​Best Places to Celebrate Christmas in Tanzania

Before I unveil the best places to celebrate Christmas in Tanzania I must warn you that the country is one of those destinations where Christmas can be celebrated in ​​uncommon ways and still leave you with good memorable moments.

​However, if you’re looking for that common Christmas celebration in Tanzania no need to worry, we have those vibes in the cities like Dar es Salaam, the biggest city in the country.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for unusual ways to celebrate Christmas, Tanzania is, without doubt, the best ever destination you may think of.

Let me ask you this quick question, how many Christmas have you been celebrating in popular common ways so far? Uncountable! ​Right?

​Christmas in Tanzania: Do it differently

​Time to celebrate Christmas a little bit differently, a way that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

​In this guide, I am going to take you through the best places where you can have a unique Christmas celebration in Tanzania.

​And celebrating a Christmas in Tanzania is never going to feel the same as the other Christmases that is for sure!

The thing is, Tanzania is a country with almost a balanced number of Muslims and Christians. This makes it have a balanced but very unique Christmas vibe that is different than many countries.

So if you’re going to be here next Christmas and you’re wondering what may be the best places to celebrate Christmas in Tanzania, you are in the right place and please, be my guest.

From those popular to unusual Christmas celebrations, I am going to share the top places that will leave your Christmas well treated in Tanzania.

To make this guide even handy, I am going to share with you the best things to do in each particular place I’ll suggest for your Christmas celebration.

Trust me, even if you don’t know Tanzania much, or you have never been here before, with this guide you are going to feel familiar enough to plan your own Christmas vacation in Tanzania like a pro.

So tie yourself in your Christmas apron, grab a cup of coffee and travel with me as I am sharing the following best places to celebrate Christmas in Tanzania.

Dar es Salaam

The name has an Arabic origin meaning, the house/harbor/heaven of peace. It was named by the late Sultan Majid.

Majid, was very crucial in building the Dar es Salaam in the 1850s after he left Zanzibar after the quarrels with his brother, Thuwaini got intensified.

Before the death of their father, Sultan Said, Zanzibar and Oman used to be under a single Sultanate. When Sultan Said died and one of his sons, Sultan Majid took his place, Thuwaini wasn’t much pleased.

As a result, there were so many quarrels between these two brothers something led to the division of Oman & Zanzibar into two different sultanates.

Thuwaini (Majid brother) took over in Oman while his brother Sultan Majid remained with Zanzibar.

​As you can tell, Sultan Majid liked no quarrels. It is even claimed he considered surrendering Zanzibar as well to his brother before his advisors advised him against it.

But one thing notable which came to leave the mark in Tanzania is that Majid decided to be as far as possible from his brother Thuwaini.

​As a result, Majid moved to Mzizima where he found peace again and influenced re-naming of the town to Dar es Salaam expressing that he had found the harbor of peace.

In his time in Zanzibar from 1860’s to 1870 when Majid died, Dar es Salaam had become ​one ​of the most developed and respected towns of East Africa and even became among the important business towns between Asia and East Africa.

Here are the best places to celebrate Christmas in Dar es Salaam.

Go in Saadani national park and enjoy;

  • Game viewing,
  • Boat safari and
  • Birding of up to 100 species of birds while lying on the Indian Ocean beach.

There are really, few places in the world where wildlife sanctuaries meet the beach.

Visit the old Bagamoyo town and celebrate your Christmas by;

  • Learning ancient history
  • Snorkeling & beaching
  • Boating
  • Dining on local simple food.

The National Museum of Tanzania is never short of amazing history.

There is nothing about Tanzania history that you won’t find in the National Museum of Tanzania.

If you’re planning to attend the morning mass on Christmas day, next thing when the mass is over may well be spending a few hours in the National Museum of Tanzania.

A Christmas in the Village museum can never go wrong

Here is where​ ​depth insight of the Tanzania tribes is told at its best.

Again, in this museum, you’ll have a better chance of celebrating Christmas by enjoying local drum performances.

Take a boat drive to Bongoyo Island

You’re never going to find this island boring.

