Best Places to Celebrate Christmas in Tanzania

How many Christmas have you been celebrating in common or popular ways? They are uncountable! Right?

If you are looking for unusual or more special ways to celebrate Christmas, Tanzania is without doubt, the best ever destination you may think of!

However, if you are looking for that common Christmas celebration in Tanzania you do not have to worry as well. We have such vibes in cities like Arusha, Dar Es Salaam et cetera.

Below are the tips that will help you plan for Christmas Celebration in Tanzania and leave you with good memories:

​Christmas in Tanzania: Do It Differently

​It is time to celebrate Christmas a little bit differently, a way that will leave you with unforgettable memories. In this guide, we are going to take you through some of the best places where you can have a unique Christmas Celebration in Tanzania.

​Celebrating a Christmas in Tanzania is never going to feel the same way as the other Christmases elsewhere.  So if you are going to be here next Christmas and you are wondering what may be the best places to celebrate Christmas in Tanzania, you are in the right place and please, be our guest.

From those popular to unusual Christmas Celebrations, we are going to share the top places that will leave your Christmas well treated in Tanzania. To make this guide even handy, we will share with you the best things to do in each particular place we suggest for your Christmas celebration.

If you do not know Tanzania much, or you have never been here before, with this guide you will 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 us through the following best places to celebrate Christmas in Tanzania:

Dar es Salaam

The name has an Arabic origin  to mean “a house or harbor or heaven of peace”. It was named by the late Sultan Majid. Majid, was a very important person in building Dar es Salaam in the 1850s.  He left Zanzibar after the quarrels with his brother, Thuwaini, got intensified and he emigrated to find and optional place to settle and live. So Dar Es Salaam became his choice.

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

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

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

​Sultan Majid liked no quarrels. It is claimed that he even considered surrendering Zanzibar as well to his brother before his advisors advised him against it. One thing notable with Majid and that left a mark in Tanzania is that he 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.

During Majid’s reign in Zanzibar from 1860’s to 1870, Dar es Salaam became ​one ​of the most developed and respected towns of East Africa and an important business town between Asia and East Africa.

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

Go to Saadani National Park and enjoy:

  • Game Viewing,
  • Boat Safari and
  • Birding – you may spot up to 100 species of birds while lying on the Indian Ocean beach at Saadani.

There are really few places in the world where wildlife sanctuaries meet the beach, and Saadani National Park is one of them.

Visit the old Bagamoyo Town and celebrate your Christmas by:

  • Learning ancient history of the town
  • Snorkeling and 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 will not find in the National Museum of Tanzania.

If you are planning to attend the morning mass on Christmas day, the next thing when the mass is over may 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 will 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.

An Island with only 2.5 km from the city center, your visit here should leave your Christmas well spent!  You will have an opportunity to sunbathe while eating seas foods on this Island.

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 a botanical garden in Dar Es Salaam for your Christmas celebration in Tanzania.

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

With interesting information from the garden experts on the flowers and different tree types, your Christmas will be 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 more easier, you may decide to take a “mwendokasi” (rapid transportation) to Kariakoo. This is the biggest market in the country and it will also 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?

This Askari Monument is a memorial to the soldiers who fought in the British Carrier Corps in the World War I. It is said that this is the exact center of downtown Dar Es Salaam. As long as it will not 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 yes, then there is no better place to start your Christmas celebration than in the old Azania Lutheran church. The location of this church also gives you a perfect​ ​view of the Dar Es Salaam City.

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.

More places to celebrate Christmas in Dar es Salaam

You can as well decide to visit any of these other places in Dar Es Salaam:  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 of the weather in Arusha, for example.

Yes, the weather in Arusha is unique and splendid! For years now the city has been known as the Geneva of Africa after Bill Clinton, the former US president branded it that way as he was delighted by the weather here and this made him compare it to that of Geneva. What a compliment!

Arusha is also known as a tourist city as most of the safaris to popular destinations such as Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire, Lake Manyara and Kilimanjaro start from Arusha. The town has a lot to offer.

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

Take a day trip to Arusha National Park

There is a lot​ ​to see and do in Arusha National Park:

  • Game Viewing,
  • Walking Safaris,
  • Canoe Safaris
  • Mountaineering,
  • Horse Riding,
  • Bird Watching, to mention a few.

With just 1-2 hours’ drive from Arusha Town, you will 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 in Momela Lakes, your Christmas is surely going to be a perfect treat by a 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.

Tarangire is popular with big herds of Elephants all along and it is not only this reason that you should plan to celebrate your Christmas in Tarangire. There are also herds of Buffalos, Giraffes, Oryxes, Elands, Kudus, Zebras and Wildebeests in this magnificent park.

In addition, the park is so rich in terms of big cats such as Lions, Leopards and Cheetahs – you just need enough time to spend in this other beautiful park of the Northern Tourist Circuit of Tanzania.

The sceneries from different parts in Tarangire will definitely leave you agape!

A Day trip to Lake Manyara National Park

If you like a perfect destination to see birds while celebrating a Christmas,​ ​make Lake Manyara your top priority. More than 400 species of birds have been recorded.

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

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

Take Cultural Tourism and City Walk.

If you are going to be in Arusha next Christmas, we strongly advise you to take a 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 such as Arusha Declaration Museum and Arusha Museum of Natural History or even Maasai traditional houses.​

Go and see snakes in Meserani

This famous Snake Park is just 25km or at least half an hour drive from Arusha Town.

If you are 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 also Crocodiles and other reptiles, as well as some birds in the park.

Themi Leisure Park

This is another great place to visit with your family.

Themi Leisure Park is just a few kilometers from Arusha Town. While at Themi, be sure to enjoy:

  • The Waterfall,
  • Mountain Hike,
  • Partying and Picnicking,
  •  Nature Walk,
  • Local Dishes

Vijiji Coffee Tour​​

What about doing a short guided tour and visit a small locally owned coffee farm on the slopes of Mount Meru?

Celebrate Christmas in Tanzania by Climbing Kilimanjaro

Imagine celebrating your Christmas on the Roof of Africa.

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, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro 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 will 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 a sample of activities you can do in Kilimanjaro on a day trip:

  • 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 the Northern Circuit, basing on your time, budget, and interest, you may combine Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, and 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 may contribute immensely to the best Christmas celebration for you.

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.

We are not going to claim that Zanzibar has all the best beaches in the world, but, 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 are going to celebrate Christmas in Zanzibar, you will not be short of things to do and experience to make your Christmas enjoyable. You can choose from:

  • 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 and local foods to perfect your Christmas
  • Visits to Stone Town or Prison Island or Jozani Forest or Chumbe Island Coral Park, et cetera.

Conclusion

​We are pretty sure now that you will agree with us that there is a normal Christmas out there in the world and then there is a special Christmas Celebration in Tanzania.

Are you going to celebrate your Christmas on 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, it is going to be an excellent choice of a lifetime experience!