About Tanzania Safari
Tanzania lies on the East coast of Africa and offers some of the continent's finest Safaris all easily combinable with a wide range of Indian Ocean beaches. In this regard it really is the best country in Africa, in which to combine a big 5 safari with glorious beach and getting around the country is extremely easy with loads of light aircraft flights hopping between the various areas.
When people think of safari in Africa, a Tanzania safari is the one that comes to mind. From the highest point of Africa, Majestic Mt. Kilimanjaro to the great wildebeest migration of the Serengeti, to the spectacular beaches of Zanzibar and Pemba, the chimpanzee trekking at Mahale national park, to the cultures of the Maasai, Hadzabe and the Pink Flamingos of the Rift valley Lake Eyasi and Lake Natron. Without forgetting the Ngorongoro crater, one of the natural world's wonders, Tarangire national park and the biggest national park which makes other African parks feel like zoos the Ruaha National Park.
In brief, Tanzania is blessed with 3 main and popular circuits: The North, the South and its beaches and islands. Northern Tanzania includes the world-famous Serengeti National Park, home to the great wildebeest migration, the Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge, Lake Manyara, Arusha National park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mkomanzi national park, Kilimanjaro National Park, Lake Natron Game reserve and Lake Eyasi Game Reserve.
The south is home to the much less visited parks of Ruaha National Park, Katavi National Park and Kitulo National Park, and in the southwest the even more remote parks of Mahale and Katavi. For beaches, most of the people head to the spice island of Zanzibar, but there are many other options such as the mainland coasts and the nearby islands.
More details start with the North, after arriving at Kilimanjaro International Airport, most of the people spend their first night in Arusha to recover from their journey. The Next Day is a short drive through the culture-rich Ngorongoro Highlands to Ngorongoro Crater. Impressive as the crater is, with great concentrations of the Big 5, it attracts large herds of tourists. So we don't recommend more than a full day's game drive here, with an overnight on either side, before flying to the Serengeti. The Serengeti is arguably Tanzania's biggest draw card with unbelievable wildlife viewing. This is the place to go to see the big five and the big cats. Game viewing is especially easy in the Serengeti due to its vast short grass planes. This is the land made famous by countless films such as the Lion's King and Out of Africa. The great wildebeest migration can be seen in the Serengeti all year round, although the river crossings are specific to the North of the Serengeti and occur only in our summer. We recommend the bulk of your safari time spent in the Serengeti, but if you have more than a week on safari, you can also visit Tarangire and Lake Manyara for a gentle warm-up and route to the Crater.
An afternoon is enough to see Lake Manyara, but Tarangire needs a couple of nights to make the trip worthwhile, and it is best in our summer months when the elephants make their way through the park.
For some Mount Kilimanjaro is a big part of the trip to Tanzania. The Mountain takes 6 to 11 days to climb depending on the route chosen, however, if you are not planning to climb it, the best views of the mountain are from far away.
Cost-wise, safaris in the northern parks range from about $600 per person per night for Chaka camps to $1400 per person per night for somewhere like Nomad Lamai and up to $2700 per person per night for one of Africa's most expensive camps Sasakwa.
Southern Tanzania, here you can arrive at Dar es salaam and be on the Safari the same day. The Selous is a huge park where you can boat, walk and sleep out under the stars and Ruaha offers walking and night drives, all in addition to standard game drives. Southern Tanzania is ideal for those who want to get off the beaten track, with only eight or so camps in the park.
We cannot express how wild and authentic safaris in the south are. We love the combination of Selous and Ruaha, and the south makes Kenya's Maasai Mara feel like a zoo in Comparison. Seeing another vehicle is rare and the game viewing is amazing. However, there is no great migration in the south. Price-wise the south represents great value for money with the lodge ranging from $400 per person per night for the Selous Serena to Jongomero at $700 per person per night, to the top end, somewhere like Beho Beho, at $1,100 per person per night.
Even fewer people head to the south-west of the country, to the park of Mahale and Katavi mainly because of the cost and infrequency of the internal flights. Mahale is the best place in Africa for Chimpanzee viewing and Katavi has amazing wildlife in our summer months. But as a guide, seven nights in high season would cost $9,000 per person.
From the parks in the south, you can be lying on a beach, within a couple of hours, which brings us neatly to our final area, the beaches and Islands of Tanzania. Nothing beats some Indian oceans beach time, either before or after your safari (or even both before and after). The Island of Zanzibar is the most popular destination and boasts amazing beaches and great diving characterful boutique hotels. However, a lot of the coastline is extremely tidal, and many hotels are fairly mediocre. Having seen them all, we recommend only few of Zanzibar's Hotels, so it really is worth chatting to an expert to make sure you are making the right decision. Prices for Zanzibar hotels range from about $180 per person per night at an excellent beach hotel such as Pongwe to $500 per person per night one of Xanadus's private villas. Zanzibar's Stone Town is a place to go for a bit of culture, but it is pretty hectic, so we recommend a maximum of just two nights here, or, if you do not want to stay in the chaos, you can just visit Stone Town on a day from your beach hotel. If you want a quieter experience than Zanzibar, you should look at the mainland coast which is largely undeveloped apart from a handful of lodges. One such is Ras Kutani-which we think is the ultimate honeymoon spot and one of the firm favourites at $400 per person per night. Less frequent are the Island of Pemba which both have great diving and underwater activities, though the beaches are far worse than those on Zanzibar. Finally, there are a couple of private Island options; Fanjove at $400 per person per night, and Mnemba Island at an impressive $1,700 per person per night. Both are idyllic and in our view, two of the very best Islands in the whole of the Indian Ocean.
Ultimately, Tanzania still has a long way to go, holding a record of being the best country to do a safari in the world, with the Serengeti holding a record of the world's first national park and attracting thousands of tourists worldwide. Tanzania is truly unforgettable. If you have a single chance of visiting Africa, just once in a lifetime, Tanzania is your best bet. You will not regret just coming and exploring the wildlife, nature, landscape, the culture and the best and most luxurious accommodations, found here in Tanzania. We are the expert to help you plan your trip from A to Z.