25 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN TANZANIA

Tanzania might just be one of the most all-round incredible countries in the world. It just has it all. From amazing trekking such as Mount Kilimanjaro, which is the highest point in Africa, to the incredible beaches in Zanzibar. And let’s not forget the world-class safari experiences such as the Great Migration and exploring national parks like the Serengeti. Let’s just say, there’s no shortage of adventure in this country, which is one of the safest in Africa. I spent 2.5 months exploring and put together this epic list of the best things to do in Tanzania.

Wondering what to do in Tanzania? In this blog post I will share with you all of the top things to do in Tanzania that I personally did, and a few extras that I’m sure you’ll love. My personal favorites where solo trekking in Usambara, a hot air balloon over the Serengeti and the Chemka Hot Springs.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE MY OTHER TANZANIA GUIDES

For the mountain lovers: TANZANIA HIKING GUIDE: 14 BEST HIKES IN THE MOUNTAINS OF TANZANIA

The top waterfalls: 12 AWESOME WATERFALLS IN TANZANIA

WHICH COMPANY DID I DO ALL OF MY TREKS, SAFARI AND TOURS WITH?

I did almost every single one of my treks, tours, safaris, and transfers with Altezza Travel. The guides and drivers were always on time, the guides were well trained, they had high-quality gear and offer a wide range of tours, treks, and activities. If you book any safari, tour, or trek with Altezza Travel and use my code JACKSON5, they will give you a 5% discount on the entire tour price. That offer is even for Mount Kilimanjaro so you could save a couple hundred on your tour if you book with Altezza Travel using the code JACKSON5.

25 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN TANZANIA

MOUNT KILIMANJARO TREK

Mount Kilimanjaro is, without a doubt, the drawcard of trekking in Tanzania. At 5,895m in altitude at the summit of Uhuru Peak, it is the highest point in Africa. The climb is non-technical, which makes the ascent possible for regular trekkers who are up for a challenge. The trek can take 5-10 days depending on the route you choose. With more than eight different possibilities and routes to the top, trekkers need to consider the acclimatization profile, scenery, terrain, and cost when selecting which path to the summit they will attempt.

BOOK YOUR MOUNT KILIMANJARO TREK: Use code JACKSON5 to book your Mount Kilimanjaro trek with Altezza Travel ( I did most of my treks with them) you will receive a 5% DISCOUNT off your total booking fee. CLICK HERE to see what availability and routes they have upcoming and available.

I did the Western Breach route, which is known to be the most scenic but also the most adventurous. The summit day involves scaling a snowy wall directly to crater camp. Even though it can sound dangerous, it is a non-technical climb although we did use crampons. The other routes are still beautiful but the views towards Mount Kilimanjaro from the east, where the Western Breach via Lemosho trail begins, are just unbeatable. My trek was nine days and was an incredible journey and something I would definitely recommend.

Due to being the ‘Roof of Africa’, it is part of the Seven Summits list. Mountaineers trying to reach the highest point on every continent often begin with Mount Kilimanjaro as it is known to be one of the easiest of the seven peaks, which includes Mount Everest.

READ MY FULL BLOG POST: CLIMBING MOUNT KILIMANJARO: THE WESTERN BREACH ROUTE

SAFARI IN SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

Serengeti National Park is the premier safari destination of Tanzania and one of the best places to watch the Great Migration. However, it isn’t the only great place for a safari in Tanzania as you will see throughout this blog post as I highlight a few other national parks. We stayed at the Dulana Serengeti Camp, which is a luxury tented accommodation amidst the wildlife of the southern Serengeti region. Each day we would head out in our safari vehicle and search for any action. It wasn’t hard to find. At times, we were in the middle of a herd of tens of thousands of wildebeest and zebra who were migrating. We literally couldn’t see the end of the herd. This also meant that many lions and big cats were nearby, hunting on the weak.

At night lions, hyenas and elephants roamed within touching distance of our camp. Lying in bed one night I could have sworn a lion was just meters from our campsite. Despite being deep in the bush, the facilities are luxurious with hot showers, morning coffee from a french press, and gourmet meals prepared by a chef. Serengeti was an incredible experience and seemingly a must-do activity in Tanzania. There is a reason a safari here is one of the top tourist attractions in Tanzania and you should try your best to include it in your itinerary.

