Our guide to
The heart and soul of Africa
Tanzania safaris offer a vast wilderness with impressive wildlife numbers and so much more. Nestled within the Great Lakes region, Tanzania is home to some of Africa’s most famous landmarks, from Mount Kilimanjaro to the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and the mountain ranges that fissure through the main land to form the Great Rift Valley.
When it comes to wildlife, a Tanzania safari is without peer. With a prominent Northern Tanzania safari circuit and Southern circuit, the options are impressive. Wide open plains offer up an abundance of wildlife, with ample chances to spot the famous Big Five, more than 1,000 bird species and the singular spectacle of the annual great wildebeest migration. Look on in awe as hundreds of thousands of wildebeest migrate across the Masai Mara, attempting perilous Mara river crossings and facing constant threat from the predators that shadow their every movement. Up to two million animals participate in the migration each year, including wildebeest, zebra, antelope, and numerous predatory species.
The best way to experience a Northern Tanzania safari is with your own private guide, going wherever the wildlife takes you. A private safari in Tanzania allows you to traverse your way to some of the finest game-viewing regions in the continent, while avoiding the crowds of vehicles in common tourist destinations.
With your guide leading the way, enjoy the stunning pink horizon when thousands of flamingo flock to Lake Manyara. Game drive through the unique wildlife system of the Ngorongoro Crater, and enjoy walking safaris and game drives in Serengeti National Park. For the adventurous, a safari to Tanzania must include a trek up Mount Kilimanjaro. Feel the satisfaction and exhilaration of reaching Kili’s peak, and experience the wondrous view from what feels like the top of the world. And we would argue that a Tanzania safari is not complete without a beach finale on islands of the Zanzibar archipelago. Relax on the superb beaches or explore the rich culture and history of Stone Town. Tanzania offers excellent tourist infrastructure so all ideas are feasible and the options for a holiday here are truly endless.
Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Mount Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar’s beaches – Tanzania’s top destinations are all calling you, but there’s so much more to this glorious country as well. Immerse yourself in other remote areas of wilderness: Southern Tanzania is home to Ruaha National Park and Selous Game Reserver, while West Tanzania boastsMahale Mountains National Park and Gombe National Park, central to the chimpanzee work of Dr Jane Goodall.
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More on Tanzania safaris
Facts and figures are not for everyone. So we will keep this brief and interesting, mixing up some statistics and our take on Tanzania. May it help you see the attraction of our Tanzania safaris.
Where is it and what should one expect?
Tanzania is located on the eastern coast of Africa and has an 800-kilometre-long Indian Ocean coastline. Interestingly, it borders with eight other countries.
Travel is easy in Tanzania, and you’ll be surprised at the infrastructure and internet access in towns, cities and even in many of the safari camps and lodges in wilderness areas. You will be warmly welcomed by the local people who are generally very friendly. In many areas of Tanzania, local children get very excited to see you and will scream mzungu, meaning ‘foreign tourist’ – it’s not a derogatory term and the children will smile and wave frantically to get your attention! It’s important to greet people back if they have made the effort with you.
What is Tanzania known for?
The list of Tanzania’s famous national parks is as long as a school roll-call. The names trip off the tongue: Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and Selous, to name but a few. The country is also much-loved for its great wildebeest migration, hot-air ballooning safaris, tree-climbing lions and strong safari circuit which makes it possible to explore with a private guide and4x4 vehicle.
Tanzania’s impressive history
Tanzania is believed to be one of the oldest continually inhabited regions on Earth. Fossil remains of early humans have been discovered in the region that are estimated to be more than two million years old, making Tanzania a literal treasure trove for archaeological and paleoanthropological discoveries, and helping historians continually map the history of human evolution.
Mainland Tanzania came under colonial Germany rule in the late 1800s, eventually becoming German East Africa in 1897, while the Zanzibar archipelago had been held under British rule since 1890. The outbreak of World War I resulted in the British gaining control of German East Africa in 1916, and the region known as Tanganyika was officially given over to Britain for administration in 1919. Tanganyika went on to become a UN trust territory in 1946, before it was united with Zanzibar under President Julius Nyerere in 1964, becoming the United Republic of Tanzania.
Tanzania has since flourished as a tourist destination, with its vast national parks prime for safari adventures and its rich culture drawing visitors from all over the world. As a result, the tourism sector speaks a multitude of languages, including their native Swahili, more than 158 local languages, and English, which is the official language of business and education.
Culture in Tanzania
There is an impressive combination of African, Arabic, Indian and European influences in Tanzania. The nation’s diverse population is a result of its mixed colonial history as well as its many bordering nations, including Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. Food in Tanzania has also been heavily influenced by its colonial and trade history, and is well-known for rich, spiced dishes and ugali, a corn-meal dish flavoured with local vegetables and meats that’s one of Tanzania and East Africa’s most common dishes.
