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Tanzania Camping Safaris

I love camping safaris, and Tanzania is a great place to do one. To guarantee a smooth trip, however, it is extremely important to go with a reputable operator. You’ll be relying on their professionalism a lot more than you would do on a lodge safari. A good operator will provide a comfortable setup with high-quality tents, a dining tent, great food and cozy campfires. Your group, driver, guide and cook will start of as a team and end up as family. Camping is the best way to soak up the safari ambience. There is no better way to end the day in the bush than sitting around a fire under the stars, recounting the highlights of the day.

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1-20 of 1,083 camping safaris to Tanzania

6 Questions About Tanzania Camping Safaris


6 Questions About Tanzania Camping Safaris

Answered by Ariadne van Zandbergen

What can I expect on a Tanzania camping safari?

“On a Tanzanian camping safari, you can expect a unique experience of the African bush as you are as close to nature as possible. You’ll most likely visit either the Northern or Southern safari circuit. You’ll set up camp in the parks included on your itinerary, or just outside them. A cook will probably take care of the food and you’ll be surprised what they can prepare with limited facilities. You might have to put up your own tent, but the crew is always happy to assist. The campsite will be your base for game drives into the park. A typical day on safari starts with a predawn wake-up call. After a cup of coffee, you’ll be on your way to look for predator action. Mid-morning, you might come back to camp for brunch and a nap during the midday heat, before heading out again on an afternoon drive or other activity. On some other days, you might head out with a packed lunch for a full day’s adventure. On the Northern circuit, the driving time between parks is not that long, but if you’re visiting the south, you might have some long driving days between parks. Luckily there is always plenty to see en route.”


How much will this safari cost?

“It is difficult to put an actual figure on the cost of a camping safari package in Tanzania as there are many variables. We recommend that you budget on a starting price of US$200 per person per day (excluding international flights). Tanzania’s parks and reserves are some of Africa’s best, and being able to visit is an incredible privilege. Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t come cheaply. Camping is a great way to reduce costs, and if you don’t mind the basic facilities it will bring you closer to nature and enhance the safari experience. Different operators have different levels of camping. You should get as much information as possible on the size of the tents, beds or mattresses, food, shower etc. Staying inside or outside the parks affects the price as well. Whether you join a group tour or opt for a private tailor-made safari will also affect the overall price. There is a premium cost for traveling in the high season, but you might get a discounted price in the off season.”


What facilities can I expect to find in Tanzanian campsites?

“The public campsites in the national parks offer very basic facilities. Most have simple ablution blocks, cooking areas and power supply. It’s up to the operators to bring anything else that is needed. Depending on the level of camping tour, you will be kitted out with more or fewer extras, such as a dining tent, lamps etc. Being inside the parks is a bonus as you are well positioned for game drives, and you can really immerse yourself in nature. At night, you’ll hear lion roar, hyena whoop and the repetitive calls of the nightjar. Many operators use the campsites outside the national parks. These are privately owned and tend to have less of a bush atmosphere than their counterparts within the parks. They also usually have better facilities. There might be a restaurant on site, a small shop to buy drinks and snacks, a bar, better ablution facilities, lights, and so on.”


Are the campsites fenced in Tanzania?

“Public campsites inside national parks and reserves are unfenced. That means that wildlife can freely roam around the tents. Predators usually keep their distance during the day. Even while visitors are out on game drives, other camping crew, such as cooks, usually stay behind and their presence is enough to keep most animals away. At night though, when the campsite is quiet and everybody has gone to sleep, all kinds of creatures might come through. You’ll seldom be aware of them at the time, but you’ll probably see their footprints the next morning. Most campsites have some resident animals that have become habituated and like the safety of people nearby, and/or the possibility of scavenging on some scraps. This could be a small group of warthog, a bushbuck or a nocturnal genet. Having a chance to see habituated animals up close is always a treat. Private campsites outside the parks and reserves are usually fenced. These might be more suitable if you’re traveling with small kids.”


What are the pros and cons of a Tanzania camping safari?

