The biggest annual event in Tanzania begins at the Serengeti National Park near the Kenyan border, when huge herds of wildebeests head for greener pastures in Kenya. Starting in April each year, more than 2 million of these animals migrate across the Serengeti's southern plains accompanied by zebras, antelopes, gazelles, lions and tourists. Tanzanian Independence Day (December 9) somehow pales in significance.
Step out into the vast open plains that dominate much of Tanzania and you suddenly feel very, very small. And so you should. You've just joined one of the largest, wildest animal populations in the world. Wildebeest, monkey, antelope, lion, cheetah, crocodile, gazelle, flamingo - you name them, Tanzania's had great White plunderers shoot them. But these days they use cameras rather than guns. An economically poor country troubled by rowdy neighbours and opportunistic colonial powers, Tanzania offers some of the best wildlife spotting opportunities on the continent. Famous parks such as the Serengeti and Mt Kilimanjaro, or the wonderful crater of Ngorongoro, make many drab towns here well worth the stopover. Then there's the country's very sexy appendage - Zanzibar. One of several islands off Tanzania's coast, this former spice centre simply oozes exotica and scented Persian bath water.