With an island, only 2.5 km from the city center a visit there should as well leave your Christmas well served as you’ll have an opportunity to sunbathe while eating the seas foods.

Visit Mbudya Island

If you like privacy, this is another top island to celebrate your Christmas.

You may decide that you want your next Christmas to be as cool as a low key with the one you love. ​So, if that is the case, take a 15 minutes boat drive to Mbudya and rent a Banda or hut on the beach for you to enjoy and have the privacy you need.

Go and admire the beauty of Botanical Gardens

You may well decide to go and enjoy the botanical garden for your Christmas celebration in Tanzania.

This garden which is more than 120 years old is fantastic for viewing different flora species.

With interesting news about flowers and different tree types, your Christmas can end up being absolutely memorable

How about Dar es salaam city tour?

Celebrating Christmas in Tanzania by just traveling from place to place seeing how others are taking their celebration vibes is another cool idea.

To make it even enjoyable, you won’t have to do it so many hours.

Taking a mwendokasi (rapid transportation) to Kariakoo which is the biggest market in the country will give you a unique opportunity to see the way the locals celebrate Christmas and the general vibe of the town.

Take on Askari monument

How about visiting a famous askari monument which was established in 1927?

As long as it won’t take much of your time, it may well be another good place to visit during Christmas.

Celebrate your Christmas in Azania Lutheran Church

Are you a member of the Lutheran Church?

If you answered yes, there is no better place to start your Christmas celebration than in the old Azania Lutheran church. The most thing I like about this church though is its location which gives you a perfect​ ​city view.

Visit St Joseph Cathedral

If you want to experience the old German inscriptions and the artwork then St Joseph Cathedral should be in your list for this Christmas day.

Loads of many places to celebrate Christmas in Dar es Salaam

You can as well decide to visit any of; Statehouse, Kunduchi water park, Kivukoni fish market, Oyster Bay, Mwenge wood carvers village, Pugu Hills nature reserve, Coco beach and Muja island.

With so many options, Dar es Salaam is simply among the best places to celebrate Christmas in Tanzania.

Celebrating your Christmas in Arusha is a joy!

​Imagine that Arusha weather, for example.

Yes, that weather is unique and for years now the city has been known as Geneva of Africa after Bill Clinton, the former US president branded this city, Geneva of Africa​ ​​after he was delighted by the weather here that he compared it to the in one in Geneva.

Also known as a tourist city as most of the safaris to the unique national park​s of the country starts in Arusha, the town has a lot to offer.

While there might be up to 50 things to do in Arusha during Christmas, I will unveil you the only best places to celebrate Christmas in Arusha.

Take a day trip to Arusha national park

There is a lot​ ​to see & do in Arusha national park;

  • Game drives
  • Walking safaris
  • Canoe safaris
  • Mount Meru climb

With just 1-2 hours’ drive from Arusha town, you’ll be welcomed by a small park which is absolutely rich in scenery.

There is nothing wrong celebrating your Christmas with buffaloes, warthogs, elephants, birds and the other varieties of wild animals.

​And with a stunning view of flamingoes on Momela lakes, your Christmas is going to be a perfect treat by this day trip to Arusha national park

Day trip to Tarangire National Park

This magnificent park is just 2-3 hours’ drive from Arusha and really, it is among the best places to celebrate Christmas in Tanzania.

Now, the beauty of this park is​n’t only on its reach in elephants.

In one of my visits to Tarangire, I was lucky to view nearly 100 elephants, drinking water in the Tarangire River.

I was also lucky to see lions mating just close to our safari vehicle and later on in our way out of the park we​witnessed a leopard on the tree.

A Day trip to Lake Manyara National park

If you like a perfect destination to see birds while celebrating a Christmas,​ ​make Manyara your top priority.

As I am writing, more than 400 species of birds have been recorded.

Again, the park is famous for its tree-climbing lions, and a​ ​good number (more than 600 species) of flowering species.

You won’t find a better place to celebrate Christmas in Tanzania than Manyara especially if you like to see the flocks of flamingoes.

Take cultural tourism & city walk.

