Why you should go: You get the Noah’s Ark of safari creatures you’d see in next-door Kenya, but minus the lingering memories of recent terrorism. Fly out to its 5,700-square-mile Serengeti National Park, where there is so much wildlife your prop plane might have trouble landing because of all the ostriches camping on the runway — this actually happens. Fancy new safari camps have popped up around the Serengeti Plains, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and Ruaha National Park to give visitors closer, more private encounters with lions, elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, wildebeest, the works.
Why you should go right now: A visit this year to Zanzibar, the offshore archipelago, can be an eye-opening thing: the locals – affable Muslims, mostly – are thrilled to welcome American visitors who put aside their preconceptions about visiting sub-equatorial Africa. Get island-hopping to new establishments on Pemba, a diving paradise, and Thanda, a private island with a single luxury villa. If untouched Tanzania is your jam, then definitely get a move on, though. Recently discovered natural gas reserves – valued well into the billions of dollars – are driving breakneck investment by energy companies. Money’s flowing in, tourists are catching on, the population is growing fast. If you want the best of the country while you can get it, the time to go is now, before the country of clear waters and wild animals is overrun with pasty people rocking high socks and spray-on sunscreen.