Tanzania Safaris, Guide to Tanzania Tours , Gorilla Trekking & Tanzania Safari tour
Welcome to the Tanzania safari guide to help you plan Climbing Kilimanjaro , Mountain trekking & wildlife safari adventure on a combined gorilla & Wildlife safari in Africa with reliable safari companies , find the authentic safari guide info like when is the best time to visit , when to go gorilla trekking & wildlife safari in Tanzania, Safari hotels in Tanzania, places to visit , Game drives in Tanzania. Tanzania Safaris Guide is an informative guide that provides reliable travel info about the republic of Tanzania (https://www.tanzaniasafarisguide.com/).
The Tanzanian tourism offers one of the richest wildlife, 6 world heritage sites and beaches in the world. Tanzania’s wildlife resources are considered among the finest in the world and include the Serengeti plains which host the largest terrestrial mammal migration in the world, the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera and home to the highest density of big game in Africa, and Africa’s highest mountain Kilimanjaro.
The Great plains abound with legions of game, snow-capped mountains soar above dusty valleys, rain forests with monkeys and birds, beaches are covered in sand as soft and white as talcum powder, and coral reefs host myriads of jewel-like tropical fish. Everything from pristine coral reefs to the Crater highlands, remote game reserves, and the famous national parks are protected by government law and placed in trust for future generations.
When to go for Wildlife safari, Best time for a Tanzania safari
When planning a safari to any nation, one of the things you need to look at is the time to visit that particular country. You need to know its climate and weather and then find out which period of the year matches with your priorities.
Here is a broad guide to the climate of Tanzania – Weather patterns across Africa are becoming increasingly unpredictable, probably due to global warming; we’re seeing downpours in the middle of deserts and damaging droughts when rains should be falling.
Tanzania is huge and its sheer size means that the climate varies considerably within it, and its located south of the equator. Generally the main rainy season or the ‘long rains’, lasts during about March, April and May. Afternoon tropical downpours are the common during these months, and of which are heavier and more predictable beside the coast and on the islands. The humidity is high and daily temperatures reach the low-mid 30°s.
The long dry season lasts throughout June, July, August, September and October is when rainfall is unusual, even on the islands. Temperatures vary hugely with altitude and location, but it’s usually a fine, clear sky and sunny weather – this makes it a great time to visit Tanzania. During November and December there’s another rainy season with ‘short rains’. These are much lighter than the main rains and less reliable.
January and February is Tanzania’s ‘short dry season’, before starting to rain again in earnest in March.
Top Destinations Visited in Tanzania .
There are two circuits you can follow in Tanzania: the conventional northern tourist circuit, which includes the Serengeti National Park, Tarangire national park , Lake Manyara National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, or the lesser traveled southern tourist circuit of Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha, Mahale, and Gombe national parks among others. You’ll be amply rewarded for the often lengthy traveling to these southern locations by having the places much more to yourself and usually at cheaper rates.
The animals in the national parks aren’t the only wonders Tanzania has to offer. There are the islands of Zanzibar, Pemba, and Mafia, as well as Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Meru, the people with great cultures and the three great lakes of Victoria, Tanganyika, and Malawi. Wherever you go, you’re guaranteed travel experiences that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
Why to choose Tanzania for your safari
It is so challenging when choosing the best country in Africa when you decide to go for a safari. There are various options available each with their own unique wildlife and amazing landscapes. Tanzania still stands out as one of the top destinations in Africa for tourists who are interested safaris. There are some of the reasons why you should choose your safari in Tanzania;
- There is a Variety of Wildlife Species. Due to decades of protection, various wildlife species have survived and even multiplied in – the big five (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffaloes) can be found in large numbers, as well as other sought after wild animals. The Serengeti offers you the opportunity to witness great wildebeest migrations and exotic habitats. You’ll get a chance to track chimpanzees and other rare primates in Gombe national park. In Ngorongoro Crater, you’ll have the chance to see the Big 5 all in one day, which makes for a great 24-hour safari experience.
- The great Culture from the different Tanzania tribes. The people and atmosphere in Tanzania is just amazing. People are hospitable, and are always ready to share their culture and teach new things. You’ll also have the chance to experience the local cuisine which is very diverse and draws inspiration from various cuisines. The political climate is safe with a stable government, and the country is easily accessible due to several direct flights.
- Variety of Safari Options to Choose From. Many African safari destinations offer land safaris only, but not Tanzania. You could watch animals from the skies while on board a hot air balloon. You could also go for a walking safari which is also great, especially if you want a more personal contact with wildlife. Strolling in between the grass listening to animal sounds is a beautiful experience you’ll only find in a Tanzania safari tour. You’ll be well protected of course, with thoroughly trained and armed guides.
