​Overview – Tanzania

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Bradt guidebooks to African destinations, including the guide to Tanzania.

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Bradt guidebook to Tanzania.

Philip is the author of the Bradt guidebook to Tanzania.

Tanzania, with its three safari circuits, is one of Africa’s top wildlife destinations. The popular Northern circuit incorporates bucket-list landmarks such as Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and Mt Kilimanjaro. Repeat visitors might prefer the remote wilderness vibe of the Southern or Western circuits. For some beach time, the ‘Spice Island’ of Zanzibar is only a short flight away.

Rates (USD) $230 to $619 pp/day
Best Time To Go June to October; January to February for wildebeest calving
High Season July to March (Northern circuit parks; all get crowded), June to October (Southern and Western circuit parks; only Nyerere gets crowded)
Size 947,303km² / 365,756mi²

Pros & Cons

  • Superb wildlife viewing, including the annual wildebeest migration in Serengeti
  • Off-the-beaten-track safaris in Katavi and Ruaha National Parks
  • Several wildlife-viewing circuits for repeat visits
  • Best chimp trekking in Africa in Gombe and Mahale Mountains National Parks
  • Beach holiday extensions in Zanzibar
  • Traditional cultures
  • Relatively expensive safari destination
  • Some popular parks can be crowded

Tanzania Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

You’ll see an abundance of animals when on safari in Tanzania. Elephant, giraffe, buffalo, warthog and hippo are prolific throughout, and in Serengeti you might see several million wildebeest, gazelle and zebra on their annual migration. Predators are common too, especially lion and spotted hyena. You’ll need to go to Ruaha or Nyerere (Selous) National Parks to see the endangered wild dogs. Black rhino is easy to spot in the Ngorongoro Crater, but for an intimate encounter with these safari heavyweights, Mkomazi National Park is hard to beat.

Activities

Safaris in Tanzania focus mostly on morning and afternoon game drives, but there are plenty of opportunities to break it up. Night drives offer a chance to see nocturnal animals. Walking safaris are a great way to learn about little creatures, tracks and plants. And there is no better way to get close to crocodiles and hippos than on a boat safari (a must in Nyerere National Park).

Weather & Climate

The Dry season (June to October) sees the daytime temperature vary between 20°C/68°F and 30°C/86°F. It’s useful to remember that the higher the altitude, the cooler it will be. The Wet season (November to May) kicks off with the short rains (November to December), followed by a drier interlude and then the long rains (March to May).

Best Time To Visit

Wildlife viewing is generally best in the Dry season (June to October). This is also the best time to see the wildebeest migration in Western and Northern Serengeti. January to February is the time when the wildebeest are in Southern Serengeti to have their calves. While some Southern and Western circuit parks are off-limits in the Wet season (November to May), the Northern circuit parks still have productive game drives during this time.

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Tanzania Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Expert
Tim Bewer  –  
United States US

Tim is a travel writer who has covered 10 African countries for Lonely Planet's Africa, East Africa and West Africa guidebooks.

Crowded Favorites and Well-Kept Secrets
5/5

Tanzania is home to Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater; and this fact alone makes a solid case for declaring it Africa’s best safari country. But, of course, there’s much more that just these two places. Most visitors stick...

Full Review

Latest User Review
Beatrice *******  –  
Italy IT
Reviewed: Apr 16, 2024
Unforgettable!
5/5

Our safari was great. At the airport, after resolving a few small problems, we were picked up by the driver and taken to Arusha to a good hotel to spend the night and agree on the Safari that would start the next day. We had booked the...

Full Review