How to explore Tanzania on a budget

You’d be forgiven for thinking you’ll be forced to dismiss a trip to Africa because of the hefty costs involved, but in fact you can probably enjoy an adventure in hugely-popular Tanzania for far less than you expect. Travel is not all about plush surroundings and VIP treatment: often the more memorable elements of a trip are those times when you set off just to explore and come across a hidden gem, meet someone new or try an unfamiliar local dish. Sometimes the best things in life are free, and it rings true of travel too.

So here are a few tips and tricks for how you can get the best bang for your buck and cut your costs to enjoy a fantastic holiday in Tanzania on a budget.


Where to stay

Tanzania has a wealth of luxury lodges and plush hotels where those looking to splash out can bed down, but it also has some great options for those who have less spending power. There are lots of guesthouses and bed & breakfasts that are far cheaper than hotels and may be a friendlier experience regardless. Here you can experience some local charm and meet like-minded travellers, often with the opportunity to cook a feast together in a communal kitchen. One of the best things about travelling, especially to somewhere as exotic as Tanzania, is the people you meet, and you can’t experience that hidden away in a hotel room. What’s more, you may pick up some fantastic trips from fellow travellers.

For the full back-to-nature experience, why not book a pitch at one of the many campsites in Tanzania. Waking up to the sun rising above the plain and the sounds of the natural world stirring all around you is a memorable feeling, the sort of experience you will always remember – and at very little impact on your wallet.


Kilimanjaro alternatives

Mount Kilimanjaro might be the headline attraction for many who travel to Tanzania, but it can be a costly (and indeed lengthy) trek and there are some intriguing alternatives for those who want to take the road less travelled.

The less well-known and less crowded Arusha National Park is home to what has been called the baby brother of Mount Kilimanjaro: Mount Meru. It may be smaller, but Arusha is packed with wildlife. You can spot Giraffe, Cape Buffalo, Warthogs, Zebra and a wonderful range of birds. You may even catch sight of the tree-climbing lions and the flocks of flamingo that descend on Lake Manyara during the rainy season.


The beach life

Many head to Zanzibar for a taste of Tanzania’s beach charm, but rather than paying for travel out to the island, the more thrifty amongst you may be better off staying on the mainland. There are golden-white sands undisturbed by hordes of holidaymakers all along the coast around Pangani, a perfect base to head out into the warm azure of the ocean there and snorkel among the coral reefs. A particularly idyllic option for your accommodation is a thatched roof tent, which are often situated directly on the sand.