Tanzania Travel

Wasn’t Tarzan from Tanzania? Anyways, check out this new undiscovered and remote destination. Tanzania. Read more below from an article I found called, Tanzania: The Farthest Shore.

“There’s no cell phone signal, so I wait with my suitcase in a cement gazebo surrounded by elephant grass, the blue of Africa’s deepest lake stretching toward the purple serrated ridgeline of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Curious children dressed in rags approach shyly. They are Bembe people, offspring of Congolese refugees who have squatted on the border of Tanzania’s Mahale Mountains National Park for the last twenty years.

This slug-shaped inland sea—410 miles long and from 10 to 50 miles wide—was “discovered” in 1858 by Richard Burton and John Manning Speke, Victorian explorers on a mission to find the source of the Nile. (Arab caravans had reached the lake more than a decade earlier, shipping ivory and slaves back to the Sultan of Zanzibar.) Among today’s travelers, Tanganyika is famous for its chimpanzees. It was at Gombe Stream, in the hills above the lake, that Jane Goodall in the early 1960s first witnessed primates stripping leaves off twigs and using them to fish termites from mounds, forever dispelling our notion of man as the sole toolmaker. Recognizing the need to preserve chimp habitat, the Tanzanian government created Gombe Stream National Park in 1968 and the much larger Mahale Mountains National Park in 1980.

Because of its remoteness and relatively primitive infrastructure, Lake Tanganyika—bordered by Tanzania, Burundi, Congo, and Zambia—has received remarkably few visitors in the years since. This may soon change, however, for tourism entrepreneurs thirsting for untrodden destinations are starting to eye the lake and its islands as Africa’s new, freshwater Seychelles.

Facing the beach from the tree line, my banda has a king-size wood-framed bed draped with mosquito netting, a veranda whose lounge chairs and table are made of recycled dhow beams, and an upstairs “chill out” platform reached by a ladder fashioned from a dugout canoe.

Handwoven baskets and mats, blue appliquéd canvas from Cairo’s tentmakers souk, and Tanzanian kanga cloth printed with Swahili sayings are utilized in a bohemian spirit and with a collector’s eye. (Aphorisms are a Tanzanian tradition; my favorite, painted on an old dhow prow incorporated into the resort’s sundowner bar, reads, “Myenyefina akosi sababu,” or “Jealousy has no reason”—a pun and perfect summation of Othello.) The open-air shelter gently thrusts me into, rather than cossets me from, the environment. I am visited by wasps with golden bellies, black-and-iridescent-blue swallowtail butterflies, and a troop of vervet monkeys that know the customary 8 a.m. wake-up call signals a delivery of tea-tray cookies.

After unpacking, I kick off my shoes, put on a bathing suit, and head for the beach, bright-orange quartz pebbles and tiny glittering pink shells crunching between my toes. Gazing at the brilliant-green forest curtain while treading warm, clear water, I think those hotel developers have it right, that Lake Tanganyika could become Africa’s freshwater beach paradise. But as soon as I set to sunbathing, a sharp jab from a tsetse fly ends my reverie.

Summer is Lake Tanganyika’s most rewarding season. Prime chimp viewing is July through September (when trees bear fruit, and chimps hang out in groups instead of dispersing in search of food), and tranquil weather and water make for ideal scuba and snorkeling conditions. There are regularly scheduled flights from the capital of Arusha to Mahale Mountains National Park on Mondays and Thursdays, with seats starting at $650; a private charter costs $4,000 for up to six people. It’s possible to observe chimps not only at Mahale Mountains National Park but also at Gombe Stream National Park, a four-hour boat ride north of Kigoma; other wildlife can be found at Zambia’s Ngumbu National Park, at Lake Tanganyika’s southern end. “

For more check out Conde Nast Traveler.