- The Scenic Landscapes of Tanzania. The country offers one of the most beautiful sceneries in the world. There is a variety when it comes to landscapes and stunning views, not to mention that the night scenery is pretty amazing too. In the Ngorongoro Crater, you’ll be stunned by the deepest and broadest unfolded caldera in the world. You’ll have the chance to witness open plains with amazing sundown views to the south, and mountain rifts that open up beautifully to the north in Serengeti national park.
- Good Weather throughout the year. Since it’s a tropical country, the weather is always good all year round. No matter the time of the year that you want to schedule your safari, you will still have multiple options and a chance to see all the available wildlife.
Tanzania safari tips
Planning your safari of a lifetime can be as much fun as going on the trip itself. But we also know it can be confusing and perhaps a little bit frustrating and that’s where we come in with our top Tanzania travel tips! Below are some things to think about when planning a Tanzania safari.
The Low airline costs. The cheap and cheerful school of flying has finally made it to Africa and makes a difference, both in price and in simply getting around the beautiful continent. Johannesburg-based Fastjet have various domestic routes around Tanzania, like Dar es Salaam to Kilimanjaro (for Arusha airport and connections to the Serengeti), Dar es salaam and Kilimanjaro to Mwanza (for Rubondo Island) and even from Dar to Zanzibar, which makes the beaches even more accessible than ever.
Think of either Flying or Driving. The Northern Circuit in Tanzania is one of the few places on the continent where driving between parks really is possible. You will not need to fly from one park to another. You’ll meet your driver in Arusha who will be with you for the rest of the trip. A typical circuit will include Tarangire, Serengeti and Ngorongoro and, as well as often working out cheaper than flying, you’ll get to see some pretty awesome sights as you drive.
Traveling in the Green Season. Some travel tips to save some pennies is to look at travelling in the off-peak seasons (November and February to May). You’ll get the same excellent standard of guiding and the same fabulous camps both for much less and the country looks beautiful. During this time, you will expect to spot wildlife newborn babies springing around emerald green plains, dust-free landscapes which are excellent for taking photographs and full-flowing rivers.
Think of the beaches of and around Tanzania. With an array of tropical islands, a stunning coastline and more postcard-perfect beaches than sunbathing time, Tanzania is one of the best African destinations for a classic ‘safari-and-beach’ holiday. From Dar es Salaam, you drive down the coast to the Ras Kutani area on the Indian Ocean, hop over to Zanzibar for some Swahili culture or take part in some serious barefoot luxury on Pemba and Mafia Islands. You might not avoid adding more days at the beach.
Think about Internal flights. When you clearly check, you will realize that internal flights are Very expensive in fact the more you choose to use them, the more you will spend. To avoid this, what you have to do is to consider visiting parks that are close together and that fit well together, for example the Northern Circuit (Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire and Lake Manyara national parks) or the South (Ruaha & Selous parks).
Head off the beaten track. True, some areas in Tanzania can get a little busy at times, so what better excuse to try something different? Travel to Rubondo Island in Lake Victoria for a real cruise safari on the second largest lake in the world, the Mahale Mountains for chimp trekking or hike with the Maasai through the Rift Valley to Lake Natron. If you would love to visit the Serengeti but aren’t so keen on the crowds, you may check out the Grumeti concession to the west where tourists and lodges are few but with plenty of wildlife.
Luxury or not to luxury? Most people believe that when you are on a safari, you have to either stay in an expensive lodge or in a cheap camp. But this is not the case, because Tanzania has an array of accommodation facilities which are in various types that meet your styles, tastes and budget. You don’t have to stick to one design. You may as well choose to spend some nights in a traditional tented camp before ending the safari in a luxury lodge.
Check your airports! Flying into the capital city of a country is not the only option (in Tanzania’s case, Dar es Salaam). KLM have just launched a direct flight from Europe to Kilimanjaro, which is about 30 minutes outside Arusha and the perfect connection for anyone heading to the Serengeti. Also look at ‘open-jaw’ tickets – for example flying in to Kilimanjaro, but flying out of Dar es Salaam, if you’re looking at spending some time in Zanzibar.
Types of safaris in Tanzania
While planning a Tanzania safari, there are various things you can choose to do while in the country. There are various safaris tourists can take to make their trip a memorable one and below are some of them.
