Tanzania Safari Guide,National Parks- Car Rental Tanzania
A good travel guide doesn’t replace the advice and assistance from one of our Africa Safari Experts, but it does equip you to be an active and informed decision-maker in planning your Tanzania safari. In this guide, we focus on the tips and insights that will help you make the most of your time and money.
Tanzania is the second largest country in East Africa and one of the continent’s stalwart safari destinations. It lies on the idyllic Indian Ocean coast and shares borders with other incredible safari destinations like Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.
The United Republic of Tanzania (Kiswahili: Jamhuri Ya Muungano wa Tanzania), is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the south. To the east it borders the Indian Ocean.
Tanzania is a result of the unification of Tanganyika (the mainland) and the Zanzibar islands. Tanganyika and Zanzibar united on 26th April 1964, forming the United Republic of Tanzania. Tanganyika became independent from the British on December 1961 and Zanzibar became free through a revolution on 12th January 1964.
Some of the oldest human settlements have been unearthed in Tanzania. The oldest human fossils where found in and around Olduvai Gorge (Oldubai) in northern Tanzania, an area referred to as “The Cradle of Mankind”. It is believed to be the birth place of humanity. Fossils found in this area include Paranthropus bones thought to be over 2 million years old, and the oldest known footprints of the immediate ancestors of humans, the Leatoli footprints, estimated to be about 3.6 million years old.
Top Experiences in Tanzania
- Excellent Year-round Game Viewing: Game drive with Serengeti Pioneer Camp, Tanzania is home to a great diversity of wildlife, fascinating cultures and natural, scenic beauty. It’s a dream destination from the classic, sweeping Savannah of the Serengeti to the flamingo-lined shores of Lake Manyara, world wonder Ngorongoro Crater and Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa’s highest mountain).It also offers bucket-list experiences that like chimpanzee trekking in the rainforests of Mahale and Gombe, and game viewing in the far-flung wildernesses of Katavi, Ruaha and Nyerere National Park.
It’s worth noting that Tanzania combines beautifully with other safari destinations in East Africa like Kenya (home to the Masai Mara), and Uganda and Rwanda (exhilarating gorilla trekking adventures).
- The Wildebeest Migration: Without a doubt, Tanzania’s greatest wildlife attraction is the annual Wildebeest Migration, which sees almost two million wildebeest and zebra follow seasonal rains across the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem each year. Tanzania hosts the lion’s share of the Migration – two main events take place in the Serengeti:
- The mass calving season when almost a quarter of a million babies are born in the southern Serengeti.
- The dramatic Grumeti River crossings.
If witnessing the Migration is on your bucket-list, then knowing when to go is all-important.
- Bush-and-Beach Holidays: Tanzania offers superb safari-and-beach combinations, thanks to its long tropical coastline and coral-fringed islands. You can easily fly from a safari camp after breakfast and be on a powder-soft beach in time for sunset cocktails.
Tanzania’s top tropical islands are:
- Zanzibar – one of the world’s most romantic honeymoon destinations.
- Mnemba Island – a private island holiday paradise.
- Pemba Island – among the world’s best diving sites.
- Mafia Island – swim with migrating whale sharks (about October to April).
The Best Time to Go to Tanzania
Deciding when to visit Tanzania depends entirely on what it is that you want to experience.
Peak game viewing in Tanzania is in the dry winter season (about June to October). This is the ideal time to explore the Serengeti, Ngorogoro Crater and Lake Manyara because game is concentrated around water sources. The Wildebeest Migration river crossings also take place between July and October. If you’d prefer to avoid high season crowds, we recommend combining Ruaha and Nyerere (Selous) with a beach break on the coast or heading to Lake Victoria to combine chimp trekking in Mahale and Gombe with game viewing in the Katavi.
During low or Green Season (about November to March), there are baby animals everywhere, the days are deliciously hot, the dust is settled by afternoon thundershowers and, best of all, you’ll enjoy the very best value for money and crowd-free game viewing. Game viewing is still excellent after the short rains in November but, for the best value, travel before 15 December to avoid the Christmas crowds (and prices!).
For keen photographers, this quiet period offers very special advantages: expect lush green landscapes rather than the dull browns of winter; dramatic cloudy skies rather than winter’s endless pale blue skies; and much more relaxed game viewing conditions, which means more time to get that winning shot.
The best time to summit Kilimanjaro is between July and October or between January and March – which makes it easy to combine a mountain trek with both game viewing and relaxing on a tropical island.
Combine your big game safari with Tanzania’s islands between August and October. We don’t recommend the coast or islands during the long rains from March to May when it’s very wet and humid.
Recommended Cars for Ngorongoro Crater Visit
Budget: What Does a Tanzania Safari Cost?
It’s always tricky to give exact costs for a Tanzania safari, as there are variables that influence costs:
- The time of year you travel.
- The level of comfort you prefer at accommodations.
- Whether you drive or fly between destinations.
- Extra activities – like hot-air ballooning, spa treatments and cultural tours – that you’d like to add on.
We prefer tailor-making safari itineraries that match your unique travel wishes and budget. That being said, here are some ballpark figures for a Tanzania safari, with transfers and accommodation included on a price-per-person-per-night.
Note: the above amounts are guidelines only. If you’re considering a Tanzania safari, get in touch with one of our Africa Safari Experts for accurate costs that match your personal needs and travel wishes.
Why We Love Tanzania
It’s easy to fall in love with Tanzania’s rich cultures, big game attractions and natural beauty. As safari experts, what we value most about this country is the old-school service, the authentic safari style and the level of luxury you’ll experience here. Not to mention the incredible game viewing in Tanzania’s heavyweights like the Serengeti! Tanzania is a country that will definitely blow your mind. No amount of videos or books can prepare you for the majesty of the safaris you will take when you’re in the country, after all. However, it is always good to do your due diligence, and plan out your safari, so you’re not met with too many challenges.
Here are some tips and tricks that will definitely help you plan and enjoy your holiday better.
Before you go to Tanzania,
- Go through the Tanzanian government’s visa requirements at least 3 months prior to your trip to get everything in order.
- You can also apply for the visa after landing in Tanzania (depending on your nationality).
- Those entering Tanzania would have to get a yellow-fever inoculation, and several other booster shots. Please go through the official list, and get all your vaccinations in order before visiting.
- Decide whether you want to explore Tanzania in style, or on a budget. There are great safari offerings for all budgets!
- Think about when you want to visit. If you want to see the great migration, you should visit between May-October. If you want to avoid the dry weather and wish to enjoy some solace, you should visit between November-March.
- Purchase sturdy walking shoes. It is possible to explore the safaris directly from your car, but this will not give you the full safari experience. It is highly recommended that you walk as much as you can between your destinations.
- Choose multiple national parks to visit. This way, you can explore the natural variation within the country.
- If you have internal flights within Africa, check the baggage limit, and pack accordingly. Some of the flights are rather small and have limited luggage capacity.
Best Accommodation in Tanzania
Home to the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and a host of other superb parks and reserves, Tanzania is one of Africa’s classic safari destinations. And its accommodation options reflect this: luxury safari lodges, remote tented camps and popular safari hotels make up most of our recommendations. Tanzania also has some of East Africa’s most exceptional and indulgent accommodation – think private safari villas set in the most incredible wilderness locations. There are accommodations for your budget.