Planning a Tanzania safari may be overwhelming, there’s so much to do and see in such a short time.
Being home to Africa’s tallest mountain, Kilimanjaro and a legion of wildlife has made Tanzania a popular safari destination
Whether it’s a climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro, a dhow cruise to Zanzibar and neighboring islands or a game drive at the Serengeti and Ngorongoro, (30% of Tanzania is occupied by national parks) a Tanzania safari will leave you relaxed and thoroughly entertained.
Tanzania is known for its high population of African Blackwood, the most expensive hardwood in the world as well as Olduvai Gorge where the earliest human skull was unearthed.
Things to do in Tanzania
- Eat coconut crab (largest and most delicious crab in the world) in Zanzibar
- View wild elephants at Ruaha National Park
- View the world’s only tree-climbing lions at Lake Manyara National Park
- Watch the wildebeest migration at Serengeti National Park
- Visit a spice plantation in Zanzibar
- View 1000 chimpanzees, red colobus monkeys and yellow baboons at the Mahale Mountains
- Sail in a traditional dhow
- View bottle-nosed dolphins at Kizimkazi fishing village
- Snorkel at Chumbe Island
- Sample Indian and Swahili cuisine
- Visit the Hamamni Persian public baths
- Have lunch at Forodhani Gardens
Best Tanzania safaris
Ruaha National Park: This is the largest national park in Tanzania and houses lions, wild dogs, leopards, cheetah, wild elephants, bat-eared foxes, zebras, and impala. It’s perfect for tourists who like tranquility and low human traffic as its remote location attracts fewer visitors. Guests may stay at Tandala Tented Camp or Ruaha River Lodge.
Selous Game Reserve: You can view all species of savannah animals here, they exist in large numbers. Even though walking trips are allowed, Tanzania safaris carried out at this reserve are usually by aircraft. Swamps, wetlands, and rivers allow for boat safaris. Permanent structures and human habitation are not permitted. Guests may stay at Selous Serena Camp or Selous Kinga Lodge.
Tarangire National Park: This is Tanzania’s birdwatcher’s haven. It hosts more than 550 bird species, a multitude of elephants, tree climbing lions, termite mounds and baobab trees. Tsetse flies are common so carry an insect repellent and antihistamines for this safari. Guests may stay at Tarangire River Camp or Tarangire Simba Lodge.
Mafia Island: Mafia is one of the Spice Islands. Its name has been derived from the Swahili word ‘mahali pa afya’ which means a healthy dwelling place. Sun seekers are attracted to the white sandy beach while scuba divers and game fishermen find the sea blue water impossible to resist. Whale sharks, turtles and other species of sea life have resulted in much of the island being designated as a marine park. Guests may stay at Kinasi Lodge or Ras Mbisi Lodge.
Lake Manyara: Flamingoes and other migratory birds (over 200 species) flock to Lake Manyara when the rains come. When it’s dry, the water recedes leaving alkaline mud flats where hippos, elephants, wildebeests and giraffe congregate to quench their thirst. Guests may stay at Migunga Tented Camp and Escarpment Luxury Lodge.
Pemba Island: Pemba is part of the Spice Islands and is more popular with adrenaline junkies. Thrill seekers dive into the turquoise water teeming with untouched coral and marine life. Guests may stay at Pemba Lodge or Sharook Riviera Grand Lodge.
Zanzibar: Historians visit Zanzibar to take in the fascinating history of whitewashed Stone Town and the spice trade. Other travelers just frolic about in the white sandy beaches. Main attractions include the Shirazi Ruins, Forodhani Gardens, and Princess Salme Museum. Guests may stay at Hideaway of Nungwi Resort & Spa and Ocean Beach Resort.
Mount Kilimanjaro: Mount Kilimanjaro stands tall at 5,892m above sea level. It is an inactive volcano and the world’s highest free-standing mountain which takes 6 days to summit. It is famous for its snow-capped peaks, its proximity to the equator notwithstanding. Mountaineers and trekkers have experienced an 80% summit success rate. Guests may stay at Crater Camp or Mt Kilimanjaro View Lodge.
Ngorongoro Crater: A volcanic eruption occurred 3 million years ago. It collapsed and formed the Ngorongoro Crater, now home to the largest population of wild animals in the world and the endangered black rhino. Make sure you visit the Olduvai Gorge found between the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti plains. Guests may stay at Sanctuary Ngorongoro Crater Camp or Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge.
Tanzania safari – Serengeti
Serengeti National Park provides all the action of the 8th Wonder of the World – The Great Wildebeest Migration. Wildebeests and zebras cross the Nile crocodile-infested Mara River over into the Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya in search of pasture.
This coincides with their mating season and they come back to Serengeti in a few months to give birth to brand new foals.
Plan your Tanzania safari around May when the wild animals start their exodus if you want to witness this fascinating journey. Other animals may be viewed all year round and the uninterrupted expanse of grasslands makes lion kills quite visible. If you can, explore Serengeti on a hot air balloon at dawn.
Best time to plan a Tanzania safari
The best time for game viewing is from May to October during the dry season because animals come out of hiding in search of pasture and water.
The best time for a beach safari is from December to January and from July to October. The heat is tolerable at this time and the monsoon winds that hit the island during wet seasons are not active.
What to pack for a Tanzania safari
- Insect repellent
- Beachwear (for the islands)
- Light material clothes
- Sun hat
- Binoculars (for game drives)
If East Africa is on your wishlist, check out the Tanzania safari packages available or call an agent to customize your trip.