BOOK YOUR SAFARI: Use code JACKSON5 to book your Safari with Altezza Travel (I did most of my treks and tours with them) you will receive a 5% DISCOUNT off your total booking fee. CLICK HERE to see the different safari itineraries on offer!

READ MY FULL BLOG POST: SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK PHOTO JOURNAL

MOUNT MERU TREK

The little brother of Mount Kilimanjaro is often overlooked and brushed aside. Despite being the second-highest mountain in Tanzania at 4,566m the climb up Mount Meru is considered an alternate adventure. Having now summited both Meru and Kili, I can tell you it’s worth adding a Mount Meru climb to your Tanzania itinerary.

After an incredible summit morning, I remember thinking Mount Meru must be one of the most underrated treks in the world. It had it all. Adventure, fun mountain huts along the way, and uniquely breathtaking views and scenery from the summit of the ash cone and crescent volcano crater. The trek begins through lush green forest and plains where you can spot zebra, warthogs, giraffes, and buffalo while Leopards are hiding in the trees. The trail progresses through the heather zone before reaching the volcanic crater rim, where you feel as if the scenery is from another planet. Looking down into the crater to see the ash cone is a surreal moment and a highlight of the trek.

BOOK YOUR MOUNT MERU CLIMB: I did my Mount Meru Climb with Altezza Travel and they were super on this one. Outstanding food had the other hikers jealous and we made a successful summit with our guides. If you want to book with Altezza, they offer a 5% discount to my readers when you use the code JACKSON5 to book your trek.

The journey takes 3-4 days and along the way you stay in two mountain huts, which are equipped with dorm-style rooms, a dining hall, and toilet blocks. The cost of Mount Meru is far less than Mount Kilimanjaro and the views are equally as epic so it is a great alternate option if you can’t quite afford the Mount Kilimanjaro trek.

READ MY FULL BLOG POST: MOUNT MERU CLIMB IN TANZANIA

CHEMKA HOT SPRINGS (KIKULETWA)

Travelers to Tanzania usually base in Arusha or Moshi in between hiking trips and safaris. While recovering from multi-day tours and hiking trips one of the best things to do is a day-trip to the Chemka Hot Springs, also known as the Kikuletwa Hot Springs. Just 1.5 hours from Arusha and nearby Moshi Town, this is one of the hidden gems of Tanzania that you need to visit. The water was crystal clear in this jungle oasis where you can relax all day and even enjoy rope swings, tire tubing, and some high jumps out of the trees.

BOOK YOUR DAY-TRIP TO CHEMKA HOT SPRINGS: I did this day trip with Altezza Travel and it was a fantastic day. Pick-up from hotel, we had lunch, table, and chairs provided and then drop-off back to the hotel. If you want to book this day trip Altezza, they offer a 5% discount to my readers when you use the code JACKSON5 to book.

READ MY FULL BLOG POST: CHEMKA HOT SPRINGS (KIKULETWA)

MOUNT LONGIDO HIKE

Mount Longido is a rocky peak (2,629m) in the Mount Longido Forest Reserve about a 1.5-hours drive from Arusha. The climb is pretty demanding and steep with more than 1300 meters of incline to ascend through the forest to reach the summit. With lots of sun exposure and no drinking water available along the route, this is a tough expedition. I camped at the summit, carrying all my equipment, water, and food for the journey. The sunset and sunrise were truly incredible above the clouds as we looked towards Tanzania on one side and Kenya on the other.

This was one of my favorite hikes in Tanzania with a pretty grueling incline, especially when you are carrying your camping equipment. It’s definitely one for those who love off-the-beaten-path adventures as this hike isn’t super popular. From walking through the mystical forest to enjoying sunrise and sunset at the rocky summit, it was an epic two days worth all of the effort to get to Longido.

READ MY FULL BLOG POST: MOUNT LONGIDO HIKE

SAFARI IN TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK

I mentioned earlier that Serengeti isn’t the only great place for safari in Tanzania despite being the most well-known. My favorite spot for a safari was actually Tarangire National Park. It was very lush and staying by the wetlands gave us this prehistoric vibe with elephants grazing in huge herds in the distance. It was something out of this world and I can truly say Tarangire is one of the top places to visit in Tanzania.

