A Tanzania Safari trip should be on your list of trips you must take before you die — the experience is definitely one of a kind. With several national parks and game reserves to choose from, you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice. Nearly 20% of the country is protected, and it’s easy to fit in the major tourist destinations within your itinerary. As you visit each place, you can choose to stay in comfortable accommodations or to feel the African spirit by camping out in the wild.
The highlight of Tanzania safaris is the annual wildebeest migration. Dubbed the greatest show on earth, it’s a must-see for any nature lover and Tanzania is right in the middle of the action. Witness over 2 million migrating animals — about 1.5 million wildebeest and 500,000 zebras and gazelles — prance across the great Serengeti. It’s a spectacular wildlife event that has drawn tourists from all over the world.
Aside from the migration, the Serengeti park is in itself a sight to behold. This vast park maintains the natural state of the African landscape and can be visited any time of the year for different experiences. For a cultural and historic experience, add in a trip to the Ngorongoro Center to get in more views of natural wildlife. It is also home to the Maasai tribe, one of the nomadic tribes in the modern world.
In the southern part of the country you’ll find more parks that are a little bit more diverse. Take a boating or fly camping safari in Selous, with vast bodies of water and green woodlands. Take a look at the raw and wild side of Africa and visit the home of the king lions in Ruaha. The possibilities are endless!
Safaris in Tanzania
Safaris in Tanzania promise amazing scenery, fabulous game viewing and a host of unique experiences.
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to options for wildlife viewing in Tanzania.
- Conventional jeep safaris
- Walking safaris
- Cycling safaris
- Horse riding safaris
- Trekking holidays with game viewing included
All amazing ways to experience the incredible wildlife of this stunning country.
Which are the best areas for safaris?
Of the many national parks and game reserves in Tanzania the most renowned are:
- Serengeti National Park
- Ngorongoro Crater
- Selous Game Reserve
As well as giving information on these, I will also look at a few other highlights and end with a brief introduction to wonderful Zanzibar.
Serengeti National Park
This vast open grassland, dotted with acacia woodland and the occasional granite outcrop (koppie), is the arguably the best place for safaris in Tanzania, and indeed in Africa as a whole.
Although there are seasonal variations in animal populations, the park always has impressive volumes of wildlife, including a large number of predators.
To the south of Serengeti, but still very much in the north of Tanzania, is stunning Ngorongoro Crater, the largest intact volcanic caldera in the world.
Its 12 mile wide basin is home to some of the densest wildlife populations to be found anywhere in Africa, including large herds of elephants.
Selous Game Reserve
One of the great things about safaris in Tanzania is the variety of landscapes they explore and Selous in the south-east of the country offers a very different experience to the northern reserves.
Three times larger than Serengeti, and cut into in the north by the Rufiji river system, it is rich in wildlife.
Ruaha National Park
Despite being the second largest national park in the country, Ruaha, in central Tanzania, is one of the more remote game reserves and offers a real off-the-beaten-track, wilderness experience.
To track game in its beautiful, tranquil surroundings makes a refreshing change to jostling for viewings in the busier safari destinations.
With a high central plateau, open plains, wooded hillsides and a major river system, there are habitats to suit all the species of game and birdlife you could hope to see.
You’ll also come across magnificent specimens of the huge baobab tree which will surely draw your attention from the wonderful wildlife, if only briefly.
Two of the best places in the world to see chimpanzees are Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park and Mahale Mountains National Park.
Both are situated in the far west, bordering the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika.
Their extensive areas of rainforest also shelter many other primates such as olive baboons, red colobus and vervet monkeys.
There are great horseback safaris to be had in north-east Tanzania in the hinterlands of Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Meru.
Incredible landscapes, superb game viewing and exciting, fast riding make for outstanding trips.
Wilderness camping adds to this amazing experience.
Do note that you will need to be a fit, confident, experienced rider with a secure seat for trail safaris, although short rides suitable for novices, in areas with no dangerous game, may be available in some locations.
You are again likely to be based in the north of the country as you alternate between two wheels and four to explore the top safari spots.
The Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Rift Valley and Lake Manyara, with its flock of pink flamingos, will all probably be on your route.
This is a great way to get the true feel of this fabulous country.
Several companies specializing in harity Holidays offer bush treks in Tanzania.
While not promoted as safaris (probably because no one is likely to sponsor you to go on a game viewing jolly), you can’t fail to see a wide variety of wildlife as you trek in the prime safari regions.
If you want a really tough charity challenge, an ascent of Mt Kilimanjaro is the other trekking option.
Or you could consider a charity cycle ride covering both Tanzania and Kenya.
This is a good point to mention that many safaris in Tanzania also take in highlights of neighbouring countries, Kenya being the most regularly featured.
This exotic tropical island, fringed with sandy beaches and ringed by coral reefs washed by the Indian Ocean, is the perfect place to relax at the end of your safari.
Many trips include a few day there, while others offer Zanzibar as an optional extension.
Go snorkelling or diving to discover more wonders of nature in its stunning, hidden undersea world.
Camping features heavily on many safaris.
This could be in luxury permanent camps, basic static camps or involve wilderness camping where you pack up and move on each day.
Or you may stay on lodges, hotels and guest houses.
The standard will vary from trip to trip so do study the details carefully to ensure you end up with the accommodation really you want.
Choosing your holiday
There are endless options for safaris in Tanzania and it is true to say that many trips take in all the highlights of the main regions covered on this page.
To help you find your perfect trip I have categorised some of the Adventure Travel Companies listed below to assist you in your search.
Tanzania is also included in many overland African journeys (of up to 38 weeks duration)and game viewing a highlight of such trips.