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Tanzania’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites

By May 4, 2020September 1st, 2021Tanzania

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has identified and preserved thousands of culturally significant sites around the world. From historical buildings to natural marvels, each heritage site is spectacular in its own right.

Many UNESCO sites are staples to world travelers, like the Great Wall of China or the Grand Canyon in the United States. Like many countries around the world, Tanzania has its own gorgeous UNESCO sites, many of which are included in Pristine Trails itineraries.

MOUNT KILIMANJARO is Africa’s highest peak, standing at 5,895 m / 19,334 ft, with its snowy peak beaconing over the savannah. The mountain stands in splendid isolation among the surrounding plains and is the largest free-standing volcano in the world. Kilimanjaro is encircled by a rainforest that is rich in species including some endangered ones. This feature, along with its height, physical form and snow cap make it a superlative natural phenomenon worth visiting. The mountain sees 30,000 people attempt to reach its summit every year. Would you like to be one of them?

NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA spans vast expanses of highland plains, forests, savannah and savannah woodlands. The area was designated in 1959 as a multiple land use area, with conservation taking place alongside the human settlement of semi-nomadic Maasai pastoralists practicing traditional livestock grazing. It includes Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest caldera. This site has significance for biodiversity conservation due to the presence of globally threatened species like the black rhino, the density of wildlife inhabiting the area and the annual migration of wildebeest and other ungulates in the northern plains bordering Serengeti. Extensive archeological research has also yielded evidence of human evolution including human footprints dating back 3.6 million years.

Tours that include Ngorongoro Crater


SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK is at the heart of the larger Serengeti ecosystem. Serengeti harbors the world’s largest unaltered mammal migration where 2 million wildebeest along with hundreds of thousands of other ungulates engage in a 1,000 km circular trek. This spectacular phenomenon takes place in a setting of endless plains – treeless expanses of flat grass plains dotted with rocky outcrops, rivers and woodlands. The park hosts the world’s largest, most diverse predator-prey interactions, making it a particularly impressive aesthetic experience and a safari must-see.

Tours that include Serengeti

STONE TOWN OF ZANZIBAR is the quintessential Swahili trading town of East Africa. A historic living town retaining its urban fabric and its townscape virtually intact, it contains many fine buildings that reflect its particular culture, which has brought together and homogenized different elements of cultures of Arabia, Europe, India and Africa. Major buildings here date back to the 18th and 19th centuries and include monuments like the Old Fort, the House of Wonder (a large ceremonial palace built by Sultan Barghash), Christ Church Anglican Cathedral built on the site of the last slave market on the island, Royal Cemetery, Hamamni and Persian Baths. Did you know that Stone Town once served as the capital city of the country of Oman (yes Oman, a tiny country on the Arabian Peninsula) back in 1840?

Explore Zanzibar

SELOUS GAME RESERVE is the largest protected area in Africa, covering 50,000 km². The park has a variety of vegetation zones such as the wooded grasslands flooded by the Rufiji River to the north and the dominant Miombo woodlands. The park boasts undisturbed biological and ecological processes including a diverse range of wildlife with impressive predator-prey relationships. Among these are wild hunting dogs, elephants, black rhino, sable antelope, Nile crocodiles, and greater kudu to name a few. Because of the high density and diversity of species, Selous is a natural habitat of outstanding importance for the conservation of biodiversity.

KONDO ROCK ARTS is located on the Eastern Slope of the Maasai Steppe bordering the Great Rift Valley. These are natural rock shelters, overhanging slabs of sedimentary rocks fragmented by rift faults, whose vertical plains have been used for rock painting for at least two millennia.
The spectacular collection of images has high artistic value and depicts sequences that provide unique testimony to a changing socioeconomic base of the area. Some of the shelters are considered to have ritual associations with people living nearby.

RUINS OF KILWA KISIWANI AND SONGO MNARA are two islands located off the coast of Tanzania just South of Dar es Salaam city. They were two great trading ports at their peak from the 13th to the 16th century, where merchants of Kilwa dealt in gold, silver, pearls, and ivory Chinese porcelain to name a few. The sites bare exceptional testimony to the expansion of Swahili culture, Islamization of East Africa and the prosperous Indian Ocean trade from the medieval period to the modern era.

One Comment

  • Laura says:

    Is Selous still considered a UNESCO World Heritage site after the construction of the controversial Stiegler dam?

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