As our Jeep rolled along the bumpy roads, I would often peer out at the vast green plains, lush wetlands, and beautiful Acacia trees and feel as though we were driving through a painting. Even if there weren’t 250,000 animals in this wildlife mecca, it would be worth the safari for the scenery alone.

BOOK YOUR SAFARI: Use code JACKSON5 to book your Safari with Altezza Travel (I did most of my treks and tours with them) you will receive a 5% DISCOUNT off your total booking fee. CLICK HERE to see the different safari itineraries on offer!

Tarangire National Park is the sixth-largest in Tanzania with an area of 2,600 square kilometers. Known to be one of the best places to observe large herds of elephants, this was the location of my first ever safari. I didn’t quite know what to expect. I was slightly worried about a safari experience having too much infrastructure and not feeling very wild. The lion prints in the sand outside my tent on the first night quickly washed away any such doubts. Tarangire National Park gives you the chance to fully immerse yourself in the wild side of Africa.

READ MY FULL BLOG POST: TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK PHOTO JOURNAL

OL DOINYO LENGAI

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Ol Doinyo Lengai, also known as ‘Mountain of God’ in the Maasai language, is the only active volcano in Tanzania and the third highest peak in the country. Located in the Gregory Rift, which is just south of the nearby Lake Natron in the Arusha region of Tanzania. If you have the chance, Lake Natron is one of the best places to visit in Tanzania and is unique to the lush plains and cold mountain regions.The volcano is a popular hiking destination for those looking for a unique challenge. It’s one of the steepest hikes I’ve done in my life with 1600m of elevation in just five kilometers. The peak reaches 2,962m and is an interesting geological destination with the carbonatite rock derived from magma, a unique feature in this region.

The hike takes anywhere from 6-10 hours and the summit attempt often begins in the middle of the night to reach the peak of the volcano. This early start is to enjoy the sunrise from the summit and to avoid the harsh heat of the region, which can often reach 50 degrees celsius.

BOOK YOUR OL DOINYO LENGAI CLIMB: I did my Ol Doinyo Lengai climb with Altezza Travel and it was an incredible trip. If you want to book with Altezza, they offer a 5% discount to my readers when you use the code JACKSON5 to book your trek.

READ MY FULL BLOG POST: CLIMBING OL DOINYO LENGAI

Ol Doinyo Lengai eruption
Volcán activo de carbonatitas - Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) - 08

SERENGETI HOT AIR BALLOON SAFARI

The Serengeti is one of the most incredible ecosystems in the world. The scene of great migrations and incredible wildlife is one of the most popular safari destinations in Tanzania. After spending three days exploring Serengeti National Park by Jeep, I booked a trip with Serengeti Balloon Safari to enjoy a sunrise flight to see the perspective of the park from a hot air balloon. On this tour, you enjoy a one-hour sunrise flight with dawn colors and wildlife sightings before enjoying a delicious outdoor breakfast.

SERENGETI HOT AIR BALLOON SAFARI COSTS

The Serengeti Hot Air Balloon experience costs 600 USD per person and includes the following:

  • Early pick-up from your camp or lodge
  • Transfer to the launch site for a sunrise take-off (the guide will spot animals along the way so it’s a bonus safari time)
  • 1-hour hot air balloon flight
  • Champagne toast on landing
  • Transfer to the launch site for breakfast (we saw lions along the way!)
  • Full English breakfast
  • *The price does not include park entry fees and assumes you are already inside the park and have paid the fees.

I actually found the link slightly discounted on the GetYourGuide booking site , which is a reliable booking service, one of the biggest in the world and this specific activity has lots of positive reviews. They give you free cancellation and instant booking confirmation so it’s super easy through the GetYourGuide site.