The most notable inhabitants of the region are undoubtedly the Maasai people. A semi-nomadic pastoralist society, the Maasai are known for their bright distinctive dress and their ongoing traditional customs in the face of growing modernisation. The Maasai people are the native ethnic group of northern Tanzania and southern Kenya, and predominantly a cattle-keeping culture, with recent years seeing a growing focus on agriculture and farming. Did you know that many of Tanzania’s northern national parks exist within traditional Maasai land? The Maasai people are often involved in the daily activities within safari camps, using their local knowledge to guide walking safaris and tours around their local villages.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Tanzania safaris are not complete without a trip to the stunning Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Crater.
Bordering the Serengeti, Lake Eyasi and Lake Manyara National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a unique wildlife haven that stretches over 8,300 square kilometres. Its crowning jewel is the Ngorongoro Crater itself, the largest unbroken caldera in the world. This volcanic crater encompasses some of the richest, most fertile soil in Africa. It’s no wonder this spectacular region is home to one of the largest concentrations of game and predators in Africa.
Interested in the Ngorongoro Crater? Ready more on our Travel Guide.
The mysterious mountain wreathed in clouds and topped with snow, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak on the African continent. It’s is also the tallest free-standing mountain and completely walkable, with just a small amount of actual climbing necessary towards the summit.
There are multiple trekking routes to the summit, some more demanding than others, and a six-night climb is what we would recommend. A Mount Kilimanjaro climb is an absolute must for any adventurer – a visit to our Mountain Climbing page will point you in the right direction.
With its long history of colonisation, trade and pirates, Zanzibar is a unique destination in itself, and is often visited by guests as a great beach finale to their Tanzanian safari and to escape the fast-paced nature of the modern world.
The cuisine here is rich in spices, fresh fruits that are grown locally grown and seafood that’s caught daily. While we often prefer to get away from the crowds of the main island and experience the smaller islands of Pemba, Mafia and Mnemba, the main island has many great attractions including the old quarter of Stone Town. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001, Stone Town is a hotchpotch of cultures, architecture and languages.
If you want some down time either before or after your safari, two nights in Stone Town and then three-to-five nights at one of the beaches or smaller islands of Zanzibar is ideal.
Gombe National Park
This tiny national park is known worldwide thanks to Dr Jane Goodall and her revolutionary work with chimpanzees. Since 1965 Gombe has been home to a permanent research facility, the Gombe Stream Research Centre, which is focused on the continual research and conservation of Tanzania’s chimpanzee population.
While the chimpanzees are undoubtedly the region’s most famous inhabitants, the thick forest also hides a number of other primates including the olive baboon, re-tailed monkey and red colobus monkey, along with more than 200 species of birds.
The best time to visit Tanzania
Tanzania safaris are best enjoyed as a mid-year break (June to July) or as a great way to kickstart the New Year (January to February), as these are the expected times to witness, respectively, the Great Migration and the calving of these impressive herds. If you are not fussed about the Migration river crossing, but still after some incredible game-viewing, then June to October promise to be good months to visit any one of the national parks.
Up in the Northern circuit of the parks you can expect busy crowds between July and March, but if you’re after something slightly more laid-back, then April to May is generally when things quiet down – some of the Southern circuit lodges even close for the quiet season.
The wettest months are March and April, during which you can expect some miserable weather. However, it can still be a great time to visit, with minimal crowds, stunning green scenery and ample opportunity to stop and see wildlife with their newborn young.
Conservation in Tanzania
The vast and largely uninhabited regions of Tanzania allowed its wildlife to thrive, which in turn has highlighted the need to protect the regions from human development, land clearing and illegal poaching.
Tanzania government and industry partners fly the conservation flag proudly, with 16 national parks and 17 game reserves set up to protect the ecology and culture of the country. The link between wilderness, wildlife and sustainable development is strengthened by unrelenting education campaigns by the industry to raise awareness of its importance to local communities.
Tourism plays a major role in the upkeep of these national parks and game reserves and as such, many are home to stunning eco-friendly safari camps and lodges. So as tourism increases, conservation efforts strengthen, community infrastructure improves and the future of Tanzania’s wilderness and wildlife becomes more certain. Your Tanzania safari will allow you to experience stunning natural landscapes and unique flora and fauna. It will also contribute to the protection of its natural wonders, for generations to experience in years to come.
From those who have ventured
Our honeymoon was a fantastic experience! We had a wonderful time.
Tanzania Honeymoon – Robson coupleRead more
We had the best family holiday in Tanzania. My son said it was the best holiday of his life (not bad for a 9 year old!)
Tanzania, Family holiday of a lifetime – DeSouza FamilyRead more
We had great viewings of cheetah, cheetah babies, vultures feeding, wildebeest, a couple of male lions and flamingos, it was great.