Ngorongoro — CHINA's Vice-President Li Yuanchao experienced Tanzania's version of 'Huashan' when he braved the steep climb of Ngorongoro Crater wall, through the meandering Lerai Route, believed to be the country's 'most scary.'
The recently-paved Lerai climbing track, measuring three kilometres, was opened a few weeks ago after successfully being reinforced with paving blocks.
The climb on the road is the most daring and exhilarating feat, similar to climbing China's legendary 'Huashan,' only this time being done on cars.
The Chinese leader, who is in the country for a six-day tour, kicked off his itinerary in Tanzania with a visit to Ngorongoro Conservation Area yesterday, after landing at the Arusha City Airport in Kisongo where he was received by the Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda, followed by brief talks on Saturday evening.
"It is all about maintaining the already strong relations between Tanzania and China," said Tanzania's Ambassador to China, Mr Abdulrahman Shimbo, who added that the Chinese vicepresident has chosen to start with touring local tourism attractions in line with the ongoing strategy to tap into Sino-Tanzania Travel Market.
"We are experiencing increasing number of tourists from China and we are confident that this trend will be sustainable," Mr Shimbo added while speaking at the Engoitokitok location within the crater, where the Chinese leader had a brief stop to enjoy the scenery amid his game drive.
Mr Li enjoyed an early morning game drive in the world's only wildlife filled caldera in which he got to view even the rarest rhinos in addition to lions, buffaloes, hippos and wildebeests, later admitting that indeed Tanzania was endowed with beautiful scenery.
With an overnight stay at Serena Hotel on the shore of Lake Manyara, the China VP got the opportunity to get first hand glimpse of Tanzanian townships such as Makuyuni and Mto wa Mbu in Monduli as well as Karatu in Karatu District, before joining a Barbaig traditional dance at the Loduare Gate.
He is also expected to visit the historical stone town in Zanzibar, the isle which forms an important segment of Tanzania Tourism Industry.
Regional officials here said the Chinese leader visit with further boost the Northern Tourism Circuit, which pivots the country's travel industry by getting over 80 per cent of the country's annual intake of 1.2 million tourists.