Book your ticket online now: Serengeti Hot Air Balloon Safari

READ MY FULL BLOG POST: SERENGETI HOT AIR BALLOON SAFARI

MOUNT MERU WATERFALL HIKE

Mount Meru is home to many incredible waterfalls, which pour down from the volcanic slopes. After a night of heavy rain, I made a day trip to explore one of the largest waterfalls at the base of Mount Meru, aptly named Mount Meru Waterfall. This adventure involves a steep motorbike drive up a rocky road followed by a jungle stairway that leads you down into a gorge. Once inside, you wade through the river, clambering over rocks until you meet the intense falls that spray with incredible force at its base. A remarkable sight and only a few kilometers from the town, the Mount Meru waterfall is one of the top things to do in Arusha.

READ MY FULL BLOG POST: MOUNT MERU WATERFALL HIKE

EMPAKAAI CRATER HIKE

Hidden in the highlands region of the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area (NCA), there are some hidden gems that most visitors in Tanzania will completely overlook. A 40-kilometer drive north of the famous Ngorongoro Crater is the equally impressive Empakaai Crater. This makes for some perfect off-the-beaten-path exploration to some truly incredible natural attractions like the Empakaai Crater. It is best explored by a short trek down to the lake where you can encounter wildlife including baboons, buffalo, elephants, and flamingos. We were the only tourists in the crater when I visited, so you definitely feel like an explorer as you immerse yourself in the wild surroundings of the crater.

BOOK YOUR EMPAKAAI CRATER HIKE: I did my Empakaai Crater hike as part of a four-day tour through Ngorongoro with Altezza Travel and it was an incredible trip. If you want to book with Altezza, they offer a 5% discount to my readers when you use the code JACKSON5 to book your trek.

READ MY FULL BLOG POST: EMPAKAAI CRATER HIKE

NGORONGORO CRATER SAFARI

Ngorongoro is as diverse as its name is difficult to pronounce. The enormous Ngorongoro Crater is the centerpiece of the huge Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which was the second part of my Tanzania safari journey that began in Tarangire and would finish in Serengeti. This crater is one of the major points of interest in Tanzania and is widely popular with tourists on safari who are based in Arusha.

At the top of the rim, we had our first chance to see the entirety of the crater, which was far bigger than I expected. The lakes of the crater seemed to disappear into the fog almost like an ocean. As soon as we began heading down into the crater the wildlife began to appear in every direction. Zebras galloped by in single file while gazelles gathered in the open plains. Flamingos flocked in the lakes as hyenas circled waiting to make their moves. The wildebeest and buffalo moved about in herds as calves leaped enthusiastically as their mothers tried to keep them nearby.

BOOK YOUR SAFARI: Use code JACKSON5 to book your Safari with Altezza Travel (I did most of my treks and tours with them) you will receive a 5% DISCOUNT off your total booking fee. CLICK HERE to see the different safari itineraries on offer!

Ngorongoro Crater is one of the best spots in Tanzania to spot a Black Rhinoceros, whose population has dwindled over the last centuries but is currently on the rise. We managed to spot a few as well as lions, elephants and much more on this very scenic drive through Ngorongoro.

READ MY FULL BLOG POST: NGORONGORO CRATER SAFARI PHOTO JOURNAL

NGARE SERO WATERFALLS HIKE

Lake Natron is a popular area to stay at the lake-side lodging and observe the massive flocks of flamingos and other wildlife near the expansive salt lake. The ‘Mountain of God’ Ol Doinyo Lengai also looms in the background and is the third most popular mountain to climb in Tanzania. However, hidden in the depths of the Ngare Sero Gorge is the hidden gem of the region with a series of stunning waterfalls. It might be hard to believe in the heat of the plains but this refreshing micro-adventure was one of my favorite activities in the Lake Natron region.

The trek is short but very interesting from the first moment as you spend the entire route inside the gorge. Wading through hip-high water at times this is quite a fun adventure although still very moderate and easy for most to handle. The waterfalls at the end of the gorge are the perfect spot to cool down after your Ol Doinyo Lengai hike.

READ MY FULL BLOG POST: NGARE SERO WATERFALLS HIKE

USUMBARA MOUNTAINS: LUSHOTO TO MTAE TREK

The Usambara Mountains are one of the hidden gems of Tanzania. A rich biodiversity hotspot with lush forests, incredible cliffs and mountain ranges, a network of local villages, and rare wildlife such as chameleons. Lushoto is the main town in the region and acts as the entry point to the mountains. It’s here that I began my journey as I trekked all the way to Mtae, passing through villages and forests throughout my 82-kilometer journey. Usambara is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in Tanzania. This mountain range is one of the most unique places to visit in Tanzania and you won’t find too many other tourists here.