If you’re going to be in Arusha next Christmas, I strongly advise you take city walk just to treat yourself with celebrations by the local Arusha​ns.

You may as well look to visit some cultural attractions in Arusha like;​Arusha declaration ​museum & Arusha Natural History museum or even Maasai traditional houses known as bomas.​

Go and see snakes in Meserani

This famous snake park is just 25km from Arusha town.

If you’re taking your family with you to celebrate Christmas in Tanzania, Meserani snake park should be among the best places.

In the park, there are different species of snakes and the most important thing is that you’ll have a guide in the park to walk you through them while explaining their behaviors.

There are crocodiles in the park as well.

Themi Leisure Park

Another great place to visit with a family.

The leisure park is just a few kilometers from the town and while there, be sure to enjoy;

  • The waterfall
  • A mountain hike for site seeing
  • Partying and picnicking nature walk

Vijiji Coffee tour​​

How about doing a short guided walking tour and visit a small locally owned coffee farms on the slopes of Mount Meru?

I will leave it with you to decide on your own but really, this is another big thing to do and enjoy your Christmas in Tanzania in an unusual way.

Celebrate Christmas in Tanzania by Climbing Kilimanjaro

Imagine celebrating your Christmas at the roof of Africa.

You can ​call it the roof of the world as well if you will!

Yes, Kilimanjaro is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world and this makes it among the best places to celebrate Christmas in Tanzania.

With more than 52,000 visitors every year, Kilimanjaro Mountain is a unique experience that will make your Christmas unforgettable.

Not ready to climb Kilimanjaro? No worry, a day trip to this legendary mountain will do since you’ll be able to experience it in a close proximity.

A climb to the top can take anything from 5 to 9 days depending on the route you choose, budget, time and sightseeing preferences.

With a day trip, you can visit different attractions at the bottom of the mountain and spend your Christmas there. Below is the sample of the day activities you can do in Kilimanjaro;

  • A day hike to Shira plateau
  • Go swimming in Chemka hot springs
  • Enjoy astonishing Materuni waterfalls.

Take a multiday private safari in the Northern tourist circuit.

In the Northern tourist circuit, there are really best places to celebrate Christmas in Tanzania.

And this is the most common Christmas celebration most travellers choose.

With a lot of attractions included in a Northern Circuit, basing on your time, budget, and interest you may combine Tarangire national park, Lake Manyara national park, Ngorongoro Conservation and end your safari with Serengeti National park.

During this season, especially in the mid-December, wildlife viewing in these parks is magnificent and this might end up being your best ever Christmas celebration.

You should not forget that Tanzania was voted the best safari destination in Africa and Serengeti national park, in particular, was as well selected the best safari park in the continent following more than 3,000 reviews by travelers and safari experts.

Celebrate Christmas in Zanzibar beaches.

I am not going to claim that Zanzibar has all the best beaches in the world, but ​hey, ​it really has some. And those have been used by travelers year after year to celebrating their Christmases.

Nungwi beach, for example, was recognized in CNN’s list of “100 best beaches of the world” in 2014.

I​f you’re going to celebrate Christmas in Zanzibar, you won’t be short of things to do and experience to make your Christmas enjoyable. You can choose;

  • Walking tours
  • Sunset cruises,
  • Diving excursions
  • Parasailing
  • Sand bathing
  • Relax on Sandbank
  • Motorboat riding
  • Discover marine life around the sandbank
  • Enjoy the seasonal fruits & seafood
  • Brilliant birdlife
  • Snorkeling
  • Eat seafood & local foods to perfect your Christmas
  • Visit prison island

Conclusion

​I am pretty sure now that you’d agree with me that there’s a normal Christmas out there in the world and then there’s Christmas in Tanzania.

Are you going to celebrate your C​​Christmas at the top of the highest free-standing mountain in the world?

Or are you going to take it all the way to the wilderness of Ngorongoro, Serengeti, Tarangire and Manyara?

Whatever experience you choose to celebrate your Christmas in Tanzania, I have a promise to you. ‘it is going to be an excellent experience, a lifetime experience that will always live with you’​