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9-Day Tanzania Safari Tours

There are many itineraries to choose from when booking a 9-day safari in Tanzania. The country is home to a lot of parks and reserves, all different in general vibe and landscape. It therefore makes sense to do some research as to which destinations are likely to fulfill your expectations. For ticking off the Big Five, the northern parks, including the world-famous Serengeti National Park, are perhaps your best bet. The southern parks are less densely populated, but are home to some unusual animals, including endangered wild dog. Or you can head to the very remote western parks to go chimp trekking in the jungle-clad mountains towering over Lake Tanganyika.

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5 Questions About 9-Day Tanzania Safaris


5 Questions About 9-Day Tanzania Safaris

Answered by Ariadne van Zandbergen

Is 9 days a good length of time for a safari in Tanzania?

“Nine days is a good length of time for a Tanzanian safari. When going on safari, longer is better. You’ll have to make some hard decisions on which parks and reserves to visit. There is so much to see, and you can’t possibly do it all in one holiday. The secret to a wonderful safari is not to cram too much into the itinerary. Rather, spend time at fewer destinations. It works really well to settle into a place. That way, you can enjoy the perfect rhythm of an African safari. Game drives and other safari activities are usually conducted in the early morning and late afternoon when animals are most active. The middle of the day is usually spent at leisure. Many lodges have a view over a waterhole, and you never know what thirsty animals might visit in the middle of the day. When moving between camps most days, you miss out on this special time spent at the lodge. Spending a few days in one place also gives you the opportunity to get to know the staff, and more often than not, you’ll leave as a friend. A 9-day safari affords you quality time. It also allows you to get away from the busy places, which, for logistical reasons, tend to be the focus on shorter packages.”


What can I fit in during a 9-day safari in Tanzania?

“What you can fit in on a 9-day safari mostly depends on whether you’re flying or driving. There are three safari circuits in Tanzania. On a 9-day road safari, you would focus on one of them. Most popular is the Northern safari circuit, which comprises Serengeti, Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks, as well as Ngorongoro Crater. On a 9-day safari you could consider making a side trip to the Lake Natron area, at the base of the active volcano Ol Doinyo Lengai. The Southern safari circuit, comprising Ruaha National Park and Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous Game Reserve), as well as the lesser-known Udzungwa Mountains and Mikumi National Parks, is known for its incredible wilderness appeal. With much lower visitor numbers, you get a very exclusive safari experience here. There are also optional activities, such as boating excursions and walking safaris, offered alongside game drives. The remote Western safari circuit is best visited on a fly-in safari. Katavi National Park, a Dry-season savannah reserve, is often paired with Mahale Mountains National Park for chimp trekking. Gombe National Park, known as the place where Jane Goodall conducted her research in the 1960s, offers a similar chimp trekking experience. A fly-in safari opens up options of mixing and matching between the different circuits. You could, for instance, add a chimp trekking experience at Mahale or Gombe to a Serengeti safari. Or combine the best of the north and the south by flying between Serengeti and Ruaha.”


What kind of accommodation can I expect?

“There is no shortage of accommodation options in Tanzania for your safari. All the main parks and reserves have lodges and hotels at different comfort and price levels, ranging from budget to mid-range to luxury. Budget lodges and guesthouses are often outside the parks and reserves. They might be in the bush on the outskirts of the park or they might be in a nearby town. Most of the mid-range accommodation is in no-frills hotels, but there are some small tented camps offering a bit more safari ambience in this category as well. If you prefer to escape the bush at night and have all the mod cons you are used to, a larger hotel is probably your fit. Luxury lodges are usually very exclusive. Some of them have as few as six rooms or tents. They usually try to blend into the environment, and the décor is often understated sophistication. These top-end lodges are mostly used for fly-in safaris. Aside from great food and service, they provide guided activities of the highest standards. On the other side of the scale, but also very much in keeping with nature, are camping safaris. The campsites in the parks and reserves are often in fantastic locations. You’ll be at the heart of where all the wildlife action takes place. On top of that, you’ll get to listen to the sounds of the bush at night with nothing but canvas between you and the animal world outside.”


Which animals can I expect to see?