READ MY FULL BLOG POST: USAMBARA MOUNTAINS: LUSHOTO TO MTAE TREK (82KM)

RELAX ON THE BEACHES OF ZANZIBAR

No Tanzania trip is complete with a relaxing few days at the peaceful, coastal region of Zanzibar. Here you can enjoy some incredible resorts right on the beach with crystal clear waters. I didn’t personally go to Zanzibar (too busy trekking), but it’s one of those spots that’s just a guaranteed great time to unwind and chill out at the end of your trip. If you have been doing some hard trekking, what better way to recover the body before heading back home after your trip than a few days beachside.

Zanzibar
Zanzibar

SANJE FALLS

Sanje Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in Tanzania. Hidden in the forest of Udzungwa, a steep cirucit hike takes about four hours to complete from Sanje village. At 170m, Sanje Falls is an incredible sight and one of many amazing natural formations in the Udzungwa area.

Sanje falls
S5003233  Udzungwa Mountains N.P.: Sanje Falls

MOUNT HANANG HIKE

Mount Hanang (3,423m) is the third highest peak in Tanzania and arguably the hardest climb. While Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru might be seen as the big challenges due to the multi-day trekking and altitude there is no single day on either of those treks with anywhere near the elevation gain of Mount Hanang. Rising from the town of Katesh, you will climb 1600 meters over 8.5 kilometers in about five hours. If the sun is out, expect a very tough hike and if it is cold you can expect to endure a freezing night at the campsite. What makes it all worth the effort is the incredible views from the summit over Katesh and Lake Balangida. The sunset and sunrise were truly incredible above the clouds despite the numb sensation in my fingers.

READ MY FULL BLOG POST: MOUNT HANANG HIKE & OVERNIGHT CAMPING

KALAMBO FALLS

This one is a bit interesting as it is literally on the border between Tanzania and Zambia. Kalambo Falls are the tallest uninterrupted falls in Africa at 235 meters. This means the water doesn’t cascade down it just free falls the entire way for 235m. Downstream of the falls you will find the Kalambo Gorge, which is 1-km wide and a depth of up to 300 m, running for about 5-km before opening up into the Lake Tanganyika rift valley.

Kalombo Falls

KIDHEGE FALLS HIKE

The Kidhege Waterfall is impressive but the hike to reach the falls is the highlight of this adventure amidst the incredibly diverse nature of the Shagayu Forest in Usambara, Tanzania. Hidden deep in the forest, determined hikers can find the peaceful oasis of the Kidhege Waterfall. The Shagayu Forest Reserve is one of 34 biodiversity hotspots in the world with a wide array of endemic plants. The trail is pretty wild and requires a guide for most hikers although I managed to find this waterfall on a solo adventure.

READ MY FULL BLOG POST: KIDHEGE WATERFALL HIKE IN SHAGAYU FOREST

MARANGU WATERFALLS HIKE

You may have heard of the Marangu Route, which takes hikers up to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. However, I doubt you have heard of the Marangu Waterfalls, which are a great attraction in the area before or after your Mount Kilimanjaro trek. Combine the short waterfall hike with a coffee tour or an exploration of the local Chagga cave system and you are set for a full day of adventures before your more serious trekking. The two waterfalls I visited on my hike were Ndoro and Monjo, and these are the most popular two although there are others to explore in the area also.

READ MY FULL BLOG POST: MARANGU WATERFALLS HIKE

KINUKAMORI WATERFALL

Kinukamori Waterfall is actually very close to the Marangu Waterfalls tour I did, which I showed above. Kinukamori is found in Chagga Land amidst the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. The crystal clear of the waterfall originates in the natural springs of volcanic rocks on Kilimanjaro. On the tour, you will visit Kinukamori on top and bottom. This picturesque spot is great for swimming or just relaxing and enjoying the refreshing breeze from the waterfall. The trek itself to the waterfall is just 20 minutes so it is a short adventure.

