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Tanzania Shared Group Safaris

When going on a Tanzania safari, you can either join a group tour or book a private safari. Being part of a group can be a lot of fun, especially when you’re a single traveler. Groups can be small (up to six people) or larger. Even large groups are often split up in smaller groups occupying a maximum of six to eight people per vehicle. Every vehicle will have a knowledgeable driver-guide. If the group is split up, a head guide or tour leader might move between vehicles throughout the trip. You’ll have game drives together and all meals are shared. Single travelers might have an opportunity to share accommodation to avoid the single supplement.

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5 Questions About Tanzania Group Safaris

 
 

5 Questions About Tanzania Group Safaris

Answered by Ariadne van Zandbergen

What are the pros and cons of a group safari in Tanzania?

“When deciding whether to go on a group safari in Tanzania, it’s good to be aware of the pros and cons before making your choice. The main consideration is arguably one of budget. If you are a single traveler or part of a couple, joining a group will be cheaper than booking a private safari. Some of the costs on safari are shared, for example the guide fees and the vehicle. An operator might also decide on a smaller profit margin per person when putting together group tours. Many people enjoy the social element of a group tour, especially if the alternative is traveling alone. Some group tours come with a tour leader as well as a local guide. Their task is to make sure everything runs smoothly, and that all your needs are looked after. In some cases, the tour leader might bring their own expertise to the safari, such as photography or bird watching. This adds value for those who share that interest. The main negative of a Tanzanian group safari is that you’ll have to fit around set dates, and that you won’t have any flexibility in the program.”

1

What is the maximum group size recommended for a safari?

“The ideal group size is one that fits into one vehicle, so six to eight people. Having said that, a tour consisting of two or three vehicles (up to 18 people) should be fine as well. Independent of group size, most safari packages in Tanzania are conducted in 4x4 vehicles with a pop-up roof. The terrain doesn’t really allow for larger vehicles. These vehicles typically take up to six guests in three rows. At a push they sometimes take an extra guest in the front seat. Customized stretch vehicles have an extra row and can take up to eight people. Larger group sizes are usually split up over more vehicles. With these seating arrangements, everybody gets a window seat. There are advantages of joining a small group tour. The logistics at check-in and check-out are less chaotic, and less time is spent getting everybody together at various stops or briefings. A smaller group size allows the operator to choose smaller lodgings, which have a different feel to big hotels. The group tours described above differ from one other type of tour conducted in big converted overland trucks. These mostly aim for young clients on a tight budget. Participants might have camp duties, and camping tends to be very basic.”

2

Are there specialized group safaris for bird-watchers and photographers?

“Aside from general group safaris, specialized tours are also on offer, the most popular aimed at bird-watchers and photographers. For people with a particular interest, a targeted tour is an excellent option. Such tours often have expert leaders sharing their experience. Bird-watching tours will usually be led by an ornithologist with experience in local conditions, while photography tours might enjoy the expertise of a professional photographer. The choice of destinations, the duration of each stay, as well as the best time to be out and about will be designed with these interests in mind. Even professional photographers and very good birders benefit from these tours. Aside from the local expertise of the tour leaders, most individuals delight in sharing a tour with like-minded people. Such a group can be highly productive in helping you achieve your goals, whether it is ticking off a long list of birds or taking amazing photographs.”

3

Is there a minimum age for a group safari in Tanzania?

“Some group tours do have a minimum age. The main reason is that children might become a burden on the group. Not all travelers are child-friendly, and having young children in the group might create friction. It might also be that age restrictions apply to some of the lodges you’ll stay at, or to the activities you’ll undertake. That said, if your children have successfully been on safari before and you know they will do well in the group environment, there is no reason not to take them on a group safari, age limitations permitting. However, if you intend to take small children on a first safari, it might be better to book a private tour, which will give you more flexibility to cater to their needs. A safari can be a wonderfully enriching experience for children, but as their attention span is relatively short, a Tanzanian group safari might just be too demanding for them.”

4

How full will the safari vehicles be on a group safari?

“How full the safari vehicle will be will depend on your operator and you should check this prior to booking. The group size of a safari is important, but even more important is the number of people in a vehicle when on a game drive. And most important for the best wildlife viewing is that all guests have a window seat on a game drive. There are two types of group safari, a road safari or a fly-in safari. If you travel by road, your vehicle for the trip is also your game-drive vehicle. These are usually pop-up-roof 4x4 vehicles, and they can usually seat six or eight people in three or four rows (which means that everybody gets a window seat). The operators will usually try to fill the vehicle, but if they don’t have enough bookings, they might still run the tour with a vehicle at half capacity. This will then give you a lot of extra space. If you book a fly-in tour, your group will be flown around from park to park where you’ll probably be picked up in open-sided 4x4 vehicles. These vehicles usually take up to 10 passengers (three rows of three people and the front seat). That means that not everybody will have a side seat when at full capacity. The lodges use their discretion in how to fill up the game-drive vehicles, and your party or group might have to share a vehicle with other guests. However, chances are that they will allocate a vehicle for your group. So you might be sharing the 10-seater with only six or eight people. Many top lodges will not fill up their vehicles to full capacity, but try to give everybody a side seat (two people per row). It is a good idea to clarify these arrangements before booking a tour.”

5

Tanzania Safari Reviews

4.8/5 1039 Reviews
Expert
Philip Briggs  –  
South Africa ZA

Philip is an acclaimed travel writer and author of many guidebooks, including the Bradt guides to Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa.

Africa’s greatest safari destination
5/5

There is arguably no better safari destination than Tanzania. And, to be honest, I’m not even sure I should be using the word ‘arguably’ here! Tanzania’s superb network of wildlife reserves is the most extensive in Africa,...

Full Review

Expert
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
5/5

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

Emanuel  –  
Israel IL
Reviewed: Feb 7, 2021
I would highly recommend Friendship Adventure to anyone looking to have an unforgettable trip!
5/5

I have just finished amazing 10 days of safari in Tanzanya.This was my first safari experience in Africa! Everything was wonderful, much better than what I expected! The tour was very well organized by Friendship African Adventures Safaris...

Full Review

ShaNae McCleskey  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Dec 19, 2020
The most eye-opening and life-changing experience I’ve ever had.
5/5

I’m writing this review many years late. But my appreciation for Tanzania, the people I met there, and the wildlife is still a driving force in my life. I went in 2012 and my tour guide on this safari was Loth Kornelio and his team. They...

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DMBT195  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Dec 17, 2020
An Awesome Experience Worth Repeating
5/5

Did a 3D/2N "Camping Safari" that was arranged through Swahili Paradise Tours & Safaris. From start to finish it was an easy process and pleasant experience dealing with everyone from Jimmy to Mashaka, Juma (Driver) and Paul (Chef who made...

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Luna  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Sep 1, 2020
A respite from quarantine
5/5

After a few months of restrictions of our normal activities, we decided to return to our favorite destination, Tanzania. We have traveled with African Big Cats in the past and would not consider traveling with any other tour company....

Full Review