“Wherever you go in Tanzania, you’ll be able to see a wealth of wildlife on a 9-day safari. For sheer numbers, you can’t beat the Northern safari circuit. The Serengeti ecosystem supports huge numbers of ungulates and predators. Many visitors want to see the wildebeest migration. This yearly spectacle involves millions of blue wildebeest, plains zebra and gazelle following the rains for greener pastures. Predators, such as lion and cheetah, are never far off. Four of the Big Five (elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion and leopard) are usually seen on a 9-day safari. But black rhino is very rare or even absent in Tanzanian parks except from the Ngorongoro Crater and Mkomazi, where they are quite easy to spot. Leopards are relatively common throughout, but their elusive behavior makes sightings hit-and-miss. Guides will do their best to find one though. The southern parks and reserves, such as Nyerere and Ruaha, have slightly lower animal densities, but you’re in for a treat when it comes to variety. Here, you might see some of the more unusual species, such as sable and roan antelope. Lesser and greater kudu are also present. But most sought-after are the endangered wild dog, which thrive in this area. If you are a primate-lover, consider Mahale or Gombe in the Western circuit. These forested parks offer some of the best chimp trekking in Africa. The idyllic location on the shore of Lake Tanganyika (the world’s longest freshwater lake) is great for relaxation.”


How much will this safari cost?

“A wide range of price tags is attached to Tanzanian 9-day safaris. At the budget end, 9-day safaris are advertised from about US$1,800 per person. Mid-range tours range between US$2,500 and US$4,000 per person, while luxury tours generally range between US$4,500 and US$9,000 per person. The biggest factor determining the cost of a tour is the accommodation level. Camping and tours using budget accommodation, which is often located outside the parks and reserves, are at the lowest price bracket. Slightly more expensive are tours using mid-range accommodation. This accommodation is often inside the parks, but can be outside as well. It might be simple tented camps or large hotels. The latter will be most comfortable, but might be lacking in safari ambience. Top of the range are the luxury tented camps and designer ecolodges. Fly-in tours are usually more expensive than road safaris. For some tours, fly-in is the only option, but when visiting parks in the Northern circuit, a road trip is very feasible on a 9-day safari. If you’re not aiming to see the wildebeest migration, consider traveling during the low season. The Emerald season, as it is usually called, is a lovely time to get away from the crowds. Aside from fresh green scenery, you can enjoy birding and lots of healthy baby animals. Although this coincides with the Wet season, it rarely rains for long.”


Tanzania Reviews

4.8/5 1570 Reviews
Harriet Nimmo  –  
South Africa ZA

Harriet is a zoologist with more than 20 years’ experience. She has the privilege of working with the world’s top wildlife photographers and photo-guides.

The Serengeti and so much more.

Tanzania is “the” classic safari destination and should be top of every Africa lover’s wish list. The starting point for most visitors is the northern safari circuit, comprising the iconic Serengeti and Ngorogoro Crater, with Lake...

Full Review

Stuart Butler  –  
United Kingdom UK

Stuart is a travel writer and author of numerous Lonely Planet guidebooks, including 'Kenya', 'Rwanda' and 'Tanzania'.

African Safari Clichés at their Best

Tanzania is everything you ever thought Africa would be. Perhaps nowhere else on the continent has such huge expanses of animal packed savannah grasslands or areas of wilderness where it’s still possible to imagine how East Africa looked...

Full Review

Beatrice *******  –  
Italy IT
Reviewed: Apr 16, 2024

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

Marion Martellacci  –  
Canada CA
Reviewed: Apr 16, 2024
Beautiful Country

My daughter and I did a 3 day fly in fly out from Zanzibar. You get the island experience in Zanzibar with beautiful beaches and Stonetown. When you hit the Serengeti it is such a special place, the Crater is another totally different...

Full Review

Arash  –  
Germany DE
Reviewed: Apr 15, 2024
Absolute beauty and sheer diversity!

We had six days in Serengeti and Ngorongoro protected areas and we absolutely loved it! Ndutu region was marvellous with lots of game sightings and more intimate experiences with nature. Here, sighting a caracal, a family of five bat-eared...

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Adriana Saldarriaga  –  
Colombia CO
Reviewed: Apr 14, 2024
A dream come true!

This was my first time in Tanzania so I didn’t know what to expect, but I was amazed by the beauty of the Serengeti and by the amount of wildlife I got to see ! They were right there, next to the car, so close I could almost touch them! I...

Full Review