Kinukamori Falls
Marangu Falls Kinukamori

OLMOTI CRATER HIKE

The Olmoti Crater is one of the hidden gems of the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area in Tanzania. A sunken caldera has formed over the past ten million years, to create the Olmoti Crater which means ‘Cooking Pot’ in the Maasai language. While it isn’t quite as dramatic in shape as Ngorongoro or Empakaai Crater, the lush surroundings and water source still attract a number of grazing animals such as elephants, buffalo, waterbuck, and antelope. The hike into Olmoti Crater takes about thirty minutes and offers panoramic views of the region and a glimpse of the Munge Waterfall, which pours out of the crater. It’s short but one of the more underrated Tanzania hikes on this list.

READ MY FULL BLOG POST: OLMOTI CRATER HIKE IN NGORONGORO

KAKOMBE WATERFALL

Kakombe Waterfall is a secluded treasure in the heart of Gombe, a popular place for trekking and sighting chimpanzees. Within the national park the waterfall is often part of trek itineraries where tourists are walking in hope of coming across chimpanzees in the wild.

Kakombe waterfall
Kakombe Waterfall

KISASA WATERFALL HIKE

The Kisasa Waterfall, also known as Izasa or Kizasa (depending on who you ask), is an epic spot in amongst the Usambara Mountain Range. While it is possible to drive to the entrance and do a short walk down to the base of the falls, I suggest combining the falls with a hike throughout the village region. I walked from Irente Farm Lodge, passing through the village of Yogoi and was able to observe lots of local scenes on the route to the waterfall.

READ MY FULL BLOG POST: KISASA WATERFALL HIKE IN USAMBARA

MATERUNI WATERFALL HIKE

Materuni Waterfall is a booming waterfall just 15-kilometers from Moshi Town. When combined with a coffee tour in the village, it makes for a perfect day trip before or after your Mount Kilimanjaro climb. With about eight kilometers of walking throughout the day and 300 meters of incline, this adventure is a great warm-up for the legs while also getting to immerse yourself in the local culture. The tour begins by observing the entire process of making a cup of coffee, from seed to mug. After a locally produced lunch, you head off to explore the massive Materuni Waterfall.

BOOK YOUR MATERUNI WATERFALL HIKE: I did my Materuni Waterfall Hike & Coffee Tour with Altezza Travel and can’t recommend it enough. If you want to book with Altezza, they offer a 5% discount to my readers when you use the code JACKSON5 to book your waterfall hike.

READ MY FULL BLOG POST: MATERUNI WATERFALL HIKE

TULULUSIA WATERFALL

On the descent from our Mount Meru climb, we stopped off at Tululusia Waterfall, which is at the base of Mount Meru. Hidden away by a secret path, this waterfall is tucked between the rock wall and is a reward for hikers coming down from the summit of Mount Meru. In the rainy season, it pours ferociously and can be heard from outside of the ravine. In the drier months, you can go and dip your feet at the base of the falls. It is possible to reach this waterfall on a day trip but most visitors to this waterfall are on the descent from Mount Meru as it is quite far from Arusha just for a day trip to see the waterfall.

MORE OF MY TOP TANZANIA BLOG POSTS

For the mountain lovers: TANZANIA HIKING GUIDE: 14 BEST HIKES IN THE MOUNTAINS OF TANZANIA

The top waterfalls: 12 AWESOME WATERFALLS IN TANZANIA

Trekking Kili the adventurous way: CLIMBING MOUNT KILIMANJARO: THE WESTERN BREACH ROUTE

Tanzania’s second highest peak: MOUNT MERU CLIMB IN TANZANIA

Best place to base in Tanzania: WHERE TO STAY IN ARUSHA: 15 BEST HOTELS & LODGES

What to do in Tanzania: 25 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN TANZANIA

My favorite solo adventure: USAMBARA MOUNTAINS: HIKING ALONE FROM LUSHOTO TO MTAE

WHERE TO STAY IN ARUSHA

Most Luxurious and best overall: Gran Melia Arusha – incredible view of Mount Meru and premium 5-star luxury.

Where I stayed on a budget: Wakawaka Hostel– cheap, great location and chill vibes

Best value place to stay: Tulia Boutique Hotel & Spa – very cheap price but has pool and high quality facilities and rooms.

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