Vehicle safaris (game drive)
If you opt for a vehicle safari that takes you in all the famous areas Tanzania has to offer then a northern circuit in a 4×4 vehicle is a great choice. Most travelers will choose to go to one of the big game parks but this vehicle safari takes you to three of them – the Tarangire, the Serengeti and Ngorongoro. The variety this car safari offers and the chance to see all the landmarks associated with these spots is superb. The package usually includes the services of a driver/guide who will take you around in a 4×4 vehicle to all the best places to see the wildlife.
It also offers great flexibility in terms of accommodation as you can book standard or luxury lodges or camps to stay in, depending on what you fancy. Whichever you choose, you can be sure of a comfortable stay and friendly staff to make your holiday a memorable trip.
Tanzania is an excellent destination for birders. Besides Lake Manyara and Arusha National Parks which are famous for water birds and other savannah and forest species, all the game parks in Tanzania have an amazing array of bird life including Eurasian migrants. The most interesting part is that the bird life may vary from park to park depending on habitats providing a richer viewing experience to the birder. It may be useful to learn that over 1,130 different species of birds have been recorded in Tanzania.
Popular savannah game reserves such as the Serengeti and Selous are no less rewarding for birds than for mammals, and make an ideal introduction to the more conspicuous and widespread species. For more experienced birders, the forested Eastern Arc Mountains are the country’s biggest attraction, since they harbour a high proportion of the 35-odd endemics whose range is limited to Tanzania.
Birding is good throughout the year, but the prime season is Sept-April, when resident populations are boosted by the many Palaearctic migrants that spend the northern hemisphere winter in Africa. The European winter also broadly coincides with East Africa’s rainy season, when several resident species undergo an ‘ugly duckling’ transformation from drab brown to bright breeding colours.
Below are some of tanzania bird species;
- The Large ground birds include;Ostrich, Secretary bird, Kori bustard, Ground hornbill, Francolins, Guineafowl
- The Large waterbirds include; Pelicans, Flamingos, Herons & egrets, Storks, Ibises & spoonbills, Crowned crane
- Small waterbirds include; Hamerkop, Cormorants & darters, African skimmer, Waterfowl, Waders and plovers, African jacana
- Birds of prey. Tanzania is home to 75 species of raptor, with the likes of Serengeti, Manyara, Selous and Ruaha each having checklists of 50-plus. Some of the more charismatic and common species are as follows: Verreoux’s eagle, Fish eagle, Bateleur , Auger buzzard,Vultures , Kites
- Other large birds include; Crows, Hornbills, Owls, Turacos & go-away birds, White-browed coucal, Lilac-breasted roller
- Medium sized birds include; Superb starling, Red-billed and yellow-billed oxpeckers , Common bulbul , Fork-tailed drongo , Black-headed oriole, Paradise flycatcher,Thrushes, Wagtails, Babblers , Shrikes, Boubous & bush-shrikes, Bishops & Widows
- Medium-small birds include; Parrots & lovebirds, Doves ,Cuckoos, Mousebirds, Trogons, Hoopoes, Kingfishers, Bee-eaters, Woodpeckers , Barbets, Honeyguides , Swifts & swallows
- Smaller birds include; Warblers, White-eyes, Weavers, Sunbirds, Waxbills & whydahs, Canaries
Some of the places to do birding in Tanzania include; Katavi national park, Lake Manyara national park, Mahale mountains national park, Ngorongor crater, Seleous game reserve, Serengeti national park, Tarangire national park among others.
Horse riding safaris
Horse riding in Tanzania is one of the few pursuits that are not really that well catered for but it is certainly a growing interest and, as such, we thought we would include a small section on it, along with a few recommended areas to take a look at.
Mainly restricted to private concession lands in the north of Tanzania, horse riding, as many who have done it, will attest, is a superb way of getting close to the animals of the bush as, with the human scent masked and the noise of engines not present, animals are much more relaxed. This activity is arranged and managed by Kaskazi Horse Safaris is based in Northern Tanzania and offers fantastic horse riding safaris in the wilderness.
A couple of the best areas that we have come across for a riding safari in Tanzania include the superb Manyara Ranch Conservancy, the private concession to the west of the Serengeti, known as Grumeti Reserves, and, finally, for a bit of beach riding, Ras Kutani, to the south of Dar es Salaam.
Horse riding safaris often follow a similar pattern. You are woken early in the morning so that you can be onboard your horse at dawn and riding as the animals are most active. You will normally ride for 3-4 hours in the morning, following game tracks in search of the Big Five and other species. Lunch is taken in a shady spot where a short siesta is possible before being woken again for tea. The afternoon rides set out as it starts to get cooler so that you can appreciate the beautiful afternoon light and watch the bush come to life, before returning to camp before night falls. Typically the morning rides are faster and adrenaline-fuelled, whilst the afternoon rides are perfect for photographs.