“If you like camping in general, you’ll love a Tanzania camping safari. Camping brings you close to nature, and camping out in the African bush really takes that to the next level. But even if you’re not a keen camper, you might want to consider a camping holiday. Safari tours tend to be quite expensive and camping is a great way to save costs. For a variety of reasons, mostly to do with the remote location and limited occupancy, most lodges in the national parks are very expensive. This means that travelers on a budget lodge safari usually have to compromise and stay out of the park. By contrast, campsites within the parks are usually in fabulous locations. Staying in the heart of the action adds to the overall experience. Having dinner around a campfire and listening to animal noises from your tent is all part of the fun. Many reputable operators offer a very nice camping setup, so you might be pleasantly surprised by the comfort level, food and general facilities in camp. That said, some of us prefer to have solid walls around us when going to sleep. And if roughing it isn’t your thing, you should maybe look at alternative budget safaris. Setting up and breaking down camp on each arrival and departure can take up valuable time. If you need creature comforts, such as an en suite bathroom and space to unpack, then a camping safari might not be for you.”


Is it possible to do a mixed safari where only some nights are spent camping?

“It is possible to do a mixed safari, where you spent some nights camping and some nights in the comfort of a guesthouse, lodge or hotel. In fact, many camping safaris start with a night in a hotel. This gives you a chance to rest after your international flight, and prepare for an early departure the next day. For similar reasons the last night of a camping safari is also often spent in a hotel. Some other camping safaris offer a few more nights in alternative accommodation. This is mostly because there are budget accommodation options just outside some of the parks (for instance at Lake Manyara National Park and Ngorongoro Crater), but not outside others. The only realistic way to experience the Serengeti, for instance, is to stay inside the park. In such cases, the operator might opt to provide inexpensive rooms outside the parks where possible, but to camp inside the park where no other budget options exist. This is a nice compromise if you would like to experience some camping in the bush, but not throughout the whole trip.”


Tanzania Reviews

4.8/5 1510 Reviews
Mark Eveleigh  –  
United Kingdom UK

Mark is a travel writer who grew up in Africa and has written over 700 titles for Condé Nast Traveller, Travel Africa, BBC Wildlife and others.

As a safari destination Tanzania has it all!

Tanzania as a safari destination has it all. If this is your first safari and your ambition is to get some amazing sightings and rack up the big 5 as soon as possible, then Ngorongoro Crater is probably the best place in the world to do...

Full Review

Lizzie Williams  –  
South Africa ZA

Lizzie is a reputed guidebook writer and author of the Footprint guides to South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

East African Landscapes at Their Best With the Enticing Additions of a Kilimanjaro Climb or Zanzibar Beach

Most itineraries in Tanzania are designed around the world-famous Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater, and for good reason. The fabulously impressive African landscapes and sheer concentration of game are the reasons they’re so popular,...

Full Review

Mathieu Dos Santos  –  
France FR
Reviewed: Feb 17, 2024
Amazing safaris mainland and astonishing Zanzibar

Safari (3 days) : - Ngorongoro : it is a must. Incredible 1 day experience (1 day is enough) - Tarangire : great park (we stayed 1 day there (I think 1 day may be enough as well) - Manyara : good as well (1 day is enough) Would have...

Full Review

Silvana  –  
Italy IT
Reviewed: Feb 16, 2024
Amazing country

Tanzania didn’t disappoint my expectations. If I could imagine that the parks of Tarangire and Serengeti were not to be missed, the visit of Ngorongoro left me speechless; in particular the view point of the park is among the most...

Full Review

Mina Kim  –  
South Korea KR
Reviewed: Feb 16, 2024

It was wonderful tour. I was satisfied 1000% with my parents. All the scenery was absolutely beautiful, the logdes were perfect with decent services. Our tour guide, Jovin, was excellent, skilled guide. We loved him very much. I recommend...

Full Review

David Jackson  –  
Sweden SE
Reviewed: Feb 15, 2024
Simply beautiful

Tanzania is a great destination for safari and other activities. We first went on safari and then took the ferry to Zanzibar. Both destinations were great and we couldn’t have asked for a better trip. The only thing that could have made...

Full Review