big game viewing with a marine park.

The National Parks are divided into safari circuits. The Northern, the most famous, attracts 90% of Tanzania park visitors. It is the home of the classic safari experience. From the endless short-grass plains of the Serengeti to the dense rive forests of Lake Manyara, the classic African savanna of Tarangire to the lushly blended ecosystems of Ngorongoro, there runs a shifting migration of African wildlife that perfectly captures the safari experience.

In the South, remote and wild, the Selous Game Reserve is crossed by the Rufiji River, and said to be the Continent's, and reputedly the world's largest game reserve. It is roughly the size of Ireland and four times the size of the Serengeti! Selous contains an estimated 30,000 elephants (the largest concentration in all of Africa), 160,000 buffalo and many more species, including zebras, impalas, water bucks, giraffes, lions and leopards. The Rufiji's tributaries form a network of lakes ideal for boat safaris and bird-watching, and home to prodigious numbers of hippos and crocodiles. Although most visitors arrive by small aircraft, they can also travel by train to the northern edge of the Selous.

The Selous, and the other two National Parks of the South, the Ruaha and Mikumi, have gradually earned a reputation among connoisseurs as the best-kept secret on the African safari circuit, offering remote, untouched swathes of game-filled wilderness with an exclusivity borne of isolated access.

The Western Highlands lace a ridge of the Rift Valley escarpment, high above Lake Tanganyika. Within the game-filled enclaves that sit along its spine there exist two small perfectly-formed worlds of natural splendor, and one vast expanse of prime African bush. Three of these National Parks&emdash; Gombe Stream, Mahale, Rubondo Island contain large colonies of chimpanzees, baboons and colobus monkeys. None of these parks are accessible by car, only by boat or aircraft.

Now, with regional carriers such as Coastal Aviation, expanding their route system to connect all the national parks, visitors can now enjoy a more diverse safari experience, such as flying direct from the famed Serengeti to Robondo Island and from Arusha to the Selous.

For more information on Tanzania visit; Zanzibar:; or in the US, contact the Bradford Group, Tel (212) 447-0027; email