The hot air balloon safari is an excellent way to get a view of the big picture. Hot Air Balloon Safari is always done in Central Serengeti Region, Serengeti National Park. Very early in the morning, you drive to the launch site to watch the balloon being inflated.
The setup can take a bit of time, depending on the weather conditions, but the flight itself lasts around one hour and the light, smooth flight gives unique views of the wildlife and treetops below. This is a great trip as you can fit it in one day of your normal safari and gives a superb view of the famous Serengeti as you look down from up high. The view is quite something as is the feeling of sitting in the bush after with a glass of champagne! This balloon safari travels within the Central Serengeti giving aerial views of the Seronera river and nearby hippo pools. Upon landing, you will be treated to a superb breakfast usually with sparkling wine, under the trees, after which you are taken back to your camp. A really great experience, this is especially good if you want to combine a balloon safari experience with the standard type of safari you’re already on.
Walking safaris in Tanzania are about the authentic eminence of your game-watching experience. Depending on the fitness of the individual and the nature of the terrain, a bush walk can be a gentle amble for around one to two hours to half a day, immersing yourself in the natural world, or it can be a more demanding adventure during fly camping expeditions lasting multiple days, in which you confront yourself and achieve a specific target. The prime reason to walk on safari is to become one with the landscape and the wildlife, disturbing it as little as possible, and becoming just another animal, alert and aware of every nuance of wilderness: sight, sound, texture and smell. It enables you to become familiar with ambient wildlife, birds, insects, plants, and larger animals from their scat, footprints and reverberations. Walks can be best taken in the early morning as life begins to stir.Below are some areas where one can do a walking safari;
Selous Game Reserve.The main area to consider for a walking trip is the southern part of the Selous Game Reserve. As a Reserve rather than National Park, the regulations are slightly different than in more famous parks such as the Serengeti but, with a vast range of different environments and topographies that the park comprises, there is plenty to keep you interested for anything up to a week.
Ruaha National Park .Located to the west of the Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park is the perfect foil to the Selous, with its open grasslands and baobab forests. while it may not offer as wide a spread of differing climes, it is still a very rewarding place to walk and, with camps such as Mwagusi, there is an exceptionally high level of guiding to be had.
The Northern Safari parks.Over the last year or so the Tanzanian Parks Authorities have realised the potential of allowing walking safaris, as such, it is now possible to walk in such parks as Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park and in some of the fringe concessions that border the Serengeti. With great game viewing and a high level of guiding, it may not allow for days on end of walking, but it can still add to the overall experience.
Places not to miss out while on a Tanzania safari
Tanzania has a variety of attractions to offer to its tourists that range in national parks, game reserves, vegetation, culture, islands among others. Below are some of the places you might visit when touring the country.
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and is also considered the highest free standing mountain in the world. Mt. Kilimanjaro, a volcanic mountain consists of three volcanic cones, the highest being Kibo at 5,895m, Mawenzi at 5,149m and Shira at 3,962m. Another name for the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro is Uhuru Peak, which is situated on the Kibo’s crater rim, thus Uhuru Peak and Kibo Peak are simultaneously referred to as the highest points. While Mawenzi and Shira are extinct volcanic cones, Kibo is dormant and could erupt again.
The mountain rises from farmland on the lower level to rainforest and alpine meadow and then barren lunar landscape at the peaks. The slopes of the rainforest are home to buffaloes, leopards, monkeys, elephants and eland. The alpine zone is where bird watchers will find an abundance of birds of prey.
Mount Kilimanjaro is not a technical climb/trek and therefore trekkers without previous experience and skills can undergo the journey. But, the volcanic mountain should not be underestimated because it is regarded as a difficult trek because of the high attitude and the weather contrasts during the trek.
So while you visit Tanzania, it would be a great idea to consider hiking this spectacular mountain. Climbing the mountain can take from 3 to 12 days depending on how much of the mountain you would wish to cover. There are different routes to follow while you hike the mountain like Lemosho, Machame, Rongai, Northern circuit routes among others.
Once a gigantic volcano, the Ngorongoro Crater is now the largest intact caldera in the world. Some maintain that, before it erupted, it would have been higher than Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa. Long since having collapsed and eroded, this three-million-year-old caldera now shelters one of the most beautiful wildlife havens on earth.
The crater is also incredibly scenic, with towering euphorbia clinging to the crater walls, while fever and fig tree forests on the crater floor provide shade for an incredible array of wildlife. Lean Maasai, resplendent in their beads and furled in scarlet shuka robes, tend their herds on the crater floor. A burbling spring and a large soda lake quench the thirst of the crater’s inhabitants. Black rhino are protected within the crater rim, giant tusked elephant wander the forests, black-maned lion stalk the grasslands and flamingos crowd the soda lakes.
The caldera attracts a lot of wild animals which makes it place for game viewing it also has a beautiful scenery good for taking photos.
Tarangire national park
Tarangire National Park is the sixth largest national park in Tanzania and is located in Manyara Region. The name of the park originates from the Tarangire River that crosses the park. The Tarangire River is the primary source of fresh water for wild animals in the Tarangire Ecosystem during the annual dry season. The Tarangire Ecosystem is defined by the long-distance migration of wildebeest and zebras. During the dry season thousands of animals concentrate in Tarangire National Park from the surrounding wet-season dispersal and calving areas.
A huge dustbowl of savannah and fig tree forests, undulating hills of mud-caked plains and dramatic cliffs, it’s delineated by the colossal caldera of an ancient volcano – the largest of its kind on the planet, in fact.
Hidden behind the serrated peaks that make the great crater, the wildlife here has been able to thrive and survive like nowhere else on the continent. You’ll find rare crater lions and black rhinoceroses, blue wildebeest and the endemic Tanzanian cheetahs, all of which roam the lost hinterland between the peaks.
Serengeti national park
The Serengeti National Park covers 14,763 km2 of vast open plains that stretch across the Tanzanian area between the Kenyan border and the outskirts of Lake Victoria. It has an abundance of wildlife with the numbers been estimated at well over 3 million. There is even an active volcano within the Serengeti National Park – an interesting place to visit. The Serengeti ranges from 920 m to 1850 m in altitude and is not as flat as many travellers believe. Amongst these different altitude levels you will be able to discover the most remarkable animals; hidden in valleys or on top of beautiful rock formations. This park is commonly known for the great wildebeest migration.
In addition to wildebeest migration, the Serengeti National Park holds many types of large antelopes, including zebra, impala, eland, klipspringer, dik dik, and several different kinds of buck. Also look out for lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, rhinos, elephants, hippos, hyenas, bat eared foxes, jackals, warthogs, porcupines, crocodiles, baboons, mongoose’s and different types of monkey. The Serengeti is also home to almost 500 different bird species, including; vultures, storks, flamingos, martial and fish eagles and ostriches.
Mahale national park
Mahale Mountains National Park lies 120 km south of Kigoma town, on a peninsula in Lake Tanganyika on the western border of Tanzania. The park has an area of 1613 sq. km and is dominated by the Mahale Mountains Chain running from north-west to south-east across the middle of the park, the highest peak, Mount Nkungwe, rising 2,462 meters above sea level. Its western boundary protects not only 63 kms of lakeshore but also the adjacent 1.6 km-wide strip of coastal waters. The park vegetation is mainly Miombo woodland with narrow strips of riverine forests, some rain forest and savannah which provide habitat to a variety of animal species.
Mahale Mountains like its northerly neighbour Gombe Stream, is home to some Africa’s last remaining wild chimpanzees, with an estimated population of about 800, found in the rain forests of Mahale together with other rain forest animals including the Angolan colobus monkey and other primates. Species found in Miombo woodland include roan antelopes, sable antelopes and lichtenstein hartebeest, while the savannah provide habitat to warthogs, giraffes, grant’s zebras, hyenas and lions.
Selous game reserve
One of the best places to visit in Tanzania is the Selous Game Reserve, the largest game reserve in Africa. The area of the Selous Game Reserve has large open woodlands, grassland, hills, rivers, and plains. Savanna animals can be found in this reserve in greater numbers than in any other African game reserve. A broad range of game can be found including elephants, rhinos and hippos as well as antelope, buffalo, giraffe, wildebeest, warthog, lion, cheetah and leopard.
You can also find 350 species of bird life in Selous. Thanks to strict regulation by the Wildlife Division of the Tanzanian Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism no human habitation or permanent structures are allowed in the reserve area. So it is one of the best Tanzania tourist attractions for the wildlife lovers.
The Mafia Island is one of the top tourist attractions in Tanzania. This island is also part of the Spice Islands, but it is smaller than Pemba. This island paradise first saw settlers in the 8th or 9th century, but now there are about 40,000 people living in there. Mafia Island draws divers and snorkelers from around the world to the undersea world protected by the Mafia Island Marine Park.
Mafia Island Marine Park has superb coral gardens, a copious variety of fish and a relaxed diving atmosphere. You can also find countless birds and over 400 species of fish here. The island is also a traditional breeding site for the green turtle that are regrettably close to extinction.